Wednesday, November 23, 2011

China Slave Labor Camps, US-Thailand Food Chain Slaves

China has the biggest penal colony in the world - a top secret network of more than 1,000 slave labour prisons and camps known collectively as "The Laogai". And the use of the inmates of these prisons - in what some experts call "state sponsored slavery" - has been credited with contributing to the country's economic boom.
In this episode, former inmates, many of whom were imprisoned for political or religious dissidence without trial, recount their daily struggles and suffering in the "dark and bitter" factories where sleep was a privilege. (Aljazeera)

The investigation begins in the poor villages of Thailand, where agents for the US slave masters trick desperate peasants with promises of well-paid jobs abroad.

But far from fulfilling their American dream, many end up in slave labour farms in Hawaii, California and Florida - unable to return home and working to pay off the debts they incurred in the pursuit of a better life for themselves and their families. (Aljazeera)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week in Review OWS--Musing Over Highlights

So what's going on as we start another week? The Super Congress, another 2011 distraction against real problems and an inventive preparatory tool for cutting medicare and social security, can't agree, probably on the best tactic to cut these benefits with minimum fallout while the air of discontent in the country grows bolder. Was this simply another  non-democratic and undemocratic body of time wasters whose only goal was to keep the issue alive?  If true, how sinister would that be? So Main Street better think fast.   How can Main Street turn this event in favor of the people? How can Main Street come up with its own tool to not only secure these benefits but also to expand them and get them out of the adversity limelight once and for all? This might be a good time for anyone about to lose benefits to join OWS. It may be a good time all of Main Street to  start petitions for a single-healthcare system. It isn't enough just to keep the damage of monsters to a minimum, or to even to stop the monsters and let it hold everything at a standstill. People have to begin putting forth programs that transform their daily lives and help reshape social consciousness to benefit the greater humanity, Main Street. Main Street can no longer rely on many of their representatives to vote in its favor. I believe rising to this challenge, to create in the face of standstill, is the skill needed to meet the 21st Century in a new way.

Everyone's talking about UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi who took action  against students that led police to pepper spray students in the face. She certainly assumes a lot of ego.  Now she won't resign--even though many feet are kicking her name out the door.  She insists the university needs her. (Funny, but I always thought a university could run without a chancellor but not without the professors or students.)  Still trying to shape public and private perceptions (and hold onto her job!) as the call for her resignation grows louder. she has now apologized. I guess that solves it.  Now it's time to move on and heal, she says. How many people are in jail apologized and just wanted to move on and heal? To avoid a double-standard, it's probably a good idea to let those apologetic people out of jail, many of whom have probably caused less harm than the chancellor. A byproduct: Think of all the money California would save instead of storing prisoners in jails because the prisons are overcrowded.

The recall for Wisconsin's Governor Walker is growing very strong. Signatures by now reach or pass 100,000 on petitions, and rallies reaching 40,000 or more re-enforce the recall. Who's next? Recalling New York's Mayor Bloomberg for his role in unleashing as brutish if not illegal attacks on peaceful protesters would be a strong next step. Recalling Oakland's Mayor Quan and Portland's Mayor Sam Adams  at the same time would also be a strong message. What's the message their resignation could send to other officials quick at the spray and attack buttons? Brutish compulsions and a fear of democracy --demophobia--belong in therapy. Recalling all four would send a strong message to cities attacking demonstrators exercising their right of protest.  Recalling them all (and more) at the same time provides a rallying stage.

Over this past week, I watched Chris Markers A Grin Without a Cat.  He's a master of montage and a terrific filmmaker.  The montage from the world demonstrations during the 60s and the war footage could easily be spliced together with today's videos, and who would know the difference? That alone is something to think about. Why isn't there much of a difference in how those in power respond? And what can be done to create a difference with better outcomes for Main Street? There is a difference, however. In the 60s, most of the protesters were students. Today the protesters are made up from all segments of Main Street. Moreover, the protesters are more peaceful today.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Elizabeth Warren Surges Past Obama In?

Is Elizabeth Warren Standing on the Other Side of the Mirror Obama Can't Find?

Elizabeth Warren arrives on top of America's Good Ethics List so often that people are now seeing her perhaps as not only Obama's answer to himself, but the conscience of Obama, his better self, better half, manifest hope. Should we read between the lines? Will she, won't she run for president in the near future? Didn't Hillary start as Senator? Without the pincers on the neck of Hillary as a passenger in Bill's car and now Obama's car, Warren comes to the people in her own car, at least in the driver's seat, and she's turning heads:
Even though she’s running for the Senate and not for the presidency, the early devotion to Warren recalls the ardor once felt by many for Obama. On its face, this is odd: Warren is not a world-class orator, she is not young or shiny or new, she doesn’t fizz with the promise of American possibility that made the Obama campaign pop. Instead, she’s a mild-mannered Harvard bankruptcy-law professor and a grandmother of three, a member of the older-white-lady demographic (she’s 62) that was written off in 2008 as being the antimatter of hope and change.
And yet, on a deeper level, her popularity makes perfect sense. Embracing Warren as the next “one” is, in part, a way of getting over Obama; she provides an optimistic distraction from the fact that under our current president, too little has changed, for reasons having to do both with the limitations of the political system and the limitations of the man. She makes people forget that estimations of him were too overheated, trust in his powers too fervid. As the feminist philanthropist Barbara Lee told me of Warren, “This moment of disillusion is why people find her so compelling, because she brings forth the best in people and she brings back that excitement.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dismantle & Re-Occupy OWS

Updated video from Democracy Now!
The systematic disrespect for occupiers by mayors in cities should bring to light the need to Recall these mayors and replace them with mayors who are on the side of Main Street.  With all due respect to the present mayors, they now seem outside the shifting winds that are clearing the air for the 21st century, one in which we may finally elevate and prioritize our intelligence and imagination over  the accumulation of money and power, to construct a more humane and egalitarian everyday world.

The Dismantling of Occupy Wall Street

For research: The dismantling of Occupy Wall Street is underway across the country. Police across the country are taking down tents and confiscating material. Everyone has to draw their own conclusions.

Notice from Mayor Bloomberg: Occupants of Zuccotti should temporarily leave and remove tents and tarps. Protestors can return after the Park is cleared.  This link is a live stream as people are being removed.  

The dismantling of Occupy Santa Cruz.

The dismantling of Occupy Oakland

The dismantling of Occupy Portland

The dismantling of Occupy Denver

The dismantling by al jazeera

Update November 21: Laptops smashed and books burned?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Question of the Day--Women at Occupy Wall Street

What are the specific issues women should group together over in discussing, making demands or boycotting over as a group? 

Here's an initial list I constructed: 1. Women's Work (pay, benefits and workplace issues).  2. Childcare for all Mothers. 3. Housing for Single Women. 4. Women's Reproductive Rights. 5. Women's Safety. 6. Women and the Arts. 7. Health Care for Women. 8. Women and Social Conventions. 9. Women in the Professions. 10. Women and Education.

occupy wall street berkeley police and protesters

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sexual Assault at Occupy Wall Street

I've been having a discussion with a friend on the sexual assault at OWS. It's under Occupy Wall Street Arrests on this blog. But that discussion doesn't belong there. It belongs here under its own thread. I find it distracting to entangle the arrests of protesters with the rapes of protesters. These are two separate issues. I have moved some of my thoughts to this thread and shall move others as well. Taking my friend's advice, I have moved the solutions to the front of the musing.

 Rape is a violent act against another person. It's a violation of the body. 

Bringing the rapes to light is also important because it can lead us to the broader discussion of violence against women in this country.

But the real dispute appears to be how to bring the sexual assaults into the light not whether to bring into the light. And I find that discussion one worth having. It is through such a discussion that the social system regarding this issue has a chance of finding new ways to deal with the problem to help lessen it if not get rid of it. So far, we as a society are not doing too well in keeping the numbers down.

So should OWS be dismantled for attracting fringe or sick people?  Only if the city of New York should be dismantled for the same reason.  Have we ever heard a call or seen a petition to dismantle an entire town if a rape or murder occurs?   I haven't seen that yet.

SOLUTION #1 for OWS: Daily workshops on defining and raising awareness about the dangers of rape followed by self defense workshops for women at the tents. Here's where police officers could be helpful. Imagine, women police officers taking turns training women living in OWS tents to defend themselves.

SOLUTION #2: Since Mayor Bloomberg is outraged at the rapes and even more outraged at rapes not getting reported, how about if the mayor himself go into his bank account and purchase mace for all women. That would convince parents of vulnerable young women he is really concerned with the safety of women engaged in their right of assembly. One other thing Bloomberg can do is set up shelters for the homeless to keep them out of the tent areas. At the same time, how about if Bloomberg sets up daily training workshops for rapists and men out of control to learn how to keep their penises inside their pants. That could happen at police stations or at the Mayor's office, and it could be for men from all over the city, from inside and outside of the buildings, particularly on Wall Street. 

Of course, my first reaction to hearing about the rapes was alarm. And then felt equal alarm hearing women were being silenced into not reporting them. I started looking around to read about what was going on. My third reaction was first disappointment and then mistrust. My friend had been at least partially duped. Many of the  reports (not of the rapes but of the framing of the rapes by news outlets) proved inaccurate. The fact--rapes occurred--was not wrong. But the framing of the rapes and the reaction to the rapes were contradictory.

First, the situation appears to be the following: rapes have occurred in New York, Dallas, and Portland, Cleveland, and Philadelphia.  Mostly I'm finding one rape at each of these sites.  One protester in New York, Channing Kehoe, knows of at least one rape having taken place but says several more women are complaining of groping going on by mostly "drunk guys." She said women are going to the police but the officers are refusing to intervene.

 Capitalizing on Rape

I began my research as most of us do using the Internet for research by Googling sexual assaults at OWS. The list wasn't too long. At the top of the list, the loudest voices we find Fox News and the political right blogs. Why is that? What do the loudest voices have in common? They share a focus on verbal assaults against OWS. These sources call for the dismantling of OWS, which aroused my suspicion. I wasn't doubtful rapes had occurred but I was suspicious over the framing of the rapes. Does anyone really believe these news outlets feel moral outrage at the rapes of these women? 

Andrew Breitbart of the Big Government blog says,
It’s time for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to pull the plug on the dangerous circus in crime zone Zuccotti Park. People have the right to protest, to assemble peaceably, to raise their voices and petition their government. They do not have the right to break the law. And Mayor Bloomberg has the duty to uphold the law.
He found his pretext. He's referring to rapes in particular. I think this non-sequitur (blaming the movement itself for the incidence of rape or other crimes, including those against the protesters themselves) is a good example of framing the crime to support a political agenda. Is Breitbart really suggesting the protest movement itself is the criminal acting out against itself? It seems so.

In criminalizing the OWS movement for crimes committed against, Breitbart and others like him frame the rapes in a sophisticated association game that circles the blame for the rapes onto the movement itself. He and others like him imply the Occupy Wall Street camps are responsible for the rapes and must thus be dismantled. No process of law here. Okay, all things being equal in terms of ethics or morals and even his law, let's continue using Breitbart's reasoning. Let's apply this reasoning about rape to the broader culture, New York City. In playing the same association game, we find rapes occurring there as well--and at quite a rate per day.  Since the rapists are among the residents of New York, then it seems appropriate to blame the city of New York for the rapes. Following Breitbart's line of reasoning, the solution is simple: we must dismantle New York City. We must get rid of it since some people have raped other people within its  boundaries. I hope Breibart's double-standard and irrational reasoning sparks a note.

As for Bloomberg, Mayor Bloomberg too is quick to want to close down the tent zones. He too jumped at the pretext. His complaint is that the rapes or other crimes are going unreported and this is dangerous for the rest of New York. But have we ever heard Bloomberg, since taking office, demand we shut down New York city and dismantle it because of unreported rapes or other crimes going on throughout the city? Has he ever claimed these unreported rapes or other crimes are dangerous for the rest of the city and the solution is to shut down the city? My guess is he's probably happy they go unreported. Every mayor likes less statistics in this area. It's good for re-election.

All things being equal.

That's the other  twist to the framing of these rape incidents. And it is this twist that drew me into this research: The alleged claim that rapes are going unreported. I say alleged because in doing my research I have found   conflicting framing on the "reporting" or "not reporting" of the rapes.

I haven't found any report on any rape incident not reported. And men are getting arrested. Not that such non-reports and non-existent.

According to one rather rude man, who appears to be using the rape incidents as a platform to vent his own his hatred of OWS and perhaps women, argues the women at OWS are not reporting rapes, and are morons. Well, I guess that's enough proof for some blogs.

But contrary to his assumptions, the OWS women are not hiding in shame or huddled in shock in the back of tents, bruised without a voice. Women are not taping their mouths shut to protect an abstraction. This guy's distortion of reality pisses me off.  He is in essence pitching a tent of male hysteria and fever koutside OWS's living quarters and yelling at the women inside to follow protocol, his, to get in line, his line.

Unless women are lying and the guy in the video has the corner market on what's really going on, women are not covering up crimes against them at these tent sites. According to
 Brendan Burke, 41, who helps run the security team in Zuccotti Park, says, "We always encourage victims to go through the proper channels and contact police,"  But he admits,  "there have been times when members of the community have taken it upon themselves to chase off men who exposed themselves in the park." If there is a consensus that someone is bothering another person, the community will take care of it," he said. "Still, we always notify victims to contact police."
A few scary stories circulating are about the police encouraging homeless men to "take it" into the camps. Is this an indirect way of putting young women at jeopardy? It seems so to me. Is there a lawsuit against the police department here? I would bring it to light. Meanwhile, since the police seem reluctant to help out here, women are taking matters into their own hands.
On Friday, Occupy Wall Street created a 16-square-foot “safe house,” designed to shelter up to 30 women.  This is a start.  However, how about setting up “safe spaces” AND placing the onus on men to stop sexual violence?  According to feminist activist, Deanna Zandt, “getting the men not to rape [the women]” is a better starting point.  I concur. Columnist, Katha Pollitt, put all of this in perspective when she recently asked, “Can you imagine hetero MEN having to set up a safe space to protect them from women and LGBT?” No.  Most of us can’t.  Too many of us have been wired to see men as predators and women as princesses needing protection, the latter of which doesn’t always have a happy-ending.  Something’s got to give. Women need safe spaces because we live in a rape culture that makes sexual occupancy permissible anywhere. (from Occupy Rape Culture)
How often do rapes occur in the United States?
According to The National Women's Study, 683,000 forcible rapes occur every year; which equals 56,916 per month; 1,871 per day; 78 per hour; and 1.3 per minute {National Crime Victimization Survey. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, 2000.}
 We can thus conclude that rape is a problem of the broader culture that has infected OWS. And it's important to not lose sight of these incidents as carried into the tent arenas as infiltrators of unresolved social and psychological illnesses.

We all know the stories of women who get raped and, ashamed, believe it is their fault. We all know the unsavory stories of women who report rape and find themselves treated as criminals. We all know the stories of infiltrators who rape women in order to help dismantle a movement of dissent. We all know the stories of victims of gang rapes being further humiliated by law enforcement agencies and courts.

We all know the problems that erupt from welcoming everyone into a movement.  You get a small percentage of predators looking to satisfy their perversions or to  act out their neurosis or even psychosis. When you're living outside in tents, you also get homeless people, some who can help but others who can harm because they are mentally unstable. You get the dazed and  confused. You get people otherwise living of the streets.  Protesters have to educate themselves on these facts and develop tools to spot the predators or attackers among them. This appears to be happening.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Arrests

Democracy Now! continuously updates itself.

 UPDATE: NOV 20, Portland arrests and attacks

 UPDATE NOVEMBER 17--OWS 2-month anniversary--Day of Action

Overview on Day of Action in The Guardian includes video on New, York Los Angeles, Portland.  Day of Action Overview Common Dreams

Los Angeles arrests at least 73 arrested  

Portland, Oregon at least 20 arrested

New York: scores (at least 245) arrested  CNN ,   Brooklyn Bridge   Atlantic Wire,     Sit-in in lower Manhatten CNN,

Dangerous 84-year old woman pepper sprayed.

Occupy San Francisco/Berkeley good photos and video -- at least 100 arrested

ARREST OF JOURNALISTS: While a media blackout occurred during the raid at Zuccotti Park on Tuesday early morning, journalists are being arrested. I'm reminded of the Iraq war. Not that occupy is a war zone. But efforts as I have never seen were used to keep the press away.

Here's one person doing research on keeping the press at a distance by arresting its members.  Here's a another  site on journalists with broader information.  Here's a Tweets tracking journalists arrested at Occupy sites.  I  don't know it's reliability of this last site (based on its ad). Must do more research.

On November 14:  234 people At Occupy Wall Street (NY--Zuccotti Park)  arrested and go to court.

UPDATE: NOVEMBER 12: Occupy Portland gets confronted and attacked by police. I guess the word from the city is "okay you made your point and had your fun. Now go home and obey conditions on Main Street."
Around 4 a.m., dozens of police formed a line across from demonstrators who had poured into the street. Protesters facing them appeared to be in festive spirits with some banging on drums and plastic pails, another clanging a cowbell while others danced in the streets as a man juggled nearby.
On Sunday at an impromptu news conference, the mayor defended his order to clear the park, saying it is his job to enforce the law and keep the peace. "This is not a game," Adams said.
How many arrests have been made during Occupy protests? Should any arrests have been made? I'm conflicted. I think arrest, in general, is a knee-jerk reaction. It's an easy fix. A muscle response in problem solving.  Where is it written that a man can't wear two pair of pants, said my father-in-law during a seizure of alzheimers? And yet, there he was in two pair of pants. No one at the retirement home liked it or what it suggested about aging. The protester was hurried off to his room to get out of one of his pairs, so he could return presentable, get in line, follow the rules of pants wearing. In short, his removal constituted a kind of arrest.

Surely there are other ways to solve problems than arresting people or pepper spraying them. I mean, for us to live up to our humanity. How much do such arrests stem from internalized confusion and hard-to-kick barbarism? How much from a misconception of entitlement? These arrests are at the very least manifestations of our quick fix culture and our over-use of muscle. These kinds of arrests make manifest the theme, cruelty in the guise of tradition, a theme frequently explored in modern stories. To really advance, shouldn't we start by making modifications in the way we handle dissent?

On November 7, Chris Hedges writes in "Finding Freedom in Handcuffs,"
Faces appeared to me moments before the New York City police arrested us Thursday in front of Goldman Sachs. They were not the faces of the smug Goldman Sachs employees, who peered at us through the revolving glass doors and lobby windows, a pathetic collection of middle-aged fraternity and sorority members. They were not the faces of the blue-uniformed police with their dangling cords of white and black plastic handcuffs, or the thuggish Goldman Sachs security personnel, whose buzz cuts and dead eyes reminded me of the East German secret police, the Stasi.
According to Politicons, arrests topped 3,000 by November 2

Beginning Research on Arrests

New York:  Nov. 6 (20 arrested):  Nov. 5 (scores arrested);  Oct. 16 (74 arrested);

Oakland:    Nov. 3 (103 arrested);  Nov. 3 (30 arrested at port);  Oct. 26 (100 arrested);  Oct. 25 (75 arrested); 
Atlanta:   Nov. 7 (5 arrested);  Nov. 6: (20 arrested); Oct. 26 (53 arrested)

Denver: Oct. 30 (dozens of arrests)

Los Angeles: Oct 3 (100s arrested);

San Francisco:  Oct 11 (11 arrested); 

Oregon: Oct 30 (dozens arrested):

Texas: Oct 30 (dozens arrested);

Alaska: Nov. 6 (2 arrested);

Chicago: Oct. 23 (130 arrested);

Iowa: Oct. 10  (32 arrested);

San Jose: Oct. 23 (9 arrested);


March to Union Square one woman's arrest: Sept 24
One man's arrest: Sept. 24 
Oakland's Mayhem: Oct. 27
San Francisco's Sleepover, Sept. 30
Two protesters threatened with arrest for trying to close BofA accounts in Santa Cruz Oct. 15

Compiled Statistics, Overviews & Patterns

According to Weasel Zippers, 2,200 arrests have been made as of October 23, 2011.
According to Politicons, arrests top 3,000 by  November 2

Article on pattern of arrests as of October 14, Village Voice

Short Roundup on CNN: Atlanta, Honolulu, Oregon,  Riverside, CA as of November 7

Extensive Roundup by RSN, Atlanta, Honolulu, Oakland, New York, San Francisco, and more as of November 6

Move Your Money Roundup from across the country, November 6

Roundup on Bay Area protests, Nov. 3, San Francisco Bay Guardian

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Question of the Day--on Feminism in the Age of Austerity

 If one focuses on the issues of women within the borders of today's Age of Austerity in America, what are the specific issues and how does feminism itself fit into framing these issues?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Occupy Oakland Nov 2 2011

Well, Main Street has arrived at a general strike.  Peaceful demonstrators want change and they are willing to shut down the city of Oakland to prove just how serious this need for change is. 
I found this powerful poster on numerous sites, including this one called neontommy.

A little overview in which Main Street holds firm.

Who's participating in the strike? Thousands of workers, students and vets from Main Street. 5% of public employees did not show up for work.

While the focus is on a system turned viral against Main Street, a steady focus is on boycotting  banks as this site shows.

  As the numbers of protesters grow, the chances of co-optation or corporate derailment, demonizing or reshaping of this strike decreases. With police nearly absent or peripheral, at least nearly invisible,  no violence has erupted. Hopefully, individual officers will join in one day.

But where to next? Perhaps Occupy Everywhere can strengthen itself with a rotating system of general strikes daily, so that every day someplace in America Main Street closes down a city for the day--and continues this process of the rotating general strike until the necessary changes are  reached.

Some of the informative links I found worth viewing: 

Democracy Now! 

Guardian coverage

History in video and pictures of Occupy Oakland.

The Nation

USA even gets in the picture with video.  People of all ages participate. "The system just doesn't hurts our working families."

Noam Chomsky speaks on Movement in Nation of Change

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Clashes In and Out of Sanity--Greece October 2011

While I don't support violence, I can't find value in the Austerity Measures enforced on the people of Greece. And because the people don't have a voice, they want their streets protected to make their demands on how they wish to proceed in their own country. Why would it be other than what it is? Why shouldn't people head into their own streets. What other options do people have?

One thing seems to be clear, one trick pony solutions by the state often evoke one trick pony reactions in the people in an emotional battle over survival.What else does anyone expect? For people to follow one another off cliffs in a human chain to save the controversial debt suspended in mid-air?

Perhaps there's a lesson here. Perhaps this debt will prove the opportunity for us to to re-create something new that gives the 21st century its special place in history.

I present the challenge: Who will dare to try to re-create our humanity so that our current luxury is no longer a luxury for a few but for all? And in so doing, who will do so with the backing of the people?

Unfortunately, those in power seem to want to sweep humanity into a treadmill present, one that embraces the past except for the gadgetry. Compensation: a few sparks for excitement. I guess the gadgetry makes the sparks.

Afraid of its own shadows, Big Power wants to decide the changes; it wants its privileges and its addictions intact and sacred. Afraid of its own shadows, it clings to its fabricated hierarchies and wants Main Street to maintain them at whatever the cost. Afraid of its own shadows, it calls on the cops of Main Street to beat up their own family members if necessary. Afraid of its own shadows, it refuses to make the adjustments that could turn down the volume on the growing aggression. We're not in an utopia or bust condition. We are at cliff's edge. Many are already over it. The challenge: How do we fly our metaphoric planes as our next quantum leap over to the next cliff. (How do you use this plane metaphor without unwanted associations?) Once there we can turn from the edge of the cliff and walk back to our new towns where anything can happen. Rather than? Rather than get back into the same old line to join the human chain that is right now hanging off the cliff--again--to save the debt suspended in mid-air. Over and over, Main Street's Sisyphean task. What a waste of human potential.

 In the bigger picture of humanity's quest to share the planet, this debt is meaningless.  Let the banks and big powers pay the debt off. They have the money. If we don't insist they cover the debts, are we enabling or giving in to infantile and pathological intent among hoarding people? And if so, what have we all internalized that has gotten us here?

Keeping the debt Main Street's debt makes it our post-modern monster, or its manifestation. It becomes, if it isn't already, humanity's greatest and saddest distraction and threat, the big one of our era, the one to siphon off our time and our imagination. We are not around for long. Do we really want to spend most of our time prioritizing this debt issue?

Well, I plan to visit some Occupy Everywhere site next weekend. That's my next entry. It's hard to believe I still haven't paid a site a visit.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Naming Names: Who's At the Top 1%

I came across an interesting article in the New York Sunday Review. While the article asks the question, "who exactly are the people at the top?," it fails to do more than offer the statistics.  Even thought the statistics are important, I thought I'd post an excerpt from the article and then follow that excerpt with a list of names.  Here's the except of "Wall Street Protesters Hit the Bull's-Eye" by Eduardo Porter.
Occupiers of Zuccotti Park and other sites around the country have been criticized for the fuzziness of their goals. Their complaint that the privileged few in the top 1 percent are getting a disproportionate share of the nation’s prosperity, however, is spot on. And Wall Streeters are taking a bigger and bigger chunk of that income.
Who exactly are the people at the top? They are 1.4 million families that made on average $1 million in 2009, the latest data available. They took a hit from the 2008 financial crisis, but no doubt are regaining lost ground. The rich always do: a report published last week by the Congressional Budget Office shows that the share of national income going to the top percentage of households skyrocketed over the last three decades, even as it fell for the vast majority of American families.
The Report gives some statistics but the report at this site is much more extensive.  It includes so much you need to take a day with a cup of coffee or tea to sit down and look it over. I don't know how much time you need to digest it.

I found this percent breakdown easy to follow:
  • Top 34.73% of households: annual gross income of $65,000 +
  • Top 25.60% of households: annual gross income of $80,000 +
  • Top  20% of households: annual gross income of $91,202 +
  • Top 17.80% of households:  annual gross income of $100,000 +
  • Top 10% of households: annual gross income of $118,200 +
  • Top 5% of households: annual gross income of $166,200+
  • Top 2.67% of households:  annual gross income of $200,000 +
  • Top 1.5% of households: annual gross income of $250,000 +
  • Top 0.12% (or146,000 households): annual gross income of $1,600,000+  (adapted from a conservative site)
Naming Names: Of course the richest 400 people are openly published at Forbes 400,  and other places, but I wanted to publish the link here as well as list the top 20 slots for my own research purposes.  Who are in the bottom top twenty slot? I'd like to find that list and set the top twenty and bottom twenty side by side. My guess is that the all bottom twenty would include so many ties that the list would go on for miles.

The Walmarts have as much income as the lower 30% (income bracket) of Americas. (this statistic added on December 9)

# 1: Bill Gates; Age: 55;  Residence: Medina, Wash.
Net worth: $59 billion;  Source: Microsoft

#2: Warren Buffett; Age: 81; Residence: Omaha, Neb.
Net worth: $39 billion; Source: Berkshire Hathaway

 #3: Larry Ellison; Age: 67; Residence: Woodside, Calif.
Net worth: $33 billion; Source: Oracle

# 4 (tie): Charles Koch; Age: 75; Residence: Wichita, Kan.
Net worth: $25 billion; Source: Koch Ind. & diversified

# 4 (tie): David Koch; Age: 71; Residence: New York
Net worth: $25 billion; Source: Koch Ind. & diversified

#5 missing or error

# 6: Christy Walton; Age: 56; Residence: Jackson, Wy.
Net worth: $24.5 billion; Source: Wal-Mart

# 7: George Soros; Age: 81; Residence: Katonah, N.Y.
Net worth: $22 billion; Source: hedge funds

# 8: Sheldon Adelson; Age: 78; Residence: Las Vegas, Nev.
Net worth: $21.5 billion; Source: casinos

# 9: Jim Walton; Age: 63; Residence: Bentonville, Ark.
Net worth: $21.1 billion; Source: Wal-Mart

# 10: Alice Walton; Age: 61; Residence: Fort Worth, Texas
Net worth: $20.9 billion; Source: Wal-Mart

# 11: S. Robson Walton; Age: 67; Residence: Bentonville, Ark.
Net worth: $20.5 billion; Source: Wal-Mart;

# 12: Michael Bloomberg; Age: 69; Source: Bloomberg LP
Net worth: $19.5 billion; Residence: New York

# 13: Jeff Bezos; Age: 47; Residence: Seattle, Wash.
Net worth: $19.1 billion; Source:

# 14: Mark Zuckerberg; Age: 27; Residence: Palo Alto, Calif.
Net worth: $17.5 billion; Source: Facebook

# 15: Sergey Brin; Age: 38; Residence: Los Altos, Calif.
Net worth: $16.7 billion; Source: Google

# 16: Larry Page; Age: 38; Residence: Palo Alto, Calif.
Net worth: $16.7 billion; Source: Google

# 17: John Paulson; Age: 55; Residence: New York
Net worth: $15.5 billion; Source: hedge funds

# 18: Michael Dell; Age: 46; Residence: Austin, Texas
Net worth: $15 billion; Source: Dell

# 19: Steve Ballmer; Age: 55;  Residence: Hunts Point, Wash.
Net worth: $13.9 billion; Source: Microsoft

# 20 (tie): Forrest Mars; Age: 80; Residence: Big Horn, Wy.
Net worth: $13.8 billion; Source: candy

# 20 (tie): Jacqueline Mars; Age: 71; Residence: The Plains, Va.
Net worth: $13.8 billion; Source: candy

# 20 (tie): John Mars; Age: 75;  Residence: Jackson, Wy.
Net worth: $13.8 billion;  Source: candy and pet food

Now that was a waste of time in and for itself. Yet, I trust myself. I don't like waste much. Nor overdoses. I always try to turn even the dead leaves in rain gutters and the garbage from dinner in the sink into at least philosophical if not creative value. In this case, I'll return here from time to time, mostly in my mind, to study the connections within and to and from the data.  I trust meditating on such data will lead to something of value to think about if not write about. In and of itself, the data is of little interest to me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Occupy to Boycott

Since the police are tear gassing or arresting people, attempting to exercise their right of assembly, such as in Oakland, we may see even more people pour into the Occupy sites in order to defend the right of assembly. I have always believed you don't leave. But whenever one's safety is at stake, it becomes a personal and political decision.

Video streaming by Ustream
I wonder how police determine who gets arrested and who doesn't? To follow the rule of law, shouldn't everyone get arrested? If not, are the police discriminating against those arrested? Or are they discriminating against those not arrested? What if all the protesters demanded to get arrested? All or nothing. What would happen?  In any case, it does seems the arbitrary arrests fracture the right of assembly of some but not all protesters.   Interestingly, about half of those arrested in New York recently, were offered freedom with a catch. Why half? Which half is being discriminated against?  What kind of an arbitrary system of law is going on?  How does that arbitrary system fit in with our Constitution? What if one million protesters show up and all engage in acts of civil disobedience? Shouldn't all get arrested?  What about even 10,000? Shouldn't all ten thousand get arrested? If only enough get arrested to make an example of them or fit into a wagon, aren't the police going against their commitment to the law if not the law itself?  These are the kind of questions that I have about the arrests. I am not promoting the arrests. I am promoting an all or nothing arrest system.

How Will the Occupy Movement Keep Its Momentum?

  Practicing boycotts is not an original practice,  just as strikes are not original but  have often been effective .  It seems boycotting is the next step to maintain the momentum of Occupy Wall Street. Already in process, boycotting banks is already expanding toward challenging insurance companies.  But it's a big country. It's easy to get burned out and wander aimlessly in and out of boycotts. Perhaps to involve more people and turn up the volume on the voice of Occupy Everywhere, we might see a system in which protesters begin rotating boycotts. The boycotts might even be called Canceled Shopping Days or someone might create a logo for it, for example, a shopping cart filled with dollars signs with an X through it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Code Pink and Other Women Occupy Wall Street

Is Code Pink helping to fuel  the Occupy Wall Street momentum?  As a matter of fact, they are.

Follows is a little (maybe not so little) excerpt from Ms. Magazine with links to women who have occupied Wall Street.
It’s unfortunate that the mainstream media has paid so little attention to women’s voices at Occupy Wall Street and has consistently chosen white males to represent the movement. While I don’t begrudge these men for talking to major news outlets–it’s great that they’re willing articulate their concerns to a wide audience–I do fault the media for consistently choosing to interview and profile people from this same demographic. The camp is so diverse in gender, race, religion and ideological affiliation that failing to highlight this diversity is a failure to fully and accurately cover the movement.
Also, what about all the famous women leaders who have come to visit the camp and show their support? Men’s visits to the camp have been consistently reported–just perform a basic internet search for Michael Moore, Russell Simmons, Kanye West, Cornel West or Chris Hedges. But what about Naomi Klein, Barbara Ehrenreich, Eve Ensler and Susan Sarandon, to name a few? While it’s amazing that all of these people have gotten behind the movement, I do think it’s telling that, again, the mainstream media chooses to focus on men. (Women got the most attention only when they were penned up and maced early in the occupation.) The challenge is not so much to harness the power of women but to make sure their actions are given visibility.
Last Saturday in Times Square, when thousands gathered to protest the ongoing wars and the corporate interests embedded in them, I noticed women directing the march. As we all chanted together, I realized that Occupy Wall Street is galvanizing because the ire is feminist, anti-colonialist, anti-racist and anti-patriarchal. Although there have been (and will be) hiccups along the way, Occupy Wall Street will only grow in numbers and support if it continues to resist a top-down message and instead capitalizes on the urgent notion that the 99 percent is made of many diverse “percents.”

Interviews Cornell West & Michael Moore, Oct 24

Here's Democracy Now! today. Much of the show is on Occupy Wall Street.  Interviews with Cornell West and Michael Moore talk about the momentum of Occupy Wall Street. One thing perhaps is clear. People should not leave occupying until the end is reached. Every day those who can stay stay. How about rotating bodies. Mondays and Fridays this group of people. Tuesdays and Sunday this group of people. Etc.

It would strengthen the future of Occupy Wall Street if Occupy Wall Street had an umbrella called Main Street that organizes all the groups, provides sign up sheets, and offers shared resources and ideas. No group runs the show. But Umbrella Main Street, set up as vendors, could act as communication centers. What do people want? What do people want? Find it at your nearest Umbrella Main Street. All the demands in one place.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Elizabeth Warren Speaks On the Work Force, Families and Revolving Debt

What are the ethical issues challenging the American work environment that raises the volume on voices such as Elizabeth Warren? She speaks on what she sees as the single most important economic shift in the 2nd half of the 20th century that sprang from the entry of the working mother (middle class?) into the American work force. The parenthesis because the work environment was no stranger to working class women. However, the issue involves all working families today. This video is very much worth the hour.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Naomi Wolf, Writer Arrested

The latest author to put her hands behind her back at an Occupy Wall Street event, is feminist author Naomi Wolf.  Urged on by the tradition of Martin Luther King jr., on the importance to engage in civil disobedience against unjust laws, Wolf joins others in an act of civil disobedience.  Today, such civil disobedience rallies against the unethical practices of Wall Street and the government, economic and cultural officials who promote, participate or ignore the practices.

Links to Greece's Discontent with Austerity

Greece-Oct 19

The General Strike of Greece in Pictures, from The Guardian.   The Issue: Who will control the economics of Main Street in Greece? The Euro Wall Street or the Main Street of Greece?  According to one protester,  municipal employee Giorgos Kamkeris, "The men and women whom we elected to power were not given a mandate to reduce us to poverty."  He went on to say,  "this is about people power. It is about the masses persuading politicians to think again"  (qtd. in Helen Smith).

This BBC article with video shows the intensity of the clash between Main Street and Euro Wall Street during Greece's General Strike going on right now.  According to the article, at least 70,000 people gathered together at Syntagma Square in central Athens. But people all through Greece are part of the General Strike. According to the article, "one striker, university lecturer Yannis Zabetakis, told the BBC Greece was like 'a taxation Armageddon.'"

This blog article offers one or more videos of the crisis in Greece. The videos follow the article. Its headline reads, "Greece Braces for 'Mother Of All Strikes As Austerity Vote Nears." Further beneath the videos are "related articles" on the crisis in Greece.

After Greek Parliament votes yes, yes, make Main Street pay once more, people on Main Street say no, no, no. Yet, who's listening?  Who wrote the sacred list of "Not To Be Tampered With" and how is that working out for us? Should we re-evaluate our addiction to a particular kind of governing in which unavoidable suffering and imbalances occur with such rapidity both are hard to keep up with? Should we continue obeying  a small group of people who we essentially allow to write up death lists, poverty lists, and privilege lists? Main Street has to decide together. We have to examine where we've been and where we'd like to go. Whatever we do, we should really figure out a way to avoid setting up people on Main Street as tools for people on Wall Street to use for their benefit.

 But what do I know about the desires of others? Maybe people just want the crumbs that usually fall from the table for us.  Nothing says we should meet the demands of the 21st century for a more humane society. Nothing says we shouldn't obey people who have assumed rulership over others. We can cattle ourselves onto a very thin line, in which our  major goal remains policing our own and our family's state of being to stay on that line, the thin one from which we can be easily seen by those who have drawn it or continue to alter it according to their needs. We can count on some nice person in power to change things--eventually one day, later, in some future, after we're dead even, for our children or grandchildren. It's really our choice. It always was and always will be.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Initial Demands of the 99%

The following are the initial demands of one group, an unknown percentage, among the 99%:

An OWS Working Group Committed to Elect a Non-Partisan National General Assembly

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Hillary Speaks on Citizen Political Involvement in the 21st Century

Monday, October 17, 2011

Notes On Who is Capitalizing on Occupy Wall Street

Who is capitalizing on the Occupy Wall Street Movement?  What do news services, politicians and CEOs say in order to frame the movement to their advantage?

In doing research, I found some interesting facts. Somewhere near the end of my research, I came across Matt Taibbi, writing in Rolling Stone, who says:
beware of provocateurs on both sides of the aisle. This movement is going to attract many Breitbarts, of both the left and right variety. They're going to try to identify fake leaders, draw phony battle lines, and then herd everybody back into the same left-right cage matches of old. Whenever that happens, we just have to remember not to fall for the trap. When someone says this or that person speaks for OWS, don't believe it. This thing is bigger than one or two or a few people, and it isn't part of the same old story.  
He wrote this after Breitbart's Big Government site published a bunch of stolen emails that Breitbart thought implicated some democrat politicians and public figures for aligning themselves or even helping Occupy Wall Street movement, as if any association constitutes foul play.

The importance of Taibbi's story is not about the stolen emails, it is about who is capitalizing on Occupy Wall Street instead of assisting it or who is pretending to assist it. We already know critics of the OWS will capitalize on it to get their talking points out and trash their opponents. Such behavior has become part of the status quo of political posturing and pseudo debates.  But what about those allegedly favoring the movement in order to gain from it?  Two groups come to mind. First are the framers, those putting a frame around the movement by defining it in their own self-interest. This group leaves a lot out, actually, it leaves out anything that doesn't fit their perception of the movement. The second group uses the word "understand"a lot.  I understand or you don't understand.

I will be adding to this list over time.


1. Time magazine puts a frame around its list of the Top Ten American Protests Movements.  It decides not only which of America's Protest Movements should be in the Top Ten, but more important also what information about the protests should be included and what should be excluded. How would you write about these movements?

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council blog frames the Occupy Wall Street protests through its lens. It understands the frustrations of the people in the street. It blames the governments for all the frustration. It claims government calls the shots. Exonerating Wall Street players from responsibility in the current economic mess, this  Council claims the government  failed to understand what the Council understands about Occupy Wall Street, especially what the Council understands about how to frame the faltering economy that led  to Occupy Wall Street. Blame bailouts of  Fannie and Freddie, the Council cries out. The Council exonerates Wall Street by claiming its innocence and immunity from having to understand how to fix a country's economy since it is not elected into office to act from such understanding or decision making about the economy. The Council admits Wall Street played a part in the faltering economy but only because government dragged  Wall Street into the mess.  In the Never Enough Land of Wall Street,  the government lacked an understanding of how to bailout Wall Street with enough, I guess. Okay, maybe that part isn't in the article. The Council is not alone in this kind of thinking. Many headlines outside the Occupy Wall Street zone are pointing fingers at  political  deaf and dumbers with no understanding of  the real cause behind the meaning of what brought about Occupy Wall Street.

Here's one reporter from CNNiReport who says he's an insider and wants a leader and he knows who it is.


Who are the politicians who say they understand the movement but do little or nothing to directly support it? The list changes daily. All this understanding sounds like a political therapy group. It reminds me of Bill Clinton when he said, "I feel your pain." On the other hand, given the chance, how many politicians want to do the ethical thing?

The Democrats

Key figures among the democrats offer their understanding.

UPDATED: OCT 18. They understand so well, this group has decided to put together its own rally (on creating jobs) in an attempt to siphon off the firefighters, police and teachers from the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Okay, maybe  siphon is a harsh word. Maybe borrow or maybe just invite.  Maybe all along some of the top democrats have been waiting for the people to finally give them a reason to raise hell. It's hard to know. The danger? Fragmenting a movement already underway. The call:  Hey, everyone, over here!  Well maybe that's okay. It's just one day. An interesting paradox, however. Isn't a rally by any administration an oxymoron act?  I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong. Paranoid. Cynical. But to whom are the democrats protesting? Isn't the tradition of rallying of the people against those in power? We have to see where this goes? It could turn out really well.

Have the democrats consulted with the teachers, fire fighters and police--the ones they are calling to action--over what belongs in the jobs bill? Maybe the teachers, police and fire fighters should make sure their needs are being met exactly as they want them met before grabbing that rally sign. What does the jobs bill say about unions currently under Code Dismantle? Why does this administration insist on defining itself as the underdog and oppressed? Is this some kind of code in itself, asking anyone listening for help against some shadow administration that really makes the decisions in Washington? It seems unlikely, but you never know.

Politicians say they understand. But how much of this understanding is self-serving as the Taibbi  warns. He seems to share a common cynicism. We're seen the people's power co-opted so often it doesn't take much to turn someone or something into a suspect.

 But wait, what might transpire if  politicians who say they understand take the bold step and join  the Wall Street protests?

And what about all that money on Wall Street? If there's plenty of money to go around but is stuck to 1% of the nation's fingers, wouldn't it benefit the nation for everyone to grab whatever it takes to unstick it once and for all and now? And not just loosen the crumbs under a Trickle Down economic plan that has never worked.  How fastened to these few fingers can this wealth be? Certainly, if we can travel to the end of the galaxy, if we can make near fountain of youth discoveries with stems cells, if we can set off particles in accelerators, we can unstick money from a few crooked fingers, especially if it means better survival for humanity and the planet.

How can today's understanding politicians help? For starters, how about sending a lot of money to help Occupy Wall Street get elected people into office who are not dependent on Wall Street's cash? How about supporting the unions? How about refusing money from Wall Street.

The Republicans

The mantra is pervasive. It's like looking up the meaning of a word in a dictionary. They get to blame the democrats for the faltering economy. They get to blame the democrats for the frustration and anger partly fueling  the Occupy Wall Street dissent. They get to remind the folks in the streets it's their own fault. Here's a typical opportunistic Cain moment:  Herman Cain says if you're not rich, blame yourself. My brother has cerebral palsy and can neither walk nor talk or even use his hands effectively. He is definitely to blame for his medical condition that leads him, no matter how hard he tries to understand the stock market or find someone to hire him, to have to rely on social security to survive.  My neighbor lost her house because she lost her job. She should have long ago given up food and banked that money for her rainy day. Her fault.


1. Warren Buffet and his son Howard, who have not donated any money or supplies to Occupy Wall Street, prefer to donate understanding and benevolent best wishes instead, which not only helps them appear sympathetic but also neutralizes their massive wealth into a no touch safety zone. These well wishers promote themselves as the good hoarders of the cash siphoned off from the 99%.

Giving these good hoarders the benefit of the doubt, let's ask them to practice their angelic compassion. How about donating at least ten million dollars to the Occupy Wall Street Movement no strings attached. This money could be used to help feed people, pay their rent while protesting and replenish medical supplies. Or how about if the good hoarders give up up 10% of their wealth to pay off the students loans of all those workers who work for them. Money left over? Pay the tuition of workers in your vast companies. Shorten the work and raise the pay, both show an appreciation of those who fill the bank accounts of the owners.

2. We all heard Ben and Jerry ice cream wants to be in the Good-Hoarder Column. This company went a step further than the Buffets and actually passed out the sweets at Occupy Wall Street to sweeten up their own image along with the protesters. To really sweeten things up, this company could look at how it treats its employees. Do they have strong benefits and retirement? Are they all earning a living wage? Are any losing their homes? How about profit sharing? Why not lead the Good Company Column by making sure employees are really sharing in the wealth they make for Ben and Jerry's bank accounts. Or rather than pass ice-cream around--all that sugar!--help pay off student loans.

3.  Finally, some businesses will always find a innovative way to make money off any situation. These are most certainly the front runners in innovation. The best example so far  is the Android iphone, which is advertising its phone by suggesting protesters use it after an arrest.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Three Women Share Nobel Prize!

Three Women Share Nobel Prize!

Occupy Wall Street links, update Oct 17

update Oct 17

Democracy Now!

UPDATED, OCT 15, earlier

Today, people from all over the world will enter the visible world of the streets and make them politically friendly for  99% of the people. Today more people are waking up from the gutters of the rich and hobbling onto the sidewalks to begin a march toward regaining their dignity, or recognizing it for the first time. Today, globally people get a chance to start the process of  making their way toward health care, equity in gender and race, access to education, high paying jobs with a lower work week, the end of wars, and all of the other demands that suggest a more humane world in which everyone takes a greater part in the gains, a world in which the wealthy no longer maintain some kind of assumed divine right over the 99% who in essence keep the wealthy stable in their positions and power.

Occupy Wall Street, Oct 15

The Guardian on Global Action, Oct 15

Excellent photos from around the world, Occupy, occupy, occupy!, Oct 15

Photos from around the world: Get through the commercial ad that precedes the photos to view the 55 photos., Oct 15. Photos are worth it. Mute the sound on the ad.

Democracy Now, October 7 -- Click on main logo in left-hand corner to keep current

Occupy Wall Street, Oct 6--

Occupy San Fransisco, Oct 7-- updated daily at site itself

Occupy Santa Cruz, Oct 7, Photos from Santa Cruz, Oct 13

Occupy DC, Oct 7

Occupy Los Angeles, live streaming

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Taking the Path Less Traveled to Wall Street in October 2011


"Bring Down the Wall" reads a sign in New York on October 2, 2011. How prophetic is this sign? And what is the Wall of Wall Street that must be taken down in order to make an adjustment in the economic imbalance in America right now? How prophetic is this sign?

How prophetic is this video?

What do these arrests suggest?

The wave of the new Millennium may be doing nothing short than trying to catch up with itself, of taking the path less traveled into its own era, to make its historical mark, its advances in the history of humanity--to reach its shoreline with a more humane and wise approach to social and economic structures. 

People have waited a long time for the saturated greed of the few to transform into something non-toxic. People have waited a long time for those elected into office to act responsibly and protect Main Street from the toxic accumulations. People have waited a long time to neutralize or throw out the ideological leftovers of the 17th century social and economic divisions.  

It will not be easy. But if Main Street stays firm, whether on the margins of Wall Street or inside its center, and more people join in that determination, it is possible if not inevitable to bring down that Wall of Wall Street that has brought about so much unnecessary suffering, told and untold, on Main Street.  At least that's what Parenti seems to thinks. 

(UPDATE OCT 8: I'm not sure Main Street can break through the Wall without substantial and sustained demonstrations that are both tightly organized and well-funded along with the spontaneous gatherings. Main Street needs both. The new era calls for both, perhaps. Yet, redefining leadership makes sense. Direct democracy seems much healthier--politically, economically and socially--than representational democracy.   Check out, by clicking here, how direct democracy worked in 5th century BC ancient Greece. Direct democracy involves the participation of all citizens. Is direct democracy superior to the representational democracy that began blossoming with modernity in the 17th century?Are we seeing Occupy Everything an attempt to update the practices of our earliest direct democracy and experiment with our kind of direct democracy?

And what will we find after the Wall of Wall Street collapses out of historical necessity, if it does? What will we do with America's long and powerful momentum of "Accumulitis"? What will we have learned? Maybe answering these questions should be put on hold while the momentum helps shape and frame the necessity of the moment. )

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Voice of Hillary Clinton in San Francisco

Even though I now say I wish I had voted for Hillary instead of Obama, I have to say that I'd like to see her step  in as president over the next four years. As it was, A large part of why I voted for Obama revolved around my fear that Bill Clinton would have been the Dick Cheney of Hillary Clinton. As it turned out, Obama has adopted Bill Clinton's ghost as his Dick Cheney.

But in rethinking Hillary, I think I might have been unfair. We all know Obama has not fought for Main Street. The tiny things for Main Street he has done have been so overblown in significance it has convinced me all the more of the error I made.  You go down fighting if you have integrity. People should not be  asked to wait while a leader asks his opponents if they'd be willing to give a few crumbs to Main Street, and if they are willing which ones. And what is behind giving crumbs anyway? Is it to prevent mass revolt? In fact, even Hillary's speech is a kind of plea to women to not revolt. Nevertheless, Hillary might have accomplished more for Main Street and certainly more for women if elected. She had more to prove and accounts to settle, especially around health care. Women just might have had the platform to fight more visibly. I think the Democrats could really rupture the turmoil of the next election by running Hillary in 2012 and giving her administration a shot at it. What would Hillary do? But please, let Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan rest in their political graves. Be innovative.

Here's an excerpt from a recent speech Hillary gave in San Francisco that I find encouraging:

There will be a temptation on the part of those observing or covering this summit, perhaps on the part of those of us attending it as well, to say that our purpose is chiefly to advance the rights of women -- to achieve justice and equality on their behalf. That is a noble cause, to be sure, and one close to my heart.

But at the risk of being somewhat provocative at the outset, I believe our goal is even bolder -- one that extends beyond women to all humankind. The big challenge we face in these early years of the 21st century is how to ... ensure shared prosperity for all nations and all people. We want to give every one of our citizens, men and women, young and old, greater opportunity to find work, save and spend money, pursue happiness -- and ultimately live up to their... potential. (Hillary Clinton's full article).

Now, I've excised words I find blind echoes of the status quo, damaging words, the same old same old. I removed words that act as ropes of the patriarchy (and its byproduct the class system). Ropes that entangle us into blind confusion and thereby blind order. Ropes that tie up our unpredictable imaginations and toss them overboard. Ropes that we are born hanging onto in order to survive on a day to day basis. I excised words I think Hillary might have excised if spoken from her potential. By the way, I could keep going with this rope list.  These ropes get into everything.

I will say it's pretty amazing how excising just a few words can shift the conversation to a discussion on how to bring out the best in Hillary's speech, that of creating a global environment in which each individual has the opportunity to reach his or her potential. As it stands, Hillary is right. No such environment exists right now. But if language  controls our era, and if all it takes is a few words to shift the conversation, then excising the words that lead to same old path is a good first step. What do we have to lose?

 Not only do we need a new approach to the global economic paradigm but to the religious paradigm as well. Not the one being shaped by the Global Austerity Works Program. Let's run from that one, that same old same old.  We need one free from the damaging trickle down, voodoo or shared sacrifice economic gospels. Since the current system is too inflexible to fix in order for Hillary's goal to be realized, we have no choice but to change it. It's time to let go--for good and for real. Once we find that new approach, one that focuses on egalitarian structures set up to help each person and all communities to reach their potential with or without money, we can take our leap into our new era. Until then we will most likely spin and spin and spin until we burn ourselves out. Until then, Hillary can never reach her own potential. And neither will the rest of us.