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flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)
I've been thinking about the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall, the passing of the STOCK Act and the likely consequences of halting Congressional insider trading, and whether addressing these individual concerns is enough to stop this cycle of failure from happening again in 70 years when America has forgotten to be watchful and the lobbyist buy the legislation back to its current regulatory laxity. We put Glass-Steagall in place in 1933 and it was weakened in 1980, again in 1982, and repealed in 1999. It only took 50 years to forget and 20 to slowly get rid of the protections we had against large-scale gambling with the homes and savings of anyone using a bank. We Americans will forget again, because that is human nature. We need something more permanent than a bill that can be repealed by enough consecutive financial lobbying. In fact, we need to put our democracy out of reach of being bought with money. Americans know that we can't trust lobbyists and that lobbying is the reason we don't trust Congressmen to be honest.

With a deeply entrenched for-profit culture, Congressmen will likely be unwilling to hamstring their own ability to turn a larger profit from civil service. But the framers of the Constitution left us a route to navigate past such a top-down threat to Democracy: we can demand a new Constitutional Convention. Other protest movements have used the threat of an Article V Constitutional Convention to force concessions out of Congress, including four Constitutional Amendments. But whether we can or should trust them to write legislation that targets their own behavior is uncertain due to the current problems our country is having with the loosening of interpretation of its laws and the lack of clear language in many bills. What could be worth the risk of letting this happen again? If it is so important for Congress to save face, why have they not proposed and moved forward their own solutions? Can it be that the system is so gridlocked with competing financial and legislative concerns that public intervention is the only clear path?

Next year is the 225th anniversary of our first and only constitutional convention. Don't you think it's time for a new one?
flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Archaeology)
Good afternoon UC Davis Campus Police Lieutenant John Pike,

I have a history of violence. We now have something in common, you and I. Society tries to portray monsters as being something other than human, as though we are not all capable of doing horrific things. The UC Stanford prison experiments says otherwise; your own experience says otherwise. I had a year of weekly counseling, in 90 minute sessions, and it was enough for me to understand how to not be pushed toward violence, and how not to depersonalize myself or others to commit violence.

The pressures and duties of your job have warped you to the point where you can no longer be considered an ethical human being. I suggest that you demand UC Davis pay for the years of therapy you will need to process having taken part in a human rights atrocity at their insistence. Your face in the pictures and videos is carefully blank, as though you had to suppress your own personhood and emotional involvement in order to repeatedly use pepper spray at point blank range. If your face had showed you enjoying it, this would be a very different letter. But unleashing that sort of violence feels very freeing, and can become addictive. Unless becoming a situational psychopath is a risk you are willing to take with your own mental health and the physical safety of those around you, please seek treatment.

Good luck, sir.
flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings
Dallas City Hall
1500 Marilla Street Room 5EN
Dallas, TX 75201
Phone: 214-670-4054 or 214.671.8257
Fax: 214-670-0646

City Manager Mary k. Suhm
Main Phone (214) 670-3296
Secretary Margie Saabedra (214) 670-3297

Chief of Police David O. Brown
Dallas Police Department
1400 S. Lamar
Dallas, TX 75215
Phone: (214) 671-3901

CBS Channel 11
10111 North Central Expressway
Dallas, Texas 75231
Station Phone: 817-451-1111
News Tips: 817-496-7711

WFAA Channel 8
214-748-9631 (phone)

400 N. Griffin Street
Dallas, Texas 75202
Main Station Directory: 214-720-4444
Programming: 214-720-3391

Occupy Dallas

Occupy Wall Street
flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)

How you can help OCCCUPY
(without camping)

Transfer Banks. The best and biggest thing you can do to send the message that you do not approve of unethical banking practices is to get a credit union or local bank. If you have a Chase, Citi, Wells-Fargo or Bank of America account, withdraw your funds and place them somewhere that you trust. Wall Street can't use your money to commit moral failings if they don't have your money. Since September 29th $4.5 billion has been transferred into credit unions. Every lost dollar is a vote of no confidence. Every dollar transferred is put back into your local community.

Return Credit Offers. When you get your mail, open the unwanted credit card offers. There will be a postage-paid envelope inside. You can fold the rest of your junk mail into the envelope and send it. If they're going to waste your time sending them every month, then you get to waste their money on postage while supporting your local post office.

Read. Educate yourself on the real messages of the Occupy movement: Accountability, Economic Justice, and Equal Protection under the law. The corporate-owned media feel too threatened to report the movement without bias, but the internet has both sides of the story. There are livestreams of the protests easily accessible, and live camera footage has no bias.

Write. Write to your mayor, your chief of police, your congressmen and representatives. Tell them that you support bank accountability and congressional reform to eliminate moral hazards. Ask that they support First Amendment rights and ethical treatment of non-violent protesters. Remind them of their roots in the community. Write to the news corporations and ask them to report the news more fairly - not just our story, but everyone's. Ask the media who you receive information from to stop burying stories under fluff, and to explain nuanced issues for better public awareness.

Call. If you do not receive an answer or receive only a form letter, call. If the signal is busy, do something else for a few minutes and call again. There's no protocol to stand on, and no need to yell, just talk to the staff or the person you're trying to reach as though they are your employee. In the case of civil servants, you pay their salary: they are respectfully obligated to listen to what you have to say. In the case of news organizations, your viewership can go elsewhere and if they are smart they know enough to be pleasant.

Discuss.  Calmly and without escalation, talk to your friends about your observations and the conclusions about our country that you have drawn from that knowledge. Discuss your concerns, your fears and hopes. Strengthen your friendships by sharing your feelings. If you have friends who think there's nothing wrong with 80 hour work weeks, or think that those who can't find jobs are not worth respect, or think that it is fair for banks to bet against people's ability to pay for their homes, please ask them how those things benefit America.

Assemble. Go to an Occupy camp. See the conditions on the ground for yourself. Talk to protesters, organizers, and police. Look with unbiased eyes at all sides of this conversation our nation is having and draw your own conclusions. Attend a General Assembly and participate in the consensus. If you feel inspired to reject the imbalance of powers in our system and wish to protest, hello and welcome.

Teach. If you like the movement but think there is something that could be done better, show some people how to do it. Teach-ins happen most days at all Occupy camps, and the more knowledge we share, the more we have.

Donate. If you have things that you don't use, please donate. If you have sleeping bags, tents, food, books, socks, scarves, coats and mittens, band-aids, collapsible shelves or portable storage bins, markers and poster-making supplies, a poster that you made but cannot stay around to wave, or if you are lucky enough to have money sitting around, we will gladly accept many things and try to put them to best use. Most Occupy camps have a presence on twitter where donations can be coordinated in an open forum.

FORGIVE. The rich and powerful did not mean for this to happen. The bankers and investors were short-sighted and they work in a high-risk field. They got used to taking risks and then more risks, and some of those risks were not theirs to take. They risked our homes and livelihoods. They were foolish. But foolish is not evil. The government was foolish to think that the state could let them take as many risks as they wanted. They were foolish and we supported them in their foolishness by being less critical than we should have been about ideas that proved unsound. But now we have no time to waste on foolishness or on the bitterness and blame it generates. Please forgive yourself and all of us, and let us move forward from this a more careful, more mutually respectful nation.

Please repost, print, share and distribute as much as you like, no credit is necessary.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

Our national rhetoric is suffering from a poverty of compassion. Our unspoken belief that one must earn the empathy of peers through financial accomplishment is deeply flawed. Mercy that comes at a price is not mercy at all.

We have been seeking to balance our need to care and be cared for within this flawed system by collectively overproducing and overconsuming. But money is a limited resource, and we map that system of scarcity onto respect and affection which are infinite. We have been mislead by our expectations for so long that we have become intellectually dishonest in order to compete with one another in the belief that we cannot all be cared for, but that brings us no closer to balance than our complicit silence in the face of imbalance.

When we, the 99%, deliberately put people we disagree with out of the bounds of our respect, we are making enemies of our opposition, making them defensive, entrenching them further in their view that compassion is not a necessary part of public life. We must meet their cynicism with sincerity and their anger with our honest grief at the injustice that we have all perpetuated by participating in this sham of fairness.

Respect the 1%. Most of them thought they were making good policies and intervening for the best. They honestly thought they could have our best interests at heart in the absence of understanding our lives and the compassion that  creates. Any action in advance of compassion is flawed, theirs or ours.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

CBS news is LYING. We have live feed of the police beating protesters, using pepper spray, there are several report of long-range sonic device usage, AND THEY"RE WHITEWASHING THE WHOLE THING.
There are pockets of resistance, chanting, drummers, but tweet reports say more arrest teams are coming that way.

If we were to take legislative recusal to its obvious conclusion - lawmakers unable to vote on the legislation they were lobbied for - then lobbying by corporate side-stepping of campaign finance rules would be pointless. It is an unacknowledged but clear conflict of interest to have ties to one side of a debate that a legislator is voting on. Campaign contributions or the promise of contributions for favorable legislation is bribery, though we don't like to think about our traditions as being founded on unethical behavior. So I propose a thought experiment: re-imagine the United States as a place where all politicians in a given race are allotted the same amount to use for campaigning, supported by anonymous voluntary donation. Then ask yourselves these questions:

What harm would it do to have no more corporate lobbyists?
  • ~1,000 lobbyists are out of a job.
  • Without the leveraging of our economy, economic growth might slow marginally

    What benefits would come of having no more lobbyists?
  • Less collusion, corruption, earmarks, and kickbacks
  • No incentive to go to war for war profiteering
  • A stronger EPA
  • Prison system reform away from for-profit incarceration (modern slavery)
  • Tighter regulation of dangerous industries like oil, financial derivatives, and coal

    What does our society stand to gain by taking away the power of the rich to effectively silence the voices of the poor through campaign finance?
  • A gradual return to a more level financial playing field
  • A depolarization of politics and more nuanced political referendum with the voting public
  • The repeal of laws that lead to the 3 major financial crises of this nation through mis-appraisal of risk and hyper-competition

    What would it cost our society to change this tradition?
    - - - I can't think of a single reason that holds any water
  • flamingsword: None can take the stars who do not reach. (Take The Stars)
    Things that I have noticed:

    * Conservatives do not call bullshit on other conservatives. Progressives will disagree openly on the wisdom of various plans and publicly debate the matter, which is why the Democrats present a less united front. Republicans present a solid face to the public because they don't like to fight in front of the children.

    * What is it about people not perceiving the difference between how legislation is ideally supposed to work and how it actually performs in real world applications? Do they not see the gap?

    * If we legalize marijuana and release the potheads, then the federal prison system can ship its minimum security inmates into state penitentiaries and close their country-club-esque estates. The states could use the prison subsidy, the Feds could use the states' better cost efficiency, and Wall Street could use the incentive of hard time to stop committing fraud.

    * Today, November 10th, is the average date of the first frost in New York City. Protesters will soon start dying of exposure, tents or no tents. If the current regime are so set on defending tax loopholes and moral hazards that they will not start pushing through concessions now, they will have deaths on their conscience by Thanksgiving.

    * If I had a list of short-term requests for OWS, it would be this:
  • Reinstate Glass-Steagall
  • Overturn Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission and judicial decisions based on this precedent
  • Instate legislative recusal for Congress which pulls the teeth of lobbying.
  • Basel III, Volcker Rule, extend the Dodd-Frank protections that supplement Glass-Steagall
    Those are the not-factually-controversial things our government can do right now to fix the underlying problems that created this mess and keep it from happening again. By the time we've got those done, we'll have workshopped most of the other stuff into viability.
  • flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)
    Let's have a discussion!

    I think the combative tone of our culture's political rhetoric has colored our expectations of what protest is supposed to look like; we are skewed towards interpersonal violence that diminishes the humanity of both parties. I would like to offer a new vision: we use human cognitive biases against them. Our brains are strange places with lots of firmware programming that we don't like to think about. Reciprocation, empathy, the enticement of inclusion, the pain of shunning: these things are hard-wired in for most of us. Getting a statistical majority on our side will be easier if we change a few tactics.

    We should be nice to the people we're protesting. If we make it clear that we are suffering where they have to see it because their participating in the reform will make them better, happier people, they will be touched by the courtesy, and then they will be confused. Confused is great! Confused is not polarized against change, it's not combative: it gives us grey area to dialog inside of. Part of the confusion is that when we are nice to them, their instincts will tell them to be nice to us. Humans reciprocate, especially in person. We don't like eating in front of others who are not eating, and we don't like feeling indebted. Extending our empathy to include them will make it hard to not reciprocate. And once they empathize with us, even a little, we become part of their peer group.

    Not that the V masks are not awesome, but the principle of anonymity would be working against us if we were all wearing masks. The fact that some of us have jobs that would be threatened by our identities becoming known is understandable. But it is also true that it is easier to dehumanize someone without a face, and to then commit violence on the Othered individual. Refusing to treat police and the opposition like enemies will erode their combative paradigm. Their actions will look and feel out-of-context, and we will use their awkwardness as a tool to restructure our civic dialog. We need Anonymous for the support of the faceless and those who must work in secret, but we need more human faces whose body language isn't defensive or aggressive, whose message is that there are no enemies, only a bunch of people in different parts of the same mess.

    We need to be *for* things, not just *against* things. Complaining and being angry a lot gets old. Accentuating the positive is like a Jazz riff - some people can go all night. People like being positive about mutual goals, they like joining things and feeling like they have a common purpose. People will do a lot for peer-group inclusion, and if we start divesting the rich of their social currency, stop treating them with such deference, wean ourselves off of the cult of celebrity, perhaps they will feel pressure to align their goals with ours.

    Think tactically about these emotions for a bit. What's missing? What have I proposed that won't hold water? I would like to workshop this a bit before bringing it before the Occupy Dallas General Assembly.
    flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)

    I'm having to write this out of order because it's jumbled with too many emotions.

    Today I triaged a kid lying on the ground who had been hit in the head by a billy club hard enough that he was nonresponsive for two minutes and disoriented and uncoordinated for several more. I put him in recovery position and stood by him checking his pupil response and trying to get him verbal until enough people yelled at the police to let the ambulance in to the blocked off streets. They brought in a police medical vehicle instead.

    Today I shouted "SHAME" at a police officer who set off a firecracker behind the protest lines in an attempt to simulate unlawful protest by the Occupiers. He was ten feet from me. We hadn't been paying him any attention because we weren't expecting sabotage. After that didn't work he joined the officers out in the street. Two minutes later the police started clubbing the people closest to the banks doors. I don't know why.

    Today I watched the Dallas Police Department drag a man with blood on his face into a waiting police car. He had been hit repeatedly and thrown to the ground to be cuffed for being off of the sidewalk.

    Today I talked at sient police officers who avoided making eye contact about how this was not the job they signed up for. I asked them what happened to the smiling, tolerant faces that first Thursday when we gave them oranges, when they would talk to us, when they could look us in the face. I told them that the Albany PD had violated unlawful orders to harass protesters. One cop walked off to another part of the police line like he had something to say and couldn't, had to remove himself from the possibility of conversation.

    We were protesting on the sidewalk outside Bank of America. There was no protester violence. There was a drummer, two people with whistles, and an old guy with a megaphone. There were people chanting and waving signs. There was a tiny hipster girl waving an American flag next to what may have been her grandparents and several Anons. The big banks are using their customer's money to commit crimes against those customers and buy off the consequences. And when you protest that, you can be beaten and arrested.

    To my friends who don't know why we're protesting: do any of these things sound like the country you want to live in?

    EDIT TO ADD: The shaky video footage makes me ill to sort through but Channel 8 has a report on the<a href="http://www.wfaa.com/news/City-to-probe-Occupy-Dallas-confrontation-at-bank-133334993.html">protesters arrested Saturday afternoon still being in jail Sunday night</a> some whose charges were only released a few hours ago. <a href="http://occupydallas.org/letter-police-0">Occupy Dallas has released a letter to the Dallas Police Department</a> outlining the officer's infractions and the difficulties they present to exercising First Amendment rights.

    Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

    flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)
    So the Oakland police almost killed a Marine last Tuesday night by lobbing a flashbang into the crowd of people pulling him away from the front line where he'd been struck in the head by a rubber bullet.That event is worrisome for several reasons including being in direct violation of Oakland's civic policies. And other Marines are not happy about it. You do not fire on noncombatants. Also, you don't mess with a Marine.

    Youtube has only existed since 2005. Police who've been on the force since before 2006 (which is most of them) did not sign on to be policemen where the world could see. Their corporate culture has failed to adapt to the changing information landscape of our culture, and instead of getting with the times, several places have resorted to unconstitutionally using anti-eavesdropping laws to circumvent the First Amendment right to freedom of expression which covers journalists and people documenting public affairs. Image-sharing across social media and Youtube along with live streaming video sites such as Qik, Livecast, and Stickam have changed the ability of people to effectively block law enforcement's ability to silence their testimony. When you can document wrongdoing digitally, conflict between police narratives and eyewitness statements can be bypassed in favor of easier-to-correlate and much-harder-to-fabricate data.

    Sousveillance is the natural social response to imbalances of power in a media-technology saturated environments. It has more applications than keeping public officials accountable, though, and is part of a trend of radical honesty where people document the seemingly unimportant events in their lives in the experimental art of learning to stop self-censoring. It is part of how we're learning to be more honest with ourselves and learning that while simple mistakes are common and easily apologized for, it's not worthwhile to do things that we might be ashamed of later. OPD: for future reference, as a tactical move, that was better for our side than yours, but we both lost. Maybe try something more proportional next time?

    To our comrades in Oakland tonight, police and occupiers: I wish you luck and good judgement.
    flamingsword: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. (Seuss Activism)
    Occupy Dallas News:
    City of Dallas adds addendum to agreement to let let protesters stay in Liberty Park, tells protesters they need $1 Million in Insurance because the city can't be liable if one of the protesters gets . . . hurt.
    Former Mayor Offers Support, Then Backs City of Dallas' Play to Restrict Protest.
    City says group did not obtain required insurance coverage from hostile group within 18 hour deadline and should now go quietly home.
    Occupy Protesters respond they will seek Federal injunction to continue protests, arrests or not, and then do so.
    KERA subtly reminds everyone that this is a non-violent movement and that Dallas is one of a few of 200 cities being Occupied with no arrests or anti-protester violence to date.

    Occupy Wall Street News
    Occupy Wall Street: A Banker Explains What Really Happened To America. <-- THIS IS THE EYE-OPENING FINANCIAL PIECE TO READ.
    A chart-based pictorial of financial statistics sounds dull, but it's lucid non-partisanship is actually pretty damning to the Wall Street agenda. Good link for convincing fiscal conservatives.
    And we must be doing well at reaching out because more Americans approve of Occupy Wall Street than not.
    In honor of Guy Fawkes Day, Occupy Wall Street is planning a rally at banks to withdraw funds from corporate banks and open accounts at community banks and credit unions. (Have I told y'all how happy I am with my credit union lately? Happy iz me!)
    The New York Times chimes in on the Opinions page about the clear messages of the protest.
    What Do They Want? A blogger gets eloquently enraged on our behalf, well worth reading when your spirits start to flag.
    The Daily Kos is rounding up links on the side of reason also; isn't it nice to have neighbors to keep us out of trouble?
    Someone points out that the Occupy Movement Spotlights Disappearing Civil Rights. Because it's not obvious to everybody, even if it feels like it should be.
    And somebody finally comes out with evidence to answer a question we all know the answer to: Who Really Owns NYPD? Turns Out It's Not So Rhetorical.

    Relevant Wall Street and World News:
    International Monetary Fund advisor Robert Shapiro goes on record to say that we may be facing a second bank collapse in two to three weeks. "This would be a crisis that would be in my view more serious than the crisis in 2008."
    Comerica Bank executive sees a 50% chance of relapse into recession within the next 18 months. He's not kidding, and neither is the dude at the IMF. This politico-economic situation is inherently unstable, and our congress is dragging its feet on the emergency measures their policies have necessitated. Expect the need for the Occupations to be continuing through the next year.

    The 99% will still be here.
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (occupy sesame street)
    : or what the original Libertarian Tea Party movement has in common with Occupy Wall Street. Their goals were to:

  • Decrease the role of the Federal Reserve with an eye toward phasing it out.
  • Stop expensive foreign wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Federal spending and deficits are mismanaged/too high for what we're getting.
  • American taxation is unequal to its representation.
  • Interference in due legislative process by lobbies and business interests needs to be regulated and transparent.

    Leaving aside the racial and religious messages that got brought in after the movements' cross-pollination with other right wing fundamentalist ideals present in its older, whiter, more predominantly Christian demographic, the financial complaints are very similar.

    You're about to see a lot of courting of the Occupy movement by Republicans and Democrats and if we're smart we 99%ers won't come in under anyone's banner. And our own movement is going to start courting the Libertarians and the fiscal Tea Partyers. The Civil Rights movement was non-partisan because both sides were equally wrong, equally based out of the same uneven playing field. The same situation applies now.

    Once leaders start to emerge from within the ranks, the media will find reasons to discredit them to tell everybody that we shouldn't listen. They will try to interview familiar faces who joined up later who don't really speak for the movement, and we will have to find a way to repudiate them despite the media blackout. There are strange trials coming up, and situations we never foresaw ourselves in.

    Prepare for weird.
  • flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (occupy sesame street)
    Since Tumblr now has it's own [occupy] tag, I think maybe we need an LJ comm. But I may be too busy to start one. If anyone else wants to help but can't protest in person, you are welcome to lend your internet-fu to the cause.
    On to the Newsmedia links roundup! )
    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (occupy sesame street)
    As of this evening I am the junior aggregator for the #OccupyDallas media team. Sadly, it does not come with a shiny hat or any sort of badge unless I bring my own. That's fair considering I got the job by wandering up to the media tent and telling them the problems I was having with getting headaches from dealing with the heat and sun, and proposing that I blog for them and did they have anybody organizing their media into coherent pages?

    So, I am doing volunteer work for the protest instead of walking around with a sign over my head like a ring girl at a street-side boxing match. I will be using my internet fu and signal boosting things from here. The main bodies of posts will be cut-tagged and labeled in the subject as such.


    flamingsword: Aziraphale, the flaming sword, and Crowley (Default)

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