This was at the OM Campsite in November, 2011.
We're interviewing one of the founding members.
(video is on YouTube)



While serving displaced people selected by Family Promise1, or even just offering to the collection plate, I ponder the value of my contribution. I feel a duty to help others, but frustrated because the need is so great and is growing. Things have been getting noticeably worse for fifty years2.

Soon after the Occupy Wall Street movement gained national attention, some friends and I started a local version called Occupy Muskegon, complete with a campsite. It attracted activists as well as some homeless people who had no interest other than to eat and staying warm. I remember one whose name was Hope.

It was obvious from the start that she was white, very pregnant, young, and cognitively deficient; she could not take care of herself.

The regular campers had been dropping her off in front of hospitals and the like, expecting that she would get attention and care, as you might do with a stray cat. She kept wandering back because nobody could help her.

She said that she had sheltered at the Rescue Mission3; but that after returning 15 minutes late on Halloween she was barred for two weeks as a consequence. That she had no warm clothes didn’t matter. It was snowing, but she was turned out.

I got another camper to ride with me and took her to Every Woman’ Place4. I watched her walk up and ring the bell and I heard them say over the PA that they were full. She came back with tears in her eyes but tried to make light of it.

We called all around Muskegon and Ottawa counties without luck.

She said she knew that there was a Mel Trotter Institute5 in Grand Rapids, and that they put mats on the floor. We called, but nobody answered. It turns out that there’s no office staff there on the weekends.

The Muskegon Greyhound station was empty too. Nobody works there anymore. So we just waited for a bus to arrive.

We gave the driver money for her ticket to Grand Rapids, and hoped that this would meet her immediate need.

This was in America: the most powerful country in the world.


1. Family Promise: http://familypromise.org/
2. Understanding the Historic Divergence Between Productivity and a Typical Worker’s Pay - Why It Matters and Why It’s Real: http://www.epi.org/publication/understanding-the-historic-divergence-between-productivity-and-a-typical-workers-pay-why-it-matters-and-why-its-real/
3. Muskegon Rescue Mission: http://www.muskegonmission.org/
4. Every Woman’s Place: http://www.everywomansplace.org/
5. Mel Trotter Ministries: http://www.meltrotter.org/home



Filed Under:

198 Ways to Make a Revolution: An Introduction to Professor Gene Sharp's Nonviolent Arsenal

 World March for Peace and Nonviolence - Brooklyn Bridge, NYC - 11/30/09 Copyright by Asterio Tecson, AttributionNoncommercialNoDerivativeWorksSomerights reserved.



Part One of

 A Discussion Series by R.W. Nye


 No matter how upset you may be with the arrogance of those in positions of power in our government, the undue influence of corporations-as-people, the flagrant overreach of the Executive Branch in invading every last vestige of our privacy, and the increasing use of brutal police tactics in some localities, don't go meditating violence. That would be playing into the hands of our well-armed law enforcement people, who are just waiting for you to make their day.

Instead, there are a great number of nonviolent techniques that can be much more effective in mounting a resistance to an unjust and corrupt government. You won't get results overnight, but with patience and diligence, bravery and determination you can achieve long-term lasting change without committing any act of violence. You can achieve amazing results through nonviolent political action without hurting anyone or engaging in the destruction of property.

The cookbook for this sort of resistance is a three-volume work entitled The Politics of Nonviolent Action, by Professor Gene Sharp,published at Harvard in 1973. This classic text explains the theory of nonviolent resistance and “political jiu-jitsu” whereby ordinary folks can transform repressive regimes by undermining their pillars of support.

Inspired by Mohandas K. Gandhi, A.J. Muste, Henry David Thoreau and others, Professor Sharp studied examples from history to analyze how people have empowered themselves through nonviolent political action to exert pressure against the powerful. This work and Sharp's other writings such as From Dictatorship to Democracy have been used worldwide by popular resistance movements in countries ranging from Serbia to Egypt. His foundation, the Albert Einstein Institution, (www.aeinstein.org) offers many of his publications for free download. They are available in several languages.

Volume 2 of the trilogy is devoted to specific methods of nonviolent action “designed to operate against opponents who are able and willing to use violent sanctions” by creating “a special, asymmetrical conflict situation, in which the two groups rely on contrasting techniques of struggle, or 'weapons systems'--one on violent action, the other on nonviolent action.” It is this volume that I will initially discuss.

Sharp enumerates 198 distinct methods of nonviolent action and briefly discusses each. My purpose in this series will be to present and discuss his techniques in a way useful to 21st-century Americans.

I will discuss these specific methods in the order in which Sharp presents them, grouped together as he grouped them. Eventually, I will review Sharp's theory of how and why these techniques are effective when used in a persistent and disciplined manner.








 1. Public speeches Sharp cites several examples of dramatic public speeches delivered to audiences of university students and—from the pulpit—to religious congregations, in opposition to Adolf Hitler and his supporters. The speakers assumed great personal risk to their lives and freedom.

 Great orations, over the centuries, have become landmarks in history. Very recently, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's “I have a dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was observed. Robert F. Kennedy's 1966 “Ripples of Hope” speech in South Africa is still frequently quoted.

 In our own state of Michigan, USA, and in most other states, people have the right to address most deliberative government bodies. Unfortunately, these bodies frequently impose draconian time limits on this right. Sometimes these limits can be overcome by making prior appointments to reserve longer time intervals. Even when restricted, this is a valuable right and we should make regular use of it.

 2. Letters of opposition or support These may be private letters addressed to a certain person or body, or “open letters” intended to influence the public as well as the recipient. Writing to one's representative in Congress is a time-honored American tradition, and in the age of email has never been easier.

Politicians, mindful of future elections, tend to pay attention to their mail and email. They will usually answer a well-composed, respectful communication. The reply is often proforma and brief, but if they have received a large volume of communications on a given subject they may take the matter seriously enough to act as a large number of their constituents wish, provided that corporate lobbyists haven't already persuaded them to do otherwise.

 Appointed officials, too, may be sensitive to the winds of change. They can sometimes be influenced by written communications when they have discretionary authority in a given matter.

 Never underestimate the ability to exert influence by means of written communications.

 3. Declarations by organizations and institutions

Government officials tend to take seriously any declaration they receive from organizations and institutions representing large groups of people. When these bodies enjoy a large degree of prestige or popularity they become hard to ignore.

 Americans who belong to labor unions, professional associations, and other bodies may have means of leveraging influence by working to have such organizations deliver declarations in opposition to repressive or wrong-headed government policies.

 4. Signed public statements

 In contrast to declarations, these are “directed primarily to the general public, or to both the public and the opponent, and released with the signatures of supporters.” These may be offered to the public to sign. “The signatures may be those of persons from particular organizations, occupations or professions, or of people from various parts of the society.”

 5. Declarations of indictment and intention

 As examples, Sharp cites the American Declaration of Independence, as well as the South African “Freedom Charter” adopted in 1955 against apartheid. Ideally, such documents “are seen to be of such a quality or to meet such a response that the document itself becomes influential in influencing people's loyalties and behavior.”

 6. Group or mass petitions

 Group petitions have been used since ancient times. Thanks to the Internet, it has now easier than ever to circulate petitions electronically signed by large numbers of people. When a large number of people are passionate on a given issue, such petitions can be carried out and presented with amazing speed. A petition containing a large number of bonafide signatures can be a blockbuster in urging the adoption or prevention of a specific action.

 In many states, petitions may serve as the basis for legislative initiatives, recalls of public officials, and referendums on existing legislation. Such petitions allow citizens to participate in democracy in a more direct fashion than merely voting for people to represent them.











Keywords: , , , , ,

Filed Under:

Abuse of Power by the Muskegon City Commission

For the story, please take this link.


Filed Under:

The LGBT Community Sees Revolutionary Immigration Change

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has made it official:  U.S. citizens and permanent residents filing visa petitions for same-sex spouses can expect that they will be adjudicated using essentially the same criteria as petitions for opposite-sex spouses.  This represents a revolutionary change for a class of people who were long officially characterized as having "psychopathic personality" and thereby being excludable from the United States.

This development comes in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in the Windsor v. U.S. case declaring Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. 

The usual rule that a marriage must be valid in the jurisdiction where it was contracted will apply; however, couples residing in any of the 37 states that do not recognize same-sex marriages will generally be eligible for approval of spouse visa petitions.

Legal excludability of people identified as homosexual ended only in 1990; however, a 1979 decision by the U.S. Public Health Service not to issue certifications in such cases led to the Immigration and Naturalization Service's adopting something like a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Just the same, as late as 1984 an immigrant was denied U.S. citizenship and threatened with deportation after admitting he was gay. 

Keywords: , , , , ,

Filed Under: News

Riley Orchards Huge Subsidies is Coincident with Fracking Participation


Why, do you suppose, that Riley Orchards, (of Silver Lake Fracking Well fame) is suddenly receiving huge taxpayer subsidies:




Swanson Pickles, (owner of the first fracking well in Muskegon County) has been an old pig at the trough, having received over a million tax payer dollars since 1995.

For details, see:


Keywords: , , , , ,

Filed Under: Fracking

Correspondence with Steve Riley

 Steve Riley,

Thanks for your email.

However, it’s not easy to respond because every statement you made is either patently false or insanely illogical. Let’s start from the top.

I don’t know what the Trooper told you… [snip]

The video that you mentioned clearly shows Trooper Thomas saying that you, “… would be ok with meeting in order to answer any kind of questions”. How can you not know? 


… but I am not interested in meeting with you.

Should I conclude that Trooper Thomas lied to me about you?


…Here is why: You have proven to be untrustworthy by trespassing… [snip]

Now let’s see: 1) you sold your community’s water rights, 2) you subjected your neighbors to fear and to chemical induced discomfort, 3) you risked poisoning these innocent families with Hydrogen Sulfide, 4) you actively hide the fact that the well operators did not follow regulations when they omitted the backflow containment walls, 4) you continue to produce and sell food grown on your land after blowback water with unspecified contaminants flooded the area, 5) you filed formal charges against a journalist because he visited that property, (property that you sold your rights to) in order that he report the matter objectively with a video record. Given all this, which of us is actually untrustworthy?


…and showing a blatent disregard for my privacy.

This is not a private affair. Water is a public resource. Air is publically owned. None of us is interested in you. The extent that your personal greed stands above concern for your neighbor’s is obvious, but that is incidental. (So is your weakness with spelling and grammar.) You should know that I will continue to post your emails, and respond to them publically. As I said, this is not a private affair between you and me. This is a public matter.


You are an activist and have a closed mind… [snip]

You know less about me than you do about the business you sold us out to. But that is irrelevant. 


The oil company… conduct themselves with professionalism, and follow all necessary guidelines. 

In fact, Ocean County Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Osborne detailed his difficulty with repeatedly allocating limited resources as a result of the complaints associated with the Riley Orchards fracking well. There was no information communicated in advance of the drilling and fracking operations, and there were no contact people at the Riley Well site during the calamities. In spite of the Federal “Right To Know Act”, County emergency response officials still do not know which chemicals were released into the air, the water, and onto your fields. Thus, they have not been able to ascertain the associated hazard level.


I… have not had any ill effects due to the fracking or any of the other processes.

Not yet, anyway. It sounds like you’ve been lucky so far.

Thanks again,



Mr. Mills, 

I don’t know what the Trooper told you, but I am not interested in meeting with you. Here is why: You have proven to be untrustworthy by trespassing and showing a blatent disregard for my privacy. I feel that anything I say to you will not be accurately portrayed in your web postings, and I will be made out to be something you make of me. You are an activist and have a closed mind on the matter despite what you say. The oil company leasing our land has been a pleasure to work with and conduct themselves with professionalism, and follow all necessary guidelines. I am very much in favor of what is going on, and have not had any ill effects due to the fracking or any of the other processes. This is all I have to say to you on the matter. Please do not contact me anymore and do not come on my property.


Sent from Windows Mail


Sent: ‎June‎ ‎25‎, ‎2013 ‎6‎:‎04‎ ‎PM
To: Steve Riley,
Subject: RE: Weblog e-mail - Riley Well

 Mr. Riley,

The State trooper said you'd be ok with meeting in order to answer any kind of questions.

If that's the case, I would like to follow up.


Would this weekend be ok?


Any place would be fine with me.






-------- Original Message --------
Subject: RE: Weblog e-mail - Riley Well
From: <
Date: Wed, June 19, 2013 4:32 am
To: "Steve Riley" <
s-riley@live.com>, occupy@occupymuskegon.net
Cc: occupy@occupymuskegon.net

 Steve Riley,

I'm just doing my job.

`sorry that you don't like it.

I plan to visit your site again for a better picture. I need to get the "Christmas Tree" with the roadway in the background. As they say, pictures speak a thousand words.

I will let you know when I can drive up there again.

By the way, you can visit me any time for stomping around. I have nothing to hide.




-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Weblog e-mail - Riley Well
From: "Steve Riley" <
Date: Tue, June 18, 2013 2:35 pm

 Your recent bit you posted was sent to me by a friend. First off, you were trespassing when you drove on my land. If you come back again I will have you arrested. Second, I assume you drove a vehicle that consumes petrolium based fuel and oil. How do you think we get those things? They come out of the ground from a well much like you saw when you were trespassing. My house is the closest to the well, and I have had no complaints. One would think if you came up here to interview people you would want to talk to the people closest to the well. I never talked to you. You went to a meeting heavily biased against any kind of drilling for oil or gas, and the opinions presented there were probably based on a general ignorance rather that on any actual facts. You mentioned three accidents that occurred. Accidents happen in all areas of work. Go to a car plant, an office or a school, accidents happen. People like you need more to do, because you obviously have way too much time on your hands. Please say in Muskegon and keep your ignorance down there. I like it here next to that well you trespassed to see, so leave us alone. Also, next time you post something, leave your address and phone number, maybe I'll drive to your house and walk around your yard and take a few pics and post them online. Steve Riley

Keywords: , , , ,

Filed Under: Blog · Fracking

New Video of Fracking Well at Riley Orchards


An anonymous source has provided OM-Live with a new video of the fracking well in Oceana County, MI, (near Silver Lake).

A red warning sign saying, "Danger Poison Gas" is seen hanging from the well head. 

The warning is thought to be an attempt to mitigate damages in any future court action.

The video can be seen on the OM News YouTube channel:  http://youtu.be/u-_kf11Im4U

 You can see screen shots from the video on this page: http://omlive.org/page/Riley-Orchards-Oceana-County-MI-(near-Silver-Lake)

Keywords: , , , ,

Filed Under: Fracking

Accidents at Oceana County Fracking Well


I wanted to know about the fracking well in Oceana County. Taking an afternoon drive to Silver Lake and asking local residents about it seemed like a good idea.  If there were problems up there, that would be relevant to the planned fracking operations in Muskegon County. If there were no issues, then maybe people were overreacting here.



I spent two hours, searching online for the well’s location and any other pertinent information. I found almost nothing.


The DEQ has this map available, which shows the general location, and the number PN60575:


The legend at the bottom of the map gave coordinates: 15N 18W.


But feeding these into Google Earth gave me a location off the coast of Gambia.


I found nothing else online. No news reports about the well, no blog posts. The absence of web content led me to suppose that this well has had a boring life. I began to reconsider taking the time to drive up there.


I found the Oceana Ban Fracking Facebook page, which listed a public meeting with the DEQ for that afternoon in Shelby. I decided to go and to try to get some feedback from the residents up there, good or bad.


What I learned was very disturbing.


There have actually been three accidents at the well. And there have been two chemical releases. Not much is known, but noxious odors accompanied by headaches, body aches, and inability to sleep were reported by residents over a twelve mile radius in Benonia and Golden Townships in December and again in May


The Emergency Management Coordinator was unaware that fracking was under way. Small fire departments were dispatched five and six times a day for two week periods to respond to the complaints.


Hydrogen sulfide was noticeable among the odors. This gas is very poisonous, corrosive, flammable, explosive, and heavier than air.


There is no contact person at the Riley 1-22 well and so, they could not assess the hazard level.  


We learned that the drill bit broke off several thousand feet down in December and that one of the attempts to remove it involved forcing liquid nitrogen into the well. Among other things, this resulted in extinguishing the flare and so methane was released into the air for a two week period. Flowback also occurred at this time, with the escape of chemicals and gasses.


Mishandled flowback occurred again in May, with another release of chemicals and gasses.


Although the “Right to Know Act”, which was enacted after the Bhopal gas tragedy which killed an estimated 8,000 people in India from a Union Carbide gas leak, mandates that County Emergency Management officials have documented information about chemicals used in all industrial processes before they are brought on site, the Emergency Manger still does not know what chemicals were released to the environment.


This is because the “Halliburton Loophole” exempts the fracking industry from all environmental regulation and oversight.


The Michigan DEQ is quick to say that flowback fluids are safely contained in pools and storage containers by stringent regulations. They describe costly measures enacted by the industry to prevent chemical runoff. These include double walled liners and high walls around the drill site.


However, my visit to the Riley 1-22 well showed effectively no protection at all. (See video: http://youtu.be/d_jnagDwVxo).


A small berm had been pushed up at three sides of the site. This berm was at most two feet high and did not exist at all in many areas. This included the wide roadway above a ditch, right next to a farmer’s field.


Not only is it disturbing that sloppy management of the Riley well led to several accidents, and that the agencies charged with protecting the public are out of the loop by design, but the fact that no news reports or web content exists to help the people who are most affected by this very serious matter prepare themselves is beyond words.


What has happened to the press? What is happening to democracy?




Filed Under:


Funny thing--there was this gentleman in a suit at the public meeting on fracking held at the Ravenna F.D., and I could swear that he identified himself as Mark A. Van Allsburg, attorney for Ravenna Township.  Now I learn that there is a man by the same name and of the same appearance who is a member of the Legal and Legislative Committee of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association.  Could they possibly be the same person?  And if so, who was he really representing?  "No man can serve two masters."--Jesus Christ   (See http://www.mmbjlaw.com/legal-team/attorneys/mark-vanallsburg )


Mark A. Van Allsburg

Grand Rapids MI

Please feel free to contact this attorney's secretary, Dawn

  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Municipal
  • Real Estate

Mark A. Van Allsburg, a native of Grand Rapids, received his bachelor’s degree from Calvin College in 1981, and he received his law degree from the University of Michigan in 1983. Mark is a member of the Grand Rapids Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan (former Chairman of the State Oil and Gas Law Committee), the Michigan Oil and Gas Association and the Michigan and American Associations of Professional Landmen. Mark is the immediate past chairman of the firm’s management committee. He specializes in local government law (former Chairman of the firm’s local government group), real estate law and oil and gas law. He works extensively with local municipalities, particularly with regard to matters involving zoning and planning. Mark has received the highest professional rating by Martindale-Hubbell (AV).


Areas of Practice:

Local Government Law
Oil and Gas Law
Real Estate Law


The University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan,
1983 J.D.

Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan,
1981 Bachelor's

Bar Admission:

Michigan, 1984

Honors and Awards:

Awarded highest professional rating by Martindale-Hubbell (AV)

Professional Associations and Memberships:

Grand Rapids Bar Association

State Bar of Michigan Former
Chairman, State Oil and Gas Law Committee

Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys

Michigan Township Association

Michigan Oil and Gas Association
Member, Legal and Legislative Committee

Michigan Association of Professional Landmen

American Association of Professional Landmen


Filed Under:

Breaking News: Ravenna Township Supervisor: No Fracking Moratorium

At the June 13 monthly meeting of the Ravenna Township Board, Township Supervisor Ken Punter said that there will be no moratorium on the drilling of two oil wells within the township's boundaries, in spite of the fact that the township's fire department lacks a hazardous materials (HAZMAT) team.  He indicated that the township is relying on the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to police the Rosetta Natural Resources operation, which will involve hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") of shale layers as much as a mile or more underground.  As the wells have been permitted by the MDEQ, drilling could begin at almost any time.  Rosetta is a Texas-based company founded in 2005.  Its application for the MDEQ permit had indicated the likelihood of encountering toxic hydrogen sulfide gas in the process of drilling the wells.


Filed Under:


<<  November 2017  >>

View posts in large calendar


Comment RSS