The Jefferson Tree - A platform for debate and discussion of current events and politics...

Stephen Moore’s Ridiculous Anti-Clean Energy Rant

Hard right-winger Stephen Moore took a break from pushing debunked trickle-down economic policies to take a pathetic shot at clean energy.  Let the stupid begin. …radical Greens, one of the most influential political forces in America today… Seriously?  He goes on to mention the famed Sierra Club as one of these forces.  And where did they rank in 2013 on lobbying: 755.  In fact, if we look at the top 50 interest groups giving to members of Congress this year, no sign ...

Anti-Israel Policies/Actions Is Not Anti-Semitsim

There have been growing protests in Europe against the mass murder of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the State of Israel. These actions are in response to the IDF killing 500 Muslims there with the vast majority of them being civilians. But what is troubling about these movements is, according to this article in the NYT, an anti-Semitic tinge has taken place at these protests. The story reads that in France: Several recent pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris have boiled over ...

Warren For President?

Today at the the annual Netroots Nation conference in Detroit, the nation’s largest gathering of liberal activists and organizers, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) reportedly drew an applause that Hillary could only dream of. According to NYT and Politico reports, Warren was a rock-star while Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate for President, was absent. Warren’s populist talking points and her history of taking Wall Street to task (remember that Warren was an early advocate for the creation of a new Consumer Financial ...

Social Protest Literatue at Sparking The Left

Here at STL we are starting a new feature. In between our political-insight posts, I will start publishing excerpts or entire pieces of great literature that speak to crucial social and political issues which span the centuries. Though almost all in the Western tradition, the subject matters are transcendental. Now first to name my source, I am taking pieces from Upton Sinclair’s selected and edited collection “The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Great Social Protest Literature of All Time.” ...

Pulitzer-Winning Journalist Detained for Being Undocumented

I was first brought aware of Jose Antonio Vargas’ story last week in a piece he penned in Politico. He explained that he was in the Rio Grande Valley, in the city of McAllen, just north of the Mexican border. He was there to see first hand the tens of thousands of undocumented children, most of them from Central America, and observe how they were being treated. The trip was also used for a news conference appearance and vigil organized by United We Dream, ...

GOP Refuses Funding for Border Children Projects

A humanitarian crisis unseen before at our borders is becoming more and more urgent everyday at Rio Grande Valley, TX, and other Southwest locations. And yet the GOP is arguing over numbers. Yesterday President Obama requested an amount of $3.7 billion from Congress to help aid the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who illegally crossed the border from the Mexico side since October. They are mostly from violence-ridden Central American countries, like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Honduras has the world’s highest murder ...

Problems galore for the new government headed by Mr. Narendra Modi in New Delhi – Imperative for the first time PM and his council of ministers in governance amidst multiple challenges

The phenomenal victory for Mr. Narendra Modi and his party (the BJP) in May 2014 general elections has not only drawn the adulation of people world over but also silenced all its die hard critics at home and abroad. It was so stupendous and stunning that even the American government and its top leaders across party lines acknowledged Mr. Modi as the emerging democratic leader of the world, setting aside their past antagonism as an error of judgment, not based ...

Embarrassing Weekend for NSA and CIA Good for Democracy

U.S. intelligence took a couple of pretty hard slaps in its face this past weekend and, when reading the articles about their wasteful and ridiculous actions, the slaps were clearly justified. First off, it was announced on Friday that Germany had arrested a man accused of spying for the United States and passing on the details of a German parliamentary committee’s investigation.  It’s pretty disgraceful that the U.S. is spending taxpayer dollars to buy spies so we can know about an ...

Has Putin Over Reached Once Too Often?

My, oh my.  We've watched this man make mince meat of Obama over the past several years.  Each time you could see the smirk broaden and the swagger get more pronounced. He and his allies - Iran, China, Syria and North Korea were truly enjoying themselves. But as happens with a lot of bullies, they get over confident and suddenly everything around them collapses. I'm wondering if this is the case with the downing of the Malaysian passenger jet. With the death ...

If Only It WERE The Heat!

What a day.  A passenger plane has been shot down over Ukraine uncomfortably close to the Russian border. Hamas reneged on the humanitarian cease fire so Israel launched their ground offensive. Children still pour across the border while Congress dithers. It's now being reported parents are giving them birth control in case they are raped during the journey. Along that line former member of Congress, Todd Aiken, who once talked about legitimate rape and the idea that women's bodies protected them from becoming ...

Hannity's Histrionics

For a person who doesn't have much faith in the intellect of pundits, I wonder why I watch them so often.  I wonder even more why the cable outlets and networks that employ them don't take more care in who they hire. Many of them get on crusades that bear no resemblance to reality.  Sean Hannity is one of the most prominent. The night before last  he was on his Bowe Bergdahl kick demanding to know why he was returned to ...

Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words?

If the President could run away from the border mess any faster I'm sure he would. It's being said it's because being seen in the setting of kids crammed into confined spaces with their scabies and lice would reflect badly on him.  It could even be his Katrina.  Well, maybe.  But who's fault is that? It goes to show his handlers aren't as smart as they think they are.  For one, drinking beer and shooting pool in Colorado, a state where ...

The Kids Always Went Home

Watching the immigration mess going full bore brought to mind a lot of things that have involved children from other nations.  The first thing that comes to mind is the Disney song It's a Small World After All that speaks to all we have in common. Hopes, dreams, all the warm fuzzy stuff. We've had exchange student programs where a student from another country lives with a local family to learn not only academics but what life in American and Americans ...

The Militia Is Coming, The Militia Is Coming!

That's all we need! News has it a call has gone out for militia, both unarmed and armed, to gather along the border to help private land owners protect their property in something called Operation Save Our Borders.  Terrific! Remember how well it went when militia turned out to help to  help Cliven Bundy in his fight over Federal grazing rights in Nevada?  It came within a hair's breadth of turning violent. I really feel for the border towns who are the ...

Will Cheney Help Or Hurt The Republicans In The Mid-Terms?

Will the re-emergence of Dick Cheney help or hurt the Republicans in the mid-terms?  There is so much going on about which voters are rightfully incensed my guess he will have little impact. I think it depends, however, on what happens in the middle east over the next couple of months. Those who believe it wouldn't be in the mess it is if it weren't for the Bush/Cheney policies and rush to war will be reminded of just that - the ...

So Sue Me

I often wonder these days how our country is going to survive the remainder of Obama's term.  Whether or not you agree with the Supreme Court decisions, they have been made never-the-less and the President has been slapped down on many occasions.  Sometimes unanimously. So why, I wonder, has the President decided to continue his mantra of it's my way or the highway.  He complains endlessly about the Republicans refusal to work with him.  House Speaker Boehner explains one reason is ...

It is always better to have no ideas, than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong. In my mind, theories are more easily demolished than rebuilt. Thomas Jefferson
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Occupy Papua New Guinea Takes On Government, Wins

occupy papua new guineau
Over 10,000 gather at Sir John Guise Stadium in Papua New Guinea

In another example of the power of popular resistance, Papua New Guineans this week appear to have successfully stopped the government from delaying elections and implementing a controversial Judicial Conduct Law that would allow the legislature to remove judges. In front of a massive crowd organized by labor unions, churches, social media groups, and civil society organizations, PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill promised to hold elections on time.

The protests were organized in part by student activists and bloggers affiliated with Occupy Waigani, a group that formed last month to occupy Parliament in protest of the Judicial Conduct Law. Among other efforts, Occupiers in PNG are also working to address the exploitation of local resources by corporate interests and unequal development in the country. #OccupyWallStreet stands in solidarity with Occupiers and dissidents everywhere. (See below for a timeline of events in PNG!)

Occupy Wall Street has always been part of a global movement for economic justice and people-powered democracy. In addition to the Arab Spring protests that continue to challenge oppressive regimes from Tunisia to Bahrain, #OWS drew much of our inspiration from the Indignados in Spain and Portugal, the popular assemblies in Greece, the Icelandic Revolution against debt and austerity, the on-going Chilean student protests, and more. Following the Occupation of Liberty Square in New York City, Occupy protests took place on every continent. On the October 15, 2011 global day of action alone, Occupy demonstrations occurred in at least 950 cities in 82 countries.

The Occupy movement has taken hold across the world and remains especially active in countries like Australia, the Netherlands, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Germany, and Italy. Last week in Russia, protesters erected tents in Red Square during a protest against government corruption (predictably, they were quickly arrested by Russian police). Occupy protests have appeared in all parts of the world, from China to Argentina, and each place has contributed a unique perspective and experience to the Global Revolution to take back our lives from the Global 1%, in whatever form they take.

While our causes may appear disparate, we share a common opposition to abusive government and economic inequality. Whether by the greedy removal of vital fuel subsidies for the 99% in Nigeria last year or the imposition of military rule in Egypt, the people everywhere will no longer tolerate elite misrule. Everywhere, we are demanding true self-government and real democracy – not governments run by banksters, autocrats, and corrupt politicians. And everywhere, our diverse and localized movements share tactics like the occupation of public space, mass demonstrations, and use of social media and horizontal consensus-based democracy to organize online and in the the world. As activists in all parts of the world borrow ideas and imagery from one another and adapt them to local struggles, we learn from each other’s innovations.


Last month, a student-led movement opposed to a law that would allow the government to silence dissident judges spawned an Occupy movement in Papua New Guinea. Although international media was completely silent on the events that followed, the protest grew to include broad support when the government voted to suspend elections. Earlier this week, 10,000 people gathered in the capitol of Papua New Guineau and forced the government to reverse their position. Again, beside minor coverage in Australian news, international media has been suspiciously silent. However, the activists themselves have not – using blogs and other social media, protest organizers kept their supporters around the world informed about events as they happened on the ground.

As described by one blogger in a post about Occupy Waigani:

David Wissink, the spokesman for Morobe Mines Joint Venture [a joint Australian/South African mining company in PNG], asked the question of yesterday’s historic protest: ‘So in reality what was gained?’

Most Papua New Guineans know the answer to this question. But for David’s benefit, let’s spell it out.

1) We showed the government that they are accountable to us. Now the politicians realise we are not going to let them get away with blatant disregard for us and our rights.
2) We showed solidarity. Good things start to happen when ordinary Papua New Guineans stand together and start talking about issues we share as a nation.
3) We showed that we are better than them. They are violent – they let our people be murdered for LNG. They don’t respect our rights – they rushed through an unconstitutional Bill without asking us at all (and now they want us to stop talking about it). They try and divide us and cause conflict between us. WE are peaceful – we marched peacefully, as a nation, and started talking about a better way for all.

David, and mining companies like the one he works for, doesn’t like it when Papua New Guineans speak out. It makes him nervous that Papua New Guineans are thinking for themselves. He thinks: “Maybe they will realise they don’t want or need companies like Newcrest telling them what to think. “Maybe they will realise they don’t need to support the corrupt government which makes so much money for the miners.¨ “Maybe they will realise they don’t need mining or foreign companies at all, because they have a better way of making a living (it’s called land).’”

So WE say congratulations to the protesters, who love their country and believe foreign corporations like MMJV and the government they corrupt are holding us back from a better way (our way). And don’t let them try and tell you that you are violent trouble-makers. They are the violent ones, stealing your land and your money. You are the peacemakers: and the future.

Occupy Waigani and their allies and supporters still need our solidarity to ensure the promise of true democracy is delivered, not only to the people of Papua New Guinea, but to everyone, everywhere.


student assembly in PNG

  • March 21 – One day after it is introduced and after virtually no serious consideration, the Judicial Conduct Law passes the legislature with a wide majority. Protesters call it the ¨Shut up the judges¨ bill.
  • March 22 – Bloggers and activists call for #OccupyWaigani. (Waigani is the government district of Port Moresby, the capitol.) After a meeting at the University of PNG Forum Square that lasted until 4am, students make and announce plans to ¨occupy the grounds of Parliament¨ in protest of the law, defying police orders not to. The protesters demand that a representative from the government meet with them or they threaten to march directly on the Prime Minister´s office.
  • March 23 – 2500 UPNG students and allies march to office of the Prime Minister Peter O´Neill in Waigani. A stand off with police ensues, who eventually allow the protesters to pass with escort. The students deliver an ultimatum to the PM demanding the removal of the Judicial Conduct Law and declare they will wait for response before planning more actions.
  • March 25 – In a televised nationwide address, the PM refuses to remove the law.
  • March 26 – The Community Coalition Against Corruption, students from the University of PNG, the PNG Trade Union Congress, and PNG social media networks hold a joint press conference announcing they are considering a national general strike with ¨sit-in protests in urban areas¨ by students at PNG’s main universities in Port Moresby, Lae, Goroka, Madang and Rabaul.
  • March 29 – Over 4700 students skip class at the University of PNG.
  • March 30 – Thousands more students strike at Unitech in Lae, calling it #OccupyTopTown. Some also start using #OccupyPNG now that there are at least two cities participating.
  • April 5 – A student forum meets again to discuss the next course of action. During the assembly, they recieve word that the legislature voted to defer elections by a vote of 63-11.
  • April 6 – Students and Occupiers on social media release the following statement:

    We the people of Papua New Guinea are now DEMANDING the Government to RESCIND THIS MOTION TO ‘DEFER THE ELECTIONS’ IMMEDIATELY!! We DEMAND that the Elections go ahead at the appointed time. By the 27th of April, the Writs must be issued and due election process allowed to occur. We the people of Papua New Guinea declare that we will NOT RELENT IN OUR PROTEST UNTIL OUR DEMANDS ARE COMPLIED WITH!!

  • April 8 – Via Twitter and other social media, student leaders and activists continue to share links to #OWS, Adbusters, and Take The Square information on how to occupy.
  • April 9 – Another student meeting in Forum Square is held. Student leader Nou Vada tells the media:

    ¨O’Neill has said whatever marches on Tuesday will be illegal… We need to either listen to the lawbreaker’s pronouncement of law and obey or act in what is purportedly civil disobedience, as the students did a few weeks back, and negotiate our way through the blockades and the cocked weapons.¨

  • April 10 – 10,000 Papua New Guineans converge on Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moseby to protest the delay of elections and the Judicial Conduct Law. There are several Occupy-inspired signs and banners and it is organized on Twitter using #OccupyWaigani. Student, labor, and religious leaders speak out and the crowd declares ¨We Are Parliament!¨ Most of the city is shut down and there is heavy police presence around the square. Some looting occurs elsewhere, and protesters blame police for only paying attention to the protest. The Prime Minister with heavy escort arrives to address the massive crowd personally and is heavily booed. He then promises to hold elections as planned and remove the Judicial Conduct Law (as long as a controversial judge agrees to step down) and receives cheers. Many question still whether he is trust-worthy and will still carry out his promises.
  • April 11 – As the legislature has not yet rescinded the plan to delay elections, protesters say they are making contingency plans in the event the Prime Minister and the government do not hold elections as promised. A court has, however, issued an injunction against the Judicial Conduct Law.


On Twitter:

PNG Students Protesting Against Judicial Conduct Law Undeterred by Police Warning
Student protesters and civil society look at options after O´neill refusal to back down
Occupy Waigani As It Unfolded
Social Media Driving New Chapter of PNG Consciousness


Author: OccupyWallSt

Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #ows is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to expose how the richest 1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.

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