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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…

22 Responses

  1. very good round up RD.
    Happy Veteran’s Day .Americas Heroes

  2. If we want to see what happens when a country flips the bird at it’s foreign “investors” and tells them to f*ck off, we should take a look at Iceland and Argentina.

    Both countries defaulted on their foreign debt and looked after their own societies first. Perhaps because of that, they are both doing much better than the EU mess but you wouldn’t know it from the MSM. The whole austerity movement is just one big lie and failure after another.

    • By the way, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both Iceland and Argentina are led by strong women.

  3. Seems that the shooting victim was “somewhat of” an occupier. This is based on statements by his cousin (an occupier) and tweets from a few others in the camp. Apparently he was an OO supporter, shared a tent with his cousin (at least for a few days) and apparently did work in the OO kitchen. It seems that in general other occupiers didn’t know him well (and many initially did not recognize him) – so seems that his involvement in OO was probably somewhat minimal. See this link for copies of a few tweets about this (scroll down to the section beginning with “Initially OO members stated…”):

  4. Ahhh, Melancholia. I so want to see this movie. Alas, I live in central suburban New Jersey where the 14 year old boy is king of everything he sees. The kid and I frequently have to go on a road trip to see good stuff. The movie theaters that have movies with, you know, a *plot*, and characters with richly developed psychological dimensions, are smaller, less comfortable and the screens do not handle the ethereal beauty of a movie like Melancholia well.
    {{Sigh}} If only I weren’t a persnickety, spolied, elite asshole and could be content with boys oogling girls and mindless fart jokes.

  5. dday: DoJ Gets $117,000 Per Violation From BofA on Wrongful Military Foreclosures

    This has continued to happen. Yesterday, a day before Veterans Day, the Justice Department announced a settlement with Bank of America over violations of the SCRA. Each military member wrongfully foreclosed upon will receive $116,785, PLUS compensation for any lost equity when the home went into foreclosure. It comes out to about $20 million for 160 homeowners.

    Now this needs to happen for everyone wrongfully foreclosed.

    • Fuckity-fuck. I’d be pissed if I were military. My family rented most of tge houses we lived in except for one when my dad was stationed at the nuclear reactor research facility in upstate NY. To be honest, it is very difficult to buy a house on a military budget. Sure, the pay is steady but it’s small.
      My brother bought a house. He used the profits on his last house to buy it before he joined the Army full time. Now, he’s in Kuwait. It’s a good thing his wife is good with money. Otherwise, it’s just another damn thing to think of while you’re in a war zone.
      Damn banks get away with too much. This is an outrage.

      • It is an outrage and even that settlement foregoes the criminal penalties for those foreclosures. Guess it’s better than a nothing burger though.

  6. Upon reading your comments on shooting victim in Oakland, made me wonder about what lengths some people will go to discredit the occupiers. I read some artcles about how the military PsyOps tactics were being used to help counter the opposition to the Fracking being done in this country to get the natural gas and oil out. And you have to think these psyops tactics (and maybe people)are being used on more than one front.

    • Going by what I saw on Zuccotti park, with a ring of pretty strange people on the perimeter of the park and all the regular folks on the inside, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if there were dirty deeds going on. For all we know, Karl Rove has been hiring the defecators and violent types.

    • I live right dab smack in the middle of the drilling for gas and eventually oil in north east and north central PA. There has been almost no problems. What problems there have been have been with one company and they have been quickly cracked down on and fixed.
      I know environmentalists are looking to make a mountain out of a molehill here, but I hope that first they will consider that for decades this area has been dying a slow death from rural poverty. Industry has moved out and farming can not compete with the big corporate farms. Kids leave the farms, don’t want to do the work. Parents get sick and old and can’t keep the place up. Pretty soon the land is sold off and up springs a trailer park/section 8 housing, called “Lake View Estates”. Ha!
      Why should we get all of our energy from over seas and have to pay an arm and a leg for it when we have resources here? Why shouldn’t Americans benefit for once? And when it comes to environmental risk, why should people in other places assume all the risk?
      I’ll let you know when they start drilling on three properties near us if our well goes bad. I am not expecting a problem.

  7. If you haven’t seen it, John Stewart’s take on Rick Perry’s brain freeze is diabolically brutal, but funny as all hell.


  8. “How our governmental officials let (the Malefactors Of Great Wealth) get away with this, repeatedly, at our expense, is something I will never understand.”

    You don’t understand why? Blogga please. 🙄

    It’s because they’re not truly our officials. They don’t belong to us. They belong to the MOGW, who bought the officials. 👿

    The most important bribe is the implicit, unspoken bribe offered to every elected and appointed official: “Take care of us while you hold office, and we’ll take extremely good care of you once you leave office.” Big, fat salaries for doing little or nothing that an ordinary taxpaying working stiff would recognize as “work”, followed by a very cushy retirement.

    And if we throw out the bought elected officials? The MOGW just use a little more of their piles of ill-gotten loot, which they won’t even miss, to buy the new batch.

    As for revolution, even if it “succeeds”, all it accomplishes is to replace the old, corrupt, brutal oligarchy with a brand-new, corrupt, brutal oligarchy. (French Revolution, Russian Revolution, etc.–hell, even our Revolution only replaced the supremacy of the oligarchy across the Atlantic with the supremacy of the local oligarchy.)

    I don’t see any way to solve the problem. 😦

    • There is a way to shrink the problem to a solvable size if enough people cooperate. And that is researching and then applying various methods of economic resistance and non-compliance with the wishes of the OverClass so as to reduce their revenue streams and power.

      Things like “move your money”, cash-not-credit/debit cards, etc. More home food production/energy conservation/roofwater-harvesting throughout Suburbistan. More barter, more paying sole proprietors and/or craftspeople to fix things instead of buying new ones, buying product from unionised companies or union-friendly countries in preferrence to un-unionized companies or union-hostile states or countries.

      Study and learn from-about the work of people like Woody Tasch, Ran Prieur, Catherine Austin Fitts, Bill Mollison/David Holmgren, etc.

      Understand that we are in a war of class and economic extermination and/or enslavement. No forgiveness. No quarter.

      Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.
      Lead the money around by the nose.
      I am not my keeper’s brother.

  9. Never seen the charm of buying a way overpriced single cup of coffee. Why not just buy coffee at the grocery then make your own in a coffeemaker? It’s tons cheaper and just as satisfying, if not more because you can control exactly how the coffee is.

  10. 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?

    If that is not the quote of the decade I do not know what is. Let’s figure out how to condense it in to a sound bite and shove it down the Administration’s throat, as well as the republicans who love to start screaming “CLASS WARFARE” like a lot of school yard cry babies. Like class warfare has not gone on since the beginning of time and like it’s not about time the poor and middle class started fighting back again.

    RD, there is always, in any occupation, a group of loony loser types and pick pockets who will show up and they are hard to distinguish from the borderline loonies at the movement’s edges. The borderline loonies are sometimes the real brains who come up with some brilliant idea if they can stay coherent long enough to think, rather than, oh, let’s says, kill their girl friend and stuff her in a truck in the closet.

    Here is a conversation that I had with a neighbor the other day:

    Neighbor: Did you see on TV that some one got shot at the protest?

    Me: yes, that was too bad.

    N: They shouldn’t be there.

    Me: Why Not?
    N: It’s against the law.
    Me: Okay, didn’t you just say the other day that you were disgusted that the banks and big corporations could screw us all and no one could do a damn thing about it?
    N: yes.
    Me: So these people are protesting for you because you won’t do it for yourself.
    N: They are not protesting for me. All they are doing is costing these cities money and making the cops jobs harder. They are a hazard and are committing crimes.
    Me: Well yes, probably some on the edges are causing some trouble but so what? What they are trying to do is to bring attention to the fact that our system is very sick and broken.
    N: They should all be in jail.
    Me: yeah, that should fix things. sigh

    • That conversation, writ large, is being had all over the place. I do not understand the attitude of people like that neighbor. It’s sad and self defeating.

  11. They do want leaders to smear. So, Denver OWS came up with a solution:

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