The Opening Salvo — Dissolution of the American Empire?

When the history is finally written, though, it’s likely all of this tumult – beginning with the Arab Spring – will be remembered as the opening salvo in a wave of negotiations over the dissolution of the American Empire. — Dave Graeber in The Guardian


One has to look overseas to get some perspective on the movement that is growing in Liberty Plaza just a few blocks away from Wall Street and the World Trade Center. Mainstream American media has turned a jaundiced eye away from the true happenings in NY City. Instead, we will get a few sound bites and scenes of arrests, as the media always looks to the confrontation, instead of the substance of any protest movements on the left. Some of the media will attack them for who they are, posing them as juveniles in nothing more than an extension of their culture wars.

#OccupyWallSt and its rapidly expanding national movement Occupy Together, with occupations in over 52 locations across the country, are truly an organic grassroots organization. They are not faux grassroots pretenders like the Koch brothers’ funded rebranding of the activist right wing GOP and conservative movement as tea partiers. There is little doubt remaining that the tea party only serves as cover for corporatist America and a distraction for the media, so they can ignore the real revolution that is growing in America.

The UK’s Guardian News and Al Jazeera have done vastly better jobs covering the emerging movement as it grows from the ideas of a few organizations like Adbusters, Anonymous and the U.S. Day of Rage.

The following quote from an article in The Guardian clearly examines the birth of the #OccupyWallSt movement as a generational movement built out of other similar movements of the last 40 years. So we undoubtedly will get a bunch of pejorative statements about how they protesters are all young, or unemployed, or college kids, or lgbt, or dress funny, or homeless… And that is exactly why they are protesting. Because our society no longer takes their concerns or needs seriously

Why are people occupying Wall Street? …

There are obvious reasons. We are watching the beginnings of the defiant self-assertion of a new generation of Americans, a generation who are looking forward to finishing their education with no jobs, no future, but still saddled with enormous and unforgivable debt. Most, I found, were of working-class or otherwise modest backgrounds, kids who did exactly what they were told they should: studied, got into college, and are now not just being punished for it, but humiliated – faced with a life of being treated as deadbeats, moral reprobates.

This movement springs directly out of the anti-globalisation, global justice, and anti-transnational/WTO corporate rallies and protests of the last few decades. Take a look at the protests and accompanying police brutality, and it all begins to look familiar.

The response from the police, and lack of interest from mainstream corporate media and the corporations they are protecting will only serve to amplify the call out to people to join this movement.

When the history is finally written, though, it’s likely all of this tumult – beginning with the Arab Spring – will be remembered as the opening salvo in a wave of negotiations over the dissolution of the American Empire. Thirty years of relentless prioritising of propaganda over substance, and snuffing out anything that might look like a political basis for opposition, might make the prospects for the young protesters look bleak; and it’s clear that the rich are determined to seize as large a share of the spoils as remain, tossing a whole generation of young people to the wolves in order to do so. But history is not on their side.

We might do well to consider the collapse of the European colonial empires. It certainly did not lead to the rich successfully grabbing all the cookies, but to the creation of the modern welfare state. We don’t know precisely what will come out of this round. But if the occupiers finally manage to break the 30-year stranglehold that has been placed on the human imagination, as in those first weeks after September 2008, everything will once again be on the table – and the occupiers of Wall Street and other cities around the US will have done us the greatest favour anyone possibly can.

Is there any question as to why a whole generation is coalescing together to rise up against an establishment that seeks to disempower and repress them? “Grown-ups” will dismiss all of this as idealist leftist propaganda and poo-poo it, and attempt to ridicule and cast it aside. Remember the “don’t trust anyone over 30” mantra of the 60’s protest movement? Payback is a mo-fo. But this movement will not wither in the night, nor will hundreds or thousands of arrests deter it. The only thing that will assuage this movement will be when their voices are heard, and America changes.

Yes, Wall Street is our street. And that point will be hammered home until its ivory tower denizens and police protecters are brought back down to earth.

Feel free to post your favorite article or resource about #OccupyWallSt. We’ll keep posts like this going for the duration of the occupation, so that we can keep abreast of what is going on.

  1. lizard19

    damn right this protest springs directly from pre-9/11 movements like the anti-globalization movement.

    and guess what, those protestors were right. globalization has been a disaster for the bulk of the global population. and any movement in the US that can’t connect our domestic struggles with the struggle for global justice will fail to get any traction.

    i’ll say something later tonight about the perceived youthfullness of the protestors. but I just turned 33 a week ago, so any youngsters out there should be weary of what I say ;)

  2. JC

    “The Police Are On The Wrong Side At The Occupy Wall Street Protests”

    • lizard19

      go ahead and call us twats
      we have credit default swaps

      that’s a great couplet.

      he also makes a great point: if the masters of the universe don’t pay the cops enough, they run the risk of losing a layer of their personal security, and will have to shell out more money for Xe or some other private for-profit mercenary company.

      at the end of the clip (above) he mentions interviewing the yesmen.

      there’s been rampant speculation whether or not this trader, seen in the clip below, is a yesmen stunt or for real. but it doesn’t matter if it’s satire or not, it’s true.

  3. On a very elementary level, the symbology of a 100’s of people getting arrested for protesting banks-gone-amok should be utterly pornographic when compared to the fact that not one banker not one ratings analyst not one broker not one anyone has been arrested for the shell game that whole industry played with the world’s economy.

    I wish I could be there.

    • lizard19

      i bet lots of people wish they could be there, physically, to show how many people in this country (and the world) are absolutely disgusted by what our financial elites have gotten away with (so far).

      who would have a difficult time being present at a protest like this? probably people with jobs they can’t afford to lose, people with kids, people on probation, people too poor to travel…

      but this is an idea that won’t go away. our financial elites and the fawning political leeches who attach and feed on the 99% have over reached. they might not realize the trouble they’re in right now. but they will.

  4. JC

    Stop the Machine! Create a New World!
    A Call to Action – Oct. 6, 2011 and onward

    October 2011 marks the beginning of an occupation at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC:

    October 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget. It is time to light the spark that sets off a true democratic, nonviolent transition to a world in which people are freed to create just and sustainable solutions.

    We call on people of conscience and courage—all who seek peace, economic justice, human rights and a healthy environment—to join together in Washington, D.C., beginning on Oct. 6, 2011, in nonviolent resistance similar to the Arab Spring and the Midwest awakening.

    A concert, rally and protest will kick off a powerful and sustained nonviolent resistance to the corporate criminals that dominate our government.

  5. The mistake is that the protesters are on Wall Street instead of camping out on the steps of Congress – where Wall Street is given it’s license. Wall Streeter’s behavior is a symptom. The disease is in Washington D.C.

    • JC

      See the comment above yours. We cross-posted. It’s starting.

    • Steve W

      Dave, the mistake is that you aren’t there to show them their mistake. instead you are making the mistake of wasting your knowledge and experience here on us instead of being there were it could do some good.

      How about that human megaphone they use? That’s good old human ingenuity at work if you ask me.

      Our people are just starting out. They were protesting in Egypt for months and months before anything started to come of it.

  6. Ingemar Johansson

    I’m thinking we should suspend the elections until we can work these differences out.

    • lizard19

      she may be backing off her comments now, but i follow the logic.

      politicians are too focused on reelection; it’s their perennial concern, and to get reelected takes money, and to be in perpetual need of money to remain politically viable means they are dependent on the increasingly dominant corporate spigots that fill their coffers.

      i don’t think suspending elections is a good idea, but our political system is so broken and corrupt, i don’t blame her for seeing the constant campaigning for reelection as one of many impediments to solution-based approaches to our systemic problems.

  7. JC

    From Naomi Klein’s website:

    The Revolution Begins at Home
    An Open Letter to Join the Wall Street Occupation

    By Arun Gupta

    What is occurring on Wall Street right now is truly remarkable. For over 10 days, in the sanctum of the great cathedral of global capitalism, the dispossessed have liberated territory from the financial overlords and their police army.

    They have created a unique opportunity to shift the tides of history in the tradition of other great peaceful occupations from the sit-down strikes of the 1930s to the lunch-counter sit-ins of the 1960s to the democratic uprisings across the Arab world and Europe today.

    While the Wall Street occupation is growing, it needs an all-out commitment from everyone who cheered the Egyptians in Tahrir Square, said “We are all Wisconsin,” and stood in solidarity with the Greeks and Spaniards. This is a movement for anyone who lacks a job, housing or healthcare, or thinks they have no future… (read whole letter)

  8. Turner

    I’m very impressed by earnestness and courage of the protesters. I’m disgusted but not surprised that the media, by refusing to discuss the issues raised by the protesters, are siding with the wealthy and the powerful. But is this really the opening salvo of the dissolution of our empire?

    I doubt it.

    I suspect that the American-European empire will over a period of years (certainly not in my lifetime) collapse because of its overreaching incompetence, much as the political-economic apparatus of the old Soviet Union did. I wonder, though, what will rise in its place.

    Probably not a benevolent world order based on democracy and justice.

    • JC

      If you look at Graeber’s remark, which I paraphrased for the title of this post, he was referring to the OccupyWallSt movement in the context of being part of the larger global unrest that has marked the stage this year.

      Would you not agree that the regime changes in the middle east/n africa are part of the world’s pulling away from American supported or tolerated dictators? And is not loss of the strategic importance of these countries–resources like oil, and military or covert op–part of our geopolitical empire?

      I trimmed a few words out of the title “a wave of negotiations over the dissolution…” that are important. Those negotiations are happening both behind closed doors (the decision by the WH to not support people like Mubarek and Ghadafi any more) and in public.

      WOuld not the debate in Congress right now over cutting spending qualify as “negotiations over the dissolution of the American Empire?” As defense spending comes under increased attack, it inevitably will have to be decreased, and with that decrease so goes the empire… slowly (at first).

      Graeber alludes to this point in time as being a tipping point. Only history will really tell. But I tend to agree with him. The OccupyWallSt movement is but the tip of the iceberg waiting for Wall Street to come crashing into.

      As to the outcome of all of this unrest, I think it is far too soon to envision what sort of world our grandkids will be left with. But I do think it is important to plant seeds wherever they may grow… And I see sprouts shooting up in Liberty Plaza.

      • Turner

        It could be that what’s going on in the Middle East will weaken us as an empire but, in the long run, strengthen us a country. But I don’t believe in historical inevitability, as some Marxists do. Talking about current events as forerunners to or predictors of some future outcome is very, very speculative.

        And, no, I’m not calling anyone a Marxist. And if I were I wouldn’t consider it an insult.

        • JC

          Would you consider the notion that all empires fall a “historical inevitability”? If so, why does that have to be solely a Marxist notion?

          Oh, and if you were calling me a Marxist, I wouldn’t take it as an insult, either, even if it were true.

  9. rawr

    Montana already has our very own Wall Street rep!

    Selling out Montana’s retailers and small business owners one Wall Street campaign contribution at a time!

  10. JC

    The Revolution Will be Televised (with apologies to Gil Scott-Heron)

    “The first revolution is when you change your mind about how you look at things, and see that there might be another way to look at it that you have not been shown. What you see later on is the result of that, but the revolution — that change that takes place — will not be televised.” — Gil Scott-Heron, an addendum to the original lyrics in 1982.

  11. Pogo Possum

    You lucky there hasn’t been more coverage of this Burning Man retread, JC. Even the left leaning sympathizers haven’t been very flattering in their coverage.

    Here are some excerpts:

    New York Times “Big City” columnist Ginia Bellafante

    “Gunning for Wall Street, With Faulty Aim”

    “. . . the revolution did not appear to be brewing.”

    “[W]hat were the chances that its members were going to receive the attention they so richly deserve carrying signs like ‘Even if the World Were to End Tomorrow I’d Still Plant a Tree Today’?”

    “The “. . . . cause though. . . . was virtually impossible to decipher. The group was clamoring for nothing in particular to happen right away.”

    “According to the (Occupy Wall Street) group, 2,000 marched on the first day; news outlets estimated that the number was closer to several hundred.”

    “By Wednesday morning, 100 or so stalwarts were making the daily, peaceful trek through the financial district. . . .By Thursday, the number still sleeping in Zuccotti Park, the central base of operations, appeared to be dwindling further. “

    “Look at these kids, sitting here with their Apple computers. . . .Apple, one of the biggest monopolies in the world. It trades at $400 a share. Do they even know that?”

    New York Observer’s Adrianne Jeffries from inside Liberty Park Plaza:

    “is ‘Occupy Wall Street’ the Battle of the Battery, or the Bonfire of the Humanities Majors?”

    “Comparing the collection of apparent Burning Man refugees who have been demonstrating in Liberty Park Plaza over the 10 days to the anti-colonial effort led by Mahatma Gandhi would be charitable.”

    The Boston Globe’s Joanna Weiss:

    “It’s hard to take a protest fully seriously when it looks more like a circus – some participants seem to have taken a chute straight from Burning Man – and when it’s organized by a Canadian magazine and a computer-hacking group. (Also, organizers first declared that they would draw 20,000 protesters, but only 1,000 showed up. That’s not a media conspiracy. It’s math.)”

    L. Gordon Crovitz at The Wall Street Journal:

    “The protests last week were a bust, but perhaps the young protesters learned a lesson: Just because it’s on social media doesn’t make it true.”

    “The NPR’s ombudsman in response to the protestor’s complaints to the non-coverage issues said:

    “The recent protests on Wall Street did not involve large numbers of people, prominent people, a great disruption or an especially clear objective.”

    • JC

      That’s what you get when you read mainstream american media.

      • Maybe you should check out one of those last quotes again:

        “Just because it’s on social media doesn’t make it true.”

        • JC

          You miss the whole point of how the occupation is being organized. What the mainstream media has to say about online media and social organizations doesn’t mean it is true. It just reveals ignorance and bias. And those on the ground aren’t relying on just social media to carry the message. It’s an experiment in practical organizing merging traditional and nontraditional activism.

          Then again, it don’t matter what you or i think, as it is those on the ground that are doing the thinking, and taking action.

          • That’s the point, JC. There aren’t many “on the ground” and it looks like they aren’t doing very much thinking or “taking action”. Not exactly the “American Tahrir Square” organizers promised. They really aren’t even “occupying Wall Street”. They are tucked quietly away over two blocks away at Zuccotti Park.

            Here are a few more helpful criticisms from one of your fellow veteran revolutionaries:

            Ted Rall: Occupy Main Street

            “Occupy Wall Street now seems to be fizzling out.”

            “For me and other older, jaded veterans of leftist struggle, failure was a foregone conclusion. From the opening words of the magazine’s updates to the participants, which it referred to as “dreamers, jammers, rabble-rousers and revolutionaries,” it was evident that yet another opportunity to agitate for real change was being wasted by well-meant wankers. “

            Note to Lizard. Check out Rall’s opinion of your comment that “”these protestors……aren’t dumb”

            “. . . .organizers of a movement seeking radical change should make sure they don’t waste the whole time strumming a guitar and flirting. Zuccotti Park should have offered daily classes and study groups to reduce the odds that an attendee will sound like a moron when she gets questioned by a journalist.”

            “. . . . Reporters quoted demonstrators who sounded as ignorant about current affairs as members of the Tea Party”

            You should welcome criticism by the left. After all, isn’t self criticism supposed to be a “Marxist-Leninist Weapon”? Looks like you all could use a little of it as you plot the coming revolution.

            • lizard19

              there will be a lot to learn from this event for those involved, considering many of them were probably not present at the WTO protests. but they have pushed this meme into broader circulation, despite their physical numbers on the ground not meeting expectations.

              and i would reiterate, they are taking risks just by being there.

              i’m curious, Pogo, what do you think about Wall Street’s role in the financial meltdown? what do you think about derivatives? about the housing crisis? about rewarding failure with bonuses? about no accountability for the fraud and greed that got us here?

              • Derivatives are simply financial tools used to hedge or transfer risk. They usually come in three contract types: Futures, Options and Swaps. There are five major classes of underlying assets in the derivatives market: Interest rate derivatives, foreign exchange derivatives, credit derivatives, equity derivatives and commodity derivatives.

                Wheat farmers, feed lots, utility companies, car manufacturers, banks and food companies, to name a few, use derivatives on a regular basis to manage future risk for themselves and often for their customers. There is nothing inherently evil about derivatives. Emotional demands to abolish derivatives (whether from the far left or far right) shows unproductive financial ignorance and simplistic reasoning that only obfuscates the real issues of effective regulation and oversight.

                Blaming Wall Street/Big Banks/The Rich, etc for being the sole cause of everything from economic problems to the housing crisis equally over simplifies and obfuscates regulation and reform. The Left especially conveniently forgets to demand accountability of ACORN, the NAACP, Ivy League educated urban planners, a whole host of groups advocating for the poor, the Clinton Administration’s “National Homeownership Strategy” calling for “creative measures to promote homeownership” and a lot of consumers who thought housing prices always go up, supply never exceeds demand and economic cycles never go down.

                But hey…….it’s always easy to “Occupy Wall Street”. That should solve the problem.

              • a lot of briefcases walked away scott free with points and percentage checks to push paper they knew was fraudulent pogo. you know it and so do i.

                blaming this on the poor is your lamest comment ever.

              • lizard19

                thank you for the derivative breakdown. doesn’t change the vulnerability of the system to manipulation.

                Emotional demands to abolish derivatives (whether from the far left or far right) shows unproductive financial ignorance and simplistic reasoning that only obfuscates the real issues of effective regulation and oversight.

                i am so glad to hear you are concerned about effective regulation. so am i. that’s why i’ve repeated over and over that Clinton’s neoliberal deregulators were a crucial part of the bipartisan “process” to make fiscal rape of the middle class possible.

                also, you seem to imply oversight is a “real issue” as well. i agree. with effective oversight, all these subprime loans and liars loans and, wait for it, FRAUD, would have been stopped and the criminals prosecuted before it fed the bubble that exploded in our national face.

                now, where do we go from here, Pogo? got any ideas?

    • Steve W

      Have they started the “Then they ridicule you” part already?

      That was fast.

      About a week from ignore to ridicule.

      I’m interested to see how long that will last.

    • lizard19

      yes Pogo, there are lots of different ways for folks to mock, minimize, ridicule, criticize, and discredit the people who are choosing to be physically present at this protest. too few numbers, no clear soundbite messaging for dumbed-down Americans to consume, they dress funny, they are using apple computers, blah blah blah.

      but these protestors, many of them young, aren’t dumb. they know they are risking not just the immediate police state response, but long term consequences of being pegged by our lovely (and expensive) security state. they will be on watch lists. they will be spied on. and when this burgeoning fascist country of ours gets more serious about cracking down on dissidents, they will be the first to be disappeared.

      and if you think that’s a bit hyperbolic, think again. what this fascist country does to other countries and other people will all eventually come home. predator drones used against American citizens. prisoners systematically tortured (already happening with solitary confinement) in American prisons. no due process, no justice, debt servitude. you’ll have rights if you can afford to buy them. if you can’t afford rights, like access to health care, well, you’ll just be fucked.

      young people are waking up to the systemic scam they are being subjected to. they are told if you work hard and follow the rules, you will be able to climb the social ladder. but no, upward mobility is disappearing.

      to climb up these days, you can’t let morals get in the way of your ascent. rules are for suckers. the masters of the universe, which is how wall street thinks of itself, seem to be able to operate beyond the rules the rest of us 99% peons must follow. and when NOT ONE OF THEM has been held accountable for the systemic fraud that wrecked the global economy, well, you can’t really blame them for thinking they are above the law.

      if protestors get dragged to jail for chalking up sidewalks, and the financial elite get bonuses for causing widespread pain and misery, how do you expect people to react?

      they are lucky this particular protest is committed to being peaceful. subsequent actions may not share that commitment.

      • Max Bucks

        “Upward mobility” never existed for people like you because your mind is fucked up. The very fact that you think a violent overthrow of the existing order is forthcoming proves it.

  12. sorry folks but demonstrations will not do any good.

    you can’t shame rats for acting like rats.. the only way to get rid of rats is to get rid of their food source…. we need to invest locally, join insurance cooperatives and pull our money out of anything to do with the big wall street players.

    starving them out is the only way to combat wall street. they depend on our monthly payments to stay afloat. we hold the key.

    • “and pull our money out of anything to do with the big wall street players.

      starving them out is the only way to combat wall street. they depend on our monthly payments to stay afloat. we hold the key.”

      You are right PBear. Ditch the IPads and laptops, toss out the Droids and Iphones, banish all cars trucks and buses, toss out the air conditioners, say no to MRIs CAT Scans cancer drugs or any pharmaceuticals, disconnect from cable and dish network, toss out the TVs, tell the kids no more XBox, shut down the airport, tell grandma to take out her pacemaker and toss that thermostate right out the window this winter. That will get Wall Streets attention.

  13. Steve W

    PB, you should get a cat. That will take care of your rats. Divesting from wall street is a path, but not the only one. There’s more than one way to skin a cat that eats your rats.

    We could build a better mouse trap. We could live trap and transport those rats.

    there is no only way. There are many ways. And all ways are needed.

  14. JC

    Popo, this is for you.

  15. JC

    Over 700 airline pilots protested on Wall Street yesterday.

    Let’s see how well the rabble metaphor the media and all of the righty naysayers are parlaying holds up now. WHo’s going to join the fight against Wall Street next?

    • Pogo Possum

      You’re supporting the pilot’s protest march? Aren’t these supposed to be “the bad guys” as in Ted Rall’s Occupy Wall Street bog:

      “The aggregated wealth of the superrich has been stolen from the rest of us. We should not ask them to give some of it back. We should take it all, then jail them. . . .Rich people are bad people.”

      Most of these pilots with a little experience and working for a major airline average $150,000 to $200,000 per year – more when you add in benefits. Fed Ex and UPS pilots average over $200,000 per year.

      Shouldn’t your budding revolutionaries camped out in Liberty Park be protesting these rich bourgeois pilots who have a “strangelhold. . . .on the human imagination”, demanding they pay more in taxes and calling for their overthrow?

      • JC

        Those pilots are part of the 99%. And they are union. Get over it.

        And they are protesting Wall Street, too. As will many other unions in the near future.

        • Pogo Possum

          Thanks…….I forgot about the Union and protest part.

          Now I have it: “All rich people are bad and should be overthrown…….except for the rich union people…….or the rich people who protest liberal causes.”

          Got it. Now all we have to do is get those rich Wall Street bankers to form their own union and protest something and problem solved.

          • Steve W

            No, you totally missed it, Popo.

            The criminals who stole our money need to be prosecuted and brought to justice for the crimes they committed.

            I thought Republicans were law and order but they seem to be very soft on corporate crime. You are as useless as Obama when it comes to protecting the people from rapacious corporate criminals, and that’s a compliment.

      • $200K might be rich here in Montana, I don’t know. It is nearly 5X the median income for a family of 4, I believe,..but it sure isn’t rich in Seattle or NYC or lots of other places.

        Pogo? You don’t have a problem with not one analyst not one broker not one insurer not one banker not one accountant not one risk assessor being arrested for the world finance turmoil instigated by their malfeasance? That’s not a problem for you?

        It isn’t a bunch of dirty stinky hippies down there. It really is that 99%.

        You are smart enough to know that history serves a purpose. Put that knowledge of history in the context of the corporate influence in politics and the money it takes to accomplish that. What’s the problem with a union voice collectively speaking for employees and the people? Should it only be owners and businesses with influence? Or would you be OK with .50 cent and hour wages and no employee healthcare whatsoever?

        Certainly you are not begrudging unions – who by nature of their organization disclose their members – free speech?

        • Pogo Possum

          With all respect, jhwyGirl, I wish the left would get its talking points straight.

          We have been told for the past three years that anyone making over $200,000 a year was a bad rich person who wasn’t paying his/her fair share. Now it seems highly compensated pilots pulling in $200K and union bosses making over $400k per year and getting rich off lucrative pension contracts to the detriment of their fellow union workers are now in the 99%. The average experienced pilot working for a major airline was making well over $300,000 per year before the air line industry went into the toilet following 9/11 and their pay was cut.

          The Occupy Wall Street mob would claim Bernie Maddoff was one of the 99% if he could get out of jail, join a union and march over the Brooklyn Bridge.

          Here is another view that suggests your aspiring revolutionaries might need to move camp:

          “Dear Occupy Wall Street: Are You Sure You’re in the Right Place?”

          I am actually sitting back enjoying the fireworks and looking forward to this anti-capitalist Bonfire of the Humanities movement grow into a fine reenactment of the 1968 Democratic Convention riots that helped fracture the Democratic party. With a little luck, the national backlash will help reinforce the growing “NO Hope, NO Change, NO Obama” attitudes in the under 30 group and remind them that Obama, and many Democrats in general, are part of the problem not part of the cure come election day.

          It would be ironic if the “Occupy Wall Street” movement helped the Montana GOP’s “Occupy Helena” movement succeed next November.

          • lizard19

            hey Pogo, remember when i asked you if you had any good ideas? you never answered. i can only assume it’s because you don’t.

              • lizard19

                i see that great idea, and raise you a foreclosure moratorium combined with an extensive congressional investigation into all of it, BoA, Fannie & Freddie, the Federal Reserve, S&P, all of it.

                but Obama is a wall street guy, and republicans want austerity to be extracted from the social safety net.

                gee, i wonder why this #OWS thing is starting to get traction.

              • Pogo Possum

                Yup………and it is helping the Montana VR12OH13 movement get traction, too.

                “Vote Republican 2012 -Occupy Helena 2013”

                Want a bumper sticker?

              • lizard19

                no, i want solutions.

                and i want prosecutions.

                and i want more choices than just blue and red.

                and i want sleep, because i have to be at work a 5am, so good night.

              • Pogo Possum

                Since you won’t be happy until someone is in jail, here are a few names to begin prosecuting (courtesy of Freekonomics):

                Andrew Cuomo…….In 1997 Andrew Cuomo, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Bill Clinton, allowed Fannie Mae to reduce the standards by which they would secure loans. This helped create the entire subprime category.

                The Federal Reserve, Fed Chief Alan Greenspan, Leon Panetta and Bill Clinton…… Clinton Administration’s Leon Panetta pressured the Fed to lower interest rates after the dot-com bust so much that there was no way for anybody to achieve safe, steady returns using conservative investments like bonds.

                Jail the accountants!….. Right in the middle of all of this mess, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) changed GAAP accounting rules so that you could no longer mark a mortgage-backed security according to your own statistical analysis. You had to start marking it down as soon as there were the slightest defaults and the paper started trading at lower values (this is called mark-to-market). Which meant that hedge funds trading in these illiquid securities could make just a few trades involving a hundred thousand dollars or so, and suddenly trillions of dollars would be wiped out of the value of the banks. Hedge funds gleefully took advantage of this accounting rule change, and tons of bank equity was wiped out. Once FASB changed the rule back (April, 2009) the banks (and all stocks) went straight up.

                Book’em Dano!

          • Steve W

            Popo, I love the way you jump from prognostication to prognostication about your imagined political outcomes.

            Just up-thread you claim the Wall Street protests are weak, no one is attending them and they are invisible.

            Now you are saying the protests are going to propel the nation forward to 44 years ago because they are so big and well attended that there is sure to be a national backlash.

            Let me go out on a limb here, Popo. I’m guessing you were one of the prognosticators who predicted the end of the Democratic Party should Howard Dean win the Chairmanship of the party.

            You were one of those guys, weren’t you Popo?

            I suppose you don’t do any real harm. I just wonder how you can look yourself in the mirror after being so wrong so often for so long?

            • JC

              What PoPo doesn’t understand is that this isn’t a political movement, so every time he tries to view it through a political lens, he inevitably will get it wrong.

            • Wrong again Steve.

              I always held Howard Dean in high respect even though I disagreed with many of his issues. A fellow raised in wealth and privilege in the East Hamptons, (which you would have hypocritically condemned if he was Republican) he always came across as smart, genuine and “comfortable in his own skin” as one of his close friends austutly described him. Ironically, it was the left leaning talk show hosts, comedians and news commentators that did him in when they unfairly over hyped his Dean Scream incident and turned him into a political laughing stock.

              I thought Dean”s “50 state strategy” was brilliant from the time he was elected the head of the DNC and again, thought it ironic that the left and the Obama Administration once again snubbed him by refusing to give him the credit he deserved and by refusing to give him a cabinet position.

              As for the protests, come on…..admit it……they are pretty weak. We have all seen better. If it wasn’t for the Unions sending in relief squads your guys wouldn’t even get air time on Jon Stewart.

              I said I was looking forward to your movement getting larger Steve, I didn’t guarantee it will but I hope it does. I am cheering for you and hope the young Starbucks, Apple toting, anti capitalist revolutionaries get better organized. I want to see tens of thousands demonstrating against the establishment (and getting arrested) when Obama gives his speech at the Democratic National Convention next year. You’ve got your work cut out for you so get busy, please. You can do better.

              And JC, if this isn’t a political movement, would you please tell your wanabe revolutionaries to come up with a more coherent message than a bunch of old 1960’s and 70’s thread worn anarchist cliches.

              So back to those arrests and prosecutions you guys are demanding. Why aren’t you calling for the immediate arrest of Cuomo, Panetta, Clinton and Obama? The media loves specifics.


    • You better believe the police union is going to be supporting opw. The NYTransit union did earlier this week, and that’s like 60K people when you include retirees.

      In many videos I’ve notices that some of the police are clearly reacting to the message. They know its obscene to be down there protecting some frigging bronze calf and arresting protesters while the real criminals are sitting up in their offices looking down and laughing.

      They know it.

  16. mr benson

    Thanks Pogo for your good responses on this thread.

  17. lizard19

    Pogo, i’m going to put this down here.

    you should want accountability in our financial sector as much as any American. and that’s where the anger is coming from, the absolute lack of accountability, and the undue burden placed on the bulk of our population because the deregulated financial sector, along with the seemingly incompetency of the federal reserve, has allowed systemic greed to crash the economy.

    bailing out banks doesn’t work, because 70% of our GDP is consumer-driven. tax cuts won’t work. austerity won’t work. attacking unions won’t work. yet partisan opportunists are exploiting this crisis to wage class warfare against the New Deal, and complicit Democrats are letting them get away with it because they don’t want to upset their big funding streams.

    so the political process is broken, and unresponsive to the majority of the people. luckily a relatively small group of mostly young people have successfully brought attention to the financial elites continued evasion of accountability, and this week you’re going to see more and more people taking a stand, not just against the complicity of Wall Street, but the violent police state response these protests have caused.

  18. JC

    Speaking of the police state response Liz, Lawrence O’Donnell did something that I haven’t seen the MSM do in a long time: focus on police abuses creating a spectacle that draws the media’s attention away from the issue:

  1. 1 Peak Oil: The Yoke on Future Growth « Collapse of Industrial Civilization

    […] of peak oil, peak debt, and the disenfranchised 99% who are quickly falling into a life of no upward mobility, 1000 plus applicants for any available job, and a future of abject poverty and collapsing social […]

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