This Populist Moment

by Akim Reinhardt

Beetle Baily by Mort WalkerLast week, Barack Obama got beaten up on social media and called out by the press for accepting a $400,000 speaking fee from a Wall Street investment firm. It was the day's major kerfuffle, the non-Trump story of the week, and reactions to it by many of my smart, well reasoned friends surprised me somewhat.

They began with the stance that this isn't an issue. Obama's a private citizen now, so who cares? But lots of people did care. When the story picked up steam despite their protestations, my friends then blamed the loony left for fabricating the issue, launching a general assault on fringe elements of the Democratic party and a firm defense of sensible centrist outlooks. Yet it wasn't just the left. The right predictably piled on as well, without any prompting from the left. The story also transcended the partisan divide as the centrist press ran with it. Christ, even the BBC, the vanilla pudding of international news, covered it.

In the end, the defense of Obama that gained the most traction among my friends, and to some degree in the national media, was a racial analysis. Some claimed that this brouhaha was another example of white people shaming a black man for earning a paycheck, the imposition of a racial double standard since white politicians and ex-politicians do this kind of thing all time.

This needs to be reckoned with. Obama was always held to a higher standard, precisely because he was black; he was always subjected to intense racism, and the racist backlash to his presidency as much as anything helps explain Trump's victory. Was this just another example of that racial double standard? It's an important question to ask.

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Everything Americans Think Is Complete Crap — Why Occupy Wall Street May Be Our Last Best Hope

by Evert Cilliers aka Adam Ash

OccupyDCcold075_1325709540I grew up in apartheid South Africa, and America today is beginning to smell worse.

Why? Because even though South Africa stunk headier than an elephant's poo after a rainy day, its black majority knew what they wanted and knew the country would be theirs one day. In America, it's by no means certain that the country will ever belong to its majority (or that its majority even knows what it wants).

We're not a country anymore, we're a racket run by the likes of a corrupt and immoral Wall Street. We have miserably failed at the single most basic organizing principle of any civilized society: how do you prevent the elite from stealing everything?

We haven't. They've done it. They've stolen everything. Our elite have stolen our money, our government, our legal system and our power from we, the people.

They've got it all, and we've got crumbs.

The difference between the 1% and the 99% is not simply economic. Not simply, for example, that we pay 35% taxes and big corporations either pay nothing — GE — or less than 2% — Goldman Sachs. The difference is moral and legal: folks at the top can torture and cheat and steal and lie and endanger the livelihoods of everyone else around them, and get away with it.

Our American elite is now as shitty as the Gaddafis and the Mubaraks and the Mugabes, and just about as crazy in their entitled bubble of runaway greed. Worst of all, they operate beyond the reach of the law. Too big to fail and too big to jail.

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“Mental-Rental”™ – a Device to Destabilize Capitalism

by Liam Heneghan

I hastily submitted this patent last week to provide an effective tool to further our revolutionary aims. This simple invention provides a novel mechanism to assist the Occupy Wall Street movement in bringing the system to its knees. Those who cannot march in the streets with Occupy Wall Street and yet who also inarguably Hate the Man™ and want to Destabilize the Status Quo™ can foment radical change from the comfort of home by deploying Mental-Rental™.

Patent Abstract

This simple notion, supported by a preformatted spreadsheet and a smart-phone “app”, is designed to calculate the mental exertion and botheration inflicted by mental parasitism by commercial jingles, catchy slogans, compelling catchphrases, easily recognized trademarks and mMental Rental0001_1any other mechanisms devised to coax you to buy useless pieces of shit. A set of accompanying tools calculates in the form of rent what is due to you for the occupancy of your mind. Mental-Rental™ also produces an itemized bill demanding cash compensation from offending commercial entities. These agitatory tools are supported by a synchronized website where you can track in real time the degree to which you have wounded capitalism as those exorbitant rental fees accrue. The system is fully integrated with Facebook and Twitter and with online banking.

Other U.S. Patent Documents by this Inventor

  1. Heneghan et al. 2005The Left-Shifting Mirror (a reflective surface that gives the mirror-gazer the impression of being more radical than is the case. Also, the claim extends to the device’s capacity to make fascists appear more reasonable under the heft of their own self-scrutiny).
  2. Heneghan and Dickens, 2009 – Cloned Tittlebats (a gene sequence from a common bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) is introduced into the common stickleback fish diminishing their eyesight and causing the fish to fly fitfully above water; I also claim a device for removing fish from your hair.)

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Notes On Zuccotti Park

Photographs from Zuccotti Park

Notes on Zuccotti Park One: Mic Check! A Pay Check Away From You. DSC00539

Mic check!

They are just a pay check away from being you. Take strength

Keep your courage, for yourself

And for them, they need you.

They who are today up there

Imprisoned– parked in concrete shelves—scraping the skies.

In these towers rising all around you

Surrounded by walls

Clinging to a useless fantasy that these streets are meant to lead them

To those paved with gold

But no! Yours is the golden path.

You who sit here in the park, enclosed by police barricades-

Liberated by thoughts, your dialogue.

Under an October night sky without stars

Sounds of your drums beat the police sirens

And rise above the din of ongoing construction

Called Freedom at the crossroads

Of Trinity and Liberty.

And there, a surveillance—NYPD tower

And a sign that says no skateboarders allowed in the Park.

Winter’s mist begins to rise off the damp pavements.

You see the lit windows high above

And you think they shine like places light years distance from you

Here in the park in the darkness below,

As though signaling–a passing, to you.

Silhouettes framed in the windows high up above you

In amber light, they appear caught in an eternity of fear, petrified.

And you sympathize

For rents have to be paid, mortgages met

What happens if there is no pay check?

They know they are just a paycheck away from you.

As you Mic check, in your attempt to reach them,

They know this too: it is not light that distances them from you—

They are just a pay check away from you.

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