Nice edit and video coverage from Wall Street occupation

There are reports of police assault on the occupation of Wall Street.   The first amendment grants us the right to assemble and speak out.  It’s a shame that this country has so little tolerance for first amendment rights.

I am reminded of the video I have seen from China when the military was streaming toward Tiananmen Square and the Chinese people flooded into the streets to slow the military, they pleaded with the soldiers to join the protest, to side with the people. The pleas were not heard.

It’s going to be hard for the protestors who occupy Wall Street to reach the police who are ordered to come in and disperse the crowds, but things change when the shock troops of the empire hear the message that peace, freedom, equality, justice are not always compatible with order.   We have to reach across the lines and ask the police to choose constitutional freedoms over order.

Live Feed from Wall Street Occupation

It’s a live feed, for as long as it lasts or as long as they loop the footage, so the activity and engagement level varies depending on what is going on at any given moment, but thought I would embed the video in case you want to plug in for a minute or two and “be present at this moment” in the Wall Street occupation.

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

I think it’s fair to say that the corporate media coverage of this real occupation is very slight, but they will jump and run to cover a tea party event funded by right wing plutocrats. Connect the dots, Kemosabe. Catapult the propaganda.

Olympia Public Bathroom Request – 24/7 to Beautify the Downtown!

Dear Sirs and Madams:

Could the City make arrangements to have the public bathrooms at City Hall open on a 24 hour basis?  We have already paid the construction cost, there is pretty good security in that building and there is daily maintenance of the bathrooms.  We really need to increase access to public bathrooms in downtown Olympia.  This is a win-slanger@ci.olympia.wa.uswin situation.  We could “clean up” downtown Olympia in a meaningful way by making sure that visitors and residents of downtown Olympia can find a bathroom when they need one.

Thank you for considering this request.

Wiki Commons, courtesy Joe Mabel - there are bathrooms in this building!Sincerely,

Mike Coday


On 09/19/2011 08:27 AM, Danelle MacEwen wrote:

 

Mr. Coday:

 

Thank you for your suggestion and comments.  Unfortunately this is not something that can be done as part of the immediate improvements to the artesian well area due to budget constraints.  Please let me know if you have any other questions regarding the improvements at the well scheduled for this fall.

 

Thanks,
Danelle

Danelle MacEwen

City of Olympia Public Works

601 Fourth Avenue E.

P.O. Box 1967

Olympia, WA 98507-1967

Office: (360) 753-8211

E-Mail: dmacewen@ci.olympia.wa.us

 

From: Mike Coday [mailto:mike@smallblueplanet.org]
Sent: Sunday, September 18, 2011 1:13 PM
To: Danelle MacEwen; publicworks; Karen Rogers
Subject: Improvements to the Artesian Well – public bathrooms!

 

I suggest that the City consider addition of public bathroom to be open 7 days per week, 24 hours per day in the vicinity of the Artesian Well to improve the beauty and convenience of the downtown area.  This would be a great location for public bathroom.  It is in close proximity to City Hall and the Police Station, so maintenance and security of the bathroom would be easier in that location than it might be in several other locations in the downtown area.

The increase in numbers of people living on the streets and woods in Olympia have created increased demand for public bathrooms.  I believe the City should address this problem with a compassionate solution and expand public bathroom access in the downtown area.

Thank you,

Mike Coday

Washington Government is Coming Up Short

in so many ways…  but let’s start with revenue. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons, svilen.milen

The Olympian reported (so it might be true) that the Gov is calling the legislature back in special session to deal with a revenue shortfall of at least 1.3 billion dollars.   It’s probably a 2 billion dollar deficit, but the accountants are still penciling that out.

So the legislators are coming back sometime in November to address the shortfall.   The tea party tax initiative that passed last general election cycle requires a super majority for the State to raise taxes, and the repub side has not yet warmed to the necessity of taxes for essential services, so this is likely to be another session devoted to finding things to cut.  The activists who like education and essential services like medical care, disability services and more will be doing all they can to oppose another all-cut budget, but it’s going to be a struggle.  There are arguments over whether the super-majority initiative is constitutional, whether closing tax loopholes (that could produce the 2 billion) are subject to the super-majority rule, but it’s an uphill battle.  You have to give the Norquist puppiteers credit for creating a wildly successful and destructive political agenda, but what is the end game?  When the success of trickle down, unregulated, free market economics is the meltdown of 2008, it does raise the question of “where do we go from here?”  Further down the right wing rathole?  I would rather not.

Activists, including Washington Can, have been organizing and gearing up for the next legislative session, but will now need to hustle to put an agenda together for the special session.  I think we need to focus not just on posing loopholes that can be closed, let’s look at budget cuts that will truly share the sacrifice.  How about:

  • Immediate cuts in pay to State Legislators of 25%
  • Immediate 100% cut of travel budget for legislators
  • Let’s sell the Governor’s mansion and cut the expense of maintaining that big house
  • Let’s set the thermostats at 55 degrees in cold weather and 85 degrees in hot weather for the office and meeting space that the legislators use. (apologies to the staffers)
  • Let’s convert the Capitol campus to public garden space and save the cost of mowing that big lawn

Just some ideas off the top of my head. What are your ideas?  What services should the legislature cut in this special session? Shared sacrifice anyone?  Can we make the legislators uncomfortable enough to challenge the super-majority rule?  Or to vote as a super majority to do the right thing and raise revenue?

Or if you insist, what loopholes need to be closed to fix this mess?

Come To Olympia If The Economy Has Put You On The Street

What better place than Olympia to gather if the Washington State economy hDo you know where your children are?as put you on the street?  Come to Olympia to assemble and petition for redress of grievance.   Come and sit on the streets of Olympia as a demonstration and act of free speech.  Come to Olympia and greet the legislators and the policy makers who will have to step over you, or walk around you, as they move around in their daily lives.  The City of Olympia is criminalizing poverty in the downtown area, but the First Amendment comes in…    uh…  First!  We have the right to sit, recline, sing, grieve, and beg for good public policy in Washington State.  Come to Olympia.

Camera and I not getting along yesterdayIf you get hassled by the Olympia Police Department for exercising your free speech rights, email the particulars:  Where, when, police officer name to olympiacopwatch@gmail.com and we will challenge the City and the Police Department to justify the violation of your first amendment rights.

I know that some folks get scared when they have to be close to houseless people.  I encourage those folks to come down to the Artesian Well during daylight and introduce themselves to the people who move through that setting.  There are lots of tattoos, piercings, and a fair amount of cursing, but there is also a lot of openness, music, support, and community. There are scary, dangerous folks everywhere, on the street, in the burbs, in the police force, but most of the folks everywhere are just human being like you and me.  Make the effort to connect and see what happens.  Stop thinking, “there but for the grace of God, go I” and start thinking “there by the grace of God, go I.” Really attempt to connect with the folks and see what happens.  If they ask you or tell you to leave them alone, leave them alone.  It ain’t rocket science.

I have no problem Empty Houses, have you seen any? with an ordinance against aggressive panhandling.  I am politely asked to share what I have in my pocket on regularly and I share what I can.  When I say, hey, wish I could, but I am short, I almost always get an “ok, thanks” type of response.  I don’t want to be harassed when I say no, and it doesn’t happen to me. I suspect it doesn’t happen because I really engage with the people asking, I look them in the eye when I tell them I am short.  I don’t avoid the folks.  I treat them with respect and they respond in kind.

Although I am not keen on the whole idea of prohibition (I have some libertarian impulses) I think I am supportive of a ban on fortified wines in downtown.  I hope for a day when there alcohol, drug consumption and possession are not a crime and when the money saved from the “war on drugs” is redirected to substance abuse treatment on request, fully funded. I guarantee you that this approach to dealing with drugs will be more cost-effective and humane.

Come to Olympia.  I will see you in the streets.

Talking ’bout a Revolution

if you’re talking about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out…

I share John Lennon’s ambivalence about the revolution, but I think there are revolutions coming.  Maybe a revolution doesn’t have to include the choreography and armament to take the Bastille?

How about a revolution in agriculture?  We watched a video about colony collapse disorder last night: Vanishing of the Bees.   Well done, sobering, broad review of the situation for our pollination partners.  I used to keep bees.  Most beekeepers develop a pretty strong connection to their hives, to the collective being that is a beehive.  The beekeepers in this movie certainly showed that connection.  I don’t want to give the story away, so I will just say that I think the filmmakers are correct to identify bees as “canaries in the coal mine.”  I think we need a revolution in the way we approach agriculture and food.   Global food.  What should it look like?

Also thinking about our global economic system.  Tikkun has a piece by Leonardo Boff on the Crisis of Capitalism.  This is an interesting read.  I do have a sense that the current global economic crisis is qualitatively different from previous downturns.  We face some pretty staggering demands from the natural world.  We now live in a world of more extreme weather and the likelihood is that the trend to more extreme weather is just getting started, so the solution is a really major retooling of the world economy where sustainability rather than profit is the goal. Stabilizing the environment is going to require more than a game of three card monte based on cap and trade.  The shell game has always been entertaining, but the game is fixed and the outcome is about fleecing the mark.   (if you look around and you can’t spot the mark, you are the mark).  Here’s a little taste of that Boff piece:

I believe the present crisis of capitalism is more than cyclical and structural. It is terminal. Are we seeing the end of the genius of capitalism, of always being able to adapt to any circumstance? I am aware that only few other people maintain this thesis. Two things, however, bring me to this conclusion.

The first is the following: the crisis is terminal because we all, but in particular capitalism, have exceeded the limits of the Earth. We have occupied and depredated the whole planet, destroying her subtle equilibrium and exhausting her goods and services, to the point that she alone can no longer replenish all that has been removed…

The second reason is linked to the humanitarian crisis that capitalism is creating.

Before, it was limited to the peripheral countries. Now it is global, and it has reached the central countries. The economic question cannot be resolved by dismantling society. The victims, connected by new venues of communication, resist, revolt and threaten the present order. Ever more people, especially the young, reject the perverse capitalist political economic logic: the dictatorship of finance that, through the market, subjugates the States to its interests, and the profitability of speculative capital, that circulates from one stock market to another, reaping profits without producing anything at all, except more money for the stockholders.

So our gaze in the US of A is currently fixed on the three card monte game that is the national election cycle.  Here we go, keep the cards rotating, let the media cover the “debates” and comment on who won and who lost, like a winner could be found in this crowd (Huntsman?  What is he doing in the GOP?) The media talking heads perform like they have one lonely brain cell in their pretty little heads, they stay away from any significant, in-depth questions, or if they ask a good question, they watch as somebody pulls the string so the candidate can recite a talking  point that may or may not have anything to do with the question or the underlying and significant issue.

Just think about how bad it is when the country is having trouble deciding whether Obama is a better choice than a candidate like Perry or Bachman.  Yikes!  Obama has made some disastrous choices, starting with his choice of Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner and he’s turned out to be sort of an Eisenhower Republican, though maybe some of us were hoping to get a democrat in the WH or even a Rockefeller Republican.  Can’t get there from here.

Imagine this country electing an FDR type democrat?  That would be a revolution (and would probably spark one as well).

Now he wants to fight?

Wiki CommonsSo little, so late.  So many squandered opportunities, and now Obama wants to take a stand.  Is this because the poll numbers show his job is now on the line?

I am eager to see the guy use the bully pulpit to push good public policy, but I have very little confidence in this guy.  I hope I am wrong about him.  Maybe he has hit an “aha” moment where he understands what he needs to do, but he does have a significant history of talking the good talk, then caving in to right-wing demands.  And the pattern has strengthened the right-wing, so progressives/liberals/scientists (however we might identify ourselves) now face a Republican party that would repeal the law of gravity on behalf of corporate interests if they could.

We are moving in an election cycle where the Dems have a very large number of Senate seats in play and where the mood of the country provides fertile ground for demagoguery.

It may have finally dawned on President Obama that despite serving corporate interests pretty loyally during his term in office so far, that the “deciders” don’t really need him, the deciders can do quite nicely with Romney or Perry.  Which one of these guys is a fictional character?   Wiki Commons public domain

So I have two questions about President Obama’s sudden commitment to taxing the rich:

1.  Are you going to cave in like you did on the public option?

2.  If you are serious about a different economic model, when are you going to dump Geithner and Summers, the architects of the Wall Street globalization model?

Make me a believer.  Bring it on, as your predecessor famously said.  Only a real political brawl is going to rescue the country from a right-wing corporate political party that does not believe in evolution, global warming and the necessity of taxes.