Category - USA: “Occupy Protests”


Bernie Sanders Speaks Truth. Sort Of.

I love Bernie Sanders. I want to have his babby.

However, I think he needs to step back from this. His agenda is too easily co-opted by moderates and conservatives. It’s a nice counterculture statement of values, to be sure, but in the current environment completely unworkable. 

I’ve been thinking about Ferguson and the rioting and protests across the country.  

And then I found this quote from MLK, Jr: 

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride towards freedom is not the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than justice

When people riot for politics, when people organize for politics, they inevitably have either been subdued (Occupy) or placated (the Rodney King outrage) by some sop tossed towards them to make it a little less painful to be subdued.  

And then I remember that the Boston Tea Party was not regarded highly by colonial Americans. Indeed, until we achieved independence, the entire Revolution dangled on a thread in terms of public support. But it succeeded because it was outrageous to think it would.  

I love Bernie Sanders. I don’t think he’s right on this, at least with this current nation.

Coming Soon: Occupy Wall St. Debit Card

ABC News, By Alan Farnham, October 2

An offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement plans to issue its own debit card. What’s next? The Occupy-edition Range Rover?

Asked this same snide question, Carne Ross, a board member of the Occupy Money Cooperative, tells ABC News that his group’s intentions could not be more altruistic or more in sympathy with Occupy’s larger, progressive agenda.

Ross, a former British diplomat and commentator on banking and international affairs, says he first came up with the debit card idea when he and like-minded activists were occupiers of New York’s Zuccotti Park two years ago. Nor was a debit card the only financial idea they kicked around. “We debated buying a bank, which we came close to doing. It remains an option for us,” he says. “We eventually came to this [the debit card], as the easiest way to get a financial product out there.”

Though its website, Occupy Money seeks to raise approximately $1 million to produce the card, which would be available at no cost to anyone wanting to sign up for one. While there would be no upfront cost, users would pay fees, including $1.95 per ATM withdrawal and 99 cents for balance inquiries. To make the card widely accepted, the Cooperative has forged a relationship with VISA.


One Step Closer to Pitchforks and Torches

A curious little item in Time Magazine this issue:

If you are in any doubt about how little has changed on Wall Street since 2008, check out yesterday’s front page New York Times story about how banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley profited wildly by hoarding and slowing the supply of various commodity metals like aluminum, driving up prices on the global market in the process. It was a truly ingenious profit-making scheme, involving sophisticated arbitrage of complex global regulations, all of which resulted in lots of money for banks, and higher prices for companies and consumers.

This story put me in mind once again of the fact that many of the best minds on Wall Street still spend the majority of their time figuring out new and smarter ways to game the system, rather than how to grease the wheels of the real economy. Just look at the record profits posted by a number of the world’s largest banks last week. The six largest are on track to post a 20% earnings increase in the second quarter of this year. But the vast majority of that money came not from lending, but from trading. While the money spigots to the small and new businesses that create most of the jobs in this country are still tight — like last year, small business lending was down again this year, according to the Small Business Administration — trading profits are way up.

Clearly, finance is still disconnected from the real economy, which is one reason that the regulation battle rages on. A new proposal issued jointly a few days back by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency would require some of the country’s largest banks to hold double the amount of reserve capital that they currently do. This has prompted all the usual complaints from the industry about too much regulation. Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, now the head of bank advocacy group the Financial Services Roundtable, said the new rules would make “it harder for banks to lend and keep the economic recovery going.”

Read More

Picture This

It’s January in the South. Two teams are gearing up to play a professional football playoff game, the semi-finals. The winner gets bragging rights to be the conference champion. The host city spent billions in taxpayer dollars on a stadium to keep the team local. Worldwide television is covering the game, Tens of thousands of live spectators and millions around the globe are watching two of the premier American football teams square off.

Meanwhile, outside, the masses of poor residents gather. They have signs protesting the amount of money the city has spent on this spectacle, and how it could have been spent creating jobs, or feeding and housing the poor. The police move in. Teargas flies, some of it filters into the stands, causing spectators to choke.

It would never happen here. But it did happen in Rio de Janeiro last night: Read More

Attention: American Labour

This is the way you do it:

Beijing (CNN) — Dozens of Chinese workers angry over a pay dispute have held their U.S. boss hostage for five days, the American businessman said.

Chip Starnes, co-founder and president of Specialty Medical Supplies China, has been trapped in the company’s suburban Beijing factory since Friday. He told CNN it’s all because of a misunderstanding about layoffs and severance packages.

“I tried to leave a day and a half ago, and there was like 60 or 70 of them here inside every entrance, and every exit was barricaded,” Starnes said Tuesday from behind the gates of the factory. “I can’t go anywhere.” Read More

The list

I was heartened to learn that Alan Grayson took the correct side on the surveillance issue.

This is a watershed moment.

So far, Dick Cheney, John Kerry, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, Lindsey Graham and Nancy Pelosi have publicly placed themselves on the shit list, along with a host of “reporters” and bureaucrats.

Ron Paul, Alan Grayson and perhaps others have redeemed themselves.

If so inclined, add to these lists as our “public servants” identify themselves.

Rep. Grayson NSA Surveillance Floor Speech Jun 17, 2013

See Treason by Don Henry Ford

Freedom Is Free. Fascism, However…

So it turns out that Mayor Mike Bloomberg has yet another black eye in his third term: Occupy Wall Street:

After eleven months of talking in the courts, New York City has agreed to pay Occupy Wall Street almost a quarter of a million dollars.

The lawsuit, filed on May 24, 2012, by lawyers representing OWS, claimed that 3,600 of 5,000 books in the free People’s Library were destroyed during the violent raid and eviction of the protest camp in Zuccotti Park.

In addition to books, also destroyed were computers, live streaming equipment and bicycles which were owned and operated by an environmental nonprofit, Time’s Up.

It’s barely a victory…after all, people were harassed and arrested and injured for the crime of protesting and assembling peacefully, and $186,000 of that is eaten up by attorneys’ fee …and yet, it’s a start.

The greater victory is this: the city actually acknowledged responsibility for the actions of its police officers. This is diametrically opposed to the usual, “Who? Him? Don’t know him. Rogue cop.”

I can sympathize with the city, but to a limited extent. The administration of a city the size of New York demands some corner-cutting somewhere, and the fact that rights were trumped is indicative of that. Safety and health have importance, too, as well as the rights of other people.

Read More

Nominee to Lead C.I.A. Clears Hurdle After Release of Drone Data

New York Times, By Scott Shane, March 5

Washington — The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday voted 12 to 3 to confirm John O. Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency after the White House agreed to provide more information on the legal basis for targeted killings of Americans abroad who are believed to pose a terrorist threat.

The vote, in a closed committee meeting, showed that there was substantial bipartisan support for Mr. Brennan, a 25-year C.I.A. veteran who has most recently been President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser and has overseen the expansion of strikes by the C.I.A. and the military in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

The three no votes were cast by Republicans, including the vice chairman, Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia. Four Republicans voted in favor of confirmation. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, said he would filibuster the nomination after receiving a letter from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. that declined to rule out lethal drone strikes in the United States in “extraordinary circumstances” like a “catastrophic attack” along the lines of Pearl Harbor or Sept. 11, 2001. But it appeared likely that the nomination would get the 60 votes required to end the filibuster, possibly as early as Thursday.