Truth or Consequences

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Why we occupy: David Brin explains that 1957 was NOT better than today (but we could still use a little more change)

Nostalgia is for cretins. America was built by men and women who dreamed and built. Who believed – and believe – in progress. Who forgo the sick drug of hate and negotiate solutions. We’re much better off than in 1957 – in science, in health, in education, in opportunity. We’re not better in some ways – income inequality has skyrocketed, and instead of a global communist conspiracy, the greatest enemy of free enterprise is a cabal of 500 billionaires who appoint each other to corporate boards, protect each other and vote each other mega compensation packages, no matter how poorly the company does.

October 20th

New action at Citibank to protest record profits (with video)

The Washington, DC arm of Occupy Wall Street has called for a day of action against Citibank. At this hour they have staged a protest at a DC branch with more than 40 protestors, and word is that some have once again been locked inside the branch and police have been called. We’ll see if DC police behave in a more civilized manner than NYPD.

Citibank, one of the largest recipients of bailout money, has nonetheless managed to pull off record profits, pay their executives huge amounts, and pay minimal taxes, which makes them a poster child for everything that Occupy Wall Street is protesting against.

October 20th

New video: inside Citibank as guards prevent Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from leaving.

A new video has been posted from inside the Citibank in New York City that was the scene of mass arrests on Saturday.
The video clearly shows Occupy Wall Street protesters, who had come to the branch to close their Citibank accounts, trying to leave. They are prevented from doing so by Citibank security guards and a man in a grey sweater who never identifies himself, but tells them, “It’s too late.”
Soon police show up and tell the demonstrators they are all under arrest for criminal trespass – even as the occupiers say “We were never given a warning by police officers.”

October 20th

OWS: Disruptive Citibank protester was undercover cop

Well, we now have more information about the foolish but well-meaning action by Occupy Wall Street at that Citibank branch in New York. And there’s nothing in the latest revelations that changes the conclusion: Citibank could have chosen to shrug its collective shoulders and get on with business, but instead elected to have a bunch of kids arrested, and thereby bought itself a billion dollars worth of negative publicity.

October 19th

Wall Street bought the political process on the cheap

Politico has a story up about how unhappy big-money donors on Wall Street are with President Obama. He’s taking the side of the smelly Occupy Wall Streeters and saying mean things about his nice, responsible banker friends! They may just close their checkbooks and stay home, or worse, give all their money to Mitt.

But as I read the article, it struck me that Politico had totally missed the real story here – that these whiney Wallstreeters had purchased themselves a government for a spectacularly tiny sum.

October 19th

James Howard Kunstler: Will Occupy Wall Street go apeshit, or sink into a long, desperate winter?

Just as a horrific accident in finance is about to happen, a ready-made revolutionary mob is conveniently parked outside the pilot-houses of the world’s great money vessels, so as to receive the crews directly into their open arms after the smash up.
President Obama could have changed the outcome if he had actually believed in change. He could have told his attorney general to enforce the securities law. He could have replaced the zombies at the SEC and told the new ones to apply all existing regulations.
Before last year’s election, he could have used his legislative majorities to repeal the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and reinstate the Glass-Steagall act. He could have initiated the process of deconstructing the giant banks back into their separate functions – so that banking once again worked as a utility rather than a launching pad for colossal frauds and swindles. Not only did he fail to do any of these things, he didn’t even talk about it, or try.

October 17th

Occupy Wall Street: Citibank was stupid. Chase bank was smart.

By now just about everyone in the country must know that 23 Occupy Wall Street demonstrators were arrested Saturday in Manhattan when they attempted to close their Citibank accounts. Their crime: they talked about it too much.
What you probably don’t know is: on the same morning a similar group went to a Chase bank branch and engaged in a similar action. You don’t know this because, unlike at Citibank, the Chase manager just rolled with it. No arrests, no police, and it was all over in a few minutes.
So while the demonstrators made some poor choices, Citibank made some EXTREMELY poor choices.

October 17th

The trouble with Monsanto and GMO – Dr David Suzuki spells it out

In honor of World Food Day, I thought it was important to take a look at the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). I’ve been asked why we’re writing so much about Monsanto and GMO.
I’m not a geneticist. If I say “We don’t know enough about this,” I’m just one guy. So I’ll let a geneticist answer those questions. But David Suzuki is one of the top geneticists in the world, and he says,
“Because we aren’t certain about the effects of GMOs, we must consider one of the guiding principles in science, the precautionary principle. Under this principle, if a policy or action could harm human health or the environment, we must not proceed until we know for sure what the impact will be. And it is up to those proposing the action or policy to prove that it is NOT harmful.”

October 16th

James Howard Kunstler: Occupy Everything

I dropped in on the Occupy Wall Street crowd down in Zuccotti Park last Thursday. It was like 1968 all over again, except there was no weed wafting on the breeze (another WTF?). The Boomer-owned-and-operated media was complaining about them all week. They were “coddled trust-funders” (an odd accusation made by people whose college enrollment status got them a draft deferment, back when college cost $500 a year). Then there was the persistent nagging over the “lack of an agenda,” as if the US Department of Energy, or the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs was doing a whole lot better

This is the funniest part to me: that leaders of a nation incapable of constructing a coherent consensus about reality can accuse its youth of not having a clear program. If the OWS movement stands for anything, it’s a dire protest against the country’s leaders’ lack of a clear program.

October 11th

Obama admin approves Arctic drilling plan

Well, it’s been a good week for oil companies. After two years of delays, the Obama administration has approved oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
You’ll be relieved to know that there will be no environmental impact from the planned exploitation of 30 million acres of stormy, icy, dangerous waters off the coast of Alaska.

October 5th