The Spirit of '76

Brand-new book from author interviewed on "Fresh Air"

Friday, September 30, 2011

Swan's Original Poem from Occupied Wall Street

Note: This presentation of the poem may be the premiere edition of the revised version.

A revolution does strange things, I see the change it brings,
My pain just sings in the waves of people that chant change is king.
While our battle for fair wages wages on we see the storm that tries to divide our
cause like the
grey uniform facade, but we see change as god.
Not to speak ideology but my democracy results in blatant hypocrisy,
So we rose up consciously against this rape and sodomy.
They've corrupted my land; their care for
the people measures up to one grain of sand,
So we stand up.
I've never seen a check mark next to the checks and balances gimmick,
instead i see checks being written to balance out politicians.
For we need to believe the struggle that we perceive is to
denounce corrupt politicians and corporate greed, our need for a unified
land never expires, like our resolve.
TO prevail,
Unveil the broken and
console the neglected mistreat-in, our fate is freedom and their image
is treason.
They try to drop the "V for Vendetta" out of poverty and move
the r behind the t to leave us 99% with nothing more than broken hope poetry.

We the people congregate to contemplate our next step,
We the people are the 99%,
We the people are livid and we need to vent.
We don't need the empire state's consent to invent ideas worth giving,
redemption and a life worth living.
If we are dispatched from this
We will leave alive, Through poetic verse our ideas survive....

-- Swan of Occupied Wall Street

Unidentified Wall Street Workers "Toast" Wall Street Protestors

In this photo several unidentified Wall Street workers appear to mock protestors while drinking champagne high above the madding crowd below.

September Goes Out with a Bang

The web organization Truthout has a good summary page of the Occupy Wall Street protest. The exciting news now is major trade unions are endorsing the protest and planning to join the demonstration on site soon.

It is hard to see how this movement will end other than to cause a wide-spread heightened visibility of the inequities inherent in our economic system, the profit system.

This movement has been a very long time coming -- almost forty years since wages began to stagnate. We should not miss this unmistakeable sign of hope.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Famous Speaker Scheduled to Address Occupiers of Wall Street

Cornel West, famous philosopher and activist, was to have addressed the Occupiers of Wall Street at 7:00 Eastern Time tonight. I am currently awaiting late up-dates on this appearance.

From "The Devil's Advocate": The web site of Occupy Wall Street declares that several U.S. cities are "occupied" by their group "We Are the 99%." Is this really true or is it a bit of hyperbole? If it is hyperbole, the reporters might want to re-think the way they are using the language. With so much hyperbole and spin in Washington, D.C., we don't need more elsewhere. -- from a friendly voice

Monday, September 26, 2011

Communique from the Occupiers of Wall Street

There is a certain language and tone coming from the Occupiers of Wall Street. The words come from a deep place, spring out quite effortlessly and forcefully, telling of events large and small on Wall Street and beyond Read these words and feel encouragement and life.

via September 26, 2011 --

Yesterday was a day of action, and today was one of healing, discussion, and preparation. Working groups met in small circles around the plaza, planning their work and preparing to report back to the General Assembly as a whole. The Assembly debated, as always, the hows and whys of being here. In the morning, we talked about the occupations rising up in cities around the United States, joining us in what we're doing, as people begin rediscovering the power in themselves against the powers looming over them in buildings. We talked of calling more people to do what we're doing. In the evening we talked about staying, or leaving, and what this space means for us. We love it, we're almost addicted to it, but what we are is more than this.

We strolled around the plaza. We wrote songs with new friends. We argued about politics with each other, but not a politics of puppets: a politics for us. We fed the hungry and gave sleeping bags to the cold. We roughhoused. We talked to the world on our live stream. Most of all, we kept on organizing ourselves. Our library grew.

Drums blared for hours into the night when the Assembly wasn't in session, until the time came for quiet. The drummers ended by reciting from the Principles of Solidarity we approved in Friday's General Assembly, in the rain. Before the police lined along the Broadway side of the plaza, they cried together, "We are daring to imagine a new socio-political and economic alternative that offers greater possibility of equality." And more.

"Safety in numbers!" a sign by them says. "Join us."


A protestor who was said to be blogging from a police van --

photograph via @PulseofProtest

Time Out for a Poem from Wall Street

News from Wall Street about week-end events there raise grave concerns about the safety of the peaceful protestors in that Capitol of Wealth. These are individuals who have struck a note for freedom from corporate domination of our financial system. These are brave individuals -- men and women -- who have risked limbs if not exactly their lives to stand up for an America where all truly are created equal. This high goal has not been achieved as yet in spite of all the many years since the establishment of the Republic.

I will be gathering details from the Wall Street protest, but for now I am proud to present a recent poem from Swan, the poet from Occupied Wall Street. Swan is becoming a friend for he stands for truth and is willing to work for it under duress, but peacefully. Such people deserve our utmost respect and gratitude. Here, then is the poem composed at the time of the death of Troy Davis (see earlier posts here).

I am standing on the peak of the tallest mountain, and there is a storm forming. The illusion of media-diluted minds in the days leading to my physical constitution's execution.
Reincarnate me as revolution,
Let me become the storm,
Make my hands into rain drops that rain and rust the old machine's cogs.
Form my arms as the fogs and shroud the unjust in clouds of shame.
Proclaim my name as thunder,
Rolling fields of dropped badges and shields revealing men and women kneeling down, Inspired by my form,
The perfect storm.
Let the lightning be my legs stomping down with unrelenting fury,
My Freedom will not be decided by racist judges and jury. Such a wasted bit of fate,
Though there is no hate in my heart,
I have done my part, martyrdom has made me a storm,
Over-shadowing a nation.
I feel the clouds feed my thunderous voice,
My brain is racing.
Long live the revolution because I embody it.
Wherever there are brothers and sisters who fight for what is right
I will bring the rain,
Because the truth is light,
And a flash can change the world.....

Friday, September 23, 2011

We Are the 99%

The group which calls itself "We Are the 99%" continues to occupy Liberty Square according to information I am receiving. I am looking for news of whether Wall Street itself remains occupied. In the meantime here is news posted this morning and referring to yesterday, Thursday, September 22, 2011.

via --

Tonight we were joined by a protest against the for-profit legal lynching of Troy Davis. We are all Troy Davis. If Troy Davis had been a member of the 1% he would still be alive. Together we numbered nearly a thousand strong and marched on Wall Street. The police arrested six of us and attempted to incite violence by splitting the march and boxing in protesters, in spite of this, we remained true to our principles of nonviolence. After the police arrested our members we marched on their First Precinct as phone calls from supporters flooded in, urging the police to release the jailed peaceful protesters.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Uproar Over Execution in Georgia

As I write I am listening to the report on Democracy Now of the execution last night in Georgia of Troy Davis after a long battle to stay the death warrant against Davis, who had originally been convicted of supposedly killing a police office over twenty years ago.

This execution was carried out in spite of statements by former Pres. Jimmy Carter, former FBI director William Sessions, former Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia advocating a permanent stay of the execution.

Likewise, people all around the world were watching this execution situation and deploring it. The argument against the execution was that there was too much doubt that Davis did, in fact, commit this crime.

The fact that the state of Georgia carried out this execution in the light of such doubt, and in the light of statements from these important leaders, is evidence that darkness reigns in Georgia. Georgia, the state of peaches, and pecans, is now a state of unjust punishment. This is not enlightenment; this is not America.

If anyone can show me the proof that Troy Davis committed this crime I will be glad to retract my strongly-held statements in this post.

Troy Davis

In Memoriam

Wall Street Occupiers: We Are Still Here

Wall Street protestors say they are still there and doing well. The following message to readers everywhere is found on their official web site.

via --

You have fought all the wars. You have worked for all the bosses. You have wandered over all the countries. Have you harvested the fruits of your labors, the price of your victories? Does the past comfort you? Does the present smile on you? Does the future promise you anything? Have you found a piece of land where you can live like a human being and die like a human being? On these questions, on this argument, and on this theme, the struggle for existence, the people will speak. Join us.

We speak as one. All of our decisions, from our choice to march on Wall Street to our decision to continue occupying Liberty Square, were decided through a consensus-based process by the group, for the group.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Good Photos of New York City Protest

At the link above are numerous high-quality photos of the Occupy Wall Street protest, courtesy of the Guardian newspaper.

Complaint and Question

Can somebody please answer: Why is it so hard to get up-to-date news on the occupation of Wall Street? So much of what I am finding is several days old. Are there not any alternatives? Even the official Occupy Wall Street web site has scanty information. What is happening today? Does anyone know? Please use the comment button below if you have bona fide information. I will be most grateful.

Occupiers of Wall Street Persist

Despite a struggle to find up-to-date information, thanks to Democracy Now, I have some news about the effort to maintain a protest presence in the Wall Street area of New York.

From today's Democracy Now web site:

Jason Amadi, Occupy Wall Street protester: "I was chalking on the sidewalk, when I was surrounded by police officers, and they told me to put my hands behind my back, and they cuffed me, and they took me to the police station. And I was really upset by this. But really what it did was it empowered me to continue to be here, because this is more about our government being taken by the banks and exploiting all of us. This is about our First Amendment rights, our right to assemble, and really just taking back our government for the people.”

News Sources Not Covering Wall Street Protests

Two bits of information --

1) Citizens for Legitimate Government reports that MSNBC is not covering the protests on Wall Street but is spending time, instead, on fluff;

2) I can find no report of the events in New York on the main news list of the morning's Huffington post.

Other outlets such as CBS and the Washington Post have, however, at least offered some reports.

More later.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Report on Day Four of the Occupation of Wall Street

via --

Day 4: At least five arrested, one may be in critical condition

Published 2011-09-20 05:01:04 UTC by OccupyWallSt

Early this morning at least five protesters were arrested by NYPD.

The first arrest was a protester who objected to the police removing a tarp that was protecting our media equipment from the rain. The police said that the tarp constituted a tent, in spite of it not being a habitat in any way. Police continued pressuring protesters with extralegal tactics, saying that a protester on a bullhorn was breaking a law. The protester refused to cease exercising his first amendment rights and was also arrested. Then the police began to indiscriminately attempt to arrest protesters, many of them unsheathed their batons, in spite of the fact that the protest remained peaceful.

The new residents of Liberty Square continued to serve as shining examples of law abiding behavior in spite of police harassment and the loose interpretation and selective enforcement of New York’s laws by the NYPD.


N.B. This report is unverified, but reports from this source so far seem to have been accurate. What is not clear from the above is whether Wall Street itself remains "occupied." I will try to find out. -- TMP

Jesse Jackson Opposes Primary Challenge to Barack Obama

In an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now this morning, The Rev. Jesse Jackson opposed the announced effort by certain prominent Americans to mount a challenge to Pres. Obama in next year's Demcratic nomination effort. Jackson reminded listeners and viewers that it was Ralph Nader's candidacy in 2000 which, in effect, defeated Al Gore, the sitting Vice-President and sent George W. Bush to the White House. We must not give up on Barack Obama, Rev. Jackson declared.

I support Rev. Jackson in his statement. Far better to support the peaceful and smart demonstrators now occupying Wall Street. Other protests are happening or planned in other cities according to the Occupy Wall Street web site. Small actions decided upon to the best of one's ability and carried out quickly can do more good than doomed efforts at opposing Barack Obama at this time.

N.B. This blog has been sharply critical of Pres. Obama in the past, but with his strong, powerful statement yesterday that the wealthy must contribute their fair share in the deficit-reduction efforts, Mr. Obama is, in fact, speaking truth to power. This is a voice we desperately need. (The notion that seniors and the poor must somehow share a burden in reducing the deficit -- as the President also proposed yesterday - is certainly ridiculous. Nevertheless, the stakes are too high -- we cannot afford a Rick Perry or any other of the Republican candidates in the White House.)

Statement from the Occupiers of Wall Street


Third Communiqué: A Message From Occupied Wall Street
Published 2011-09-20 12:50:30 UTC by OccupyWallSt

We're still here. We intend to stay until we see movements toward real change in our country and the world. This is the third communiqué from the 99 percent.

Today, we occupied Wall Street from the heart of the Financial District. Starting at 8:00 AM, we began a march through the Wall Street area, rolling through the blocks around the New York Stock Exchange. At 9:30 AM, we rang our own "morning bell" to start a "people's exchange," which we brought back to Liberty Plaza. Two more marches occurred during the day around the Wall Street district, each drawing more supporters to us.

Hundreds of us have been occupying One Liberty Plaza, a park in the heart of the Wall Street district, since Saturday afternoon. We have marched on the Financial District, held a candlelight vigil to honor the fallen victims of Wall Street, and filled the plaza with song, dance, and spontaneous acts of liberation.

Food has been donated to the plaza from supporters all over the world. Online donations for pizza, falafels, and other food are coming in from supporters in Omaha, Madrid, Montreal, and other cities, and have exceeded $8,660. (Link to donate:

On Saturday we held a general assembly, two thousand strong, based on a consensus-driven decision-making process. Decisions were made for the group to occupy Liberty Plaza in the Wall Street corridor, bedding down in sleeping bags and donated blankets. By 8:00 PM on Monday we still held the plaza, despite constant police presence.

We speak as one. All of our decisions, from our choices to march on Wall Street to our decision to camp at Liberty Plaza were decided through a consensus process by the group, for the group. We are building the world that we want to see, based on human need and sustainability, not corporate greed.

Planned and spontaneous actions will continue throughout the coming days. Expect us.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Occupy Wall Street -- Official Site

The official site for the Occupy Wall Street effort contains good information, the kind I have been looking for. Somehow, this has the look of thoughtful planning and rather expert execution. There is a dignified beauty about this protest. I like it very much.

Audio Report of Wall Street Occupation

At this link is an audio report from a Washington-based pirate-type radio station. If the claimed number of protestors is suspect, it is interesting to hear the voices of some of the protestors.

Warning: Contains obscene epithet. If I knew how to bleep such, I would, believe me. In this case I think the content otherwise is worth the risk of ruined ears, as we might say.

Blogging the Occupation of Wall Street

As the article at Truth-out explains, the protestors have already achieved their objective. Wall Street was blocked off all week-end and reports are that only those with identification were permitted beyond the barricades today, whether to protest or to go to work. The importance of this event symbolically is not to be under-estimated.

I plan to keep abreast of events as best I can and am currently seeking a decent source of accurate hourly reports.

"Occupy Wall Street -- All Week"

-- So chanted hundreds of protestors on and near Wall Street over this past week-end. Democracy Now! reports on the protest and its meaning. Click on the blog title. More later.
Photo by David Shankbone

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Follow-Up to Story on Hershey's Jobs Gone Sour

Here is a link to a story which up-dates the strike story below. It seems students from abroad are not as gullible as some avaricious middle-men and Hershey's company executives would believe.

Hurray for the students!

Foreign Students Find Hershey's Job Not So Sweet

Foreign students who thought they were signing up for a summer cultural exchange program were instead put in a Hershey's factory, sometimes standing for hours wrapping candy bars. The young people -- future doctors, teachers, and diplomats -- contacted labor leaders who advised them and gave them support. Evidently, Hershey's is not the only company using students from abroad who are essentially working for slave wages, unable even to pay expenses for the trip to America.

Certainly this is not the image of America we want to project to the world. Later reports indicated news of such practices have created quite a stir.

I plan to report more on this important matter soon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Judge Defies Constitution

The Accused Treated Unfairly by Judge

In a state that seems to have recently become a leader in assaults on democracy (see previous post here), a Michigan judge has pretended the Fifth Amendment allows for an exception due to "national security." Everyone understands the need to protect citizens of the U.S. from harm. But undermining the signature document of the country is no way to do it. Experience shows that the Miranda warning, in the end, does not weaken the cause of justice, but rather strengthens it. Shame on Judge Edmunds.

Judge Edmunds

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What Is Most Needed?

Today people around the world are remembering the killings of the innocent at the World Trade Center ten years ago. Besides all the other victims of mass tragedies -- such as the shootings last January surrounding a Gabrielle Giffords event, or the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City or ever so many others -- what should we also be focusing on? Should we not be remembering the shocking lack of oversight on the part of our leaders? Or was it -- just maybe -- something more than mere negligence?

Friday, September 09, 2011

More on Billy Bragg's Passion-Filled TV Appearance

At the link below, you can watch the appearance of British folk/rock singer Billy Bragg on the U.S. alternative news show, Denmocracy Now! Not only does Bragg sing as well as talk about his own life, he offers cogent commentary on the current British and American political scenes.

Interesting, Billy Bragg speaks about the tendency of those on the left to tear down politicians who offer an alternative to far-right candidates. Though this is a complicated issue, with differences of opinion abounding, Bragg counsels caution so as not to hand to the merchants of gloom the highest public office in the world.

An Economic Hit Man Tells His Story

At the moment I am writing, Link-TV is presenting a partially-dramatized documentary on an economic hit man.

The film is already dramatic. This post is not a film review. Rather, having already heard John Perkins on radio, I am familiar with his story.

So based on what I already know and what I have already seen in the first ten minutes, I can enthusiastically commend to you "Apology of an Economic Hit Man."

This is the 700th post of this web log.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Labor Day Week-end Brightened by Two Sanguine Voices

In a time of rising discontent for workers two voices of hope were raised over American air-waves this past week-end. Speaking eloquently, with both seriousness and hope, the head of the National Nurses Committee, and singer Billy Bragg spoke to program hosts about the promise of renewed hope for labor.

Soon I will have more details. For now, it is clear there is hope amidst the despair. The nurses and musicians are leading the way!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Young Adults Heading Back to the Land

There's apparently a growing trend toward farming among the the non-ag set as well, with young college graduates sluffing off their urban or suburban lifestyles to get back to the land.

That trend might not be enough to compensate for the wave of retirements among current farmers, but it is a step in the right direction.

So says a writer at a U.S.D.A. web site. With farmers among my ancestors, I can attest to the value and hard work of farmers. It is indeed a noble profession, one which an increasing number of young people appear to be discovering. Read more here:

Gallup Explodes Social Networking Myths

Does on-line social networking really attract and retain customers? Gallup says it may, but not in the way companies think. In a plaudit for old-fashioned friendship and deep relationship, Gallup says companies can build on a relationship on line, after the relationship has been established off line first. Read more in the fascinating article whose link appears below.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Change in Climate Change Opinion?

At the link shown above is a good polemical essay on the issue of global climate change. I admire this article, though I always find it difficult to get my mind into the actual science of the situation. In high school I chose not to fit physics into my schedule, opting to go on the newspaper staff instead. So I got experience in writing for a journal. However, my science knowledge has suffered. I suspect most adults today are in the same boat regarding science.

See the article above for one perspective on the subject.

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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

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