Author: Lake Toba

Evening Focus: Hey One Percenters … Stop Taking Our Stuff

The Occupy movement is “class warfare.” The 99% are finally fighting back. (More) We have heard for many months now about how ordinary Americans are waging “class warfare”, instigated by Democrats, against a group of Americans who are somehow better than the rest of us because they have more stuff. We have been told that the top One Percent have more stuff because they work harder. We have been told that we should idolize the One Percenters as examples of what we could be if only we toiled longer, and planned better. As if each of us is endowed at birth with equality of ability, as if none of us would make mistakes if we were only better examples of humanity, instead of being losers, hangers on, paupers by desire rather than circumstance. It’s our fault if we are struggling in this economy. It’s our fault that the American economy is in the tank, and we should suck it up and stop whining.  We’ve been told we are greedy, selfish, lazy, worthless scum. We’ve been called “socialists”, “communists”, “proletarians”, “unionists” and every bad word you might conceive. And all of that is distraction, a cunning framing of the current crisis in America so that the vast majority of Americans will feel shamed at their own outrage, and remain silent in the face of gross injustice. I thought I’d clarify...

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Midday Matinee – My First Meeting with Our Local Occupation #OWS

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. On Wednesday, I attended my first OccupyWallStreet meeting for my community here in Bunkerstan. I found them on the website where perhaps 6 people had RSVP’d to this meeting. So I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was a bit awed that in a small city like mine, over thirty showed up after only one week of someone here trying to get the thing started. We met in a small car repair shop in downtown. The gentleman who owned the garage had initiated the effort to organize our city. On a work bench in his repair bay, he had literature from the OWS folks in New York, Occupy Together, and Anonymous. The excitement of the people there was palpable. We experienced a truly democratic meeting: many voices spoke out, and with only a few exceptions, there was no antagonism. The gentleman leading the effort was clear that we are all the 99 percent, whether Tea Party, or Progressive, and that we all have that one thing in common. There was a lot of grey hair at the meeting. In fact, I think there were only a handful of people younger than me, and I’m thirty-nine. This photo captures perhaps a third of the attendees who were present. It...

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Furthermore! – Where is the “American Spring”?

Where is the American Spring? I am watching “Occupy Wall Street Live Stream” (Blog Here) And following news about “Occupy Chicago” There is a central site that coordinates “Occupy” events: Occupy Together. I’m thrilled to see people coming together to do what many of us have wanted since at least 2008: protest forcibly and unflaggingly for change in how things are done in this country in the heart of the financial capital. We’ve watched uprisings and peaceful demonstrations throughout the middle east this summer. We’ve seen how people can finally get fed up with the status quo and take forceful and peaceful action to effect change. Yes, some have been violent, but as Egypt demonstrated, it is possible to overturn tyranny through peaceful means. We have also seen that action can happen, and that widespread support for peaceful protests as in Wisconsin can work. Amy Goodman at the Guardian UK wrote on September 21: Outside in the cold Tuesday morning, the demonstrators continued their fourth day of the protest with a march amidst a heavy police presence and the ringing of an opening bell at 9.30am for a “people’s exchange,” just as the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange is rung. While the bankers remained secure in their bailed-out banks, outside, the police began arresting protesters. In a just world, with a just economy, we have to...

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Furthermore! – Defeat at the Victory Garden

My garden plot was a failure this year. But not for lack of trying. I have enjoyed gardening for many years. But most of the places I’ve lived haven’t been conducive to growing edible things. Since moving to Bunkerstan, I finally found a climate where I could grow food. There are two community gardens in my city. The city park service, for a nominal fee, rents out plots 20×30 feet where residents can grow food or flowers for the summer months. Now, I think it is a wonderful thing that the community makes these things available. In fact, I found the thought exciting. Here was a chance for me to live a more “green” lifestyle. Because I was growing my own food, I could not help thinking of my garden as a “victory garden”. A victory garden, was the garden plot people were encouraged to have during WW II to grow food to supplement their diet. It was encouraged so that the bulk of agriculture could be committed to the war effort. I spent a couple hundred dollars on gardening supplies, because I didn’t have what I needed to properly tend a vegetable garden. I also bought some cheap plastic material and stakes to build a small fence line, that I think did more to satisfy my territoriality than it ever would to stop animals (or as it turned...

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Midday Matinee – A Hearty Thank You to the Plumber

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break. Today I had a plumber come out to my apartment. There was a pool of water forming in my bathroom that I first noticed on Wednesday. At first, I thought that I had been careless with the shower curtain, and mopped up the mess and moved on. But when the pool reappeared without my having been in the shower, I began to suspect a problem. Now I knew that the water heater, water softener and furnace were on the other side of the wall in the laundry room, so I wandered over there to see what was what. And of course, there was a flood. A pool of water was abutted to the wall of my unit. Where had it come from? I didn’t know, but I suspected the water softener that the management of my apartment had stopped providing salt for a year earlier. (I’ve mentioned previously the rather poor water quality of my unit in comments on this site.) So I called the property management company and reported the issue. Suspecting that they would do nothing except look at it, I waited for the handy man to show up, and put his nose in it, so to speak. He said he’d take care of it, and I...

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