Saturday, December 31, 2011


Livestream from Liberty Park where thousands of protesters have returned to retake the park on New Year's Eve.  People have taken down barricades, an earlier tweeted photograph showing the barricades in a big pile, the police literally forced out of the park.  At the time of this posting, demonstrators and police compete over other barricades, as protesters move other barricades out, then police move them in, then protesters take them down, then police put them back up again. Large numbers are heard in the background chanting, "Whose park? Our park! Whose park? Our park!" 


Sustainable John standing up for the sun at the Berkeley Poetry Slam:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

O Little Town

Christmas is over in Bellingham.  Today, residents reported the chilly sight of a typically community-oriented police department in full militaristic riot gear marching in full formation with "Left! Right!" boot shouts down a central town avenue - a display of power intended (a) to send shivers of fear down the spines of resident observers, and (b) to show the small band of campers with Occupy Bellingham that the 1% meant business and they were being das booted out of Maritime Heritage Park. (Adjacent photo courtesy of Occupy Bellingham: At Occupy Bellingham Encampment 12/23/2011.)

Mayor Dan Pike, recently defeated in his bid for reelection by Kelli Linville, a former state representative who marched with Occupy Bellingham,  "declared war" on Occupy Bellingham in yet  another mayoral about-face throwing them out following what he described as business and resident complaints, along with damage to the park itself. 

The inquiring mind of the press does not press what damage, if any, the group committed according to the mayor.  (Readers are expected to simply accept what the mayor asserts.)  Indeed, visiting activists complained on twitter that Occupy Bellingham ran its encampment "like a ship" - in a mild word play that inferred they were too strict with residents in their effort to show repressive city officials how committed they were to a peaceful and orderly presence in the park.  The group named its camp the SS Noisy Waters - after Whatcom (as in Whatcom County and the park's Whatcom Creek) - and from a Nooksack term meaning "noisy waters."

The city of Bellingham has numerous parks - with the park chosen by activists also used by homeless residents who sleep on the lawn without tents and head over to a nearby soup kitchen and shelter run by a religious charity organization, and near the train tracks that run through town.

Local demonstrations often wind up in that park since it is closest to City Hall and the old town center.  The park itself, however, is secluded from immediate relationship to many businesses seemingly blocks away.  Whatcom Creek runs through a portion of the property where residents enjoy fishing rights relative to an active salmon hatchery.  The old historic building above the park on a hill formerly housed public art exhibitions. (We know where this is heading.)

The park is otherwise not used much.  Indeed, some residents complained to one another that Occupy should have used a park more residents frequent;  i.e. the location was too remote to enjoy community attention to the movement.  On a busy weekend, Bellinghamsters are out and about at Zuanich Point, Boulevard Park, or Bloedel Donevan.  But Maritime Heritage seemingly belongs to the poor and disenfranchised of the City - its relatively isolated logistics also enabling the status quo to keep the city's poorer, more marginal population away from businesses and out of sight.  This seemed, to some, the same objective from the outset - and by the City - for Occupy.

So the Mayor's argument runs thin.

Pike was backed in his announcement by the new head of the Parks Department, James King, appointed after Pike reportedly forced the former Parks and Recreation Director Paul Leuthold to resign for his role in .. a questionable contracting incident.  I guess the City has a lot of these, and under Pike too.  For example, at today's eviction, activists on livestream discussed the city's use of "volunteers" in removing occupants' belongings.  Gee did they advertise this as an opportunity for community service? 

 Courtesy of KGMI
Occupy Bellingham at Eviction:  You Can't Evict An Idea

Kelli Linville's presence at an Occupy demonstration during her Mayoral campaign (see Occupy Bellingham livestream transcripts) was greeted by some activists with the usual scorn Occupy regards most attempts by political candidates to ingratiate themselves with voters or possibly "coopt" a popular movement with no identifiable leader.  Now it remains to be seen if Dan Pike is "cleaning up" for her too, or her administration will make an example of her opinions in more ways than a walk down the street viewable on Occupy Bellingham's livestream.  Let's predict she will live up to expectation - i.e. the central complaint of Occupy nationwide - as to who or what most American politicians really belong to.

Dan Pike initially asserted that the group could stay as long as they were peaceful and "didn't confront" -- an oxymoronic concept insofar as the Occupy Movement is concerned since the First Amendment is about peaceful expression, but nevertheless, "confrontation," by virtue of the fact that it is, indeed, free expression.

OCCUPY TRACKS        The Bellingham movement has remained, for the most part,  subdued compared to major Occupy encampments - seemingly to some, as a result of this agreement with Mr. Pike in order to remain in the park.  More recently, however, the group reported a date in the Puget Sound area with Occupy Seattle and Occupy Tacoma in order to protest at one of the Walmarts about 100 miles south on Black Friday.  In addition, a dozen Occupy Bellingham activists  were recently arrested acting locally "confrontational" when protesters chained themselves together with bicycle locks and peacefully lay down on the train track running through the city.  Protesters expressed solidarity with the Oakland port shut-down, opposition to corporate greed, opposition to coal running through the area, and something about the nearby Cherry Point Refinery.  Two BNSF coal trains were stopped by the protest for 3 hours.  (Adjacent photo courtesy of The Bellingham HeraldOccupy Bellingham Protesters Chain Themselves Together On Train Tracks.)

The Bellingham Herald reports 4 protesters arrested in today's eviction with Occupy Bellingham activists meeting with legal advisers:
Bellingham Occupy member Jim Robitaille described the day as sad, lonesome and depressing. But even if the encampment is removed, he said it won't put an end to the Occupy movement in the city.
"The problem we all camped here for is still a problem. The system is still broken," he said Wednesday morning. "We've only scratched the surface so far, but we're not giving up."
The movement's next step has yet to be determined, he said.
"This is forcing us to reorganize, rethink and plan for the next objective and the next direct action," he said. "The mayor, the city and the police department have not seen the last of us. We're here for the long run."
Occupy Bellingham's Livestream showed demonstrators marching to City Hall following the eviction and holding a General Assembly in the lobby about possible next steps.  The Occupy Bellingham website is reporting arraignment hearings tomorrow morning for Bellingham activists who were arrested.  Supporters are invited.  Go to the "public viewing room" via the main entrance to the Courthouse Rotunda on Grand Ave.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


How Do I Rig Thee

Great article by Victoria Collier on occupying rigged elections.  Counting the ways:

Corporate personhood and the legal determination that money equals speech.
Corporate campaign financing and lobbying; billions to buy our elected representatives.
Corporate restriction of candidate access to the media and to participation in vital debates.
Corporate media exit polling, which often alters results to manufacture a false "red shift" of rightward-moving electoral outcomes.
 Manipulation of electoral structures and mechanisms
Partisan redistricting, which re-draws electoral district maps that favor a particular party.
Voter ID laws that disenfranchise young, poor and minority voters.
Fraudulent purging of voter rolls, including "caging" - removing a voter from the rolls or discarding their vote based on the return of direct mail to their listed address, a practice found to be used fraudulently and with racial bias, making it illegal under the Voting Rights Act.
Disenfranchisement of felons, many poor, black or Hispanic, and convicted on drug offenses.
The centralized rigging of computerized voting machines.
Courtesy of Black Box Voting
Election workers hand-count paper ballots in Switzerland.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

Courtesy of AP
Photographer:  Josh Reynolds
A growing crowd of Occupy Boston protesters gather
at encampment near the Rose Kennedy Greenway

Ever think a mayor had very little to do with national issues?  Many have, but are rethinking the matter, as amongst these various occupation tales recounted, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino decides it is his time of glory yet again, with Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frances McIntyre lifting a court order previously protecting occupants from eviction, and Occupy Seattle given a deadline at its encampment with Seattle Community College. 

Occupy Seattle also taking over unoccupied buildings where 12 people were arrested and booked for "criminal trespass" this past weekend.  About 100 people camping on the college campus since early October.  (Note, when you camp at a community college, vs Berkeley or UC Davis, they accuse you of shooting heroin and breeding their rats - there for quite a while, I'd suppose.  If you're at Berkeley or UC Davis, they pepper spray or beat you with batons.)

Courtesy of Seattle PI
Photographer:  Joshua Trujillo
Occupy Seattle encampment at Seattle Community College

Meanwhile, a small group of occupants in northern Bellingham has been quietly but steadily multiplying near the salmon habitat behind a previously free art museum that moved (and now charges too much admission for most Bellingham students to visit - let alone many residents - ain't the Met anymore!).  Occupy Bellingham was recently visited by Cascadia Weekly reporter Alan Rhodes after residents joined Seattle and Tacoma further south at a Walmart Black Friday protest.  He said the group was composed of a number of employed and otherwise housed responsible individuals from the county.

Is the quiet town of subdued excitement up to something else?

One twitterer reports that Occupy Bellingham runs its encampment like a ship.  (Are there enlistment requirements?) Will they, too, like Occupy Irvine to Occupy L.A., openly invite any Seattle outcasts over for dinner?

Occupy Bellingham's outgoing Mayor Dan Pike indicated that occupants are welcome to stay as long as they don't "confront."  (But is that the First Amendment speaking?  Does that sound anything like the point of Occupy to begin with?)  At the same time Dan Pike said that, challenger Kelli Linville actually marched with Occupy Bellingham (though this was poo-pooed by internet posters as during yet another election campaign for the Democrats - you can see the new mayor for yourself in one of the Occupy Bellingham live feed recordings of a local demonstration).

Now that Mayor Linville is elected, is she going to really support their continued and growing presence in the Pacific Northwest?

Is the quiet town of subdued excitement about to get nosier, more confrontational, and more outrageously excited?

From Underdog, guess who's coming to dinner --

Occupy Bellingham Pops Up
In Tne Oddest Places
Photographer:  Underdog
Subversive dogs encountered by a pedestrian in the middle of the night,
in the middle of a deserted street in Bellingham, Washington.

12.12.2011 Advertisement

Cover that waterfront, folks:

I Cover The Waterfront

Louis Armstrong Live in Copenhagen, 1933:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Are all children equally worthy of medical care in the United States?  Apparently not, according to yet another study examining discrimination against children - published 12/5/2011 in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine - in this case, children on public health programs vs. children on private insurance - at specialty clinics affiliated with academic medical centers (AMCs).

(You see, speciality clinics affiliated with AMCs are supposed to be the unbiased providers of pediatric and adolescent care vs specialty clinics that are not.  They're supposed to be "the safety net" - and the safety net that makes our present system defensible.)

But now that idea, too, is unraveling.

Science news reports here as to how researchers posing as moms telephoned for specialty medical appointments for their children at these two types of clinics in Cook County, Illinois.  Researchers found:

1.  While non-academically affiliated clinics do discriminate more (your chances of getting your Medicaid CHIP child an appointment, 45% lower if you call a non-academically affiliated clinic),

2.  Academically affiliated clinics still discriminate, also favoring children with private insurance.  For although you have a greater likelihood of getting an appointment for your child on a public insurance program at an AMC, your child's wait time will still be 40 days longer, on average, than a child with private insurance.


Researchers think targeted resource allocations for AMCs should be dependent on equitable appointment and wait times.  Science News also suggests they up payments to Medicaid providers for children.

Both sounding like reasonable conclusions to this blogger.  However, if they passed an equitable bill like H.R. 676 (and that's a bill you can really read and understand), well, we wouldn't need to horse around with any of this nonsense, would we!  That is, the entire sorry, pathetic, disgraceful subject, in the United States of America, as to whether some humans, let alone children, deserve better medical care than other children or humans, would be finished, once and for all!  Including speciality clinics that are not AMC affiliated.

Nail the coffins for that baby instead (of a human baby).  Give everyone the same medical treatment:  the medical treatment doctors are trained to provide to any human being in medical school.  Open an improved Medicare to the entire country and, throw these Pirates of the Health Care-ibbean overboard for good!

From the Austin Lounge Lizards:

By the way, out of the estimated 45,000 Americans who die every year because they lack adequate access to health care, how many are minors?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Always Oatmeal

courtesy of purple sage
oats growing

always oatmeal - a fast food recipe


medium pyrex bowl
tray or heat-safe plate


1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup water

1 heaping tablespoon non-fat plain yogurt

1 pinch of cinnamon

1 handful nuts (e.g. walnut pieces, almonds, pecans)

any choice of fresh or dried fruit (e.g. chopped apple, sliced banana, frozen berries, chopped dry apricot, fig, cranberry - or leftover cranberry sauce from thanksgiving)

courtesy of the honest kitchen
oats and oatmeal


1.  put your oatmeal, water, and cinamon in the pyrex bowl.  stir with spoon.  blast in microwave for about 4 minutes or a minute longer for the right consistency.

2.  remove carefully with towel or potholder, placing on a plate or tray for heat safety.

3.  add yogurt and additional nut and fruit choices.  Stir and serve.

enjoy !  nice on a decorative and pleasant table setting befitting the elegance and high nutritional value of this food.

courtesy of divine table designs

additional thoughts

oatmeal is great for your cholesterol, with a myriad of other health factors, to boot.  eating oatmeal regularly can help you live a longer and healthier life. 

embellish your oatmeal and serve it to yourself in an elegant manner.  you may not be feasting on steak and eggs in the morning, but you may be much luckier than you think, if this is the case.

budget-wise, don't bother with these "instant oatmeal" packages.  don't even bother with quick oats.  it is SO easy (AND more nutricious AND less expensive AND more filling) to make oatmeal yourself from the bulk product, and all you need is a little bit of imaginative this or that stirred in, and you will never go back to instant or quickie packets.

experiment with your meal design, as well as table design.  consider having breakfast for lunch or dinner, and dinner for breakfast or lunch.

let's think outside the box when it comes to food.  (after all, we may have no choice.)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mic Check

Mic Check

First they came for Troy Davis

and I didn't speak up because 

I wasn't Troy Davis,

then they came

for the homeless

I didn't speak up

I wasn't homeless

came for the unemployed

I wasn't unemployed

I kept my mouth shut

came for students 

besieged with debt

no job prospects

I was too smart

too hard-working

to be

one of them




to hospitals

I had another

close by

a lovely

insurance policy

threw children

off food programs

jailed mothers

too bad

I watched quietly

as sheriffs




dragged off 


trashing their tents

I never

liked camping

no one was doing 


to my belongings

took people

out of trees

(and cut the trees down) --

but I never 

hung out in trees

never climbed one 

as a kid

and I like


views of landscape

to begin with,

took away

union activists

I didn't speak

I didn't belong 

to a union,

then they came 

for the veterans
and I didn't speak up 

because I had never 

fought in a war .. 
they came for me


eventually ..

I was all 

by myself 

by then

so there was 

no one left

to speak out

for me -

not even a tree

to grace


- o.s.r.


Martin Niemöller 



Martina Davis-Correia


Reclaiming Space

Iraq veteran Scott Olsen interviewed by Indie Media at Oscar Grant Plaza on November 27th, and during a teach-in on Reclaiming Space

Your browser is not able to display this multimedia content.

As blogged earlier here and here, Mr. Olsen was shot in the head with a police projectile during the widely decried crackdown on Occupy Oakland.  Mr. Olsen's assault and horrific injury, and while he was peacefully demonstrating, was captured on video that went viral.  Although the police officer is graphically circled on that video, his identity remains undisclosed, with 500 officers and 18 police agencies said to be involved in an operation many view more like a virtual battlefield assault on citizens exercising their Constitutional rights.  And all while the mayor, Jean Quan, flew out of town for the show, and later refused to assume responsibility.  An investigation is supposedly still underway.

Mr. Olsen is also interviewed here by Rachel Maddow, here by Ed Schultz, and here by Keith OlbermannKeith Olbermann asks if Mr. Olsen is shocked by the police violence.  He responds, “On one hand, it shocks me a lot, and the other hand, it doesn’t.  Because our nation’s peace officers have been militarized to combat terrorism, but they’re combating anyone with an opinion.”  Mr. Olsen expresses opposition to current U.S. military engagements, and in all 4 interviews, the importance of more people getting involved and speaking out about the rights they are losing as Americans.  Scott Olsen is active with both Veterans For Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War as well as Occupy Oakland.  Throughout all 4 interviews, he struggles notably with speech impediments due to the brain injury he now suffers, but optimistically and bravely maintains his daily improvement in the face of continuous physical frustration - and what could be characterized as a whole other level of reclaiming space. 

Rachel Maddow also sums the current status for a number of major occupy sites, including Boston, where a court ordered the city not to interfere  - D.C., where they are welcome as long as they keep the site safe and clean - San Francisco, where they have been ordered to leave without being dispersed - and more news on what happened in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, where L.A. arrests are now tallied at two hundred.
Information concerning another veteran, Kayvan Sabehgi, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, blogged here and here, not spotted at the time of this posting.  Mr. Sabehgi was walking home alone from the Occupy Oakland demonstrations, and at a rather remote location, when he was virtually mugged and beaten up by a group of police officers who confronted him.  He was then thrown in jail, where he lay in critically injured condition on the floor of a filthy cell, overflowing toilet, without access to medical attention for 24 hours - unable to even leave, when summoned, to post bail.  (Hello?  Amnesty International?  United Nations?)  Mr. Sabehgi was eventually taken to the same hospital Scott Olsen was initially taken to - Highland - where Mr. Sabehgi underwent surgery to repair his spleen.  A couple of weeks later, another video surfaced of that assault.
Mr. Sabehgi was not even demonstrating at the time of this assault, with some activists expressing concern that veterans were targeted by police, and especially since they were highly visible leading the front lines of the Oakland marches.

In the video that more recently surfaced, police appear to be engaged in a highly militarized, planned operation, advancing in full line-up, down an empty street, and in completely robot-like fashion.  Except for the few officers directly facing Mr. Sabehgi (and who become violent rather than engaging in sensible dialogue - and as one advances menacingly and Mr. Sabehgi backs away - before he beats him up on the sidewalk with others), the police appear oblivious to the presence of any object, let alone human beings, in front of them.  They appear to have hung up their individual abilities to employ critical thinking and make independent judgment calls.

Capturing aptly what Mr. Olsen criticizes about the direction of the police department, and the kind of behavior this mindless mentality engenders in law enforcement.  Soldiers rather than peace officers.  Whether or not Mr. Sabehgi was identified and singled out in this specific incident beforehand.

For what was this "full regiment" in Oakland at this location - engaged in this exercise - away from the demonstration - doing out there in the middle of the night? When Mr. Sabehgi happened to be strolling home?

What were they dress rehearsing for? Was this to be some weird remake of Glory? Return of Borg? Where was the director? 

And will the alleged investigation let the public know?

Courtesy of Star Trek
Borg mindlessly advance to reclaim what
*The Mind* knows is really *Its* Space.

Because - flashback - to Mr. Olsen's statement to Keith Olbermann - it not only looks like they're combating anyone with an opinion - it looks like they're combating anyone walking down the street.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Occupy Student Debt

Remember H.R. 365 and how weepable the possibility considering what happened to H.R. 676 and why?

Well now there is a campaign called Occupy Student Debt.  Organizers are looking for 1 million debtor pledges to refuse to pay off loans after a million signatures have been collected.  They are also collecting the signatures of any other supporters, including teachers.  At the time of this posting, there are 2,026 debtor pledges, 343 supportive faculty pledges, and another 489 non-debtor supportive signatories.

More here in a Nation article at truthout. Rachel Signer writes:
In seeking to gain one million signatures, the campaign is looking for strength in collective action, which will be important if it is to succeed. One thousand people refusing to pay their loans—and potentially suffering the consequences of default—will not make much of an impact. But the organizers hope that one million could make an effective statement while also launching a political movement.
Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! speaks with the campaign in the video below:

The Art of War

L.A.P.D. and the Philadephia police department both evict occupation camps one night after they both didn't.  Are these guys up late together having drinks or what?  The Los Angeles Times shows how they entered the Los Angeles camp, sectioning people from one another, breaking the camp up:

"I couldn't be prouder of what I believe is maybe the finest moment in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department," Villaraigosa said, according to The Chicago Tribune.  "The activists' fundamental rights were respected, and the result was a peaceful and orderly end to the encampment at City Hall."

Say wha -?  (When it ended?  And with 300 people arrested?) 

Still, Mayor Villaraigosa considers this a feather in his hat, rather than the deep smear on his administration it really is, along with his other mayoral cohorts.  For plain and simple, you can't evict an idea whose time has come, as further north up the west coast, masses of activists occupied the Washington State capitol building decrying billions in further cuts to public education, and the total destruction of a state health care plan that already had over 100,000 on a waiting list. 3 people were tasered.  (Well why not?)

Courtesy of Truthout
Photographer:  Trevor Griffey
O Christmas Tree!  Occupy Olympia Takes the State Capitol Building

"We are not demonstrating, we are occupying!" shouted the crowd part of Occupy the Capitol in a state that has 68,000 millionaires in the greater Seattle area, but no corporate or personal income tax. 

So, these mayors are not the only ones with maps.  Plus, we have masses of people with not only debt and unemployment, but college educations.  And that alone says a lot about the enormous capacity of this movement.

Courtesy of Wikipedia
A portion of the Art of War in Tangut script,
a logographic writing system for the extinct Tangut language
of the Western Xia Dynasty.

"So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.  If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.  If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself."
One small clip from inside the occupied Olympia capitol building, as occupiers People Mic a key part of Jefferson's masterpiece: