Thursday, May 31, 2012

Da Student Loan Bomb



Hello Bat Country and welcome to the show. Today we have some ass-sore news for you so break out the inflatable donuts and prepare to be pissed.
Congress has passed resolutions to double the interest rates of college loans. Not only does that fucking blow worse than a New Jersey drag-queen off I-95 turnpike, but college loans are the largest debt for all Americans. These loans are topping out at over a Trillion dollars. That’s right, a Trillion dollars!
But it doesn’t stop there folks. Beginning July 1st of 2012, there will be no longer be subsidized loans for graduate students.
The most maddening part of this debacle is it is the same old tactic being used by politicians. Nutjobs like Virginia Foxx make students out to be free loaders.
She states, ” I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that. ” No reason? How about college tuition has increased by 700 percent since 1978! That is ten years after this fossil graduated college. But it’s understandable how she could be so confused. From the Huffington Post, “According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 1968, the average yearly cost for tuition, room, and board for a public university was $1,245. ”
Maybe you are thinking to yourself, “Well Bat Country, I don’t want my tax dollars paying for someone else’s college.” Well Einstein, who is actually paying more when you keep the poor people from going to grad school? You are! “Why?” you ask? Because, people who go to grad school will graduate with their masters, Ph.D or M.D. degrees. That means, they have higher paying jobs. That means, they will be the middle to upper middle class that will pay more taxes. If you eliminate the ability for people to gain higher paying jobs, there will be less of a tax base and thus, moremoney from us in increased taxes. There will also be more cuts to your grandmother’s medicaid for her psychiatric drugs and Social Security. That’s right champ, your elderly mother will have to move back in with you. That’ll sure set the mood the next time you want to have your wife suspended from the ceiling in bondage.
Unless you like your mothball smelling grandparents and parents all up in your shit, you need to start voicing your opinions in defense of student loans. It’s time that we cut off the welfare gravy train for the wealthiest people in our country and start taxing them before morons like Virginia Foxx FUBAR our country.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Right-Wing Philosophy of Hate


Serious Fox News Journalist
(Sensationalist Douchebag Serious Fox News Journalist w/ Integrity)
It has only been a few weeks since the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and of course Fox News has fucked this up just like they fuck everything up. This week, Geraldo Rivera defended the actions of the murderer by placing responsibility of Trayvon’s death on Trayvon himself. On the news parody show, Fox and Fucksticks, the pornstache corporate mouthpiece blames Trayvon’s death on his sweatshirt. He says, “… I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”

Despite the absurd notion that a boy had to die because of clothing, Geraldo’s comments stem from a deeper problem, a cancer in our culture. It’s the mouth cancer of hate speech that’s not only tolerated by the right-wing, it’s actually encouraged. If you’ve watched any of the GOP clown show debates, you’ve heard the crowd cheer for the candidates when they speak of death, intolerance, and poverty. You may have also seen the hilarious, knee-slapping, cleverest-wordplay-ever, bumper sticker campaign “Don’t Re-Nig in 2012.” Or maybe you tuned into the Super Bowl to see Pete Hoekstra’s ad that uses an American woman doing her best “Ching Chong Chinaman” accent and perpetuating the “Yellow Peril” myth that politicians have used to scare voters into polling booths for over 100 years.
There is no better example of this human thought-bile than the modern-day “conservative” shouting head. From a distance, these animals resemble upright, walking, Homo-Sapiens. That is, until you have the misfortune of hearing their excretory rhetoric. They’re not human, but they’re also not the product of human de-evolution. They are worse. They are the incarnation of an oncovirus that attacks the brain and nervous system of America. Their product is cancer, lesions, and death.

And they are paid millions of dollars.

Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Coulter, and the rest, all maniacally scream on spit drenched microphones daily to the tune of raking cash. They say homosexuals will destroy the sanctity of marriage and brainwash our kids. They say women who engage in premarital sex are sluts and whores. Protestors should be shot. Other nations are to be bombed and converted to Christianity by force. The poor deserve to be poor. The poor deserve to pay more taxes. The poor should be drug tested, hounded, made to feel shame and humiliation for their station in life at every opportunity. Border crossers should be shot, electrocuted, and hunted by flying terror drones. They say these ridiculous things that blathering idiotic children wouldn’t dare to say and they’re paid handsomely for it. Why? Because there’s an audience that gobbles up their word-diarrhea by the spoonful. The exact same Republican donkey-show crowd that boos a soldier because he’s gay is the reason these morons have a timeslot, a book deal, and a speaking tour.
Let’s look at some of the comments on that video where Geraldo mouth-shits his inanity:
“Not as much as you do for pretending you don’t agree with him. TELL me you don’t cross to the other side of the street when you see a group of black kids walking toward you wearing hoodies. Fucking hypocrite.”
- patientzero532

“seems legit”
- jackknifejon

“Hate him on principle but you all know he is being sensible and speaks the truth……”
- winrx

“No, no-one should be raped or hurt or killed. When someone is dressed as a priest we expect them to be a man of god. If someone is presenting themselves as a gangster then they will be perceived as one.
I don’t know what this kid was wearing at the time but ‘hood up’ suggests you want anonymity. ‘Hood up’ is synonymous with crime culture, not all hoodie wearers are criminals but most criminals wear hoodies. I think he’s got a fair point.”
- TheDesignGuru
These comments are indicative of the whole cycle: broadcast-to-audience, audience-to-society. The cable news industry, politicians, and especially the right-wing of these two institutions are more focused on eliciting emotional reaction rather than disseminating information and discussing reasonable policy. They feed people’s fears and bigotries to pump ratings and drag in advertising and campaign dollars. And those people in their audience propagate the lies, misrepresentations, and foul vitriol like ripples through a pond. The cost, the real cost that we’re all paying, is the perpetuation of intolerance, hatred, and prejudice in the America we all share.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Occupy, jobs, and the REAL welfare



Mainstream cable news has painted the Occupy Movement as a portrait dirty, smelly, entitled hippie slackers who want nothing more than an ember glowing joint passed around a drum circle. Much of coverage has been filtered and edited to produce the most entertaining shows at the protesters expense.
A study (PDF) measuring demographics highlighted an incongruous view. Hector R. Cordero-Guzman of Baruch College in New York found that 50.4% are full-time employed and 20.4% are employed part-time. Only 13.1% are unemployed; the national average being 8.6%. The current national trends have been the highest unemployment since the Great Depression. Of those employed; 70.5% make less than $50,000 per year and 47.5% earn less than $25,000 annually. Is there any surprise these people are angry? After adjusting for inflation, a person between the age of 25-34 will earn an income 12% lower than they would have in 2000. Unemployment rates typically follow some relationship with education levels. Those who only possess a high school diploma are facing 15% unemployment rate. Bachelor degrees mirror the national average of 8.6%, A master’s is only 5% and PhD’s have a mere 2%. These numbers should be approached with caution, many people are underemployed for their education level. The Bureau of Labor Statistics show that over 8,000 waiters and waitresses and 5,000 janitors have doctoral or professional degrees. This trend of low wages despite college degrees hold for 92.1% of Occupiers with some college education. 35% have a bachelor’s and 21.5% have completed graduate degrees. This isn’t only the Occupy protesters who are living in or near impoverished levels, The New York Times, and others, have recently reported 34% of the elderly and 39% of American children live in poverty. According to 2010 Census data, 2.6 million people have moved into poverty, the most recorded since poverty records began in 1959. Much to the dismay of many Occupiers are the austerity measures proposed by Washington during these times of extreme levels of poverty and unemployment. Cuts to medicade, medicare and Social Security will only hurt those impacted by the poor economy, elderly, disabled and a host of other people.

More maddening is the very people who caused the nose dive economy are being protected from tax increases. Some of those entitlements for the rich have been outlined by U.S. Senator Tom Coburn. This article (PDF) breaks down the billions of dollars in government subsidies for millionaires. For instance, AGI defined millionaires have received $9 billion in retirement checks, $21 billion in gambling losses, $74 million in unemployment checks, $608 million in business entertainment deductions between the years 2006-2009. Who’s welfare funds are pulling down this country? The welfare of the poor at $80 million dollars, or the millionaire’s welfare. This was only a small sampling of the wealth given in tax deductions for the entitled rich.
The Occupiers are not the only people struggling, they are the only ones who are creating the dialog. Mainstream news has skewed, distorted and redirected the publics attention to the real issues. Current news programming focuses on the Jersey Shore GOP circus as though Perry’s next Texas drawl thought salad meant anything important to the nation. When a well informed group stands up to start making points, to inform the general public, they are attacked instead of a fair chance to speak. Mainstream news is more about entertainment than it is information.

The Sabu Double Play. How the real target is Julian Assange.


Hector Monsegur, known as Sabu, leader of the Anonymous affiliated hacking group LulzSec, was arrested by FBI agents in his New York apartment on Monday, June 7, 2011, at 10:15PM. On August 15, Monsegur pleaded guily to several counts of hacking and identity theft.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney James Pastore, as told to U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska at a court hearing on August 5, The defendant has literally worked around the clock with federal agents. “He has been staying up sometimes all night engaging in conversations with co-conspirators that are helping the government to build cases against those co-conspirators.”

Court documents and several news agencies report that Monsegur’s computer was tracked by the FBI since June 8, 2011. His online activity was accounted for around the clock by FBI installed software. Additional video cameras monitored every room in his home for protection.

From the FBI document entitled Six Hackers in the United States and Abroad Charged for Crimes Affecting Over One Million Victims, the following is based on the indictment and the information, complaints, and statements made up to and including Monsegur’s guilty plea:
The Stratfor Hack
Jeremy Hammond is a political activist from Chicago and the founder of the computer security training website HackThisSite. In December 2011, Hammond conspired to hack into computer systems used by Stratfor, a private firm that provides governments and others with independent geopolitical analysis. Hammond and his co-conspirators, as members of Anonymous splinter group AntiSec, stole confidential information from those computer systems, including Stratfor employees’ e-mails as well as account information for approximately 860,000 Stratfor subscribers or clients. Hammond and his co-conspirators stole credit card information for approximately 60,000 credit card users and used some of the stolen data to make unauthorized charges exceeding $700,000. Hammond and his co-conspirators also publicly disclosed some of the confidential information they had stolen.
On December 24, 2011, AntiSec announced the theft of Stratfor data in a link entitled,“Anonymous Lulzxmas rooting you proud.”
Info hit Twitter with @AnonyOps_ “’Anonymous/AntiSec Attack STRATFOR’ http://bit.ly/rMFtYi #anonyops 8:44 PM – 24 Dec 11.” The FBI claims that the hacks occurred December 6th, but watched the hackers access and delete files from the cache. The disparity in timing of Tweets and the FBI’s account suggest the majority of the Anonymous collective was not involved.
The FBI provided servers to unpack stolen information, including emails stolen from Stratfor, which were then shared with WikiLeaks at a later time. So the stolen Credit Cards had to been known by the FBI.
It is interesting when the timing of the Stratfor email hacks when juxtaposed against the court dates, and statements by the Attorney General and the FBI. If the FBI was in fact monitoring the hackers’ access since December 6th, they would have known long before December 24th about the stolen credit card information and the risk it posed. It might even give you pause to consider why they would sit on that kind of information – information that admittedly compromised the security of almost a million people.
Publicly, Hammond’s co-conspirators are unknown, never named in official court papers. We know now that Sabu was probably one of those co-conspirators.  Sabu was an important person in Anonymous because of his special talent as LulzSec’s “Rooter,” the person who finds the weaknesses for hackers to exploit. The “Rooting you proud” part of Christmas eve title by AnitSec suggests he wrote it, implicating himself as part of the operation at a time when he is obviously working with and monitored by the FBI.
Additional self-incriminating Tweets from Sabu’s Twitter account also implicate him as one of the Stratfor hackers. But if Sabu was in fact working for the FBI, how could the Stratfor hack be anything more than a clearcut case of entrapment perpetrated by the FBI?
* Clicking on the small star “Details” for the actual Tweet post.
This discussion is Sabu’s response to AnonOps’ disgust about the credit card theft.
Jean ‏ @jeanassy
@anonymouSabu he tweeted “Stratfor hack is a desperate attempt to gain attention by anonops”, do u agree?
TheRealSabu ‏ @anonymouSabu
@jeanassy Haha. We aren’t even on anonops for him to make such a claim. Perhaps he should direct his anger directly at daddy. (me)
3:38 AM – 26 Dec 11 via web · Details
Sabu is considering manipulating the media by changing intelligence reports.
TheRealSabu ‏ @anonymouSabu
Think: is it possible that we (#antisec) could have controlled the flow of media by injecting erroneous points into “intelligence” reports?
6:51 PM – 3 Jan 12 via TwitterforBlackBerry® · Details
This post is more of a ploy, he could simply ask the FBI agents who are monitoring is computer. Remember, the FBI has software installed to keep track of every key stroke.
TheRealSabu ‏ @anonymouSabu
RE: if hackers are able to generate intelligence reports used by media and governments – what would be the consequence?
6:52 PM – 3 Jan 12 via TwitterforBlackBerry® · Details
This Tweet is more cryptic, but still points out that the hole in the system was found and he knew of the particular weakness.
TheRealSabu ‏ @anonymouSabu
I think in regards to stratfor people are only looking at the small picture (hack itself, donations, et al) and missing the gaping hole.
6:53 PM – 3 Jan 12 via TwitterforBlackBerry® · Details
Here again, this is two days prior to the Tweet above, he admits to having control for months. That legitimizes the previous post as not a mistake/mistype. It also appears that he was attempting to change intelligence reports as well.
TheRealSabu ‏ @anonymouSabu
If you want to be technical we’ve had control over stratfor for months. Has anyone confirmed if any of their intel reports were compromised?
7:04 PM – 3 Jan 12 via TwitterforBlackBerry® · Details
In this Tweet, he suggests the hack didn’t occur on December 6th like the FBI claimed. Remember, Sabu is a Rooter, this means he finds the insecurities in the network. He claims this that “they” had access for months, assuming months before the actual hack. But it doesn’t really matter if he means months before Jan 5th or Dec 6th. Either way, the FBI knew for quite some time. It looks more like a part of a longer range plan.
TheRealSabu ‏ @anonymouSabu
The stratfor hack is important on many levels. Think about the very point we had access to its userlist for months, now consider its users.
11:28 AM – 5 Jan 12 via web · Details
On Janurary 7th at 6:16am, Sabu (Hector Monsegur), admits to actively hacking Stratford.
TheRealSabu@anonymouSabu Our inspiration during the Stratfor hack: youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJ 6:16 AM – 7 Jan 12 via web · Details
This circumstantial evidence suggests Sabu and the FBI were somehow a part of the Stratfor hack.
By December 29, 2011, The Washington Post announces the Hacker’s plan to dump the stolen data. The FBI have already given Sabu an FBI server to unpack the data from Hammond. Once that data was on their servers, the FBI would have been able to examine exactly what was removed from Stratfor, if they didn’t already know.
The data itself presented oddity after oddity. Many of the credit card holders had terminated their membership or the cards were expired. Some of those customers have not been paying customers for years. In fact, of the 50,277 unique credit card numbers, only 9,651 were NOT expired. Additionally, the original credit card data was not encrypted, a clear regulatory violation for any company storing consumer credit card information.  And lastly, Stratfor discovered the hack and the stolen data on the same day it occurred.
There’s a concept in the counter-hacking world called “honey pots.” An insecure or otherwise weakly secured computer is set up on the network. Hackers hone in on the entry point and mistakenly assume they are in the secure network. IT security professionals who are monitoring the “honey pots” can immediately detect and counter a hacker coming through these weak points – effectively slamming the lid on them and trapping them – or at least their identifying information – in the honey pot.
Back to those irregularities. Old, unencrypted customer data hanging out there unencrypted with just enough live accounts to make it all seem legit – on paper, it has all the markings of a “honey pot” conspiracy. Nevermind the fact that using real customer data – old or not – as bait is illegal on a number of levels.
Julian Assange released the Stratfor data on WikiLeaks on Monday, Feb 27, 2010. Sabu was announced as a turncoat the next Tuesday, March 6 2010, exactly one week after the data dump.
Could it be possible that Stratfor and the FBI were working in concert for a plan to frame Anonymous and Julian Assange to bring down WikiLeaks? If the U.S. Government show ties between Julian Assange and AntiSec’s Stratfor attack, they can embolden their case for extradition. One has to wonder just how deep the FBI participation was in the Stratfor hack. Was the entire Sabu saga all an elaborate plan to incriminate Julian Assange?
The New York Times article quotes Cyber crime investigator Mark Seiden, “It’s not surprising it would take them that long to make arrests,” he said. “They have to collect evidence, and the paperwork takes between three and six months. If you don’t know exactly how hackers attacked a site, it’s difficult to bring them to justice. There’s no point in picking an unripe fruit.” But Sabu was the Rooter, the one who provides the roadmap to attack the networks. There was no need for a three month investigation – Sabu had all the information they needed in that regard. It’s worth noting that that the day after Sabu’s arrest, the  FBI Director testified to Senate about cybercrime threat.
Too many questions remain unanswered. How is it possible that a best-in-class security firm such as Stratfor could be so careless in the encrypting and storage of their corporate emails and customers’ credit card information? What does it mean if it wasn’t mere carelessness but a conspiracy to knowingly expose those customers to potential fraudulent activity as unconsenting bait? Is the real conspirator here the FBI? How safe do you feel knowing that a government agency is willing to expose you to danger, however slight, with the endgame of playing a game of dominos with the fates and lives of real people?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Santarchy

Cacophony Society
Suicide Club
Pittsburgh's Santarchy

    Looks of horror, confusion and amusement beamed on every face as our army of Ho Ho perversion passed.
Santarchy or also known as "Santa con" was started by the Suicide Club in SF. I believe it was one of their pranks. Later, after the death of the founder, the Cacophony Society was formed and started the first "Santa Cons."

Interestingly the founding members, who were ex-Suicide club members, were also some of the original organizers of the Burning Man events. This was even before Burning man was named.

Here are my pictures of the event in Pittsburgh. well some of them.

And as usual, for more info.





Frank leading the caroling.


Macy's got an early Xmas present.





Weeeee!



We then got on a boat to cross the river.









Pittsburgh's bridges lit up by the streetlights.











Pittsburgh is a horribly ugly city.



I forget the name of this bar. 







I am not sure what they are, maybe Snow women?, either way, I am not complaining either.










And end the night with some bull riding, nothing says "Christmas" like an angry red nostriled bull!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - A Story of David and Goliath


        At first sight, modern day journalism resembles the bluish, bloated corpse of a tricked out junky whore, empty, destitute and dead. She doesn’t represent all of journalism in America; just the shit cable news entertainment industry that prop up pretty talking heads to spout their corporate sponsored messages. Because of the “big sell out” of mainstream journalism, many Americans have become a gutless, flaccid people with a short memory and dull intellect. These Americans have sent their children to die overseas and never challenge the lies that drove the nails into their coffins. They lost their homes in hedge-fund schemes while the wealthiest made billions but never demanded the prosecutions of those corporate criminals. They believe hyperbolic bumper sticker sound bites that tell them, “Terrorists hate your freedoms,” then give them all away with the Patriot, SOPA and 2011 NDAA acts. Cable news has created a Zombified flag-waving pandemic. It was enough for me to give up on our Facebook status breakfast updating society and say, “fuck it, bring on the annihilation.” Then one day I heard about the new “Global Revolution” through channels of the hacktivist group, Anonymous. The burning ember of rebellion began to intensify into the early summer. Vancouver based activist group, Ad Busters, posted an ad calling for a symbolic protest to “Occupy Wall Street.” This was something I have been waiting for, a damn good bare knuckle brawl. I followed the movement closely for two weeks. The contrast of coverage between mainstream and the other sources was staggering. I watched live-streams every night while I worked. Reports of police brutality were either ignored or misrepresented. Cable networks made parodies and demeaning news reports about unemployed, unintelligent, clueless and confused people. “What are the demands of Occupy?” That must be the most overused phrase of 2011. “What are they mad about?” As if the chanting wasn’t loud enough or the signs weren’t written clear enough. This absurdity drew me to Zuccottii park, to tell my own story with the people I met and the things I have seen.


Walking up to the street, the low bass thumping of rhythmic drums reverberated from Zuccotti Park. People crowded shoulder to shoulder watching dancers languorously twist, twirl and thrash to the beats of a primitive sacrament. A wall of bodies with signs encompassed the park’s perimeter. Intrigued by their beliefs and resolve, curious onlookers snapped photographs and asked questions. The protesters cardboard messages shouted demands: “Give me back my future,” “Those who make peaceful revolutions impossible, make violent revolutions inevitable,” “We are the 99% and we won’t relent.” The protesters in and around the park numbered in the hundreds if not thousands, and every week, their numbers grow. 


The revolution is a manifestation of disgust and frustration over many aspects of our current state of being as a Nation. The wealthiest’ leverage government policies for an unprecedented advantage over everyone else. In a time of the worst economic conditions since the great depression, politicians want to make cuts to the most vulnerable. Austerity measures will cut trillions of dollars to Social Security, Medi-care and Medicade for the needy, yet preserve enormous tax breaks for the wealthiest people and corporations The most difficult aspect of the movement stems from the media itself. The media negatively skew public opinion about the protesters and their cause. Much of this has been attributed to the fact that mainstream media is owned by the vary people they protest against. Mainstream media is the Goliathian obstacle to change. Dan Rather discusses this topic in a recent speech. He states, "Big money owns everything, including the news." This movement is protesting the very corporations and people that own and sponsor the mainstream media. It’s ludicrous to believe impartiality is ever a possibility. Fox News, for example, is owned by Billionaire Rupert Murdoch. On Oct. 3, one headline read, “Read Demands of 'Occupy Wall Street' ... and Try Not to Laugh” Never-mind the fact these demands did not come from the OWS organization; they were posted by a single person on the OWS forum. In fact, no formal demands have ever been written, voted upon or distributed. The Occupy Wall Street website addresses the media’s misuse of the forum post and explicitly states, “hyped by irresponsible news/commentary agencies like Fox News. There is NO official list of demands..” Media blackouts and skewing the truth only embolden the protesters. They know, if they are important enough for propaganda, they must be inflicting fear. Republican Congressman Peter King, on Oct. 7, 2011, states, “We can not allow more media coverage of Occupy Wall Street or they will win.” He later states, “I remember what happened in the 1960s when the left-wing took to the streets and somehow the media glorified them and it ended up shaping policy. We can’t allow that to happen.” Baseless lies have been reported to villify the movement; news anchors like Greg Kelly  station WNYW-​TV, son of NYPD police chief Ray Kelly. Mr. Kelly reported numerous time of a “plan to shut down subway system the November 17th anniversary of the movement. He could not give a source for the “information” and it never happened.  The only way to get an unbiased view of the movement, without actually being there, is to watch it from a live stream. No editing, only live streaming, no chance of skewing the truth.




I wandered down a three foot wide pathway framed by dusty sleeping bags and personal belongings. The articles wrapped around green leaf tree bases. Despite their bedraggled, soiled appearance, the protesters maintained a well-kept park. The bags are rolled tightly and belongings stacked so the Occupy Sanitation group can clean and sweep every morning. No garbage is dropped or left, it’s a daily, 24 hour job for volunteers.
Every pocket of bodies contained a wide motley array of characters and groups ranging from anarchist to human rights. The colorful people were certainly there, but they were vastly outnumbered by average vanilla looking others as well. One question I wanted to get to the bottom of, “Are they rambling soothsayers of doom, or do they have legitimate concerns?” Beside a large pile of curbside boxes and garbage stood a lone, thin man wearing an orange shirt and a black hood shrouding his head. A mild odor of food out too long lingered in the air around him. His brown pizza lid sign demanded in black acrylic paint, “End Torture.” Streaks of orange highlights danced around the words like flickering flames. Dressed in a Gitmo outfit, Bill Hines is a living punctuation of his cause. Right away, there is no doubt how he feels about the torture of prisoners on the Island of Cuba. He is part of an organization that began in 2005 after a group of 25 observers witnessed the treatment of prisoners. Upon arriving back in the states, they started the non-profit group Witness Against Torture. Their methods to end torture are to conduct non-violent protest and civil disobedience. He tells me the cause of out behavior is due , “I think it is a pathology, That leads to our way of life, and it needs this kind of violence.” He feels ultimately, tyrannical methods are incompatible with a democratic society.” During the 10th anniversary of Guantanamo in January, they will conduct a 12 day fast from the 3rd to the 11th, the day of action.
Bill Hines








Dark uniformed barrier of police stood guard around Zuccottii. Despite the “high tensions” between protesters and police, they seemed tranquil and uninterested in much of the activity. Tensions seemed high during marches and when they were ordered to make arrest. Being new to the park, I was warned by many protesters to not harass the police, they were not the concern. This wasn’t my first experience in a scenario like Occupy. I had filmed much of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh. The tension was much higher than the mellow atmosphere in Zuccottii. Down the wall I spotted a young man in his mid-20s holding a sign, “Interview me.” I hopped up on the wall next to him and said, “Ok, I’ll interview you.” He was a very enthusiastic guy who spoke with passion about the young movement. He drove from Wisconsin two days before to counter the bad press OWS was receiving in the mainstream. I couldn’t use his real name, instead he asked me to refer to him as “The V.I.P.” He explained, “It not saying that I am a Very Important Person, it means, Very Inspired Protester.”  His frustration was the powerlessness of the American people over politics and policy. Instead of corporations control our government, this revolution is about putting power back in the hands of the people. He explains the direction of the movement like this, “ I see this happen, first, by unifying all these diverse, independent groups under one banner. Because at a root level all these groups have the same desire. They may not realize it.” It isn’t that everyone must have the same voice for the same causes, it’s more about a respect that other people have other concerns besides the corrupt politicians and the unfair advantages for the rich. V.I.P pauses as if in deep thought, a passer by snaps his picture. “This revolution is about awareness, discussion and unifying people. Giving people a medium to vent their frustrations.”







This was a common theme my entire stay. No single group pushes their agenda ahead of any other group. Mainstream media takes advantage of the abundance of quirky characters, news stories are punctuated with snarky talking-head punchlines and cleverly edited film to televise the “freak show.” But, if this wasn’t done, then people may not dismiss them so quickly. They may begin to listen to what they are actually saying and consider their facts about corrupt deals made with politicians, unfair taxation and the unity of a 99%. Despite the media’s portrayal of painting them as dirty, smelly, entitled hippie slackers who want nothing more than an ember glowing joint passed around a drum circle. Actual measured demographic conjures a different view. One recent study found that 50.4% are full-time employed and 20.4% are employed part-time. Only 13.1% are unemployed; the national average being 8.6%. The current national trends have been the highest unemployment since the Great Depression. Of those employed; 70.5% make less than $50,000 per year and 47.5% earn less than $25,000 annually. Is there any surprise these people are angry? The “slacking hippies” are also highly educated as well. A whopping 92.1% posses some college education. 35% have a bachelor’s and 21.5% have completed graduate degrees. These statistics hardly resemble unemployed caricature built up in the media.




Sign making
After walking around much of the night, I sat down next a slender, woman with auburn hair. She didn’t stick out here in the crowd, but anywhere else, her hippie like demeanor would catch a glance or two. She turned her gaze toward me and gave a little smile, I began to talk with her. Interestingly, Theresa Lee has been involved with the Occupy Wall Street from the beginning and begins to tell the story. “I know about this because myself and a core group of determined people about 20 to 30 wanted to protest Mike Bloomberg’s budget cuts.” She started, “We have always wanted to take it to Wall Street, but unfortunately at the time there were so [many other problems], like the teachers were fighting and it was right in the middle of the gay marriage vote and debate. So we couldn’t get the numbers. In the evening, we would have like three, four hundred people. Then we only had about a hundred people sleep over, then the cops kicked us out onto the sidewalk.” Looking for a location to operate the next occupation became a focus. “We realized that it had to be on private property and that is why we are here in Zuccottii Park. It was given to city under the premise that it was open to all New Yorkers and people have access to the park, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. That was the only place we could be. It’s the one place they can’t kick us out; they would love to, but they can’t.” Other lessons learned from that first experience were the lack of food and water, and temperamental weather conditions, it was brutally hot over the Summer. People suffered small injuries and heat exhaustion, it became obvious that some type of medical response was necessary. These factors all played a roll into the planning of Occupy Wall Street. Theresa goes on to tell me how they prioritized their planning, “We realized that we needed people. We needed donations and the only way the media would pay attention to us is if we had lots and lots of people.”
Cicila stenciling on shirts for OWS donations.


Near our talk a single file line wrapped along the parameter of the park like a serpent winding it’s body around a hapless prey. The head of the line hissed as two female graffiti artist stenciled “I am the 99%” on the white, “I Love New York” shirts. She told me her name was Cecilia. She made up one of the several microcosm of activist groups. “How long have you been out here?” I asked. “I’ve been coming out everyday.” A young man hands her a shirt, she looks up at him with a smile, “Would you like it on the back or front?” “I’d like it across ‘I love New York’.” The canister or red vapor hisses from the can through the stencil. “I haven’t done any [street art] as of yet. I have been tempted to, but I don’t want to antagonize anyone and give the occupy a bad name.” Cilia had just started spraying the shirts a few hours ago but her ball cap was already overflowing with cash. This was one of the ingenious ways the movement raised funds to keep the occupation going.




After my very frigid night on the cement, I woke at the first crack of light. I began wandering around the camp to warm up my stiff, frozen muscles. My neck ached badly, my camera dug into my ear all night. Somehow, the discomfort made the night all the better. It gave me a feel for what these people do everyday to protest for the 99%. With most people still asleep in their bags, it was easier to see the layout of the entire occupation. It was a stark contrast to the high activity of yesterday. At first sight during the day, the protesters resemble the random meandering of ants around a dirt mound more than a well oiled machine. However, after spending some time inside the colony, an ordered chaos begins to emerge. In reality, the occupation is made up of highly organized entities working together in concert to provide the basic necessities for the occupation. I spoke with two organizers who work in the media center for the live-streams. Jessie wore a brown hoody speckled in an array of colors. A black bandanna covered most of his face but his eyes. Long brown hair jutted from the hood along the bandanna onto his shoulders. Kevin was draped in a blanket over his hoody. He smiling from inside the hood, he looked bright eyed and bushy tailed. They told me a lot about the general make up of the occupation. They have been involved from the beginning. The democracy is very similar to the ancient Greek philosophy where everyone has a vote on any detail. It is closer to a true democracy than our current system, in which representatives are given the power to speak for groups.  Protesters criticize that our current system is more plutocracy or a oligarchy than a democracy. Each day a General Assembly will meet. Volunteers will speak for different working groups to update their status and needs. Anyone can attend and vote.

Jessie and Kevin
Kevin: “OWS acts as a platform for everyone. The “General Assembly” is how groups coordinate.”


Jessie: “It’s different people volunteering to work with different level groups. They have their general meetings for planning their activities. People can come to the general assembly. If they approve, they approve, if they don’t, they don’t.”

Jessie: “The groups grow and shrink. Basically it is different people volunteering to work with other groups. They’ll have their own General Meetings to plan their activities. The different groups formed spontaneously. Someone said, ‘We need food.’ So they started a kitchen. Groups will say, ‘Hey can someone help with this?’ and people will just volunteer on day, week or whatever.”


Much of the Mainstream Media paints a disorganized cacaphony of jobless people meandering around a small park.But in reality there are highly organized groups working for different aspects of the occupation. Any type of extended occupation would need specialty jobs and coordination. Near the center of the park consists of protesters wearing red duct-tape crosses on their shoulders and chest. The medical treatment area comprised of volunteer nurses, EMTs and paramedics. Although they are limited by law to only bandage, ice and other basic medical response, they can call for ambulance or send people to the hospital for more serious concerns. The “Comfort Station” provides warm, dry clothing, sleeping bags, tarps and “space blankets” to reflect body heat. A media area serves to ensure the documentation for the outside world. Volunteers sign up to carry cameras to film different demonstrations, marches or workshops. 

The Kitchen




Those videos are later edited and posted on the web. There is a “Press area” for foreign and domestic press to arrange interviews with various protesters, especially when they need someone who speaks another language; security to protect protesters from other protesters or an overly passionate passerby,  mediation to settle intoxicated people, and sanitation to keep the park pristine and ensure proper waste disposal. The kitchen makes breakfast, dinner and provides snacks and seeks food donations. One of the more innovated ideas is the use of  throwing organic scraps into a compost bin, then donated to local farms. The “Direct Action” group is responsible for organizing marches and occupations.

On the outer rim of the encampment is a booth labeled, “Information.” This is a point of contact for visitors and people who want to join the protest. Here they can get information about the different working groups, where to get food, supplies or anything else they may need. If they have a certain skill and would like to volunteer, this is the place to be directed. Working in the Information Booth on the sidewalk covered scores of passer-bys who gawk and snap photos is Daniel. 

Daniel




He doesn’t look like your iconic revolutionary; he is your “run of the mill” average college student with a quiet demeanor. That is, until you have him talk about the movement. Passionately he begins, “I am amazed how organized it is given the chaotic nature this kind of assembly. I am impressed with the library, all the decision making bodies in the working groups. I mean, it is outside, there are certainly people sleeping in sleeping bags, it has the appearance of being chaotic and messy but really it is quite organized. We have health care, we have comfortization, people are taken care of, they are fed with healthy food.” “So what is the Occupy movement to you?” I ask. “To really get a sense of what Occupy is about, you have to go there. So someone who is living in Michigan, you will have to go down to their local occupation and really experience what they are about. It’s what is going to take away the narrative of what the Mainstream media wants to paint it as, and turn it into what it really is, which is about democracy, people power.” 

The Compost

That’s funny, cause the media can’t seem to see any rhyme or reason. Why do you think that is? “It’s funny because a lot of people in the mainstream media and traditional power are really confused by it, they are like, ‘This is messy, this is chaotic’ But this is actually what democracy looks like. Democracy is messy, democracy appears chaotic, but manages to arise at good decisions that benefit everybody.”  

Bill Shier

After talking with Daniel, I became distracted by a middle aged, stout man waving a large white flag. The Banner flashed a dove carrying an olive branch over the “VeteransForPeace.org” website address. Bill Shier looked like a typical proud grand father. He had a neatly shaved white goat tee to match his hair poking out from his ball cap. He wore a tide dye long sleeve shirt over his “Veterans for Peace” purple shirt. I pulled out my voice recorder and asked him for an interview. He sprung off the flower bed wall and gave me an enthusiastic, “sure!” I started, “Besides the obvious, what is Veterans for Peace about?” He smiled, “We are down here, not only because we are against it [war], we are against the corporations that profit from it. Such as Halliburton.” Bill is a Vietnam Vet and now a member of the Chapter 34 Veterans for Peace. “We’re sick and tired of people making money off dead bodies, and wounded minds, coming back ruined for life. It’s unnecessary. If we want to go after the terrorist then use the Navy SEALs or something like that. We don’t need to send 100,000 troops to some black hole like Afghanistan. We should have learned our lesson from Vietnam, don’t go where you are not wanted.” How do you feel about the movement? “Even if we are poor, we can still get together in large enough numbers to make an impact and make this whole Wall Street crime scene part of the political discussion.”


Discussing the next General Assembly Meeting
It is easy to take this diverse group of people and paint the picture of fuzzy logic and directionless meandering. An absence of a designated leader or list of demands also dumbfounds much of the mainstream media. They are all working together for a common goal, eliminating the unfair advantage of the 1% wealthiest over the rest of the 99% of the population. Mainstream pretends to be blind to the sea of signs chanting “Tax the Rich,” and “Worst government money can buy.” Where is the ambiguity in those messages? The mainstream’s refusal to acknowledge their complaints does not illegitimize their complaints. On October 7th, the Congressional Research Service released their report, “An Analysis of the ‘Buffett Rule’.” The report found that two thirds of people who earn more than one million dollars annually pay the lower tax rate of 15% on average over a typical 30% for middle class families. The “American Dream” is dead, the wealthiest families control most of the wealth and leveraging policy making though campaign funding. The top 1% own 43% of all the wealth, the next 19% own 50%, so just 20% of all American households control 93% of all the wealth. Insult to injury comes when the wealthiest corporations do not hire at times of record profits and outsource middle class jobs. July 1, 2012, the U.S. government will eliminate subsidized loans for graduate students. The double talk spoken by politicians is maddening. Where is the commitment to grow the middle class?




Worst yet, Tom Courbon U.S. Senator released this article breaking down billions of dollars in government subsidies for millionaires. For instance, millionaires have received $9 billion in retirement checks, $21 billion in gambling losses, $74 million in unemployment checks, $608 million in business entertainment deductions. Who’s welfare funds are pulling down this country? The welfare of the poor at $80 million dollars, or the millionaire’s welfare. This was only a small sampling of the wealth given in tax deductions for the entitled rich.
            
The Occupy movement may or may not be a revolution but it is an alarm. It could be just smoke from the stove, and be harmless, but it could be warning us the house is on fire. The question is, will the rest of the country wake up in time. So far, their only response has been propaganda and media blackouts. The issues are real and the movement is real, neither is going away.




A slim young man with scraggly brown hair stands in front of a large crowd “Mic Check” A sea of people booms in unison, “MIC CHECK.” He repeats, “Mic Check,” the horde repeats again, “MIIIIC CHECK.” "WHEN I SAY SOMETHING" The crowd repeats, "When I say something." "YOU REPEAT IT" "You repeat it" "THIS IS WHAT WE CALL" "This is what we call" "THE PEOPLE'S MIC" "The people's mic." Because the New York Police forbids the use of intercoms, the protesters utilize the technique, The People’s Mic. When a speaker talks everyone repeats back what they heard; sometimes it’s reverberated for two or three more tiers. “The people united will never be defeated.” Then follows with the chant, “WE ARE THE 99%” Marches in themselves do not bring about change. They do send a message out to others that say, “We feel the same way you do. There are many others just like us. We are ready to do something.” Occupy Wall Street has served this purpose and many others. It has started dialogs across the country and across the oceans. 1,600 cities worldwide are now chanting in unison, “If you are ready for change, then so are we.” 
Brooke Prigg




The boldest changes may come in 2012 if the Occupies can synchronize well enough to elect out the two ruling parties from Congress and the Senate, Democrats and Republicans. At an approval rating of just 9%, and the mobilization of the American people, the chance has never been better to make this historic change. Until this happens, no significant changes will ever come. Until then, the Occupy Movement will continue to fight their Goliaths, mainstream media, corrupt political parties and the 1%. Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”