I live in an older residential neighborhood (Arlington Village, Riverside, California) where an increasingly large percentage of the residents are undocumented. Fearing deportation, they necessarily maintain a low profile, rarely going outside their homes, other than to shop, go to school or work. For the most part, they are hard working people who value family life as much or more than their Anglo neighbors. However, since they are not United States citizens and cannot vote, their government representatives are mostly older white men who are unconcerned with the plight of immigrants. We opted to spend $350,000 in federal block grant funds to build a public daycare center at our local park adjacent to an elementary school, but our city councilman stole the money and used it to build a concrete in-line field hockey skating rink for the children of his rich friends. Our legislators need to stay in session without taking holidays and vacations until they reform our immigration laws. We are stuck with a do-nothing Congress who seem content to exploit an undocumented underclass of low wage workers who stand little chance of bettering their quality of life.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Update
More than five decades have passed since that famous Christmas when Santa invited Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to guide his sled through the thick fog. You would think that either Reuters or the Associated Press would have provided us with yearly updates. But they are too busy spreading the latest rumors concerning Prince William, to bother reporting on what is going on at the North Pole. So it falls on me, an independent blogger, to fill you in. Rudolph retired 20 years ago and Santa put him out to stud. Four years ago, he was having a great time rutting with an anonymous underage slut when he had a stroke and died before Santa could transport him to the nearest veterinary hospital at Point Barrow, Alaska. They cremated his body and spread the ashes over the northern polar region. It was a touching ceremony—Blitzen cried for a week.
Life goes on. NORAD was predicting a foggy Christmas and Santa did not know what to do. He desperately needed someone who could take Rudolph's place. Subsequently, an elf was giving Santa Claus an unfavorable report about Ruby, a cigar smoking lesbian reindeer with all four legs sleeved in colorful tattoos, when Santa came up with the answer. Ruby with a cigar alight could guide the sleigh on Christmas Eve night. And so she did. It only cost the price of a box of stogies to save Christmas that year. Santa was so happy that he began supporting civil rights for homosexuals.
Of course, a lot of other things have changed. The permafrost has turned into slush, forcing Santa to put knobby tires on the sleigh's runners. The polar icecap is melting and Santa is considering moving to the South Pole where the ground is firm below the ice. Negotiations between NORAD and the United Nations are currently taking place. Please return to this website for-up- to-the-minute updates.
Ruby the Anarchist Reindeer
(sung to the tune of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer)
Ruby the anarchist reindeer,
Was usually stoned and drunk,
And if you ever saw her, you would surely think her "punk,"
All of the other reindeer called her homophobic names,
Whenever bad things happened, she was the one they blamed.
Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say,
"Ruby with your cigar so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"
Then all the reindeer loved her and they shouted out with glee,
"Ruby the anarchist reindeer you'll go down in herstory."
Why spend money? Pirate this tune via "old school" Napster file-sharing. Browse on by the workshop at the North Pole and see Santa's latest erotic tattoo.
The owners, management, employees, and shareholders of f.dungan.com want to make it clear that we do not endorse flying while intoxicated. Using non-prescription recreational drugs is extremely dangerous. Ruby has come close to colliding with airplanes, helicoptors, microwave towers, tall buildings, and a late-wintering flight of Canadian geese. Two drakes recieved broken wings when Ruby abruptly weaved into them. Convicted of piloting a sleigh with a suspended license, she is currently serving a two year sentence at Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, California. Recently denied parole, it is doubtful that Santa can find a replacement for her anytime soon. Therefore, Christmas is being postponed until August 25th for the next two years. Santa apologizes for the inconvenience. He is in the process of negotiating a deal with Toys for Tots to have the U.S. Marine Corps fill in by lowering them through chimneys with rope harnesses.
SUGARY SOFT DRINKS ARE GOOD FOR YOU
Today, I am interviewing Dr. Sam Seuss, president and Chief Executive Officer of an American conglomerate that bottles sugary soft drinks as well as marketing "empty-calorie" processed fast foods throughout the world. Recently President Obama stated that sugary soft drinks are making kids obese. How do you, Dr. Seuss, respond to these allegations?
It's a pack of lies. Kids are fat because their mothers no longer have the time or the ability to cook them nutritious meals. Instead, they feed them supersized fast foods loaded with calories. A diet consisting of milkshakes, cheeseburgers and french fries would make anyone fat. Sugar has nothing to do with it. Sugar provides children with quick energy—exactly what they need to stay alert in class. What they need is the truth rather than muddleheaded Socialist propaganda. Furthermore, our soft drinks are educational. Put a package of Mentos in one of our two liter bottles, shake it up thoroughly, and you have a bottle rocket that can easily sail over a two story house. With NASA being privatized, we need to encourage American schoolchildren to pursue a career in aeronautical engineering. Also, our soft drinks are eliminating greenhouse gases, which will prevent glaciers from melting and save the polar bears from extinction. Our bottlers remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and dissolve it in water where it cannot do any harm. President Obama needs to acquaint himself with the Constitution. Our company is engaging in free enterprise. It is our right to do what we please. After all, companies are people, too. I recommend guzzling three or four 40 ouncers a day. Besides being good for you, it will help the economy recover.
Think about it. It costs more to make a gallon of soda than it costs to purify a gallon of water. There are many times more profit in bottling water than bottling soft drinks. While water comes from the tap at very little cost, soda has numerous ingredients which don't come cheap. Are you so naive that you believe the rich folks who invest in a water company's stock care about your health? The water bottlers demonize soda pop because they benefit when you give up soda pop for bottled water.
Do you think that collapsible plastic water bottles have 25 percent less plastic because the water bottlers are concerned with being green? Twenty-five percent less plastic means more profit due to decreased costs. The only thing green about water bottlers is the algae and pond scum they don't tell you about.
New York City's Mayor Bloomberg wants to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces from being sold at restaurants, delis and other venues. How is the soft drink industry reacting to Bloomberg's latest Crusade?
Americans do not appreciate having him make their personal decisions for them. I am fairly certain the man has overstepped his authority. This may well be Mayor Bloomberg's last term in office. Given his orientation, I would not be surprised if he moved on to seek employment as a nitpicking nanny.
The following quote is taken from the pages of Commentary magazine: "Personal choices, such as the consumption of sugar, do not fall under any reasonable definition of government responsibility. However serious our obesity problem may be, it cannot be solved by government fiat. Indeed, it isn't likely that there will be a single less fat person in New York because of Bloomberg's power play. But there will be a little less individual freedom in the city and elsewhere if his noxious idea spreads. The issue here is freedom, not sugar or obesity. The damage from this infringement on the fundamental values that are the foundation of democracy will hurt us far more than the extra few ounces of soda that the mayor begrudges New York's citizens."
On November 6, 2012 ballot measures, two California cities, Richmond and El Monte, will be asking voters to approve taxes on sugary soft drinks. I doubt, however, that, if approved, the small tax that they are proposing would make a noticeable change in consumer behavior. Placing "sin taxes," such as those which are currently levied against alcohol and tobacco, on sugary soft drinks is ridiculous. God is not petty. Nobody ever went to hell for buying a Big Gulp at a 7/11. [Editor's Update: The El Monte and the Richmond initiatives were subsequently defeated by the voters in those cities.]
OCCUPY OR DIE!
When they kick out your front door,
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head,
Or on the trigger of your gun?
- Paul Simonon, The Clash
The Occupy movement had its beginnings in the autumn of 1969 with the occupation of Alcatraz Island by the American Indian Movement, headed by Richard Oakes. The occupiers held the island for nearly eighteen months, from Nov. 20, 1969, until June 11, 1971, reclaiming it as Indian land and demanding fairness and respect for Indian peoples. They were an unlikely mix of Indian college activists, families with children fresh off reservations and urban dwellers disenchanted with what they called the U.S. government's economic, social and political neglect. Since well before Modoc and Hopi leaders were held at Alcatraz in the late 1800s, U.S. policy toward Indians had worsened, despite repeated pleas from American Indian leaders to honor treaties and tribal sovereignty. The occupation of Alcatraz was about human rights, the occupiers said. It was an effort to restore the dignity of the more than 554 American Indian nations in the United States. Historians and other experts say the occupation-though chaotic and laced with tragedy-improved conditions for the 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives alive today.
Occupy Wall Street is the name given to a protest movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Zuccotti Park, located in New York City's Wall Street financial district. The Canadian activist group Adbusters initiated the protest, which led to Occupy protests and movements around the world. The main issues are social and economic inequality, greed, corruption and the supposed undue influence of corporations on governmentÂparticularly from the financial services sector. The OWS slogan, We are the 99%, addresses the growing income inequality and wealth distribution in the U.S. between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population. To achieve their goals, protesters act on consensus-based decision made in general assemblies which emphasize direct action over petitioning authorities for redress.
I believe in permanent, ongoing, rejuvenating revolution. In order to counteract the inertia of the status quo and institute beneficial social, political, and economic changes for society, a degree of force (not necessarily violent) must occur. It is a maxim that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Control of power (some deem it authority) is commonly regarded as a legitimate function of government, with the notable exception of anarchists. Equal distribution among citizens insures power will not be misused or abused to counter the democratic will of the people.
Many argue that the Constitution dictates that power will rest with the representatives of the people. It does, but it is by no means set in stone. The Founding Fathers provided us with a means to amend the Constitution should the need arise. Although the slow and laborious communications of late Eighteenth Century America might have necessitated representation, technology has advanced to the point where in recent decades it is now possible by means of digital electronics (email and the internet) for the individual to present his own interests without the aid of a middleman. Obviously, you care more about your interests than anyone else. Who could do a better job of representing you than yourself? You are much more educated and erudite than your forebears. Surely, you are fully capable of doing the job. I would like to think that Washington, were he alive today, would urge you to do so. He would be the first to condemn the greed and corruption that threatens the survival of our way of life, impoverishing working America for the benefit of a leveraged, privileged few. Time to reclaim what is ours. Toss the Tea Party into Boston Harbor and Occupy Wall Street. This is a revolution whose time has come. Either lend us a hand or get out of the way, for the times are rapidly changing.
Why occupy America? Click on the broadcast microphone to find out.
Wall Street has a globalization agenda. Don't let them push us aside. They have an economic stranglehold on the global market. No jobs; no money. Our survival is threatened. Organize and resist. OCCUPY OR DIE!
With one in five homes facing foreclosure and filings showing no sign of slowing down in the next few years, the number of people touched by the mortgage crisis whether because they have lost their homes or because their homes are now underwater truly boggles the mind. Occupy Homes or Occupy Our Homes is a grass roots movement to disrupt the foreclosure of people's homes. Protesters delay a foreclosure by camping out on the foreclosed property. They also block the entrances to banks that are foreclosing on many homes. It has been compared to the direct action taken by people to prevent home foreclosures during the Great Depression in the United States.
Why do we have a substantial number of homeless individuals even though we are in a prolonged economic downturn caused by building more new houses than the market could absorb. The problem lies in the method of distribution. Houses that cannot be sold are unoccupied and often abandoned. I propose that we put them to good use by sheltering homeless people. Rent could be charged on a sliding scale according to ability to pay. Surely, collecting some rent is better than not getting any rent. Also, tenants tend to have a stabilizing effect on a distressed neighborhood. Empty homes are often tagged with graffiti and/or vandalized. This way the plumbing remains intact and the electrical wiring is not stripped from the wall by drug addicts hellbent on stealing someone else's stuff to pay for their next fix.
A home without an occupant is like a child without a dog—a gross imbalance defying the Laws of Nature—an unresolved empty void that behaves like a Black Hole, continually ingesting all that is good and holy in order to keep expanding at the expense of humanity's collective soul. There is a price to be paid for disingenuous disregard of natural order—in large part it is the cold, numbing feeling that comes over us when we ignore the plight of our fellow men.
The workings of supply and demand are the basic tenets of Capitalism. It cannot be denied that there is a growing supply of homes which are being withheld from the homeless in an ungainly attempt to strengthen the economy. Woe be it to those disbelievers who feign ignorance of the teachings of Adam Smith. I have faith that justice cannot be denied to the ninety-nine percent who thirst for equality and freedom.
Don't lie on the couch while waiting for the revolution. Hit the streets and make it happen. Millions of people like you are waiting for someone to show them the way. Our common sense of what is right shall guide us toward economic salvation. Righteous indignation against injustice gives us strength. For this is the year of Jubilee when all debts are forgiven and we shall cast off our bonds and set ourselves free from wage slavery. There are insufficient prisons to hold us all. The foundations will crumble and the walls fall down. Free at last!—the blindfold is removed and Justice reigns supreme.
On April 24, 2012, a new tactic to obtain justice from the large banks that control America was tested at the annual shareholders' meeting of Wells-Fargo Bank in San Francisco. Approximately 30 minor shareholders attempted to modernize the ethos of the banking industry. By all accounts, Occupy Wells-Fargo proved to be a step in the right direction. In order to succeed, confrontation of the established order must take place in a pragmatic fashion. The great advantage of anarchists is that they reject dogma in every guise.
Later in the week, at an annual General Electric shareholders' meeting, several groups protested that GE was not paying its fair share of corporate income taxes. In fact, despite record profits, GE has paid almost no taxes during the past decade. Jeff Immelt, GEÂs chief executive, was bombarded with complaints from investors over pensions, corporate governance and nuclear power.
Occupy May Day went global on May 1, 2012, as demonstrations stretched from California to New York and from Europe to the Caribbean. Violence flared in Seattle, Washington and New York City, where more than 50 protesters were arrested.
"The popular media narrative is that Occupy is dead, but what we're here to show is that that's far from the truth," says Occupy Wall Street spokesman Mark Bray. "The issues that we're talking about are too important to go away." He also stated that Occupy has united with workers' unions and immigrant rights groups "to show that the 99% is what really drives this country."
Bank of America was the next to feel the wrath of the Occupy movement against sleazy banking practices. At its annual shareholders meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 9, 2012 more than a thousand people demonstrated against the bank's bad track record on foreclosures, as well as its relationship with the federal government and the coal industry. The protesters, carrying signs with phrases like "stop corporate greed" and "Bank vs. America," came from a variety of organizations, including the Occupy movement and various labor unions. Six people were arrested.
In addition to the demonstrations taking place outside, Bank of America officials faced protests inside the meeting. A large number of disaffected shareholders aimed to force votes on controversial proposals. Bank of America is not the first big bank to face criticism at its shareholders meeting though. Citigroup's shareholders also struck down its CEO's pay package in what some characterized as a revolt last month. First Merit, a regional bank, followed suit shortly after.
At 7:30 AM on May 15, 2012, J.P. Morgan held its annual shareholders meeting in Tampa, Florida. Since the company had reported the previous week that it had incurred losses of more than two billion dollars due to questionable economic practices, there was a good chance that the meeting could turn ugly. However, J.P. Morgan decided to hire security guards to maintain order rather than calling in police. By not provoking the demonstrators, violence was avoided. No arrests were made. Without an undue action by the one percenters, there was no need for a disrupting reaction on the part of the ninety-nine percenters. In fact, CEO Jamie Dimon remarked that Occupy Wall Street had "legitimate complaints," rather unusual for someone who thinks the financial industry gets victimized when it comes to placing blame for the world's problems. And yet that's just what he said after receiving an Executive of the Year award from the University of Rochester's Simon Graduate School of Business. What a surreal scene. Dimon is far from the first rich person to give some credence to Occupy, but seeing as how protesters literally marched to his door demanding economic justice, it was totally unexpected.
Grass roots demonstrators have the advantage in that their actions are largely unpredictable. "Hands-on" spontaneous actions can accomplish what formerly seemed impossible. Revolutionary zeal can make up for a multitude of inadequacies.
After they were forced out of City Hall Park in 2011, some members of Occupy Los Angeles made their stand half a mile away on a sidewalk on Towne Avenue that became known as "Occupy Skid Row." But in the summer of 2012, the L.A. Police Department began getting tough with more citations and arrests at the encampment, including seizures of unattended belongings. The protestors are concerned with homelessness and human rights, while the L.A. City government appears to be more interested in gentrification. It is a sad day when the rich two percent who benefit from gentrification and commercial interests dictate how the 98 percent —i.e. the vast majority of us—are going to live.
On September 2, a group designated itself the Coalition to March on Wall Street South set out to disrupt the finances of the 2012 Democratic National Convention because Charlotte, North Carolina, has the second largest concentration of finance capital in the U.S. after New York City, with Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. situated here. There is $2.3 trillion in banking resources headquartered in the city, according to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.
Chanting "This is what Democracy looks like," and carrying signs with slogans such as "Stop corporate greed," the group marched past bank buildings and the Bank of America Stadium, where President Barack Obama was set to accept his party's nomination for a second term on Thursday night.
* * *
As Brazil hosted the Rio+20 UN summit on sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro, in the Amazon region 2,000 miles to the north 300 women and children affected by construction of the giant Belo Monte Dam began a determined occupation of the dam site to "free the Xingu River."
Indigenous peoples, farmers, fisherfolk, activists and local residents marched onto a temporary earthen dam recently built to block the flow of the Xingu River. With pick axes and shovels they opened a channel in the earthen dam to restore the river's natural flow.
Protesters celebrated the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street on September 1, 2012 with a day of marches that choked Manhattan's financial district and led to a score of arrests that signalled the return of the movement for economic justice.
For a while in the afternoon, the scene at Zuccotti Park resembled what it had been before police dismantled the tents on November 15, leaving Occupy without a permanent home. People with signs milled throughout the park and began marching along Broadway, scattering tourists and passerby. More than 180 demonstrators were arrested on patently bogus disorderly conduct charges. As marchers' attempts to approach the New York Stock Exchange were repeatedly foiled, they broke into smaller groups and headed in different directions, playing a cat-and-mouse game with officers that lasted for hours.
Four women activists of the Occupy movement protest chained to the pulpit inside Saint Paul's Cathedral as preparations for evensong took place in London, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. Several supporters of the anti-corporate Occupy movement chained themselves to the pulpit of St. Paul's Cathedral during a service in an action marking the anniversary of its now-dismantled protest camp outside the London landmark.
To successfully occupy any given place, one must first gain admittance and then take charge. It is not enough to set up an outdoors encampment on a peripheral area such as a park, sidewalk, or steps. Such efforts usually amount to frustrating exercises in futility. Power and authority are seldom relinquished voluntarily. Occupy the buildings. If necessary, use stout steel cable (chains are easy to cut) to anchor the protestors in place and prevent removal by ordinary means. It takes total commitment to win. Nothing less will do.
The greed which pervades Wall Street hurts us all. Economic criminals deserve stiff prison sentences. These bloodsuckers have no ethics or morals and are preventing America from recovering from the recession.
It is time to come in from the cold and occupy the interior of Congressional offices. What is needed is an immediate increase of $3.50 in the federal minimum wage, repeal of restrictive anti-union legislation, and a guarantee of tuition free public education together with the forgiveness of all outstanding student loans. Henceforth, the President of the United States shall give a detailed report about educational progress in his annual State of the Union address.
The Occupy movement's biggest mistake was to occupy peripheral areas such as steps and lawns instead of concentrating on occupying the interiors of government buildings. Since we, as taxpayers, paid for these buildings, we have the right to take them over whenever public officials fail to act in our best interests. That's right, we have the right to "throw the bums out." Let them freeze outside on the steps, while you are comfortable inside. Consider it fitting pennance for their corrupt behavior.
Prepare for demonstrations in advance. Buy a second hand gas mask from an Army surplus store. Adjust it to your face by pulling the straps. Make sure there are no air leaks. Rub Vaseline or petroleum jelly onto the rubber parts to keep them from becoming brittle and cracking. Change the activated charcoal in the breathing canisters. Most pet stores sell activated charcoal granules for use in acquarium filters. It also works well in gas masks. Bring along a football or motorcycle helmet. If you don't have a helmet, borrow one from a friend. A helmet will help protect you from police violence.
Use your cellphone to take videos of injustices, abuses and violations of human rights. Upload them to the BBC, CBC, Facebook, and Twitter, in addition to friends and family.
What is the easiest and most economical way to dispose of elderly disabled veterans who, in the eyes of many Veterans Affairs' doctors and administrators, have outlived their usefulness to society? The VA's answer is to warehouse them in an institution and deny them proper medical care. Prescribing them mind-numbing drugs greatly facilitates the process by rendering them easier to control and less likely to complain. Unlicensed physicians and incompetent nurses abound. Besides, negligence and elderly abuse lead to a high death rate, a necessity because there simply are not enough facilities and beds available to meet the steadily increasing demand. Death panels decide who will live and who shall die. Read Quacks to find out why more death certificates get doctored than patients at VA nursing homes. Order the paperback edition of Quacks by clicking on the lulu button . Click on the bookcover at left to read Quacks online. Please send me your comments.
Write your Congressman and tell him that you do not want the VA to conduct death panels or to encourage severely disabled veterans to commit suicide. Nursing homes are an abusive and dehumanizing means of warehousing long-term sick veterans. Homeless and disabled veterans should be given access to assisted living facilities where they can continue to take part in the community rather than being ostrasized in overcrowded, disease ridden nursing homes.