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Starry Messenger

Profile Information

Name: Decline to State
Gender: Female
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Home country: USA
Current location: Left Coast
Member since: Sat Apr 9, 2005, 08:01 PM
Number of posts: 32,339

About Me

Artist, high school teacher and "hard-liner" (yet to be defined).

Journal Archives

Google's fucking Eric Schmidt should change his name to Scrooge for the holidays (rant)

ERIC SCHMIDT: We Don't Talk About Occupy Wall Street In The Valley Because We Don't Have Those Problems


Google chairman Eric Schmidt says that people in Silicon Valley don't talk about the concerns of the 99% because a lot of them are immune to those concerns.

He told Brad Stone at BusinessWeek, "Occupy Wall Street isnít really something that comes up in daily discussion, because their issues are not our daily reality."

He also said "We live in a bubble, and I donít mean a tech bubble or a valuation bubble. I mean a bubble as in our own little world.... Companies canít hire people fast enough. Young people can work hard and make a fortune. Homes hold their value."


The unemployment rate in Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, is 9.5% -- more than a point higher than the U.S. rate. It peaked near 12% in Jan. 2010, and has been consistently higher than the U.S. rate ever since the 2008 collapse. (You can check rates yourself using Google's public data service.)

He really does live in his own little world. Here's an article on poverty in Santa Clara from 2008:

Struggling to make it in Silicon Valley

In Santa Clara County, 25 percent of families do not meet the self-sufficiency standard, United Way of Silicon Valley CEO Carole Leigh Hutton said.

"That jumps to 40 percent if you just look at single head of households, 40 percent of female heads of households don't make ends meet," Hutton said.

Here's an article from just nine days ago:

The sad lives and deaths of homeless on the streets of Santa Clara County - a continuing tragedy

On any given night, according to the 2011 Santa Clara County Homeless Census and Survey, in one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, 7,045 people are homeless.

That number is virtually unchanged from 2009, but the number of chronically homeless -- people who require about 70 percent of the system's resources -- has increased 11 percent in the same period. Rules on sobriety and health often determine who is admitted to shelters or who gets left out in the cold.

We somehow have decided," says Loving, "it's OK to ask if people have the right to be housed."

But maybe those people aren't really people, Eric. You seem to think that they don't really exist. Their issues are not your daily reality? Look out of your bubble, sir. It's right on your front yard. I live here in Silicon Valley, and I definitely exist.

I exist in the place where my students tell me in whispers that they are living with relatives because their family lost the house. Dad hasn't had a job in months and things are getting weird in the place they are staying. They can't turn on the heat. There are fights. But what do I know? I'm one of those worthless teachers that all the Silicon Valley 1%ers hate with a passion. I just need to shut up and teach to the test.

Well Eric, you took my test and failed. Merry fucking Christmas.


Posted by Starry Messenger | Sat Dec 24, 2011, 09:59 AM (20 replies)

#Dec12 West Coast Port Shut Down--Occupy Oakland

I didn't get to go for the whole day, because I teach in the mornings over across the Bay from Oakland, but I've been trying to get to marches over there and knew I'd kick myself all year if I didn't at least get over there for even a slice of Shut Down.

I drove up from school to Millbrae Bart Station and caught the train to Oakland. I was tired from kiln loading but fortunately didn't fall asleep on the train. I was too keyed up from reading the tweets from the morning Port Shut Down, which had started before day break and had been successful.

I got off at 12 & Broadway station right in the middle of a sermon by Reverend Billy. Instantly I was hit with the scent I think of as L'Eau De Occupy, which is a combination of weed and burning sage. I looked over the wreckage of Oscar Grant plaza and my heart sank. The last two times I had been there, Occupy was a thriving village of food, good times, children at craft tents and information. Now, with the sprinklers going all over to prevent camping, it is a nasty swamp of mud and dead grass in the middle of a park. Way to go City of Oakland. If you thought Occupy was an eyesore, you really outdid them.

Next came the rally, which was incredible. The energy was amped. People kept gathering and gathering. I took some pictures of the speakers which included injured (by the tear gas shooting maniacs who call themselves law enforcement) Occupy vet Scott Olsen and Angela Davis.

The rally was MC'd by Boots Riley who is a musical artist and leftist. Since I'm an old fart I hadn't heard of him before the last Occupy shut down I went to, where I'd seen him on November 2nd. He must be part cyborg, because I've never seen anyone so tireless. He does a lot of community organizing, and I know from his Twitter posts that he has been bringing in the unions and the groups like Iraq Veterans Against the War in coalition with Occupy. He is also in a band with Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, called Street Sweeper Social Club. I googled him. Good stuff, I'll post a video after this.

Boots Riley

This was the Teamsters head contract negotiator, named Lou. He reported that 70 of his guys had spontaneously joined the AM picket that morning when they saw the cops being dicks to the picketers. They all parked their semitrucks right on the picket line and that was that. They stopped working in solidarity. Code Pink was taking up a collection for them, because unlike the Longshoremen, they don't get paid for the work safety picket time lost. Cal Carpenter posted an open letter from the Port Truckers here, get a read if you haven't already: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10028251 It puts the lie to the media narrative that Occupy is a bunch of twits that are just keeping people from working. The unions are are not at all against Occupy.

This is Betty Olsen Jones, head of the Oakland Education Association. She is anti-corporate education reform and made a speech on the connection of Occupy with learning and freedom of education. She's every left-wing teacher's dream for a union president.

Next was Kenneth Carruthers, who was savagely beaten by Johannes Mehserle a year before Mehserle shot and killed Oscar Grant at Fruitvale BART station in Oakland. He's been fighting for the last few years to get justice for the attack that put him in the hospital. It is thought that if Mehserle had been pulled off the force after the attack on Carruthers, that Oscar Grant might still be alive today.

Scott Olsen of IVAW came out, his first public speaking at Occupy since the October 25th police riot that found him shot with a tear gas canister at point blank range. Police fired again on the crowd that sought to bring him medical aid. His speech centers are affected, and his words were halting and slow, but beautiful. I was in tears.

After Scott, Boots introduced Angela Davis, whom he described as "legendary" in tones of deep respect. I love her too and this was the first time I've ever seen her speaking in public. She spoke of the leading role Occupy Oakland has played in the anti-capitalist movement among the Occupy groups. She spoke about the corrosive effect of capitalism on people and public life and ended by saying that now it is time to put people before profits.

With that, after a short logistical delay, we moved from the plaza onto Broadway, ready to march on the Port. People who live in West Oakland were out on the sidewalks watching and waving and taking pictures. We were about 2000 strong and moved steadily and tight to the overpass that leads to the Port complex. It's about an hour long walk just to the Port from downtown Oakland, but it flies by when you are with a large mass like that.

Walking past the famous Oakland Port elevators. (They were George Lucas' inspiration for the At-At's in Empire Strikes Back) It's another 30 minutes to walk the length of the Port.

You can see the line of Teamster trucks still lined up at the Port in solidarity. They seemed like big happy bears, part of the crowd. With nightfall's arrival, everyone shone under the lines of tungsten lamps. We got to the end and the sound truck called for our attention and a mic check. The Port was shut down, they announced! There was a GA called, there was to be discussion of whether to stay to shut down the 3 am shift, which had been promised to be performed in the event of police brutality at any of the other Occupy West Coast Shut Downs. Of course, there had been, most notably in Houston, where protesters were arrested in some bizarre inflatable tent that the police covered them with while doing the arrests.

I had to leave unfortunately, since I had class again today. I would love to be out there doing more, but this was all I had time for. It was enough to be a part of the biggest Port shut down in recent history. Even Japan had participated. The power of people to organize an event like this is breathtaking and being in it, even for a small part, is hard to put into words.

As I was leaving, I ran into the mass crowd that was meeting from their beginning point at West Oakland BART. Another 2000 people strong, they would bring the total Monday night crowd to 4000.

I've already gone on too long, but I want to add some Twitter posts by Boots Riley that shed some light on what has been going on in the much-maligned-in-the-press relationship between the Longshoreman Union, the Teamsters and Occupy. http://twitter.com/#!/BootsRiley

Boots Riley @BootsRiley 11 Dec

Local10 has texted members- no crossin picket w/or without police escort.Even they kno the cops arent their friends. #OWS #OccupyOakland
9:33 PM, Dec 11th via web ∑ Details

Boots Riley Boots Riley @BootsRiley 11 Dec

@OccupyFremont @occupyoakland I just talked to the teamsters. They're not working port of oakland tomorrow.
In reply to OccupyFremont
9:30 PM, Dec 11th via web ∑ Details

Boots Riley Boots Riley @BootsRiley 11 Dec

Teamsters who work PortOfOakland are OFFICIALLY not goin2work tomorrow in solidarity w/the 12/12WestCoastPortShutdown! #OWS #OccupyOakland
9:10 PM, Dec 11th via web ∑ Details

Boots Riley Boots Riley @BootsRiley 11 Dec

@UncleSkillet Their are a lot of quotes from supportive longshoremen- they don't get printed.
In reply to C.R.
8:02 PM, Dec 11th via web ∑ Details

Boots Riley @BootsRiley 10 Dec

ILWULocal10 sent mass text sayin4their members to NOT cross the picket line on 12/12. They dont do that. Saw it myself. #OWS #OccupyOakland

He means they don't cross if they've been told on the QT to not cross. The letter that the union headquarters sent out is a legal CYA, but of course it is being flogged in the media like it is the real feelings of the union. It isn't. It's the ass covering that the labor laws require.

I was there on November 2nd for the last Port shut down and also "saw it myself." They were out there on the pickets in front of the Port, wreathed in smiles and talking to protesters. They know the media is not a friend of labor and talked about the real stuff that is going on with them. And ask yourself, why does the mainstream media suddenly give a shit what unions think? I somehow missed that hour of penetrating labor news every other night on TV during the year.

If you have some time, please please please take the opportunity to watch Clarence Thomas of Local 10, explain this all in better detail. This video is stellar and I'm sure you won't see any clips of it on Maddow, et. al.:

And last but not least, Street Sweeper Social Club perform "Paper Planes"

Posted by Starry Messenger | Tue Dec 13, 2011, 07:28 PM (18 replies)

How Goldman Sachs and Other Companies Exploit Port Truck Drivers ó Occupy (con't)

-Occupy Protesters Plan to Shut Down West Coast Ports in Protest


But what many people may not know is that these sweatshop conditions don't end when those goods hit American soil. Between the dock where the cargo is unloaded and the shelf from which you pluck your treasure, there are several critical lynchpins. One of them is port truck drivers. These drivers (around 110,000 of them in the United States) are responsible for moving approximately 20 million containers a year from the ports to railway yards and warehouses. Drivers operating large trucks are expected to safely haul loads up to 80,000 pounds. It's a job for professionals, only these professionals are earning poverty wages, sometimes even less than you'd make flipping burgers at a fast food restaurant. Once a middle-class profession, the port trucking (or drayage) industry has now been dubbed "sweatshops on wheels."

Drivers, along with clergy and their union, environmental and community allies have been fighting for years for better working conditions and wages, but their plight has recently caught the attention of the Occupy movement. On Nov. 2, during a day billed as a general strike, tens of thousands of people swarmed the Port of Oakland, temporarily stopping work during the evening. Now, Occupiers are calling for a shutdown on Dec. 12 at all West Coast ports.


After deregulation, union companies were forced out of the market, and new companies found a way to squeeze even greater profit at the expense of workers. They sold their trucks back to drivers, Bensman explains, and then made them "independent contractors," meaning that the drivers would not make an hourly wage but instead would be be paid per load, and companies would no longer be responsible for costs such as health care, social security, worker's compensation, pensions, and payroll taxes.

The report, The Big Rig: Poverty, Pollution, and the Misclassi&#64257;cation of Truck Drivers at America's Ports by Rebecca Smith, Dr. David Bensman, and Paul Alexander Marvy, found that just four years after the industry was deregulated, wages dropped 15-20 percent and fell to 30 percent lower by 1995. According to the report, today contract drivers make an estimated $11.91 per hour, compared with $14.71 for employees. Even despite the several dollar difference in pay each hour, real wages for contractors are even lower ó closer to $8 an hour.

Posted by Starry Messenger | Sat Dec 10, 2011, 09:26 PM (1 replies)
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