Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Huffington Post on Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street

Original here

Another on my continuing series about the connection between Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street. It highlights what I stated in Occupy Wall Street is sequel to Anonymous vs Scientology.

Occupy Wall Street And Anonymous: Turning A Fledgling Movement Into A Meme
Two weeks ago, Cornel West, Princeton professor and activist, showed up at a tent city erected by Occupy Wall Street protesters across the street from the Federal Reserve building in Boston. As he finished delivering an impromptu speech, a man who had been standing off to the side leaned in and gave him a hug. He was in his mid-thirties, with gray-dusted hair, a round face and dimples. Most people who witnessed this moment probably didn't think anything of it -- but then, most people aren't familiar with the faces of the online movement known Anonymous.

The man was Gregg Housh, an Internet technology consultant and one of the few people associated with Anonymous whose real name is known to the public. Housh occupies a special place in Anonymous lore. In 2008, he was among a small group of "Anons" who came up with the idea of releasing a video that declared war on the Church of Scientology, which in turn led to thousands of people protesting outside of Scientology centers around the world and heralded the moment when Anonymous first coalesced into something resembling a political movement.

Back then, Housh couldn't have been less interested in political or social change. Scientologists had provoked Anons by removing an embarrassing and, to the Anons, hilarious video of Tom Cruise from the Internet, and the Anons thought it would be funny to get back at them by standing around outside their centers wearing masks and shouting insults.
Housh is one of many participants in the Occupy Wall Street protests who trace their roots in the movement to the constellation of online networks and chat rooms that make up the Anonymous universe.
I told you so. I should know; I was a supporter of the protests and a hanger-on in their main forum, which back then was called "Enturbulation" and is now "WhyWeProtest." The high point of my involvement was driving past a protest across the street from the Detroit area headquarters of Scientology, seeing a sign held by one of the protesters, and asking, "So, does your sign mean L. Ron Hubbard is PedoBear?" The protesters roared in approval that someone got it. Here's to those protesters being all grown up and supporting an effort against something that really matters.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A link a day: Annabel Park of Coffee Party USA in Huffington Post

I'll be out of town all next week, so I'm scheduling all my posts after this one in advance. I'm also making them short--just a link and some brief commentary.

Today's post features a story by Coffee Party USA founder Annabel Park, who posted in yesterday's Huffington Post about today's Enough is Enough Citizens' Intervention, which was organized by the Coffee Party.

Occupied America: Bridging the Divide
Americans find themselves in a struggle for the soul of our nation yet again. Some see it as an economic struggle that pits the wealthiest one percent against the 99 percent rest of us. Some see it as a social struggle about whether it is the responsibility of government to provide the resources to help the neediest among us -- resources that encompass everything from healthcare to education to employment. And some see it as a political struggle, between the right and left, between a vision of bigger or smaller government and which path will right our struggling economy.

But really it comes down once again to a moral struggle -- how do we define ourselves as a nation and how do we fix what isn't working in America today? This is what has motivated so many Americans to occupy Wall Street and Main Street from coast to coast. It is a belief among people from all parties and all backgrounds that we need to join together to fight for a common cause -- and that cause is the American people.
While Americans argue and divide over entitlements, rights, race, type and size of government, multi-national corporations are busy buying our government. They are indeed occupying Washington.

With billions spent on lobbying and the rise of shadowy tax-exempt issue advocacy groups that can spend unlimited cash with no accountability, our government leaders are held hostage to the will of the few. And those few have poured money into the political machine to promote deregulation, corporate loopholes, and other policies that favor the wealthy and the powerful. And the divide in our country grows wider.

It's time for the American people to wake up, stand up, and speak out. We need to reform our laws to close these loopholes to power and concentrated wealth. These are not partisan issues -- these are common sense issues, American issues. We must do our part to be informed and engaged citizens, break out of the constructed partisan gridlock that stymies our thinking, and move forward on solutions, united as a country.

America is at another turning point. The American people are ready to stand up against a political system that allows powerful special interests and party ideologues to have more influence with our elected Representatives than average people. That is why Americans across the nation are joining together across party lines and saying enough is enough. We are not going away. The challenges we face as a country are many.
I left three comments on this article:Thanks for writing this, Annabel. Here's to an epic rally tomorrow, despite the prediction­s of cold and snow.In response to someone claiming that the Occupiers were "spoiled children who have either has everything given to them either by a enabling parent or government welfare agency" and that the divide was between the producers and the parasites, I posted.
The people behind this rally have no problem with people becoming wealthy and with the existence of corporatio­ns. They do have a problem with those same entities buying the government­.
That garnered another response to effect that "the people that are "buying the government­" are the ones that do not provide jobs, that hug the trees and kiss the ground, that feel we should not use anything the earth provides for our living or prosperity­." As an environmentalist, I couldn't let that one go, but as a part of Coffee Party leadership who has signed the organization's Civility Pledge, I couldn't flame him. So I eventually replied with the following.
Show me the dollar amounts. I rather doubt that all the environmen­tal organizati­ons in the country combined have as much money to spend on lobbying and campaign contributi­ons as the Koch Brothers and Koch Industries and the organizati­ons they support all by themselves­. And if you're not talking about the environmen­tal organizati­ons, then who are you talking about?
If I get a response before bedtime tonight, I'll be very surprised. I also won't be able to read it for a week.

Friday, October 28, 2011

PETA attempts a science-fiction solution to a real-world issue

From Next Media Animation comes this story about PETA filing a lawsuit on behalf of the orcas at Sea World.

Seaworld has long been a family favorite for its spectacular shows. Trained killer whales have been a special draw.

But for members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, what Seaworld is doing is enslaving killer whales.

PETA lawyers are suing Seaworld. They argue the 13th Amendment does not apply solely to humans.

Instead, they recommend that Seaworld replace real killer whales with robots.

But if human laws apply to whales, shouldn't Tilikum be in jail for killing a trainer?
This is straight out of Larry Niven's Known Space. From the uplifted animal page on TVTropes:
Larry Niven's Known Space stories (e.g. World of Ptavvs) have intelligent dolphins that have learned to speak English. They interact with humans as equals; we manufacture artificial limbs and hands for them to use to enable tool-using.
  • Actually, the dolphins were always intelligent. It just took humanity a long time to learn to communicate with them. The first thing they do once we do figure it out is, of course, filing a class-action lawsuit against humanity as a species for our whaling practices, something that they were evidently rather angry about (but unable to file complaint) since the get-go.
We truly are living in science-fiction times.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

One reason Washington, D.C., is out of touch

In case you're wondering why our federal government was paying more attention to debt than to unemployment this year until Occupy Wall Street took off, Next Media Animation has an answer for you; unemployment is not a problem in Washington, D.C. In fact, the economy there is just fine.

According to a Bloomberg report, Washington, DC now has a higher median income than San Jose, home to Silicon Valley.

Isolated from the rest of the nation's woes, federal employees enjoyed over $120K in salary and benefits in 2010.

A driving factor is the lobbying industry on K Street, which is even giving Wall St. a run for its money.

The Beltway also attracts a disproportionate amount of high-salaried lawyers. There is one for every 12 people in the district.

How much more will the gap widen between rich and poor in America?
Frank Rich in New York Magazine noted that the rosy economic news extended beyond the median income.
In the Beltway bubble, even the local poor are out of sight and out of mind; with a 6.1 percent unemployment rate and a median income of $84,523 (versus $50,046 nationally), Washington is now the wealthiest metro area in the country and, according to Gallup, departs from all 50 states in believing by a majority that the economy is getting better.
Even the real estate market there shows a decent recovery, as it is the only major city where home values have either risen or held steady the past four years, as shown in the following graph from Calculated Risk.*

Real estate is still down from its peak, but at least the bust was brief and properties are still selling.

So, while the rest of the country is suffering from the Great Recession, D.C. is saying "What unemployment crisis?

*Since this is a Detroit-based blog, I will have to note that local home values appear to have hit bottom and are now rising--finally. I recall blogging about that turnaround this spring. That's better residential real estate news than most cities are reporting.

Plan 999 from Outer Space trailer

'Plan 999 from Outer Space' has been the most used search term leading readers to my blog this past week, so I decided to search for it myself to see what it would turn up. I'm glad I did.

Politically incorrect movie tailer on Herman Cain's candidacy
Hat/tip to Current TV.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This Guy Fawkes Day is Bank Transfer Day

From Next Media Animation on YouTube.

Mark your calendars. Bank Transfer Day is November 5. That is the day when consumers are encouraged to close their accounts at big corporate banks and take their funds to credit unions.

Previously, when paying by debit card, 44 cents would go to banks. The Durbin amendment cut those fees in half. This upset large corporate banks. They vowed to make back the fees somehow.

Some banks such as Bank of America are doing so by hitting ATM card users with new monthly fees. Customers such as Kristen Christian are outraged.

Christian has declared November 5 shall be Bank Transfer Day. Will it be enough to get the attention of big banks?
My wife and I are ahead of the curve on this one. As soon as Bank of America announced the $5/month fee for debit card users, we opened two accounts at a local credit union, then closed two of our three accounts at Bank of America, something we'd been meaning to do for almost two years. We'll close our remaining account at BofA ahead of Guy Fawkes Day.

Occupy Wall Street is now an MTV reality show

Original here

New York Magazine reported Monday that Occupy Wall Street Is Coming to MTV.
MTV announced today that True Life: I'm Occupying Wall Street will air in less than two weeks...On the night of November 5, we'll be treated to a well-edited version of the protests we've been watching for more than a month, starring college students Kait and Caitlin, and Bryan, a member of the Zuccotti Park sanitation team.
It looks like what the late Joe Bageant called The Hologram wins again. What is The Hologram? I'll let Joe describe it for you.
We suffer under a mass national hallucination. Americans, regardless of income or social position, now live in a culture entirely perceived inside a self-referential media hologram of a nation and world that does not exist. Our national reality is staged and held together by media, chiefly movie and television images. We live in a "theater state."

In our theater state, we know the world through media productions which are edited and shaped to instruct us on how to look and behave and view the outside world. As in all staged productions and illusions, everyone we see is an actor. There are the television actors portraying what supposedly represents reality. Non-actors in Congress perform in front of the cameras, as the American empire's cultural machinery weaves and spins out our cultural mythology.

Cultural myth production is an enormous industry in America.
And now that enormous industry has turned its eye onto Occupy Wall Street and converted it into entertainment. MTV has already released a preview of its reality show. Watch the clip at MTV's site.

For those who think that television and movie coverage is the ultimate validation of what you are doing, and that does seem to be a lot of people, congratulations, Occupy Wall Street has "made it." On the other hand, becoming famous is not the point. Changing the society, economy, and politics of the United States is. Keep up the good work, and remember that character is what one does when no one, including MTV's cameras, is watching.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Occupy Detroit in the Free Press yesterday

Original here

Occupy Detroit cold and wet, but upbeat
The past week's weather hasn't always been conducive to their cause, with rainy days and cold temperatures, but members of the Occupy Detroit movement say they're undeterred and will stay the course at their encampment in Grand Circus Park downtown.

"We're still basically a work in progress, but I continue to remain wildly optimistic about what we're accomplishing here," Sarah Coffey, 38, one of the volunteers in charge of organizing the group's informational meetings, said late Sunday afternoon.

"In order for us to transform society, we have to bridge the differences between the races and classes. And when you stop to think about it, is there any better spot to begin than in Detroit?"
I've run into Sarah Coffey on Facebook, so I find it intriguing, but not surprising, that she's one of the organizers. Now I'm tempted to pay her a visit. After all, I'm listed as "attending" on Occupy Detroit's Facebook page.

As for her sentiment, I couldn't agree more. Great things are going to happen here in Detroit, and Occupy Detroit might just help make them happen.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Food Day!

I'd be remiss if I didn't pass this along.

It's Time to Eat Real, America!

Ask Congress to Support Food Day's Goals:

1 Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
2 Support sustainable farms & limit subsidies to big agribusiness
3 Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
4 Protect the environment & animals by reforming factory farms
5 Promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids
6 Support fair conditions for food and farm workers
For more, see the Food Day web site.

There are worse events for my wife and me to share our anniversary with.

Krugman on Countdown, plus bonus Occupy Wall Street and "Plan 999 from Outer Space"

In Paul Krugman on flat tax proposals, I telegraphed this post with:
I have more to write about Krugman, including his interview on Countdown on Friday, but that will have to wait.
The waiting is over. Krugman appears just after the 7:00 mark.

In the opening, Keith Olbermann again referred to Cain's economic platform as "Plan 999 from Outer Space," so he called it that three times in one episode.

Original at The Cain Scrutiny on Hysterical Raisins.

Finally, there is a lot of news about Occupy Wall Street in between the opening and Krugman's interview.  One of the items was how Eric Cantor was harried by the mob.

Original here.


Now Keith Olbermann is calling it "Plan 999 from Outer Space"

Really, he is. Wait until the 2:10 mark. He calls Cain's idea "plan 999 from outer space" twice!

He's not the first big name to use the meme. In Cain Unable, Paul Krugman embedded the trailer for Plan 9 from Outer Space, although he didn't actually call it that.

I love it when a meme I'm promoting catches on.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Some people still don't know Julie Bass has moved

The Republican-American of Waterbury, CT:Upfront with basil?
By Lois Barber
October 21st, 2011
Although Michele Obama has a vegetable garden on the White House lawn, officials in Oak Park, Michigan, are threatening a woman with a 93-day jail sentence unless she removes the vegetable garden she has installed on her front property.
Sigh. Julie got those charges dismissed in July (I talked with her the day that happened), so Oak Park was threatening her, but is no longer. Furthermore, Julie moved early last month and had her planters removed. If I didn't have to register on the site, I'd leave a comment to that effect. Maybe I'll write a letter to the editor.

As for the rest of the article, it's a nice discussion about using purple basil as both a garden herb and a decorative plant.

Paul Krugman on flat tax proposals

Dr. Krugman was a guest on the Rachel Maddow Show last Thursday, where he explains why the flat tax is a bad idea. Herman Cain should listen, but won't.

I have more to write about Krugman, including his interview on Countdown on Friday, but that will have to wait. I have Coffee Party business to attend to for the next three hours.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The first week of Occupy Detroit

In A video press release from Occupy Detroit, I promised that "I will keep you all informed." I did keep that promise with The first day of Occupy Detroit, which showed the coverage of the first afternoon and evening of the demonstration from the perspective of the mainstream local media. Time to show this first week from the perspective of the Occupiers, via their own YouTube channel.

According to the Occupiers, 1500 people attended the rally and march last Friday, not the 500 the Free Press reported via Twitter. As for the occupation itself, it looks very organized. These people know what they're doing.

Friday, October 21, 2011

One month of Occupy Wall Street from Next Media Animation

This video from Next Media Animation is a few days old, but it's not that dated, as the text says "this week," so it's still worth watching.

Occupy Wall Street hits the one-month mark this week. Even the protesters are amazed they've lasted this long.

The demonstrations, meanwhile, have spread globally. Camps have been set up in financial centers all over the world.

The protesters seem determined. But can their resolve last through winter's cold? Temperatures in New York City can be brutal.

The demonstrators cite economic frustrations. They claim financial benefits go to the 1% while the 99% struggle.

But claims the American Dream is dead has irked "The 53%" who are still trying to make it work.

The protesters offer few policy prescriptions. Their goal seems to be adding to their numbers and thus magnifying their grievances.

The Democratic party, meanwhile, is trying to figure out how to harness this energy for 2012.

But just how long will the Occupy Wall Street protests last? Probably as long as unemployment remains persistently high.
Compare the above with the coverage Next Media Animation gave them a month ago.

Groups inspired by the Arab Spring took to Wall St. Saturday to protest government greed. The media has dubbed the movement the 'American Fall.'

Protesters camped out, refusing to budge until their demands were met.

But what are their demands? A singular goal is still being debated on Facebook.

The sincerity of the sit-in is being questioned. Self-proclaimed social activist 'pranksters' Adbusters are behind it.

But if resolute in purpose, the #OccupyWallSt movement could be formidable. It has attracted a strong following online.
Next Media Animation may have been laughing then, but it looks like the Occupiers are laughing now.

As for that "strong following online," note the headless man in a black suit and demonstrators wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Both of those are symbols of Anonymous. Even at the very beginning, Next Media Animation could see who was really providing the organizational power behind the protest.

Here we go again; another Judgment Day

Last May, I wrote.
A blog that is about civilizational collapse would be remiss if it didn't mark the supposed beginning of the end of the world.
This post takes care of your daily dose of DOOM! Expect repeats at irregular intervals at least until December 21, 2012.
It's that time again.

From Next Media Animation on YouTube.

When we last left Harold Camping, he was proclaiming the Rapture would begin on May 21. As we know, it did not.

To save face, Camping said an unseen, spiritual judgement had taken place. The actual destruction of the Earth will now happen on October 21.

Now Germany's space agency says one of its old satellites will fall out of orbit and strike the Earth, possibly on that exact date.

Is this the work of divine intervention, intended to condemn us all to a fiery death?

No one is safe from the wrath! Scientists are still uncertain exactly where the debris will land.
I'm not impressed. As I remarked last time:
I don't take this version of the end of the world (as we know it) as seriously as the one I've been blogging about the past two months. No supernatural causes will be needed to bring about the collapse of civilization; the interaction of human behavior with limited resources can do that all by themselves. That end will be completely natural, not supernatural.

The flip side is that anything that could also postpone or even prevent that collapse will also be the result of exploiting human psychology and the available resources. It may look like a miracle, but it will be completely natural as well.

Libya: History Repeating

In the comments to Deja vu: Libya 2011=Romania 1989, Nebris pointed out that "The Wind and the Lion" does not take place in Libya, but in Morroco. It's still the story of an American intervention in North Africa, but that does lessen its relevance. Instead, I'm going to go with a song that underlines a more universal point, "History Repeating." Take it away Shirley Bassey and the Propellerheads.

This is one of my favorite songs, so I have quite a few more variations on it in my playlists.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Deja vu: Libya 2011=Romania 1989

Last February, I posted If 2011=1989, then Muammar Gaddafi=Nicolae Ceausescu #Libya. Here's what I wrote.

I can tell I'm getting old when I examine a situation, particularly a big picture foreign political crisis, and say "I've seen this movie before, and I know how it will end." For how this movie will end, read the pages at the links.

The Hole in the Flag

Nicolae Ceau┼čescu

I'm not the first one to think this, either. On February 23rd, First Draft posted Gaddafi is Arabic for Ceausescu.
Eight months later, the analogy/prediction held true all the way to its bitter end.

Al Jazeera English: Muammar Gaddafi killed in Sirte
NTC military chief says toppled leader died of wounds following capture near his hometown of Sirte.
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2011 14:40
Al Jazeera has acquired exclusive footage of the body of Muammar Gaddafi after he was killed in his hometown, Sirte.

"We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed," the de facto Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril told reporters in Tripoli.

Abdul Hakim Belhaj, an NTC military chief, said Gaddafi had died of his wounds after being captured near Sirte on Thursday.
Meanwhile in Benghazi and Tripoli, crowds gathered in the streets to start celebrating the death of Gaddafi.
The only failure in the anology was that Gaddafi was not executed by a firing squad. Details, details. He still died after being captured and shot by the rebels at the end of a bloody civil war. Considering that history is more likely to rhyme than to repeat itself, that's good enough for me.

Now to consider the next question I asked.
So, if Libya is this generation's Romania, who will be this generation's Soviet Union?  Will it take another two years for that last domino to fall, just as it did between the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Soviet Union?
In comments, ygrii_blop predicted.
The United States is the next Soviet Union, of course.
I dissented mildly.
You and Dmitry Orlov would agree. However, it doesn't fit the analogy that well, as the other regimes that have fallen or are most at risk right now are all in North Africa and the Middle East. For the analogy to hold, the final domino (in the current row, at least) would be either Saudi Arabia or Iran.

As for the analogy I'd prefer, the U.S. isn't the next USSR. For starters, the former Soviet Union was never the hegemon; it was the challenger to the hegemon. Right now, that role is occupied by China, which doesn't bode well for China taking over the role, as all the previous challengers (Spain, France, Germany, and the USSR) have all failed to take over the top spot in the world system. The country that takes over is usually an ally of the hegemon (the UK was an ally of Holland's and the US is an ally of the UK). If the Chinese become a partner of the US instead of a rival, then they'll be in the perfect position to take over.

Instead, I see the US is the next UK. The UK was an empire of coal, and the US is an empire of oil. As oil declines, so will we. Whoever has control of the next energy source will be ascendant.

However, the future could prove me wrong. The US is in terrible shape to survive the decline of oil, and the people are not in contact with reality. Americans will not take it well and the results will not be pretty.
Right now, I'm not seeing the kind of ferment in Iran and Saudi Arabia that would bear out my prediction. On the other hand, the Occupy movement is making ygrii_blop's suggestion look very good.

Just for fun, this is the music that's playing in my earphones right now.

It's from "The Wind and The Lion," which is set in Libya North Africa (specifically Morroco). Thanks Nebris in comments.  Make of that what you will.

I'm in a Spider Jerusalem mood tonight

I like the idea of being a cynical cyberpunk journalist. As for how the character fits in with the theme of this blog, he lives in a solar-powered post-collapse future. It fits perfectly. Also, In its perverse way, his world gives me hope.

Transmetropolitan on TVTropes

Inspired by a question on ontd_political on LiveJournal. I'm running for a moderator position there.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

World population hits seven billion

Associated Press on YouTube: As the world population hits seven billion, challenges of different kinds abound, especially in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
I was just talking about this milestone in class today. Time to add this video to my lecture on population.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sustainability news for the week ending 10/15/11


Yes, I eventually got around to reinstituting the sustainability news linkspams. With the revival of the series, I've replaced the sustainability spheres logo I was using before with the new one I promised I'd use a long time ago. Note that I've moved technology from the environment section to the economy section, in accordance with the new logo.

Most of the stories below were orginally posted in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Sweetest Day 2011 edition) on Daily Kos.

General Sustainability

Agence France Presse via BP, Transocean, Halliburton cited for violations
October 13, 2011
The US government slapped BP, Transocean and Halliburton with citations for violating oil industry regulations in what is expected to lead to massive fines for the deadly 2010 oil spill.

The decision to also cite BP's subcontractors could strengthen the British energy giant's legal case for recovering some of the multi-billion dollar costs of the spill from Halliburton, which performed the cement job, and drilling rig owner Transocean.

"The issuance today of notices of non-compliance to BP, Transocean and Halliburton makes clear that contractors, like operators, are responsible for properly conducting their deepwater drilling activities and are accountable to the US government and the American public for their conduct," BP said in a statement.

"We continue to encourage other parties, including Transocean and Halliburton, to acknowledge their responsibilities in the accident, make changes to help prevent similar accidents in the future, and step forward to fulfill their obligations to Gulf communities."
This story is really at the intersection of society and economics, but I used it as the headline story on Daily Kos last night, so it gets pride of place here.

Daily Kos: Scientists Revolt
by notdarkyet
Why do Republicans even spend money on scientific studies when they don’t believe in science? Do they have them done just so they can do some creative writing in the name of science, like they did with history? If that was the intention of Texas’ attempt to purge a scientific study on Galveston Bay of the words “climate change”, then they have set in motion the law of unintended consequences. Scientists are revolting at being made climate change denial pawns in disregard to the evidence.
Science, politics, and economics all intersect in this diary, which quotes an article in The Guardian.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The first day of Occupy Detroit

Here's what the local mainstream media had to say about the first afternoon of Occupy Detroit.

First, the protesters speak for themselves in this unnarrated video from the Detroit News YouTube channel.

Next, these two videos this video (there is a second at the website that isn't embedding here) from WXYZ's website.

If Jessica Dawl and the other Occupiers remain as serious about staying in the park throughout the winter and up until the next election (that's more than a year away), then it looks like my wife and I will be bringing them a lot of food and supplies.

Finally, the Detroit Free Press is doing their reporting by Twitter. Yes, really.

What people are saying about Occupy Detroit
The spirit of the Occupy Wall Street protests has landed on Woodward Avenue. Free Press Reporter Naomi Patton was on the scene. We're sharing tweets and more from people talking about #OccupyDetroit.
Right now, Naomi Patton is tweeting on the FreepLive account. She estimated the crowd at 500 people at its maximum on the first day. She also has a really cute photo of the youngest protester and her mother.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A video press release from Occupy Detroit

The movement has their own YouTube Channel and website. I've subscribed to the former and will register at the latter. I will keep you all informed.

Occupy Detroit begins today

Original here

Metro Times: Occupy Detroit now planned for Friday

Detroit Free Press: Occupy Detroit protesters to camp out in Grand Circus Park

Detroit News: Occupy Detroit plans march today

"Plan 999 from Outer Space" is really from Sim City

Original at The Cain Scrutiny on Hysterical Raisins.

My Facebook Friend Amanda Terkel posted the following on Huffington Post yesterday.

Herman Cain 999 Plan: Did It Come From SimCity?
WASHINGTON -- In Herman Cain's America, the tax code would be very, very simple: The corporate income tax rate would be 9 percent, the personal income tax rate would be 9 percent and the national sales tax rate would be 9 percent.

But there's already a 999 plan out there, in a land called SimCity.

Long before Cain was running for president and getting attention for his 999 plan, the residents of SimCity 4 -- which was released in 2003 -- were living under a system where the default tax rate was 9 percent for commercial taxes, 9 percent for industrial taxes and 9 percent for residential taxes. (That is, of course, if you didn't use the cheat codes to get unlimited money and avoid taxes altogether.)
Presumably, under the Cain plan, disasters would be turned off.
This bit of news deserves a response from Heath Ledger's Joker.

Yes, it's a bad joke, but if it's true, it's on Herman Cain.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More on Occupy Wall Street and Anonymous

In Occupy Wall Street is sequel to Anonymous vs Scientology, I pointed out that I had 'seen this movie before' and recognized the signs of Anonymous's involvement, as well as how other activists were recognizing the protests' significance and were starting to jump on board. I'm not the only one to observe the hand of Anonymous. Next Media Animation did, too.

Where did Occupy Wall Street start? Up north! Canada's AdBusters made the initial call for protesters to converge on Wall Street and demand campaign finance reforms.

However, the movement failed to catch fire until the hacker group Anonymous took notice.

The protests gained momentum, attracting some unlikely bedfellows in the process.

In the past, liberal activists focused on clearly defined causes. Occupy Wall Street's muddled approach could compromise the movement's effectiveness.

The rallying cry for the movement is "We are the 99%". But compared to most of the world, the protesters are still very privileged.

Nevertheless, the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to gather steam. Will it become the Tea Party of the left?
The Tea Party of the Left? Brad Hicks has other historical comparisons in mind.
Anonymous are the new Wobblies, I think. I think that when a cop sees you in that Guy Fawkes mask, as far as he's concerned, you've shown up in an Official Terrorist Uniform. You might as well have handed him a signed, notarized release form giving him permission to gas you and beat the crap out of you.
Brad also stated that "Anonymous terrifies the DHS." I commented on both of those highlighted sentences.
I know you don't intend these statements that way, but I have a feeling that more than a few Anonymous would get off on them. I think you're intending them as statements of fact or implied warnings, but they'd take them as things to boast about.
Brad's response:
I actually mean them as both: as admiration, and as a warning. If you're willing to make your points, knowing this, by going out wearing that mask, I have great admiration for your courage. But I don't recommend you do so unless you mean to volunteer to accept the risk of being a martyr for the cause, because somebody, maybe multiple somebodies, wearing that mask are going end up jailed for life on trumped up charges if they're lucky, and beaten to death or gunned down in cold blood as likely as not.
As you can see, Brad has a very dark take on things. Speaking of which, I recommend reading the rest of his post. While he's generally pessimistic, he does allow glimmers of hope to shine through, and he does have some practical advice. In particular, he suggests that people in the satellite protests should start collecting money and supplies and sending them to the protesters on Wall Street (and I'd add Washington DC) to keep them going once winter sets in. There is an Occupy Detroit movement, and it's starting tomorrow. I think I'll join them and see if they're amenable to that idea.

Rachel Maddow's coverage of Occupy Wall Street on 10/10

Hat/tip to Ministry of Truth on Daily Kos.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hysterical Raisins on Occupy Wall Street

Thanks to Nonnie9999, I now have a generic image for my posts on the topic.

Original here

She also has a specific poster for the right-wing reaction to the protests.

Original here.

Again, thank you Nonnie9999!

Speaking of the right-wing reaction, the people at Listen Logic still have their hair on fire over the protest. I'll be a good environmentalist and recycle Nonnie9999's poster for any posts about what they have to say.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Trump vs. Grayson and Olbermann on Occupy Wall Street

The Donald says "Nobody knows why they're protesting, but they're having a good time." To give him credit, he's half right about the "having a good time" part. As for the "nobody knows why they're protesting part," I'll let Alan Grayson answer that.

That's the short version. Keith Olbermann reads the long version.

To read the list of grievances, surf over to the Coffee Party USA post on the topic, then realize that Occupy Wall Street is a sustainability movement, even if they haven't figured that out yet.  If you don't believe me, stay tuned and I'll show you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vladimir Putin, the Most Interesting Man in the World

Last August, Vladimir Putin pulled two Greek vases out of the sea, making him look like he should be in commericials like this one.

My immediate reaction was "yeah, right." This week, my snap judgment was confirmed.

Associated Press via News 3 (New Zealand): Vladimir Putin's treasure find on dive was a hoax
The widely publicised incident in which Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pulled up ancient Greek jug fragments from the seabed on a diving expedition was staged, his chief spokesman said.

The August dive in the Kerch Strait that connects the Black and Azov seas was reported extensively in Russian and overseas media. Putin is noted for his habit of appearing in vigorous and adventurous settings, including fishing while stripped to the waist and riding with leather-clad motorcyclists.
If a picture is worth 1000 words, then moving pictures speak volumes. Take it away, Senator Vreenak!

Thank you, Senator. Your opinion, Iago?

Thank you, Iago.

I have nothing more to add to the above, so here's Putin tying a balloon animal.

Above modified from a story included in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (2011 Nobel Prizes edition) on Daily Kos.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Romney: Occupy Wall Street is "dangerous"

As I wrote in Herman Cain on Occupy Wall Street, I have a bunch of tabs open with stories about Occupy Wall Street, so it's time to blog about them and move on to new stories. This installment features a quote from Mitt Romney and a company that shares his opinion. Hat/tip to Paddy at The Political Carnival and devil_ad_vocate in talk_politics on LiveJournal for the links.

National Journal: Romney: Wall Street Protests ‘Class Warfare’
THE VILLAGES, Fla. – Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney on Tuesday compared the current anti-Wall Street protests to “class warfare.”

“I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare,” Romney said to an audience of about 50 people in response to a question about the protests over such issues as high unemployment, home foreclosures and the 2008 corporate bailouts.

He made his remark while greeting members of an overflow crowd that was unable to get into his official appearance before a larger group of about 300 at this central Florida retirement community.

The Wall Street protests, organized by a confederation of progressive groups, have spread beyond New York to other cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston. Two groups also have announced plans to set up an encampment in front of the White House as well.
My comment at The Political Carnival:
If Willard the Rat Man had a clue, he'd keep his yap shut about the class warfare meme regarding Occupy Wall Street and the other Occupy movements. This will only encourage the demonstrators.
As I wrote a couple of days ago, "don't taunt the happy fun ball."

On the other hand, there are people who have a clue and are profiting from it: Listen Logic. They have been following Occupy Wall Street since its inception and currently consider it to be an elevated corporate threat.

Here is their graph of the growth of the movement so far.

Impressive timeline, isn't it?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Herman Cain on Occupy Wall Street

I have a bunch of tabs open with stories about Occupy Wall Street, so it's time to blog about them and move on to new stories. First, a video from Think Progress on YouTube in which Herman Cain, who is currently third in the polls among GOP candidates for President, says that he thinks that Occupy Wall Street was " distract from the failed policies of the Obama Administration," although he acknowledges he has no facts to back up that belief.

My comment at Political Carnival, where this was also posted:
Normally, I'd tell Mr. "Plan 9-9-9 from Outer Space" that Occupy Wall Street will point out at least one failed policy of the Obama Administration, that of not prosecuting the bankers and others on Wall Street who contributed to the Great Recessioin, but I don't think that will make it through the Reynolds Wrap beanie he probably wears off camera. Even if it did, it would be inconvenient to his narrative.
Speaking of "Plan 9-9-9 from Outer Space," it's time to be an environmentalist and recycle.

Original at The Cain Scrutiny on Hysterical Raisins.

One of the worst economic plans ever deserves a poster from one of the worst movies ever.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Today is the anniversary of the Women's March on Versailles

Commenter Nebris posted the following in his LiveJournal today.
"We're likely to stumble along at the present rate with a series of band-aids to keep us going, though sooner or later, things will fall apart. What happens then remains to be seen. But, today is the anniversary of The Women's March on Versaillesand I suspect at least some of The Rulers remember those events."

I decided to follow his link, which led to the following on Wikipedia.
The Women's March on Versailles, also known as The October March, The October Days, or simply The March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. The march began among women in the marketplaces of Paris who, on the morning of 5 October 1789, were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries who were seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. The market women and their various allies grew into a mob of thousands and, encouraged by revolutionary agitators, they ransacked the city armory for weapons and marched to the royal palace at Versailles. The crowd besieged the palace and in a dramatic and violent confrontation they successfully pressed their demands upon King Louis XVI. The next day, the crowd compelled the king, his family, and the entire French Assembly to return with them to Paris.

These events effectively ended the independent authority of the king. The march symbolized a new balance of power that displaced the ancient privileged orders of the aristocracy and favored the nation's common people, collectively termed the Third Estate. Bringing together people representing disparate sources of the Revolution in their largest numbers yet, the march on Versailles proved to be a defining moment of that Revolution.
Looks a bit familiar, doesn't it?

Actually, I'd be surprised if anyone in charge outside of France and its neighbors in Europe remembered this. It's not something anyone in the U.S. other than the biggest history geeks, of which Nebris is one, would remember. Otherwise, the people at the Chicago Board of Trade wouldn't be pulling a stunt like this (Hat/tip to Gotta Laff at The Political Carnival.

Ladies and gentlemen of the CBOT, don't taunt the happy fun ball.

General economic news from Reuters

The following articles, along with those in Joseph Stiglitz addresses Occupy Wall Street and Last night's news on the state of the CoDominion, were originally featured in Overnight News Digest (Fast fill-in edition) on Daily Kos.

World stocks at 15-month low
By Chikako Mogi
TOKYO | Mon Oct 3, 2011 11:34pm EDT
Global stocks fell to a 15-month low on Tuesday, pinning Asian stocks near a 16-month low, as investors shed riskier assets on growing doubts over Greece's ability to avoid default, fuelling fears of global financial turmoil and recession.

Fears over the banking sector's exposure to euro zone sovereign debt and plummeting value of assets across the board further led to a sharp widening of credit default swaps.

Weakening outlook for industrial demand weighed on copper and oil while flight-to-safety strengthened gold, yen and the dollar.
Global stocks continued to be hit hard, while U.S. stocks rallied at the end of the trading day. The dead cat just keeps on bouncing.

Obama's jobs bill falls to pieces in Congress
By Andy Sullivan and Laura MacInnis
WASHINGTON | Mon Oct 3, 2011 6:02pm EDT
President Barack Obama's job-creation package effectively fell to pieces on Monday as a top Republican lawmaker said the House of Representatives will only pass portions of the $447 billion measure.

As Obama continued to press lawmakers for a vote on his signature legislation, Representative Eric Cantor, the No. 2 House Republican, said that was not going to happen.

Asked if the bill as a complete package was dead, Cantor said: "Yes."
We're still eating the Satan Sandwich, too. Some people are already thinking about sending it back to the kitchen.

Health consumers make deficit fight personal
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON | Tue Oct 4, 2011 1:13am EDT
The numbers are devastating: almost 2,000 poor kids in Texas with cancer, another 18,000 with diabetes and more than 350,000 suffering from chronic lung disease, heart disease or stroke.

What sounds like a grim statistical report on poverty and disease is actually a lobbying message from Medicaid advocates to Texas congressman Jeb Hensarling, Republican co-chairman of a special congressional panel charged with cutting at least $1.2 trillion from the U.S. deficit over 10 years.

The message is in a 14-page electronic brochure titled "Medicaid's Impact in Texas," sent to Hensarling and other Texas lawmakers by the health consumer advocacy group Families USA, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association and American Lung Association.
Yes, it's still a Satan Sandwich.

Now for some good news.

UAW says contract talks with Ford going "smoothly"
DETROIT | Mon Oct 3, 2011 8:57pm EDT
Contract negotiations between Ford Motor Co and the United Auto Workers union are "progressing smoothly" and a breakdown in talks is "highly unlikely," the union said in a memo on Monday.

On Sunday night, the UAW called local union officials to Detroit for a Tuesday meeting in anticipation of reaching an agreement on a new four-year labor contract.

The UAW described this as an "indication that we believe we are very close to an agreement," according to the memo.
I'll be sure to follow this story, as it is a local sustainability issue.

Time to play Rift with my wife!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Last night's news on the state of the CoDominion

Things look a bit rocky in the relationship between the two major powers.

Reuters: China warns of trade war if U.S. currency bill passes
By David Stanway and Aileen Wang
BEIJING | Tue Oct 4, 2011 1:00am EDT
China warned Washington it is "adamantly opposed" to a proposed U.S. bill aimed at forcing Beijing to let its currency rise, saying its passage could lead to a trade war between the world's top two economies.

In a coordinated response, the Chinese central bank and the ministries of commerce and foreign affairs accused Washington of "politicizing" global currency issues.

The bill to be debated in the United States this week violates World Trade Organization rules and forcing the yuan to appreciate would weaken joint efforts to revive the global economy, the foreign ministry said.
It might indeed violate WTO rules, but it makes for effective domestic politics in the U.S. That it is likely to be overturned later may just reinforce the opinion of the cynics that this is grandstanding, even if it would be good policy for the U.S. if it could be implemented.

Also, with power comes responsibility.

Reuters: Analysis: China to keep Pakistan embrace at arm's length
By Sui-Lee Wee
BEIJING | Mon Oct 3, 2011 11:45pm EDT
Pakistan, facing a crisis with the United States, has leaned closely to longtime partner China, offering its "all-weather friendship" with Beijing as an alternative to Washington.

But Pakistan will be disappointed if it hopes to replace American patronage with the same from China.

While China does not welcome the U.S. presence near its border, it wants stability on its western flank and believes an abrupt withdrawal of Washington's support for Pakistan could imperil that. It also does not want to upset warming relations with India by getting mired in subcontinent security tension.
China and the U.S. have been nominal allies of Pakistan since the days of Nixon, when both used the country as a counterweight to India. While the Chinese have a real regional rivalry with the world's largest democracy, the U.S. was just peeved at India's neutrality vis-a-vis the USSR. Nowadays, I think the U.S. has more in common with India than Pakistan.

Finally, there is another China, and they're celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of their state. From Next Media Animation on YouTube:

On October 10th 1911, the nationalist army in China got rid of the monarchy once and for all. So in Taiwan (no, we're not Japan, Korea, or China) celebrates it every year since the nationalist party (Guomingtang) moved to Taiwan.

And this year, it's the 100th year celebration!! So being NMA and all, Monica is giving you a sneak peek into the celebration along with a special show, brought to you by yours truly.
Happy centennial, Republic of China!

Joseph Stiglitz addresses Occupy Wall Street

Reuters: Another day, another protest?
By Anya Schiffrin
Oct 3, 2011 13:30 EDT
Things have come to a pretty pass when the right to assembly is respected more in Egypt and Spain than it is in the US of A. I am of course referring to last week’s pepper spraying of a group of women who were enclosed in a police pen and the Saturday arrest of 700 people who strayed into traffic as police ushered them on to the Brooklyn Bridge. The police responded by saying they had warned the protestors away from traffic lanes.

The fact that it took the New York Times more than a week before they started treating the protestors seriously was also shameful.

Having read the press reports my husband and I decided it was time to see the protests for ourselves so we went down to Wall Street yesterday and found about 1,000 slightly-drenched but enthusiastic people carrying signs, making music and being careful not to step on the flowers in the middle of the square. The protestors were clustered in groups listening to several speakers. One of the speakers was from the 15-M protest movement in Spain and another was Jeff Madrick, the lefty economist who has written extensively on the financial crisis.
Here's the video, with accompanying text from YouTube.

It was rather amazing how this just emerged in the middle of Zuccotti park AKA LIBERTY SQUARE. The "people's mic" check occurred, and suddenly we were listening to two important economists of our time speak to the protestors.

Great point about bullhorns...

Stiglitz is one of the most frequently cited economists in the world. It was great to hear the two of them speak, informally, in this magical setting. All types of people were listening, many folks were recording sound and visuals. The rain had stopped and a question and answer session had followed.
In case you're wondering, Anya Schiffirn is Mrs. Joseph Stiglitz.

As for the protesters, they're getting quite an economic education.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Occupy Wall Street is sequel to Anonymous vs Scientology

I've seen this movie before. This is the sequel to Anonymous vs. Scientology and it's recycling the first film's plot, but with a bigger budget, more special effects, and a group of villains who are less comic, better known, and more dangerous. At this stage of the protests against Scientology, the long-time anti-Scientologist activists discovered Anonymous and found a way to jump in front of the movement. The same thing is happening here, with Michael Moore and others realizing that there is now a mob they can get in front of and (pretend to) lead. In reality, they're following from the front, which is the opposite of leading from behind.

As for how the first movie ended, it resulted in opening Scientology to reporters investigating the organization like it hadn't seen in a long time and tarnishing its reputation among the young. It also gave the members of Anonymous a taste of organizing and a realization that they can take on something bigger than themselves. Now they're ready for something bigger than a fringe cult that runs themselves like a business. Whether they're up to this task is another question.

As for how this installment of the franchise ends, stay tuned. They may be rehashing the plot so far, but there is no script.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Nablopomo for October: Between

October's theme for daily blogging: BETWEEN. Autumn is between the two temperature extremes of summer and winter. It's a time when nature is shifting -- the scattering of leaves in the northern hemisphere, the first signs of new life down south. Halloween is obviously a time for trick-or-treating, but scratch the surface of the holiday and it makes you start thinking about how your time on earth is just a space between two periods of non-living. What else do you have to say on the theme of being between?
I nearly missed this on the second day of the month because of computer issues. First, my keyboard died when one of our cats spilled wine on it. Then I got a new wireless keyboard, which came with a mouse. The combination did not play well with my computer. The keyboard worked, but the mouse didn't. Then, no USB mouse would work. You try to put together a blog post or do anything more advanced than answer email without a mouse, I dare you. I couldn't. I finally got an old fashioned wired keyboard and a PS2 mouse. Now things work. However, it was enough to make me miss Silly Sustainability Saturday. I'll see if I can make up for it during the week.

As for how I'm going to frame this theme so that it's consistent with the general topics of this blog, that's easy. Our economy is between the fossil fuel economy and whatever post-peak-oil energy economy is coming, whatever that will be. Detroit is between decay and renewal. Our politics are between corruption and either reform or revolution. See what I mean?

Saturday, October 1, 2011