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Michael D’Antuono info@artandresponse.com (845) 440-6634

May the Force be with us

October 27th, 2011

EVENT

OAKLAND, Calif. — A clash between Oakland police and Occupy Wall Street protesters left an Iraq War veteran hospitalized Wednesday after a projectile struck him in a conflict that came as tensions grew over demonstration encampments across the San Francisco Bay Area.

Scott Olsen, 24, suffered a fractured skull Tuesday in a march with other protesters toward City Hall. The demonstrators had been making an attempt to re-establish a presence in the area of a disbanded protesters’ camp when they were met by officers in riot gear. Deeply disturbing video

VENT

The aforementioned event could be considered an accident, an isolated incident. Unfortunately, while it’s the most obviously egregious, it’s just part of a bigger pattern of the “authorities” doing everything in their power to stop peaceful citizens from protesting against corporate control of our government. Seems freedom of speech is only fine for some people like corporations. We the people are not being represented by the government and the “authorities” don’t want us to complain. Hence, we the people are also not being served nor protected by the police. It seems we need protection from them. A common chant I’ve heard from the protesters to the police was “Who are you protecting?” A good question indeed. Another chant was “Cops are  the 99%.” That may be true but they are the part of the 99% with the guns and they want to keep their jobs in this economy. That’s also true of of the politicians passing laws that help the 1% and rob the rest of us from a fair opportunity of achieving the American dream. Only we get to vote those politicians (and the mayors responsible for their police) into those jobs. All we have to do is threaten to kick the mayors out of office and their police forces will stop being so … forceful. The cops themselves aren’t such a bad lot. After all, when I participated in the OWS events in NY, I found the police officers to be reasonable and somewhat empathetic overall. They were just people following orders and doing their jobs. Of course the same could also be said of Nazi SS officers.

From a Pig’s Eye (View)

October 18th, 2011

EVENT (according to Buck Sexton of The Blaze)

Zuccotti Park Occupiers marched to Washington Square around 2:00PM. It was a leftist protest version of a tailgate party, with all the various factions joining together before the big Times Square event. It felt like they were preparing for radicalism’s Super Bowl.

Socialists/Communists/Anarchist:The storm troopers of the Occupy movement, the statists and anti-statists have linked arm-in-arm (literally) to bring down the system as we know it. Whenever I talk to these guys, they are quick to rail against capitalism. More than any other group, they openly call for the collapse of the financial system, the end of America as we know it, and the implementation of a Marxist mobocracy.

VENT

I’ll admit that I’ve felt increasingly despondent and hopeless over the last several years as I realized that my children were going to be the first generation in my family that were going to have it tougher than the generation before it. And it was even more disheartening to know that it is all because of the unrelenting greed of the few, the powerful and the corrupt. Our country and economy have been gaining momentum in a downward spiral due to the mutation of our democracy into a corpocracy and there was nothing we could do about it … until now.

I was there at the big march from Zuccotti Park to Chase bank to Washington Square passing out free posters and taking pictures (as Wall Street Wally) with supporters of the movement. I was in the thick of it when we took Times Square. My recollections of the Oct 15th event are a little different than Bucky boy’s. By the end of the day my hoofs were killing me but I was in hog heaven because I felt like we, the people (sound familiar?) successfully spoke up for ourselves. The other 1% and those they pay to represent their interests (like Mr. Sexton) will try to discredit the OWS movement in an effort to keep the status quo. After Saturday, I’m feeling like they won’t be able to do it. Their propaganda media machines aren’t going to be loud enough to drown out the voice of the people, not 99% of us anyway. They can try to divide us with wedge issues and such, but we aren’t going to fall for their old tricks anymore. We’ve had a taste of victory on Saturday in the fight to get a fair and equal opportunity to earn a slice of the American pie and that’s only wet our appetite and made us more resolute. One recurring chant/invitation from the protesters to the crowds watching was “ Don’t watch us, join us.” I suggest you take us up on it, you’ll feel better doing something about it.

Life Imitating Art

October 11th, 2011

EVENT

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sure knows how to make a press conference interesting. When formally announcing his endorsement of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential bid, Christie drew a long metaphor on the difference between Obama and Romney’s approach to the American dream — using pie.

“I know that Mitt Romney believes that the American pie can be grown bigger — that it can be an infinite size — because of the infinite nature of American ingenuity, and effort, and character.” he said. “That’s what this election is gonna be about.”

VENT

We’ve all heard about art imitating life but this is an uncanny case of life imitating art. A friend of mine sent me this article of Chris Christie (photo upper right) talking about American pie because he was familiar with my painting titled ‘American Pie’ (photo upper left). Even though the painting is particularly timely considering the current wave of “Occupation Wall Street” mania, it was indeed completed over a year ago. When the painting was conceived, neither I, nor most people had ever heard of Governor Christie, the man many desperate conservatives have since considered the great white (hope) of the GOP presidential primaries. I swear. I’ve got the copyright certificate to prove it.

Let’s for now try to ignore the obvious likeness between our reluctant non-presidential candidate and the protagonist of my painting and instead concentrate on the substance of Christie’s metaphor. By the look of him you would assume Christie would be an expert on pie and the ability to “grow to an infinite size”. The Governor said that he and his new best friend Mit believe the American way of life was built on entrepreneurship and allowing the unleashing American spirit and inventiveness. While that was greatly true once upon a time, somewhere along the way some of those entrepreneurs became so rich powerful that they stared buying the favors of politicians  who would then rig the system and literally rewrite the laws in their favor. This has taken the freedom to compete out of the free market and put the spirit of competition on a short leash. Companies are taken over by corporations who are taken over by larger conglomerates until they are too big to fail. That makes for no competition for them and no choices for consumers and employees). And the government lets it happen. I don’t know about you, but that lack of opportunity kinda hurts me right in my American spirit.

Christie also said that Obama wants to tell Americans who are not doing well that the pie is only so big and that if you want more you have to take it from others. Isn’t that what those with have been doing to those without since time began (or at least since Reagan). Like the old Ray Charles song “Them that’s got, shall get. Them that don’t shall lose.” There must be a finite amount of pie because the republicans want to cut Grandma’s medicare and social security so they can give tax breaks to their rich donors. In New York at the end of this year, they will be cutting jobs and services so they can give 5 billion dollars in tax breaks to billionaires. Isn’t that taking some pie from someone and giving it to someone else? Someone who has obviously had more than their fair share of pie? Yeah, I’m looking at you Governor Crisco.

Above The Law – Beneath Contempt.

July 2nd, 2011

EVENT

June 29, 2011- Former Halliburton employee and gang rape victim, Jamie Leigh Jones is seeking justice for herself and all other women who have been raped and can’t sue due to binding mandatory clauses in their employment contracts while working overseas for government contractors. Jones is one of a group of women who claim they were harassed or assaulted while working for KBR and former parent company Halliburton in Iraq.

VENT

The more details you hear about this story the more enraged you get. It seems Ms. Jones was savagely gang raped by her co-workers who had no fear of facing legal consequences. Instead of compassion, her Halliburton/KBR employers imprisoned her in a container denying her access to the outside world. An Army doctor’s examination that verified that Jones was a victim of gang rape has mysteriously disappeared. It doesn’t matter much anyway since

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Big Business’ Favorite Group – The Supremes

June 30th, 2011

Event

On June 22, 2011 The Supreme Court gave the pharmaceutical industry a pair of victories, shielding the makers of generic drugs from most lawsuits by injured patients and declaring that drug makers have a free-speech right to buy private prescription records to boost their sales pitches to doctors.

Vent

Lucky for us, Federal law requires the makers of brand name drugs to label their products with FDA-approved warning information and to update the warnings when reports of new problems arise.Now the Supreme Court decides that makers of generic brands don’t have to. That doesn’t sound so bad until you consider that 75% of the prescriptions written in this country are for

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The Old Republican Walk Out

June 23rd, 2011

EVENT

Jun 23, 2011– With only weeks to go before the country hits the debt ceiling, Republican negotiators walked out, throwing doubt on Washington’s ability to reach a deal that would allow the government to keep borrowing and avoid a debt default.

Representative Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives, said participants had identified trillions of dollars in potential spending cuts but were deadlocked over tax increases sought by Democrats. Republican Senator Jon Kyl also pulled out, according to an aide.

“Regardless of the progress that has been made, the tax issue must be resolved before discussions can continue,” Cantor said in a statement. House Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Washington, said Democrats must take tax hikes off the table. “These conversations could continue if they take the tax hikes out of the conversation,” Boehner said.

VENT

Let me get this straight, default could occur if Congress does not act by August 2, pushing the United States back into recession and sending markets plunging around the globe. Republicans refuse to negotiate any deal to raise the debt limit if the Democrats want to rollback the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and/or cut subsidies to the oil companies to help cut the deficit. I don’t doubt for one minute that the Republican leaders are fighting hard out for the well being of the people they represent? The only problem I have is that I’m not one of the top richest 2% that they represent at the expense of the rest of us. I wish the Democrats would fight as hard for the other 98%. They don’t. What the Republican leaders lack as human beings they more than make up for as negotiators. I know. I’ve looked up the word in the dictionary. Negotiate: To try to reach an agreement or compromise by discussion with others. Now if only Cantor would look up the word compromise. Maybe it’s too close to the word communism.

The reason they refuse to negotiate is because they won’t compromise on the Bush tax cuts. It’s not the first Time. Remember just a couple of months ago when they did the same thing with last years budget? They were willing to shut down the whole government unless all our favorite millionaires got to keep their Bush Bucks. They were in such a tuff about it that they refused to vote to give our heroic 9/11 first responders medical coverage until the Bush’s Breaks for Billionaires were firmly in place. You see, the Blue Team insist that the super rich need the Bush tax cuts to create jobs and reduce the deficit. Of course, I’m just an artist, not an economist but it seems to me that since they’ve enjoyed those tax cuts these last ten years our job growth became smaller and our deficit larger.

As far these debt talks are concerned, The Red Team and the Blue Team are basically playing a game of chicken. Once again, the Blue Team is threatening to throw the whole economy under the bus for the benefit of the rich and those who sell the gas for the bus.