Tuesday ReadsPosted: October 18, 2011 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: #OccupyWallStreet, Amish renegades, Anita Perry, Christian fundamentalists, evangelicals, Glass Steagall Act, global occupy protests, hair-cutting attacks, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, the burning bush, Volker rule 18 Comments
Good Morning!! I’m struggling with some kind of viral thing. I don’t know if it’s the flu or what, but I’ve been really tired and my brain hasn’t been working properly. Anyway, I’ve got some odds and ends of news for you, and I hope what I write will make sense.
There’s a good summary of the global nature of the Occupy protests at the Guardian:
In Madrid, tens of thousands thronged the Puerta del Sol square shouting “Hands up! This is a robbery!” In Santiago, 25,000 Chileans processed through the city, pausing outside the presidential palace to hurl insults at the country’s billionaire president. In Frankfurt, more than 5,000 people massed outside the European Central Bank, in scenes echoed in 50 towns and cities across Germany, from Berlin to Stuttgart. Sixty thousand people gathered in Barcelona, 100 in Manila, 3,000 in Auckland, 200 in Kuala Lumpur, 1,000 in Tel Aviv, 4,000 in London.
A month to the day after 1,000 people first turned up in Wall Street to express their outrage at corporate greed and social inequality, campaigners are reflecting on a weekend that saw a relatively modest demonstration in New York swell into a truly global howl of protest.
The Occupy campaign may have hoped, at its launch, to inspire similar action elsewhere, but few can have foreseen that within four weeks, more than 900 cities around the world would host co-ordinated protests directly or loosely affiliated to the Occupy cause.
The exact targets of protesters’ anger may differ from city to city and country to country. But while their numbers remain small in many places, activists argue that Saturday’s demonstrations, many of which are still ongoing – and are pledged to remain so for the foreseeable future – are evidence of a growing wave of global anger at social and economic injustice.
It’s just amazing how this movement has grown.
You know how Dakinikat has been arguing that one of the first things Occupy protesters should be demanding is the restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act? Well, Matt Yglesias says it’s no big deal: Glass-Steagall is Mostly a Red Herring.
Something I’ve heard from participants in the 99 Percent Movement is a revival of interest in rescinding the repeal of the 1932 Glass-Steagall Act. I think this is largely a misunderstanding, and it’s a actually a different — slightly more obscure — banking regulation from the same era that people are interested in.
First off, what did Glass-Steagall do? Well it did a number of things (like establish the FDIC) that were never repealed. But the rule that was repealed in the 1999 Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act were restrictions on the same holding company owning a bank and owning other kinds of financial companies. The thing about this is just that there’s really nothing in particular about co-ownership that you can point to as having been a problem in the financial crisis. And if anything that fact seems to indicate that the repealers were right to think there’s no special problem here — even in a huge financial crisis combined financial firms worked no worse than other kinds.
I’d like to see Matt debate Dakinikat about this on national TV. Here’s what Mark Thoma had to say about it:
I am sympathetic to this point of view, i.e. that the elimination of Glass-Steagall wasn’t an important causative factor in the crash. However, as I said a few days ago:
There is a debate over the extent to which removing Glass-Steagall — the old version of the Volcker rule — contributed to the crisis. However, whether the elimination of the Glass-Steagall act caused the present crisis is the wrong question to ask. To determine the value of reinstating a similar rule, the question is whether the elimination of the Glass-Steagall act made the system more vulnerable to crashes. When the question is phrased in this way, it’s clear that it has for the reasons outlined above.
So there’s still a reason to reinstate some version of the rule even if it wasn’t the main problem in the banking sector this time around.
I have a couple of stories about crazy Republican candidates, well one candidate and one candidate’s wife. First, on Sunday Herman Cain discussed his views on abortion:
“I believe in life from conception, and I do not agree with abortion under any circumstances,” Cain responded. “Not for rape and incest because if you look at, you look at rape and incest, the, the percentage of those instances is so miniscule that there are other options. If it’s the life of the mother, that family’s going to have to make that decision.”
Pressed on the life of the mother exception, Cain stuck to his answer, saying, “That family is going to have to make that decision.”
And check this out (via NPR). Last year Cain wrote a piece for Red State in which he called Jesus “the perfect conservative” and claimed that a “liberal court” was responsible for Jesus being crucified.
He helped the poor without one government program. He healed the sick without a government health care system. He feed the hungry without food stamps. And everywhere He went, it turned into a rally, attracting large crowds, and giving them hope, encouragement and inspiration.
For three years He was unemployed, and never collected an unemployment check. Nevertheless, he completed all the work He needed to get done. He didn’t travel by private jet. He walked and sailed, and sometimes traveled on a donkey…. And when they tried Him in court, He never said a mumbling word….
The liberal court found Him guilty of false offences [sic] and sentenced Him to death, all because He changed the hearts and minds of men with an army of 12.
Funny, most liberals are opposed to capital punishment… Can you imagine this guy in the White House? That would be proof that there is no god.
Next up, Anita Perry, wife of presidential candidate Rick Perry. It seems she’s the real extremist evangelical behind Governor Goodhair. Last Thursday, she gave a very revealing speech in South Carolina in which she claimed that she and her husband have been “brutalized” by the other Republican candidates because of their “faith.”
The Texas first lady weaved [sic] together religion and politics in a speech at North Greenville University, characterizing her husband’s decision to seek the presidency in August as a calling from God. Perry suggested her husband was being targeted for his evangelical Christian faith.
“It’s been a rough month. We have been brutalized and beaten up and chewed up in the press to where I need this today,” she said. “We are being brutalized by our opponents, and our own party. So much of that is, I think they look at him, because of his faith. He is the only true conservative – well, there are some true conservatives. And they’re there for good reasons. And they may feel like God called them too. But I truly feel like we are here for that purpose.”
NPR noted that Mrs. Perry admitted in the speech that she had been the one who pushed Governor Goodhair to throw his hat into the presidential ring.
According to Mrs. Perry, it was she, not her husband, who first heard the divine call that her husband should run for president.
“There was a nagging, pulling at my heart for him to run for president. He didn’t want to hear a thing about running for president. He felt like he needed to see the burning bush. I said ‘Look, let me tell you something. You may not see that burning bush but there are people seeing that burning bush for you.’ “
The “burning bush” was a reference to the Old Testament story found in Exodus 3 where God gives Moses his marching orders to tell Pharoah to release the Israelites from Egyptian bondage.
Among the noteworthy aspects of that Old Testament tale, is that it’s Moses who gets the divine message directly. It doesn’t come via an intermediary like, say, Aaron his older brother.
That’s the thing about such callings. They’re intensely personal. That’s why they’re so often marked by such a profound sense of drive and personal mission and willingness to sacrifice.
If Gov. Perry had doubts, which his wife certainly makes it appear was the case, and had to be persuaded to run, that could certainly help explain what looks to many as a lack of preparation for a national campaign.
Yikes! The burning bush? These people are completely out of touch with reality.
Yesterday Reuters published an in-depth article about Anita Perry, in case you’d like to know more.
Speaking of fundamentalist religions, here’s a bizarre story from The New York Times about Amish “renegades” attacking other Amish people.
BERGHOLZ, Ohio — Myron Miller and his wife, Arlene, had been asleep for an hour when their 15-year-old daughter woke them and said that people were knocking at the door.
Mr. Miller, 45, a stocky construction worker and an Amish bishop in the peaceful farmlands of eastern Ohio, found five or six men waiting. Some grabbed him and wrestled him outside as others hacked at his long black beard with scissors, clipping off six inches. As Mr. Miller kept struggling, his wife screamed at the children to call 911, and the attackers fled.
For an Amish man, it was an unthinkable personal violation, and all the more bewildering because those accused in the attack are other Amish….
The attackers, the authorities said, had traveled from an isolated splinter settlement near Bergholz, south of the Miller residence. Sheriffs and Amish leaders in the region, home to one of the country’s largest concentrations of Amish, had come to expect trouble from the Bergholz group. It is said to be led with an iron hand by Sam Mullet, a prickly 66-year-old man who had become bitterly estranged from mainstream Amish communities and had had several confrontations with the Jefferson County sheriff.
Too weird. So…. What are you reading and blogging about today?
Late Night Open Thread: Geraldo Visits #OccupyWallStreetPosted: October 12, 2011 Filed under: open thread | Tags: #OccupyWallStreet, Fox News, Geraldo Rivera 2 Comments
He was not welcomed with open arms, to put it mildly.
“Krugman’s Army” Open ThreadPosted: October 10, 2011 Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent!, Civil Liberties, open thread, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics | Tags: #OccupyWallStreet, first amendment, Michael Bloomberg, OccupyAtlanta, OccupyBoston, Paul Krugman, police brutality, protesters, U.S. Constitution 25 Comments
Last week, Mayor Bloomberg was all over #Occupy Wall Street, claiming the protesters were trying to destroy the jobs of Wall Street Bankers and other denizens of Wall Street, and threatening that somehow the protests would cause NYC to be unable to pay municipal workers.
I guess one of his advisers must have told him it might not be a good idea to deny that people have a right to assemble in public and air their grievances, according to the U.S. Constitution, because now Bloomberg is singing another tune.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Monday that he’ll allow the Wall Street protesters to stay indefinitely, provided they abide by the law, marking his strongest statement to date on the city’s willingness to let demonstrators occupy a park in Lower Manhattan.
“The bottom line is – people want to express themselves. And as long as they obey the laws, we’ll allow them to,” said Bloomberg as he prepared to march in the Columbus Day Parade on Fifth Avenue. “If they break the laws, then, we’re going to do what we’re supposed to do: enforce the laws.”
Bloomberg said he has “no idea” how much longer the Wall Street demonstration will last. “I think part of it has probably to do with the weather,” he said.
I think someone needs to send the Mayor a copy of the Constitution with the first amendment highlighted. He still thinks he gets to decide if American citizens can gather and protest on public property.
I wonder what Bloomberg will say about what the protesters plan to do next? From the New York Daily News:
The Occupy Wall Street protesters are planning to get in the face of some of New York’s richest tycoons on Tuesday.
A “Millionaires March” will visit the homes – or, more realistically, the gleaming marble lobbies – of five of the city’s wealthiest residents.
On the target list: NewsCorp CEO Rupert Murdoch, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, conservative billionaire David Koch, financier Howard Milstein and hedge fund mogul John Paulson.
Between 400 and 800 marchers plan to go to their homes to present them with oversize checks to dramatize how much less they will pay when New York State’s 2% tax on millionaires expires at the end of the year.
This is starting to get interesting. I admit I find the call and response routine of the protesters kind of annoying, but that’s OK. We annoyed a lot of old folks when we protested the Vietnam War too. Annoying old folks is one of the responsibilities of the young.
Meanwhile, in Boston, police are warning the protesters to go home or else:
Boston police were warning the more than 1,000 Occupy Boston protesters tonight that if they do not leave the Rose Kennedy Greenway and Dewey Square areas that authorities would move them out.
Police were visible around the areas in small batches tonight, while protest organizers held a meeting on the Greenway, answering questions from the demonstrators.
Occupy Boston, in a statement last night, answered the police warning by issuing a call “for any and all people to join the occupation as soon as possible.”
“From the beginning, occupiers have worked tirelessly to maintain a positive working relationship with city officials. Today’s threats by the Boston Police Department represent a sudden shift away from that dialogue,” the statement said.
The mayor’s office, however, has said the city will make no effort to clear the original Dewey Square tent city tonight, but police have said that if protesters do not leave the Greenway, the authorities would clear both the Greenway and Dewey Square.
Hmmmm…sounds like Mayor Menino is out of sync with the cops. Very interesting. Minx says the Atlanta police are itching to crack some heads too. The cops just never understand that when they attack protesters they only draw more attention to them and their grievances.
Here’s my top Priorities for OccupyPosted: October 9, 2011 Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent! | Tags: #OccupyWallStreet 40 Comments
Cannonfire and I have been going back and forth on the primary goals for Occupy. This video pretty much sums up my thoughts.
Number One item on the list is to put back a wall of separation between investment and commercial banking. The countries that still have their versions of Glass-Steagall in place–including Canada, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland–aren’t having economic growth and job problems like the rest of us. They didn’t have major banking crises in 2007-2008 either. We’re on the verge of having them again too. The shadow banking system in this country and in most of Europe is out of control.
Number Two is get rid of the idea that corporations are individuals. They shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with political campaigns and any one who is in the senior management or the board of directors should be held personally responsible for the havoc they wreck. Get the corporate laws out of the states and make it a federal deal. Incorporation shouldn’t mean abdication from responsibility. Buildings, machines and workers don’t make decisions, senior managers do.
Number Three is treat capital gains, interest and income from wages and salaries equally. Income is Income. Then get the tax system back to being more progressive.
Number Four is to go back to enforcing the country’s Anti Trust laws. We’ve allowed huge inefficient mega-corporations to run off all our medium and small sized business. We don’t have healthy competition which is part of an efficient market system. We have monopoly/oligopoly.
Number Five is to rework the old usury laws and start forgiving some debt when it’s been proven that there was negligence in lending practices. Banks shouldn’t be charging exorbitant fees and interest rates on loans when the money they are getting from depositors and the Fed is cheap. We shouldn’t be subsidizing usury.
All this crap came from policies started during the Reagan Years and it needs to be stuffed back into the box. That doesn’t mean all the laws have to look exactly like they did when they were originated around 100 years ago, but completely removing all of it has led to all kinds of instabilities. These are instabilities we had before these regulations and laws were put in to place. It’s ridiculous for the US taxpayer to support large scale gambling.
There you go, Joseph, that’s my list!
Have any others to add or subtract?
Wealthy and Powerful Politicians are Terrified of #OccupyWallStreetPosted: October 7, 2011 Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent!, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics | Tags: #OccupyWallStreet, Eric Cantor, growing mobs, Michael Bloomberg, municipal workers, Tea Party, unions, Values Voters Summit 22 Comments
Mayor Bloomberg is really upset. In an interview with the Village Voice today, He claimed that #OccupyWallStreet is trying to destroy jobs for working people in New York City. Funny, I had the impression they were protesting because so many Americans don’t have jobs.
“Everyone’s got a thing they want to protest, some of which is not realistic,” Bloomberg said. “And if you focus for example on driving the banks out of New York City, you know those are our jobs … You can’t have it both ways: If you want jobs you have to assist companies and give them confidence to go and hire people.”
“The protests that are trying to destroy the jobs of working people in this city aren’t productive,” Bloomberg said in his weekly radio appearance with John Gambling. Taking a swipe at “some of the labor unions participating,” Bloomberg added that “their salaries come from – are paid by – some of the people they’re trying to vilify.”
I guess as far as Bloomberg is concerned, the bottom 99% don’t pay any taxes, and bankers are “working people.” That seems like a pretty skewed view of reality to me. But what do I know? I’m in the bottom 99%. And where did he get the idea that anyone is trying to drive the banks out of New York?
Bloomberg says the protests could affect tourism, but it seems to me that a lot of those protesters are from out of town and probably spending whatever money they have in NYC. But of course they aren’t wealthy or bankers, so they probably don’t count in Bloomberg’s world.
Bloomberg also issues a couple of not-very-subtle threats. He says “we’re not going to be able to pay our municipal employees,” presumably because all the bankers will leave town and there won’t be any tourists. I don’t get the logic there, but the threat to unions who have joined the protests is clear.
Finally, Bloomberg said that he’s letting the protesters “express themselves,” but he hinted that a crackdown could come at any time. I wonder if he realizes how much he sounds like Hosni Mubarak?
“The one thing I can tell you for sure,” he said…”is if anybody in the city breaks the law we will arrest them and turn them over the district attorneys.”
Hmmm…does that include bankers who broke the law? Or does the warning just apply to the bottom 99%?
And then there’s Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). Today spoke at the “Values Voters Summit,” which, according to MSNBC, is
an annual gathering of the religious right…[that] provides Republican politicians and presidential candidates an opportunity to display their conservative bona fides.
In the speech, Cantor expressed his fear of the #OccupyWallStreet protesters:
House GOP Leader Eric Cantor decried the protests that started several weeks ago in New York, and have spread to major cities across the country. Cantor said in a speech at the Values Voters Summit in Washington that he is “increasingly concerned” about the “growing mobs” represented at the protests….
“Some in Washington have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans,” Cantor said of the protests after accusing the Obama administration’s policies of being an “assault on many of our nation’s bedrock principles.”
Here’s a clip from the speech:
The hypocrisy almost takes your breath away, doesn’t it? Cantor speaks to a group of people who are segregated by their religion and political party and who as a group hate gays, women, and anyone who isn’t their kind of “Christian,” and he accuses the Occupy protesters–a very diverse group–of dividing Americans against each other.
Oh and Cantor loves the Tea Party, because they aren’t trying to divide Americans against each other. /snark
The good news is these two powerful politicians–and probably many others as well–are running scared. Let’s keep them that way!