Occupy Chicago – Oct 27th 2011

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Cuomo Urges States to Allow Gay Marriage

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/28/nyregion/gov-andrew-m-cuomo-calls-for-same-sex-marriage-in-all-states.html?_r=1&src=tp&smid=fb-share

By THOMAS KAPLAN
Published: October 27, 2011

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, hailed as a hero at a gala dinner for the state’s largest gay rights group, issued a passionate plea on Thursday for other states to follow New York’s lead and allow gay couples to wed.

Mr. Cuomo, who choreographed the successful push this year to win legalization of same-sex marriage, received a standing ovation that lasted for more than a minute from supporters of the group, the Empire State Pride Agenda.

Shifting his sights beyond New York in a way he has not done before, Mr. Cuomo demanded that the federal Defense of Marriage Act be repealed. His voice rising in intensity as he spoke, he also called for federal legislation that would bar discrimination against gay men and lesbians in housing and employment.

And in his most forceful terms to date, Mr. Cuomo called for his counterparts across the country to embrace what he framed as an issue of equal rights and to push for the legalization of same-sex marriage in their own statehouses.

“We need marriage equality in every state in this nation,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Otherwise, no state really has marriage equality, and we will not rest until it is a reality.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/28/nyregion/gov-andrew-m-cuomo-calls-for-same-sex-marriage-in-all-states.html?_r=1&src=tp&smid=fb-share

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Friday Night Fun and Culture Happy Samhain

While I wasn’t all that big on the gods and goddesses part of the Wicca I did appreciate how the festivals fell within Nature’s yearly cycle.

If there are any gods/goddesses that I believe in they are the ones of nature.  The Sun, Moon, Stars, Ocean, Woods and all the creatures of the oceans and woodlands.  I am more in awe of a stand of old redwood trees than any cathedral.

Occupy Wall Street Showers Banks WIth Letters From 99 Percent

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Violence Against Women: Not Going Away Until You Do Something About It

One of the biggest problems I’ve always had with the Transgender Day of Remembrance has been of i specialized out the violence and murder of transgender and transsexual women from the context of women in general and from assigned female at birth sex workers who were killed doing the same work as many of the TS/TG women who are remembered on TGDOR .

I get angry with the residual male privilege that causes people in TG Inc and the TG Borg to see only the violence committed to TS/TG women while failing to see it within the context of the violence all women are forced to fear.

I have seen this pattern in the past when I was raped and came very close to being murdered.  My TG friends couldn’t grasp what I had been put through.

From RH Reality Check: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2011/10/28/violence-against-women-not-going-away-until-you-do-something-about-it

by Marianne Mollmann, Amnesty International
October 28, 2011

This article contains absolutely nothing new about violence against women. That’s because we already know everything we need to know about it. Everyone knows it exists. Most people would say it’s a pretty bad idea. And yet it doesn’t go away. To say it’s annoying would be a serious understatement.

In the many years I have worked on women’s rights, violence against women has been a constant. Violence as an obstacle to health care. Violence as a barrier to education. Violence as an inevitable fact of life.

I am tired of it: violence against women may be a current fact—every 3 minutes a woman is beaten up — but it is not inevitable. So here are my top three key recommendations for how you (yes: you) can make it stop before it even starts:

1. Value women’s work

Women earn 20 percent less than men in the United States. This pay inequality contributes to make women financially dependent on men and therefore stay in violent relationships. The United States needs federal legislation to guarantee women equal pay for equal work.

Basic labor protections in the United States exclude some professions that are dominated by women, such as domestic work. Part time workers in any profession are entitled to less labor market protections than those working full time, prompting some to leave the work pace all together when they have kids. This does not make them less vulnerable to abuse. In fact, rather the opposite. So, until women are valued at work it’s unlikely they’ll be properly valued at home.

2. Stop stereotyping women.

We all do it: stereotyping. We stereotype children (erratic), grandparents (indulging), and fathers (aloof). We also stereotype women, and politicians base policies and laws on these stereotypes. For example, when states obligate a woman to wait 24 hours before she can have the abortion she already decided she needs, it is based on a stereotype of women as irrational and changeable.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2011/10/28/violence-against-women-not-going-away-until-you-do-something-about-it

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Elizabeth Warren Is Scary!

From The Progressive: http://www.progressive.org/elizabeth_warren.html

By Ruth Conniff
October 27, 2011

The Republicans are trying to sink Elizabeth Warren by linking her to the Occupy Wall Street protests. But the nation’s top financial reformer is not backing down.

The furor started when Warren told the Daily Beast, “I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do. I support what they do.”

The Republicans jumped all over what they view as an exciting new weapon in the contentious Massachusetts Senate race.

Check out “”Matriarch of Mayhem,” the Massachusetts Republican Party’s ad, which uses protest images and quotes taken out of context to imply that Elizabeth Warren advocates actual, physical violence.

Even among negative campaign ads, this is a new low.

You knew Wall Street and the Republicans were afraid of Warren and her idea for a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. But you haven’t seen the depths of their nightmarish fears until you’ve listened to the scary music and seen the video.

After plenty of shots of pierced protesters denouncing capitalism and getting arrested, the video cuts to an interview clip of the owlish Warren saying, “I have thrown rocks at people I think are in the wrong.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.progressive.org/elizabeth_warren.html

Canon of St Paul’s: church cannot answer peaceful protest with violence

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/oct/27/st-pauls-canon-occupy-london-camp

In his first interview since his resignation, the Reverend Giles Fraser says he was unable to reconcile his conscience with the breakup of the Occupy London camp

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 27 October 2011

The canon chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Reverend Giles Fraser, spoke on Thursday about his reasons for resigning over the cathedral’s stance towards the protest camp which has been established over the past two weeks.

“I cannot support using violence to ask people to clear off the land,” Fraser told the Guardian. “It is not about my sympathies or what I believe about the camp. I support the right to protest and in a perfect world we could have negotiated. But our legal advice was that this would have implied consent.”

Fraser said he decided to resign on Wednesday when he realised he could not reconcile his conscience with the possibility of the church and the Corporation of London combining to evict the protesters from the land outside the cathedral, some of which is jointly owned with the City.

“The church cannot answer peaceful protest with violence,” said Fraser, adding that it was apparent that the Corporation of London was clearer than the cathedral authorities about its desire to see the protesters moved on.

“I cannot countenance the idea that this would be about [the eviction of] Dale Farm on the steps of St Paul’s.

“I would want to have negotiated down the size of the camp and appeal to those there to help us keep the cathedral going, and if that mean that I was thereby granting them some legal right to stay then that is the position I would have had to wear.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/oct/27/st-pauls-canon-occupy-london-camp

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Why are Bikes Being Targeted by Congress?

From Shareable Net:  http://shareable.net/blog/why-are-bikes-being-targeted-by-congress

By
10.27.11

How in the the world can biking and walking be controversial?

They’re good exercise, fun to do and—as an alternative to driving everywhere—help us save money and the environment.  Both biking and walking are increasingly popular for transportation and recreation today, thanks in large part to a recent flowering of federally-funded trails, bikeways and pathways that make getting around on two wheels and two feet safer and more convenient.

But in these antagonistic political times, bikers and walkers are now targets of controversy for some members of Congress.  In September, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn proposed stripping all designated federal funding for bike and pedestrian projects from the pending Transportation Bill. After an outpouring of opposition from citizens coast-to-coast, Coburn withdrew his amendment.

Now bicyclists and pedestrians are under attack again, this time in an amendment from Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. He wants to redirect every last penny of money dedicated to bicycling and walking to bridge repair instead.

His proposal is scheduled for a vote next Tuesday. (Here’s how to contact your Senators and Representatives to save federal bike and walk programs.)

Now we all agree that safe bridges are important. Look at the tragic bridge collapse four years ago in Minneapolis that took 17 lives.

But safety for the millions of kids and adults that bike and walk every day is important, too. Since 2007, 2,800 cyclists and 20,000 pedestrians have died on America’s roads—many due to the lack of sidewalks, bike lanes and other safety measures that federal funds provide.

We shouldn’t have to choose between safe bridges and safe streets. Here’s why.

Continue reading at:  http://shareable.net/blog/why-are-bikes-being-targeted-by-congress

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Born This Way: Ending The BS and Accepting Transsexualism and Transgenderism as Just a Different Normal

Question: What is the major difference between the Boy Scouts of America and the Girls scouts of America?  Aside from the Obvious…

Answer:  The Boy Scouts have policies of discrimination that allow them to exclude atheist/agnostic boys as well as gay/transsexual/transgender boys.  the Girl Scouts have non-discrimination policies.

Boycott the Boy Scouts!

Support the Girl Scouts!

I am so freaking tired of arguing with Religious Reichers filled with hate/bigotry and Transgender Borg who want to play gender word games that I have a hard time posting much of anything related to transsexualism in a blog titled “Women Born Transsexual”.  One of the main things about being post-transsexual is being involved in the world beyond the ghetto.

I have the same aging issues as non-trans older people, the same concerns about permanent unemployment/under-employment coupled with medical costs and old age poverty.

Maybe a little less than people who have fallen from the comfortable middle class as I have lived much of my life in fluctuation between upper lower and lower middle.  This has given me certain survival skills.

When I listen to the folks in the TG Borg or TG Inc as well as the folks in either Gay Inc or Lesbian Inc I am stuck with feeling they want people who had SRS for transsexualism to remain forever as part of the “Transgender Community”.

Like Bil Browning and his attack on Ashley Love over on Bilerico.  How dare she step beyond the “Transgender Community”.  How dare she as some one he has decided is a “transgender woman” challenge a newly out power gay who Bil wanted to kiss up to.

I’m tired of it.

I’ve had articles about transkids piling up in my “To Write About” file and I’ve been putting off putting a post together on the subject.

One thought I am struck by is how “Transgender Consciousness” and even “Transsexual Consciousness” are products of socialization into a set of ideologies for dealing with something people are born with.  How being born transsexual or transgender (as well as gay or lesbian) is as natural for people who are born this way as what straight/ non-trans people feel about the way they were born.

Of the two ideologies the one pushed by the TG Borg and TG Inc seems more a product of socialization into a set of beliefs than transsexualism does.  Partly because they try to cram so many different things into one convenient package.

I also have noticed that the younger a transkid or adult transsexual comes out the less likely they are to “identify” as transgender.  “Transgender Identity” tends to (but not always) go hand in hand with either heterosexual marriage in the assigned at birth sex or involvement in the “drag community”.

Involvement in “Transgender Organizations” is an important factor.

Will kids who actually are allowed to start being themselves as children, who are getting SRS at younger and younger ages ever really think of themselves as transgender or even as transsexual?

I personally think the earlier one is able to live as the sex one is seeking to be reassigned to the better, because of how it lets one gain the life experiences that are part of what makes one a woman or a man.  Experiences that go hand in hand with having the appropriate body and with associating with/being a member of the sex one is being reassigned to.

I have heard arguments from some Borg that this is a bad thing because these kids will never have an awareness of themselves as transgender.

I find this argument loathsomely repugnant.  Perhaps that is because I am post-transsexual and look at transsexualism as something I was treated for rather than an identity.

From the Advocate: http://www.advocate.com/Politics/Commentary/Oped_When_It_Comes_to_Trans_Kids_It_Us_Who_Are_Confused/

Op-ed: On Trans Kids, It’s Us Who Are Confused

The creative gender cases of Storm, Chaz, Tammy and Mario revealed our society’s knee-jerk and crushing reaction to nonconformity.

By Diane Ehrensaft, op-ed contributor 
October 7, 2011

During the past few months, the media has been replete with accounts of both children and adults who do not fit neatly into conventional gender roles: a Canadian baby, Storm, whose parents kept the baby’s gender secret; the child of a prominent celebrity, Chaz Bono, who attracted controversy as a trangender man on primetime television; and two children, Tammy and Mario, who announced to their parents that they were not their biological gender and began living as they wanted to be.

As a developmental psychologist who spends my days working with both children and young adults who are transgender, gender fluid, gender nonconforming, gender queer, and more, none of these stories has been a surprise to me. They simply reinforce my observation, made in my book Gender Born, Gender Made, that it is increasingly difficult to define gender as a strict biological binary.

What took me more by surprise was the ensuing tsunami of hostile, antagonistic, and hateful responses toward both these individuals and, in the children’s cases, their parents.

In response to Bono’s casting on Dancing With the Stars, Dr. Keith Ablow, psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-team, offered these words of wisdom: “The last thing vulnerable children and adolescents need, as they wrestle with the normal process of establishing their identities, is to watch a captive crowd in a studio audience applaud on cue for someone whose search for an identity culminated with the removal of her breasts, the injection of steroids.”

For this comment, Albow received 33,000 Facebook recommends. In the eyes of thousands of Americans, it is as though transgender people are a disease that could contaminate and pervert our “normal” children.

After the story broke in The Toronto Star about the parents who decided not to reveal the gender of their four-month-old baby, Storm, reporters would repeatedly ask me, “Don’t you think this child is going to be very confused?”

My response: Not as confused as the millions of readers trying to make sense of Storm.

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/Politics/Commentary/Oped_When_It_Comes_to_Trans_Kids_It_Us_Who_Are_Confused/

From Psychology Today:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-first-impression/201109/if-johnny-wore-pink

If Johnny Wore Pink

In what ways is gender identity arbitrary?

by Azadeh Aalai, Ph.D. in The First Impression
October 1, 2011

Dr. Keith Ablow, commentator for Fox News, recently cautioned parents not to let their kids watch transgendered Chaz Bono on “Dancing with the Stars,” for fear that their own gender identity would become confused. If we were to take this commentator at his word, gender identity would be a flimsy construct susceptible to change in the same way that a craving for a salty food can change on a whim to one for a cupcake.

To the Ablow’s out there in the world: gender identity is not so impressionable that one depiction of an unconventional version of it would suddenly disrupt one’s own development. Becoming transgendered is no more contagious than is becoming homosexual. Have we really progressed so little as a culture that commentators are condemning a network that is featuring a contestant who just happens to have had gender reassignment surgery as posing a dangerous threat to our innocent kids’ fragile sense of respective masculinity or femininity? Doesn’t this sound ominously close to outdated notions of isolating same-sex oriented adults from kids, lest they contaminate their sexual identities and (gasp!) turn them gay?

Let’s say for the sake of argument, though, that being exposed to an unconventional depiction of gender identity–such as a boy who wears a dress, or the case of Chaz Bono who was born female but has chosen to become male–were enough to alter a child’s burgeoning gender identity. My response is: So what?

What makes our traditional notions of masculinity and femininity so sacred that any depiction to the contrary would be a threat that we would not be able to withstand as a culture? Gender is in fact a social construct, not a biological one. One is born male or female, but becomes a man or woman in large part by abiding by the often arbitrary standards of what constitutes masculinity or femininity within his or her respective culture. Why should I be restricted from playing football with the boys just because I am a girl, or in contrast, from wearing the color pink, just because I am a boy? Maybe, in fact, our traditional notions of gender are outdated and even damaging. Indeed, research on gender reveals:

Continue reading at:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-first-impression/201109/if-johnny-wore-pink

From The Imperfect Parent:   http://www.imperfectparent.com/topics/2011/10/26/transgender-children-welcomed-by-the-girl-scouts-of-america/

Transgender children welcomed by the Girl Scouts of America

Children rejecting the sex they were born with is becoming a source of advocacy among mental health professionals

by
October 26th, 2011

The Girl Scouts of America has released a statement that welcomes boys into the organization as a growing number of transgender boys have shown an interest in joining. The statement comes after a 7 year old Colorado boy, Bobby Montoya, went their local Girl Scout registration and was was denied by a troop leader because of his gender. Montoya’s mother, Felisha Archuleta, says that Bobby prefers living as a girl and wanted to follow in his sister’s footsteps and join the Girl Scouts.

Young Bobby told 9 News that he felt like the denial was denying him of his chosen gender and made him feel bad.

Girl Scouts of Colorado quickly retracted the troop leaders denial and released the following statement:

“Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization and we accept all girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout. Our requests for support of transgender kids have grown, and Girl Scouts of Colorado is working to best support these children, their families and the volunteers who serve them…”

The local LGBT chapter is encouraging children who want to explore the gender of their choice and not the one they were assigned to at birth, to be welcomed in organizations that were once identified along strict anatomical differences.

Continue reading at:  http://www.imperfectparent.com/topics/2011/10/26/transgender-children-welcomed-by-the-girl-scouts-of-america/

Transkid Wants To Be a Girl Scout

As if this is odd. Why wouldn’t she want to be a girl scout like other girls?

Growing anger over state repression of anti-Wall Street protests

From World Socialist Web Site: http://wsws.org/articles/2011/oct2011/wall-o28.shtml

By Bill Van Auken
28 October 2011

Tuesday’s near-fatal attack by Oakland, California police on a young veteran during an anti-Wall Street protest is part of a wave of repression that has provoked nationwide anger over the growing assault on democratic rights.

Demonstrators poured into the streets of Oakland, New York City and other US cities to denounce the vicious attack on Scott Olsen, 24, who survived two tours of duty in Iraq, only to be cut down by the police.

Olsen was felled by a supposedly non-lethal police projectile, fired directly at his head. The attack came in the midst of what amounted to a police riot staged in response to a Tuesday night protest over the police eviction and mass arrest of Occupy Oakland demonstrators at their encampment in the city’s Frank Ogawa Plaza. When other demonstrators went to his aid, they too were attacked with tear gas.

Olsen was admitted to Oakland’s Highland Hospital in critical condition, suffering a fractured skull and reportedly in a coma, breathing only with the aid of a respirator. On Thursday, his condition was upgraded to fair. His roommate, Keith Shannon, told the World Socialist Web Site that Scott had been taken off the respirator but was still under sedation. His parents, who flew in from Wisconsin, were with him.

Shannon, who was in Iraq with Olsen, reported that Olsen had been working at a San Francisco software company during the day and joining the anti-Wall Street protests at night, sleeping in the encampments in San Francisco and Oakland, California.

“He’d leave work, head there, sleep there and go to work the next day,” Shannon told the WSWS. “Scott was participating in Occupy San Francisco because he doesn’t agree with how none of the banks and corporations were held accountable for their role in the economic downturn. Instead, the politicians work hand-in-hand with them to provide more laws that benefit the rich rather than helping the thousands upon thousands of people who have lost their jobs and their health insurance and really need it.”

Continue reading at:  http://wsws.org/articles/2011/oct2011/wall-o28.shtml

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Occupy SF: No-show raid invigorates protesters

From SF Gate: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/27/BAS61LN3UP.DTL

Kevin Fagan, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, October 28, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO — Before word swept through Occupy SF of an impending police raid, the camp at the south end of Justin Herman Plaza was largely a crash pad for chronically homeless people, with a contingent of activists thrown in to push the core message of denouncing economic disparity.

Then came the raid that didn’t come.

By midday Thursday, the sun shone on an utterly transformed encampment.

Suddenly, there were people who looked more like office workers than hippies strolling among the 50 tents pitched on the concrete and grass. Tourists gave high-fives to the campers. A group resembling yoga instructors set up a huge rug and spent the afternoon meditating.

Overnight, it went from Rainbow Nation redux to a kind of cross between an antiwar demonstration and a company picnic.

‘Energized everyone’

“I think that thing last night just energized everyone, and they’ve been passing the word that if you’re not here for the real protest, you might want to go somewhere else,” said John Tunui, a painter who manages dozens of street-artist booths next to the encampment. “It’s a different camp now.”

Continue reading at: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/27/BAS61LN3UP.DTL

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Occupy Wall Street stands its ground

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Rise of the Planet of the People

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/10/27-3

by Zoltan Grossman
Published on Thursday, October 27, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

I first heard about Occupy Wall Street in August, when I visited my former home of Madison, Wisconsin. Shortly after protesting in the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda against 13% pay cuts for state workers, and being impressed with the energy and creativity of the protesters, I attended the Democracy Convention nearby. Some of the speakers at the Convention were inspiring, but others were repeating the same vague rhetoric and tactics I’ve heard for many decades.

As I was doodling, a young speaker mentioned that Wall Street would be occupied starting September 17 (Constitution Day), and I sat bolt upright. It took only about two seconds to understand the rationale of Occupy Wall Street, so most Americans would be able to grasp its message without complex explanations. Americans have historically put on great marches and uprisings, but have rarely stayed in one place to make their demands. OWS seemed to draw from the examples of past occupations in Manila, Beijing, Belgrade, Kiev and Cairo.

Above all, spreading occupations around the country and world would mobilize our home communities, rather than expecting us to spend time and money to travel to (and be repressed in) a central place. We could educate our own local towns and cities, and they could show support by joining and bringing food and supplies. So far, I have been just as impressed by the Occupy movement back in my current home of Olympia, Washington, as I have been of the mass protests back home in Wisconsin.

The 10-Year Delay

OWS is the natural follow-up to the Seattle WTO protests, but this follow-up has been delayed for a decade. If we remember back to the WTO protests in 1999, and the clashes at global free-trade summits in 2000-01, we can recall that the anti-corporate movement was reaching a critical point. Summit-hopping had reached its limits, because only younger people could run from police, and the police were learning how to brutalize enough protesters to prevent a repeat of the Seattle victory. The movement was starting to talk about spreading the movement by bringing it to their hometowns.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/10/27-3

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MSM: Middle Class Disappearing?!

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All Eyes on Occupy Oakland: Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Jail

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/van-jones/all-eyes-on-occupy-oaklan_b_1033827.html


October 26, 2011

“If #occupyoakland was in Damascus, U.S. State department would be telling Wolf Blitzer how unacceptable it was to teargas peaceful marchers.” @techsoc

As two activists who have called Oakland home, we are appalled at the events of our city in the last 36 hours. Last night the country joined us to watch in anguish as the Oakland Police Department, with back up from a dozen law enforcement agencies from around the region, used excessive levels of force against hundreds of mostly peaceful Occupy Oakland protesters. In a city with a long and painful record of police violence, it is especially disturbing to witness scenes of women, children, the elderly, and the disabled under assault by rubber bullets and tear gas.

This kind of crackdown is bad for our democracy, and it’s bad for public safety. Mayors and police chiefs at Occupy sites across the country should take note: this is the wrong way to respond to the Occupy movement.

Oakland, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the nation, is a true reflection of the 99%. For this reason, the Occupy movement stands directly for the people of Oakland — so many of whom have lost their homes, lost their jobs, and lost the services they rely on. Our city’s unemployment rate is over 10%. People are angry. Let us not forget that this frustration and anger is real and justified.

Oakland also has a rich history of protest and political action. Occupy Oakland builds upon this legacy. Sitting at lunch counters and burning bras were symbolic political acts of previous generations, acts which we now celebrate as part of American history. The Occupy protests should be allowed to continue, as should all political expressions protected under our Constitution’s First Amendment.

Therefore it is even more embarrassing and unfathomable that the City would so badly miss the mark in its treatment of Occupy Oakland.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/van-jones/all-eyes-on-occupy-oaklan_b_1033827.html

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David Sirota trashes Fox News over OWS coverage

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Thirty Years of Unleashed Greed

From Truth Dig:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/thirty_years_of_unleashed_greed_20111026/

By Robert Scheer
Posted on Oct 26, 2011

It is class warfare. But it was begun not by the tear-gassed, rain-soaked protesters asserting their constitutionally guaranteed right of peaceful assembly but rather the financial overlords who control all of the major levers of power in what passes for our democracy. It is they who subverted the American ideal of a nation of stakeholders in control of their economic and political destiny.

Between 1979 and 2007, as the Congressional Budget Office reported this week, the average real income of the top 1 percent grew by an astounding 275 percent. And that is after payment of the taxes that the superrich and their Republican apologists find so onerous.

Those three decades of rampant upper-crust greed unleashed by the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s will be well marked by future historians recording the death of the American dream. In that decisive historical period the middle class began to evaporate and the nation’s income gap increased to alarming proportions. “As a result of that uneven growth,” the CBO explained, “the distribution of after-tax household income in the United States was substantially more unequal in 2007 than in 1979: The share of income accruing to higher-income households increased, whereas the share accruing to other households declined. … The share of after-tax household income for the 1 percent of the population with the highest income more than doubled. …”

That was before the 2008 meltdown that ushered in the massive increase in unemployment and housing foreclosures that further eroded the standard of living of the vast majority of Americans while the superrich rewarded themselves with immense bonuses. To stress the role of the financial industry in this march to greater income inequality as the Occupy Wall Street movement has done is not a matter of ideology or rhetoric, but, as the CBO report details, a matter of discernible fact.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/thirty_years_of_unleashed_greed_20111026/

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Has OWS Reached a Turning Point?

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The Roommate Revolution: Why Living Alone is Overrated

From Yes Magazine: http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/the-roommate-revolution-why-living-alone-is-overrated

At 37, Leilani Clark thought she was too old and too independent for roommates. But she soon found herself loving the sharing life…and she’s not alone.

posted Sep 19, 2011

Last December, I separated from my husband. We’d been married for two years and had lived together for almost four years. I remember ruefully telling a friend, as I flailed through the rough seas of transition, “I can’t imagine having roommates again, after all this time and not at my age.”

In hindsight, the statement seems strange, as though someone that I didn’t know had said it. But at the time, it made sense. I’d lived with romantic partner for years, and my roommate experience before that had been rocky and had ended badly. I’d grown to love the easy companionship of living with my partner, the way that routine seemed easier to come by, and how it felt like I could just be myself in our shared domestic space. Having roommates seemed like something people do in their twenties. As someone with a firm belief in the power of community, this bourgeois attitude now surprises me. But something was ingrained. A sneaking voice whispered, “You’re 37 years old. You are a professional woman. If you are not married with kids, then you should live by yourself. Get it together.”

Across America, the decision to take on roommates beyond the twenties is becoming more the norm as the economy flails and society moves steadily towards increased resource-sharing.

And so I set out to find a place of my own, and was stoked when a studio opened up in my first-choice neighborhood. It was a converted garage, with a box-sized bathroom and a shower that was actually in the doll-sized kitchen, next to the mini-stove and refrigerator. This was very European, I told myself. The studio was off the street and private, surrounded a sweet garden, right off the bike path, near downtown and biking distance from my work. It seemed perfect and so I proceeded to start my new life, living alone.

At first, I reveled in the independence. I loved to cook the foods that I liked in the kitchen, to sing out loud, and to do things on my own time. But after a few months, a sense of isolation began to take its toll. I hated coming home to a dark, silent house after a night out with friends. My neighbors were rarely home and I often felt nervous making my way into the badly lit backyard, waiting for the shadows to jump out and attack. I have a dog, and the guilt set in about the long hours he spent alone in the studio while I went to work. The breaking point came when I spent an entire weekend alone, suffering through a bad cold and unable and unwilling to reach out to anyone. The phrase “I could disappear, and no one would know,” ran through my head.

A couple of weeks later, I went out for beers with an old friend from graduate school. She mentioned that she was getting a house with two other people—a couple. I asked her for more information, and when she told me their plans for the house—gardening, home-brewing, cooking together, shared grocery shopping trips—I grew increasingly excited. They were looking for a fourth roommate and by the end of the night, I was in. My lease at the studio was up in a couple of months, I was still separated from my husband, and I was ready to start sharing resources again, and maybe conquer my loneliness.

Continue reading at:  http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/the-roommate-revolution-why-living-alone-is-overrated

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