OccupyTogether: October 15- Global Day of Action

Update 6:54.  Will have to leave momentarily to take a kid to a dance.  Tell me if anything happens.

Here’s the best live feed so far: http://www.earthcam.com/usa/newyork/timessquare/

Update 6:35: At 6:37, Dwayne reports, they are all going to sing a song.  They are singing, “This little light of mine”

All together now!

Update 6:24:  Dwayne’s feed is very chaotic but he’s right there watching the horse mounted police coming into the crowd.  Voice commentary is good. http://www.livestream.com/occupywallstnyc.

6:16 The earthcam let’s you see it all.  In brutal detail.  http://www.earthcam.com/usa/newyork/timessquare/

It is very, very crowded down there.  Think New Year’s Eve crowded.  I can only see part of Times Square but the crowd is chanting “The whole world is watching”, which can’t be good.  Now, massive Booing.  That’s not a good sign.   I hope things calm down before curtain time.  It would suck to have just spent a small fortune on Broadway tickets and not be able to get to the theatre.  That would be seriously uncool.

Update 5:59:  Ok, this is ridiculous.  There are thousands of people jammed on the sidewalk who can’t cross the street.  They are bound to spill into the street.  It would be impossible to keep them confined for much longer. Ruh-roh, here come the police on Vespas.  One of the earthcam webcams is overwhelmed.

From the livestream chatroom moderator:

 the revolution is experiencing technical difficulties.
piscaa: expect interference from

Update 5:57pm: The square is really filling up now and making some noise.  The problem with Times Square is that there is a main thoroughfare right through the middle of it so the protestors have to stay on the sidewalks.  On a normal Saturday evening, the sidewalks of Times Square are crowded.  I don’t know how the police are going to keep people from spilling into the street.  I just hope everyone stays calm.  It looks from the webcam that the police are preventing people on the sidewalk from crossing over into the area beneath the big marquee.  That’s not a good plan, IMHO.  There’s still plenty of room over there.   In the meantime, Occupy Berlin is having interactions with police.

Update 5:19pm:  If you are following along on the Earthcam, you can hear the occupiers coming into the square.  It sounds like they are singing “We ARE the 99%!”  They’ve got a band!  Did the Musicians Union join them?  

Update: Here is what Times Square looks like from the Earthcam live cam at http://www.earthcam.com/usa/newyork/timessquare/

You can hear the Occupiers chanting on the earthcam as they enter the square but the crowd is still small at this point.  Watch it grow.

Marchers should be entering the square from the bottom of your screen if you are watching the Earthcam.

Update 4:45pm: Dwayne and the media team are in a cab headed up to Times Square.  Broadcasting live from the back of the cab.  I found a live cam broadcast from Times Square.  check it out here: Times Square Cam.  There are a couple different angles to choose from.  Hit the “See more Times Square Cams” in the upper left hand corner.

Update 4:25:  The police have shut down Times Square.  (unconfirmed)  WTF?  There are people who have shows to do up there.  Musicians, actors, singers, restaurant people, Sephora salespeople…  Curtains go up at 8:00pm.

There are two streams of marchers headed for Times Square.  One stream is headed up Broadway, the other is headed up 7th avenue.  The Mic Check just said that the police will be searching backpacks at the train station on the way to Times Square “SO DON’T BE STUPID!”  This is OK by me.  Security is notoriously tight around Times Square when they expect crowds.

Update 4:07pm: Dwayne is MCing the live feed from Zuccotti park.  He is headed to Times Square in a cab so that they don’t lose air in the subway.  He says crowd estimates in Times Square are supposed to be 50,000 people.  There are rumors in the chat room that police are getting antzy at Times Square, which is too bad.  Because if there was ever an ideal place to party, it would be Times Square.  Why ruin it with riot police?  For that matter, why ruin it with riots?  If you’re there, stay on the sidewalk, follow traffic rules, keep an eye on your fellow occupiers.  Keep safe and cooperative.

HAVE FUN!!

Update 4:11:  There are arrests right now at Broadway and 16th street.  Times Square is at 42nd street so they still have quite a way to walk.  No indication of what is setting off the arrests.

Today, OccupyTogether has events all around the world for the first Global Day of Action.  There’s probably one near you.  Go, and say hi.  I guarantee that there will be someone there your age.  Maybe you’ll be the first but if you do it, others will join you and that’s what this movement is all about.  Stand together in solidarity with the other 99% and demand that your hard work and playing by the rules are rewarded.

In Manhattan today, there are several events planned today for OccupyWallStreet.  There is an OccupytheBoardroom,  and Take Times Square Convergence and Occupation Party at 5:00pm.  The Times Square occupation could be an amazing event.  Times Square is generally packed on Saturdays anyway.  There are people from out of town to see plays and there are three hours to kill before curtain time.  This could be a really inspiring community event.  When the lights come on in Times Square, I hope people have their cameras at the ready.

Alas, I won’t be one of them.  Brook is going to a Homecoming Dance tonight and I will be acting as stylist and limo driver.  I wouldn’t miss that for the world.  But I will be checking in through the various livestreams.  If you have similar pre-engagements, you can still participate by joining the conversation on the livestreams or through twitter at #occupyWallStreet

Here are some livestreams to follow:

GlobalRevolution Livestream (this one is the busiest and will cut in with events from around the world)

OccupyWallStNYC – This is mainly from Zuccotti park but features other occupations as well

Avaazwallstreet – A Euro-Middle East collaboration activist organisation.   Their livestream was pretty good yesterday.

I don’t know if OccupyWallStreet will be able to do what the left on its own has not since 2008 but what the heck, why not try to promote each other?  It couldn’t hurt.  So, in the spirit of re-engagement, check out the livestream from Firedoglake.  They will be covering events live.  Check out their live coverage post here.  I expect quality work from Jane Hamsher’s crew.

Also doing a bang up job covering a number of OccupyTogether sites are our friends at Corrente.  Indignés is covering OccupyParis from Corrente.  And while you’re there, make sure to tip your host.  I keep thinking that Lambert is on the verge of a great idea about collaborating in the blogosphere.  Let’s help him over the critical threshhold of creativity.  If you have any ideas for how to do this, see this post: Readers, how do we publish ourselves to the occupiers and indignants?

I don’t know but what if we could put together an application like The Daily app for the iPad?  Just a suggestion.

Finally, for those of you who are still confused about how OccupyWallStreet works, check out this episode of Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd, Stuart Zechman and Alison Kilkenny.  They discuss the Open Source model, which is quite unlike what many people are used to as an organizing philosophy.  If you hit your stride in your career at the beginning of the internet age, you will probably grok this idea pretty easily.  Here’s a brief wiki summary of open source philosophy:

The open-source model includes the concept of concurrent yet different agendas and differing approaches in production, in contrast with more centralized models of developmentsuch as those typically used in commercial software companies.[2] A main principle and practice of open-source software development is peer production by bartering and collaboration, with the end-product, source-material, “blueprints,” and documentation available at no cost to the public. This is increasingly being applied in other fields of endeavor, such as biotechnology.[3]

The internet made this collaborative organizing model possible.  If you’re not familiar with Open Source, Allison, Jay and Stuart will walk you through it and tell you why it’s so powerful even if it’s leaderless.

In addition, Stuart explains why the parties are probably dead.  They’re too badly compromised.  He has a field report from an independent Democrats (the “good” guys) meeting he attended in Manhattan recently.  They also talk about why they don’t think either party or MoveOn type organization is going to have an easy time co-opting the Occupation.  In short, the 99% are disgusted by the parties and orgs and want something new.  If Obama was planning to turn the Occupation into a new version of OFA, he and the other Democratic leadership should shelve that idea pronto.  I don’t think the Occupation even wants endorsements from them.  They’re going to do things their way from now on.

So, livestream and learn and get out there.  I plan to go to Zuccotti Park tomorrow after all of the excitement is over in hopes that the party carried on through the night and I haven’t missed a thing.

A suggestion about demands for OccupyWallStreet

Update: Is anyone soaping “99%” on their windows tomorrow?

The Big Dawg has weighed in regarding OccupyWallStreet and says that the movement has to start making its intentions known.  He suggested that OccupyWallStreet get behind Obama’s jobs program but we’ve already seen what a failure that bill was.  It was too little, too late and came with too many long term effects to social security.   But now that OWS has seized Pilate’s wife, it has to issue some demands.

So, assuming that the 99% want some say over what to do with the money they earn through actual, you know, *work*, part of the task has to be to get politicians to rewrite the rules and reimpose regulations so we don’t get screwed again.  At the top of the agenda should probably be some set of policies that reward people who make their living from work over people who make their living through investments.  If it is the case that the 1% has the money to lobby the rulemakers to write the rules in its favor, then it must also be the case that there are rulemakers who will happily do its bidding and not ours.  The only way to change that is to get rid of a lot of rulemakers and replace them with rulemakers who are more to our liking.  And the only way to do that is to vote the compromised rulemakers out of office.  But before we get to the point where we decide who gets to stay and who has to go, there has to be a mechanism in place that will ensure the integrity of the voting process.  Because, as we have seen recently, the rulemakers are very intent on preventing the wrong kind of people from voting.  Then there is the problem of voting machines.  They are very easy to hack and most states do not require a paper trail.

There is a proposed remedy for this.  Rush Holt, congressman from NJ’s 12th district, has proposed a bill called the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2005.

On February 2, 2005, Rep. Rush Holt reintroduced the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (HR 550), a bill designed to restore confidence in the outcomes of elections and in our electoral process generally. The measure would require all voting machines to produce an actual paper record that voters can inspect to check the accuracy of their votes and that election officials can use to verify votes in the event of a computer malfunction, hacking, or other irregularity. Experts often refer to this paper record as a “voter-verified paper ballot.”

“Anything of value should be auditable,” said Holt. “Votes are valuable, and each voter should have the knowledge—and the confidence—that his or her vote was recorded and counted as intended. Passage of this bill will be a big step in restoring that confidence, which is the very foundation of our democratic republic.”

The bill was sponsored in 2005 and was reintroduced by Holt in 2009, probably with the sunny optimistic view that with Democrats in the driver’s seat, the bill would have a prayer. But it has been sitting in committees ever since.  I guess it was too much to ask the Democrats to pass it when they had majorities in both houses, because that would have been politically astute and the right thing to do but Democrats don’t seem to have a good sense of self-preservation.  Don’t expect the Republicans to do it.  That’s not their thing.  But if there is a movement demanding its passage, well, that would be a very big step in the right direction.   Because no matter how popular this movement is, it can’t do a damn thing if there are irregularities with the voting system.  When the vote is compromised and can’t be reliably verified, you’ve already lost.

Consider it a ‘first principles” thing.  Demand the integrity of the voting system so that the 99%’s voice can never be overridden during a election.  You’ll see pretty quickly who’s on your side and who isn’t and the answer may surprise you.  It also has the added benefit of favoring neither party, which is what you want.  The act is only intended to benefit voters and make sure there is a verifiable paper trail.  And who among the 99% can argue against that?  Part of the problem with this country is that people don’t think their votes count.  Here’s a way to make sure they do.  (We’ll have to tackle the corrupt party primaries separately)

Voting should be orgasmic.

OccupyWallStreet: Bloomberg postpones the “cleaning”

Please note that I am not at the park at the present time.  I’m just following the livestream.  See URLs below.

Update 8:06am: Live coverage back at Zuccotti and financial district.  The white shirts are back.  This is looking very tense.  The cops now have their guns out.  Crowd dispersing.  Some rumor that the police are going to take the park.  New rumor: They closed the Brooklyn Bridge??

Update: 7:43am: Livestream down again.  The last shot of the bull statue had a few policemen guarding it.  There are thousands of people pouring into the streets there.  So far, the atmosphere seems festive.  Police look a bit overwhelmed.  Arrests are being made.  The police are getting rough.

To me it looks like the police have lost this battle.  Too many people in the street right now.  This is what I thought might happen.  NYC has a huge population, today is Friday, expect the crowds to get bigger as the day goes on.  As long as the crowd stays non-violent and arrests are few, this could be quite a day for a party in NYC.

Update 7:32am:  Crowd estimate in Zuccotti park 5K.  The occupiers are marching in the street.  Police have arrived.  It’s looking tense.  Police appear to be gently escorting protestors back onto the sidewalk.  Not sure that’s going to work.  There are a LOT of people down there.

Holy S^&*!  It looks like the city is pouring into the street.

Cue the music!  Street bank striking up.  Lots of horns honking.  It’s a frickin’ party down there.  They’ve made it to the bull.  How much you want to bet someone(s) climb up on that thing?  I hope the photographers are ready to capture the moment.

6:30am: The cavalry unions are arriving.  The crowds at the park look huge.  CNN is reporting that Bloomberg has postponed the “cleaning” of Zuccotti Park.  Looking for link.  So far unconfirmed.  The livestream shows that there is something going on at the park that they refer to as a “situation”.  I think the rumor of a partial victory has gone to their heads and it’s a bit chaotic.  They were doing a mic check a few minutes to take a straw poll as to whether to take on the barricade at Wall Street.  Sounds like they’re going to go for it.  You can follow the action here:

http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution

http://www.livestream.com/occupywallstnyc (covering street protest)

http://www.livestream.com/avaazwallstreet (this one is working)

Follow them on twitter at #occupywallstreet

They sometimes lose their livefeed.  Not sure what’s up with that.  They’re using generators and last night, one of their streaming computers died because it wasn’t charging.

Most recent shot of the crowd shows that the people of NYC turned up at 7:00am this morning as requested.  There are many people over 30 in the crowd right now.  Zuccotti park looks full.  It looks like the pre-march shots I got from last week but bigger.  The park is wall to wall people.  There are thousands and thousands of people there.  More than 2 thousand?  Looks like it to me.

Tomorrow at 5pm, there will be an Occupy Times Square.  Not sure how that’s going to work out but the cool thing about Times Square is that there’s a bleacher type structure smack dab in the middle of it.  When the lights go on in Times Square, it’s like daylight there and the view from the bleachers can’t be beat.  Times Square is super busy on Saturday night to begin with.  Will it be like New Year’s Eve in October?  Hard to say.  Probably not the best night to be visiting New York City if you’re from out of town.  On the other hand, it would be hard to not be caught up in a Times Square Occupation.  There will be other activities on Saturday.  Check the schedule at occupywallst.org

The situation is less promising at OccupyDenver where the occupation has been under siege.  It was raided at 3:00am this morning.

Glenn Beck’s head on a pike?

Oops!  I meant Lloyd Blankfein’s effigy of a head on a pike, not the actual, you know, *head*.  Because that would be wrong.

So, recently Glenn Beck got all hysterical and hid under the bed because a bunch of regular Americans (who probably don’t listen to Glenn Beck) decided to occupywallstreet and speak their minds.  He and his doofus side kick (who bears an uncanny resemblance to my brother) made fun of the way Zuccotti park occupiers have to repeat what their speakers say.  He didn’t bother to explain that voice amplification is not allowed in Zuccotti park or just about any other space in Manhattan because his guffawing audience might stop and think, “WTF??  You mean even Tea Partiers couldn’t amplify themselves in Zuccotti park?”  That’s right, but I encourage interested Tea Partiers and Glenn Beck fans to check it out for yourselves.  No, really, take a bullhorn to Zuccotti and see what happens.  Report back to us here, after you post bail.

Glenn says that the occupiers are a bunch of pissed off marxists who are now going to kill all the capitalists.

Beck then made the first of his dark analogies. Saying that the only thing that could control the movement would be a forceful crushing from “the top,” he added, “It will be the Night of Long Knives. It will be a purging of this country.” This was a seeming reference to the political murders carried out by the Nazis in 1934.

Beck then turned to “capitalists,” and here his warning was even starker and more graphic:

“Capitalists, if you think that you can play footsies with these people, you’re wrong. They will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you…they’re Marxist radicals…these guys are worse than Robespierre from the French Revolution…they’ll kill everybody.”

Gosh, why did the commies wait so long?  A lot of people are losing their houses.  They’ve had three years to hatch their diabolical plan and all they can come up with is a mass movement using a democratic, open source process to work their way through the problem while using militant non-violence to assemble and protest peacefully?  Betcha Glenn couldn’t start a nationwide movement without a bullhorn, his own media and a posse of mean spirited, bullying senior citizens who deliberately refuse to evolve.  These occupiers are blood thirsty fiends with their cardboard signs and their sharpies, using the power of the word to cut through all of the right wing nastiness.

Oh, wait, Glenn is one of those nasty right wingers.  So, what we have here is a genuine uprising that is threatening the astroturfed Tea Party movement and Glenn’s moment of glory.  It’s tapping into the zeitgeist of a very dispirited and angry middle class.  It’s non-partisan, a-religious, doesn’t endorse any political candidates and doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings except the bankers (poor widdle guys).  In short, it’s anti-Beck, the little, greedy, mean, libertarian, uber conservative, anti-gay, anti-feminist Mormon man.

Oh My God!  What is happening??  Americans don’t seem to be afraid of their own mortality or intimidated by Beck and his selfish, cranky and para military fantasist  followers.  How can that be after all of the money that has been pouring into the GlennBeckian wet dream network?  It’s the end of the world.  Before you know it there will be earthquakes and floods, dogs and cats living together.  Good thing Beck has an underground fallout shelter where he can hide from the pacifist hordes who are about to force a vegan diet on him.  (Ok, the occupiers do go a little overboard on the crunchy granola. It is a little frightening.)  If this movement is not stopped, before you know it you’ll have capitalists operating under more strict regulations, unable to gamble away your retirement money at the global craps table, forced to pay taxes or pass their workers’ productivity gains back to them, working on an increasingly non-carbon based infrastructure and encouraging Americans to take mass transit and work from home.  Oh, the humanity!

Calm down, Glenn.  They’re not coming to take your head and parade it around on a pike.  They just want to shove your malicious rhetoric down your gullet – metaphorically.   You can come out from under the bed now.

Oh, and about the “acres of trash” that are supposedly accumulating in Zuccotti park?  Well, I was there last week during their third week of occupation and the only thing that I smelled were the street vendors peddling falafel and halal kebabs.  The park was spotless and the garbage cans were empty, not overflowing.

Get a life, Glenn.  Or a night light.

One more thing:  I noticed that the GBTV crew went to an occupation and found some occupiers who were definitely not your suburban soccer mom types.  But what he didn’t show his audience was who is really in the crowd down there.  So, I will.  This is a replay of the pre-march gathering at Zuccotti Park from last week.  Those radical marxists are cleverly disguising themselves as normal looking Americans of all ages and descriptions.  It’s scary.:

While we were watching OccupyWallStreet…

… it appears that our Congress was paying absolutely no attention at all.  Greg Sargent’s Plum Line has the gritty details about how Republicans, and some Democrats, are planning to vote down Obama’s jobs bill.  The entrails do not look good for Democrats in red states that oppose the bill according to Stan Greenberg:

Top pollster Stanley Greenberg is not shy about criticizing the White House when he thinks it’s warranted, and his opinion is widely respected by Democrats in Congress. So if Greenberg tells moderate Senate Democrats that they vote against Obama’s jobs bill at their ownperil, will they believe him?

In an interview with me this morning, Greenberg made a strong case that moderate Senate Democrats in red states would be foolish and shortsighted if they vote against the American Jobs Act today, as some of them appear to be prepared to do. The White House and Dems have been railing against Republicans for opposing the jobs bill, but if a few Senate Dems defect, and a simple majority of the Senate doesn’t support it, that will dilute the Dem message that Republicans are the key obstacle to progress on the economy.

But Greenberg’s case for voting for the bill went significantly beyond this concern about overall party messaging. He argued that moderate Democrats who vote against it are actually imperiling their ownreelection chances.

“They reduce their risks for reelection by showing support for a jobs bill that’s going to be increasingly popular as voters learn more about it,” Greenberg said. “They have to be for something on the economy, and this the kind of proposal they should support. If I were advising them, I’d say you want to be backing a jobs bill with middle class tax cuts paid for by tax hikes on millionaires. Moderate voters in these states very much want to raise taxes on the wealthy to meet our obligations.”

That bill leaves a lot to be desired for sure, but those of us out of work need jobs.  If the OccupyWallStreet movement hasn’t gotten through to Congresscritters yet, let me spell it out: Any organized opposition to putting people to work is going to be extremely unpopular.  Maybe that will fall most heavily on the Republicans, but I recall that it wasn’t too long ago that Tim Geithner said on behalf of the Obama Treasury Department that life was about to get a lot more unpleasant for the unemployed.

You know, I just find that unacceptable.

If the (inadequate) jobs bill goes down, expect a lot more unpleasantness between the 99% and the people who are standing in the way of living wages and decent healthcare.  If Congress is this politically tone deaf, a good number of them need to be replaced.  If I were them, I’d be cautious because OccupyWallStreet looks like the perfect forum to explore starting a third party and there is enough time between now and November 2012 to make a difference.

Jesse LaGreca does it again

I wouldn’t call Jesse a spokesperson for OccupyWallStreet and he wouldn’t either.  But, damn, he’s good.  Today he was a guest of Christiane Amanpour’s round table on ABC’s This Week.  He’s able to derail George Will’s self-reverential bloviating about smaller government, deficit reducing blahdy-blah and he does it with a pugnacious, mischievous delight.  I live vicariously through LaGreca because I’ve always wanted to stuff a sock in Will’s mouth and down his esophagous till it emerges from his ass too and I’ll bet I’m not alone.

You can view the video at Hulabaloo here.  Scroll down to the bottom video and fast forward to minute marker 4:20.  (I’m not familiar with this open source video format so it will take me awhile to find a WordPress friendly version)

Here’s a different video of Jesse at OccupyWallStreet:

[youtube-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EN_--FiUkE]

Amanpour introduced LaGreca as a DailyKos blogger.  Let me take this opportunity to point out that yours truly was booted off DailyKos in January 2008 due to accusations of thought crimes against Obama.  It didn’t take long for me to get over it as there were many like minded individuals to join me in the political Oort belt.  In a matter of hours, I went from a trusted user with mucho mojo and a not infrequent recommended diarist to instant pariah.  Talk about co-opting a movement.  If there was ever a movement that was co-opted by the DNC and bent over to take it from the banker backed Obama campaign, it would have to have been DailyKos.  It also had no problems letting itself be the conduit for misogyny and using the accusations of racism as a weapon to budgeon people who cared more about the economy and the aftermath of the Bush administration than the wet dreams of self-described “creative class”.

But the worst thing DailyKos did was watch 18,000,000 voters get disenfranchised by their own party and cheer that process on.  There is no greater offense that one group of citizens can do to another than to deprive them of their right to be heard and their votes to be taken seriously. It was shameful and disgusting behavior based on the premise that the ends justified the means.  Well, congratulations for getting it so stupendously wrong, Markos.  Millions of unemployed people around the country can thank you for making their struggle to remain in the middle class that much harder and their opportunity to have their votes counted increasingly obstructed.  After all, if a progressive site like DailyKos says nothing, why can’t Ohio or Indiana or Alabama do what they want with their voters?

I wouldn’t go back to DailyKos for anything, and it is unlikely they would want me back.  But if I were Jesse LaGreca, I wouldn’t affiliate myself too closely with DailyKos.  Forget about the right wingers who will jump on it.  DailyKos has destroyed its credibility to the rest of us Democrats in Exile.  We here at The Confluence have always associated ourselves with the working class, which in this context is anyone not living off their investments regardless of education, profession or delusions of grandeur.  DailyKos started out with good intentions and then spent all of its capital on a presidential candidate who used it to inflict anti-working class policies on the rest of us.

Jesse, you done good.  You are a natural.  You’re feisty, articulate and clever.  But do yourself and us a favor and ixnay on the ailyDay osKay.  This is the last time I’ll be posting videos of you until you do.

And Markos owes me and the other Clintonistas an apology for helping to split the party and emasculate the left on Obama’s behalf.  Stupidity doesn’t even begin to describe what a mistake that was.  He let us and the rest of America down.  The best thing that Jesse can do for OccupyWallStreet is distance himself from DailyKos and the stink of the party co-opting the site.

OccupyWallStreet: Naomi Klein explains it all

I saw this video at Suburban Guerilla (H/T Susie Madrak).  It’s an easy to understand explanation of what OccupyWallStreet is all about from Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine.  The clip is about 7 minutes long.

I am not surprised at the right wing rhetoric that is permeating the blogosphere today.  Here are some of the memes that are mischaracterizing OccupyWallStreet:

1.) It’s a mob.  I think Jon Stewart dispatched this meme Wednesday night with a quick look at how the Tea Party got its name.

2.) It’s all a bunch of college students who are sucking off of their parents.  They want free everything.  This is not true and I have the pictures to prove it.  There are a ton of people over 30.  If you go, you will find someone your age, I guarantee it.  As for college students sucking off their parents, I don’t know what some of these people do for a living but if their parents want to support them in a protest, what’s it to you?

3.) They’re just a bunch of lazy bums.  Ahhh, yes, I can practically smell Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh from here.  There ARE a lot of unemployed people there.  I was one of them.  But the city does have 3G coverage, even if it sucks for a large metropolitan area.   (Which makes me wonder why the infrastructure is so bad in the US) So, while you march, you can keep track of your job database search hits and take phone interviews.  The unemployed would much rather have a job, money, their houses, health insurance.  But all they have is time on their hands and righteous indignation.  So, they help out at a protest and help build a movement.  They do it so you don’t have to.  Thank them.  Clearly, this is a mean spirited attack on working people who through no fault of their own became unemployed.  It’s designed to make us feel bad and embarrassed.  Butcha know what?  “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”, as Eleanor Roosevelt said.  I don’t really give a flying f%^* what Rush or Glenn or any other moron has to say.  There are a lot of extremely intelligent and hardworking people unemployed right now so I am in very good company.

4.) They want free food, education, housing, healthcare.  I don’t think that’s true.  I think they want to enjoy the fruits of their labor and they don’t want to be exploited by the 1% anymore.  And when you think about it, Americans pay a lot in taxes compared to other countries.  I know Americansdon’t know it because how many of us get to work in another country?  What I mean by a lot is that for the amount of money you pay, you get relatively little.  A comparable amount in a developed European country will get you basic healthcare, a college education at a very affordable cost, maternity benefits Americans can only dream about and many other things.  And it’s not like Americans aren’t already distributing the wealth.  NJ taxpayers get 60 cents back in federal assistance for every dollar we send to Washington.  States that are the reddest and most unequal get far more than their dollars worth of taxes.  You don’t hear New Jerseyans screaming their heads off that Alabamians should join the 21st century but maybe you will in the near future.

I’m sure there will be more.  The right never misses an opportunity to turn Americans agains themselves.  Remember that kid who survived a car crash with severe head injuries and lived only because his poor parents enrolled him and his sister on SCHIP?  Yeah, I think the right called him a blood sucking slacker too at some point.  Fox, Rush, Glenn, and the Republican leadership have absolutely no shame.  They will smear anyone who tries to get between them and the 1%.

But those of you who have already bought into that narrative, what’s in it for you?  After the right uses you to strike back at the occupation, what will it give you?  Petty power over people who are gay or immigrant or female?  Is the right going to take on the bankers?  Put your adult kids to work?  Make your insurance premiums cheaper?  Are you going to get a break on your property taxes?  That last one is hillarious to anyone living in NJ under the Christie regime.  You dodged a bullet when Christie decided not to run for president.  Go ask Rush or Glenn what you get.  We’ll wait.

OccupyWallStreet: Something’s Coming

Good Morning, 99

OccupyWallStreet: Why it has to be

I’ve noticed a certain deranged Klown has a provocative and baseless post up on his blog (see myiq?  We are sending you traffic) that suggests that OccupyWallStreet and other Occupy events are part of some broader astroturf campaign.  I’m not sure how he came to that conclusion.  I mean, they aren’t infiltrating blogs, promoting candidates like Sarah Palin or her Tea Party organization.  I’ve got nothing against Sarah as a person and I don’t think she’s as dumb as the left would have you believe but I do judge her by the people she hangs out with, like Glenn Beck.  So, there’s that.

But OccupyWallStreet is not about politics.  Oh, indirectly, it is, but what it’s really about is something we at The Confluence have been challenging since 2008.  We are talking about “consensus reality”.  In this particular case, we are talking about the consensus reality that says that the bailing the financial institutions out was the most important thing that needed to be done after the crash in 2008 to the exclusion of everything else.  And the media message that exemplifies this attitude the best is this interview from 2009 between Adam Davidson of Planet Money and Elizabeth Warren, candidate for Senator in MA and Harvard professor of law specializing in bankruptcy and consumer finance protection.  Here’s a partial transcript with the money quotes:

ADAM DAVIDSON: What it feels to me is what you are missing is that — I think we put aside your pet issues. We put them aside. We put them aside until this crisis is over.

ELIZABETH WARREN: The cr– What you’re saying makes no sense. Now come on. [interpolate Davidson sputtering and attempting to interrupt throughout.] It makes no sense. On an emergency basis, on one day, one week, one month, there’s no doubt in my mind we’ve got to step in, we’ve got to make sure we have a functioning banking system. I think I’ve said that like nine times now. Of course we’ve got to have a functioning banking system.

DAVIDSON: Wait a minute. I want to make you go farther. I want to make you madder before I –

ELIZABETH WARREN: No no no. [Davidson snickers] We’re now at what — we’re now seven, eight months into this. And it’s the second part of what you said. We can’t do anything about the American family until this crisis is over? This crisis will not be over until the American family begins to recover. [More Davidson sputtering.] This crisis does not exist independently –

DAVIDSON: That’s your crisis.

ELIZABETH WARREN: No it is not my crisis! That is America’s crisis! If people cannnot pay their credit card bills [Davidson tries to interrupt] if they cannot pay their mortgages –

DAVIDSON: But you are not in the mainstream of views on this issue. You are not –

ELIZABETH WARREN: What, if they can’t pay their credit card bills the banks are gonna do fine? Who are you looking at?

DAVIDSON: The [sputters]–

ELIZABETH WARREN: Who says a bank a bank is going to survive — Who is not worried about the fact that the Bank of America’s default rate has now bumped over 10%? That’s at least the latest data I saw. So the idea that we’re going to somehow fix the banks and then next year or next decade we’re going to start worrying about the American family just doesn’t [Davidson talking over] make any sense.

DAVIDSON: The American families are not — These issues of crucial, the essential need for credit intermediation are as close to accepted principles among every serious thinker on this topic. The view that the American family, that you hold very powerfully, is fully under assault and that there is — and we can get into that — that is not accepted broad wisdom. I talk to a lot a lot a lot of left, right, center, neutral economists [and] you are the only person I’ve talked to in a year of covering this crisis who has a view that we have two equally acute crises: a financial crisis and a household debt crisis that is equally acute in the same kind of way. I literally don’t know who else I can talk to support that view. I literally don’t know anyone other than you who has that view, and you are the person [snicker] who went to Congress to oversee it and you are presenting averyvery narrow view to the American people.

ELIZABETH WARREN: I’m sorry. That is not a narrow view. What you are saying is that it is the broad view to think only about trying to save the banks [Davidson sputters] and say Hey! the American economy will recover at some point and we’ll worry about the families [Davidson talking over]. I think that is the narrow view and I think I have the broad view. The broad view is that these two things are connected to each other. And the notion that you can save the banking system while the American economy goes down the tubes is just foolish.

Well, now we know that Elizabeth Warren was right and Adam Davidson and his serious people, what Paul Krugman calls the “VSPs”, were dead wrong.  And who’s point of view has Barack Obama subscribed to since 2008?  That’s right, the VSPs.  According to Ron Suskind’s book, Confidence Men, Christina Romer, his economic advisor, was unable to get Obama to commit to a paltry $100Bn for the creation of potentially 1,000,000 jobs in 2009.  It’s not like he thought he couldn’t get it, although that was one of the excuses he was making.  It’s that in the overall scheme of things, it just wasn’t all that important to him.  No, seriously.  If you’ve been out of work since 2009, you can partially thank Obama for not thinking your situation required all that much attention.  It was much more important to him to bail out the bankers.  He admitted as much today.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. As you travel the country, you also take credit for tightening regulations on Wall Street through the Dodd-Frank law, and about your efforts to combat income inequality. There’s this movement — Occupy Wall Street — which has spread from Wall Street to other cities. They clearly don’t think that you or Republicans have done enough, that you’re in fact part of the problem.

Are you following this movement, and what would you say to its — people that are attracted to it?

THE PRESIDENT: Obviously I’ve heard of it. I’ve seen it on television. I think it expresses the frustrations that the American people feel — that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across Main Street, and yet you’re still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into this problem in the first place.

So, yes, I think people are frustrated, and the protestors are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works. Now, keep in mind I have said before and I will continue to repeat, we have to have a strong, effective financial sector in order for us to grow. And I used up a lot of political capital, and I’ve got the dings and bruises to prove it, in order to make sure that we prevented a financial meltdown, and that banks stayed afloat. And that was the right thing to do, because had we seen a financial collapse then the damage to the American economy would have been even worse.

And then he goes on to give some lip service to financial reform and Dodd-Frank, which was so watered down as to be less than a tap on the wrist with an anorexic feather, blah, blah, blah.  There was a reason why he concentrated all of his efforts on saving the financial institutions.  He relied on Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke who were spooked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  They were scared to death to rein in the banks for fear of triggering another catastrophe.  But instead of feeding the roots, the homeowners and working people who could have pumped up the banks from the bottom up, Obama lavished all of his attentions on the bankers, giving them all they wanted without considering whether it was good for them or us.

In the meantime, the Very Serious People decided that we should all share the sacrifice, even those of us who did everything right and still got hammered.  The Villagers have been on a tear about deficit reduction and austerity and entitlement reform for the past 3 years.  It’s disaster capitalism with a capital D.  And this relentless message to rip the working class to smithereens to make sure the financial sector comes to no harm has been the consensus reality that has dominated media coverage for the last three years.

The problem is that consensus reality isn’t meshing with real reality for the rest of us these days.  We’ve been told to have compassion for the bankers but somehow must blame ourselves for the mountains of student loan and housing debt we’ve been forced to shoulder because the productivity gains of the past 30 years got siphoned off as profits to the shareholders.  We’ve been told that bankers’ contracts for bonuses are sacred legal documents but union contracts for wages and pensions are not.  We are told that bankers are entitled to taxpayer largess to keep them functioning even if it adds trillions of dollars to the deficit but that we the taxpayers are not entitled to the social security insurance program that we paid for in advance and which adds nothing to the deficit.  We are told that it is unfair to tax rich people because they earned their yachts and second homes and private schools but it is perfectly ok to decimate public schools and foreclose on families when they are out of jobs and can’t pay their property taxes and mortgages.

What the f%^& kind of fools do they take us for??

OccupyWallStreet was destined to happen, even without astroturf.  A nation can’t exist in two realities forever.  One of them is going to start feeling a lot more real-er than the other.  That is what is happening.  Suddenly, all across the country, millions of people are starting to ask themselves, what kind of bullshit have they been feeding us for 3 years or 30 years?  It’s insane that the Very Serious People would expect that we perform a form of ritual suicide to spare them any sense of obligation to the unity of the United States as a national entity “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”.

In that heated discussion above, Adam Davidson, his voice dripping with mocking contempt, told Elizabeth Warren that she wasn’t worth listening to and no one would take her seriously.

OccupyWallStreet is about to change all that.

Update:  I don’t know if the picture below is from The Occupation but it sounds right from someone who was there:

After the 2008 election, those of us who were heartsick with the way things turned out wanted very much to start a new movement but didn’t know how to begin.  I doubt it would have caught fire in the aftermath of the 2008 election, in spite of all that we saw that went wrong in 2008.  But how to do it?  Would it be organized?  Decentralized?  What kind of credo?  No one could agree, no leaders could be spared, some of us didn’t know the first thing about starting movements. At one point, I thought that the best example would be like the spread of Christianity in the first and second centuries.  Small groups of self lead believers, figuring it out as they went along, writing their own books, strewn like pearls along the Roman road.

The Occupation has that kind of feel to it.

OccupyWallSt: 16 Tons

We sang this song yesterday at the OccupyWallStreet event in NYC.  I found this version by Shelly Raine.

Sing it Shelly.

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