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Friday: No Coffee

All out.  My Ikea stash is depleted.  The lack of caffeine must explain why this account of a fatal shooting at Occupy Oakland makes no damn sense:

After the initial fight, one of the young men called several friends or family members from outside the camp and asked them to come and help him. It’s unknown whether the victim had anything to do with the camp, but Jenkins and several witnesses said they has seen him in and around the camp during the previous week.

When the friends arrived, the dispute escalated into pushing and shoving near the portable toilets adjacent to the plaza.

According to one witness and Occupy Oakland supporter, Rachel Tolmachoff, 55, of Pleasant Hill, a group of occupiers then intervened and tried to get the people involved in the fight to move on. A short time later, they heard between four and six gun shots and saw several men run by.

One of the men involved may have run down into the BART station on 14th and Broadway.

Mike Tarmo, 31, a native of Sierra Leone, said he also saw the shooting.

Tarmo claimed that the group of outsiders simply walked up to a man standing on the steps of the plaza and started beating and punching him.

The occupiers tried to step in, Tarmo said. “There were 20 Occupy guys going to help him, saying, Stop! Stop!” Tarmo says the victim of that physical assault was the same person who got shot.

Jenkins, the other eyewitness, said the victim was an innocent bystander. Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan, said at a news conference the victim may not have been involved in the dispute that broke out in the camp earlier.

Weathering the weather at Zuccotti Park

What??  The Boston Herald wrote that account.  Was the writer doing it remotely via crystal ball, because those things never give you a linear narrative?  I dunno.  I also don’t know if the guy who was shot was an occupier or not or just a gang member or an innocent bystander or one of the men who ran to the BART station.  All very puzzling.  Well, I’m sure they’ll sort it out soon enough but it sounds like Occupy Oakland has some unique problems.  I’m still going with infiltration for a lot of the misbehavior judging by what I’ve seen of occupiers at Zuccotti.  And I expect that the occupation movement will get messy and maybe discouraged.  But then, so did Washington’s rag tag army when they struggled against the British and spent the winter at Valley Forge.  The Continental Congress didn’t have money to equip them and it was only their grim determination and taking advantage of some lucky breaks that turned the war around.

Still, I wish someone in Oakland would take charge for a few days, just to keep the site cohesive and focussed.  Funny how each of the occupations has their own flavor.  Zuccotti feels like a giant open air salon, Chicago is full of merry pranksters, Oakland looks like it has to deal with opportunistic gang members.


Italy’s government has voted to impose austerity measures becaaauuuse that has been working out so well for all of the other European countries that have tried it??  Is it just me or does it seem that the only people not forced to accept austerity measures are the very people who screwed it up for everyone else in the first place?  And it looks like investors bought too many European government bonds.  In other words, they bet on bonds thinking no respectable country would default or wouldn’t get bailed out by the taxpayers of some other wealthy European country.  This whole financial sector makes me sick.  How our governmental officials let them get away with this, repeatedly, at our expense is something I will never understand.

Paul Krugman explains why we should resist right wing ideoologues’ insistence that social spending caused this crisis as a reason to impose austerity on ourselves:

The euro crisis, then, says nothing about the sustainability of the welfare state. But does it make the case for belt-tightening in a depressed economy?

You hear that claim all the time. America, we’re told, had better slash spending right away or we’ll end up like Greece or Italy. Again, however, the facts tell a different story.

First, if you look around the world you see that the big determining factor for interest rates isn’t the level of government debt but whether a government borrows in its own currency. Japan is much more deeply in debt than Italy, but the interest rate on long-term Japanese bonds is only about 1 percent to Italy’s 7 percent. Britain’s fiscal prospects look worse than Spain’s, but Britain can borrow at just a bit over 2 percent, while Spain is paying almost 6 percent.

What has happened, it turns out, is that by going on the euro, Spain and Italy in effect reduced themselves to the status of third-world countries that have to borrow in someone else’s currency, with all the loss of flexibility that implies. In particular, since euro-area countries can’t print money even in an emergency, they’re subject to funding disruptions in a way that nations that kept their own currencies aren’t — and the result is what you see right now. America, which borrows in dollars, doesn’t have that problem.

The other thing you need to know is that in the face of the current crisis, austerity has been a failure everywhere it has been tried: no country with significant debts has managed to slash its way back into the good graces of the financial markets. For example, Ireland is the good boy of Europe, having responded to its debt problems with savage austerity that has driven its unemployment rate to 14 percent. Yet the interest rate on Irish bonds is still above 8 percent — worse than Italy.

The moral of the story, then, is to beware of ideologues who are trying to hijack the European crisis on behalf of their agendas. If we listen to those ideologues, all we’ll end up doing is making our own problems — which are different from Europe’s, but arguably just as severe — even worse.

Funny how you don’t hear about Denmark, Norway and Sweden in the news.  They seem to be able to keep their fiscal houses in order despite their high level of social spending.  Soooo, there goes another set of beautiful theories destroyed by ugly facts.  Hmmm, is that what the right wingers are counting on?  That most Americans can’t think their way out of a paper bag, that graphs and statistics make their heads hurt and that after a couple of decades of Fox News, they’ll believe any stupid theory?


Speaking of theories, I have a new one about Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS ads against Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic Senate candidates.  It has to do with cleanliness.  This is based on a limited number of data points but if the hard core Fox News lovers I know are any indication, there are lot of people who are very fastidious about their bodies.  Chalk it up to a long gone era when virginity was prized (for some weird reason that bears no resemblance to reality) and nice girls didn’t indulge in unorthodox sexual activity.  Home Ec was not an elective.  Fastidiousness, cleanliness, keeping one’s personal habits and thoughts tidy or at least being ashamed of them- all very important.  Holy hemiola!, have you ever heard one of them go off about homosexuality??  It’s all about the dirtiness, *physical* dirtiness, that they dislike.  Now, I’m not sure that the typical Fox News viewer always felt this way about a little filth but for some reason, they are now.  Some conditioning from 5 decades ago has been pricked and Rove knows how to work it.  And just think about all that mud at Woodstock…


The Plum Line Metric

Happy Hour Round Up from Nov. 10, 2011 (opinion bloggers and columnists only)

Male writers cited: 7

Female writers cited: 0

Plum Line Metric: 0/7= 0

Still not even a blip on the radar.  Well, it’s still early.


save the rich…