Thursday, October 20, 2011

I've moved to Wordpress

Here's the link. Please go there and sign up to continue to get emails of posts.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In case you missed it -- important development with Bank of America

Lifted from Zero Hedge. The original post with links is here. Notable that OWS is seen as the go-to place to deal with this criminal behavior.

Many people are furious that the Federal Reserve and Bank of America have initiated a coup to dump billions of dollars of losses on the American people (and see this).

Many are suggesting that the “Occupy” protesters rally to stop this robbery.

One of the top stories currently on Reddit (one of the top social media sites), is:

OWS and 99%: Please pay attention to this and stop it from happening (BofA and Fed socializing losses)
I understand that the Occupy protesters are, in fact, currently debating making a statement on this theft.

Currently, there are two competing draft statements. This one is from someone very savvy on understanding how the average American thinks:

A portion of the 53 trillion dollars of derivatives (yes that’s with a t, about the size of the entire global economy) transferred to Bank of America’s parent company from Merrill Lynch in 2008 has recently been transferred to Bank of America.

Derivatives contracts in a bank are paid before anyone else gets paid.

Therefore, these derivatives contracts would be paid before depositors receive their money. These people just cut in front of you.

It's very simple, the reason that banks and trading houses were originally separated was to prevent this sort of thing. What’s really going to happen is that the government is going to end up bailing out the FDIC … so this will end up being a government bailout.

You’ll end up getting shafted, either by derivatives holders cutting in front of you or by your having to bail out the FDIC so it can bail out banks depositors. Either way, this is yet another instance of looting by the big banks and big government.

Just say no … don’t let this stand.
And this one is from two people who are experts on the technical issues involved:

We denounce Bank of America’s transfer of high risk derivatives to its federally insured accounts. This is yet another example of systemically dangerous institutions, big banks like BofA and JPM, once again attempting to shift potentially substantial losses onto the backs of hardworking Americans. The fact that the Federal Reserve supports this action demonstrates Ben Bernanke’s complicity and/or gross incompetence in supporting the Wall Street elite at the expense of tax paying citizens.
Updates as they develop …

Moving to WordPress

Please go to the new blog and sign up on the upper right for email notifications.


1. I've noticed that the chimpster's email has not been getting to me -- the reason for my silence to any messages you've sent. That is fixed, but given the limited email list google allows, it would be better if you could go to the blog directly, or get the RSS feed into your reader. Alternatively, I'm going to set up a conduit to twitter which could be used.

2. Often for some of you, there is no link visible in the email version of the blog post-- that has to do with your email program which doesn't seem to capture the html coding for whatever reason. The solution in this case is always to click on the link in the signature line which will take you to the blog page.

3. I am soon going to move to wordpress in order to integrate with Twitter -- due to the obvious recent developments in political life. I am hoping that will be relatively seamless, though I haven't assessed its email/listserv function.

I heartily recommend investing the time to learn about how twitter works -- it's just another tool in the box.

Marxism Raising Its Ugly Head?

Nassim Taleb on Bloomberg, essentially saying that poor capitalist management has endangered capitalism.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Taibbi on Rush Limbaugh

I never thought I’d see it, but some of the dukes and earls high up in America’s Great Tower of Bullshit are starting to blink a little bit.

The right realizes they risk being unmasked. The rest of the post here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Video of the People Arrested For Trying to Close Their Citibank accounts

The authorities seem to be getting twitchy. Cops in the service of the megabanks doesn't have such good "optics", as they say in certain business circles.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Quite Something

Even 8 years ago during the anti-Iraq War mobilizations, I don't recall the coordination being this crisp.

Even in my teenage dreams I couldn't have imagined that some person would write text into a computer reaching millions to say this:

People of the World, Rise Up!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wow, Watching George Will and Peggy Noonan de-fanged by OWS is Really Something

The guy who demolished the Fox News interviewer, Jesse LaGreca, makes it to the media bigtime.

But the cloying concern of Peggy Noonan for the working class is nauseating and amusing at the same time.

OWS -- Lifted from the comments at Calculated Risk

Went to WalMart tonight - wore my convexity pig sweatshirt. An employee restocking fruit asked me about it - I told him. He said "Cool - so that's about the mortgage bust and Wall Street, right?" My jaw about dropped... 'Yup'.
We then talked awhile - he pretty much had the story down except he was more of a gubbmint was at fault not the banks meme kinda guy ... I told him that was what Wall Street wants you to believe, they were all in it together.
But think about this - stock boy at Walmart, in rural flyover, early part of the evening shift.
There is your measure of OWS's effect.

A lot of anger built up over the last 3 years. And its all over the country

Not That You Need Juan Cole to Tell You That Hilary and Barack are Full of S*#t on This Iran Terrorist Plot

But here's the takedown. The terrorist appears to be a nutcase.

The DOJ complaint says that Arbabsiar boasted that his cousin (Gholam Shakuri) was a “general” in Iran but did plainsclothes work abroad and “had been on CNN.”

Since two out of three of these allegations are obvious falsehoods, why should we believe anything else Arbabsiar said about his cousin? Note that it is the speculation of the DOJ that Arbabsiar’s description of his cousin suggests that Shakuri is a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. He is not so identified by Arbabsiar, who simply says he is a general who travels in civilian clothes. There is no such general.

Since Arbabsiar clearly does not have a firm grasp on reality, to indict the IRGC with these rambling and preposterous claims would be highly unwise.

I am frankly shocked that Eric Holder should have brought us this steaming crock, which is now being used to make policy at the highest levels. That a Mexican former drug runner being paid by the US taxpayers might have thought he could advance his career by playing mind games with a somewhat crazy Iranian expatriate is no surprise. That you could put fantastic schemes in Arbabsiar’s mind if you worked at it seems obvious. That anyone in the DOJ or the US foreign policy establishment would take all this seriously is not plausible. I conclude that they are being dishonest, and that this is Obama’s turn to wag the dog as he faces defeat at Romney’s well-manicured hands next year this time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Watch the News from Burma

A lot of moves, each seemingly innocent, but together they add up. Looks to me like the US and India are trying to wean the generals from Beijing's orbit.

Hmmmm..... wonder what message that "swimmer" who snuck in to see Aung San Suu Kyi awhile ago was carrying..

Meanwhile, Myanmar’s President Thein Sein begins a four-day visit to India on Wednesday. Myanmar, also known as Burma, is an ally of China. Beijing has invested heavily in Myanmar’s infrastructure and mining projects in recent years. India would also like to invest in Myanmar’s gas sector but has largely lost out to China.

Recent tensions between Myanmar and China could give India a window of opportunity. Earlier this month, the head of a major Chinese company behind a controversial dam in Myanmar said the project’s suspension by the Myanmar government was a surprise that “will lead to a series of legal issues.

The full story, from the WSJ, mostly about the emerging India-Vietnam axis, is here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Obama's Crashing Support Among African-Americans

I suspected that Cornel West's verbal assault on Obama last spring was a leading indicator. Looks like I might have been right.

58 percent. For Obama, that’s more than alarming. That’s an air-raid siren at dawn.

With the voters in the focus group, the disappointment was heartbreaking. My friend called it “one of the most memorable discussions I’ve ever witnessed in hundreds if not thousands - of hours of focus groups.”

The article here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Funny how a single spark can start something

Occupy Together is a site serving as a clearinghouse.

They list 1146 cities with Occupy meetups set up.

Spread the word, a new newspaper

Occupied Wall Street Journal

Alan and Yves

From NC:

The efforts to discredit OWS are intriguing and reveal a deep seated sense of vulnerability among the powers that be. Despite the high level of press coverage, relatively few people have yet to participate in these gatherings. But this effort is applying pressure on the deepest fault line in American society, is not going away and continues to gain ground. Even if OWS does not mature into a political force, it is already having an impact, by shifting the nature of discourse and unearthing rotting corpses that the top 1% and their allies in the chattering classes hoped to keep buried: the fact that ordinary citizens have been on the wrong side of the greatest transfer of wealth in history, and virtually all of their supposed protectors stood by or had their hands in the till. No wonder those at the top of the food chain feel so threatened.

Couldn't agree more. The rumblings of a volcano. Up for grabs: the 30% of Americans who according to several recent polls are "sympathetic" to the Tea Party.

Her post has a nice video clip of Grayson on Bill Maher confirms the spreading media presence of the OWS "message"

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What is to be done?

A friend sends an email:

Many of the kids I spoke to at the demonstration are well beyond extending forgiveness to the Democratic Party leadership or directing their protest to more receptive members of the ruling class. The more conscious and sophisticated among them are clearly intent on organizing wider groups of people. That being said, it's clear that the method of operation in the park is strongly influenced not only by a commitment to participatory democracy, but also to other, more idealized and romanticized notions of what, for lack of a better word, amounts to anarchism. Yet I say this not having spent at any one time more than a couple of hours at the site. And while it is my impression from afar that the current, global wave of decentralized dissent has run up against serious limits in places like Spain, I don't really have enough concrete information to argue that perspective with certainty.

the decision of the unions to get involved and the broad sympathy with which many ordinary working-class New Yorkers have greeted the protest is something we should keep our eye on. The Wednesday march was, in my opinion, much more energetic than labor movement rallies of recent years for two reasons (and surely others I've failed to see). First, it included a substantial number of physically and emotionally energetic young people, but second, it was visionary: numerous demands for reforms were voiced and written a wide variety of posters, but so, too, were calls for the radical transformation of American society -- and that apparently stirs people who are now ready to move on the basis of that possibility. Yes, we certainly need broad, realistic demands and more focused, savvy leadership, but we also need the "vision thing," as someone on the other side once called it.

A few semi-random thoughts in response.

Clearly OWS must avoid the horrible dynamics of front group/sectarian organization or vanguard/masses which dominated the 20th century on the left. More than anything I've always viewed that legacy as a reflection of a pretty good "scientific" understanding of revolutionary dynamics derived from the Jacobin experience: simplistically, as the legitimacy of the state erodes, it can get pretty chaotic and tight organization and discipline will win over time. And I suppose the level of participation and democracy that remains after the revolutionary ebbtide is a function of the underlying intellectual and technical development of the society, and since we are not going to be dominated by peasants from Texas, that in itself is a reason for optimism.

However, the right's hysterical screams about this last week (see Anne Coulter's rant) about the inevitable road to dictatorship was not as crazy as it seemed. (Though in their case it reflects a guilty conscience in a "Takes one to know one" kind of way, along with the worry that they'll lose much of the Tea Party mass base and with it a democratic veneer and be forced to stand naked with their true stripes for all to see.) And it's certainly unsurprising how everyone left of center is orienting to OWS due to the leadership vacuum that has existed for the last several years; this exchange between Yves Smith and Krugman yesterday about elite hijacking of OWS is interesting in this regard and worth a read. For instance Van Jones risks being an agent of the existing order given his contacts and network within the Washington crowd, whatever the source of his motivation to "lead". We could ourselves be agents of old thinking and be sent off to rectification camps (albeit with fresh mint tea, an MP3 player and a packed vegan lunch)

While us greyhairs may have wisdom to impart, we also have to stay humble and open to the possibilities of new thinking: as the saying goes, "funeral by funeral, theory advances"

I have no doubt that twitter and mobile computing are as transformative of politics as the printing press. If there isn't one already, there will soon be an app for getting resolutions vetted and submitted followed by instant votes by cellphones. At that point things could get pretty interesting at a General Assembly. These could turn into councils of significant influence. With some growth and evolution, not so crazy to imagine that the GA's in every town became a competing source of political legitimacy and authority. Many issues to overcome, but direct participatory democracy would return to the front burner. Do we need delegation of authority and responsibility? the experience of a lifetime suggests we do, but...

It's early stages. I daresay we are all being hopeful and cautious and excited at the same time, but mostly tempered by the disappointments of 40 years. Still, without serious credit writedowns and a rebalancing between labor and capital, there will be no democratic solution to the global economy anytime soon. So even if this movement fades with the bitter winter winds, remember 1905. I suspect that the average age of the revolutionaries in 1776, 1789 or 1917 was likely 24.

Perhaps foolishly, I expect that soon a staggering burst of human creativity will be stepping onto the historical stage. And perhaps out of that will come another cycle of political structures, social arrangements and productive technologies. Perhaps.

Friday, October 7, 2011

How to Handle Fox News

This guy impressed me with his relentless, polite, smiling, in-your-face attitude towards the Fox reporter.

A lot of talent in the streets is a good omen.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The CBC tries to be "Fair and Balanced".

Chris Hedges on the CBC

Didn't realize this venerable institution has Foxified itself lately. Sad.

Occupy Wall Street

Many swirling thoughts;

I could see General Assemblies of occupiers sprouting in most major towns in America in the next month, and linking up in real time for specific actions or statements. That would be revolutionary even with relatively small numbers, especially if norms for decision making and communication emerge.

The internet connecting directly in real time to protesters in the streets of Greece and Spain is powerful and has enormous potential, especially as the G20 meetings occur.

The discussions of micro and macroeconomics which are being triggered on twitter feeds and on blogs are unlike anything I remember from the 60's and 70's.

Add it all up, and it really is a new century.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

You Don't Need a Weatherman To Tell Which Way the Wind is Blowing

Check out the Twitter feed for Occupy Wall Street as the union support march gets underway.

Those of you just reading on email may have to go to my blog site to find the active link.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Big News from South Asia

Undoubtedly all the sabre rattling out of Washington this past month was being coordinated with this move by India. Although Karzai might be chafing under the US bridle, the Indian foreign policy establishment can't seem to do anything really contrary to US wishes, so I doubt this was done without Uncle Sam's blessing.

Looks like the squeeze is on for Pakistan to accept a US-India security umbrella or else. The alternative is an outright and somewhat hostile move to an exclusive alliance with China, which would cost the nonmilitary elite dearly in various cultural terms. Let's see if they have the inclination, or if the rifts inside Pakistan's polity worsen.

From the Indo-US perspective, this strategy has the merit of being multifunctional -- good vis a vis China and also good if Pakistan breaks up.