Archive for category Occupy SLC

No Skateboards!

skateboard sign

I can’t believe that skateboards are still popular after all these years. I used to have one when I was 13, (now 61). I painted it with a “Thunderball” logo, based on the James Bond movie of the same name that was around at the time.

Stay with me here skateboarders!

I found out that steel wheels weren’t a good idea on skateboards, because it you hit a pebble in the street, it would send you flying onto the pavement; pronto! The rubber wheels came later, but that didn’t – in any way – stop the surfing enthusiasts, without a surf, from riding and flipping their boards around the town in unimaginable ways.

The sidewalks are for pedestrians, bicyclists, and you. It gives me energy to see you.

If I get hit; that’s the way things go. 🙂

Try not to hurt yourselves!


Peace Against War: Peace Wins!

Politicians are always trying to tug at our heart strings by bringing children or handicapped people into the discussion. Today, we are supposed to believe that congresspeople have to spend their entire time in congress getting money to “win” their next term, so they can help the children and the handicapped people.

Actually, that is old stuff. Today, politicians seem to think the best way to woo us is to break unions, take away governmental programs that help children, handicapped people, seniors, and the poor.

I’m not that great a writer, but I can refer you to someone who is.

This piece reminded me of a video I saw on YouTube which proves things could possibly change VERY SLOWLY over generations:

Are we that generation?

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I Have a Great Idea For Once

People should start sending – hand written – letters, through the mail to their friends.

There’s no way they can open all of them without being noticed, and it will create many jobs for mail carriers!

I’m a job-creator!

PLUS: It’s a felony to open somebody’s mail.

It only has to say: I love you.


A Grand Farewell to ALEC

Was Alec Baldwin in Salt Lake? I didn’t hear anything on the news. 🙂

He/she/it wouldn’t give a single interview to the press and prefer to remain unknown. How many freedoms did we lose this week?


John Fund Embraces ALEC In Public

The right-wing Guru promoting fake claims of “voter fraud” has taken his effort to a new level and, has actually mentioned ALEC online. Athough it’s, probably, only online at this point; the usual tactic of prominent American pundits is to ignore obvious truths. Fund’s article is actually called “Left-Wing Pressure Causes ALEC to Retreat“.

Left-Wing Pressure?

KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Mars, Snickers, M&M’s, Milky Way, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Kraft, Intuit, Microsoft?

Have I missed any subsidiaries? Who knew that the middle class had so many allies?

According to Fund, all of that “Left-Wing Pressure” came from former Obama White House aide Van Jones and The Nation magazine. 🙂 He names John Engler, Tommy Thompson and Rick Perry as distinguished governors that “have come from the ranks of ALEC”, and even adds: (Disclosure: I have spoken at several ALEC events over the last 20 years without receiving any compensation.)

I’m not going to dispute that Mr. Fund didn’t receive any direct compensation for his strenuous speaking efforts at such events, but he’s not exactly living in a tent without a place to poop for his political theater either. Perhaps an air-conditioned bus? 🙁


Go Ahead; Shut Down Commerce

Who needs it!

Shut down Wikipedia
Shut down Google
Shut down Facebook
Shut down Amazon
Shut down OWS
Shut down OneUtah

Shut down free speech and the internet!

Shut it all down in the name of safety.

Go ahead, but do it peacefully!

Good luck. 🙂


Free Bradley Manning!

I really hate associating myself with Michael Moore or Bradley Manning with an insignificant post, because I’m not anywhere near worthy, but:

From Michael Moore:

A Man in Tunisia, a Movement on Wall Street, and the Soldier Who Ignited the Fuse

Protesters chant slogans against the political party of former President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, on January 21, 2011. The city was where Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit seller, had a confrontation with a municipal inspector that eventually led to his self-immolation in front of the governor’s office in protest. The act fatally burned Bouazizi and is said to have sparked the protests that toppled President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali’s government.

It’s Saturday night and I didn’t want the day to end before I sent out this note to you.

One year ago on December 17th, Mohamed Bouazizi, a man who had a simple produce stand in Tunisia, set himself on fire to protest his government’s repression. His singular sacrifice ignited a revolution that toppled Tunisia’s dictator and launched revolts in regimes across the Middle East.

Three months ago on December 17th, Occupy Wall Street began with a takeover of New York’s Zuccotti Park. This movement against the greed of corporate America and its banks — and the money that now controls most of our democratic institutions — has quickly spread to hundreds of towns and cities across America. The majority of Americans now agree that a nation where 400 billionaires have more wealth than 160 million Americans combined is not the country they want America to be. The 99% are rising up against the 1% — and now there is no turning back.

Twenty-four years ago on December 17th, U.S. Army Spc. Bradley Manning was born. He has now spent 570 days in a military prison without a trial — simply because he allegedly blew the whistle on the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. He exposed what the Pentagon and the Bush administration did in creating this evil and he did so by allegedly leaking documents and footage to Wikileaks. Many of these documents dealt not only with Iraq but with how we prop up dictators around the world and how our corporations exploit the poor on this planet. (There were even cables with crazy stuff on them, like one detailing Bush’s State Department trying to stop a government minister in another country from holding a screening of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11.’)

The Wikileaks trove was a fascinating look into how the United States conducts its business — and clearly those who don’t want the world to know how we do things in places like, say, Tunisia, were not happy with Bradley Manning.

Mohamed Bouazizi was being treated poorly by government officials because all he wanted to do was set up a cart and sell fruit and vegetables on the street. But local police kept harassing him and trying to stop him. He, like most Tunisians, knew how corrupt their government was. But when Wikileaks published cables from the U.S. ambassador in Tunis confirming the corruption — cables that were published just a week or so before Mohamed set himself on fire — well, that was it for the Tunisian people, and all hell broke loose.

People across the world devoured the information Bradley Manning revealed, and it was used by movements in Egypt, Spain, and eventually Occupy Wall Street to bolster what we already thought was true. Except here were the goods — the evidence that was needed to prove it all true. And then a democracy movement spread around the globe so fast and so deep — and in just a year’s time! When anyone asks me, “Who started Occupy Wall Street?” sometimes I say “Goldman Sachs” or “Chase” but mostly I just say, “Bradley Manning.” It was his courageous action that was the tipping point — and it was not surprising when the dictator of Tunisia censored all news of the Wikileaks documents Manning had allegedly supplied. But the internet took Manning’s gift and spread it throughout Tunisia, a young man set himself on fire and the Arab Spring that led eventually to Zuccotti Park has a young, gay soldier in the United States Army to thank.

And that is why I want to honor Bradley Manning on this, his 24th birthday, and ask the millions of you reading this to join with me in demanding his immediate release. He does not deserve the un-American treatment, including cruel solitary confinement, he’s received in over eighteen months of imprisonment. If anything, this young man deserves a friggin’ medal. He did what great Americans have always done — he took a bold stand against injustice and he did it without stopping for a minute to consider the consequences for himself.

The Pentagon and the national security apparatus are hell-bent on setting an example with Bradley Manning. But we as Americans have a right to know what is being done in our name and with our tax dollars. If the government tries to cover up its malfeasance, then it is the duty of each and every one of us, should the situation arise, to drag the truth, kicking and screaming if necessary, into the light of day.

The American flag was lowered in Iraq this past Thursday as our war on them officially came to an end. If anyone should be on trial or in the brig right now, it should be those men who lied to the nation in order to start this war — and in doing so sent nearly 4,500 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to their deaths.

But it is not Bush or Rumsfeld or Cheney or Wolfowitz who sit in prison tonight. It is the hero who exposed them. It is Bradley Manning who has lost his freedom and that, in turn, becomes just one more crime being committed in our name.

I know, I know, c’mon Mike — it’s the holiday season, there’s presents to buy and parties to go to! And yes, this really is one of my favorite weeks of the year. But in the spirit of the man whose birth will be celebrated next Sunday, please do something, anything, to help this young man who spends his birthday tonight behind bars. I say, enough. Let him go home and spend Christmas with his family. We’ve done enough violence to the world this decade while claiming to be a country that admires the Prince of Peace. The war is over. And a whole new movement has a lot to thank Bradley Manning for.

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Is NDAA here to end occupy?

Well it seems like there is a possibility that the NDAA is reactionary to occupy. And now that I look at it, it’s starting to make sense. First of all, we have to look at the threats that the US has in this day and age. First we should look at terrorism. Al Qaeda in it’s former shell is for all intents and purposes, dead. Bin Laden was killed, most of the leaders were either captured or killed. So where is the terrorist threat? We haven’t had one since 9/11 and now they have this National Defense Authorization Act. Is it anything new? No. Infact this bill has been enacted for the past 48 years. The difference with this year’s version is the obvious allowance of US troops to arrest civilians and detain them forever. That is an extreme jump from last year. But where is the terrorist threat that caused it?

Well here is the cynical theory. It’s occupy. For 3 months, protestors have been protesting against both government and corporatism. The media tried to slam them, that didn’t work. They removed the camps, that didn’t work. They tried police brutality, it backfired on them. The occupy protests are widespread, they are numerous, they are well organized and they are able to outsmart the government. Where else can they go? Well this is where I think the NDAA comes in. It is a bipartisan legislation that has passed with a 2/3rds majority in both chambers of congress. Which means that Obama has to sign it. Though fortunately it seems like he is holding off on that. Now you would think this theory is crazy. It is and I don’t want to believe it. However I am questioning what else is going on and why even the most liberal of congressmen and senators voted for this bill. I mean unless there is an imminent nuclear threat about to plague us, then there is no other reason to go to such extreme measures.

There is however a light at the end of the tunnel on this. Let’s assume that the NDAA passes and it is targeted against Occupy. If the government starts to brand protestors as terrorists and haul them off, people will get pissed. Then let’s assume the protests turn into a riot and soldiers shoot some protestors like they did at Kent State, then there is no hope for the government. Very few people will trust them. So why do such a thing? Well this is where it gets scary. I assume that with the approval rating of 9% (It’s probably way lower now), congressmen are in the stages of grieving just like if they are dying or they lost someone. They are probably seeing their last term anyway. So why not fight it? For them, it could very well backfire, but then again. What will happen if it backfires? Lose the election? They are already going to lose in great numbers anyway. People are pissed. So I assume that this is either a final fuck you to the people or it is a final sollution to end their opposition. Obama threatened to veto the bill, but it passed in such margin, he can’t. The only hope really is SCOTUS and these are the same justices who ended the limit on campaign donations.


You Decide


My Small Time Encounter With Big Oil

Air is cleaner and food tastes better

The year was 1981 and Reagan had just taken office and appointed James G. Watt as Secretary of the Interior. The Reagan presidential campaign was successful at making Jimmy Carter look like a weak president who was not capable of running the country. Ted Koppel had been on television every night for months reinforcing the myth that Carter’s weakness was responsible for American hostages being taken from the embassy in Iran.

At the same time Reagan was inaugurated, there were split screens – high-tech television at the time – showing his swearing in, and the hostages being released. The media has still not told us, with any voracity, that the hostages were released because we made a secret weapons deal with that country.

The Republicans immediately started to flex their muscles and picked James G. Watt to tour the country, advocating oil production at the expense of irreplaceable public treasures. He even said it himself; “I will err on the side of public use vs. preservation”. I started getting mail from the Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society asking for donations, which I gave for the first time in my life. I had just spent the best times of my life, backpacking into places like Arches, Zions, Capital Reef, and the Uintas with a good friend.

The local ABC affiliate reported that Watt would be visiting Utah and even gave the room number where a press meeting would take place in the Federal Building. Having maintained a nearly perfect working record at my job, I hated to ask for a day off with such short notice, but I badly wanted to go to the event and record what was said.

My boss said no.

For the first time in my life, I didn’t show up for work without calling. I went to the Federal Building that day and there were hundreds of people there. I asked them when the meeting was going to start. They all told me we would not be allowed into the meeting.

I was not a happy guy.

I had just jeopardized my job to be there and decided to go upstairs. The meeting was being held in a very small room with a capacity of about 50 people. There were reporters and a woman dressed in jeans hanging around murmuring against Watt. I asked if it would be OK if I went inside. They looked at me like I was crazy and said “sure”. So I, incredulously walked in, holding my little recorder and stood there waiting to see this man whom I imagined would look like an evil Marlboro Man. A couple of secret service guys came in and were looking behind curtians to assess any threat which gave me some pause about what I was doing.

Even after Jim Hansen walked past me escorting Watt, It didn’t dawn on me that he was the man who was intent on destroying Utahs wilderness for profit until he took the podium. Yep, that tall 28 year old standing there with man boobs during the procession is me:

The recording I made was of such poor quality that nothing could be heard. I remember that Watt’s presentation was unremarkable except for my observation that he kept repeating the phrase, “we’re here to restore Americas greatness”.

You really have to admire the profiteers for their tenacity. They are back again trying to gain access to the very coal they meant to exploit in 1981, ignoring the fact that they will pollute the beauty of Utahs beloved Bryce Canyon. Try to show up at the hearing – not listening – hearing.

What: Alton Coal Mine Environmental Impacts Hearing
When: Wednesday, December 7, 6:00 PM
Where: Salt Lake City Library, 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City


So They Say We (OWS) Do Not Have Demands. Let’s Make a List

I’m not going to argue spewing any paragraph before making the list. You all know what I am talking about. But help grow the list by commenting.

1. Tax the rich. Now that’s fucking unique. I must be a creative genius to come up with something THAT revolutionary.

2. Stop exporting jobs. A little complex, but you can’t abandon industry especially when a nation is industrialized. Also the jobs in places like India and Thailand are not jobs, they are serfs.

3. Get rid of the idiotic credit ratings that go up based on having multiple lines of credit. In all honesty, it should be the opposite if we want to base it off of faith in a person’s credit

4. Alleviate student debt.

5. Improve safety regulations.

6. Improve airports. Repair them, improve the radar, improve the ILS and most importantly, improve air traffic control so that it’s safer to bunch planes together.

7. Give us a high speed rail. Flying from Salt Lake to Elko is like driving from your couch to the fridge. The fewer the regional flights, the better off the airlines and your flying experience will be.

8. Stop giving businesses citizenship.

9. Make a donation limit.

10. Stop sending people my age to die in a country we have no business being in and expect my generation to pick up the tab after you die.

11. While we’re at it, why don’t we make the market slightly more laissez-faire? You can disagree if you want, but if you have a Japanese car company that makes 40 year old cars feel like they were off the assembly line yesterday without ever getting it serviced while an American car company makes cars that are planned to fail 3 years down the road, then sorry, your product can’t compete. The only reason they are in business is because they lobbied congress to even the battleground.

Any other ideas? I’m probably just scratching the surface.



Holly Richardson: Dog Whistling Water Girl or Democrat Trapped in Mamma Grizzly Bear?

Holly Tree Richardson - Killer smile!


Even for a liberal, it’s hard not to fall in love with new Utah state rep, Holly Richardson.* She has a killer smile. She’s a political activist, Orrin Hatch hater, blogger, mid-wife and she’s adopted a gaggle of foster kids as diverse as the United Nations. Simply put, Holly Mama ROCKS!

What’s not to love?

In the normal course of flirting with Holly on Facebook, I implied possibly having given a sleeping bag to one of her kids down at Occupy Salt Lake City.  Well didn’t I get slapped right back with a feistiness that would make Coulter/Bachmann/Palin proud. It still gives me tingles:

“Nah, my kids actually have a work ethic and don’t believe they are entitled to a job, to a college education or that pooping on people’s porches is appropriate behavior.”

Holly Richardson's mean reference to Occupy Wall Street Occupiers

OWS People's porch poopers

I LOVE THAT! But Holly, Holly Help me Here! Didn’t we as a nation decide our kids should be entitled to a college education AND a job?  Can we not promise that?

Because the alternative IS pooping on peoples’ porches.”

In my heart of hearts I think Holly surprised even herself and on her excellent blog, cleverly disguised her apology in a nod to the 4th Amendment.

…the casual use of pepper spray for students who posed no physical threat to police is frankly an embarrassment and an affront to our nation’s belief in free speech. I don’t agree with the Occupy protestorsbut […here comes the apology], I support their right to express their point of view.

Personal Note to Holly Richardson: (all others may stop reading now):

Holly, Everyone is saying you used the UC Davis pepper spray incident as an opportunity to associate yourself with the big banks, Freedom Works and the Koch brothers at the expense of the Patriotic Pepper-sprayed, Porch-Poopers.

Tell me it ain’t so.

Think for a moment Holly: Conservatives have been on the wrong side of every major, popular movement in world history until they supported them, INCLUDING the American revolution. Do YOU want to be on the wrong side of history?  Life is long.

I remind m’ Lady, the Tories may have secretly liked the idea of independence, but they were scared wig-less about the messy way it was going down. And they got mean about it too. You should’ve heard what they said about the Boston tea partiers (the real ones).  You’d have had to cover your ears. No, Hopeful Holly, the Conservatives of those times made life hell for George Washington and the porch-poopingpatriots” who decided to occupy their colonies.

In your defense, people say ya’ll Conservatives are afraid of change. That is absurd.**  Ya’ll seem to LOVE change — just decades later.  American Conservatives are really just afraid of  the specter of mobs.

I have good news, the OWS “porch poopers” are doctors, engineers, students, Land Rover-driving soccer Moms, librarians and Minsters and we love you! We are you.

Holly, they say you’ve capitulated to the GOP instinct that says ring shout.  Tell me it ain’t so.

Be on the right side of history. Holly, Hear me Holler! The Occupy Movement is ALREADY on the right side of history.  Things happen a lot faster today than they did when that smelly Paul Revere-hippie went bell-tower spamming on horseback.

Join us Holly! Tell that Obama bastardo to call off the DHS! I promise you’ll get just as much mileage and spare having to explain yourself to your kids someday in the future when they are able to think for themselves.



*Note: In January of this year, Holly Richardson was selected/elected/appointed to the Utah State House of Representatives to replace Craig Frank, District 57.

**Note: Every conservative I know loves light-rail and rock concerts at Red Butte once they try them

Editors Note: Personally, I think Mika Brzenzki’s response to this terribly unfortunate rhetoric reflects the kind of graceful passion I like in my ladies.



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