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November 21, 2011

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Indeed.

Americans are simply too shell-shocked to understand what has happened. The right-wing revolution created a list of demons and scapegoats, which substitute for the legitimate targets in our pillaging plutocracy. Consider Obama, or Michael Moore, or Nancy Pelosi or the SCLM. The little bits of cognitive dissonance are easily counterbalanced by an onslaught of public sex/defecation stories. The right never leaves anything to chance.

Civil disobedience has a rich history in this nation but we're a nation that doesn't know history or its broad themes. What we do know is that social reality can best be explained by the tropes the right employs (black vs white, atheist vs believer, Muslim vs Christian, communist vs capitalist,etc.). The media are, needless to say, more than happy to validate the cultural filters of the upper-middle class. This then becomes less a political/economic saga than a social one: good people vs slovenly kids and troublemakers.

The "false consciousness" of the American middle class is so deeply insinuated that it's probably beyond any hope of remediation. You can blame the Big Sort, the near-constant media distractions, and the hijacking of the white working class to Fox News-land. What remains are the few kids who didn't conform, many blacks (in Phoenix, I've seen more than a few cars with black drivers with OWS messages on them), and old hippies like myself.

We ended a war (eventually) in Vietnam but we lost the war for the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans. For them, the scandal was the loss of cultural homogeneity. They blamed us, and the history of this nation took a turn to the right. It has not recovered since then. The failure of OWS was ordained in these stars. That's why I couldn't get involved. I still feel too guilty.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"The reactionaries are happy to have [Occupy] wreck center cities and public squares, or disrupt traffic so the poor working shlubs have a hard time getting home."

One measure of Occupy's relevance is the degree to which they focus media attention on the issues (and victims) evoking complaint by the movement. This includes reactionary propaganda appearing in the mass media, of which there has been plenty: reactionaries don't waste column space smearing and demonizing those from whom they perceive no threat. After the closure of the port there was a sudden outbreak of op-eds warning about how dangerous radicals had coopted the movement.

The real reason for the crack-downs isn't that they're "disrupting traffic so the poor working shlubs have a hard time getting home"; it's that they're disrupting commerce in the business districts surrounding their camps. Merchants are complaining to police and city counsels that their profits are way down. Complaints about crime (which occurs anywhere large number congregate, and in much higher rates in poor city neighborhoods outside Occupy camps) are specious and are merely an excuse for terminating activity that threatens commercial profits while occasionally flaring into more significant actions such as the "seizure" (well, disruption) of an important commercial shipping port.

The real point of direct action in most cases (including this one) is not revolution, but to disrupt the Establishment to the point where it is willing to negotiate with moderate elements in order to appear to address the issues and complaints of protesters, thereby co-opting the movement's popular base and isolating its dedicated militants (who can then be safely marginalized without broad complaint).

One problem is that they aren't militant enough. Perhaps that will change: militancy is something which springs not from sloganeering but from concrete struggle in which the lessons of power (as taught by the police and their political masters) are absorbed via personal experience. Brutal nighttime raids of camps are one way this lesson can be taught if the movement manages to persist in the face of it.

(I'm almost out of online time and may add to this tomorrow or the next day.)

Wow. Cutting to the chase. If only the whole country were reading this. Things are finally coming to light, but in a way that's likely to get ugly.

To play devil's advocate with our in-house devil's advocate (Mr. Pulsifer):

I still don't see how any of this sticks it to The Man.

When Occupy protesters shut down the University bridge here, they didn't leave the merchant princes fearful and calling for the jackboots. They just alienated a bunch of commuters who should share their aims. Same when they surrounded a bus downtown.

And shutting down the Port of Oakland called attention to...what? I forget. But the people most affected were the blue-collar workers in and around the port. Unions might use Occupyists as useful marchers. But how's that card check working out in Congress? Downtown Oakland is not Rodeo Drive, so I have a hard time picturing which retail moguls demanded that the cops be called in.

Zucotti Park? Might have made for strong symbolism if it hadn't degenerated into a campground. The Man just choppers in and out, then goes off to buy elections.

I'm not for bloody direct action. I am for a serious political program. Otherwise, we're about to see just how much Occupy has "changed the conversation" as Congress cuts the hell out of everything without an oligarch behind it. High-speed rail was just defunded. Nobody made a peep. We fall back into the Third World. And nobody in power on Wall Street has gone to jail or even been forced to return to sound and safe business practices.

I'm with Mr. Pulsifer.

Occupy Wall Street has value, if the only thing that they do is make noise.

Hopefully this is just be beginning.

Their numbers need to grow dramatically, and with that, their boldness needs to grow.

It would be terrific to have protests like those against the war in Vietnam.

I don't want violence. But I feel convinced that there is no chance in Hell of political change without it. The Republicans will just starve us to death. If the numbers who are starved are low enough, much of the public (especially the Tea Party) will just blame the victims. "Those starving bastards should have gotten a job! Those lazy bastards should have started a successful business instead of going hungry!"

Don't tell the Tea Party, the retired, or the Republicans that there are no jobs. They hate reality and want to live in their fantasy world.

Here is what will happen, unless "we the people" do something decisive.

Without a major change in the game, the following will occur.

Unemployment will increase. Outsourcing and globalization will continue and the US will continue to hemorrhage jobs. The economy will get worse.

The Republicans will cut taxes on the rich, which will increase the magnitude of every pathology, and cause the "debt crisis" to worsen. Unemployment will rise in correlation to tax cuts.

Americans will be forced to work harder for less. Americans will literally starve, in increasing numbers.

The United States will become a giant concentration camp, where most working people live horrible short lives.

Here is the alternative.

Americans realize that protest and resistance are the only way to survive. More Americans protest. The numbers of the mobs grows.

The Republicans and Corporate Nazis will not tolerate this, so at some point, the pigs (oops, I meant police) will contrive excuses to kill protesters, including shooting them in cold blood.

Americans will need to protest in the streets. Millions of people need to flood the streets and raise Hell. There should be huge nationwide strikes that shut down the country. Americans need to raise hell for better jobs, 30 million more jobs, pensions, a more "fair" economic system, a less corrupt financial system, punishment for Wall Street crooks, higher pay, and higher taxes on the rich.

It beats the Hell out of starving to death.

If massive protests don't do it, then a revolution is in order.

We are not going to survive under the status quo. As Mr. Talton says, it will get much worse.

Americans are going to starve to death. The Republicans want SLAVE LABOR and they want us to work hard for the privilege of starving to death.

This country is so evil that it does not deserve to exist.

Answer me this:

Is it better to quietly starve to death, or to pick up an AK-47 and start shooting?

There is no other option. There are no jobs.

Starve quietly or start shooting?

Everyone reading this will see the day when American troops/cops SHOOT AND KILL starving Americans who are simply begging for food/jobs.

The Republicans would rather kill Americans than to pay them to work.

To tell you the truth, ladies and gentlemen, after reading Teddy Roosevelt's autobiography and being only 1/3 through J. Edgar Hoover's biography I am amazed and I do mean AMAZED that we even have a semblence of a "democracy" today. Based on what was done in the name of "national security" I'm surprised that ""1984"" didn't come to fruition in 1984.

We actually lucked out. I think the 1984 scenario is in our future, but the fact it isn't here now, is not because evil forces didn't try very hard to "git er done" long before now.

If you are under the dilusion that we have been in a democracy the last 100 years, read J. Edgar Pervert's bio. It is disturbing.

Question:

If you have no job and no money and no food, what do you do and where do you go?

Don't say "homeless shelter." That is a cover for a concentration camp. In my state, the shelter finds a "job" for you. They rent you out as slave labor. They make you clean up asbestos without protective equipment, and they don't pay you. Your "wages" are confiscated by the shelter.

If you won't rip out asbestos without protective gear, the homeless "shelter" throws you out in the street to die.

And by the way, if you stay at the "shelter" you WILL be RAPED IN THE ANUS and you will be exposed to TB and hepatitis. If you are female you will get even worse.

It's actually better to be dead than to go to a homeless shelter.

So, what do you do?

Anyone know where there are any jobs for pharmacists? We have bunches of unemployed pharmacists in Florida who are trying to figure out where to move to.

It is like the Joads in "The Grapes of Wrath." Florida is the Dust Bowl of the 21 century.

There are no jobs.

Lots of pharmacist openings in AZ Mick. Lots of Ak-47's in AZ too.

Also in NM. Pharmacist jobs, not AK's.

Hey Mick, forgive me for asking, but I just had a thought, "You wouldn't happen to be an FBI plant would you?"

Mr. Talton, you disappoint me. Why don't you get up some gumption and join the Occupy movement, instead of criticizing and naysaying from your comfy chair. You have now proved to be quite useless because you don't stand up for what you purport to believe. The movement is growing and it's waking up a lot of people. I think it's time for you to wake up, too (or shut up).

I agree with the general complaints of OWS, and listening to the reaction of the media and totalitarian politicians to them is like deja vu, having heard the same thing about the protestors from the same people during the VietNam era. Hell, I still believe that the "hippies" who spat on returning vets were government plants: I mean, really, they were dressed like Sonny Bono, for God's sake, more like parodies of hippies than the real thing. (Hendrix was a paratrooper, after all.) I imagine the same tactics are being employed now by the government. However, since the present tactic is so easily demonized, I think it's time for them to develop a more effective strategy. Has anyone ever noticed that while Schizophrenics and others who hear "voices" or whatever, or work for the CIA or some other evil entity regularly attack political figures, nobody ever attacks their bosses? What would the psychological effect be on the super rich if, say, someone like, say, Jamie Dimon was-well, you know.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/11/guest-post-this-is-what-is-happening-around-us/248912/

Most of us but not all (h/t: Mick) are comfortable. We're here because we know something is very wrong with this country. I recommend reading the stories of the new economy's losers because at some point they'll be so common that we'll wonder how it all happened so quickly.

"I think it's time for *them* [emphasis mine] to develop a more effective strategy." - pbm

Your choice of word speaks volumes.

I'm starting to think Mick is Ted Rall's "sotto voce".

Which bio of J. Edgar are you reading azreb? I thought the new movie on him was by Oliver Stone and not Clint Eastwood! I think the US was lucky Hoover preferred behind the scenes legal thuggery and voyeurism.

I know the Occupy movement has an effect because no Tea Bagger has been brained by rubber bullets, had their spleen ruptured, had tear gas or mace used on them, or even had a very turnout of militarized police deployed to control them. Obviously, Tea Baggers are doing the bidding of the "them", no matter how "radical" the Baggers think their agenda is.

On a similar note, conservatives win in Spain promising more austerity! Let's see how that works out. Viva Franco! Hasta la vista EU.

In response to Us, how so? I never claimed to be involved in OWS. I don't like seeing people being gassed, sprayed, or beaten. My time for that has passed. I don't see the movement holding up through the long, harsh winter, and it IS being co-opted, to some degree, by people aren't so much political as well, substance-dependant. If that happens, the right will claim itself "vindicated." I don't know what other strategy would be effective, but I don't think this one will turn out well. I do hope I'm wrong, though. By the way, your ability to read so much into one word is very impressive.

Gaylord, you should collect some facts prior to telling folks to get off their ass. some folks are physically unable to fight on the front line. Besides many revolutions were started by great writers. I would be happy to send you some writings by Albert Camus for you to digest while in your pitched tent in a public park.

Gaylord said, Mr. Talton, you disappoint me. Why don't you get up some gumption and join the Occupy movement, instead of criticizing and naysaying from your comfy chair. You have now proved to be quite useless because you don't stand up for what you purport to believe. The movement is growing and it's waking up a lot of people. I think it's time for you to wake up, too (or shut up).

Gaylord misunderstands the mission of this blog. I am here to offer insights, analysis, commentary and hold people and organizations accountable. Occupy gets no more free ride than the Tea Party in this.

I am not a professional activist. To do so would be unethical. If I do my job as a journalist, it does much to uphold and recover the public trust. Not for nothing is a free press the only occupation enshrined in the Constitution.

Finally, I have paid a great professional and personal price for speaking truth to power. The cost will last a lifetime. How about you?

The price paid in Maricopa County for speaking the truth to power is very great indeed. They are vicious and vindictive to those who mention that the emperor is without clothes.

Occupy will not directly cause change. Its message has broadened the general public's view of the problem from simply "government" to who is behind the government. The folks in Sun City will dismiss them as bums and hippies, but to other segments of society they have struck a cord.

Much of the protests against Vietnam and institutionalize racism were effective. The burning of cities throughout the country did put the establishment on notice that their rigid, racist policies did have costs.


More recently, the Rodney King riots had an effect years later when OJ Simpson was charged with murder. The LA establishment was so fearful of another Rodney King riot that it assigned a venue for jury trial in an area where jury pools had a strong dislike for the LA police department. Not a positive effect in my view, but an effect nonetheless.

Let's face it, in the pay to play reality of our government, how realistic is it that substantive change can be made in a system where everyone has his or her price and it is lawful to pay them?

I do NOT advocate violence or anarchy but observe that it does effect the establishment's calculations.

This is great. Outstanding comments by everyone. Great back and forth stuff.

Couple of points:

1. Mick's silence concerns me. I may have uncovered, FBI agent Mick.

2.Most of the "terrorists" captured by the FBI recently have been creations of the FBI. Scary, lame and scary at the same time.

3. This one is really going to throw many of you, so make sure you're sitting down. My business niche in this economy is a bellweather of the US economy. We see downturns before anyone else notices. We see upturns before anyone notices. My business niche is booming. That is why past associates searched me out and convinced me to re-enter the field. They couldn't find enough qualified bodies to fill the ranks.

What this means, I don't know. I'm as surprised as anyone else.

All I know is I'm back to drinking Single Barrell Jack Daniels, not Safeway brand whiskey.

Life is good.

eclec,

"J. Edgar Hoover: The man and the secrets" by Curt Gentry.

azrebel writes:

"To tell you the truth, ladies and gentlemen, after reading Teddy Roosevelt's autobiography and being only 1/3 through J. Edgar Hoover's biography I am amazed and I do mean AMAZED that we even have a semblence of a "democracy" today..."

Wait until you get into Mark Feldstien's "Poisoning the Press". That's when the story shifts to Nixon and his operatives. They were so pissed at columnist Jack Anderson that they discussed how to kill him. Including spiking his medicine with poison and lacing his car's steering wheel with LSD to induce a crash.

Which is all to say azrebel, the astounding thing about our waltzing drunk democracy, is not how well it waltzes, but that it is able to get out on the dance floor at all and crush some toes...

Regarding Jon's post.
Check this out:

Viewing the UC Davis Pepper Spraying From Multiple Angles:

http://waxy.org/2011/11/viewing_the_uc_davis_pepper_spraying_from_multiple_angles/

UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to car amidst silent protesters:

http://youtu.be/nmfIuKelOt4

Which is to suggest Jon, it isn't about aging hipsters anymore. It is about college kids realizing they've got no future. That's the fuse OWS helped ignite. Getting kids pissed is the only chance of change really happening.

It's a mistake to ask too much of a movement like Occupy, especially at the beginning. I don't want BLOODY direct action but direct action is an important tactic in an overall political strategy. Yes, organized political action is important also, but the same group doesn't have to be responsible for both.

Just consider: why are we (and the mass media in general) talking about Occupy? Why aren't we talking about Bernie Sanders, who has introduced countless political bills (many of them both important and laudable) that...never made it out of committee? If they're so irrelevant, why are they a continuing topic of popular conversation and media coverage?

"I still don't see how any of this sticks it to The Man. . . . Zucotti Park? Might have made for strong symbolism if it hadn't degenerated into a campground."

Homeless encamp in public parks all the time (note that Zucotti Park is privately owned): it doesn't generate this (from AP):

"The timing did not appear to be coincidence. On Tuesday, authorities acknowledged that police departments across the nation consulted with each other about nonviolent ways to clear encampments. Officers in as many as 40 cities participated in the conference calls. . . Officers arrived by the hundreds and set up powerful klieg lights to illuminate the block. They handed out notices from Brookfield Office Properties, the park's owner. . .Around 200 people were arrested, including a member of the City Council, at least a half-dozen journalists covering the confrontation and dozens who tried to resist the eviction by linking arms in a tight circle at the center of the park. The arrested journalists included a reporter and photographer from The Associated Press who were held for four hours before being released. Earlier in the day, another judge had issued a temporary restraining order that appeared to bar the city from preventing protesters from re-entering the park, but it was unilaterally ignored by the police and city officials."

http://www.ydr.com/nation-world/ci_19342066

This isn't about trash, or even insufficient sanitation (a few porta-potties could clear that up if they were allowed); nor is it about a handful of crimes (most of which are at best marginally associated with the movement) which are inevitable when large numbers congregate. It's about money. Area merchants in business districts complain to city councils about decreased profits. City councils order the police into action because area merchants have a great deal of political influence via campaign finance.

Does an organized, nationwide campaign to oppress (largely non-violent) protesters "stick it to the man"? Does the arrest of journalists and supportive politicians? Does the violation of a judicial restraining order? What about pepper spraying, tasering or beating unarmed sitting protesters linking hands in passive resistance? Only if the rest of us make an issue of it instead of dismissing it as pointless political theater by self-indulgent neerdowells.

Camping out is one way of building social cohesiveness and communication among the movement's participants. These are in effect communities which allow otherwise isolated elements to be in continuous contact with one another, not merely as ciphers on a computer screen but as faces and individuals affecting one's everyday quality of life:

"...without a place to congregate, protesters will have a harder time communicating with each other en masse. The leaders of the movement spent most of Tuesday gathering in small groups throughout the city—in church basements, in public plazas and on street corners—and relaying plans in scattered text messages and email."

Which leads me to the concept of a "leaderless" movement. Every movement has leaders, even so-called anarchists, though they don't acknowledge them. In the case of Occupy, the catholicism of the movement draws in groups who may not agree about details or solutions, but who agree about the basic premise: that concentrated wealth and the political power it buys has degraded life for the working and middle classes in this country.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"And shutting down the Port of Oakland called attention to...what?"

Read your blog, sir. The New Economy. High and long-term unemployment. Fat cats vs. the people. The corrupting influence of money on the political system. "And nobody in power on Wall Street has gone to jail or even been forced to return to sound and safe business practices." I'm sorry if high-speed rail isn't a touchstone issue of the movement, but let's be realistic, shall we?

Black Friday is the next target:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/45402815

Incidentally, most Occupy participants make use of public or private restrooms in the vicinity of their encampments: I believe that sanitation is another largely overwrought issue used as an excuse to obscure the real antipathy to the movement: hostility to its goals and the inconvenience and expense entailed by its methods.

A lot of chatter about violence here. Some for and some opposed. Wonder what George Washington thought when he decided the time had come to kill his fellow Englishmen in the name of “Freedom?” Ole George was definitely a treasonous fellow to many folks in the colonies and England including the KING. You wonder how a country gentleman of reasonable intellect got to the point that killing was the only option left. He certainly was not starving to death and appeared to be living a comfortable life for the times. So here we are 300 since the white horde of filthy Northern Europeans descended on North America with the intent of carving out a living in a strange land inhabited by strange people that appeared to not have caught onto the concept of greed for greed’s sake. Well maybe that’s not quite true since the Spanish and been here earlier killing in the name of the Queen and her god, Gold. It occurs to me that horses are illegal immigrants and maybe this issue should be looked into. I noted in the news a few days ago more data has crept into how the “American” Indians got here and it’s starting to make the Zuni Enigma look more credible as opposed to the bearing straits theory.
And then you skip to Good ole Abe and you wonder how he got to the place where killing fellow countrymen in the name of freedom for what a lot of religious folks at the time considered sub humans or at least only four fifths human.
History is filled with times of revolution and the continuous drawing of lines in the sand to identify “our country” as opposed to their country.

So maybe Mick is a Fed plant trying to get us to join his “Monkey Wrench Gang” so the federales can make a few headlines with the arrest of a bunch of old verbal anarchist. You know the boys who call a press conference and take credit for work done by a whole lot of different agencies.

Or maybe Mick is just George and Abe and has come to the point where he thinks a revolution is in order.

Only time will tell as the eight billion scavenging humans on planet eearth trample the ever diminishing sustaining resources. Following this post will be a little ditty I created a few years back to send to my red neck friends.

You all have some good holidays; I am going to Betty Ford’s joint until January 2nd

Another Spurious White Man Holiday

I sit in the sweat lodge my peyote pipe in hand and lip, inhaling the smoke from nature’s herbs sprinkled with ground white lizard. I drift back in time. Terrible ancestral visions spring forward like a huge buck deer startled by the presences of an alien

I have visions of filthy Englishmen vermin infecting my children with their insidious diseases.

I see bedbug ridden Europeans chase our women and take them like dogs in heat.

My brothers slaughtered like pigs hung from a tree by these Anglo/Saxon Marauders.

The terrible visions pass and I am in a forest than opens onto a vast plain field with buffalo who romp in a gleaming river.

The men break from camp and pick one buffalo to provide for the tribe for a period of time. The other buffalo seem not to notice as if this is supposed to be the way.

The women and children surround the men and their prize. The tribe sets about enjoying the moment as if every day is a feast and every meal a banquet.

An elder interrupts my journey as he flips open the lodges flap and says “We must go as John Ashcroft has sent a team to seize illegal tribal medicine.

I step back into reality and realize I live in a place that really believes some Pirate name Columbus really discovered America and hasn’t got a clue the that the first people to come to America across an ocean (around 300 AD) were Japanese and that their ancestors the Zunis live in a canyon in New Mexico.

These same Anglo/Saxon marauding crusaders invented a mythical holiday and called it Thanksgiving. They celebrate it by driving a polluting vehicle to a store surrounded by concrete and asphalt where they buy a bird stuffed with more chemicals than a drug store.

They set a table and invite other white folks to eat a meal that was harvested at a supermarket not in a field or plain or valley or from the bush thickets that used to line the forests. They celebrate that a bunch of thugs called pilgrims actually survived their arrival into America but not because of the natives but because they pillaged, raped and killed these Natives.

Today’s ancestors of those who invent their own history have not a clue that America was once a great place to be an Indian.

http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/11/quote-day-jon-kyl-scorched-earth-politics

Jon Kyl: walking napalm.

I took a look at Juan Cole's website per Mr. Talton's advice (more on the Arab Spring aspect of the latter's blog, as time permits) and found this on the Occupy movement:

"In Los Angeles, more than 500 people, including a large contingent of union members, chanted ‘Banks got bailed out, we got sold out’ as they marched from the city’s Bank of America tower to Wells Fargo Plaza.

"Is it a fair chant?

"Despite widespread fraud in the banking and financial sectors, President Obama has prosecuted fewer financial crimes than did Reagan or either Bush.

"Banks may well get away with massive unlawful foreclosure practices.

"This site points out that big banks received bailouts, but that home owners largely did not. (President Obama’s mortgage bailout plan was expected to help only 1 in 9 home owners under pressure).

"MSNBC notes that since the beginning of the mortgage crisis in 2007, about six million homes have been foreclosed on by the banks. Another four million homes are now somewhere in the process of being foreclosed on. And new house foreclosures are now in the range of two million a year. A quarter of homeowners in the US owe more on their houses than they are worth."

http://www.juancole.com/2011/11/ows-under-pressure-banks-bailed-out-people-sold-out.html

(Note that the blog item itself has imbedded links documenting these stats.)

I don't want to hijack this thread, but I did want to give Rogue readers two hyperlinks before I forget:

The first is from last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, "Situation Normal: All Fracked Up".

For those (like me) who didn't know whether or not to buy the oil and gas companies' claims that the action takes place well beneath the water table, and therefore safely, this piece of investigative journalism is a real eye-opener. It's easily THE most disturbing article on the subject that I've ever read. I'm off the fence.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/20/magazine/fracking-amwell-township.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all

Also, Bloomberg Business Week has an article titled "Keystone XL: Pipe Dreams" which examines the resource intensive and environmentally hazardous process of in situ oil sands development, and also whether it's sound business. Rogue readers following this issue closely may find little new here but when the establishment starts questioning the business model and the environmental costs it's worth taking notice:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45250703/ns/business-us_business/t/keystone-xl-pipe-dreams/

Emil,

Drilling in the Gulf takes place "below the water table".

cal,

Outstanding ditty. Betty Ford takes "coffee" addicts?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
I've been poor and I've been rich. Rich is better.

Azrebel - you are sooooo right; rich is better. Happy Thanksgiving to Rogues' Gallery. And, Frack on everybody!

"I never claimed to be involved in OWS." - pbm

Your words speak volumes. OWS is US. Or, you're passively with Wall Street and all it represents.

OWS needs no other raison d'être than to be opposed to, and to stand blatantly against filth.

"Wonder what George Washington thought when he decided the time had come to kill his fellow Englishmen in the name of 'Freedom?'"

Or what Washington thought during the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiskey_Rebellion

Heil Washington.

"Another Spurious White Man Holiday"

All forgiven by Jared Diamond. Who would have imagined that the north-south axis of a hemisphere's land mass could cause so much harm?

Jon,

Here is the best rebuttal I've seen to your post:

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175471/tomgram%3A_rebecca_solnit%2C_ms._civil_society_v._mr._unaccountable/#more

A quick cut and paste therefrom:

...In one symbolic act of divorce, at least three quarters of a million Americans have moved their money from big banks to credit unions since Occupy began...

The truly "murky agendas" are lurking more dangerously in glass towers.

I salute those who moved their money. Americans need to be aware of the ramifications of their "consumer" votes. However, the big banks are happy to see the small accounts leave.

I'll believe in Occupy when it leads to a new Glass-Steagall, breaking up of the too-big-to-exist banks, compensation reform, higher taxes on the wealthiest and investment in our collective future.

Rogue writes:

"I'll believe in Occupy when it leads to a new Glass-Steagall, breaking up of the too-big-to-exist banks..."

Late to politics, late to contemporary history, I keep thinking about the moment when I learned that Clinton got rid of the important parts of Glass-Steagall. WTF? A Democrat undid FDR? For reals?

What are you going to tell me next? That Paul Krugman once worked at Enron?

Then the other day in what is perhaps one of the best short takedowns of the oligarchy I've read, the Slate's Michael Lind shines this ray of light on our hero Clinton:

~~~~~~~~~
"But then in the 1990s Clinton and the Republican Congress lowered the capital gains rates. So billionaires who derive most of their money from their investments and savings pay taxes at a lower rate than the majority of Americans, who, like Warren Buffett’s proverbial secretary, rely on their labor income."
~~~~~~~~

And Clinton is the guy all Dems point to as the greatest thing since FDR? He's as much to blame for our fusterclucked nation as anybody else. Don't give me any BS that he created millions of jobs. Much of that happened because the internet boom exactly coincided with his eight years. Take that boom away and Clinton is nothing more than a bookish, centrist pervert who got caught with his hand up a cookie jar's ass...

Which is all to suggest that the most astonishing thing about American politics is the utter lack of an opposition party to our Grand Old Billionaires. Who can get excited about having to choose between slick Mitt and a slicker Barack?

And that's where I think the real value of OWS will manifest itself:

If Mitt and Barack want to debate, and if they dare to take questions from the public, they are going to get grilled with super-heated questions from the 99% about how they both serve the 1%.

Because of QWS that turn of forces is now unavoidable.
And I am looking forward to that...
I want to see these oligarch enablers squirm...
And get booed in real time for their evasions.


http://www.salon.com/2011/11/09/how_the_rich_rig_the_system/singleton/

http://www.pkarchive.org/personal/EnronFAQ.html
(Krugman explains his Enron connection.)

Us: Ok, I'll play your game. Your words also speak volumes: They tell me that you're a naive young fool.

And, Us, I know, my "words speak volumes." Find a new cliche, if you're able.

Oh, wait, "new cliche" is an oxymoron, huh? I'm sorry: find another cliche, you don't want to beat that one to death.

"Us: Ok, I'll play your game. Your words also speak volumes: They tell me that you're a naive young fool." - pbm

It seems that a nerve has been struck. Name calling not only speaks volumes, it emphasizes your contented dissociation from, and dismissal of your fellow citizens.

Oh boy, Us is comparing Washington to Hitler. That speaks volumes about you, Us. Your presence at Occupy Wall Street is a disservice to the cause. You should stay away. Of course, since you aren't a hypocrite, you would refuse to accept anything with Washington's image on it, right?

"Oh boy, Us is comparing Washington to Hitler."

That too direct connection was yours: again, speaking volumes.

George Washington's suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion could be described as Fascist. Of course, Hitlerian Germany is widely considered the model of Fascism. BTW, after the rebellion was squashed, Washington returned with his army from the frontier to start up his new business . . . distilling whiskey.

Occupy mind and spirit.

Yes, Bill Clinton was the president who not only signed the repeal of Glass-Steagall but was actively in favor of it. Along with Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan, he was a prime author of the calamity that followed.

The "New Democrats" such as Clinton (remember the campaign ads?) were always creatures of the financial industry. This was epitomized by the leadership of banker-turned-Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. The banking industry and Wall Street contributed heavily to Clinton. His philosophy lives on in the Obama White House.

BINGO!!

I second that, "BINGO!"

@koreyal:

You beat me to the punch with that TomDispatch link - I'm glad I read the thread first, Talton had my blood boiling a bit with this post (apologies for speaking of you in the third person in your house, Jon).

Another quote from that frankly gorgeous essay:

"Dream big."

These are not the times for pragmatic "wisdom."

I snuck out of seclusion. I have not had coffee for two days! Whst the hell is "Pragmatic Wisdom"?
The Raven knows.

@cal: Thanks for asking (gee, you make me feel like I've made a coinage). "Pragmatic wisdom" would be the tendency to give primacy to the deck chairs when the boat is sinking. Not a particularly original idea, but funny how it constantly reappears the minute people start looking over the railing of the sinking ship (that would be OWS.)

Us: everyone knows about the Whiskey Rebellion, and everyone knows that essentially, Washington was a sycophant to the British Aristocracy, and that after the war, returning veterans had their lands confiscated because they couldn't pay their taxes. Comparing just about anyone to Hitler, which you did indeed do, has become far too common, and diminishes the horror of the holocaust. Please have some respect, and don't do it. As to online psycho-analysis, I'm thinking my analysis of you was correct, and it hit a nerve. Hyperbolic individuals like yourself should stay away from the Occupy Wall Street movement, as you will only undermine its goals. I've seen it all before. The media always seeks out the most laughable to interview, so that they can manipulate the narrative presented to the public.

"These are not the times for pragmatic "wisdom." - Petro [quoting]

Now, that's some wisdom. Thanks.

Questioning the definition of "pragmatism" is part of the Occupy messages.

pbm,

Your contribution to this forum of detailed expansions on your imagined association and your leveraging of horrors related to your imaginings in a shameless effort to cast shame show a disturbing absence of respect for the crimes that you so eagerly list.

Take a good, long look in the mirror.

Terry Dudas: "...and frack on everyone..."

Don't you mean felgercarb?

Mr. Talton wrote:

"I'll believe in Occupy when it leads to a new Glass-Steagall, breaking up of the too-big-to-exist banks, compensation reform, higher taxes on the wealthiest and investment in our collective future."

Anything else?

This is an impossible standard for a nascent, grassroots, unfunded, spontaneous populist movement.

Do you support the movement's broad message, despite disagreeing with the occasional act by autonomous elements with whom you don't personally identify?

Here's a great letter published recently in the Arizona Republic which refutes the stereotypes hyped by the reactionary media:

* * *

The Ramirez cartoon on Monday's Editorial page reflects the "One Percenters'" ignorance of the "99 Percent" protesters.

I am a 20-year retired military veteran who did a 12-month tour in Iraq. I am also a retired educator and homeowner.

I have proudly participated in three "Occupy" protests, holding a sign that says, "Greedy capitalists killed the American dream" on one side and "Wall Street killed Main Street" on the other.

I will continue to do so to highlight the tremendous economic disparity that is killing America today. The "One Percenters" who see the "99 Percenter" protesters as dirty, homeless drags on society do so to their detriment.

-- Chris Jensen, Cottonwood

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2011/11/23/20111123-ramirez-showing-total-ignorance.html

Rolling Stone has a great article titled "The Party of the Rich: How Republicans abandoned the poor and the middle-class to pursue their relentless agenda of tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent".

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-the-gop-became-the-party-of-the-rich-20111109

The title sounds like boring partisan warfare on behalf of the Democrats, but the article is anything but. It makes a very convincing case that the Republicans have become a party of oligarchy, quoting mainstream Republican stars of past decades to make the point. (These include David Stockman, Reagan's Budget Director; Bruce Bartlett, an architect of Reagan's 1981 tax cut; Republican George Voinovich, former U.S. Senator and Governor of Ohio "who likens the party's new guard to arsonists"; Paul O'Neill, former Bush Treasury Secretary (fired for criticizing the administration), who calls congressional Republicans "slaves to an idiot's idea of how the world works" (the idiot being Grover Norquist); former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson; and others.

The article notes that "GOP politicians who have signed Norquist's anti-tax pledge include every top Republican running for president, 13 governors, 1,300 state lawmakers, 40 of the 47 Republicans in the U.S. Senate, and 236 of the 242 Republicans in the House". Little known aspects of the pledge are also discussed.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"To make a sweeping generalization, "democracy" in the Middle East will likely be very different than we imagine, leading to regimes that are anti-American, anti-Israel (and the Israelis do themselves no favors here), and installing Islamic law."

The caveat is duly noted and we should remember that this is being offered as an item up for discussion by a writer, journalist, and commentator whom we are very fortunate to have available to our little community of discerning readers.

Thus, in the spirit of a disagreement between friends, and noting that I am scarcely an expert on the matter of Middle East affairs, allow me to say that I don't think this follows: and it sounds too much like an echo of neo-conservative arguments and premises that prompted the United States to prop up brutal dictators and police states in the post-war decades. Each case needs to be judged on its individual merits.

I don't see the Tunisians chanting "death to America" or even to Israel. Nor the Egyptians nor the Libyans. From the Jerusalem Post:

"Almost two months after a popular uprising ousted longtime Tunisian dictator Zine Abidine Ben Ali, giving rise to fears in some quarters that the country might be swept by an Islamic revolution, Tunisian Jews said on Tuesday that they had not been targeted by extremists so far and felt safe under the country’s new government.

"Roger Bismuth, the president of Tunisia’s Jewish community, told The Jerusalem Post by phone from the capital, Tunis, that local Jews considered themselves part of the upheaval that had brought unexpected political change to the country.

" 'As Jews, we are part of the revolution, and we are all happy that the dictatorship has gone,' he said, adding, 'There’s been nothing against the Jews, but the fear does exist that someone might take advantage of it.' "

http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=211296

Egyptians do agree with Mr. Talton's characterization of military rule:

" 'For more than 60 years, regardless of who's in power, we've been ruled by the military,' said Abdel Rahman Ayad, 24, active in protests since the revolution. 'The people simply don't want this. Forget (the military). We want a government that is from the people, not the military.' "

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2011-11-22/egypt-tahrir-square/51343952/1

The USA Today article (the online edition of which includes two paragraphs at the end which didn't appear in the print edition) makes clear that there is a general antipathy in Egypt toward U.S. foreign policy and toward Israel; also that secular liberals and the left are concerned about the possibility that, once given sufficient power in government, Islamists might renege on their (thus far) moderation and inclusiveness. These are legitimate concerns, but no reason to oppose democracy and support a dictatorship, military run or otherwise.

The current protests occurred because the military wants to exempt itself and its budget from civilian scrutiny; to force itself as the ultimate arbiter of constitutionality in the country's laws; and to name 80 percent of the members of the committee who are to determine the new constitution.

The military has betrayed the revolution in other ways. The Wall Street Journal reports that "some 12,000 young activists and demonstrators have been tried before military courts, some in proceedings lasting only a few minutes, and jailed without recourse. Political activists have been tortured and women protesters administered "virginity tests" while in military detention, according to human-rights groups. Many of the country's leading human-rights groups and activists are facing criminal investigations by military-appointed prosecutors."

The current protest is broad-based: the Journal reports that "the protesters who have spent the weekend fighting police officers in Tahrir Square bear a closer resemblance to the leaderless mass movement that dominated the 18 day uprising in late January and February".

The BBC reports eyewitness accounts that police have ordered officers to shoot for the head when firing rubber bullets, and that harsh beatings have been the norm. More than 3,200 have been injured.

Emil - no, I meant what I said. If I wanted you all to 'felgercarb', or 'feldercarb', euphemistically, I would have said so. Fracking, is what I wish we would all support with intentional malice. Crapping, is something we all do whether we like it or not. To cease 'felgercarbing'/'feldercarbing' is to die. Are you out of time yet?

Us: You don't know anything about me and my life experience, so you choose to infer that you do. Maybe you should think about saying stupid things like "heil Washington" so as not to remove all doubt about who and what you are. I'm done with you now, arguing with a fool is an exercise in futility. Have the last word, and then you can get back to going through your smug, self-unaware existence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nydailynews_newt.jpg

Clinton also signed off on the largest capital gains tax cut in history, the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.

Some months ago I came across this historical graph of homeownership rates in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/05/30/business/20110531_HOUSING_graphic.html?ref=business

Notice how the graph is essentially flat from 1985 for what appears to be about ten years, then suddenly takes off and continues soaring until the recession and the collapse of the housing bubble.

I wondered at the time why homeownership rates soared (the article accompanying the graph didn't say). The recent Rolling Stone article I referenced contained the following statement:

"And by eliminating capital gains taxes on home sales, the cuts fueled the housing bubble..."

The NYT graph is delineated by five year segments. I checked the Census Bureau data and the U.S. homeownership rate begins this climb in 1997; and since the NYT graph cites Census data I'll assume that the sharp rise begins in 1997.

I thought I was on to something regarding house flippers and other real-estate investors, but found that the law applied only to home owners for whom the home was the primary residence for at least two years out of five (though residency didn't need to be continuous, just as long as it totalled two years).

However, I note that "the new law makes an exception to the real estate transaction reporting requirements in which it is no longer necessary to report the transaction to the Internal Revenue Service if...the person or organization otherwise required to report the transaction receives written assurance on the following: 1). that the residence is the seller's principal residence; 2). that there is no federally subsidized mortgage on the residence; and 3). that the full amount of the gain on the sale or exchange is excludible from gross income."

That leaves an awful lot of wiggle room for fraud by real-estate investors and house-flippers; and I don't think enforcement was aggressive at the time; and if the sale was never reported to the I.R.S. how would an investigation ever begin?

Also, "The requirements for qualification as a real estate investment trust (REIT) and the taxation of a REIT were both modified by the TRA of '97...According to the old rules, a REIT that fails to ascertain the actual ownership of its outstanding shares or to maintain necessary records of ownership could be disqualified as a REIT. Under the rules of TRA of '97, however, the REIT is levied a penalty of $25,000 rather than being disqualified."

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3681/is_199712/ai_n8775081/

Let me wrap up with this Occupy must-read from the New Yorker:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/12/05/111205fa_fact_packer

pbm: You don't know anything about me and my life experience, so you choose to infer that you do. Maybe you should think about saying stupid things like "comparing Washington to Hitler" so as not to remove all doubt about who and what you are. I'm done with you now, arguing with a fool is an exercise in futility. Have the last word, and then you can get back to going through your smug, self-unaware existence.

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