Links 11/13/11

Where the nukes are: Map shows nuclear material spread across United States The Lookout (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Ocean currents link to wildfires BBC

GM Crops Farmer to Farmer YouTube (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Occupy Homes: New Coalition Links Homeowners, Activists in Direct Action to Halt Foreclosures Democracy Now (hat tip Lisa Epstein)

Video: European Crisis Explained Ed Harrison. Some parts of this video are incorrect (Greeks work more hours a year and retired later than Germans) but it does get a good bit right.

Obama Job Approval Numbers Rise Along with Economic Optimism Jon Walker, FireDogLake

Social Security and the Big Lie Global Economic Intersection

The right’s smoke and mirrors scam about Social Security–it ain’t broke (unless China is too) Linda Beale, Angry Bear (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Dear Committee: Main Street Says Look at Pensions Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Banks cheated vets, lawsuit claims CNN (hat tip Lisa Epstein. This is a NEW scam (well, new in the sense you probably have not heard about it)

Occupy Oakland and News Media Coexist Uneasily New York Times. Hhm, suddenly Occupy Oakland has gone from heros to goats. This is as the mayor has stepped up efforts to clear out the protestors and has issued eviction notices. Coincidence? Informed reader comments encouraged.

‘Occupy’ movement in bid to save German democracy RT (hat tip reader Aquifer)

Democratic Party Of Georgia Treasurer Destroys Bank Of America Card At Occupy Athens ThinkProgress (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Nuns Who Won’t Stop Nudging New York Times

Are BofA and JP Morgan Really Blocking the Return of MF Global Customer Money? Jesse. This is Seriously Bad. How long are investors going to sit by and let banks abuse them? Conventional wisdom is that they can’t afford to cross banks, but maybe it’s time for some collective action.

Antidote du jour:

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  1. IF

    The nukes map is so seriously incomplete it isn’t even funny. I mean it omits Idaho National Laboratory for Christs sake! Hanford site is not there and several military harbors on the West Coast missing. Not worth publishing.

    1. ambrit

      Dear IF;
      You are absolutely right. In my neck of the woods this map misses the Pascagoula Naval Base (shipyard facility) and the Stennis Federal Reservation. Thinking about flying nukes, what about all the Air Stations nationwide? Plus, nothing about ‘Combat Theatre Weapons” at all. Good heavans, we’ve got ‘pocket nukes’ nowadays. Finally, what about the old Soviet Nukes?
      On another front, during the development phase of the ‘forces du frappe’ it was seriously considered to use the radioactive dust as an area wide weapon, the original ‘dirty bomb’ idea. If anyone is seriously worried about ‘terrorist’ threats, this is the one to watch. Simple, medium tech, and with willing suicide bombers available probably unstoppable from a purely operational perspective. Terrorism is really a police matter. The heart of effective policing is the establishment of a societal consensus. I opine that that is why people like Chomsky are so important in the long run.

    2. MacCruiskeen

      Heck, they didn’t even include Rocky Flats, which is probably one of the most radioactive places in the country. And they missed Kirtland AFB, home of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

    3. LucyLulu

      And it is missing the nuclear power plant in Brunswick, NC, which has been there, like forever……… since no new power plants have been built since the 1980’s.

      Also, the antidote today has to be the best ever. That mouse, with his tongue sticking out, is absolutely adorable. I love it!!!!

        1. LucyLulu

          Heresy, I say, heresay. That is not a rat, it’s a mouse. Rats are not cute. And they have big front teeth, too.

          It’s a mouse on steroids. GM foods, ya know.

    1. ambrit

      Dear skippy;
      What about the link from Mr Condell on yesterdays Links page about the mayor of Dunedin NZ pondering ‘privatizing’ his crowd control efforts after the local police refused to do his dirty work for him? Is there a ‘history’ there? (I’m asking you because you’re ‘in the vicinity’ as it were.) This could be a very ominous development. (Condottiere anyone? Just replace the de Medices with the Fuggers and you get the ideal neo-feudal neo-liberal social system.)

    2. psychohistorian

      I am home watching the live video feed at now. It is 3 AM here and the police tried to look threatening a bit ago but the crowd is indeed calm, peaceful and fairly determined. It is going to be interesting to see how this plays out. It is not our world anymore Skippy but I am encourage by the energy I am seeing. I just hope they understand how difficult this is going to be and how long it might take.

      We just need to continue to do what we can to help out.

      1. ambrit

        My dear psychohistorian;
        A quibble if I may? “’s not our world anymore..” I know the comment was directed to skippy, (sorry if I’m butting in,) but I’ve always considered one of the chief sins of youth to be the willfull ignoring of the “Wisdom of the Ancients.” This might be a paradox, but, even ‘radical’ or ‘progresive’ causes can learn from the organizational skills and the operational history of past movements. I guess that since no one teaches ‘officially’ the care and feeding of revolutionary movements, it’s always up to the poor sods ‘in the street’ to relearn the hard lessons time and time again. Is this just an artifact of ‘liberal’ movements? I hope not, because, the reactionary elements wholeheartedly embrace the tenets of conservatism, which include the ‘revealed doctrines’ that guided their forebearers attempts to crush progress. We need to steal some of thier thunder and marry it to the new lightnings.
        I guess I’m just getting old.

      2. Bill

        “I just hope they understand how difficult this is going to be and how long it might take.”

        If any of us knew how long and difficult the road to real change is, we would never begin. That’s why perhaps the biggest changes, including revolutions, are wrought by youth.

        Don’t tell !……

        1. Carla

          Re: Occupy Oakland — does anyone else find it strange that while it was reported today that Scott Olsen, whose skull was fractured by police in OO, has been released from the hospital, there do not seem to be any published reports of how he is doing.

          Does anyone have any details about his condition, prognosis, etc? All the news reports said is that he is having trouble talking. This doesn’t sound good.

      3. Glenn Condell

        So you’re a Portlander psychohistorian? One place in the US I really want to visit before I cark it is Oregon, because I read and loved and then re-read Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion, probably a glorious failure if you’re listing the Greats, and certainly baggy and confusing at times, but what a book, and it’s central character really is the coastal/mountain strip. The way Kesey describes it made me feel like an exiled native. One of these days…

    3. Richard Kline

      Citizen back-up in action at Portland, Or. We’ll get Salt Lake City and Burlington, VT back up, and those folks in Denver are holding strong in the face of Fascism Lite (TM).

      I don’t know it there was any more coordination in these actions then before. The authorities seizing on the excuse of deaths in some of these places is really despicible (and a sign of desperation) in that denying those in base camps means to properly care for themselves and putting those there further under stress by police harassment are significant contributors. None of these deaths—in Burlington, Salt Lake City, or in Oakland—so evidence of being even partly caused by the presence of encampments. One more example of how a death or mischance on the back page is a yawnere to authorities but they’ll do anything possible to keep it off the front page.

      I would only hypothesize that, again, the Democrats are increasingly anguished to get ‘those people’ off of the nightly news before the _Democratic_ primary season begins, and the Republicans start in on ‘those weakling liberals who APPROVE of these things.’ And ideally before the Christmas commercialism-drug shopping season enters many of the same areas where base camps are located. The incipient potential for the Occupations to move on campus in a serious way is too, I suspect, a budding worry pushing the authorities to hastily clutch at any excuse or no excuse to clear Occupiers away. –And the effort is really stoopid: the Occupiers will only gather and camp again. Forcing activists off a property without a negotiated transition is typical ‘we rule’ thickheadedness which will only provoke more enduring actions.

      As a final note, worth discussion in its own right (but now isn’t the night), the major _print media_ only confirm their foundering dinosaur status in their misshapen coverage of the Occupations. Without exception, every ‘major paper’ I have looked at both condescends at the actions in the main, fastens on peripheral or trivial details, and excludes the politics or method from any coverage. (That is not to cast opprobium at all of the reporters involved. I have seen the occasional quite good article from reporters who actually interacted with Occupiers; they did their job. It’s the editorial stance of the newspapers that’s, well, oligarchical. Because all these papers are _owned_ by oligarchs, and used explicitly as platforms to promote the brainwashing perspective which is all that the 1% ever allows into public view at ‘their’ captive media platforms. If it weren’t for the honest reporters and union line workers, I’d be of the opinion that Fourth Estate Constitutional protections be revoked for most of the major media since they are propaganda organs, NOT ‘news’ providers. Occupy the reporters! and let them actually do the job that some of them clearly want to do.

      1. ambrit

        Mr Kline;
        The history of old style “Yellow Journalism” is very appropriate here. The emergance of ‘Mass Media’ as a social force helped move that reform wave along. It’s quite possible that the emergance of the ‘internet media’ will give a bit boost to a new reform movement. I hope so.

        1. Richard Kline

          So ambrit, you and me both. All that’s big is ‘Yellowed,’ while all that’s green is small and thinly linked.

          It seems to me that it’s payment modalities which are holding back webbed and livestreamed high quality journalism from taking off. We need a breakthrough in method and mentality regarding _paying_ INTO quality reportage. Of course no one wants to do this to make a millionaire publisher’s pockets bulge more. We need a non-profit news model which is nonetheless well enough financed to put _experienced_ journalists at the proper fronts. It’s getting here, but it’s been a long time coming; been waiting twenty years myself since the potential was obvious, and _still_ we get mostly twits pixeling on pop culture or techpoop when it’s the WORLD that needs our attention and rewards the same *grrr*.

          1. Richard Kline

            —And as chance would have it, I’m hearing a mash-up around Gil doing ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ over the radio right now.

            And mostly, he’s going to be right. The Revolution _will_ not be televised: it will be participant-livestreamed in 360 panorama. Not ‘watched’ but miked-up to the handheld myriad themselves amidst the action, an infinite loopy jest.

          2. ambrit

            Mr Kline;
            A few musings, please bear with me for a bit.
            I take away from my reading on the subject of the emergence of the ‘Modern Mass Media’ the idea that it was supported by the expansion of the support base, (i.e. money stream,) to a wider segment of the population indirectly, through the advertising medium. (In ‘ye olde days’ wealthy individuals or interest groups established media outlets, [papers and journals] to push thier agendas.) The ‘Modern Mass Media’ expanded that to include the ‘reading public’ indirectly. What that public bought supported the advertisers, who in turn supported the media outlets. An indirect chain of effect was established. Now we appear headed back to a decentralized ‘directly funded’ media model. (The just completed Naked Capitalism Fund Raiser serves as a concrete example.) One of the underappreciated side effects of the new internet model is its’ reworking of the ‘economics of scale.’ Now, what was once paramount, the dominance of the field by the ‘biggest dog on the block’ has been challenged by the new system, which removes one of the main supports of the old system; the necessity for large capital outlays to get a media outlet up and running.
            The old ‘Samizdat’ model has become the new normal simply because the ‘economy of scale’ has been technologized. I would contend that computing power is replacing raw money power as the essential defining force for modern communication. Now that the Djini are out of thier bottles, it’s up to someone to guide these new historical forces. Let us rise to the challenge.

          3. Richard Kline

            So armbrit, the social history of news media is not an area of any expertise to me, so the utility of what follows perhaps has a low multiplier, I’ll say it. Let me think out loud much as you. Broadly, I agree with your perspective, but the difference of particulars are perhaps more significant than at first glance.

            News for the wealthy or influential was, is, and will remain a matter of preferential access to inside information. Personal connections; access at aristocratic court; salons; elite networks: those were the sources of ‘important news and relevant rumor’ for the powerful. The idea of _public_ news dissemination was (and is) completely ANTITHETICAL to that ethos. Secrecy, opacity, and privilege are what must be cultivated for the wealthy, and to a degree for the conservative then by definition; control of information preserves a power advantage to those that have it. Also personal vendettas and smears amongst insiders were endemic, with major figures promoting their toady polemicists and rumor-spreaders whose actions were difficult to counter since ‘real news’ wasn’t announced, so disconfirming proof was hard to come by. Again, where fact is kept under privilege, lies become the readiest currency because they are all that’s ‘freely’ available.

            This is what ‘free speach,’ and ‘freedom of the press’ was very much about, simply to make information public so that everyone (or the right color, gender, and property assessment) had equal access. As you can see, it wasn’t necessarily wealthy publishers who got public news media going then. Historically, it was more the haute bourgeosie if I’m recalling this correctly. Pamphlets, coffee shop networks, and the earliest _subscription_ gazettes were invented by and for this strata of citizenty. These were ‘direct funded’ yes as you say, but smaller in scale if not in influence. Their staple fodder was business and political news, because that is what that public wanted and exactly what wasn’t ‘free.’ It’s important not to forget, too, that public lectures and debates were a highly important part of news dissemination and the formation of public opinion until as recently as one hundred years ago. Much of the public HAS NEVER BEEN FUNCTIONALLY LITERATE and isn’t now (you’d be suprised at what reding comprehension really is). This is a large part of what ‘freedom of assembly’ was about, together with assembly to worship. So again, freedom of speech, dissemination (i.e. press), and assembly were intimately tied to _breaking_ the information monopoly of the wealthy insiders.

            The bridge from that model to regular newspapers was political propaganda as I read the history, not advertising. Newspapers always grew in relation to political faction; not funded by a fation per se but as an outlet for news of and programs from particular political factions. While some of these were bourgeois, conservatives began to see the value of captive propaganda organs after the French Revolution when _mass_ public actions began to exert weight at the apex of politics. It was only then that, as you say, wealthy individuals more typically founded and scaled up media outlets. If one was lucky, these were paid for by the purchase price, but it was always a cash flow problem, and even slight changes in political patronage above or popular mood outside could quickly bankrupt even the best known magazines or newspapers. Left often to sink or swim when patrons came and went, the publishers and editors of these media only turned to advertising _by default_ to iron out their cash flow—only to find advertising QUITE profitable so long as readership held up. The synergies involved strike me looking back as opportunistic and rather circumstantial.

            But the residual function of major media was always to support and advance political faction. Exactly why ALL major media have become consolidated behind essentially a single political perspective, if nominally of two ‘factions,’ is something I wish commentators would dig into more seriously, not from the polemical standpoint but the social-analytical one. One could argue that the collapse of social engagement by putative liberals is one reason; or that as business enterprises ‘media’ became the baubles of a single ‘wealth’ faction. I think there’s more to it (but I won’t get that rock turned over tonight!)

            There is a major scale change as you say with the onset of web-based news dissemination. And also a major ‘order’ change in that web-base is interactive virtually by design. Lectures and such were significantly interactive, one of their great historical virtues, but print and broadcast media only had their letters to the editor and carefully pre-selected interviewees so that the appearance of interactivity was largely fake. But the down side to web-base as it is now, to me, is the fragmentation of audience. We personally search out the sources we find ammenable even more than we find valuable. (Indeed, don’t understimate how much our judgements of the latter are defined by our assessment of the former!) And that is a negative in a way. Because what is ammenable isn’t always sufficient, nor is it even always accurate. The advantage of centralizing, professional journalism is that the mass of available news can, at times at least, be commonaly available to a mass public. Because the web-is self selecting, it is democratic, but don’t forget the degree to which the public is an ass, and which the bell curve promotes groupthink abound middlebrow platitudes and generalities while useful fact may at times lie far out in the tails of popularity or attention. Fact-checking is also very much _not_ a strength of web-base, in part because of shoestring budgets but in part because of lack of accountability. If a newspaper gets it wrong, someone litigates, or political faction takes their patronage off in a huff, and that’s a ‘discipline of the market’ kind of thing. If web-base or squawk-talk gets it wrong, too many don’t care because it ‘sounds right’ and that’s why they, the audience, are there to begin with.

            I do think we are moving more toward direct pay, and that that is a positive. I’m less certain that we are moving toward quality control. I’m far from certain that we are reaching for ‘broadstream’ media on the web-base, interactive or otherwise. The potential is there, but the audience still prefers likeable pieces, from where I view this. How well do you think a blogger would do, for instance, if it told their audience, “Everything you’ve though and remarked on that is substantively wrong [for X reasons], and we won’t get anywhere until you change your mind.” Unpleasant facts. Which the major media at their best have been able to put out historically because they had the deep-pockets and/or state patronage to ride it out. It’s hard to see that web-based sources as they now stand could individually survive even one major ‘got that one wrong’ occurrence because credibility is so personal rather than institutional and accrued over time. That is a problem to be solved too. Scale changes matter, but the structural basis for audience engagement matters too, and the latter is so fluid it’s difficult to handicap what will emerge. Or whether anything will emerge in the near term as opposed to fragmetary ‘brightly lit salons’ linked in echo-chamber nets. That’s better than nothing, but assessing source quality still takes up rather more time than I like to think about. . . . Maybe it always should: always question source and facts.

            And that is enough for now, sez I.

          4. Richard Kline

            Ohh, and a coda I left off: what would media for _the oligarchy_ look like as the shape of things to come firms up? Bloomberg terminals available only at a high subscription price and ‘security privilege’ access vetting. Where all of the ‘real news’ is put out, while purportedly what goes out on the ‘popular news’ broadcast is wholesale propaganda. That is the future Bloomberg and Murdoch would ennable.

            —To their own destruction. Becaue closed-circuit info loops become exercises in conventional belief, groupthink, and self-serving fantasy; become exercises in madness. It takes unpleasant contradictions and new if disconfirming facts to stay sane; y’know, reality testing. So a ‘tube of privilige’ would look like a 24/7/365 J. G. Ballard script. Really.

            Take that concept and polish it, for that is the endgame for the oligarchy if they actually got their way: group delusion and cancerous implosion. There’s no one to save them from that except the other 99% of us, because the 1% have mindlocked on their _preferred_ outcome, one preferred to the real world in all its diverse complexity.

          5. Richard Kline

            A Bloomdoch loop would be higher order propaganda, is what I’m saying. Whether the content of any such was controlled by a Big Brother or was self-propaganda would little matter; the content might vary if so, but the outcome would be essentially the same. It’s inherent that closed loops go self-similar. Even if the position fluctuated from ‘white is good’ to ‘white is ungood,’ there would typically be only _one_ valid position. And that is a certain prescription for madness, and fast. . . . Come to think of it, the 1% is already there.

          6. ambrit

            My Dear Mr Kline;
            Ah ha! I’ll have to muse a bit over your points (while I do some gardening I think.)
            One thing jumped out at me from your comment. The ‘Great Unwashed” has never ben functionally literate you say. Perhaps so, but, I suggest that this state of affairs is built into the present Industrial Revolution Education System we have. I always think on the fact that the beginings of our Western (Tax Supported} Public education system were sponsored by ‘Liberal’ factory owners and business types. One of the first things children were taught in those schools, and still are today, is the concept of time management. Useful for industrial systems, not so needed for older agricultural persuits. (Real farmers will please cease cursing the commenter. He knows he’s being over simplistic.) So, as any good revolutionary knows, control of the education system is key to development and rule.
            The above goes hand in hand with your ‘fact checking’ comment thread. One has to have some sort of native independance of thought to even consider sources and their reliability. Or, one needs reliable surogates to carry out such functions. That’s where the journalist and his or her integrity comes into play. Think Edward R Murrow or Marcel Ophuls for instance. So, yes, trust, ever an evanescent commodity, is key. Therein lies what I see as one of the strengths of the internet information system. Intensified splintering also implies intensified exposure to differences. The unknown variable to me is what the threshold level to ‘virality’ on the web is. I hope some ‘progressive’ social science types are working on that, for I’m quite sure a well funded ‘reactionary’ research program exists with the goal of co-opting, or if not that, crushing such nascent efflourescences of freedom.
            Enough for now.
            Keep the faith.

          7. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Joining in Kline-ambrit dialogue: the 1% is a top-down, closed system, obsolete in C.21. Open system blowback by the 99% (contra tyranny of the supranational closed system 1%) combats *centralization/concentration of power* (xref Catherine Austin Fitts) by such de-centralized means as *Occupy xyz* and the *Moveable Feast Commentariat* gathered around the campfires chez Yves and chez Bill Black, wherever they might go on the Web to lead the *educated* or *self informed* Commentariat. This is the running antidote to the canned propaganda of the *schooled* shills and/or marks of the 1% (see: Ivan Illich: “Deschooling Society” and Dr. Maria Montessori: “Education for Peace”).

            We must *outwit* them, on the fly. This is why the creative thinkers, poets, actors, artists, musicians, have ever led the way into the *new world* of the historical cycle in formation, surprising the complacent, inflexible Old Guard.

          8. Glen

            You are on to something here, and something I have to feel guilt about. I stopped supporting traditional media in almost every way when it became apparent to me just how jugged up it was (somewhere in the Reagan to Clinton time frame), but I haven’t STARTED supporting my new “go to” news sources of which naked capitalism is a big part.

            Mea culpa, Yves, the check is in the mail.

          9. Richard Kline

            So ambrit, I only wish that literacy differentials were a function of structural inequalities in education, but I must disagree with regret on substance. Yes, those problems are extant. However, there are ample opportunities for remediation, including self-teaching. And furthermore, many folks who in fact learn to read via public education have their skills substantially erode _subsequently_ because reading is not a sufficiently compatible practice for them to continue to pursue it absent compulsion. Consider those ‘who’ve never read a book in their life’ even though they can; their are polls on this and other aspects of literacy, and the ‘limited competence numbers’ are astonishing—and lower than the number who demonstrated better reading scores while in public schools.

            The _ability_ to read is broadly a human universal. Some individuals have that capacity impaired to the extant that they remain involuntarily functionally illiterate or only manage reading competence by extreme effort. However, to use a not fully proven but I think nonetheless valid description, a _facility_ with reading distributes much on the bell curve. That is while most can learn to ready, many do so only effortfully and don’t find the process conducive to how they live their lives. Left to themselves, they would never learn, and once out of school their skills erode to primary school level, or lower. This isn’t a ‘bad thing,’ and I’m not indicting or denigrating anyone. Consider this: we all know that athletic skill is distributed on the bell curve, and that some have it very much while some have it not at all and most of us bulk in the middle. It is a very modern prejudice that it is assumed that reading competence does _not_ distribute in a similar fashion. And while everyone gets better with a) practice, and b) compulsion, still skills are unequally distributed.

            Much of humanity has no particular use, or need, for reading beyond Walk/Don’t Walk levels—and that could be done by non-phonemic glyphs or color-coding most of the time. I personally think that high reading competence gives individuals more options, so I’m for it, but others decide for themselves. This is why we have television and talk radio, my friend. The info content is low but the mediums are amenable to many who find reading difficult. Which is, in principal, fine. Someone who is not literate still has, and should have, political rights, human rights, and surely demonstrates both character and wisdom. Reading is only one skill, and while it correlates with preferred levels of the just listed capacities, it’s a weak correlation. No ones character should be judged on the basis of literacy, in my view, or their political rights weighted thereby. Consider Richard Branson as one example. Or my foster father who has been a highly skilled child psychiatrist through a long career despite having to sweat bullets all his life to read a single sentence from start to finish. But this is why actual debates and interactions are important for much of the citizenry because it is by those means that they inform themselves and exchange experiences and expectations.

            So Leonova, Illich had it all down and clear two generations ago. Newtech has changed the dimensions but not the structure of the context in my view; same issues, so same arguments, and same conclusions pretty much, yes.

            And Glen, I gave up on the MSM long ago, and I don’t own a TV or listen to broadcast media. But I do read several online print sources still because a) much fact can be gleaned between the predicates, and b) it’s worth knowing what the official propaganda is because you can backward-code it to find what they _don’t_ want you to know, and that’s quite valuable. It’s a weird practice, the latter; like learning to read fine print through lenses taped over your eyes that invert the world 174 degrees from true vertical. As I said above, though, question facts and sources. Even those you trust can be wrong, so in my view the point is to learn to think for yourself and to gauge plausibility, continuity, and comparability. That’s my process at least: historical generalization in real time.

      2. skippy

        “NOT ‘news’ providers. Occupy the reporters!”

        Thank R.K. I ‘ll push that idea down here, its sorely need, every where I know.

        Skippy…slowly…ever so…slowly.

        1. lambert strether

          Publisher -> Editor -> Reporter

          If you watched the tranmission of the “Violence!!” meme, you’d have noticed that the headlines, which editors write, pushed violence, and that the stories, which the reporters write, when you read the detail, showed that the violence wasn’t caused by occupiers (modulo Black Block vandalism) in Oakland). That, to me, means that word came down from the publishers to the editors. Pretty soon the reporters will begin to modify their stories.

          But it’s the publishers, full-fledged 1%ers, who are the real issue. It’s not possible to get permanent “better reporting” in the system we have, so pressuring reporters has a very low return on very high investment.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Dead right. This is *top down* across the board. Compliant *reporters* not already shills will be forced to *just take orders* from *editors-as-shills* for owners of media humping for the BigAd payout from CorpMonopolyFinance 1%.

            Pity Italy: they say that 80% of the people get their *news* and *entertainment* from T.V. alone, hence have been force-fed Berlusconi fascist propaganda “NOBILITY and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII” (Plineo Correa de Oliveira; 1993, York PA, by The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP)”the registered name of The Foundation for a Christian Civilization, Inc.” with Foreword by Morton C. Blackwell of the Reagan Whitehouse). Connect the dots to UChicagoBigOilPharmaTechFinance interests: Raymond E. DRAKE writes “Note to the Reader” as “President: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP): New York, March 19, 1993: Feast of Saint Joseph: Prince of the House of David and Worker”). CONNECT *Drake* with primal Oil in PA, with *Drake Hotel* in Chicago.

            See the impeccable research chops of Guido Giacomo Preparata in “CONJURING HITLER” and “THE IDEOLOGY OF TYRANNY: Bataille, Foucault, and the Postmodern Corruption of Political Dissent” — *must reads* for comprehension of the scope of the *Plan* of FascistCapitalism of the 1% through HolyRomanReichsIII-IV, which morphed from the Oil monopoly plans of the *Victorian Imperial Reich* from the “Berlin-Baghdad Railway” project in C. 19. Et cetera.

            Are Yves Smith and Bill Black game? How about Errol Morris? Demand is for *discovery* writ large. *Occupation for Self-Governance/Government* is the antidote to the present tyranny of the 1%, so long as it is not corrupted beyond repair through shills of the global 1%. What is desirable now is what was desirable before: Government of, by, and for the People of the United States of America.

            Blowing the cover of MERS and other accounting frauds seems to be the *wedge issue* du jour: an easy target.

        2. Richard Kline

          So lambert, I agree completely with your assessment. I’ve seen exactly that headline/byline split that you describe, but I didn’t articulate that at all well in my own remarks. And as you say most relevantly, the reporters will be pressured to get their line in line with the money on the phone.

        3. Eureka Springs

          Yesterday I was the person who set up the first tent in occupy NWA Occupy Fayetteville Arkansas (population 75k). Tents on concrete in 40 mph winds, no less.

          Anyway, I mentioned the very media problems discussed here weeks beforehand to many in the local movement who I felt had no idea.Of course we developed a media working group and plan on doing our best, such as it is, etc. As reporters tried to interview folk during site set up yesterday I was pleasantly surprised how polite, but indifferent we were to the reporters. Not one occupier, from homeless types to Harvard 1% alum. in our mix really wanted face/cam or big-ink interview time. And I still believe across the national and local board we will have to occupy the oligarch owned media at some point.

          Finally I would say you all miss one very important point as you rightfully praise the web media and sites like this. Broadband in the US sucks… it’s expensive and very slow.. with more and more chokes put on it every day. I’m lucky with 65 per month wifi and 40 month smart phone net access (total 7 gigs a month before high tolls kick in) if i can load a youtube or stream at all on any given day (less than 10 percent of the time). Big telcos will have to be occupied as much as oligarch media.

          1. Richard Kline

            So Eureka, and how! The telcos are amongst the most functionally corrupt organizations in the world, and have always been so. Not necessarily because of the volume of money that they steal but because their lie-structures regarding what they do, provide, and bill are so pathologically skewed toward fraudelently ripping off their patrons: telcos lie by definition, and government does nothing about it. There is no reason that basic service provision of broadband and phone calls should not be nonprofit utilities, and it is Exhibit A of the flaccidity of First World democracy that this is not presently so.

    4. Richard Kline

      So psychohistorian, it will be hard and long, but the upside is that I expect tactics and strategy will evolve and expand too. We see one primary modality of action, but this process isn’t even two months old yet. If I look on the bright side, what’s happening now is that the core activists are skilling up while the many supporters are bonding in solidarity. It could be a year or two before ‘the real action’ even gets underway by many historical comparisons, and it may look significantly different from what we are seeing now. That we are seeing something, now, strikes me as enough by way of an excellent start. Just my view . . . .

        1. Richard Kline

          So skippy, sorry I can’t give it eyeballs. Youtube blocked at work, and I’m on dial-up at home so too slow. I rarely ‘Tube.

      1. psychohistorian

        Thanks Richard.

        I too am encouraged by the energy I see but I am daunted by the distance between here and laughing the global inherited rich out of control of our society and into rooms at the Hague. Do you or others see another alternative that makes sense?

        I guess I should be hopeful that the odds of society becoming more repressive is going down with this sort of energy coming forward.

        1. Richard Kline

          So psychohistorian, the trick is things go sideways. I wouldn’t want to predict what tactic or modus crops up at this point, and if I tried I’d likely be wrong.

          I’ll throw two oddball thoughts out, from a hundred that would be as good or better if I gave this long thought. First, I don’t expect in the least that the oligarchs and their governators will end up in the Hague. They all will likely retire mega-rich to the white shoe circuit–at first. That’s what happened to the robber barons and trust masters, there’s an historical comparable. The point is to break their grip on discourse and then on politics. To me, getting movement is a priority over getting convictions. Let ’em have their loot as long as we get out change, if you follow me. Just my perspective, but I would like to think a realistic objective, though I’m speaking for myself. (Now, later, as their grip on power ebbs, we can let the slow wheels of the law grind them down. Look at what is happening in Argentina now. It’s taken 25 years, but the prison doors are closing on some of the worst. Chance first; justice next.)

          Second, I think a potential focus for the breakout to a further wave of activism may well come from some inside leak or disclosure. Wikileaks is very much off the news pages now, but it should neither be underestimated nor forgotten the manner and extent to which the ‘drawing back of the veil’ on the sheer duplicity and _banality_ of state action precipitated or fedforward public disgust with the status quo in many places. The authorities rely on public _compliance_ for the great weight of their power: it’s the INERTIA of the majority which makes the placement of the oligarchs so effective, not the actual weight of power such as they possess or can express. Well, those disclosures were acts of _noncompliance_; that was their message than their content. The action WAS the message; the content was only the form. This is a point which I think Assange, for instance, understands closely, as do some of his principal collaborators, even while the bulk of the public missed it really. —But were impacted by the underlying message even if they didn’t pull the ‘noncompliance’ part of it fully into awareness.

          So I have a suspicion that we will se some significant act of noncompliant disclosure from the inside that will deeply compromise some key political actors or state organs. I wouldn’t begin to confidently guess what that might be, but stop and think just as a random hypothesis: If it was up on every media channel bit or small that Bernanke/Geithner/Obama met with or meetinged on breaking existing law—by their own discussed acknowledment–to steer money to people they acknowledged (on tape!) as criminal in the banking system, how much credibility to govern would any of them have left? We all know that this has been the _effect_ of their actions, so consider what a transcript or tape of that would do to them if they were caught at it overtly. That’s just the merest instance of the kind of revelation we might see, but I suspect something will give inside so that the rotten guts of governance vomit in the faces of the citizenry during the coming year.

          But as I first said, this thing is going to go sideways—and that may be all for the good.

          1. LeonovaBalletRusse

            Think: How did Ida Tarbell succeed? Teddy Roosevelt saw the political advantage of *trust-busting*. Ever since then, the 1% sought only to reverse every reform in favor of the People of the U.S.A. As to the *Trust* that Ida Tarbell exposed, it was restored finally with the conjunction of TexacoMobil in Houston, TX. Take that to the re-location of Blackwater HQ in Dubai. It’s all about the dough for the 1%. A new *BustTrusts* chant might be in order, as a sliver of the universal People’s complaint: “We can’t trust the 1%, Q.E.D.”

            Even as we write, compliant academics for the 1% are mining NK for re-positioning their masters and themselves (gotta keep the *donors* of endowed chairs happy. Have you noticed? Recall: “THE THIRD REICH IN THE IVORY TOWER: Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses” by Stephen H. Norwood (2009, Cambridge); and “THE HEIDELBERG MYTH: The Nazification and Denazification of a German University” by Steven P. Remy (2002, Harvard). Academics are timid as a rule, in love with prestige, comfort and advancement.

            The People must stay a step ahead, in a moveable feast of community on the Web. How long will NC remain viable for us?
            Yves may need to pick up stakes at a moment’s notice; happy campers will follow.

        2. Amateur Socialist

          Unfortunately I suspect the repression is only really getting started. I was thinking earlier today that if Occupy is revising and reusing the tactics of the antiwar and civil rights movements, that probably means we are due for another Kent State and Birmingham. People haven’t changed that much in 50 years.

          As Mark Twain observed, “History does not repeat itself but it does rhyme”.

  2. dearieme

    “What you can’t do is insist that the trust fund is meaningless, because SS is just part of the budget, then claim that some crisis arises when receipts fall short of payments, because SS is a standalone program.” That seems right. The solution adopted in Britain 60 years ago was to stop pretending that our “National Insurance Fund” existed. Some laymen may still be dim enough to believe it exists, but when a leading Labour politician of the era said “there ain’t no fund”, i.e. when even the socialists stopped believing in the fairy tale, then the game was up.

    So the question is simply what rules to adopt for your Social Security system, irrespective of detailed but irrelevant fussing about its notional income. If I were King of the USA, I suspect that I’d reckon SS small beer, leave well alone, and try wrestling with Medicare/Medicaid/industrial subsidies/Federal bureaucracy/ Defense Spending. That would seem to be a sufficiently demanding set of tasks, and a good deal more urgent and important. Well, that and hanging the bankers.

          1. ambrit

            My Dear Sir;
            What else is prison but a Stationary form of violence?
            The punishment must be proportionate to the offence. How about prison farm for banksters? “That will be seven years processing IRS tax returns Mr Blankefiend!”

          2. patricia

            Punishment as consequence:

            con·se·quence (kns-kwns, -kwns)
            1. Something that logically or naturally follows from an action or condition.
            2. The relation of a result to its cause.
            3. A logical conclusion or inference.

    1. LucyLulu

      If we stop pretending there is a SS trust fund, as you and many conservatives suggest, then our total debt is no longer $15 trillion, but $12.4 trillion instead. There are other funds included in the intragovernmental “special treasury bonds” as well, e.g. those in the federal pension plans, with the money we owe the Fed (definitely don’t need to pay the Fed), more than a couple trillion dollars, do they equally not exist? Wow, that would be so easy, we could slice a third right off our debt just by not honoring all those bonds. After all, paying back what we owe our own citizens isn’t important like paying back the British what we owe them, right? ;=)

      Feeling kind of snarky today. All these funds, bonds, whatever, are backed by the “full faith and credit of the US government”. And by the way, a large number of the bonds, more than owed to foreign governments, are owned by private US citizens who bought them as investments. So, how do you decide that some are to be honored and some will not be honored and still claim that the US government is good for its word when it says it is backing a bond with its “full faith and credit”? Where do you draw the line, and is one to trust the line one won’t keep moving once the ice is broken?

  3. affinis

    Regarding the Occupy Oakland/news media article. Mixed reaction. NY Times is basically a mouthpiece for the Democratic establishment. And some of the MSM has lately been pushing a very negatively-slanted view of OO (the precipitant being Black Bloc actions and inability of Oakland GA to pass proposal rejecting violence/vandalism). Friday I watched Bay-area TV news online (I’m not from the Bay-area) – saw one piece breathlessly talking up a letter from Oakland Fire Chief saying that all the campers were either homeless or crazy.

    But I think there actually is a problem with increasing antagonism toward media from some OO participants (in part in reaction to the recent negative media).
    On Thursday, two or three media people were attacked by OO folks in attempts to prevent filming after the shooting. One was a TV cameraman who apparently recieved a mild concussion.
    See this link for a thoughtful article by one of those reporters:

    Here are some relevant tweets from late Thursday and Friday that reflect what’s been going on (with respect to media antagonism):

    ABC7 cameraman Randy Davis was feeding live when shooting happened near #OccupyOakland, was attacked & beaten by witnesses. He’s okay
    [Doug Sovern is KCBS Radio Political Reporter and an Oakland resident]

    Randy has a minor concussion, blood on forehead and knot on back of head. Other #OccupyOakland campers came to his rescue. Heard 6 shots

    Tonight, Kristen Sze of Channel 7 ABC news kicked over a bunch of vigil candles and then assaulted a person lighting them. Just Sayin. #OO
    [As noted above, the cameraman for Channel 7 ABC was assaulted earlier in the day while filming after the shooting.]

    Someone was just murdered. Tensions were high. RT @dangainor @OakFoSho Like #OO is so worried about safety of journos.
    [OakFoSho is an OO camper and nonviolence advocate]

    As I took notes, he proposal finding “a consensus of not letting anyone talk to the media…our enemy.” I hid my steno pad in my pocket.
    [Gavin Aronsen is an editorial fellow at Mother Jones – currently reporting from OO. Apparently someone proposed that no-one from OO should talk to the media.]

    Just received a press advisory from OPD warning that it may not be safe for press at #occupyoakland #oo
    [OO participant]

    “Because of the way the media treated the camp from the beginning, there’s a lot of people who distrust cameras” – @OakFoSho #

    Oakland Police’s warning to media re: #occupyoakland #oo #media

    See police statement here:
    [The unfortunate thing – I expect that authorities want media presence minimized, and some of the folks at OO are helping that happen.]

    “don’t film nobody that don’t want to be filmed” – @OakFoSho

    1. affinis

      BTW – The nonviolence proposal that the NY Times article mentions (that was voted down in the OO GA) was actually voted down because the language was unclear. Both nonviolence proponents and “diversity of tactics” proponents voted against it.

    2. Richard Kline

      So affinis, I strongly question your agenda in this series of comments and links. ‘affinis’ one might only suppose, you anonymous handle has no track record here. I’ll call you ‘Tom/Dick/Harry.’ I question your agenda because there _is_ an agenda, since the presentation you make is veiled in allusions it doesn’t deliver on, and has no context. It is far from clear _who_ attacked that camera man, whether those actually involved in any significant way with the process of Occupation, mere bystanders, or even those involved in the shooting having _no_ connection to the Occupation at all. Your attribution of media “attacked by OO folks,” your words, is _entirely unproven_. To present an allegation like that without qualification is highly suspicious.

      There are real problems with agents provocateurs staging negative events around Occupations to get them on the mass media as a way to smear the Occupiers. This is fact. Having a cameraman show up, and suddenly from nowhere ‘an act of violence’ pop off is extremely suspicious. It is still _highly_ unclear what the circumstances of this particular shooting were. Any one onsite in an Occupation would _and should_ be monitoring and mindful of the potential for events such as this to be staged, not that I think there is any firm evidence of that here so far. My point is that the media hostility of the Occupiers lies substantially in the fact that the media are manifestly hanging close to the Occupations looking to film crazies, talk up stupid kids breaking windows, and ‘document the [preferred] truth’ of some nasty incident. If you bothered yourself, Tom/Dick/Harry, with any kind of balance in reportage, you’d have mentioned as well that _the certain large majority_ of the Oakland Occupation, and indeed any occupation, would strongly condemn that assault on the cameraman, and would likely expel any perpetrator from their Zone such could be identified and indeed had any remote connection to them. Surprising, one would think, that we hear nothing of this from you, so that the impression left on the reader again is ‘thugs amok in the Zone.’

      You quote the Oakland Fire Chief making negative statements, but don’t present the obvious counter-examples of _the large majority of Occupiers_ who are neither. What will remain in the mind then is the negative statements. This is a sophisticated propaganda technique to embed a negative image by repetition without refutation.

      You single out _one SOLE issue_ from the Oakland General Assembly to discuss, their ‘failure to condemn violence.’ No, you don’t just single it out, you link umpteen commentaries on it to only echo that point on and one. Now the structure of a General Assembly is that it is very difficult to affirm ANY statement of any kind if you need a 90% to consense; you have to know this. What you also cannot fail to know is that the large majority of the Occupiers expressly condemn _any_ violence of any kind. In other words, if you presented here an accurate picture of that particular discussion on violence, it would be apparent that the great majority of the Occupiers there are deeply opposed to violence but that they could not, because of the structure of consent articulate that as a view _formally_ for mass media consumption. So instead of repeating to a wider audience the broad preference of the Occupiers, you focus on the ‘failure to condemn’ as if that is somehow significant. There was also an attempt in the Oakland GA to pass a an endorsement of squatting as a tactic; in effect, an implicit endorsement of property damage, which inherently accompanies such actions. That failed resoundingly to garner broad support. Nothing of that from you here, Tom/Dick/Harry.

      Oh and hey’ Tom/Dick/Harry, you even give yourself a nice lead in condemning the NYT to somehow fake your bona fides as ‘a discerning mind’ concerned with ‘getting the truth of the movement out.’ . . . Who’s paying you Tom? Why this sophisticated propaganda hit to smear the Occupiers, Dick, for that’s _exactly_ what you just inserted in here with no context to the linked articles of the post? Harry, who’s your Daddy, Koch, State, Repugicants, Chamber of Oligarchs?

      To me, folks, this is a propaganda smear, though a fairly significant one. There are problems with the Occupations, but these are largely caused by those not under control of or endorsed by those facilitating the Zones themselves. Any balanced position would recognize and acknowledge this, even if even condemning specific failures, which can be found. The subtle, net residual of the person or persons commenting as affinis is to discredit the Occupations as amok, ineffective, and harboring violence. That assessment is false in every particular upon any real observation of the zones, and hence the agenda of this commentor is, in my view, malicious and propagandistic for the 1%. This is how propaganda is done if it’s done well, folks.

      1. affinis

        Whoa there Richard.

        “You quote the Oakland Fire Chief making negative statements, but don’t present the obvious counter-examples of _the large majority of Occupiers_ who are neither.”

        I presented this as an obvious example of the bias and insanity of much of the MSM coverage, not an edorsement of the statement!!!!!!

        I’m inclined to explode and flame at your comment here – but that would lead nowhere productive.

        I comment on a number of left sites (predominantly sites that opposed Obama in 2008) – and have commenting/blogging online since 2007 (mostly commenting with only a bit of blogging). That’s easy to see with a google search (prior to using “affinis” as a tag I used the handle “G”, but others used that as well – so I changed to a unique identifier). I read NC daily, but rarely have commented here. My RL identity is prety easy to look up (from comments elsewhere), but I won’t post it here.

        I don’t know how long you’ve been involved in left politics/activism, but there a decent chance it’s less than me.

        I think there’s some serious dysfunction in OO (that has consequences not just for OO but for OWS as a whole). I also think there are a lot of great people there. And there’s a need to honestly discuss the problems – not just kneejerk pretend they’re not there for the sake of messaging/maintaining a united front. I never said that most OO approve of the treatment of the cameraman (as you seem to imply). But it’s part of a problem and it’s one I’m familiar with from my own prior experience in left-activist politics and occupation-type protests (i.e. in certain context, anger at negative coverage leading to increasing antagonism with press and inappropriate actions by some protesters toward reporters).

        You can argue points I raise – but directing insults at me and calling me a propaganda agent is obnoxious.

        1. Richard Kline

          So affinis, if you think there’s a need to discuss dysfunction at OO honestly, why aren’t you doing that? You are the one presenting oodles of info stressing dysfunction in a context when the authorities are actively using that as an excuse to forcibly clear sights. There is ample evidence of a majority view committed to another position, and that is simply invisible in a long series of links and points you put up at a critical time.

          Here are two honest statements anyone might choose to use. “I think that OO is dysfunctional action, and that this is a significant problem for their success in [some goal].” Or, “I don’t support OO because they are unable to present divisive and childish window smashers from using the larger Occupation as cover.” To me, anyone could reasonably propose those as factually based concern, and they could be debated. But that’s not what you chose to do. The clear implication of _all_ of your comments including your follow-up are that ‘OO is behaving badly’ when in fact those who are behaving badly are a contentious minority who refuse to abide by or participate in the process or the goals of the evident and large majority.

          I think you understand what a metonymy is, Tom/Dick/Harry. “The value of the part applies to the whole.” The effect of all of your comments is to tar those who are not participating in some behaviors with the intent and conduct of the few who do. If you don’t understand that you are doing this, you’re a fool, and I’d appreciate if you stop commenting on things you are not sufficiently competent to discuss without confusing third parties. —But I do think that you are aware that you are doing this, buddy, because you do it so consistently and well.

          The fact that someone is physically present at an occupation does not make them a participant in the working groups, endorsed actions, or Assembly of any Occupation. Do you have, for a fact, identities and status of anyone who is known or believed to have assaulted that cameraman? And supposing that they are—this is not in any way established, suppositions by many notwithstanding—do you have any evidence that the Occupiers in Oakland as a whole either endorse the action or fail to act? No, you don’t. So until you, or anyone, does, we are talking about _individuals_ taking actions that are clearly decried by weeks of stated positions and guidelines of conduct, nor ‘the Occupiers’ as a whole or in part. Your inability as demonstrated in your remarks to distinguish between the actions of individuals and the purpose and policy of the whole is problematic if you were legitimate and purposeful if you are not. If you don’t understand what I just wrote, think about it for a day.

          Regarding who has what pedigree, I’ve got 40 years in, buddy. And 2007 doesn’t mean anything to me: the military and the right wing have been funding online propaganda and website sandbagging since _years_ before then. If you’re with them, their money is well spent; if you think you’re not with them we’ve just gone over the defects in your thinking so that’s just one more, in my view.

          Personally, I despise the present actions of black blockers and other hijackers. They enable counter-propaganda, copycat agents provocateurs, and ‘justified’ repression. Their ‘actions’ are infantile and ineffective at anything except discouraging third parties. They are not endorsed by the large majority of participants in any actions, which they understand, but have no scruple about using the actions of others to pursue their own contrary goals. I’ve been explicit about this in comments here and at other times; there is no mistaking my view on this in commenting.

          I think it a fair statement of the evidence that the very large majority of those working in the Occupations and broadly supportive of them have no interest, support, and participation in the actions of the blockers or hijackers. Thus, this distinction between the goals and practices of the many and the dysfunction of the few is one that must be drawn by those who comment upon ‘the Occupations.’ I don’t accept that anyone blurring those distinctions is too naive to understand what they are doing, particularly at a critical moment when authorities are themselves _deliberately conflating_ the two quite disparate communities. Hijackers and an opportunistic criminal element were always going to be a major strategic problem for open participation public gatherings. This was one reason I personally did not choose to participate in early actions because it was relevant to see how and how much the Occupiers engaged with this problem. I think that they are doing the best that they can, having read _the GA minutes of multiple Occupations over time_ The evidence of intent IS THERE. Whether a given proposal passes is trivial: _most_ proposals don’t pass, certainly not at once. The form of the Occupations is a serious impediment to expelling or holding accountable predatory factions, but it also seems clear that the good faith is there to do so. Given the available evidence, describing ‘the Occupiers’ as doing X or Y when most of them are actively striving against X or Y is beyond disingenuous.

          If anyone’s goals is to critique the Occupations, that is well and good—supposing that they make relevant distinctions for any valid conclusions. If by some dim possibility, buddy, you don’t thing you are deliberately and subtly sabotaging the Occupation movement in your remarks, you need to take yourself off for a long think with yourself. As you can see, I give little credence to that possibility; none, in fact.

      2. affinis

        “So instead of repeating to a wider audience the broad preference of the Occupiers, you focus on the ‘failure to condemn’ as if that is somehow significant.”

        Why do you think I wrote the comment:
        “The nonviolence proposal that the NY Times article mentions (that was vote down in the OO GA) was actually voted down because the language was unclear. Both nonviolence proponents and ‘diversity of tactics’ proponents voted against it.”

        The NY Times article seems to imply that people did not favor a nonviolence proposal and voted it down in large numbers. I was making the point that it was voted down becauswe the language was garbled. NOT because the majority were opposed to nonviolence.

        Before you start going off on someone, READ what they’ve actually written and look closely into topic (in this case, exactly what’s been happening with OO).

        P.S. Also, the inability to formally pass a nonviolence proposal IS significant. First, it’s significant with respect to the support of others in Oakland. Second it’s significant with respect to restraining Black Bloc – since OO already has passed a diversity of tactics proposal, which is generally understood as allowing BB tactics. I suspect many in the GA weren’t thinking about it this way when they passed it, but that’s a conventional understanding of DOT (and BBers at OO have argued this – that their actions are legitimized under the standing OO GA decisions).

      3. affinis

        P.S. And pretty much everyone – including Raw Story – says that protesters attacked the cameraman (to prevent filming). And don’t tell me that Raw Story is a right wing propaganda front.

        Without more info, it’s impossible to really know how much the attempts to prevent filming (and in particular the attacks) were motivated by desire to control message (prevent negative coverage – there have been ongoing complaints about lack of transparency and overly-aggressive message control at OO) versus how much of it was due to emotion of the moment and feeling that the injured guy shouldn’t be filmed (essentially an anti-media-vulture reaction).

        But there currently is considerable antagonism to the press at OO (and note – I never said that most of the OOers are hostile to press – just that it is a real problem, as opposed to BS that someone made up).

      4. JTFaraday

        “There was also an attempt in the Oakland GA to pass a an endorsement of squatting as a tactic; in effect, an implicit endorsement of property damage, which inherently accompanies such actions.”

        Well, but we shouldn’t assume that OO has done everything just grand either, even on its own terms. Occupying an abandoned building only “necessarily” implies as much damage as you need to get–possibly as few as one initial person– *into* the building.

        It doesn’t necessitate setting fire in/to the building. What is the purpose of the squat, in other words? Is it to have a place to stay over the winter or provide a space for the homeless?

        Or, is it to wreak havoc? ie., property damage for the sake of propery damage for the sake of flouting the abstract “idea” of property, or the public seizure of abandoned Wall Street boom-bust property re-purposed for public use?

        Also, this business about “condemning violence” has a practical purpose, in that I don’t see how you can possibly be on the lookout for agents provocateurs if you don’t collectively agree not to engage in certain kinds of activities.

        I think this goes back to Graeber’s distinction between “grumpy” Capital-A and small-a anarchists.

        It seems to me that Capital-A anarchists are an open invitation to infiltration. It also means the little-a anarchists can’t endorse property occupations to put abandoned property to public use because the Capital-A anarchists will set the house on fire.

        It seems to me that these kinds of optics and various pragmatic issues are going to be a big factor in whether or not OO stays on a course that it actually *can* continue to be on or not.

        Also, as far as analyzing/criticizing/reporting on them is concerned, I don’t necessarily think the public has to surrender its “right” to any of the above.

        I don’t *assume* that someone in OO whacked a reporter in the head with a brick just because someone said so, but if they can’t get to 90% agreement NOT to do that and seek to make it binding on the whole collective, I can’t really say, can I?

        What *is* the current non-violence commitment rate at OO sleep-in camp? 75%? 89%? 50%?

        1. Richard Kline

          So JT, if you’re asking the question here, you’re ill-informed, but you needn’t be. There is a great deal on this _specific_ action on the web, at, and in other sources. While the Bay Area news media have their bias, if you read what’s in print closely the tensions and relative numbers of participants is evident there too as a control for the internal perspective of the other sources. The squat action of the night of 2 Nov was _NOT_ endorsed by the General Assembly of Oakland, and in fact was vigorously decried by many there. Yes, there is a real tension between the Large A black bloc and others, but the actions of the latter are not endorsed by the former.

          This is a critical issue of accountability, and those who desire to comment meaningfully on it need to inform themselves before opining from the hip. Neither the squats nor the property damage practiced by a _small minority_ in Oakland are endorsed by Occupy Oakland in any way at all, and the problem of how to _curtail_ those practices is a subject of ongoing and difficult debate their. Not the subject being discussed is how to _curtail_ those actions, nor how to excuse, or facilitate them. Anyone ‘blaming most’ for these actions of a few is deliberately misstating this ongoing situation, I don’t think any other conclusion can be reached.

  4. anon48

    Re: Destroying the BOA CC

    Don’t forget to drain the WORLPOINTS account first if you decide to shred the card (or at least before you contact them to formally cancel).

    1. anon48

      BTW- for those of who are college alums of institutions with BOA affinity programs, wouldn’t hurt to give the alumni association a call and request that they dump BOA.

  5. Pat

    I recommend this 20 minute radio interview with Yannis Varoufakis:

    This explains a lot about the Greek perspective and what is going to happen. What the Greeks want is default within the Eurozone, which is another way of saying “debt write-off”. Their justification (apart from the fact that they can’t pay) is that the Euro has been from the beginning little more than a glorified Deutsche Mark and that Germany has benefitted in all sorts of ways.
    What the Greeks are deathly afraid of, is having a drachma and Euro exist at the same time in Greece. If they had the drachma back, everyone would use Euros that they have hidden in their closets and refrigerators to create a black economy. Anyone who got paid in drachma would immediately convert them all to Euro. The result would be hyperinflation and chaos.

    So Greece will never willingly leave the Euro zone. Most likely (imo) they would promise anything and then do what they felt like, the absolute minimum, to satisfy the EZ technocrats, and to stop being kicked out. They will never willingly re-adopt the drachma so long as the Euros are real money.

    You can imagine that the other smaller countries probably feel the same way. They will never willingly drop out of the Eurozone and go back their own currencies, because of the potential chaos, hyperinflation and black economies.

    Everyone will continue with this charade of compliance with austerity measures until the whole thing blows up and each and every country goes back to a native currency and the Euro is nothing more than a nominal paper currency, like the Petrodollar.

  6. john

    The GM crop video is a must. Only watch the first and last five minutes if you don’t have time for the whole thing.

    1. Susan the other

      With big monoculture agriculture GM seed escapes into the world at very high speed. This phenomenon has been observed for a decade. GM corn has turned up in obscure places in Mexico with no explanation except wind, birds, bugs and pollen. I wonder about the stability of these genetic hybrid seeds and how many years it would take for the environment to remodify them back into normal seeds if Monsanto were shut down today. I read once that the GM seeds aren’t viable after the first planting and that is why you must keep buying new seed from Monsanto. This means they are not genetically stable. But there is not much on this. Also hasn’t India sued Monsanto for false patent claims on this stuff? I wouldn’t put it past Monsanto to patent some human genes for gene therapy for people who cannot process their GM foods.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Right, just one slice of the BigCorpMonopolyFinance cake. The purpose of the 1% is global MONOPOLY by DNA of the 1% in perpetuity, with crumbs for hangers-on, shills, dupes.

  7. Debt End


    Have you seen this offensive Bloomberg editoria. They have found a great sounding reason for making the taxpayer bail out the banks in a backdoor manner: namely requiring Fannie and Freddie to take the losses on their portfolio of underperforming loans and sell them to vulture investors.

    Pardon me, but why should Fannie and Freddie take the losses, when so many of the garbage originators are still in existence?

    Not only that, but they want the taxpayer to pay for the legal resolutions between servicers and trusts, giving even more taxpayer money to the banksters directly.

    How does Bloomberg get away with this disgusting suggestion of thievery under the guise of helping the economy? Looks to me like the banksters wrote this editorial and gave it to the slimey Bloomie editors to publish directly.


    Any comments?

    1. okie farmer

      Debt End, I read the article a day or two ago and found this comment incisive:

      Morgageguy 3 days ago
      Interesting how this ideal is propagated by James Lockhart, ex-FHFA director now working for the private sector (Wilbur Ross/American Home). Interesting how it ignores that the “Vulture” funds will need a discount to achieve their returns, then they will turn around and try to get the borrowers to pay or foreclose even faster than the original servicer to get their return. Where’s the benefit to the borrower or market. Most important, why shouldnt everyone default, current or not, so that their loan will be discounted in principal? How does this promote good behavior anywhere in the market except maybe creating more profits for the “Vultures” at the expense of the bondholders that were sold out by their servicers? Not a well thought out idea, certainly not by someone who SHOULD have a good understanding of the market.

    2. LucyLulu

      I don’t understand. How does this proposal bail out the banks? FHFA could continue to pursue its pending legal suits. Only a small percentage, 20% I think Yves has said, of loans are held in banks’ private portfolios, and the government wouldn’t be subsidizing the sales (the banks have already sold some of their loans to these “vultures”).

      Logistically, I don’t know how practical this solution is as far as obtaining agreements to implement from all the necessary parties, particularly the investors of the trusts. But it really could be a win-win solution. On mortgages that would eventually end in foreclosure, the return would be higher for the owner of the debt (investors in the trusts get killed on foreclosures, the servicer fees are outrageous). The borrowers may well get principal writedowns as the “vultures” will write down mortgages for those who can make the payments. Otherwise, they are not backlogged with pending foreclosures and can proceed.

      Personally, I think the better solution for Fannie/Freddie or their FHFA conservator, is to take this program on themselves instead of allowing the vultures to earn the profits. Perhaps writedowns may not seem fair to those of us who have made our payments faithfully, but they DO make good business sense, incurring smaller losses for owner of debt than if foreclosure occurs. And keeping homes occupied is good for neighborhoods and support of everybody’s home values. The debt relief for large numbers of people is good for the economy in general. The taxpayer shouldn’t have to be on the hook, investors knowingly took risks when they bought MBS to earn above market interest rates. They gambled and lost. This is merely recognition of those losses, marking loans to current market values, rather than some fantasy inflated values. If they wanted guarantees, they should have bought Treasuries. (As you may have noticed, I have little sympathy. As a long time investor, I’ve won some and I lost some. One doesn’t get extra return without taking on risk.)

  8. Bob J Young

    Has anyone else noticed that all of sudden the peaceful Occupy Wall street demonstrations are not in the news? Instead the only stories about the movement are about acts of violence.

    It seems to be a new spin on the “ignore, make fun of, win” meme. Now it is “ignore, make fun of, paint as a threat to public safety”.

    1. LeonovaBalletRusse

      Do you suspect a trend toward Military Dictatorship, building up to the moment of *martial order*, now that they have made the U.S.A. a *banana republic*?

      See the book: “BANANAS” re United Fruit and U.S. Military, just one example of what was done to other populations. So, don’t you think that *late stage Capitalism* in the U.S.A. calls for our population to take our turn *in the barrel*? Is this not global justice? Will the 99% take the turn, in full compliance with the Plan of the 1%? Or will we break the pattern?

      See: W.H. Auden: “Leap Before You Look” for instruction.

    2. Amateur Socialist

      “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”. -Ghandi

      I guess the fight is on.

  9. LeonovaBalletRusse

    Did Yves write that article about forcing everyone into the pen of *mobile communication devices* alone? If so, has Yves sold out, or … Oh, well.

  10. b.

    The “Social Security” stories drive me nuts. Even Dean Baker, who usually gets right to the core of it, is debunking the same propaganda over and over again, but never comes out to state what the objective of the Big Liars is.

    Please focus on the nitty-gritty of the conflict of interest. IOUs or not, the key question is always, where is the money of next month coming from.

    If the trust fund is cash flow negative, then the money has to come from the Treasury (yes, to repay the fund, as is just and right – justice and law having always been irrelevant in this type of politics). In other words, if there are no benefit cuts, then our corrupt government will have to divert tax revenue from “preferred” expenditures, increase debt, raise taxes, or a combination of these. Cutting benefits is much preferable to the monied elites and their retainers.

    Worse: If the trust fund is cash flow positive, then we have a revenue stream from an extremely regressive (i.e., from the Greenspun perspective, desirable) tax that subsidizes the “preferred” expenditures here and now, for a political – hence malleable, negotiable – promise to return these monies *if ever needed* at some point in the future.

    May that need never occur.
    Keep the Trust Fund in the black!
    In perpetuity!

    The discussion is not really whether, under current law and regulation, these IOUs exist and would have to be refunded.

    The discussion is – actually – about whether – and how – to get away with changing law and regulation, which is simply a question of politics and propaganda.

    If you do not want to see Social Security “reformed” for another 30+ years of subsidizing tax cuts for the rich and military spending sprees, stop talking out accounting and IOUs, and start talking about cash. For the past 30 years it went from the The Many to the benefit of The Few, every single month.

    Now, it will have to come out of the pockets of The Few to repay the Many, and that’s why we get the Big Lies. Because, at the end of the day, the question is whether the marginal tax rate will have to be increased to pay back the trust fund as indeed needed, or whether we are going to rob Peter and Paul to overpay the Warrens and Bills of the world a bit longer.

    1. F. Beard

      IOUs or not, the key question is always, where is the money of next month coming from. b.

      It comes from where it always comes from – thin-air. Your thinking is decidedly gold-standard thinking.

      The only restriction on US Government spending is price inflation in its fiat.

  11. Hugh

    From the Morgenson article,

    Among the large companies receiving taxpayer reimbursements for pensions and in some cases retirement health care are Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon…

    [Lockheed Martin] for example, shows reimbursements of $3.45 billion over the last five years: $3.1 billion came from United States taxpayers. During that period, the company generated $21.8 billion in operating profits.

    I take this to be just another instance of corporate looting. The novelty is that they are doing it in an area (pensions) that corps usually say they hate.

  12. Anonymous Comment

    As far as Jesse’s article… Yes, they are blocking funds and it did not begin with the disclosure of MF Globals’ collapse. This is one of the MAIN problems that is preventing an actual equitable recovery… In so many ways that cannot even be mentioned here. I am grateful to Jesse for bringing it up.

    It may seem like, ‘Oh whatever, those investor’s deserve what they got coming to them.’… but it is a form of selective gridlock which allows only the most connected and most approved by the tainted system to move their funds. All others get letters from lawyers saying, soon, you’ll get yours. Soon seems to mean never.

  13. Anonymous Comment

    Or whatever.

    The whole thing’s glitched up. Anything good, they don’t want to let go of. lolz

  14. Jess

    Is it true that the Monsanto family were slave
    traders out of Portugal, imported rum into New
    England and got their start by buying cotton land
    for pennies on the dollar after the Civil War?

    How can one company be so powerful and wealthy?
    What’s its stock performance? Is it a good investment?

  15. dictateursanguinaire

    the Eurocrisis vid (it’s done in the style of that earlier video about the Americris, guessing the same folks did it) is really lacking. The whole ‘if only it weren’t for our dumb leaders’ analysis is facile and stupid as Yves suggests. Her link to the alternet article yesterday ( is a nice corrective to the bourgeois, centrist, don’t rock the boat theory that places the blame solely on ‘bad politicians.’ Besides the 1% and the bottom 80%, there’s the 80-99%, the middle class intellectual and analyst class, that studiously refuses to dig deeper and clings to pseudo-Austrian Youtube economics fantasies and that intellectual culture is sure helping us stay in this mess. ‘If Only The World Worked Like Our Textbooks!’ — that’s the kind of lame, boxed-in mentality that produces this stuff.

  16. Elliot

    What a darling mouse!
    As to the nukes map, it makes short shrift of North Dakota; when I lived there in the 80’s, the local brag was that if we seceeded from the Union, we’d be the world’s 3rd largest nuclear power. I know a few things have been decommissioned since, but still, there’s a lot there.

    OT but only slightly; I’m looking for a primer on the mortgage fraud/blaming homeowners theme, for a friend who has lately begun taking on the “blaming deadbeats” thing but I believe could be rescued by facts. I’ve been a reader here for years (thank you Yves for all you do!) and have urged her to read here, but she’s a harried workaholic and would benefit from a targeted list of articles & posts here. I’ve just blinded myself with the search feature (what a wealth of information!) and hope someone recalls a post that is a good roundup, or can give me a search string to use. It galls me to see my friend corrupted by Limbaugh-ian, Paul-ian bilge.
    Thanks for any help!

    1. skippy

      How long do they have to wait till voting time? America is a police state, NBC?, just did a show on it, more in prison than China and Russia combined.

      Skippy…Oakland is what, it is, because it better serves powers needs. You know this, and yet take the side you do? BTW murders happen all the time in Oakland, the police are ill equipped to stop the mass majority, they happen before the police get there. Should I go on?

      1. Doug

        7.2 million in correctional systems = 7.2 million teachers in US. Guess what’s getting cut? Guess what isn’t?

      2. KFritz

        Reminds me of that old NatLamp song, “Pull the Triggers…” The Bay is just a tad wider. Q-land is a Palo Alto suburb, right?

        Portland just removed its initial encampment, admittedly with greater skill and respect than Oaktown’s police showed when dealing with the first march thru town. Portland’s encampment had the same problem of a lawless element tainting the entire situation. And Portland is a safer, wealthier city.

    2. LucyLulu

      So, the problem is that Occupy Oakland is using up police resources that are needed elsewhere in the city?

      Has anybody questioned why all these police resources are being used on what has been mostly a peaceful protest? If there are 101 homicides, none associated with OO, then why are the police focusing so many resources on a political protest rather than focusing where the crimes are occurring? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

      Maybe its this same kind of thinking behind the approach to crime fighting that is behind Oakland’s inability to get their crime rate under control. Police would rather hang out at protests and marches. Heck, can’t blame ’em. I would, too.

      1. KFritz

        That said, I don’t think that the Oaktown PD is employing the strategy set forth in this Fresh Air interview

        1. skippy

          Massive inequality and poor first two years of life, those are the issues you should be examining. Not the by products of those states some where down the road. Any way, there are many examples were an inter city community, try’s, to address the problems it inherited. Only to get the shaft from the mayors office and by proxy the police. KFritz, they need them that way, no climbing out of the pit en-mass, *it is not allowed*, only select individuals, may on their own, or with help. Climb out of the pit and be held high for the others to see, keep the illusion going.

          Skippy…look into it.

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