Posts filed under ‘Occupy Wall Street’
Wow. Just wow. And no, I am not making any of this up. This is the actual title of an op-ed that appears in Forbes this morning. This crowd is u-n-b-e-l-i-e-v-a-b-l-e:
Give Back? Yes, It’s Time For The 99% To Give Back To The 1%
It’s time to gore another collectivist sacred cow. This time it’s the popular idea that the successful are obliged to “give back to the community.” That oft-heard claim assumes that the wealth of high-earners is taken away from “the community.” And beneath that lies the perverted Marxist notion that wealth is accumulated by “exploiting” people, not by creating value–as if Henry Ford was not necessary for Fords to roll off the (non-existent) assembly lines and Steve Jobs was not necessary for iPhones and iPads to spring into existence.
Here’s a modest proposal. Anyone who earns a million dollars or more should be exempt from all income taxes. Yes, it’s too little. And the real issue is not financial, but moral. So to augment the tax-exemption, in an annual public ceremony, the year’s top earner should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Imagine the effect on our culture, particularly on the young, if the kind of fame and adulation bathing Lady Gaga attached to the more notable achievements of say, Warren Buffett. Or if the moral praise showered on Mother Teresa went to someone like Lloyd Blankfein, who, in guiding Goldman Sachs toward billions in profits, has done infinitely more for mankind.
FBI Investigated ‘Occupy’ As Possible ‘Terrorism’ Threat, Internal Documents Show
According to internal documents newly released by the FBI, the agency spearheaded a nationwide law enforcement effort to investigate and monitor the Occupy Wall Street movement. In certain documents, divisions of the FBI refer to the Occupy Wall Street protests as a “criminal activity” or even “domestic terrorism.”
According to the documents, the FBI coordinated extensively with private companies, including banks, that feared they could be affected by Occupy protests. Occupy, which took root in New York City’s Zuccotti Park in September 2011 and spread to cities across the country, targeted corporations and other forces it believed to perpetuate social inequality. The FBI’s investigation included the movement’s manifestations in New York; Milwaukee; Indianapolis; Anchorage, Alaska; Jacksonville, Fla.; Richmond, Va.; and Memphis, Tenn., among others.
According to the new documents, the FBI began meeting with representatives of the New York Stock Exchange and other businesses as early as August 2011, a month before the Zuccotti Park protests.
I get it. The FBI is protecting the corporatocracy. Tea Partiers are essentially on the side of the corporatocracy, so they’re good.
Remember this from November when a rogue cop pepper sprayed seated students who were involved in an Occupy protest at the University of California-Davis?
The University of California regents have agreed to pay out roughly $1 million to end a lawsuit over last November’s pepper spraying of UC-Davis students, part of a deal that also calls for a personal written apology from Chancellor Linda Katehi to each person hit with the spray.
The details of the settlement, approved in secret earlier this month by the regents, are contained in documents filed in federal court in Sacramento this morning.
The deal, hammered out in mediation sessions after 21 students and former students sued last February, still must be approved by a federal judge.
It calls for each of the 21 plaintiffs to receive $30,000 for a total payout of $630,000. The agreement also transforms the suit into a class action, which will allow others who were hit with pepper spray during the Nov. 18 protest to submit claims for payments of up to $20,000.
That part of the deal envisions five to 10 additional claimants coming forward, with a sliding scale that reduces the payout for each of those depending on the final tally. Those claimants wil be paid from a pool of money limited to $100,000.
This photo was taken yesterday in NYC during a rally marking the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. It says so much about the United States of America circa 2012.
This news from Thom Hartmann is fantastic:
Speaking of getting active – it works! Occupy Buffalo protestors on Thursday convinced their city to end its business ties with JP Morgan Chase – and move $45 million out of the Wall Street giant and into a local bank – First Niagara Financial Group. As the Buffalo city comptroller said about the move: “Not only will the funds earn more interest with First Niagara, a major local employer headquartered in Buffalo, but it also sends a crystal-clear message to JPMorgan Chase that the City of Buffalo is not happy with their business practices.” One of the great successes of the Occupy movement since it began this year is convincing Americans, businesses, and entire cities to move hundreds of millions of dollars out of Wall Street banks and into local banks. Let’s keep it up.
Bravo to Occupy Buffalo. Good work people!
Imagine if this happened in oh, say, New York or Chicago:
German police officers escort an anti-capitalism protest march with some 20,000 people in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, May 19, 2012. Protesters peacefully filled the city center of continental Europe’s biggest financial hub in their protest against the dominance of banks and what they perceive to be untamed capitalism, Frankfurt police spokesman Ruediger Regis said. The protest group calling itself Blockupy has called for blocking the access to the European Central Bank, which is located in Frankfurt’s business district.
I love that shot. After all, the police are getting screwed by the banks and “untamed capitalism” just like the rest of us.
Don Lemon is on CNN right now (@6:54 p.m. ET) showing video of Chicago police beating Occupy Wall Street protesters with sticks.
Occupy Wall Street and other groups (like Iraq Veterans Against the War) are marching today in Chicago in the face of the NATO summit there.
The Chicago Police Department spent $1 million on riot gear-type stuff in preparation for the two-day summit, including buying an LRAD tanker that has the capacity to one’s ear drums:
That said, here’s my Tweet of the Day:
Interesting that the CPD has so much money but schools there are laying teachers off in the thousands.
Priorities of a ducked up country imho.
Demonstrations surrounding the NATO meeting in Chicago have begun. This pic was posted about an hour ago:
What’s happening here is the Chicago Police Department, whose salaries we pay for with Our Tax Dollars, are standing against We the People. They work for us, not the corporatocracy. Ah, do they know that?
A cause for concern.
More NATO/ Occupy things happening tomorrow and Monday in Chitown. If there’s a riot*, the “liberal media” will cover it. Otherwise, crickets.
* Per Martin Luther King, Jr.; “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
Occupy Wall Street protesters outside Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s house this afternoon:
Oops. Somebody leaked the NYPD’s plans for potential May Day protests tomorrow. They’re filed under “NYPD Shield — Countering Terrorism Through Information Sharing.”
See the six page “Shield” plan here (pdf). It’s incredible what they’re freaking out about: a few bicyclists here, a high school walkout there. They’re afraid of their own shadow and their goal is to protect the corporatocracy.
Hey, some good news to start the day.
Remember this from last November at UC-Davis?
Here’s an update:
The police chief who oversaw the University of California, Davis, police department during its notorious pepper-spraying of Occupy protesters said she is retiring.
Annette Spicuzza told the Sacramento Bee that she does not want the Nov. 18 incident to define her or the university, and she’s stepping down so everyone involved can move forward.
Spicuzza has been on paid leave since the incident, along with Lt. John Pike, who sprayed the orange liquid into the faces of seated protesters.
Good. Five months late but better late than never. Oh and btw Ms. Spicuzza, this incident will “define” you.
My quote of the day:
The entire world seems to be one huge advertisement for The Shock Doctrine. Naomi Klein showed in her revelatory book how the corporate-political-military-media complex exploits crises to further impose their harsh right-wing agenda – even when they themselves created the crisis. In a sane world, the economic meltdown and deep recession of the past four years would have led at minimum to stringent regulation of financiers and speculators plus programs to assist their victims. But in this world, you have to be nuts to believe in a sane world.
This is fantastic:
This is from Reuters today:
With Camps Gone, Occupiers Prepare for New Fights
Their encampments are largely gone, but the U.S. Occupy movement is far from dead, with organizers focused on a next wave of protest.
Reuters, you’re wrong. The camps aren’t “gone” or even “largely gone.”
Here’s a list of Occupy encampments that are still standing, as of Monday:
Ah yes, the “liberal media.”
Andrew Breitbart is a leader of the American right-wing
Occupy and other groups are rallying today in New York City to protest sanctions on Iran, the murder of Iranian scientists, and the increasingly hostile rhetoric coming from the United States and Israel concerning Iran.
The intrepid reporter Tim Pool is sending out pictures of some of the signs people are carrying (see them at his link above). This is my favorite so far:
Interesting isn’t it that the usual crowd that screams about cutting government spending isn’t screaming about not going to war again. When it comes to cuts, they only want to cut the programs that benefit we the people. Defense contractors? Not so much.
Figures made available to The Associated Press showed Romney was spending $2.8 million to air television commercials in the final week of the Florida campaign. In addition, a group supporting him, Restore Our Future, was spending $4 million more, for a combined total of $6.8 million.
By contrast, Gingrich was spending about $700,000, and Winning Our Future, a group backing him, an additional $1.5 million. That was about one-third the amount for the pro-Romney tandem.
Only nine more months to go!
* It isn’t like me to refer to the former head of the Grand Old Party (i.e., the GOP) as the “former Republican party leader.” But given that 50% of Republicans have no idea who the GOP is, I’m thinking it’s a good idea to refer to Republicans not as the GOP, but as Republicans. I mean, if I have to hold their little hands so they’ll know what their party’s up to, I’ll do it.
Mitt Romney made $21.6 million in 2010.
How does that compare to what you made?
In the case of my family and our total household income, i.e., that of my husband and I, it took Mitt 14 hours, 46 minutes and 15 seconds to make what the two of us made in 2010. In other words, by January 1, 2010 — New Year’s Day — at 2:46:15 p.m., after getting up from a nice brunch, Mitt had made what it would take my husband and I the following 364.5 days to make.
Go here to see how long it took Mitt to make what you made in 2010.
Where I’m at:
I won’t be in D.C. physically but I will be virtually, emotionally and spiritually.
I don’t know if it’s time to do an Occupy Wall Street film just yet because I think the movement has a lot of life left in it, but…
99 Percent: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film is a documentary film project founded by independent filmmakers working in conjunction across the country. Among them are the directors, producers, editors and cinematographers of many award-winning, internationally distributed films. They’ve come together and pledged their time, skills and gear to document the events taking place in NYC and across America. And they’re inviting you to do it with them.
When Matt Taibbi over at Rolling Stone speaks, I listen.
His most recent article — A Christmas Message from America’s Rich — is priceless. It’s snarky, irreverent and in-your-face. And it’s kind of long. If you can, take the time to read it. I tried to distill its essence down to a few paragraphs but every sentence is worth reading and I (obviously) had a hard time.
But it seems to me that if you’re broke enough that you’re not paying any income tax, you’ve got nothing but skin in the game. You’ve got it all riding on how well America works.
You can’t afford private security: you need to depend on the police. You can’t afford private health care: Medicare is all you have. You get arrested, you’re not hiring Davis, Polk to get you out of jail: you rely on a public defender to negotiate a court system you’d better pray deals with everyone from the same deck. And you can’t hire landscapers to manicure your lawn and trim your trees: you need the garbage man to come on time and you need the city to patch the potholes in your street.
And in the bigger picture, of course, you need the state and the private sector both to be functioning well enough to provide you with regular work, and a safe place to raise your children, and clean water and clean air.
The entire ethos of modern Wall Street, on the other hand, is complete indifference to all of these matters. The very rich on today’s Wall Street are now so rich that they buy their own social infrastructure. They hire private security, they live on gated mansions on islands and other tax havens, and most notably, they buy their own justice and their own government.
An ordinary person who has a problem that needs fixing puts a letter in the mail to his congressman and sends it to stand in a line in some DC mailroom with thousands of others, waiting for a response.
But citizens of the stateless archipelago where people like Schwarzman live spend millions a year lobbying and donating to political campaigns so that they can jump the line. They don’t need to make sure the government is fulfilling its customer-service obligations, because they buy special access to the government, and get the special service and the metaphorical comped bottle of VIP-room Cristal afforded to select customers.
Most of us 99-percenters couldn’t even let our dogs leave a dump on the sidewalk without feeling ashamed before our neighbors. It’s called having a conscience: even though there are plenty of things most of us could get away with doing, we just don’t do them, because, well, we live here. Most of us wouldn’t take a million dollars to swindle the local school system, or put our next door neighbors out on the street with a robosigned foreclosure, or steal the life’s savings of some old pensioner down the block by selling him a bunch of worthless securities.
Oh, and btw, yes, Mr. SayitAin’tSoAlready and I always pick up our two dogs’ poop.
Geez. The more I hear about Texas, the more I never want to go there:
Seven Occupy protesters were indicted on felony charges by a grand jury in Houston on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office says, in connection with their demonstration at the local port as part of a national day of action by the movement.
The decision comes nearly a week after a judge initially dismissed the charges, saying the protesters could not be charged with possessing or using a “criminal instrument” – a felony in Texas – for their use of PVC pipe.
The protesters — three from Austin, four from Houston — put their arms through the pipe and used latches on it to connect together, making their arrest more difficult but not preventing it, said one of their attorneys, Daphne Silverman, of the National Lawyer’s Guild in Houston. Donna Hawkins, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office, confirmed the indictment.
“They are feeling, ‘wow,’ is the word. … They’re in a lot of shock. They were very happy with the justice’s decision last week, they believed in her, they believed in the justice system,” Silverman said. “These people … are not criminals. These folks are out there attempting to make the country better for all of us.”
The protesters had joined with other Occupy outfits across the country that were conducting port shutdowns on Dec. 12 to economically disrupt what they called “Wall Street on the waterfront.”
Arrests on felony arrests were occurring in other cities, such as Denver and New York. Civil rights lawyers have suggested the use of felony charges was another form of crackdown on the movement.
The Houston Police Department has used the “criminal instrument” against protesters on previous occasions, according to Attorney Randall Kallinen, who is representing one of the seven protesters. The charge usually does not hold up in court in such cases, but because it is a felony charge it has a chilling effect on would-be activists, he said.
So they’re charging Occupy protesters with felonies for linking together with PVC pipe –it would be funny if it weren’t so serious — and now they face up to two years in prison. Last I looked, not one of the banksters who brought down the world’s economy have even been charged with so much as a misdemeanor. Gosh. Don’t you just love how “justice” is dispensed in the good ol’ US of A? And isn’t it interesting the way the judicial system seems to be working to intimidate the Occupy movement on behalf of the corporatocracy?
This would be Rick Santorum (R) yesterday in Pella, Iowa:
“The reason you see some sympathy among the American public for them is the grave concern — and it’s a legitimate one — that blue-collar workers, lower-income workers, are having a harder and harder time rising,” the former Pennsylvania senator said at a presidential campaign stop. “They talk about income inequality. I’m for income inequality. I think some people should make more than other people, because some people work harder and have better ideas and take more risk, and they should be rewarded for it. I have no problem with income inequality.
“President Obama is for income equality. That’s socialism. It’s worse yet, it’s Marxism,” Santorum said. “I’m not for income equality. I’m not for equality of result — I’m for equality of opportunity.”
Yo, Ricky: Nobody is saying that everyone should have the exact same income and you know it. People are pissed that there is such a humongus difference in the amount people do make, and you know that too. It’s charts like this that burn people up:
I love the thought of this chant:
Tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets in Moscow on Saturday shouting “Putin is a thief” and “Russia without Putin,” forcing the Kremlin to confront a level of public discontent that has not been seen here since Vladimir Putin first became president 12 years ago.
The crowd overflowed from a central city square, forcing stragglers to climb trees or watch from the opposite riverbank. “We exist!” they chanted. “We exist!” Opposition leaders understood that for a moment they, not the Kremlin, were dictating the political agenda, and seemed intent on leveraging it, promising to gather an even larger crowd again on Dec. 24.
The 1% likes to think we (the 99%) don’t exist (until we exercise our power in one way or another, at which point they pull out all the stops to crush us). They want us to shut up and go away but we do EXIST so goddamn get used to it.
Tim Pool, a/k/a TimCast is streaming live from an Occupy Wall Street action in NYC this afternoon (@4:21 p.m. ET). See it live here.
Tim Pool is a guy I “met” three or four weeks ago when he was walking around with an iPhone filming the goings on in Zuccotti Park and live streaming on UStream. His Twitter address is @TimCast.
He is an incredible reporter. He reported what he saw without adding editorial comment and man oh man, he was a joy to watch. TIME magazine gave him some props in this short video posted on their website.
Anyway, he is movin’ on up. He’s gotten a hold of a drone like thing to film protests from the air. Here is the test run. Note the view from the drone in the upper left hand corner.
You go Tim!
For those of you wondering what the “message” of the Occupy Wall Street protesters is, here’s a hint:
Chief executive pay has roared back after two years of stagnation and decline. America’s top bosses enjoyed pay hikes of between 27 and 40% last year, according to the largest survey of US CEO pay. The dramatic bounceback comes as the latest government figures show wages for the majority of Americans are failing to keep up with inflation.
America’s highest paid executive took home more than $145.2m, and as stock prices recovered across the board, the median value of bosses’ profits on stock options rose 70% in 2010, from $950,400 to $1.3m.
The Guardian’s exclusive first look at the CEO pay survey from corporate governance group GMI Ratings will further fuel debate about America’s widening income gap. The survey, the most extensive in the US, covered 2,647 companies, and offers a comprehensive assessment of all the data now available relating to 2010 pay.
This year’s survey shows CEO pay packages have boomed: the top 10 earners took home more than $770m between them in 2010. As stock prices began to recover last year, the increase in CEO pay outstripped the rise in share value. The Russell 3000 measure of US stock prices was up by 16.93% in 2010, but CEO pay went up by 27.19% overall. For S&P 500 CEOs, the largest companies in the sample, total realised compensation – including perks and pensions and stock awards – increased by a median of 36.47%. Total pay at midcap companies, which are slightly smaller than the top firms, rose 40.2%.
“Wages for everybody else have either been in decline or stagnated in this period, and that’s for those who are in work… Bosses won in every area, with dramatic increases in pensions, payoffs and perks – as well as salary.
What’s most infuriating is that “wages for everybody else have either been in decline or stagnated in this period…” The fat cats are giving themselves raises but they’re not sharing the wealth with their employees. Not even a little bit.
There are what looks like several thousand Occupy Oakland protesters occupying the Port of Oakland this morning (I believe they have closed the port). Watch it live here.