Blog

Occupy Wall Street: What’s Really Going On

Thursday, October 13, 2011, 8:16 AM

On Friday, October 7th, a beautiful blue-sky and warm-ish October day, I went to Zuccotti Park in NYC with Livio Sanchez (film editor) and Debby Brand (camera operator) to see firsthand what Occupy Wall Street was all about and record what we could.

What we found were people united by a sense that our national narrative is off course and that resentment over the patent unfairness of our current system is building. Perhaps the most common expression we found was that people, to varying degrees, thought that there was something systemically wrong.

Because of this widespread view of ‘everything being wrong,’ there was, naturally, no single message or thing around which everyone had gathered. Instead, the view was simply that the system being discussed -- political, capitalist, economic, or monetary -- was broken.

When you hold such a view, there’s really no ‘ask’ that makes sense. If the political system is irretrievably in the clutches of special interests, then voting new members into that system is perceived to be a waste of effort.

The short video below (less than four minutes) captures well what we observed:

The ‘protest’ is as much about participation and discussion as about airing grievances. People are talking. They are debating. They are doing exactly what you learn about in grade school when they teach you about how our political system has worked in the past and is supposed to work today. The difference, of course, is that no real debate, discussion, nor real participation is happening in Congress or the Senate.

The first stage of any movement begins with energy and passion, as pent up emotions find their first outlet. On this basis, the movement is in fine shape. To expect well-shaped messages at this moment is asking a bit much. Those will happen in time.

I thought this editorial in the NYTimes was pretty close to spot on:

Protesters Against Wall Street

As the Occupy Wall Street protests spread from Lower Manhattan to Washington and other cities, the chattering classes keep complaining that the marchers lack a clear message and specific policy prescriptions.

The message — and the solutions — should be obvious to anyone who has been paying attention since the economy went into a recession that continues to sock the middle class while the rich have recovered and prospered. The problem is that no one in Washington has been listening.

The protests, though, are more than a youth uprising. The protesters’ own problems are only one illustration of the ways in which the economy is not working for most Americans. They are exactly right when they say that the financial sector, with regulators and elected officials in collusion, inflated and profited from a credit bubble that burst, costing millions of Americans their jobs, incomes, savings and home equity. As the bad times have endured, Americans have also lost their belief in redress and recovery.

The initial outrage has been compounded by bailouts and by elected officials’ hunger for campaign cash from Wall Street, a toxic combination that has reaffirmed the economic and political power of banks and bankers, while ordinary Americans suffer.

Extreme inequality is the hallmark of a dysfunctional economy, dominated by a financial sector that is driven as much by speculation, gouging and government backing as by productive investment.

(Source)

There’s much that I agree with in that editorial. The main problems that led to the protests are quite obvious: a pronounced inequality in the distribution of economic gains and an even worse gap between the legal treatment of the well-connected and everyone else. Of course, ‘well-connected’ is merely a euphemism for ‘has enough money to stoke the self-interests of legislators and regulators'.

Who can doubt that Martha Stewart received very different treatment from Bernie Madoff? Or Lehman Bros. and their Repo 105 scandal, for that matter.

Of great interest to me is the even larger gulf between how most US media outlets began coverage of the protests (and continue to this day) and what we see in the foreign press.

According to Fox News, the angle worth covering is how the protests might hurt – wait for it – tourism!

Protesters Accused of Hurting NYC Economy

Oct 7, 2011

NEW YORK -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday accused the Wall Street demonstrators of trying to cripple New York City's economy.

"What they're trying to do is take the jobs away from people working in this city," the mayor declared in his harshest criticism of the three-week-old protest that has caught the attention of the nation.

"They're trying to take away the tax base we have because none of this is good for tourism."

(Source)

These comments from Bloomberg have caused me to lose respect for him, both as a person and as a polished politician. His very poorly-thought-out complaints were not worthy of being the center of an article about the movement.

Contrast the above with RT offering a foreign view:

Occupy Wall Street: major protest against minority rule

Oct 9, 2011

“This seems pretty revolutionary to me. The spirit of revolution is here and so I need to be a part of it,” says campaigner Talib Kweli.

Labor unions, transport workers, teachers, nurses and US veterans standing shoulder-to-shoulder with young activists, spearheading a fight against US wealth inequality and corporate greed.

“Young people right now have no hope in our society. I just want to see a fair and more just society for the young people coming up, and all Americans that are suffering through these hard economic times,” a US army veteran told RT during the protests.

The “Occupy” movement has gained such momentum even the president, who promised change, has been forced to address the issue.

"I think people are frustrated, and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works,” Barack Obama told a press conference. “The American people understand that not everybody has been following the rules; that Wall Street is an example of that.”

While the US has encouraged and supported democratic uprisings in the Arab world, the same events playing out at home have been met with batons, pepper spray and the mass arrest of nearly 800 peaceful protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge. A scene that reminded some of Egypt’s Tahrir Square.

(Source)

That’s a much more balanced summary than what Fox dished up...and it comes from the Russian press. The comparison puts US press in a rather bad light. Well, maybe not all that bad, as long as you don’t mind the rank hypocrisy of Fox News of wholeheartedly supporting the Egyptian people's exercise of democratic rights while casting those exercising their same rights in the US in a bad light.

I had a great time meeting people and finding out what the Occupy Wall Street movement is all about. My findings are that the energy is good and the movement is right about where it should be at this stage. I am very much in support of average Americans finally joining the world in making their voices heard.

Many of you have started an intelligent discussion in our forums of the OWS movement, what it represents, and what positive change might result from it. We encourage all interested minds to join the discussion.

I expect to go back and rejoin the movement as soon as I return from my California trip. Perhaps I’ll see you there.

Related content

312 Comments

frobn's picture
frobn
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 28 2010
Posts: 184
Thank you Chris.  

Thank you Chris.

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1271
Bias in all media....

Chris Martenson wrote:

That’s a much more balanced summary that what Fox dished up...and it comes from the Russian press. The comparison puts US press in a rather bad light.

Really?  While the Fox take was awful, so was the RT.  RT was slanted toward the "corporate greed" and didn't even hint that perhaps the government policies might be involved in a lot of this mess.

Then we have this quote in the RT article from George Soros:

RT Article wrote:

Two miles from the chaos, at the United Nations, even financier and billionaire George Soros weighed in on the populist uprising.

Actually, I can understand their sentiments, frankly,” he said. “The decision not to inject capital into the banks but to effectively relieve them of their bad assets, and them allow them to earn their way out of a hole, gave the banks bumper profits and that allowed them to pay bumper bonuses. As I say, I can sympathize with their grievances.

This is from one of the most greedy corporate individuals around whose wealth has come from the actions that many of the OWS are now protesting.  I guess it shows if you toss some crumbs to many progressive organizations you can buy forgiveness.

At any rate, Soro's presents a false choice: How about we should not have injected capital or relieved their debts, they should have FAILED!  

RT Article wrote:

Many believe this ongoing event could become a turning point in the US, where a mass movement goads American politicians into working for the majority of the people – a passionate collective demanding democracy from the very leaders that promote it.

Democracy is mob rule.  Now if we decide to return to our Republic roots, perhaps we have a chance... If we continue down the "democracy" route we will surely get the bailouts for the people at the expense of others and no resolution to the underlying issues. This whole 99% vs. 1% argument is quite destructive.  I'll stand up for the 1% because if we decide mob rules is the way of the future, who will stand up for the 1% when it's based on a trait other than wealth?

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1840
Don't Be Surprised If No One Gets What They Want

I like that they're still discussing what they think is wrong and trying to come to some kind of consensus.

Don't be surprised if more people are for a better safety net, or more protectionism. The pendulum has swung pretty hard one way.

Government AND corporations together, the whole system, is the problem - that's why there are so many who fervently say it's government, and so many who fervently say it's corporations, and they're both right.

Some want to blame the people instead, for allowing this?  Well the people are starting to want to do something about it, and it won't necessarily be what you or I want them to do. The pendulum may very well swing in a direction no one - not even "the people" - want.

Events and trends aren't always logical. It's like lots of people with their hands on a Ouija board. Even the people in Egypt aren't quite happy after their Arab Spring brought down Mubarak.

I applaud Dr. Martenson's efforts. I hope his "Crash Course" ideas - and community-building, resiliency-and-preparedness ideas about creating a future worth inheriting for EVERYONE - really get a good, strong reception in the OccupyWallStreet movement. This may be the kind of paradigm shift that we need, to get the ideas of the "Crash Course" into the mainstream.

We all know something is rotten in the state of the world, to paraphrase Hamlet. Now is not the time to be Ophelia.

Poet

harshrealistuk's picture
harshrealistuk
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 6 2009
Posts: 3
UK perspective

I have been watching “Russian Today” in order to get a balanced perspective on the news. To be honest there is very little coverage on the BBC relating to the occupation of Wall Street. As far as I am concerned this is a very important movement that deserves to have recognised publicity. Yes, it may be unfocused at the moment, but I have no doubt in time an organised approach will be adopted. As I get older I am less likely to be brainwashed by the state, I have become wise to the tricks that they play. The propaganda that that is produced, thank goodness for the internet, it’s not perfect and yes there are people who don’t have the correct handle on what is going on, such as some you tube bloggers, but in the main it is educational, and gives people the opportunity to see things from a different perspective. Think about this, if you lived on an island and had no external contact with other countries, you will be more likely to follow the belief systems of that country. Only when we have the opportunity to compare and contrast other belief systems can you make independent critical assessments and question a set of beliefs.

Unfortunately in the main the population have been dumbed down in the UK and US, but there are a few people trying to wake up the rest. The Wall Street protesters are one such group, they understand that Politicians, Wall Street and the Federal Reserve Bank work hand in hand, they have a handle on how money is borrowed into existence with interest that benefits disproportionately the banking elite, they understand the scam of derivatives, and they know that many bankers should be jailed for their corrupt practices that effectively rob the average person.

There is now a movement in the UK, similiar to the Wall Street Occupation, that is gaining momentum, I wonder how long it will be before the mainstream media gives it the publicity it deserves? We are truly living in scary times, this is no ordinary business cycle, we are crippled with too much debt following the introduction of derivatives. The generation that has lived in an economic bubble need to step outside their normalcy bias otherwise they won’t cope with what is coming, that’s why they need to be educated.

frobn's picture
frobn
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 28 2010
Posts: 184
Poet wrote:I like that

Poet wrote:

I like that they're still discussing what they think is wrong and trying to come to some kind of consensus.

Don't be surprised if more people are for a better safety net, or more protectionism. The pendulum has swung pretty hard one way.

Government AND corporations together, the whole system, is the problem - that's why there are so many who fervently say it's government, and so many who fervently say it's corporations, and they're both right.

Some want to blame the people instead, for allowing this?  Well the people are starting to want to do something about it, and it won't necessarily be what you or I want them to do. The pendulum may very well swing in a direction no one - not even "the people" - want.

Events and trends aren't always logical. It's like lots of people with their hands on a Ouija board. Even the people in Egypt aren't quite happy after their Arab Spring brought down Mubarak.

I applaud Dr. Martenson's efforts. I hope his "Crash Course" ideas - and community-building, resiliency-and-preparedness ideas about creating a future worth inheriting for EVERYONE - really get a good, strong reception in the OccupyWallStreet movement. This may be the kind of paradigm shift that we need, to get the ideas of the "Crash Course" into the mainstream.

We all know something is rotten in the state of the world, to paraphrase Hamlet. Now is not the time to be Ophelia.

Poet

I can understand your disagreement with Soros and your point about democracy. I would not expect either Fox or RT to cover all the points or to have all of them right for that matter but for a contrast between "tourism" and the more substantive content in RT, Chris is right they did portray the more balanced view.

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1271
Us versus Them

frobn wrote:

I would not expect either Fox or RT to cover all the points or to have all of them right for that matter but for a contrast between "tourism" and more the substantive content in RT, Chris is right they did portray the more balanced view.

I don't know which is more damaging?  One paints the groups as kooks that are disrupting tourism and the other added more to the us versus them rhetoric.  It's the us versus them I find problematic.  We need the same rules applied to everyone.  We have had a government that is allowing the large corporations to play by different rules.  Obama's comment in the RT article about "playing by the rules" was massively hypocritical - coming from someone who has decided to legislate through regulation and decided it's okay to murder as long as your the president.

We really need to stop the "us versus them" narative.  It's divisive and doesn't help bring everyone together to solve our current predicament.  It's why we need to take back control and bring it to the local community level.  It is very hard to effect change in a large centralized bureaucracy, but smaller groups can certainly bring about change at the local level.  In order to bring about "self-resiliency" you have to have the ability to make decisions (right or wrong) about how to live.  Unfortunately we have seen more of that decision making abilty being taken away from us in all aspects of our lives (energy, healthcare, food, ...)

Poet wrote:

Government AND corporations together, the whole system, is the problem - that's why there are so many who fervently say it's government, and so many who fervently say it's corporations, and they're both right.

Some want to blame the people instead, for allowing this?  Well the people are starting to want to do something about it, and it won't necessarily be what you or I want them to do. The pendulum may very well swing in a direction no one - not even "the people" - want.

I agree it's a very dangerous time.  There is lot's of blame to go around, including "the people".  We have been lulled by an easy life into giving up our rights and our responsibilities.  We all have had a part to play.  We all have some of the blame.

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1840
Hey Frobn, I Didn't Say Anything About George Soros

Frobn

I think you may have quoted the wrong person. I have not said anything about George Soros, as you may see from your quote of my words.

Poet

frobn wrote:

Poet wrote:

I like that they're still discussing what they think is wrong and trying to come to some kind of consensus.

Don't be surprised if more people are for a better safety net, or more protectionism. The pendulum has swung pretty hard one way.

Government AND corporations together, the whole system, is the problem - that's why there are so many who fervently say it's government, and so many who fervently say it's corporations, and they're both right.

Some want to blame the people instead, for allowing this?  Well the people are starting to want to do something about it, and it won't necessarily be what you or I want them to do. The pendulum may very well swing in a direction no one - not even "the people" - want.

Events and trends aren't always logical. It's like lots of people with their hands on a Ouija board. Even the people in Egypt aren't quite happy after their Arab Spring brought down Mubarak.

I applaud Dr. Martenson's efforts. I hope his "Crash Course" ideas - and community-building, resiliency-and-preparedness ideas about creating a future worth inheriting for EVERYONE - really get a good, strong reception in the OccupyWallStreet movement. This may be the kind of paradigm shift that we need, to get the ideas of the "Crash Course" into the mainstream.

We all know something is rotten in the state of the world, to paraphrase Hamlet. Now is not the time to be Ophelia.

Poet

I can understand your disagreement with Soros and your point about democracy. I would not expect either Fox or RT to cover all the points or to have all of them right for that matter but for a contrast between "tourism" and the more substantive content in RT, Chris is right they did portray the more balanced view.

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 2380
Rhare wrote. This is from

Rhare wrote.

This is from one of the most greedy corporate individuals around whose wealth has come from the actions that many of the OWS are now protesting.  I guess it shows if you toss some crumbs to many progressive organizations you can buy forgiveness.

I see it differently. Chapter 1 "How to win Friends and influence People." There are no bad guys. Soros just does not get it.

He is the bad guy.

thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Platinum Member (Online)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 576
We have met the enemy

From what I've seen on the net, the news and in person in Occupy Philly, I like the undercurrent of community spirit ("we're all in this together") and even some humility (which is one of the good reasons for not coming with a set of predetermined truths and actions).  I would hope for a lot more humility because as Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."  I hope more and more people (from the 99% AND the 1%) are moved by OWS to do some soul searching and brutally honest confessing.  We have all played our parts in getting where we are, and recovery starts with accepting our personal responsibility whether that be simply not paying attention and being selfish, or whether it includes committing massive fraud. 

I continue to be very concerned that the movement is ripe for being co-opted and moved in negative or non-productive directions, especially by TPTB working behind the scenes and through proxies.  Even without being manipulated by TPTB, the Republicans and Democrats, or any other status quo power base, the movement seems vulnerable to eventually running off the rails by their own simple emotion.  In fact, if a takeover or self-destruct do NOT happen before a clear agenda of some kind is developed, it will have to be the first time in history. I think of the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution which might have looked a lot like this in the first early days. I think this part of what Poet is saying and I agree.

If I were part of the movement (and I'm not) I would advocate for making "Prosecute the Fraud" as the first or one of the first demands.  We've all made mistakes (of commission and omission) but only some of us have committed actual crimes. Let's start there by prosecuting the frauds that are currently illegal (starting with the biggest frauds and working our way down the food chains).  The system has to be either reformed (which begins with prosecution) or it has to be replaced. Demanding prosecutions would be a good way to help us decide if reform is possible, or if replacement will be required. Secondly, prosecution is one of the few steps that could be taken without educating and moving millions of people.  All it would take is one courageous public servant here (an order by the President) or there (the NY Attorney General, the US AG, the FBI Director, the SEC Chairman).  This would be a clear litmus test as to who we should vote for or against. Third, prosecutions would have a huge deterrent effect on those who thrive on ripping us and the system off.  This is something we could build on. Besides, who could be against "Prosecute the Fraud"?  I know, I know.  Bush and Obama, Greenspan and Bernanke, Geithner and Paulson, and Holder: they're all opposed to prosecuting the fraud. But that makes them obvious targets for replacement, doesn't it.  Who in America CAN'T understand "Prosecute the Fraud?"  Who in America, the Tea Party, the left or the right, the students and the retired, or the OWS movement wouldn't be heartened and energized by seeing a huge wave of prosecutions begin?  Think of how many aspiring future national leaders would see this as their ticket to higher office and jump into it with both feet?

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 573
"Vatican of Capitalism"

Wall Street historian and Columbia University professor Steve Fraser reminds us that this is not our first rodeo, Wall Street has been similarly charged before, and as typical, the publics’ response indicates the cusp of a larger sea change.

LA Times

A Century of Our Streets and Wall Street

One young woman at the demonstration held up a corrugated cardboard sign roughly magic-markered with one word written three times: “system,” “system,” “system.”  That single word resonates historically, even if it sounds strange to our ears today.  The indictment of presumptive elites, especially those housed on Wall Street, the conviction that the system over which they presided must be replaced by something more humane, was a robust feature of our country’s political and cultural life for a long century or more.

When in the years following the American Revolution, Jeffersonian democrats raised alarms about the “moneycrats” and their counterrevolutionary intrigues -- they meant Alexander Hamilton and his confederates in particular -- they were worried about the installation in the New World of a British system of merchant capitalism that would undo the democratic and egalitarian promise of the Revolution. 

When followers of Andrew Jackson inveighed against the Second Bank of the United States -- otherwise known as “the Monster Bank” -- they were up in arms against what they feared was the systematic monopolizing of financial resources by a politically privileged elite.  Just after the Civil War, the Farmer-Labor and Greenback political parties freed themselves of the two-party runaround, determined to mobilize independently to break the stranglehold on credit exercised by the big banks back East.

Later in the nineteenth century, Populists decried the overweening power of the Wall Street “devil fish” (shades of Matt Taibbi’s “giant vampire squid” metaphor for Goldman Sachs). Its tentacles, they insisted, not only reached into every part of the economy, but also corrupted churches, the press, and institutions of higher learning, destroyed the family, and suborned public officials from the president on down.  When, during his campaign for the presidency in 1896, the Populist-inspired “boy orator of the Platte” and Democratic Party candidate William Jennings Bryan vowed that mankind would not be “crucified on a cross of gold,” he meant Wall Street and everyone knew it. 

Around the turn of the century, the anti-trust movement captured the imagination of small businessmen, consumers, and working people in towns and cities across America.  The trust they worried most about was “the Money Trust.”  Captained by J.P. Morgan, “the financial Gorgon,” the Money Trust was skewered in court and in print by future Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis, subjected to withering Congressional investigations, excoriated in the exposés of “muckraking” journalists, and depicted by cartoonists as a cabal of prehensile Visigoths in death-heads.

As the twentieth century began, progressive reformers in state houses and city halls, socialists in industrial cities and out on the prairies, strikebound workers from coast to coast, working-class feminists, antiwar activists, and numerous others were still vigorously condemning that same Money Trust for turning the whole country into a closely-held system of financial pillage, labor exploitation, and imperial adventuring abroad.  As the movements made clear, everyone but Wall Street was suffering the consequences of a system of proliferating abuses perpetrated by “the Street.”

The tradition the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators have tapped into is a long and vibrant one that culminated during the Great Depression.  Then as now, there was no question in the minds of "the 99%” that Wall Street was principally to blame for the country’s crisis (however much that verdict has since been challenged by disputatious academics).

Insurgencies by industrial workers, powerful third-party threats to replace capitalism with something else, rallies and marches of the unemployed, and, yes, occupations, even seizures of private property, foreclosures forestalled by infuriated neighbors, and a pervasive sense that the old order needed burying had their lasting effect. In response, the New Deal attempted to unhorse those President Franklin Roosevelt termed “economic royalists,” who were growing rich off “other people’s money” while the country suffered its worst trauma since the Civil War. 

“The Street” trembled.

 

Outcast 19's picture
Outcast 19
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 23 2011
Posts: 46
I wish you hadn't gone there

Dear Dr. Martenson --

I wish you hadn't gone there...both figuratively and literally.  I wish you hadn't gone political on us by doing your investigative piece on OWS.  I was hoping you could avoid being distracted by the political maneuverings of various power centers and stay focused on helping your followers prepare for what lies ahead.  But as soon as you announced your plan to "see firsthand" what was "really going on" I knew where this would lead.  I wish you hadn't gone there because you have now confirmed that you have an agenda beyond the teachings of the Crash Course.

Your commentary on the OWS along with your choice of interviewees and photo ops is so myopic and biased that it's totally out of character for an impartial scientist.  And your dismissive remark about the ideal of rugged individualism being a lie is clearly at odds with what you have been preaching about the need for self-reliance in times of crisis.  The entire thing looked contrived.

In one of my earliest posts I defended you against a critic as being someone whose thoughts, words and actions were in alignment...a person of integrity.  Now, I am asking you to demonstrate that my assessment was accurate. Since you have decided to inject yourself into the politics of the crisis we are all facing, I am asking you to fully disclose your political views and any political agendas you may support.  As a person of integrity, you owe it to your subscribers to tell us what you stand for. 

People who have read my other posts know I am not a fan of Wall Street or Washington.  I am not defending them.  I just wish you hadn't climbed on the "we're all victims" bandwagon.  I liked it much better when you were focused on doing what you do best....helping people become more resilient.

Outcast 19

InCalgary's picture
InCalgary
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: May 27 2010
Posts: 11
Very Cool

This video is so cool! I can't wait to share it with others. Thanks, Chris!

ccpetersmd's picture
ccpetersmd
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 12 2008
Posts: 799
Fertile Ground

As I mentioned in Chris' first announcement that he was going to the OWS protest, I think many (not all) of the people there are asking good questions, even if they don't have answers or a clear direction. I was in NYC two weeks ago with my youngest son on a father-son vacation. We visited the OWS protest twice during our visit, and I spoke with some of the participants. Politically, they were across the spectrum, from anarchists to libertarians to liberals. (And, admittedly, there seemed to quite a few who were just there for the show.) Those who are in Zuccotti Park with a purpose are potential fertile ground for CMs message; they are looking for answers, and CM.com is a good place to start.

livsez's picture
livsez
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 1 2008
Posts: 67
I wish you hadn't gone there

Dear Outcast 19,

I was just as curious as Dr. Martenson to see for myself what was really going on at Zuccotti Park.  We spent the day talking to people from all over the country.  I can assure you that CM has/had no political agenda (I have outtakes to prove it) other than to engage in discussion and offer his unique insight.  I attempted to capture and encapsulate the various people and conversations we experienced in as short a time as possible.  It was nothing more than a fact finding mission which we wanted to share with others here.  

Cheers,

Livio

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
The key

As Darbikrash pointed out so well in post 10, this current conflict with the moneyed interests is as old as the USA, and it was still taught in high school history when I was young. It seems so strange to our experience because we have lived in an abnormal time. At the end of World War II the USA produced 50% of gross world product. We had just survived a depression that had scared everyone, and emerged as the world’s super power.

As productivity rose the gains were shared proportionately with workers. Class conflict was masked by the rising tide that raised all boats. The US middle class was the largest and most prosperous the world had ever seen. We expected this to continue indefinitely. That all changed during the stagflation of the 1970s. This graphic from the New York Times was recently posted in the Daily Digest. It is a key to understanding our present situation. Please look at it closely. https://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/09/04/opinion/04reich-graphic.html

Average hourly compensation has been essentially flat since 1979; the second oil shock. Other sources show that median household income has been flat since 1973, the first oil shock. That’s true even though most wives went to work. People borrowed to sustain consumption, but have reached their limit. Most of the 80% gain in productivity (wealth) over the last 30 years went to the very rich. The middle class has been sucked dry.

When anyone exposes this situation they are loudly accused of “trying to start class warfare”. What a laugh! The rich have been warring on the rest of us for 40 years. They won. Now they have captured the government and are using it as a shield. The battle has begun to expose what they accomplished, and prosecute their criminal acts.

I favor capitalism and free markets. But they have been corrupted by extreme concentrations of wealth and power.

Travlin 

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
Travlin wrote:   As

Travlin wrote:

As Darbikrash pointed out so well in post 10, this current conflict with the moneyed interests is as old as the USA, and it was still taught in high school history when I was young. It seems so strange to our experience because we have lived in an abnormal time. At the end of World War II the USA produced 50% of gross world product. We had just survived a depression that had scared everyone, and emerged as the world’s super power.

As productivity rose the gains were shared proportionately with workers. Class conflict was masked by the rising tide that raised all boats. The US middle class was the largest and most prosperous the world had ever seen. We expected this to continue indefinitely. That all changed during the stagflation of the 1970s. This graphic from the New York Times was recently posted in the Daily Digest. It is a key to understanding our present situation. Please look at it closely. https://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/09/04/opinion/04reich-graphic.html

Average hourly compensation has been essentially flat since 1979; the second oil shock. Other sources show that median household income has been flat since 1973, the first oil shock. That’s true even though most wives went to work. People borrowed to sustain consumption, but have reached their limit. Most of the 80% gain in productivity (wealth) over the last 30 years went to the very rich. The middle class has been sucked dry.

When anyone exposes this situation they are loudly accused of “trying to start class warfare”. What a laugh! The rich have been warring on the rest of us for 40 years. They won. Now they have captured the government and are using it as a shield. The battle has begun to expose what they accomplished, and prosecute their criminal acts.

I favor capitalism and free markets. But they have been corrupted by extreme concentrations of wealth and power.

Travlin 

I couldn't agree more.

The first step, as thc0655 says is to re-establish the rule of law and prosecute the crimes, both fraud and all the other crimes as well, swiftly, decisively, and severely.  They should fall under RICO statutes since if what occurred isn't "organized crime", I don't know what is.  This action will allow the courts to award triple damages.  Given the magnitude of the crimes, the damages recovered would be enormous.  That money could be used for funding jobs programs which leads to the next step.  If GS and JPMC fold, oh well!  This country and the world will be a better place.

The second step is job creation. American desperately needs jobs and not jobs in the military, government, or financial sectors or the low paying retail service sector but decent paying jobs in productive sectors that will allow for 1 person to support a household and will benefit the long term health and wealth of this country and especially, give young people hope for a promising future.  We need a Manhattan Project of innovative minds focusing on jump starting this step with unprecedented speed, intensity, and vigor.  

The third step would be ending the Federal Reserve's control over our monetary system and establishing a sovereign monetary system.  The FR is the biggest crime ever perpetrated upon this nation and has bled this nation dry and it needs to be ended, the sooner the better.

Those are some areas for OWS demands to focus on, for a start.

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
The economy is political

Outcast 19 wrote:

Dear Dr. Martenson --

I wish you hadn't gone there...both figuratively and literally.  I wish you hadn't gone political on us by doing your investigative piece on OWS.

Outcast

Chris has always been scrupulously non-partisan. But any serious analysis of economics shows that it is inevitably linked with the political realm. Chris has soundly criticized politicians in general, their policies, and their handmaidens like the Federal Reserve. When a significant number of citizens start getting attention for bringing to light some of the same problems Chris had been teaching about for years – well, that is important, and can’t be ignored. The struggle to regain control of our economy and our country is ultimately political, even if you do not favor any party, or hate them all.

Travlin 

Rector's picture
Rector
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 8 2010
Posts: 338
Its possible for more than one thing to be true. . .

For the record, I am a hard core conservative, but that doesn't matter because I am seeing the truth (for the first time) and there is plenty of blame to go around.The Left Right argument as its framed today by MSNBC vs. Fox isn't complete.  OWS and the Tea Party are flip sides of the same coin.  Pissed off people with legitimate and accurate complaints:

Our "free market economy" is desperately corrupted and broken.  We have obviously slanted the playing field toward the rich at the expense of the poor.  The American economy is today is NOT a free market.  Examples abound.

Our Republic has become an Empire.  We are waging war for economic dominance of the planet.  This was not part of the original plan for America.  Whether its just misplaced do-gooderism, imperialism, or whatever, we weren't designed to garrison the freakin planet and try to force people to act like Jeffersonian democrats.

The left in the country has succeeded in pandering to the lower class and has created an entitlement culture that has bankrupted the country and destroyed the culture.  We are socialists, and there is no hope for a new future here.

The Right has substituted neocon colonialism and crony capitalism for free markets and republican government.  Unabashed greed and consumption have replaced vocation and ethics.  The power elites make a mockery of the law and our system.  Nothing is as it seems.

The Left has sold out to race baiting, pandering, and voter fraud in a desperate attempt to maintain power.  It has embraced every form of debasement and called it progress.  Public sector unions have destroyed the public finances of our municipal governments.  Greed, screaming in the street, and union money funneled to socialists-keep the big retirement checks flowing.  Me fucking first!

Corporations buy power inside the system we have allowed to develop as we watch American Idol.  No one gives a sh!t.  Our big corporations privatize gains and socialize losses.  The Fed taxes us all to keep it going.  

The Federal, State, and Local Leviathan (government) now dominates our lives and our economy.  We are all rent seekers now.  Our economy consists of us doing our own laundry, and regulating the heck out of everything.

Our own lack of work ethic, laziness, stupidity, and union mentality has destroyed the productivity of the American Workforce.  The bottom line dominated-dollars above all else outsourcing trend of corporate America is an exercise in greed that puts money above all other considerations.  Now our jobs are in China, and we can't fill opening in the USA because damn few folks here can really put in a day's hard work.  Who wants to mow lawns everyday?  

Our society has actively sought to expel God from the public space.  1/2 think its better that way, 1/2 think it sucks.  Nobody's happy.  We eat Cheetos and watch porn.  God leaves us alone.

Politicians on both sides are completely clueless as to the real problems we face, their causes, and their solutions.  Reelection is all that matters.  Don't offend anyone, lest you lose your lifetime benefit plan.  We chose candidates who are good looking.  Thinkers are laughed off the stage.  Palin!  What a moron!  Obama!  WTF were we thinking?  Qualifications don't matter anymore.

There are many things to be frustrated about from the Left and the Right.  The situation is beyond repair.  Only a total collapse will purge the sickness from the institutions of the USA.  

The OWS protests have no unifying theme, because there are so many things wrong, its hard to put your finger on it, or sum it up in a 10 second sound bite.  Think of the OWS as the mirror image of the Tea Party.  Large groups of people who see legitimate and real problems.  Its not that the problems are false, or a complete listing; there are just LOTS of things wrong.  We are totally f*cked.  People on the Right see it, people on the left see it.  Both can be true at the same time. 

Rector

Outcast 19's picture
Outcast 19
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 23 2011
Posts: 46
Well said, Rector

I still hold on to the hope that if enough of us are willing to take on the task of cleaning the corruption in Washington, then the Republic can be restored.  No doubt it will be a long and arduous task.  If there aren't enough willing to work for that goal, then we (and even worse, our children),  are indeed f**ked.

Outcast 19

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
I love it

thc0655 wrote:

[Edited by Travlin]

If I were part of the movement (and I'm not) I would advocate for making "Prosecute the Fraud" as the first or one of the first demands.  We've all made mistakes (of commission and omission) but only some of us have committed actual crimes. Let's start there by prosecuting the frauds that are currently illegal (starting with the biggest frauds and working our way down the food chains).  The system has to be either reformed (which begins with prosecution) or it has to be replaced. Demanding prosecutions would be a good way to help us decide if reform is possible, or if replacement will be required.

Secondly, prosecution is one of the few steps that could be taken without educating and moving millions of people.  All it would take is one courageous public servant here (an order by the President) or there (the NY Attorney General, the US AG, the FBI Director, the SEC Chairman).  This would be a clear litmus test as to who we should vote for or against.

Third, prosecutions would have a huge deterrent effect on those who thrive on ripping us and the system off.  This is something we could build on. Besides, who could be against "Prosecute the Fraud"?  I know, I know.  Bush and Obama, Greenspan and Bernanke, Geithner and Paulson, and Holder: they're all opposed to prosecuting the fraud. But that makes them obvious targets for replacement, doesn't it.

Who in America CAN'T understand "Prosecute the Fraud?"  Who in America, the Tea Party, the left or the right, the students and the retired, or the OWS movement wouldn't be heartened and energized by seeing a huge wave of prosecutions begin?  Think of how many aspiring future national leaders would see this as their ticket to higher office and jump into it with both feet?

Thc

I love the brilliant simplicity of your proposal. It is exactly what is needed. You have a very clever mind.

Travlin

ccpetersmd's picture
ccpetersmd
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 12 2008
Posts: 799
Great Summary, Rector!

Wonderful, really wonderful!

I don't think you're a "hard core conservative", I think you may be a budding libertarian. If so, welcome to the club!

Our society has actively sought to expel God from the public space.  1/2 think its better that way, 1/2 think it sucks. Nobody's happy.  We eat Cheetos and watch porn.  God leaves us alone.

Love this!

Rector's picture
Rector
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 8 2010
Posts: 338
You might be right.

Sometimes I wonder what's happened to me, but I am sure that I see things more clearly now.  Thanks for the kind word.

Outcast 19's picture
Outcast 19
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 23 2011
Posts: 46
Facts are like statistics

Dear Livio --

Thanks for your remarks.  Facts are like statistics.  They can be used selectively to support a case.  Take Fox News for instance.  They used the fact of Mayor Bloomberg's comments to serve a political agenda (according to Dr. Martenson).  I find it difficult to see how the "facts" presented in the video were any less biased than those from Fox.  CM chose who he spoke with based on his view of what was taking place.

The swipe at Fox was a swipe at the right.  How else can that be interpreted?  Now if CM had provided an equally dismissive remark about MSNBC or the NYT...

Just callin' it for what it looks like from the outside, my friend.

Cheers to you, too!

Outcast 19 

livsez's picture
livsez
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 1 2008
Posts: 67
 CM chose who he spoke with

CM chose who he spoke with based on his view of what was taking place.

The "fact" of the matter is, I chose at least half of the people he spoke with.  ;)

I appreciate your POV.  

Thank you!

-L

ccpetersmd's picture
ccpetersmd
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 12 2008
Posts: 799
Rector

Rector wrote:

Sometimes I wonder what's happened to me, but I am sure that I see things more clearly now.

I felt the same way a few years ago. Connecting the dots takes one on a strange journey, if one is open to it. Previous perceptions and dogmas get blown away. In truth, I'm still going through that process, but feel much closer to a destination than when I started.

tommyguy's picture
tommyguy
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 30 2008
Posts: 20
No wonder I like Martenson!

Reading these comments completely confirms why I've enjoyed Chris Martenson for four years. I get honest, fact-based commentary and analysis without partisan political bias. Opinion? Yes, I get some of that too- including this blog. As Chris teaches, I recognize it and take for what it is. He's earned it and I respect it. KEEP IT UP, CHRIS MARTENSON,!

Outcast 19's picture
Outcast 19
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 23 2011
Posts: 46
First, I agree

Thanks for your remarks, Travlin.  First, I agree with your assessment of thc0655's remarks.  Prosecuting the fraud would be a great theme for strating a turn around.  It would not, however, produce the type of fundemental change needed to restore the Republic.  That would require an enormous amount of time and energy on the part of voters over multiple election cycles.  And, now that I think of it, prosecuting the fraud seems terribly similar to the cries of "off with their heads" sounded at the beginning of the French Revolution.  We all know how that turned out.

I also agree that economics and politics are necessarily joined at the hip.  But both are social sciences, and niether lends itself to the kind of factual analysis found in the Crash Course.  CM may very well be non-partisan, but I stand by my assertion that his political bias (which differs from partisanship) ought not to have been introduced by inference.  To be clear about my meaning, I'm sure most of us will agree in a non-partisan way that both Dems and GOPs are at fault, but will likely have major differences when it comes to our ideas about how to fix the problems.

If CM has a post-crisis political outcome in mind, then let him share it with us.  I'm certainly open to hearing what he has to say on the subject.

Outcast 19

JMill's picture
JMill
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 30 2010
Posts: 4
Dangerous ground

Dr. Martenson has remained impressively non-partisan, especially considering the political tentacles penetrating the 3E's. Nonetheless, I also cringed when he announced his reporting of the OWS. Condensing a varied gathering into a short video forces such a degree of selective editing that unintentionally revealing political leanings becomes a hazard. Such seems the case here. 

I've become so accustomed to the cool logic of some alternative media  -- especially CM.com -- that I recoil at the slightest whiff of bias here.   Outcast 19s points are valid. 

Addionally, a more balanced video may have shown the high-minded, well dressed businesswoman holding the "infinite growth ... finite world" sign followed by some unsavory aspects present:  attempted union highjacking of the event, some fool defacating on a police car, or soundbites of typical protest drivel.  In the end, all of it "is really going on there." 

Woodman's picture
Woodman
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1025
Thanks Chris

Thanks for giving folks like me who can't easily get away to NYC your assessment of what is going on.  That's great that awareness is building.  Awareness leads to understanding which leads to action.

Stan Robertson's picture
Stan Robertson
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 7 2008
Posts: 523
Rector wrote: Sometimes I

Rector wrote:

Sometimes I wonder what's happened to me, but I am sure that I see things more clearly now.  Thanks for the kind word.

Then have another. You said exactly what I have been thinking. thco655's suggestion to Prosecute the Fraud would be a great first step toward finding out if the system can be fixed. If Holder or the NY AG won't take up the cudgels, we at least find out where the problems really lie.

jrf29's picture
jrf29
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 18 2008
Posts: 444
A swipe at the right?

Dear Outcast, welcome to the site.

Outcast 19 wrote:
The swipe at Fox was a swipe at the right.  How else can that be interpreted?  Now if CM had provided an equally dismissive remark about MSNBC or the NYT...

You seem to me like somebody who likes to wear the "hot button" vest, leaping at the opportunity to construe a statement as an attack upon your politics.  You go so far as to accuse Chris of selectively interviewing people in the crowd to further a political goal -- why?  Because Chris said something bad about Fox News, which you equate as an attack on the whole right wing of national politics?

My suggestion?  Let's put it away for a minute.

In my opinion, people who object to the RT article because they personally disagree with the politics in it are missing Chris' point.

In Chris' opinion, the RT article "gives a much more balanced summary."  Of what?  Of the feelings, intentions, and general sentiment of the people in the crowds!  If the article has a leftist tinge, that might be very appropriate (possibly unwittingly on the part of RT) because the crowds in NYC have a leftist tinge.  Not unthinkable for NYC.

Conversely, after first-hand investigation Chris believes that Bloomerg's claim that "What they're trying to do is take the jobs away from people working in this city," with the intent to cripple New York City's economy, is simply wrong.  That is, in Chris' objective judgement the protestors' shared intent (to the extent it exists) is not to be economic sabateurs.  In fact the report was so clearly wrong that in Chris' opinion, it is not evidence of a good faith effort at accuracy.

As a result of that, Chris loses some respect for that person rather than remaining inclined to continue to listen to them.  That sounds like a neutral scientist to me: evaluating the credibility of sources based on direct verification of what they have said, and losing respect for sources whose claims do not reflect the facts as he finds them to be.

Does that mean that Chris has to be a registered communist in disguise because he found the RT news article did a much better (he didn't say perfect) job?  Hardly.  It has nothing to do with his own personal politics.

Chris is only telling it to you the way it is on the ground in New York (a left-leaning city, in case you hadn't heard), and I for one appreciate the accurate first-hand report.

P.S. - Rector, I liked your comment (#18) very much.

guardia's picture
guardia
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 26 2009
Posts: 592
Re: Us versus Them

rhare wrote:

We really need to stop the "us versus them" narative.  It's divisive and doesn't help bring everyone together to solve our current predicament. 

I don't know rhare, 1% of smart sociopaths does not sound excessive to me...?

Samuel

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1840
Outcast19

Outcast19

Wow, talk about trying to voice your disapproval before getting all the facts.

How about you tell us your affiliations so we can better judge why you are talking the way you do towards another person, without respect or regard for his freedom of choice and association. It sounds to me that you are an extremist "with us or against us" kinda person.

So tell us, Outcast19. What are your biases? What is your party? Where do you stand on social and political and economic issues? I want to know what kind of person talks like judgmental like you do, so I can learn to recognize them.

Poet

ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
write and complain

I would encourage everyone to write the Department of Justice every day strongly urging them to prosecute the Wall Street and Washington criminals who have precipitated this financial crisis.  Ditto with your Congressman, Senator, and President.

http://www.justice.gov/contact-us.html

frobn's picture
frobn
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 28 2010
Posts: 184
Poet wrote: Frobn I think

Poet wrote:

Frobn

I think you may have quoted the wrong person. I have not said anything about George Soros, as you may see from your quote of my words.

Poet

Poet, I am sorry about that, I have no excuse for my carelessness and not previewing my response which was intended  to rhare's post. I will do my best to be more careful in the future.

frobn's picture
frobn
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 28 2010
Posts: 184
Rector wrote:The OWS

Rector wrote:
The OWS protests have no unifying theme, because there are so many things wrong, its hard to put your finger on it, or sum it up in a 10 second sound bite.  Think of the OWS as the mirror image of the Tea Party.  Large groups of people who see legitimate and real problems.  Its not that the problems are false, or a complete listing; there are just LOTS of things wrong.  We are totally f*cked.  People on the Right see it, people on the left see it.  Both can be true at the same time.

Rector

There are so many things wrong so where do you start? I believe Chris gives an excellent summary.

The ‘protest’ is as much about participation and discussion as about airing grievances. People are talking. They are debating. They are doing exactly what you learn about in grade school when they teach you about how our political system has worked in the past and is supposed to work today. The difference, of course, is that no real debate, discussion, nor real participation is happening in Congress or the Senate.

Karl Denninger, a hard core conservative, has a similar view
OWS: The Risks Facing America Today

Now, finally, it appears that the people have awoken.  A day of ineffectual sign-waving isn't enough any more.  Oh sure, that's part of it, but the part the media is ignoring - for now - is what's happening after the "able to be ignored political rally" is over.

The people are organizing a Congress - a real one - in the public square.

They're passing around ideas.

They're debating.

They're arguing.

And then they're VOTING.

It's self-organized.  It's real.  And while the crooners in the mainstream media are trying to ignore what's actually happening, they're not stopping it - and in fact, they probably can't stop it at this point.

frobn's picture
frobn
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 28 2010
Posts: 184
rhare wrote

rhare wrote:
We really need to stop the "us versus them" narative.

It's divisive and doesn't help bring everyone together to solve our current predicament.  It's why we need to take back control and bring it to the local community level.  It is very hard to effect change in a large centralized bureaucracy, but smaller groups can certainly bring about change at the local level.  In order to bring about "self-resiliency" you have to have the ability to make decisions (right or wrong) about how to live.  Unfortunately we have seen more of that decision making abilty being taken away from us in all aspects of our lives (energy, healthcare, food, ...)

rhare,

I can't agree more. I have been consistant is saying the same thing in many of my posts on OWS. I have said it is the fanasy of the left to hijack OWS and the fantasy of the right to criminalize OWS. Fox does not deviate from the right so it is hard to take them serious as it is hard to take serious mainstream media on the left. Unfortunately mainstream media is only what most people listen and I find OWS so refreshing. In democratic fashion, they are discussing, listenting, arguing, debating and certainly getting more than they can get from MSN or Fox or mainstream media in general.

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 2745
Prosecuting the banksters

Travlin wrote:

thc0655 wrote:

[Edited by Travlin]

If I were part of the movement (and I'm not) I would advocate for making "Prosecute the Fraud" as the first or one of the first demands.  We've all made mistakes (of commission and omission) but only some of us have committed actual crimes. Let's start there by prosecuting the frauds that are currently illegal (starting with the biggest frauds and working our way down the food chains).  The system has to be either reformed (which begins with prosecution) or it has to be replaced. Demanding prosecutions would be a good way to help us decide if reform is possible, or if replacement will be required.

Secondly, prosecution is one of the few steps that could be taken without educating and moving millions of people.  All it would take is one courageous public servant here (an order by the President) or there (the NY Attorney General, the US AG, the FBI Director, the SEC Chairman).  This would be a clear litmus test as to who we should vote for or against.

Third, prosecutions would have a huge deterrent effect on those who thrive on ripping us and the system off.  This is something we could build on. Besides, who could be against "Prosecute the Fraud"?  I know, I know.  Bush and Obama, Greenspan and Bernanke, Geithner and Paulson, and Holder: they're all opposed to prosecuting the fraud. But that makes them obvious targets for replacement, doesn't it.

Who in America CAN'T understand "Prosecute the Fraud?"  Who in America, the Tea Party, the left or the right, the students and the retired, or the OWS movement wouldn't be heartened and energized by seeing a huge wave of prosecutions begin?  Think of how many aspiring future national leaders would see this as their ticket to higher office and jump into it with both feet?

Thc

I love the brilliant simplicity of your proposal. It is exactly what is needed. You have a very clever mind.

Travlin

I can't quote a source right now, but I recently read about or heard from one of the prosecuters from the S&L fiasco.  The Justice Dept. had a thousand lawyers who prosecuted and convicted 1,100 banksters.  Today there are apparently no Justice Dept. lawyers working on similar prosecutions.  Where is the political or bureaucratic will to devote those kinds of resources to getting these bad guys?  It doesn't seem to exist.

Doug

CrismoZ's picture
CrismoZ
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 29 2008
Posts: 8
Eat the Rich

I'm not sure Fox did all that bad of a job explaining it.  Charles Krauthammer summarized the protest as an "Eat the Rich" protest. 

I would suggest that everyone go rent Dr. Zhivago and watch some of the scenes where Bolshevik revolutionaries move into Dr. Zhivago's house.  When he starts to protest, they remind him that there is no property ownership in the new Russia.

All of us that have started building resiliency need to remember that after the crash occurs, owners of food will be the new 1%.  If a mob raids one of our harvests, we all get to starve together. 

We keep saying we'll band together in a sense of community, but I'm losing hope in that.  The only town near me to commission a transition town study basically plagiarized the transition handbook, added some local statistics, and declared victory.  It was a sad political stunt with no meaning.  A group of kids could have written a better handbook.

Dragline's picture
Dragline
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 10 2008
Posts: 54
Prosecuting the Banksters

Doug,

It was probably William Black, who was responsible for prosecuting the Keating 5 during the S&L crisis.  He has been beating this drum since 2009.  There are lots of articles and interviews of him that are well worth reading.

And he was absolutely correct -- this has been a major failing of the current administration and is one of the main reasons people are in the streets right now with signs that say "This is not the change I voted for."

Denny Johnson's picture
Denny Johnson
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 13 2008
Posts: 324
CHS

Today's entry at Charles Hugh Smith's site resonates w many of the recent comments here.

Unmaking a Killing: Rooting out entitlement, parasitism, fraud, rapacious greed, and other guarantors of destruction

Nate's picture
Nate
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: May 6 2009
Posts: 461
My view of OWS from 30,000

My view of OWS from 30,000 feet.   Mark Twain said "History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes,"  

Then we had a president (JFK) that started a war in a far off land that few underdstood.  He was assassinated by LHO.  Now we (had) a president (GWB)  that started a war in a far off land that few understand.  He was assassinated by the MSM.  Then we ramped up spending on butter and guns (the great society), angering many on both sides of the political spectrum.  Now we ramped up spending on more butter and guns, angering many on both sides of the political spectrum (Tea Party and OWS).

Then we placed social security into the general fund to fund the unpopular programs.  Now I fear we will place IRA's and 401k's into the general fund to fund these unpopular programs.

Then the unpopular president (LBJ) was replaced an even bigger crook (RMN) that closed the window on gold.  With confidence lost in both leaders and all fiat money, I fear gold will have to be confiscated to launch yet even more nonsense.

That's all for today, off to see Chris tonight at Twain Harte.

Nate

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 2745
political bickering

Even on this blog, people who should know better reflexively jump on statements or actions if they suspect a shred of political bias.  It's understandable that Chris has tried to avoid such actions or statements to quell dissent from the start.  If I have one criticism of Chris's approach it is that sometimes objective truth is sacrificed to avoid political cat fights.

The false tactic that is frequently employed to avoid dissent is to assume some kind of intellectual and/or moral equivalency between the left and right ends of the spectrum.  I don't think that's true in the macro sense and it certainly isn't true when broken down to individual issues.  There is such a thing as objective verifiable fact.  There are also beliefs and values that can be and often have been tested by objective measures.  That seems to me to be where we should start in politically charged discussions.  What do we know to be true?  Where does that knowledge lead us?  What conclusions can be drawn and what implications do they have for our particular political biases?  If we cannot drop the ego driven shield of a political position to truly try to understand the forces around us, we have no chance of reaching workable solutions.

Perhaps even more importantly, the left right paradigm leads us nowhere.  Our gov't is divided based on that paradigm and the bickering has become more important than seeking solutions.  It's madness.  The meaningful divide is up-down.  The 99-1% theme captures that paradigm and it is fundamental to the economic and resource predicaments that confront us.  The unfortunate fact is that Wall St. and most or our governments are aligned to support the 1%.  The OWS movement strikes me as a legitimately populist movement.  Our nation seems to go through periodic populist spasms in response to obvious social/economic inequality.  That is a good thing at least partially because it does not fit on the left right spectrum.  These movements reflect real objective divisions in our society and economy, and the populace (populists) sometimes win in the end if sufficiently united.

I think everyone on this site shares a common vision of where we are going based on the three E's.  And I doubt that there are more than a few of the 1%ers here.  That means that we have a great deal in common with both the OWSers and the tea party.  So, maybe we can jettison the political rhetoric for a while and focus on the real issues.

There, now I feel better.

Doug

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 2745
William Black

Dragline wrote:

Doug,

It was probably William Black, who was responsible for prosecuting the Keating 5 during the S&L crisis.  He has been beating this drum since 2009.  There are lots of articles and interviews of him that are well worth reading.

And he was absolutely correct -- this has been a major failing of the current administration and is one of the main reasons people are in the streets right now with signs that say "This is not the change I voted for."

Right you are.  Now that you mention it, I remember the interview.  Thanks.

Doug

RNcarl's picture
RNcarl
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: May 13 2008
Posts: 350
Well Said!!

Rector wrote:

For the record, I am a hard core conservative, but that doesn't matter because I am seeing the truth (for the first time) and there is plenty of blame to go around.The Left Right argument as its framed today by MSNBC vs. Fox isn't complete.  OWS and the Tea Party are flip sides of the same coin.  Pissed off people with legitimate and accurate complaints:

Our "free market economy" is desperately corrupted and broken.  We have obviously slanted the playing field toward the rich at the expense of the poor.  [we ARE the poor even if you make six-figures] The American economy is today is NOT a free market.  Examples abound.

Our Republic has become an Empire.  We are waging war for economic dominance of the planet.  This was not part of the original plan for America.  Whether its just misplaced do-gooderism, imperialism, or whatever, we weren't designed to garrison the freakin planet and try to force people to act like Jeffersonian democrats.

The left in the country has succeeded in pandering to the lower class and has created an entitlement culture that has bankrupted the country and destroyed the culture.  We are socialists, and there is no hope for a new future here.

The Right has substituted neocon colonialism and crony capitalism for free markets and republican government.  Unabashed greed and consumption have replaced vocation and ethics.  The power elites make a mockery of the law and our system.  Nothing is as it seems.

The Left has sold out to race baiting, pandering, and voter fraud in a desperate attempt to maintain power.  It has embraced every form of debasement and called it progress.  Public sector unions have destroyed the public finances of our municipal governments.  Greed, screaming in the street, and union money funneled to socialists-keep the big retirement checks flowing.  Me fucking first! [Started in the 80's]

Corporations buy power inside the system we have allowed to develop as we watch American Idol.  No one gives a sh!t.  Our big corporations privatize gains and socialize losses.  The Fed taxes us all to keep it going.  

The Federal, State, and Local Leviathan (government) now dominates our lives and our economy.  We are all rent seekers now.  Our economy consists of us doing our own laundry, and regulating the heck out of everything.

Our own lack of work ethic, laziness, stupidity, and union mentality has destroyed the productivity of the American Workforce.  The bottom line dominated-dollars above all else outsourcing trend of corporate America is an exercise in greed that puts money above all other considerations.  Now our jobs are in China, and we can't fill opening in the USA because damn few folks here can really put in a day's hard work.  Who wants to mow lawns everyday?  

Our society has actively sought to expel God from the public space.  1/2 think its better that way, 1/2 think it sucks.  Nobody's happy.  We eat Cheetos and watch porn.  God leaves us alone.

Politicians on both sides are completely clueless as to the real problems we face, their causes, and their solutions.  Reelection is all that matters.  Don't offend anyone, lest you lose your lifetime benefit plan.  We chose candidates who are good looking.  Thinkers are laughed off the stage.  Palin!  What a moron!  Obama!  WTF were we thinking?  Qualifications don't matter anymore.

There are many things to be frustrated about from the Left and the Right.  The situation is beyond repair.  Only a total collapse will purge the sickness from the institutions of the USA.  

The OWS protests have no unifying theme, because there are so many things wrong, its hard to put your finger on it, or sum it up in a 10 second sound bite.  Think of the OWS as the mirror image of the Tea Party.  Large groups of people who see legitimate and real problems.  Its not that the problems are false, or a complete listing; there are just LOTS of things wrong.  We are totally f*cked.  People on the Right see it, people on the left see it.  Both can be true at the same time. 

Rector

Q.E.D.

[Bolding and italics mine]

dps's picture
dps
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 27 2008
Posts: 442
Occupy Denver

Officers clearing grounds outside State Capitol

http://www.9news.com/news/article/224539/71/Police-move-in-on-Occupy-Denver

I was there.  People of all ages peacefully expressing signs that they are waking up to what's happening all over the world.  No violence while I was there.  ... dons

 

DENVER - The Colorado State Patrol and Denver Police began clearing the Occupy Denver tent camp just after 3 a.m. Friday morning.

The protesters set up dozens of tents on state land and many of them did not leave when the state's curfew went into effect at 11 p.m. Thursday night, despite an order from the governor and repeated requests from the Colorado State Patrol.

During a news conference on Thursday night, the State Patrol said the protesters could not stay on the land around the Capital, in Lincoln Park, and it said it would enforce the 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. The police action began at about 3:15 a.m. Friday morning. State Patrol released a statement around 11:20 p.m.:

Pursuant to laws preventing unlawful conduct on state property, individuals illegally gathered at Veteran's Park have been ordered to vacate by 11 p.m. All tents and structures must be removed from the park, and all overnight activities must be discontinued.

"We have a deep respect for these individuals' First Amendment rights to assemble and to voice their viewpoints," said Chief James Wolfinbarger of the Colorado State Patrol. "We are happy to facilitate a peaceful assembly, provided it complies with all applicable laws and permit requirements."
... dons

"We have developed a positive relationship with Occupy Denver's leadership, and we have encouraged them to comply with the state's orders," Wolfinbarger said. "We appreciate their cooperation in seeking a peaceful resolution."

Additionally, the Colorado State Patrol's Executive Security Unit will work to provide individuals with an opportunity to express their views at the Capitol Complex while complying with local and state laws.
 

"The delicate balance of protecting constitutional rights while ensuring public safety is a core responsibility of any police organization," Wolfinbarger said. "However, we must consider the safety, health and well-being of all individuals who wish to use the park."

"Our goal is to give Occupy Denver and other protesters every opportunity to leave Veteran's Park in a peaceful manner," he concluded. "While it is our responsibility to enforce the law, we must continue to protect the safety of the public."

Just before 11 p.m., the protesters held a news conference where they listed their four areas they would like addressed. They included: The government controls the people, but people should control the government; fiscal accountability and transparency; address the economy immediately; and end campaign fraud.

Subprime JD's picture
Subprime JD
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 17 2009
Posts: 552
Chris rocks! I'll be heading

Chris rocks! I'll be heading down there soon. Maybe we can throw a little Crash Course party and inform the protestors about the Crash Course!!!!

Subprime JD's picture
Subprime JD
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 17 2009
Posts: 552
I just posted the video on

I just posted the video on my blog,

http://subprimejd.blogspot.com/2011/10/chris-martenson-visits-ows.html

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1516
Dragline and Doug. The

Dragline and Doug.

The Right has substituted neocon colonialism and crony capitalism for free markets and republican government.  Unabashed greed and consumption have replaced vocation and ethics.  The power elites make a mockery of the law and our system.  Nothing is as it seems.

Agreed except to say the left is indugling in crony capitalism, too. Our treasury department under Obama is nothing more than a branch of Goldman Sachs.

rhare's picture
rhare
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1271
Grass roots often trampled.....

frobn wrote:

I can't agree more. I have been consistant is saying the same thing in many of my posts on OWS. I have said it is the fanasy of the left to hijack OWS and the fantasy of the right to criminalize OWS. Fox does not deviate from the right so it is hard to take them serious as it is hard to take serious mainstream media on the left. Unfortunately mainstream media is only what most people listen and I find OWS so refreshing. In democratic fashion, they are discussing, listenting, arguing, debating and certainly getting more than they can get from MSN or Fox or mainstream media in general.

There was a group of citizens about 2 years ago that did the same thing (they got nicknamed the Tea party) although they had no centralized leadership.  However, many on the left choose to marginalize them, demonize them, and then started claiming they were being manipulated by corporate powers.  I guess we shall see what happens when the shoe is on the other foot. 

When I look at the banners and signs from the OWS I see a lot of "sponsorship" from the left based organization already - look at all the Unions that have jumped on the wagon and even the president and members of congress.  This already looks a lot less grass-roots than the Tea party.  I also worry because I see a whole lot more "us versus them" at the OWS  than I did at tea party events.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments