“Mr. Debs Goes to Washington”

You all remember Eugene Debs, right?

He was an Indiana state legislator and founder of the first industrial union in America. He has been the only person to run for the Presidency of the United States while in jail (in 1920); he got almost a million people to vote for him in that election. He is America’s most famous socialist. (A *real* socialist, Mr. Hannity, puh-leaze.)

He dismissed the validity of the electoral process, because of the “back-room” deals often made within it. He felt that the true way to bring about socialism was for the working class to organize, educate, and liberate itself by itself.

Neocons should fear this man’s political great-grandchildren in the Occupy movement.

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Occupy! comes to Sinfest!

One of the most inspirational cartoons I’ve run across in a long time. (Click to enbiggen.)

Thank you so much, Mr. Ishida!

(MILD SPOILERS) There are some back-stories you may not know about — Blondie is fighting the Patriarchy from within (ala The Matrix), the little devil (in the last frame) is Lucifer’s outcast son, the woman with the megaphone has been made aware (by Blondie) that the Patriarchy is everywhere, and the Devil *is* the Patriarchy.

“You don’t have to outrun the lion. All you have to do is outrun your opponent.”

Click to enbiggen. Thank to Daily Kos for the tip.

Until progressives (particularly of the Occupy species) realize this, they might as well get up on big hamster wheels, and run and run and run without getting anywhere.

Get out the vote, folks. Examine the candidates, and if you don’t like what you see, run yourself.

“Be true to yourself, and you cannot be a traitor to any good cause on earth.”

Harriett got tired of standing by passively and watching the U.S. government give away peoples’ rights in pursuit of the illusion of safety. She watched the Patriot Act become law. She watched as habeas corpus was suspended indefinitely. She watched as the NDAA was passed, allowing possible incarceration of American citizens without benefit of counsel and to be held incommunicado for as long as the government wishes.

As a result, she helped some friends break into government computer networks in an attempt to find damning evidence that could be made public.

Soon afterward a SWAT team breaks into her apartment at 0300, takes her into custody, hoodwinks her, and transports her to an undisclosed location. There she is informed that, under the provisions of the NDAA, she is being held as “an enemy combatant”, and she will not be able to call upon the rights and privileges of a U.S. citizen. That is because, by Justice Department dictate, she is no longer a U.S. citizen.

Click to enbiggen, and see Representative Charles Dent's comments below

Couldn’t happen, you say? Not possible? Harriett performed no act heinous enough to invoke USC §1481, the provision that allows the government to strip her of her citizenship. Right?

Think again.

The Enemy Expatriation Act (H.R. 3166 and S. 1698) is a bill currently before Congress that makes one small change in USC §1481. 1481 defines what offenses could cause U.S. citizens to have their citizenship revoked. Those conditions include conviction for treason, joining the armed forces of a foreign country, or becoming a naturalized citizen of another country.

The change invoked by H.R. 3166 and S. 1698 involves one small addition to USC §1481 to those existing conditions. The addition, per the proposed bills, is simply:

(8) engaging in, or purposefully and materially supporting, hostilities against the United States

There is also an addition that defines”hostilities” as:

(c) For purposes of this section, the term ‘hostilities’ means any conflict subject to the laws of war

The “official” reason for this modification of existing U.S. legal code is cover the military’s ass in the case where an American citizen openly foments war against the United States; in such cases, U.S. citizenship can be revoked and the military can treat the subjects of that revocation as if they were enemy combatants — i.e., they can killed without the legal ramifications of ensuring the human rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the Constitution.

However, there is a darker side to this. Define “engaging in, or purposely and materially supporting, hostilities against the United States”. Is it firing a Stinger missile at a Army chopper? Is it exhorting militants to engage in jihad against the U.S.? Is it shutting down the Department of Justice computers, as was (allegedly) done recently by members of Anonymous?

Might it be tearing down the NYPD barracades blocking off Zuccotti Park?

Before you exclaim that Occupy activities could never be construed as “hostilities” against the United States, take a good look at the history of the Espionage Act of 1917 and ask the ghosts of E. E. Cummings, Eugene Debs, and the other 200 detainees about it.

See what Anonymous, a probable target of the EEA, has to say.

Here are the comments of Representative Charles Dent, H.R. 3166’s sponsor:

The power of art

It has been said that the purpose of art is to take complex concepts and bring them to a level that can be easily and quickly perceived.

Does everyone remember Shepard Fairey? If you don’t, this should jog your memory:

His was the art chosen to portray the direction that Barack Obama wished to take his presidential campaign. His motif and composition became iconic; complex ideas like “hope” and “change” were made easily tangible with naught but a few color choices and a distinct style.

However, in year 3 of Mr. Obama’s administration, hope has faded. After the promise of the financial stimulus package, the repeal of DADT, and the onset of the Affordable Care Act, there has been no substantive work toward solving our country’s problems. The administration lends no political leadership to its beliefs, and the Republican Party (backed by political extremists like the Tea Party) has caused legislative gridlock to the point of near disaster.

Mr. Fairey clearly understands the power of art. Here is his new call:

Same color scheme and style, but now the message is very, very different. The concepts of the 99%, and of the Guy Fawkes mask (from Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta) that has come to symbolize Anonymous, are now telling the administration that “hope” is waning. In fact, the red text at the bottom of the piece is superfluous.

This should be a clarion call to Mr. Obama — the very people he reached out to 2008 are ready to turn away from him unless he “changes”.

~~~

A side note: here is another Fairey creation that is just as telling as his previous work:

While Arab Spring has proven that tyrants can fall from power, it is also a powerful symbol for those in the United States as well. Politicians have all tried to hide the truth, and suppress it. And in this day of the internet, the truth cannot be hidden.

It will come out.

We are reminded of John Kennedy’s statement:

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Rorschach vs. Marv

Frank Miller, the comic artist well-known as the creator of the Sin City series, 300, and highly significant reboots of the Batman and Daredevil, recently wrote a bitterly disappointing scree plastering terms such as “louts”, “thieves”, and “rapists” to the Occupy movement.

” ‘Occupy’ is nothing short of a clumsy, poorly-expressed attempt at anarchy, to the extent that the ‘movement’ – HAH! Some ‘movement’, except if the word ‘bowel’ is attached  is anything more than an ugly fashion statement by a bunch of iPhone, iPad wielding spoiled brats who should stop getting in the way of working people and find jobs for themselves.”

I’ve very much enjoyed his work in the past, but I was saddened by his blind fear of one of the most significant social movements in the last 50 years.

How refreshing it was to see someone of Alan Moore’s stature who has stood up and rebutted Miller’s grotesque distortions:

“Frank Miller is someone whose work I’ve barely looked at for the past twenty years. I thought the Sin City stuff was unreconstructed misogyny, 300 appeared to be wildly ahistoric, homophobic and just completely misguided. I think that there has probably been a rather unpleasant sensibility apparent in Frank Miller’s work for quite a long time. Since I don’t have anything to do with the comics industry, I don’t have anything to do with the people in it. I heard about the latest outpourings regarding the Occupy movement. It’s about what I’d expect from him. It’s always seemed to me that the majority of the comics field, if you had to place them politically, you’d have to say centre-right. That would be as far towards the liberal end of the spectrum as they would go. I’ve never been in any way, I don’t even know if I’m centre-left. I’ve been outspoken about that since the beginning of my career. So yes I think it would be fair to say that me and Frank Miller have diametrically opposing views upon all sorts of things, but certainly upon the Occupy movement.

“As far as I can see, the Occupy movement is just ordinary people reclaiming rights which should always have been theirs. I can’t think of any reason why as a population we should be expected to stand by and see a gross reduction in the living standards of ourselves and our kids, possibly for generations, when the people who have got us into this have been rewarded for it; they’ve certainly not been punished in any way because they’re too big to fail. I think that the Occupy movement is, in one sense, the public saying that they should be the ones to decide who’s too big to fail. It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it.”

(T minus 1)

Buy nothing tomorrow

Sounds like a winner to me.

Spend this Thanksgiving Friday in the company of loved ones. Take care of some of those jobs on the “honey-do” list for that special someone who made you that sumptuous meal today. Show the big-box pinheads that offering tiny discounts on things you don’t need doesn’t begin to persuade you to buy.

“Youse don wanna be steppin’ on youse own crank, youse know?”

My favorite response to the question “Why don’t cops break up Tea Party rallies?”

“It’s not about violence or guns. Those are distractions. OWS trying to be nonviolent isn’t because violence is “bad” or “wrong;” it’s because violence is a distraction. The reason guns are OK at a tea party rally is that it isn’t a protest; it’s a ratified, funded, and supported affirmation of those who already have political power. The rich aren’t going to disrupt you kissing their asses.”

Thank you so much, Mr. Burke, for placing that crystalline-clear thought into the ether.

“The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

English Prime Minister George Grenville and his Stamp Act of 1765, which was designed to suppress protest in the American colonies and generate revenue for the Crown.

~~~

Senator Joseph McCarthy taking advantage of the Red Scare, and only self-destructing when he tried to take on the U.S. Army in front of television cameras.

~~~

Alabama governor George Wallace and his efforts to enforce the Jim Crow “separate but equal” fiction: “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!”

~~~

Chicago’s mayor Richard Daley Sr., who sadistically wielded his city’s police force to try to stop anti-war protests in 1968. Daley is often (mistakenly) identified as the last big city political machine boss.

~~~

Ohio governor Jim Rhodes, who the day before state National Guardsmen cut down four protesting students, described them as “the worst type of people that we harbor in America.”

~~~

…and now, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has lied, destroyed, and twisted the legal system to accomplish what his political overlords want:

We should give thanks to all these little two-bit politicians. They’re the reason informed protest works. Every time.

“What can *I* do?” Here are handfuls of ideas.

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, here’s a list of things that you as a private citizen (or a group of private citizens) can do to make a change:

Write and call your Congresscritters and urge them to:

  1. Remove Congress’ exemption to insider stock trading rules
  2. Keep the Dodd-Frank banking regulations in place
  3. Demand that public financial institutions keep their records transparent as required by law
  4. Demand that we cease supporting the kleptocracy that is Afghanistan
  5. Forge a redefinition of proper election campaign funding rules
  6. Not allow the rich to get richer at the expense of the 99%
  7. Remind them that their phoney-baloney jobs depend upon your vote and the votes of others

Visit and/or write your local legislators and your school board and urge them to:

  1. Allow Occupy movements to peacefully and legally continue their protests
  2. Support urban homesteading and homeschooling efforts
  3. Remember that their phoney-baloney jobs depend upon your vote and the votes of others

Write what you have to say in a letter to your local newspaper, to the New York Times, and to online news sources.

Take those credit card offers you get in the mail (you know, the ones that offer you 0% interest for 6 months, and then jack up those rates to levels that would make Shylock pale), put all of the offer letter’s contents into the return envelope along with a message like “Save your jobs — unionize!”, and mail it back to them.

Write to your bank manager (and higher on their heirarchy) and demand that they quit tacking on hidden fees, like the $1.50/call that Bank of America adds for talking to a warm body more than once a month, or the $5/transaction fee that BoA charges for unemployed workers to access their unemployment moneys.

Organize your neighbors and go clean up that nearby vacant lot that’s full of garbage.

Start a community vegetable garden.

Above all, gather your friends and neighbors and remind them of Benjamin Franklin’s adage: “We must all hang TOGETHER, or most assuredly, we will all hang separately.”