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Far Rockaway, New York : Hurricane Sandy Relief, Distribution Center. photo: Occupy617 CC BY 2.0
Far Rockaway, New York : Hurricane Sandy Relief, Distribution Center. photo: Occupy617 CC BY 2.0

About a week before Hurricane Sandy hit The Yes Men launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $100,000 for a movie about themselves. Intertwined between the frantic tweets of the Sandy’s devastation, The Yes Men were tweeting for more movie money. Then all went silent… for many it was several weeks without electricity, hot water, communication devices, many without homes and loved ones.

The Yes Men Kickstarter Page The Yes Men Are Revolting

Fast forward to just about a few weeks before Christmas, a group of community workers at La Union (Sunset Park) and OWS Making Worlds started a Indiegogo for Sandy relief for immigrants who were not covered by city relief fund. When you considering that the local immigrants where some of the first to come in and begin the work of cleaning up, without insurance without anything but the will to help, you would think they’d be able to raise some money, right?

But with only 14 days left, the immigrants fund put together by La Union from Sunset Park has been lingering just under $500 bucks. Meanwhile, as of November 30th, The Yes Men surpassed their goal and collected $146,006 for their film, amazingly so as this was during the many Sandy fundraisers. So how is this possible? What are the social and economic mechanisms behind these two campaigns that keep them miles apart?

I’m just reminded of something that someone tweeted during OccupySandy that asked, why are some of our community and social workers some of the most without? In this case, we might want to look at generosity in a different way, that is to see it as a measure of how much a person gives in relation to how much they take.

In any case, congratulations to the American heroes.

Sandy relief for Immigrants




Occupy Wall Street Journal - January, 2013  Hurricane Sandy (Front)

A limited edition of The Occupy Wall Street Journal by vizKult is one of many zines being donated to The Way the Lights Went Out: A Hurricane Sandy Zine Benefit for The Ali Forney Center, a New York based organization which provides housing to homeless LGBT youth. Some of  Ali Forney Center’s facilities were damaged when Hurricane Sandy touched down in the New York City area on October 29th, 2012. More info about the benefit below.

The Occupy Wall Street Journal - (back) Arts & Kulture section with Alternative Economies

The back-page of new edition of The Occupy Wall Street Journal is a call to invigorate Alternative Economies in the face of rebuilding of communities affected by Sandy. The issue also puts a shout out to all the art related groups doing alternative economies work, including Arts & Labor’s Alternative Economies  subgroup and their new guide What Do We Do Now? to be distributed in 2013.

The Way the Lights Went Out: A Hurricane Sandy Zine Benefit (Facebook Invite)
Zine Reading and Sale Benefit
Wednesday January 9, 7pm
Blue Stockings Bookstore
172 Allen Street, NYC

Kate Angell (My Feminist Friends, A Thousand Times Yes)
Jamie Varriale Vélez (Sinvergüenza)
Jenna Freedman (Lower East Side Librarian, Barnard Zine Library)
James Aviaz (Everything is Fucked, Everything is OK)

Stranger Danger Zine Distro, Kathleen McIntyre (The Worst), Lauren Denitzio (Get it Together), Kate Wadkins (International Girl Gang Underground), For the Birds Collective, Kate Angell, Amber Dearest (Fight Boredom Distro, The Triumph of our Tired Eyes), Maranda Elizabeth (Telegram), PonyBoy Press, Aimee Lusty (Booklyn, Pen15 Press), Amanda Stefanski, Jami Sailor (Your Secretary), Jordan Alam (The Cowation), Alycia Sellie (Brooklyn College Zine Library), Cindy Crabb (Doris), Natty Koper & Sivan Sabach (Bangarang This), Chella Quint (Adventures in Menstruating), Shawn Smith (Black Lesbians in the 70s Zine), Elvis Bakaitis (Homos in Herstory), Sarah Rose (Tazewell’s Favorite Eccentric, Once Upon a Distro), Maud Pryor (Marmalade Umlaut), vizKult.

Facebook Invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/138515892968167

PS. Another group devastated by Hurricane Sandy was the immigrant community of New York, who in some cases did not qualify for aid despite being valuable members of our communities. Sandy Relief for Immigrants, a online donation page has be made by La Union, OWS Making Worlds and others, please spread the word and donate here.

Norman Pealstine in chapter 4 of "News War", by Frontline

“Leaks and use of anonymous sources is very much in the fabric of American journalism today, the places where it’s most obvious are in Washington, Hollywood, Wall street and in Sports” -Norman Pearlstine, Editor-in-Chief, Time Inc., 1995-2005

Referring to the obvious leak to reporter Matt Cooper, from Bush/Cheney Advisers Karl Rove and Scooter Libby that blew the cover of an undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame, and therefor creating a smoke screen around the exaggerated nuclear threat that set the stage for the invasion of Iraq. That was July 14, 2003, four months after the US invaded Iraq.

Four years later, in the summer of 2007, the only person prosecuted for the leak was Cheney’s Adviser Scooter Libby, he received 2 yrs and some 250,000 fines. The Prison sentence was pardoned by George W. Bush, who said that the punishment was excessive. Never did the penalties go up the chain of command, let’s face it, they were all in it together, adviser’s don’t usually act on their own accord.

The Obama administration never fully held the Bush administration accountable for that leak nor did it hold accountable the Bush administration for all the misinformation leading up to the invasion of Iraq. +90,000 deaths in Iraq, based on several lies and leaks from the White House.

Three years and some 90,000 Iraqi deaths later, the White House is calling Julian Assange a terrorist? If you compare the outcome of Wikileaks’ Cablegate and The White House’s “PlameGate” (and the rest of the false information leaked or planted), just by sheer number of lives lost, who would you say are the real terrorist?

Valerie Plame White House Leak Chart

Chart showing the leak of classified CIA information as moving through the White House and into the press. Chart by SB after DB, User Leak watcher on en.wikinews.

**This Frontline documentary 2007 “News War”, gives and interesting picture on how the Bush administration worked the press, first leaking info to the press, then re-validating the leaks/info in further press statements. In this case, Dick Cheney leaked the info, Karl Rove on the other end further dissipates the information claiming it is common press knowledge, both Cheney and Rove wipe their hands clean of any leaking.

Jackson Pollock\'s \"Number 14: Gray\"(1948). Museum of Modern Art
Jackson Pollock’s “Number 14: Gray”(1948). Museum of Modern Art, NYC

I’m amazed that for the New York Times, Obama’s Democratic Party Nomination is still a “black” and “white” issue. Before I even go there I would like to point out that neither of the two main stories really focus on what Obama’s camp is experiencing, he is after all the victor. The two main stories “Clinton Ready to End Bid and Endorse Obama” and “Many Blacks Find Joy in Unexpected Breakthrough” only talk around his victory, this doesn’t surprise me since the New York Times has endorsed Hilary Clinton. In the Clinton focused story they did however put a small odd and unglamorous photo of Obama -read between the lines- in the backseat of a car.

But what really bothers me is the second article, one that paints a single-sided picture of the Obama supporters, in an weak attempt to draw distinction between the supporters, who can all empathize if not truly sympathize with what his victory mean for someone not of the typical mold. Can you imagine if Hilary would have won, would the New York Times have written “Many Whites are Glad…”?! Seriously, this kind of reportage really dates the Times, it sets them a couple decades back at least. This “black & white” story comes across as subterfuge when we should be looking a lot deeper into what this presidential race is about: a change that is at the core of many people’s hopes, not just for those who look the same, but for all who feel the same.

Raise your hand if you’ve been feeling it for way too long now.

Segway headway

In December 2001, Dean Kamen unveiled his latest invention, The Segway, a two wheeled battery powered scooter that can take people -umm- around the block and back? Not much more efficient than the other two wheeled invention called the bicycle. Many people still see them on the street or on TV and are befuddled by it’s awkwardness.

A couple of months before the Segway is released, American and British forces invade Afghanistan in retaliation for the Sept. 11th bombings, the day is October 7, 2001.

Two years later, March 20, 2003, with the war still being fought in Afghanistan, US decided to invade Iraq. The events that unfold still continue to change the course of world history.
Still the Segway slow to ship at with it’s hefty price tag, $6,000, where do you park it? At the end of 2003, Segway recalled the 6,000 units sold because of power/safety issues, a technological glitch that only made matters worse given that they company projected that they would sell 50,000-100,000 that year.

Fast forward 2008, we’ve been at war for 7 years now. The two wars are still raging, draining life from Iraq, from Afghanistan, from America, despite the lies and lack of progress. A conundrum, a pretzel. Can you fast forward war? I’m sure a great many Americans would love to tiVo the whole thing, fast forward and erase. I’m digressing -sort of, however remote these two diverging stories do eventually collide… in this CNN video report, Segway comes to the service of returning amputee veterans… On the surface technology seems to have saved the day again, but I don’t think that’s the end of it.

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Stories linked in this post:

“Amputee vets see eye-to-eye on Segways” by Paul Courson
May 5, 2008 CNN Video

“Segway sales haven’t transported maker” by Dawn Kawamoto
Sept 29, 2003, C|Net News

Browsing internet radios, we have been hooked on BBC’s The Forum. It’s a weekly 45min talk show hosted by Bridget Kendall that discusses various topics with guest of diverging minds: scientist, artist, writers, anthropologist, philosophers,  etc. and scholars thereof. It’s nice to get a big picture on various topics relate, both historically and contemporaneously, a clear indication they are all tugging on different threads of one cloth. The only issue I have with the show is that it isn’t archived, so you have to catch it weekly otherwise it’ll be gone next week. I discovered that after wishing to replay a show from 3 weeks ago which talked about time being “like a river”/time travel being possible in the future, and how, even going back as far as the Greek’s, we’ve been on the hunt for the theory of everything.

The Forum, BBC Illustration May 4, 2008

*Also at the end of the show they invite one of the guest to suggest in 60 seconds and idea to change the world. This weeks idea is one that relates to the of “power through individual consumption and choice”, a power that can start with vegetarianism. (May 4, 2008)

Cambodia 1974, Dith Pran. Dith Pran/NYTimes.com
Cambodia, 1974, photo by Dith Pran. Dith Pran/New York Times.

If you haven’t see the film “The Killing Fields” since it came out in the eighties, perhaps now would be an appropriate time. Dith Pran, the photojournalist and war prisoner who’s story is told by the film has passed away March 31st from cancer just as the Cambodian War Crime Tribunal gears up for a heart wrenching search for truth and justice. 5 top war criminals are being tried in the Khmer Rouge “Year Zero” genocide were an estimated 1.7 million people were killed.

After watching the DVD with bonus material I learned about the rather ironic death of Haing S. Ngor, the actor who played Dith Pran in “The Killing Fields”. Haing S. Ngor, who was a prisoner of war himself and found it difficult to reenact some of the scenes, eventually made a new life for himself in the US but in 1996 was shot to death in an attempted robbery. He escaped the grasp of the Khamer Rouge only to die in a country who still believes that we should be allowed to bear arms.

Sydney H. Schanberg, his partner is still alive.

New York Times article has many more photos of and by Dith Pran and a very recent interview at his bedside. “Dith Pran, Photojournalist and Survivor of the Killing Fields, Dies at 65″ by Douglas Martin, March 21, 2008

Dith Pran NYTimes article.

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Upsetting fact of living in the U.S.A.: If you attend a college in Utah you can now carry a concealed weapon, with the proper license of course. In 2006 Utah Supreme court allowed guns on college campuses. The opinion is guns in the hands of law abiding citizens can save lives. The CNN report Right to Bear Arms on Campus?