This is topic Occupy Wall Street and the sad state of American protesting in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.


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Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
I can only find one or two articles on the Wall Street protests from any major news outlets. Everything else is from blogs or from the international press. It's hard to really get a handle on what it is, since no one is talking about it, but it looks like a highly disorganized mishmash of fringe ideologies, and in some cases, NO discernible ideology, but rather random outpourings of anger. And yet, despite a lack of unity, they've documented several incidences of what clearly looks like excessive violence from the police. It's hard to say whether or not the violence was provoked because no one else is there to document what is happening, so it's all on the protesters side. In some cases, like the video of a small group of women being barricaded off and then maced, I don't see how it can be justified.

I have two real complaints in this post: 1. Why aren't the protesters saying anything coherent? 2. And why isn't the media talking about it?

On the first point, seriously, there are thousands of unemployed, educated young people around this country, and they can't at least come up with a decent list of specific complaints and even a rudimentary plan of action? That's mind bogglingly unbelievable. It's stuff like this that makes me despair for America's future. No matter how things get in this country, most of us just seem to sit around and take it. If I was anywhere near New York I probably would have seriously considered trying to help. Protests, especially in America, tend to be highly ineffective if they aren't accompanied by a media presence and a political message. "What do we want?!" "Eh, I don't know." "And when do we want it?!" "Soon? I guess?" is not an effective message. It's not hard to look at what's going on around us and see the problems, lord knows they've been written about enough. I saw interviews with one or two protesters that were pushing campaign reform to reduce corporate influence over elections, well, there's a start. Adopt that as part of your platform. I just can't believe it's this hard to organize a nation of technological savvy and fed up young people.

On the second point, where is the media? Yes, the protest is unorganized, but it IS an outgrowth of our economic conditions and a lot of frustration. It's news worthy, but barely a peep. And isn't the fact that they're having such trouble coming up with a message also worthy of talking about? Even if all that fails the test, surely the violence accompanying the protests is worth at least a 30 second blurb on CNN.

It's too easy to say that corporations that control the media would of course want to tamp down the story, such as it is. There's something else at play. These same news organizations jump at the chance to report unrest of any size and sort around the world, but when it happens in our back yard we pooh pooh it and move on?

The apathy and malaise in this country is perhaps the most frustrating symptom of our national problems. Yeah yeah, there's the debt, and Congress is dysfunctional, whatever, but no one seems poised to really do much about it.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
It's too easy to say that corporations that control the media would of course want to tamp down the story, such as it is. There's something else at play. These same news organizations jump at the chance to report unrest of any size and sort around the world, but when it happens in our back yard we pooh pooh it and move on?

Of all the possible objections, the one being raised is, news organizations can't possibly be hypocritical? Well. [Wink]
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
I'm not saying they can't be hypocritical. Clearly, they are.

Or to be more specific, they're employing a double standard.
 
Posted by Rawrain (Member # 12414) on :
 
Either
A- The individuals aren't nearly as intelligent as you believe.

or

B- These individuals are as intelligent as you believe, and they too realized the media will not heed to their needs due to the great control large cooperation have, so in an attempt to get the media's attention on another note, they began brawling hope that would get them enough air time to make their speech.
-

In situations like the A crowd, maybe there are B crowd people in there too, you'd be surprised to find that said "B crowders" may actually be attempting to organize, but maybe due to the sheer amount of A crowd it's not possible, I find myself in these kind of situations all the time /:
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
It wasn't really newsworthy, outside of local news, until the 80 person arrest. Getting together a few hundred people in New York City to walk down sidewalks is barely even amateur flash mob level.

And American protesting is just fine for causes that large numbers of people actually have strong enough beliefs about. For instance, the recent Wisconsin drama had high tens of thousands turnout, possibly breaking a hundred thousand (in a city with a tiny fraction of the population of NYC!). That deserved coverage, and got it.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Well I 'spect we can all agree on *that*!
 
Posted by Rawrain (Member # 12414) on :
 
fugu13, I've heard nothing about that....

-In Missouri.....
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
It was covered fairly heavily by all the major news sources for several days. You must not have been paying attention to the news around then.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
*blink* You didn't hear about the Wisconsin protests last winter?
 
Posted by Rawrain (Member # 12414) on :
 
I watch the news about 3 times a week for an hour each time - I usually stop paying attention the moment they mention sports, the last MAJOR news I've heard was the Chilean Mining Incident.... oh and small children being hit by stray bullets, and this is why I won't live in St.Louis anyways, I really didn't hear ANYTHING about Wisconsin, in fact I've never heard any news about any events in Wisconsin my whole entire life.... does Missouri hate Wisconsin or something O-o
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
It wasn't really newsworthy, outside of local news, until the 80 person arrest. Getting together a few hundred people in New York City to walk down sidewalks is barely even amateur flash mob level.

And American protesting is just fine for causes that large numbers of people actually have strong enough beliefs about. For instance, the recent Wisconsin drama had high tens of thousands turnout, possibly breaking a hundred thousand (in a city with a tiny fraction of the population of NYC!). That deserved coverage, and got it.

Well it was a bit more than a stroll down the sidewalk.

But that's beside the point. Wisconsin was easy stuff. It's easy to protest when you're in a well funded, well organized union with tens of thousands of members and the media there to splash your image across the nightly news for hours on end day after day. The protest practically runs itself.

What do we do when people are still just as upset, but totally unorganized in any meaningful way? I reject the premise that a lack of Wisconsin-size protests indicates a lack of strong beliefs.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
I think it represents a fairly solid lack of strong beliefs in comparison to the same sorts of topics that have had, without large organized unions behind them, much larger protests in the past (especially given how much the population has increased).
 
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
 
The footage coming out of this is insane. Unarmed protesters penned and maced, cops cursing and throwing punches, excessive physical restraint during arrests.
 
Posted by Rawrain (Member # 12414) on :
 
Aren't police supposed to be role models of sorts?

Guess that's what happens when ex.military join the police force /:

Not sure if ya'll heard about the SWAT team that raided a guys house, here in Missouri, because someone tipped them off that the guy had drugs, they entered the mans home and shot his dogs immediatly dragged the man, his wife, and children and pinned them against the wall at gun point, after a therough search of the house they found 1 Joint (pot people perhaps even less)... and this whole time you can see the SWAT guy sitting there basking in the "power", I will find a video...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbwSwvUaRqc
Guess I need some corrections, 2/3 dogs were shot 1 being in a cage..., the amount of pot was actually just the resin left over in a pipe....

On the upside, this guy did leave his t.v. on when he was sleeping /:
------

The police, even though they are supposed to be on the good peoples side, a starting to turn into a military order of sorts, this is one bad step in a really wrong direction, after all who has the most swing over the police, rich people.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
I don't see any indication in the video or elsewhere that one of the dogs was in a cage. I don't really know police procedure for dogs or are attempting to defend their own.
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:
The footage coming out of this is insane. Unarmed protesters penned and maced, cops cursing and throwing punches, excessive physical restraint during arrests.

Protests are an extremely volatile situation for cops and they take them seriously. From the videos I've seen, the protest was disruptive and a few of the protesters intentionally confrontational. Some of this is due, simply, to the nature of protests. But the cops were, for the most part, doing their duty of maintaining order. As much as the protesters want to be the center of the universe, there are other american citizens who wish to use those same roads and sidewalks to get to work, conduct business, etc.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Heh, it would have to be an overt display of excessive force indeed before you'd do more than brush it aside, Capax.
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
I see the results of this protest as inherant to the nature of protests and, more generally, human behavior. Some beligerant and confronational protestor; some agressive police officers. I'm not brushing it aside if I'm acknowledging it. But yeah, clearly I don't think this is a case of excessive force.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
But yeah, clearly I don't think this is a case of excessive force.
Clearly.
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
Yup, clearly.
 
Posted by Bella Bee (Member # 7027) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:


I have two real complaints in this post: 1. Why aren't the protesters saying anything coherent? 2. And why isn't the media talking about it?

On the first point, seriously, there are thousands of unemployed, educated young people around this country, and they can't at least come up with a decent list of specific complaints and even a rudimentary plan of action? That's mind bogglingly unbelievable.

It kind of reminds me of the 15-M movement in Spain - only without the wall to wall media coverage that they got during their protests this spring/summer.

Although they had vaguely similar opinions and hopes - more jobs, no cuts, capitalism = bad, down with politicians, etc - they never really came to any real conclusions about what exactly they wanted to achieve, or, more importantly, how they could achieve whatever it might be.

So maybe it's not a US thing. It's just a modern youth/society thing. Maybe we just don't quite know what we want, or we're too prepared to see everyone's opinions as valid to decide what is most important.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
I think it represents a fairly solid lack of strong beliefs in comparison to the same sorts of topics that have had, without large organized unions behind them, much larger protests in the past (especially given how much the population has increased).

You're talking about what? Civil Rights Movement protests? Those also had large groups behind them that were reasonably funded and helped organize both an ideological front and a protest movement.

The strong feelings are there. There's just something missing from a generation or two ago. I think ideological cohesion is a BIG part of it. There's no one message to get behind and chant. They sort of had something going with the "we are the 99%" thing, but even that is too vague. They should have figured out the message BEFORE they marched.

What historical spontaneous protest movements did you have in mind?
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Bella Bee:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:


I have two real complaints in this post: 1. Why aren't the protesters saying anything coherent? 2. And why isn't the media talking about it?

On the first point, seriously, there are thousands of unemployed, educated young people around this country, and they can't at least come up with a decent list of specific complaints and even a rudimentary plan of action? That's mind bogglingly unbelievable.

It kind of reminds me of the 15-M movement in Spain - only without the wall to wall media coverage that they got during their protests this spring/summer.

Although they had vaguely similar opinions and hopes - more jobs, no cuts, capitalism = bad, down with politicians, etc - they never really came to any real conclusions about what exactly they wanted to achieve, or, more importantly, how they could achieve whatever it might be.

So maybe it's not a US thing. It's just a modern youth/society thing. Maybe we just don't quite know what we want, or we're too prepared to see everyone's opinions as valid to decide what is most important.

I think that last part is part of it, perhaps. We're far more likely than previous generations to compromise and listen to another side of an argument. But at the end of the day, we still need to be decisive.

Even if we organized the entire thing online, we should convene local meetings, come up with ideas, and elect delegates to larger and larger web meetings until there's a regional or national hierarchy in place that can create and pass a platform of ideals to run on. It's also about more than just complaining against this particular issue. Youth political action power in general in this country is anemic and sad. It's why it's so easy for the government to sell out the youth vote, because we have no lobby, we have no money, and through apathy a lot of us don't vote. If we organized, we could start demanding a voice at the table. Otherwise they can continue to either ignore us or buy us off with lunch money.
 
Posted by Raymond Arnold (Member # 11712) on :
 
I think at least part of the problem is that solving economic problems is HARD.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
You're talking about what? Civil Rights Movement protests? Those also had large groups behind them that were reasonably funded and helped organize both an ideological front and a protest movement.

The strong feelings are there. There's just something missing from a generation or two ago. I think ideological cohesion is a BIG part of it. There's no one message to get behind and chant. They sort of had something going with the "we are the 99%" thing, but even that is too vague. They should have figured out the message BEFORE they marched.

What historical spontaneous protest movements did you have in mind?

We've had much, much larger protests, pretty much involving primarily groups that exist to protest (as opposed to other sources of organizing power such as unions), in the past decade on issues from whales to free trade to lots of other things. A few hundred against capitalism is an extraordinarily tiny protest, and deserved about as much (again, prior to the arrest events, which were at best mismanaged) national news coverage as the regularly occurring (I know there was one every few years in southern Indiana alone) "try to block out planned parenthood" anti abortion events that could get a few hundred people together: none.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
I think at least part of the problem is that solving economic problems is HARD.

Sure, but perhaps my complaint isn't that the youth of America don't have a concrete solution that will fix our economic problems so much as they don't have any voice in the conversation at all.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Fugu -

I think you're missing part of my point, well, perhaps most of it really.

Part of my problem is that there really isn't much of a group here that exists just to protest. Save the whales, anyway, is pretty much a concrete thing to rail against. Railing against capitalism? If you really questioned anyone there, the grand majority aren't going to argue against capitalism, just today's application of it. It's frustrating that there is no cohesive movement that groups like unions, and even environmental groups, have. I absolutely disagree that it's because of a lack of strong feelings. The youth of the nation have strong feelings about a LOT of things. There's just a wave of jaded cynicism that it seems impossible to overcome. I think much of it has to do with feeling powerless, rather than not caring enough. I can't measure my opinion on this any more than you can measure yours, but I do disagree with you.

I guess I'd also like to see something from the media that represents a youth-centric aspect of the current problems. I don't blame the media for PART of that. America's youth has to do something to garner recognition first, but it's an issue that's worth talking about, and isn't actually talked about. Par for the course for the media, I suppose. You could say the same about a lot of things. On the whole though, I'm not particularly annoyed that the media didn't cover this specific protest before the violence. Though, it would seem that the major media outlets, the one with television channels and such, have been incredibly lax in their reporting. Only ABC, as of a day or two ago, had actually done anything with it, and it's still mostly a blip on the radar.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
Yup, clearly.

And when people think like you in law enforcement, they typically legitimize the protesters in a way they could normally only dream of.
 
Posted by Raymond Arnold (Member # 11712) on :
 
I was at the protest, briefly, and frankly it seemed like a non-event. I asked various people what they were particularly hoping to accomplish. The most coherent response was "end capitalism", followed closely by "raise awareness that Global is a big deal but that it's basically too late to do anything about it."

Most of the other people seemed to have a vague desire to protest but frankly didn't even seem all that angry.

A few days prior I was at the Troy Davis protest, which involved a lot of young people, had a clear objective, got news coverage, and felt extremely productive.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
... felt extremely productive.

Except for the part about Troy Davis dying [Wink]
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
If only we had some kind of group of intellectuals and activists who could organize such a large varied and diverse group disjointed people into one unified cohesive force of action.

Like a party or something. Like a party dedicated to helping the downtrodden and those affected negatively by the "free market" and capitalism...
 
Posted by Glenn Arnold (Member # 3192) on :
 
"I am not a member of any organized party — I am a Democrat." -Will Rogers.

Unfortunately, whenever you have a large number of people, you have a large number of opinions and motives. It shouldn't be surprising that this protest seems to lack focus. And given that economics is not simple, I would be distrustful of anyone who claimed to have a simple agenda for reforming Wall Street.
 
Posted by Raymond Arnold (Member # 11712) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by Raymond Arnold:
... felt extremely productive.

Except for the part about Troy Davis dying [Wink]
Well, yes, there's that. (Insert suitably tongue in cheek yet not actually funny emoticon).

I don't know that the protest was actually the single best use of my two hours, but I think that, given my knowledge at the time, it was dramatically better than whatever else I was likely to have been doing that night. (I'm trying to get into the habit of volunteering time for good things, and also into the habit of thinking about which good things are most productive, and gradually those two habits will hopefully produce a noticeably positive impact on the world.)
 
Posted by pooka (Member # 5003) on :
 
When I was a young un I went to a couple of protests. There was a mish mash of Save the Whales, Divest from South Africa, End Nuclear testing, Vietnam POW/MIA (twenty years ago there were people pretty sure they still had loved ones alive in Vietnam). That was in Lafayette Park, across from the White House (during the Reagan or GHW Bush admin). I watched a documentary about Reagan and supposedly there was all these protests when he was in office, but I don't remember much about them at the time. Oh yeah, acid rain.

Later I went to a protest at a nuclear testing site in Nevada, and the range of signs and messages was about as diverse. There was a little larger "homeless not helpless" group there.
 
Posted by beverly (Member # 6246) on :
 
It would seem that most of the people arrested were arrested for filming officers.

But it is not illegal to film officers.

This is clearly an abuse of power.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Unfortunately, that ruling is only from the first circuit court of appeals, whose jurisdiction does not include New York. In many jurisdictions courts have allowed wiretapping laws that prevent videotaping officers (with sound). As far as I know (though I have not researched extensively), there is no ruling in New York stating that video taping of officers with sound is legal, and I don't know if there are any laws that would make it illegal (until overturned by a court), so they very well might exist, and it very well might still be illegal there.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Well that's interesting. So the law isn't so much against film, actually the law doesn't seem to exist at all, it's an application of eavesdropping laws used by police to thwart filming? That's what I took away from the article, in part.

Other than shouting "film only, no sound!" when they try to arrest you, there doesn't seem to be much of a way out of that.
 
Posted by beverly (Member # 6246) on :
 
Maybe this will spearhead making the law more *clear* that video-tapping officers is a very, very good thing. [Evil]
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by beverly:
It would seem that most of the people arrested were arrested for filming officers.

I'm not getting the same impression based on what I've been reading. NPR reports that a spokesman for the protest claims "[one] demonstrator was arrested because she refused to stop taking photographs of the arrests" but also reports the police as saying "the arrests were mostly for blocking traffic. Charges include disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. But one demonstrator was charged with assaulting a police officer."

The same thing was reported by the WSJ and MSNBC:
quote:
There were approximately 80 arrests, mainly for disorderly conduct by individuals who blocked vehicular and pedestrian traffic, but also for resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and, in one instance, for assault on a police officer, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Yep, most laws used to prevent videotaping officers are just anti-taping laws (though I don't think all).

Returning to the previous conversation, my argument has only been over two things: one, the protest was entirely unworthy of national coverage due to its size (until the noteworthy police activities). Given the huge numbers of similar size or larger protests that happen regularly and don't get national news attention, I don't really see how there's much to argue about there. Two, that the small size reflects a lack of widespread strong support for the sorts of positions being advocated. After all, there are *similar* issues, such as free trade and globalization, that generate large protests (and that's even if we subtract out the union-backed protests). It isn't entirely unreasonable to say that "the feelings exist, it's just nobody has managed to organize them", but I find it extremely unconvincing: people, including people from similar demographics, have been extremely capable of organizing numerous protests on topics near and far. That there hasn't been a competent organizing of a large scale (localized or distributed) protest strongly suggests to me that there just isn't enough true discontent to work with. The same people protesting "capitalism" in most cases partake extensively of the fruits of capitalism, and I think the lack of strong action comes from that lack of commitment to professed beliefs at the expense of comfort.
 
Posted by beverly (Member # 6246) on :
 
The police are saying that most of them are for blocking traffic, and that same quote is getting repeated in multiple articles.

The people present and recording it record several instances of people being arrested because they were filming. Some were arrested for wearing masks. (The law being used here is 116 years old, created to target the KKK.)

Very Telling Videos.

The first two videos are of people being treated brutally who are on the sidewalk. The last video has a guy shouting and standing in the street (with a lot of other people) but certainly doing nothing to deserve the violent treatment he got.

There was a guy taken down who was walking down the street drumming on a drum. Another guy was arrested for doing nothing more than writing "LOVE" on the sidewalk. There are plenty of people standing in the streets blocking traffic being completely left alone. What kind of sense does that make?

It seems that officers, frustrated at their inability to clear the street of 1000+ people, are losing control of themselves and lashing out at random people for no reason.

[ September 27, 2011, 04:27 PM: Message edited by: beverly ]
 
Posted by beverly (Member # 6246) on :
 
Video put out on Youtube on Sept 2nd calling people to join this protest and their goals and purposes.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
1000+ people? I've seen zero evidence they got more than maybe three hundred, tops. And most of the videos seem to show so few that I think that's probably an overestimate.

Also, while the videos are important evidence, remember that there's nothing inconsistent between most of the arrests being for blocking traffic and a few videos showing people being arrested for filming or wearing masks.
 
Posted by beverly (Member # 6246) on :
 
I'm rather more concerned with officers abusing power than with the percentage of what the arrests were for or the number of people present. I can't know what the percentages are at this point, that information just isn't available yet. I can see that there is abuse going on. I can see that better than you can estimate how many people are there.

This article estimates 5000.

Because of the videos taken, the people involved are more likely to be held accountable and the information on who was arrested for what more likely to come to light. But considering the behavior of the officers and their denial of using force or pepper spray inappropriately, I am less likely to take their other statements seriously.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
1000+ people? I've seen zero evidence they got more than maybe three hundred, tops. And most of the videos seem to show so few that I think that's probably an overestimate.

Also, while the videos are important evidence, remember that there's nothing inconsistent between most of the arrests being for blocking traffic and a few videos showing people being arrested for filming or wearing masks.

I don't know about thousands, but the videos I've seen suggest more than 300, though, for how long they were there I have no idea.
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
The vids you linked to above are 40 second clips. I've seen some longer ones but few can be considered accurate portrayals of the entire situation. They don't show the possible provocations and infractions which occurred before the arrest. Having a camera doesn't give you carte blanche to do as you wish around the police. Siding with the cops in this case seems reasonable. The cops are very aware that nearly everyone at protests such as this have cameras of some sort. And it's equally likely that the bystanders and spectators do as well. The fact that the police officers are keenly aware of this, and understand that the videos heighten the level of scrutiny and criticism their actions will recieve, makes me wary that the arrests were unwarranted and the force excessive.

I feel the cops were more than accommodating considering the circumstances. I doubt any of the officers woke up that morning relishing the idea of escorting a few hundred people through one of the busiest cities in the world, know that there would be a few confrontational individuals among them with a vendetta against authority and a camera in each hand. It should be understood that the cops are guarding against an escalation of the situation and more hostile situations, such as rioting.
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by beverly:
I can see that there is abuse going on.

No. You're not there. Videos can be edited very easily -- even unintentionally.

There may be abuse, and it certainly should be investigated. But to have decided that there definitely is at the very least premature.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Hey, I haven't been following the media's coverage of the occupy wall street stuff at all, but I'm curious: Did anyone make a big stink about all of the Obama-as-Hitler posters the way they did when those posters showed up at Tea Parties?
 
Posted by beverly (Member # 6246) on :
 
Multiple videos have been taken from different angles. I've seen them. I have a hard time believing there is anything that could've happened before to make what happened after not abuse. But I'm not their judge or jury. I just have an opinion.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
I'm surprised that there is so little resistance to laws stopping filming of police. Then again, I should find out how it works here.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
How on earth did they get several thousand? They're going by a (probably high, because almost all estimates of crowds are) estimate of 300 spending the night in a park, then "several hundred" joining them. 300 + "several hundred" != 5000. What's more, the most I see protesting on any single video so far has been maybe 100, even panning shots.

Could you link me to the videos suggesting more than 300, Lyrhawn?
 
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
 
Long shot of police aggression

At the three minute mark, the crowd reacts to a young man being physically thrown to the ground by an officer. Seconds later, a white-shirted cop lunges across a plastic fence at a woman who is on the sidewalk. He grabs ahold of her backpack and drags her on the ground into the street.

Just after the six minute mark, an officer is seen with his knee on the throat of a protestor being arrested. Similar restraint is used by another officer on another protestor just after the seven minute mark.

The majority of officers seem to be behaving and following orders. And I'm sure none of them look forward to a day spent dealing with angry protestors. But that's the job they are paid to do. To be role models of a civil society. If they can't stay calm in the face of a few unarmed, chanting young people, then they should find another job.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
How on earth did they get several thousand? They're going by a (probably high, because almost all estimates of crowds are) estimate of 300 spending the night in a park, then "several hundred" joining them. 300 + "several hundred" != 5000. What's more, the most I see protesting on any single video so far has been maybe 100, even panning shots.

Could you link me to the videos suggesting more than 300, Lyrhawn?

Sure thing. I'll link you when I get back from class tonight.

It may also be that I'm terrible at determining crowd sizes. We'll see later!
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by beverly:
I can see that there is abuse going on.

No. You're not there. Videos can be edited very easily -- even unintentionally.

There may be abuse, and it certainly should be investigated. But to have decided that there definitely is at the very least premature.

It's the police, at a protest of course they're using excessive force.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by beverly:
I can see that there is abuse going on.

No. You're not there. Videos can be edited very easily -- even unintentionally.

There may be abuse, and it certainly should be investigated. But to have decided that there definitely is at the very least premature.

It's the police, at a protest of course they're using excessive force.
Exhibit A for the defense, every single police officer not using excessive force.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
However they collectively are a negative force of oppression in serving their capitalist masters. While some are merely using excessive force the remainder are still working to hinder the efforts of progress.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
That was almost a decent pivot away from your initial point being totally invalid, Blayne.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
However they collectively are a negative force of oppression in serving their capitalist masters. While some are merely using excessive force the remainder are still working to hinder the efforts of progress.

Really? Would you say this of every police officer categorically serving at the area of the protest?
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
Depends on how you define "area" and your experiences with police tactics in recent riots, for example "kettling" tactics. I'ld argue that every police officer on the scene, is only one step away from committing acts of police brutality ala the G20 Toronto summit. They cannot help it, they are not able to refuse these orders if and when they come. Right now they're appears to be two categories, higher ups who are on the scene under immense pressure from Wall Steet to clear the protest and more regular officers milking the protest for unlimited overtime to supplement their meager salaries. The latter can be to an extant individually praised for their "silent" protest at the system, but if push comes to shove they'll be forced to act by the higher ups, especially if the movement looks like it may gain enough support and traction that it might achieve something.

The biggest problem though, in my view, is that it could reach the size and mass and anger of the anti war demonstrations which had hundreds of thousands and still achieve not only absolutely nothing but not even succeed in getting an anti war candidate on the ticket of the opposition.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Hey, I haven't been following the media's coverage of the occupy wall street stuff at all, but I'm curious: Did anyone make a big stink about all of the Obama-as-Hitler posters the way they did when those posters showed up at Tea Parties?

I'll take the lack of response as a no. Okay, I'll be honest, I was taking it as a no before I even asked.

What gets me about this is, I'm not even trying to imply that the protesters at this thing were "uncivil" or using violent rhetoric or bad or whatever. Because nearly all of the stupid Obama-Hitler posters at both leftist and tea party protests are all uncannily similar. They're done by LaRouche, who is a certifiable nutbag and neither Democrat nor Republican.

I do find it frustrating that nobody is reporting on LaRouchers at the Wall Street protest, but they leap all over them at tea parties, but... that's the extent of it. And that's not a criticism of the protesters.

PS: Lyrhawn, you're in good company. Most people are terrible at estimating crowd sizes, including members of the press. Once a crowd starts approaching 100 people it basically moves into the uncountable stage, and you start seeing wildly differing estimates from various sources.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
fugu -

This video appears to show a fairly large crowd during the march phase of the protest

When the camera pans forward and back and shows people stretched out to a vanishing point, it looks like a lot to me. I don't know about thousands though. It's hard to tell if there are cars or more people further back, so that's throwing off my estimate.

Like I said before though, I'm not entirely sure how much I trust my own guesstimate on this one. Is that 300 or so people?
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
I used to work as an organizer/peace keeper for rallies and marches in Salt Lake. We would estimate the crowd at a march by counting the number of people in a block and then multiplying by the number of blocks from the beginning to the end of the march. We also managed street crossing for smaller marches and I'd count the number of people crossing the streets between lights. I'm confident that our numbers were reasonably accurate (± 25%). The numbers given by the police and the newspapers were typically 1/4 to 1/10th what we counted.

In the video in Lyrhawn's link at ~ 58 seconds, there are ~ 15 - 20 people across the street and roughly 1 row of people every 10 feet. There are about 300 - 500 people visible in the in the frame. Based on my experience managing similar crowds, the march is likely several times longer than what's visable in a single frame. If the march extended 5 blocks or so at that density (no idea if it did), a few thousand people is a very reasonable number.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
Erika Fry on whether the OWS crowd is a "social movement". She applies some criteria from the sociological literature to what's going on, and concludes that:
quote:
[M]aybe Occupy Wall Street is a social movement in the making—as the start-up of satellite efforts like this might indicate—but it’s not one that deserves the national media spotlight, or to be the “lead story on every nightly newscast,” as Olbermann imagines would be the case with Tea Party occupiers, just yet. OWS has some things to prove and figure out about itself. It’d be irresponsible for the national media to give it attention that overstates its influence.
(h/t Monkey Cage)
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
I do find it frustrating that nobody is reporting on LaRouchers at the Wall Street protest, but they leap all over them at tea parties, but... that's the extent of it.

The LaRouchites were getting more attention than the Anarchists, despite being a smaller portion of that ridiculous crowd.

Trust me, people were making fun of this because initially it was as completely ridiculous as if it had been a tea party protest. The LaRouchites weren't getting a free pass, they were just no longer that noteworthy compared to a bunch of babby Anarchist nerds holding even dumber signs.

It took the cops being idiots to change that and turn this into a different issue altogether.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
[M]aybe Occupy Wall Street is a social movement in the making—as the start-up of satellite efforts like this might indicate
ughhhhhhhh

Won't that be special, if the counter-movement ends up being formulated on this template. Can't wait to have a bunch of people wearing Black Flag and Cho tees waving Reddit memes around and having the message underlying their official mantras and slogans be essentially be 'hurrrrrrr end capitalism!'
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
CNN reported yesterday or the day before that at least one NYC Local union has voted to join the Occupy Wall Street protests, and several other Locals are voting soon as well to join.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
[M]aybe Occupy Wall Street is a social movement in the making—as the start-up of satellite efforts like this might indicate
ughhhhhhhh

Won't that be special, if the counter-movement ends up being formulated on this template. Can't wait to have a bunch of people wearing Black Flag and Cho tees waving Reddit memes around and having the message underlying their official mantras and slogans be essentially be 'hurrrrrrr end capitalism!'

I'm for it.

PS: Did you mean Che tees, or does Margaret Cho have some special significance with the left anarchist set that I'm unaware of?
 
Posted by talsmitde (Member # 9780) on :
 
I saw this on a friend's Facebook page this morning, it's a movement to occupy Freedom Plaza in D.C. beginning October 6th.

Link

The website has a list of 15 demands, including universal healthcare and ending of "corporatism," but seems to be predominately a protest against the continuation of the Afghan war.

quote:
I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that criminal occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine to demand that our resources are invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning.
I'm not in the D.C. area, but it'll be interesting to see what comes of this and how it differs from Occupy Wall Street.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Boston Herald reports two dozen peacefully arrested at Bank of America HQ, and 3,000 protesters last night. How many of them are angry Sox fans is unknown. [Wink]

Back in New York.... It appears the police guided several hundred protesters onto the Brooklyn Bridge and then cut them off halfway across, possibly as an excuse to arrest many of them for impeding the flow of traffic. Seems pretty underhanded to me, why not block them before they got there? Or let them across and free up the bridge? Many settled in for a sit-in once the police blocked the road.

Mayor Bloomberg had this to say about the protest:

quote:
“The protesters are protesting against people who make $40,000 to $50,000 a year who are struggling to make ends meet. That’s the bottom line,” Bloomberg said.
I don't really think that's fair or accurate, but whatever helps get you reelected I guess.

Very small numbers have also been reported in Chicago and Los Angeles.

There are also reports that in addition to a PBS journalist being arrested in NYC, a NYT reporter has also been arrested. No word on if these arrests were justified, whether or not the journalist showed credentials and if arrests took place because of or in spite of those credentials.

ABC news seems to have the best coverage of events so far. Still somewhat lacking in details, but many others are barely mentioning New York, let alone other cities.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
The protesters are protesting against people who make $40,000 to $50,000 a year who are struggling to make ends meet.
I'm so confused. Which stockbrokers does Bloomberg think are making $40-$50K a year?
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Bloomberg must be so rich that he thinks of everyone with less than a billion dollars as middle class.
 
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
 
Just found out that some local organizations are meeting tomorrow in New Orleans to plan for a protest on the 6th. I am actually off work on the 6th so I think I'll be going.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Local organizers are planning something in Detroit for the 21st, which I'll miss by a couple of days or I'd go.

There's also something a little closer to me in Omaha, but they're calling it the "End the Fed" rally. Something small is just starting here in Lincoln, but, it has a ways to go yet I think.

Can't find anything about the protest in LA. Organizers are saying a lot of people showed up, and there's a livestream feed that does show a nice crowd, but even the LA Times isn't reporting it. Maybe it's smaller than it looks.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
. . . I'm really wondering how they think ending the Fed would interact with their stated goals (btw, the "we are the 99%" slogan is pretty funny considering most of their other statements about who they are apply to a much smaller percentage of the populace).
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Yeah I don't much care for that either. Sounds like they've been drinking the Ron Paul koolaid.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
And I forgot to add. 700 protesters that were corralled at the Brooklyn Bridge were arrested.

One way to get accurate crowd numbers is to arrest them all.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Video of the bridge protesters and them being arrested.


A couple notes on this. 1. You can clearly see the police leading them down to the bridge, leading them across the bridge, and then forming a line to block them off. That looks pretty damned fishy to me.

2. It looks like a disproportionate number of those arrested, at least as shown in this video, had cameras on them.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
As police clamped down on anti-Wall Street protesters over the weekend, Toronto activists said they are planning similar demonstrations against corporate greed later this month.

Organizers from a group called Occupy Toronto plan to descend on the city’s financial district on Oct. 15 at 10 a.m. The event is inspired by Occupy Wall Street, a group of demonstrators which has camped out near New York’s Financial District for two weeks.
...
“We also have focus on the Canadian issues,” he said. “Our banks didn’t get bailed out, but there are a lot of things that our banks do that harm the environment, culture and society of the Canadian people.”

Hum.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
No way Canada! Our bankers are the most evil!
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
I found this tid bit to be absolutely awesome.

quote:

Another example of criticism comes from the Debate and Discussion forums of the Something Awful message board:: [15]

I honestly think we passed the point of no return on restoring the middle class with this recession and the insane economic priorities shown afterwards. It's inevitable now, to my mind: the American Empire is dying, and one day Rick Santelli III will be hanging from a meat hook in the bombed-out remnants of Manhattan.

-Courtesy of Wikipedia your open and free encyclopedia.
 
Posted by talsmitde (Member # 9780) on :
 
This video has been making the rounds today. The New York Observer reports that this interview of an Occupy Wall Street protestor was filmed for Fox News, but somehow they never got around to airing it.

I think in terms of articulating a simple, articulate message that breaks us out of our 30-year madness, this guy's comments are right on the mark.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
I love how the reporter is like saying "Without us your message wouldn't be getting out."

Title of the video? "Unaired video."

[Wall Bash]
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
I'm for it.

Congratulations, you get your wish

Occupy movement > tea party
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
There's at least one video out there of police beating demonstrators with night sticks, and several accounts of excessive police violence while handling protesters.

Thus far all the violence seems to be in New York.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
By ">" I assume you mean "is even more crazy and unable to present a cohesive, valuable message"

Are we... are we surprised? Maybe I've lived too long near Berkeley, but I don't really expect much high-value content from protests. Productive discussions don't usually fit on posterboard, or rhyme with "Hey hey, ho ho."

PS: Still not seeing many Cho T-Shirts in the crowd.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Here's a question for you Dan:

Do protesters have to have an answer in order to make having a problem a valid complaint?

Are they allowed to say "we don't like the status quo" unless they present a concrete alternative?
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
No, because not liking the status quo is more difficult to dismiss than any concrete alternative would be.

There are talking points for dismissing every solution to the current problems. There is no talking point that dismisses the problem. If you just raise hell about the conditions, there's no way to dismiss you. There are also few productive responses to protests of that kind- but I think the positive thing here is that these protests are addressing even more than a systemic problem of ineffective or wrong-headed policy: they are actually bemoaning the moral decay that greed has wrought on our country.

I've often said I'm not an activist, nor am I in favor of most activism- as it is usually intended more for the edification of activists themselves. I think this may be a sign of something different- people are distressed and they don't find comfort in pithy "solutions" that hold little water. It indicates that the stress is real enough, and deep enough that people are not fooled into thinking there are answers already available to them.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Dude, a concrete alternative?

I'd take a consistent thing they are protesting. Can you give me that? Because I sure can't tell from reading their own website.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
I don't think there is one. I think the protests are an expression of general distress, aimed at what people believe the source of their woes to be.

I'm not one of the protesters, I couldn't tell you what each or even most of them imagines that they are addressing. But I do think that the impetus to protest comes from feeling out of control, and feeling that there is no force in society, other than their own, that is focused on their problems.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
I'd take a consistent thing they are protesting

Incidentally, the most focused answer to this question that I could detect from news reports (which admittedly were themselves slightly unfocused and unclear as to where the story wanted to go), was "greed."

The indignity felt by people who are being fleeced and soaked for every penny they have by their banks, their local parking enforcement, their insurers and their employers (work furlows, reduced benefits, etc), is difficult to aim at a single source. Who do you blame concretely, and what specific policy do you decry, for a system wherein banks are increasing their profitability while refusing to lend money? And where that problem of corporate confidence in the American people is freezing the joints of our economy at every level? What do you call that impulse, and who do you blame for it?

As for banking, the fact that banks indulged in excessive risk, and are now adversely affecting the economy by being overly risk averse, is hard to protest in any other way. We can protest them being free with our money.... until they aren't free *enough* with our money (and after we've ponied up the cash to bail them out). We can free them being too risk averse, but what do we want- we don't want them to be reckless. No, the issue has been, and is, greed. Banks were too willing to risk money at the opportunity of enormous profits, and they are to willing to sit on money now that they have it in such large liquid amounts. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and the money that would have payed them is sitting in banks- and that money is not being put to work, by anyone.

How would you protest the mentality behind the series of decisions that brought us to this impass?
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
They're actively trying not to list specific demands, or specific problems because they don't want to alienate people, but it's not hard to find a lot of common complaints.

They're mad at the alliance between politics and corporations, they want campaign finance reform (for a start there), they want to know why corporate bosses weren't investigated and tried for wrecking the economy, they want the environment protected, they want the income inequality gap lessened, they want the middle class protected, they want quality health care for everyone.

All of those pretty much fall under the umbrella of a major revision in the relationship between corporations and government.
 
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
 
Just getting ready to head off to bed so I can get up early for the march tomorrow.

On an interesting note, the legal advisors for the groups here in New Orleans actually received a permit for the protest tomorrow. It rubs me wrong that people need a permit when we have right to free assembly, but having heard seen quite a few stories of local police shutting down decades old parades for not having the right paperwork, this should help keep the NOPD off everyone's back. They may even be providing escorts.

I'm totally okay with attending tomorrow without a THIS IS WHAT WE WANT statement. While there is common ground stand against corporate greed and current unemployment, I've also seen anti-war, pro-equality, pro-choice, etc. demonstrators attending. For me, I'm starting to feel as if my vote is counting less and less. It becomes difficult to trust politicians who are funded by only a handful of very rich donors And if I can't trust them, how can I expect them to accomplish the things that I elected them to do? And that's where it opens up for ground for any minority group to stand up and say "Hey, we may not have deep pockets but our voice matters too."

I'm actually interested to see if protestors in different cities focus on different issues. Poverty, crime, our poor schools, police and political corruption, and environment are all likely to make an appearance on signs.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
While that's great for you, and some of the other protesters, this scattershot approach to protesting can also turn off people who might have actually agreed with a more focused message.

The times that Tea Parties went off their core message of fiscal conservatism... that is, the times I saw people with socially conservative signs (anti-gay marriage, etc.) or with very off-the-reservation signs (LaRouchers and other conspiracy nuts)... were the times that I felt like I was in the wrong place.

From what I've seen of the Occupy Wall Street stuff, I know I'd be horrendously out of place. This despite the fact that (as far as I can tell) some of their core values, like being against crony capitalism and greed dictating government policy, I'm actually totally in favor of.

[ October 06, 2011, 02:29 AM: Message edited by: Dan_Frank ]
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
I'm okay with it for now. It's not even a movement yet, it's just a bunch of pissed off people gathering together and voicing their anger.

And frankly, if I'd been co-opted the way the Tea Party has been, I wouldn't be looking down my nose at a new protest movement in the making that specifically wants to avoid that fate.
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I'm okay with it for now. It's not even a movement yet, it's just a bunch of pissed off people gathering together and voicing their anger.

And yet you wonder why they're getting less media coverage than an actual, you know, organized protest?
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I'm okay with it for now. It's not even a movement yet, it's just a bunch of pissed off people gathering together and voicing their anger.

And frankly, if I'd been co-opted the way the Tea Party has been, I wouldn't be looking down my nose at a new protest movement in the making that specifically wants to avoid that fate.

Co-Opted? Man, I know we disagree, but do you really need to make controversial statements as if they're obvious, undisputed facts? It seems kind of rude.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Yeah, I do. Because while they might not be organized like a political party, they clearly have some organization. They're communicating with each other, planning rallies across the country, documenting their actions, talking with each other on a daily basis to exchange ideas, and there are very clearly commonly recurring themes in the protest.

So they haven't decided, en masse, what they all specifically want, I'm not really sure that matters at the moment. Maybe we need to challenge our ideas of what a traditional movement looks like, and what a movement NEEDS to look like.

When it first started? I could see why it would be so easy to ignore (though given how early Tea Party rallies were covered is a stark contrast). But once the police brutality issues started (and have continued), and now that the protests have grown to thousands of people with a very distinct anti-corporate message, I don't see how that doesn't qualify as newsworthy.

Isn't a bunch of pissed off people gathering together to voice their anger a pretty accurate description of ANY organized protest? How is that a poor representation of, for example, the union protesters most recently in Wisconsin?
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I'm okay with it for now. It's not even a movement yet, it's just a bunch of pissed off people gathering together and voicing their anger.

And frankly, if I'd been co-opted the way the Tea Party has been, I wouldn't be looking down my nose at a new protest movement in the making that specifically wants to avoid that fate.

Co-Opted? Man, I know we disagree, but do you really need to make controversial statements as if they're obvious, undisputed facts? It seems kind of rude.
Apologies if I offended you. It wasn't meant to be a personal attack. If you require a qualifier, you can feel free to add an "I think," or "I feel" wherever appropriate in that statement.

And speaking of rude, thanks for editing your original post. [Smile]
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:

The times that Tea Parties went off their core message of fiscal conservatism... that is, the times I saw people with socially conservative signs (anti-gay marriage, etc.) or with very off-the-reservation signs (LaRouchers and other conspiracy nuts)... were the times that I felt like I was in the wrong place.

Getting everybody on the same page, no matter how ridiculous that page becomes, is not a liberal trait. You could get Republicans to do that- Democrats don't even really try. But when you're trying to get people together who are in favor of the government, like, *working* and all of that stuff- you're also dealing with the reality that one single message is not going to accomplish that. If you're interested in destroying and dismantling national institutions, then one message will do.

You cut with a scalpel, you don't build with one. And it's a simpler matter to tear something down, than it is to build something you've never seen before. That's something I think the American conservative movement forgot a very long time ago.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I could see why it would be so easy to ignore (though given how early Tea Party rallies were covered is a stark contrast).

Well, to be fair, left-wing protests are much more common, as a general rule, and nothing about OWS initially indicated that it was different or more noteworthy than your typical run-of-the-mill protest.

By contrast, early Tea Parties were covered, certainly, but not it wasn't usually positive coverage. Conservatives don't usually protest, so it was a surprising thing to most people, and especially early on they were covered only to be dismissed, and/or relentlessly and mercilessly mocked, by nearly every major news outlet.

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
But once the police brutality issues started (and have continued), and now that the protests have grown to thousands of people with a very distinct anti-corporate message, I don't see how that doesn't qualify as newsworthy.

This evolution would be what made it qualify as newsworthy, in my opinion.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I'm okay with it for now. It's not even a movement yet, it's just a bunch of pissed off people gathering together and voicing their anger.

And frankly, if I'd been co-opted the way the Tea Party has been, I wouldn't be looking down my nose at a new protest movement in the making that specifically wants to avoid that fate.

Co-Opted? Man, I know we disagree, but do you really need to make controversial statements as if they're obvious, undisputed facts? It seems kind of rude.
Apologies if I offended you. It wasn't meant to be a personal attack. If you require a qualifier, you can feel free to add an "I think," or "I feel" wherever appropriate in that statement.

And speaking of rude, thanks for editing your original post. [Smile]

We're cross-posting a bit here, so if I double post my apologies. Just wanted to say: You're welcome, and I apologize that you caught the original version of the post. I realized immediately that the language was stronger than I wanted.

Edit: Guh, what a terrible post for the new page. Sorry people! Read the bottom of the old page!
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
especially early on they were covered only to be dismissed, and/or relentlessly and mercilessly mocked, by nearly every major news outlet.

I enter that this is your contention, not an established fact. The motives behind covering the early Tea party demonstrations, I doubt you actually know. The reactions of the newspeople who covered those events would be more clear. You are on firmer ground make claims about those reactions, not about the motivations that the networks had for covering them.

For instance, my supposition is that the tea-partiers were initially mocked by the networks because their demonstrations were *stupid*. And before the Tea Party became an actual political vehicle for specific politicians who would be construed as among the mocked, networks felt free to cast dispersion on the idiocy represented therein. Just my own supposition.

Edit: and in regards to coverage of *these* protests, the sparcity of coverage is unsurprising to me. The media is chiefly intellectually lazy. The tea party demonstrations were easy to cover because the story they were presenting was almost pre-packaged for the media. These demonstrations are not organized by serial-chain-lettering, with a finely honed lexicon to be used for interviews.
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Yeah, I do. Because while they might not be organized like a political party, they clearly have some organization.

So do flash mobs, and I don't think they're newsworthy either.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Yeah, I do. Because while they might not be organized like a political party, they clearly have some organization.

So do flash mobs, and I don't think they're newsworthy either.
Clearly you're interested in discussing this like an adult.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
Clearly you are a poopy face.
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Clearly you're interested in discussing this like an adult.

Clearly you are taking things in a way I did not intend. I'll be bowing out now.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
especially early on they were covered only to be dismissed, and/or relentlessly and mercilessly mocked, by nearly every major news outlet.

I enter that this is your contention, not an established fact. The motives behind covering the early Tea party demonstrations, I doubt you actually know. The reactions of the newspeople who covered those events would be more clear. You are on firmer ground make claims about those reactions, not about the motivations that the networks had for covering them.

Oh for sure! I was only intending commentary on what they said.

When I say "relentlessly mocked" I don't mean to imply subtle mockery motives, I mean reporters covering Tea Parties using an endless litany of innuendo and mockery.

When I say "dismissed" I don't mean to imply some sneaky motive to get people to dismiss the tea parties. I mean people literally covering them by saying "these are offensive Fox-News sponsored astroturf"

Edit: I don't object to people thinking tea parties are/were stupid. I was just expanding on Lyrhawn's comment that the tea parties received coverage early on, while OWS did not. I agree with his assessment of the facts, I just think we may disagree a little on the why of it.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I could see why it would be so easy to ignore (though given how early Tea Party rallies were covered is a stark contrast).

Well, to be fair, left-wing protests are much more common, as a general rule, and nothing about OWS initially indicated that it was different or more noteworthy than your typical run-of-the-mill protest.

By contrast, early Tea Parties were covered, certainly, but not it wasn't usually positive coverage. Conservatives don't usually protest, so it was a surprising thing to most people, and especially early on they were covered only to be dismissed, and/or relentlessly and mercilessly mocked, by nearly every major news outlet.

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
But once the police brutality issues started (and have continued), and now that the protests have grown to thousands of people with a very distinct anti-corporate message, I don't see how that doesn't qualify as newsworthy.

This evolution would be what made it qualify as newsworthy, in my opinion.

Much more common? I suppose if you're counting fringe groups that are out there. The recent one-off protest in Wisconsin is a big example of traditional leftist groups protesting, sure. Otherwise what are you referring to in recent memory? WTO and G8 protests or other fringe groups?

If "the left" has to own that, then "the right" has to own protests at abortion clinics, some of the more homophobic protests at things like funerals. (just as, unfortunately, the left would have to probably own Code Pink's ugly style of protesting). If we're counting these sort of groups there is more than enough to go around on both sides, and the idea that the right hardly ever protests is a misleading one.

I don't recognize the mocking you're referring to among major media outlets. MSNBC probably did, that wouldn't surprise me. But I highly doubt CNN did, and I KNOW Fox News didn't.

And the news coverage that followed that evolution was delayed by several days. The media has been dragged kicking and screaming into covering this.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Clearly you're interested in discussing this like an adult.

Clearly you are taking things in a way I did not intend. I'll be bowing out now.
Your two sentences of replies came across to me as curt, dismissive straw man arguments. It's not what I would expect from you, but I don't see any indication that you were being tongue-in-cheek, so I took it seriously.

You didn't leave a great deal of room for interpretation. If I'm wrong, tell me why.
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
You didn't leave a great deal of room for interpretation.

As you like.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I could see why it would be so easy to ignore (though given how early Tea Party rallies were covered is a stark contrast).

Well, to be fair, left-wing protests are much more common, as a general rule, and nothing about OWS initially indicated that it was different or more noteworthy than your typical run-of-the-mill protest.

By contrast, early Tea Parties were covered, certainly, but not it wasn't usually positive coverage. Conservatives don't usually protest, so it was a surprising thing to most people, and especially early on they were covered only to be dismissed, and/or relentlessly and mercilessly mocked, by nearly every major news outlet.

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
But once the police brutality issues started (and have continued), and now that the protests have grown to thousands of people with a very distinct anti-corporate message, I don't see how that doesn't qualify as newsworthy.

This evolution would be what made it qualify as newsworthy, in my opinion.

Much more common? I suppose if you're counting fringe groups that are out there. The recent one-off protest in Wisconsin is a big example of traditional leftist groups protesting, sure. Otherwise what are you referring to in recent memory? WTO and G8 protests or other fringe groups?

If "the left" has to own that, then "the right" has to own protests at abortion clinics, some of the more homophobic protests at things like funerals. (just as, unfortunately, the left would have to probably own Code Pink's ugly style of protesting). If we're counting these sort of groups there is more than enough to go around on both sides, and the idea that the right hardly ever protests is a misleading one.

I don't recognize the mocking you're referring to among major media outlets. MSNBC probably did, that wouldn't surprise me. But I highly doubt CNN did, and I KNOW Fox News didn't.

And the news coverage that followed that evolution was delayed by several days. The media has been dragged kicking and screaming into covering this.

First of all: I was thinking of Code Pink etc. You've completely got me nailed on abortion clinic protesters and Westboro baptist style protests. I live in the SF Bay Area, and I see lefty protests on a very regular basis, whereas until the occasional tea party I never saw conservative protests out here. So, I'll cop to that here. I definitely don't own those guys (social conservative protests), and I don't expect you to own Code Pink or World Can't Wait or ANSWER. I'm glad you don't want to! [Smile]

I do think that with the Wisconsin protests, and perhaps one or two of the higher profile Anti-War protests during the Bush Era, relatively mainstream lefties still have a greater propensity towards protesting, but I concede that when you dismiss the nutbags on both sides the disparity is much less than I originally stated.

As far as the mockery... I posted some links above. MSNBC was definitely the worst in that regard (Shuster manages to cram about fifty incredibly dirty innuendos into a few minutes, which is as funny as it is despicable). But there's a pretty hostile CNN piece linked as well. Or at least, it seems hostile to me. That one might be a grayer area though... you may think it seems perfectly reasonable.

Re: coverage of OWS... I'll take your word for it, as I myself didn't notice it till a few days after it had started. I haven't followed the media coverage at all.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
You didn't leave a great deal of room for interpretation.

As you like.
I don't know what you expect from me at this point. Nothing, I would gather, since you're not inclined to clarify what you meant.

Clearly I didn't understand you, and I'm trying to, but you're not willing to help me out here.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
From Dan Frank
I do think that with the Wisconsin protests, and perhaps one or two of the higher profile Anti-War protests during the Bush Era, relatively mainstream lefties still have a greater propensity towards protesting, but I concede that when you dismiss the nutbags on both sides the disparity is much less than I originally stated.

As far as the mockery... I posted some links above. MSNBC was definitely the worst in that regard (Shuster manages to cram about fifty incredibly dirty innuendos into a few minutes, which is as funny as it is despicable). But there's a pretty hostile CNN piece linked as well. Or at least, it seems hostile to me. That one might be a grayer area though... you may think it seems perfectly reasonable.

Well, I want to say that part of that is just because liberals had more to protest during those years. Republicans in total control of those respective governments (US and Wisconsin), something major happened that they clearly disagreed with, so they got out there. Now with a Democratic government in power, the Tea Party rose up and started to complain. Now it's mixed government and BOTH sides are protesting.

I do find it somewhat curious that the Tea Party only materialized after Obama was elected and suddenly discovered they didn't like what Bush had been doing for eight years. Was there some sort of mass delusion whose haze only lifted after Obama was elected?

As for that CNN piece, that was awful. My problem comes from trying to draw a larger conclusion from a few scattered pieces of evidence. It's a 24 hour news service, you're going to find bad examples no matter what. But wow, whoever that is, she's a terrible reporter. It's one thing to engage a random person in a discussion, but that was an incredibly dishonest woman with a clear agenda.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
From Dan Frank
I do think that with the Wisconsin protests, and perhaps one or two of the higher profile Anti-War protests during the Bush Era, relatively mainstream lefties still have a greater propensity towards protesting, but I concede that when you dismiss the nutbags on both sides the disparity is much less than I originally stated.

As far as the mockery... I posted some links above. MSNBC was definitely the worst in that regard (Shuster manages to cram about fifty incredibly dirty innuendos into a few minutes, which is as funny as it is despicable). But there's a pretty hostile CNN piece linked as well. Or at least, it seems hostile to me. That one might be a grayer area though... you may think it seems perfectly reasonable.

Well, I want to say that part of that is just because liberals had more to protest during those years. Republicans in total control of those respective governments (US and Wisconsin), something major happened that they clearly disagreed with, so they got out there. Now with a Democratic government in power, the Tea Party rose up and started to complain. Now it's mixed government and BOTH sides are protesting.
That's a pretty fair assessment.
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:

I do find it somewhat curious that the Tea Party only materialized after Obama was elected and suddenly discovered they didn't like what Bush had been doing for eight years. Was there some sort of mass delusion whose haze only lifted after Obama was elected?

Hah! I know, right?

I think the answer is... yes! Basically. As best I can tell, during the Bush years conservatives were more focused on foreign policy. Some free-market fiscal conservative bloggers criticized Bush consistently on his domestic policy, but for the most part it sort of took a back burner.

Fiscal issues have been on everyone's mind much more since the 2008 bank collapses. Hence people started paying more attention, and a lot of conservatives said "Hey, what the hell was Bush doing all this time?"

Oh, a quick edit: The beginnings of what would become the tea party was there at the end of Bush's term, too. I'd say the bank bailouts were the event that first cracked the mass delusion.

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:

As for that CNN piece, that was awful. My problem comes from trying to draw a larger conclusion from a few scattered pieces of evidence. It's a 24 hour news service, you're going to find bad examples no matter what. But wow, whoever that is, she's a terrible reporter. It's one thing to engage a random person in a discussion, but that was an incredibly dishonest woman with a clear agenda.

Yeah, Susan Roesgen is a piece of work. I love this little stroll down memory lane. Though in fairness to CNN, shortly after her tea party coverage, they chose not to renew her contract. Which actually does a fair bit to support your point. [Smile]

[ October 06, 2011, 03:52 AM: Message edited by: Dan_Frank ]
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Hey Lyrhawn, I dunno if the email on your profile is up to date, but if it is, you should check your email.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
By ">" I assume you mean "is even more crazy and unable to present a cohesive, valuable message"

Put on your adult hat and give me a better guess as to what I might mean!
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Hey Lyrhawn, I dunno if the email on your profile is up to date, but if it is, you should check your email.

Got it, responded, and thank you very much. [Smile]
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
By ">" I assume you mean "is even more crazy and unable to present a cohesive, valuable message"

Put on your adult hat and give me a better guess as to what I might mean!
My actual guess was something like "bigger/better/more significant" etc. Although now I feel like I must have genuinely missed your intention. I have a hard time conceiving of that at this stage... not to say that the OWS crowd can't do it.

It's just that, love 'em or hate 'em, the tea party has changed the political landscape pretty significantly and managed to put several people in office who are pretty dedicated to tea party ideals. Whether you think this is a good thing, or a minority who has hijacked the Republican party and driven them further and further right, it still happened.

If the OWS crowd manages to do the same (whether that's "fix what is broken in the system" or "drive the Democratic party further to the left" may be debatable, but results like "put X number of OWS-sympathetic congressmen in office" would be nice and tangible) then I'll certainly concede the point.
 
Posted by Bokonon (Member # 480) on :
 
Great discussion guys, I've enjoyed it all. Kicking it old school today!
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Thanks for de-lurking to say hey. I miss your voice around here, Bok.

Whatever happened to our big debates over immigration and what not? Those were the days.
 
Posted by Bokonon (Member # 480) on :
 
You ended up agreeing with me in the generalities on that issue [Smile] (which is the most I ever hope for in these kinds of discussions). Once people agree on a direction, I'm willing to bend on how we get there quite substantially. And my ideas for immigration reform were DOA anyway.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
I feel like being contrary just to spark another debate. Surely there's something else we disagree on.

Don't make me start parroting Perry's call to invade Mexico to keep the border secure.
 
Posted by Bokonon (Member # 480) on :
 
Oh, c'mon, you can guess my thoughts on that (aside from the fact that that was just a silly off-the-cuff answer to a question he was unprepared for; he's caught flak from everyone on that one).
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Oooh, immigration!

I'm slightly less open-borders than a capital L libertarian! Maybe we could have a rousing debate. In broad terms, I think that we should have much looser immigration laws, and do a better job of enforcing the ones we end up having.

Is that controversial enough for you?
 
Posted by Bokonon (Member # 480) on :
 
Oh, and if you miss my voice, you can always check out the dude [Cool] thread on the other side; I post there once a month, at least. [Smile]
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Also I am in favor of invading Mexico. While we're at it, we should probably annex Canada for their natural resources.
 
Posted by Bokonon (Member # 480) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Oooh, immigration!

I'm slightly less open-borders than a capital L libertarian! Maybe we could have a rousing debate. In broad terms, I think that we should have much looser immigration laws, and do a better job of enforcing the ones we end up having.

Is that controversial enough for you?

I don't have time to elaborate, but not really, that's my opinion as well. And almost (but not completely) Lyrhawn's, I think. If you do a search, you might still find the thread, it's several years old now. Either me or Lyrhawn started the thread.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I feel like being contrary just to spark another debate. Surely there's something else we disagree on.

Don't make me start parroting Perry's call to invade Mexico to keep the border secure.

I suspect the cartels would win in the long term.
 
Posted by AchillesHeel (Member # 11736) on :
 
Flexibility, anonmitity and a complete disregard for loyalties and human life usually do.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
So you're saying the Republicans are bound to win?
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Ba-Dum Tish!
 
Posted by pooka (Member # 5003) on :
 
quote:
I do find it somewhat curious that the Tea Party only materialized after Obama was elected and suddenly discovered they didn't like what Bush had been doing for eight years. Was there some sort of mass delusion whose haze only lifted after Obama was elected?
I don't really get that aspect of Tea Partyers, but I guess the election made them feel like the Republican party had lost it's fire (typified by McCain) and needed to be reborn (typified by Palin). Me, I always liked McCain, and I've stayed loyal to the memory of the Bush administration. I was open-minded on Palin (Who McCain picked, after all) until she resigned from the Alaska governorship when I decided she was a blight. But I try to avoid talking politics with my associates who are aligned with Tea Party.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
The Tea Party forming when it did does not seem very curious to me. The party they broke out of was not doing what they wanted, and when the other party came into power, the went even further in the direction the conservative party had already gone.

When you don't feel like anybody represents your interests at all, you mobilize.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
You might also want to look at corporate donations when trying to decide why the Tea Party suddenly took off.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
The tea-partiers found religion about fiscal responsibility when it became clear that their political clout and ability to magically have everything work out perfectly for them evaporated in the wake of the housing crisis. Wait? You mean I can't retire with a net worth many times the amount that I could ever actually have saved in my lifetime, because some hapless rube will buy my debt-pit of a house out from under me and spend his life paying the money that I borrowed to get it in the first place? You're saying that *wasn't* a viable plan for the future?

What have I done??

Never mind, my pretty... Taxes are the blame.... mmyesss... muahaha, it was taxes all along! Damn you TAXES!!


Also, there's the small matter of the democrats electing a black man President. That doubtless got a few people off the couch.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Have fun with that guys.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
I think of this now every single time people talk about taxes these days.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
I think it's pretty silly to suggest (if you are) that a Democratic black man with a 'Muslim-sounding' name had *nothing* to do with the Tea Party's (lumping together there) success, or that it had little to do. I think it's about as silly as suggesting that that is *the* reason.

We're very close, generationally, to outright segregation in this country. The prospect of electing a black man (or a white woman, in the primaries) mobilized the left two years ago. Why is it so strange to suggest that wouldn't *also* help mobilize the right?
 
Posted by Raymond Arnold (Member # 11712) on :
 
Interesting article:

[url=http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/10/matt-stoller-the-anti-politics-of-occupywallstreet.html]Matt Stoller: The Anti-Politics of #OccupyWallStreet[url]
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
I see four alternative explanations given in this thread for the rise of the Tea Party: (1) government bank bailouts (Dan_Frank), (2) astroturfing (Tom), (3) loss of political power (BB and Orincoro) and (4) racism (Orincoro and Rakeesh). Of course, these motivations aren't mutually exclusive, and probably all of them played a role, but I think some of them are significantly more relevant than others.

I'd say that (1) and (3) led eventually to (2), and that (4) played a marginal role at best. If you look at the summaries of rallies on this list, you see a fairly marked shift in focus from early 2009 to later 2009. As the numbers swelled, the focus shifted from protesting bailouts and the stimulus, to more general dissatisfaction with the government "taking away our liberties" and "implementing socialism." This really accelerated with the shift of focus to protesting ACA. I would say this is where (1) and (3) transitioned to (2), as national organizations that received large amounts of funding began to drive the agenda more and more.

On (4) it's perhaps instructive, although certainly not dispositive, to note that claims of racism at Tea Party rallies didn't emerge until early 2010, a full year after the rallies began. I imagine racism played a role in some (perhaps many) of those joining the protests in late 2009 to express general dissatisfaction with the government, but I don't see any evidence to believe that such motivations were of primary importance to any but a small portion of those protesters.

Further supporting (3) as a persistently motivating force is the fact that Tea Party rallies fell off dramatically both in frequency and intensity following the 2010 midterm elections. If Tea Party animus were really driven primarily by (2) or (4), one would expect the protests to have continued unabated.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
... If Tea Party animus were really driven primarily by (2) or (4), one would expect the protests to have continued unabated.

I don't follow in the case of (2). If the protests were motivated by astroturfing, then the protests end when the puppet master says. Whether the protests end or continued demonstrates nothing unless we can show that this is contrary to what the (proposed) puppet master wanted.

quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
On (4) it's perhaps instructive, although certainly not dispositive, to note that claims of racism at Tea Party rallies didn't emerge until early 2010, a full year after the rallies began.

I think they emerged almost a full year before early 2010.

quote:
Dangerous Censorship From the Left
By Noel Sheppard
Published September 17, 2009
| FOXNews.com

...

Since the early days of the Tea Party movement, attendees have been called racists. No one will ever forget Janeane Garofalo’s disgusting comments on MSNBC’s “Countdown” back in April:

"You know, there's nothing more interesting than seeing a bunch of racists become confused and angry at a speech they're not quite certain what he's saying. It sounds right and then it doesn't make sense. Which, let's be very honest about what this is about. It's not about bashing Democrats, it's not about taxes, they have no idea what the Boston tea party was about, they don't know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House." --



[ October 07, 2011, 01:50 PM: Message edited by: Mucus ]
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
The Garafalo statement is about intent, not action, which speaks more to her normative position than anything going on at the rallies. Is there more to the quote where she makes specific claims that the protesters are acting in an overtly racist manner?

I would say the confluence of the birther movement into the Tea Party movement, which I believe largely happened consequent to the ACA outrage in mid-late 2009, marked the beginning of racist and xenophobic elements exerting influence over the Tea Party agenda. And, even at its height, I think the role such racism played was marginal.

I agree that (2) ends when the puppet masters say it does, and maybe they were so satisfied with the outcome of the elections that they didn't feel the need to keep plowing money in. However, I don't think that the money spigot has really turned off. The Koch-class still seem to be funding conferences and workshops; they just aren't getting the attendance they used to.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
I think of this now every single time people talk about taxes these days.

And now, so will I.

I love that movie.
 
Posted by Dobbie (Member # 3881) on :
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwZ9IqJO7e4&feature=related#t=0m37s
 
Posted by natural_mystic (Member # 11760) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
I see four alternative explanations given in this thread for the rise of the Tea Party: (1) government bank bailouts (Dan_Frank), (2) astroturfing (Tom), (3) loss of political power (BB and Orincoro) and (4) racism (Orincoro and Rakeesh). Of course, these motivations aren't mutually exclusive, and probably all of them played a role, but I think some of them are significantly more relevant than others.

I'd say that (1) and (3) led eventually to (2), and that (4) played a marginal role at best. If you look at the summaries of rallies on this list, you see a fairly marked shift in focus from early 2009 to later 2009. As the numbers swelled, the focus shifted from protesting bailouts and the stimulus, to more general dissatisfaction with the government "taking away our liberties" and "implementing socialism." This really accelerated with the shift of focus to protesting ACA. I would say this is where (1) and (3) transitioned to (2), as national organizations that received large amounts of funding began to drive the agenda more and more.

[Deleted paragraph]

Further supporting (3) as a persistently motivating force is the fact that Tea Party rallies fell off dramatically both in frequency and intensity following the 2010 midterm elections. If Tea Party animus were really driven primarily by (2) or (4), one would expect the protests to have continued unabated.

A significant event in the rise of the Tea Party was Santelli's rant, delivered in response to rumors of bailouts for homeowners. Tea Partyers complain about bank bailouts, but they also have not been supportive of legislation aimed at preventing the need for future bailouts.

Whatever the genesis of the Tea Party, whether genuine Ron Paulites or whatever, it is hard to view it now as much more than a re-branding of the far right of the Republican party.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
I think of this now every single time people talk about taxes these days.

And now, so will I.

I love that movie.

I laugh every time I see that.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:

On (4) it's perhaps instructive, although certainly not dispositive, to note that claims of racism at Tea Party rallies didn't emerge until early 2010, a full year after the rallies began. I imagine racism played a role in some (perhaps many) of those joining the protests in late 2009 to express general dissatisfaction with the government, but I don't see any evidence to believe that such motivations were of primary importance to any but a small portion of those protesters.

Further supporting (3) as a persistently motivating force is the fact that Tea Party rallies fell off dramatically both in frequency and intensity following the 2010 midterm elections. If Tea Party animus were really driven primarily by (2) or (4), one would expect the protests to have continued unabated.

Race was never on the official agenda for Tea Partiers, but I think it would be foolish to dismiss that aspect as being minor. It was a catalyst. It served , I think, as a clear manifestation for many politically inactive people that *they* and people *like them* were not in charge, and that *others* were gaining some political power. I just don't think a lot of these people would care nearly as much if there weren't a black son of a Muslim in the white house. You've seen the polls on the ridiculous birther issue. A lot of people believed in that- alot of the same people who are suddenly against all government spending. Where were they when a rich white man was spending rivers of money on wars and defense and cutting revenue as he did it? Because they trusted that guy, for no other apparent reason.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
You've seen the polls on the ridiculous birther issue.
Can still see, too. Polling tea party members is always a little bit surreal, to see what they believe.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Cantor and Bloomberg speak out against protests

Most everyone in the GOP establishment is joining them.

Cantor says the protests are full of mobs, and "pit Americans against Americans." That seems like a sort of bizarre statement considering what Cantor does for a living. Does he not work in politics? I don't know what he was thinking when he said that, but I can't help but laugh when I read it.

Bloomberg said some protesters are out to destroy American jobs, and complained that some of the unions should stay out of it because their incomes are paid for by taxes collected from the people the protest against. That strikes me as yet another bizarre argument considering most everyone there is complaining about high unemployment, and it's not like having a public sector job means you can't complain against anyone who pays taxes. That's a bizarre concept to me.

Cantor seems to be closer to a successful attack line by portraying them as mobs. He's going for the revolutionary, French Revolution sort of imagery, but I can't take any of is seriously. With all the rhetoric that has come out of the right in the last few years about taking back the country and all that pseudo-revolutionary crap, and the role that the Tea Party has played in protesting, I can't take anything they say about Occupy Wallstreet seriously.

It all comes down to "you're only allowed to protest if you agree with me," and it makes me even less inclined to try to engage them, since they clearly don't think the same rules should apply to everyone.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
I have found that all protests have to obtain some critical mass. The forces of resistance can't contain them forever, and if they endure, they eventually burst through, and become a truly national movement.

At that point, politicians immediately try to co-opt the movement, pretending they were on board all along, and that they can lead that movement to fresh water. I hope Occupy Wall St managed to keep going. I'm very tempted to visit Occupy Salt Lake.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
The interesting thing is how Democrats are responding. They look like they are caught between gleefully expecting a liberal Tea Party and hopelessly wary of being smeared with something Republicans might portray as anarchist. Charlie Rangel is all over it. Jumped right in. Obama cautions that we need a strong financial sector while sympathizing with the sentiment. They're recognizing, but not engaging. It's a good first step.

Watching them hem and haw over it though is painfully awkward.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
Seems to be a lot of resentment against democrats though, worried that they'll co opt the movement.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
I don't blame them. I give Democrats a tiny bit of credit for trying to pass reform, but what they actually passed was horribly watered down to the point of uselessness. And Democrats are nearly as bad as Republicans in being beholden to corporations. Obama has overseen an administration that has given Wall Street nearly everything they wanted. There's not a ton of good will there.

Still, like it or not, Democrats are going to be the natural allies of the movement. If they get coopted in a similar fashion to the Tea Party, where the GOP swallowed them only to choke on it, Occupy Wall Street might find themselves with their hands on a couple levers of power.
 
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
 
If there is an Occupy movement in your area, I'd recommend checking it out. I went to the recent New Orleans march and had a blast.

With the exception of a few crazies, everyone was remarkably normal. Aside from one conspiracy theorist, there was also the band of Ron Paul supporters who were thankfully boo-ed each time they came to the mic. Still, it was really interesting talking to people and I loved the diversity of our crowd. I saw three women (a grandmother, her daughter, and her granddaughter) who were all out in support of SSM. I got a ride to the rally from a biochemist who had just gone back to school after not being able to find a job. I met atleast ten engineers who were working as waiters because they couldn't find work in their field. There were also a bunch of organizers from local groups who were out to support justice reform in New Orleans.

One of the most powerful individuals was a gentleman who came to speak to us about the importance of Duncan Plaza, the park they are usually for the encampment. He lived there for a year after Katrina along with hundreds of other homeless. I believe his organization is going to be working with the OccupyNOLA campers to do homeless outreach and food drives. Its a great way to help people pass the time and do some extra good.

The cops were on-hand to escort two stages of the march. Nobody was arrested after the crowd stormed city hall. The mayor went out yesterday to cheer on the campers. And right now, they're being allowed to stay in the park. However the first night, whether by fluke or on purpose, the lights in the park were turned off even though they were lit everywhere else. We had to get up and move so that the general assembly could see. Not sure if they've gotten this corrected, but I hope they do for the safety of the campers.

All in all, I had a great day. I'm still insanely sore from holding my sign up for hours. Everytime I'd try to lower it, someone would tap me on the shoulder and ask if they could take a picture. If you see a sunburned, blue haired girl in any pictures, that's me. I was also interviewed by the local news and one of my coworkers saw me, but unfortunately there's no video online. I got asked how I felt about the movement not having a "clear message." Personally, I think it would be awesome if the media would just start asking people about themselves and what brought them to the movement. Soundbites about corporate greed aren't as interesting as the stories of people who had to leave the state for cancer treatment or others who were laid off after corporations fled the city.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
The rally here in Lincoln falls when I'm going to be home in Detroit visiting family, and the rally in Detroit isn't until I leave to come back!

Hopefully there will still be something local happening when I get back.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Cantor says the protests are full of mobs, and "pit Americans against Americans." That seems like a sort of bizarre statement considering what Cantor does for a living. Does he not work in politics? I don't know what he was thinking when he said that, but I can't help but laugh when I read it.

In what possible way can this be said of the OWS that it couldn't also be said of...well, the various Tea Parties?
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Doesn't it make you want to tear your hair out in frustration, and at the same time, laugh hysterically because it's so ridiculous?

I bet he's totally serious too, and doesn't even recognize how silly it sounds.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Cain and others have some negative words for the protest

quote:
GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, meanwhile, told CBS' "Face the Nation" that he believes the protests are aimed at drawing attention away from President Obama.

"The proof is quite simply the bankers and the people on Wall Street didn't write these failed policies of the Obama administration. They didn't spend a trillion dollars that didn't work. The administration and the Democrats spent a trillion dollars," Cain said. Citing the president's new jobs bill, Cain added that the "administration is proposing another $450 billion wrapped in different rhetoric. So it's a distraction, so many people won't focus on the failed policies of this administration."

Cain insisted that the protesters "were encouraged to get together." When asked by whom, he said, "We know that the unions and certain union-related organizations have been behind these protests that have gone on."

In New York, several unions endorsed the Occupy Wall Street movement last week.

Cain insisted the protests are "anti-American."

"The free market system and capitalism are two of the things that have allowed this nation and this economy to become the biggest in the world," he said. "Even though we have our challenges, I believe that the protests are more anti-capitalism and anti-free market than anything else."

Fellow GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich told CBS that he agrees with Cain that the protests are "a natural product of Obama's class warfare. ... We have had a strain of hostility to free enterprise. And frankly a strain of hostility to classic America starting in our academic institutions and spreading across this country. And I regard the Wall Street protest as a natural outcome of a bad education system, teaching them really dumb ideas."

Both Cain and Gingrich described the protests as "class warfare."

Pelosi rejected that. "When we said everyone should pay their fair share, the other side said that's class warfare," she said on ABC. "No, it's not. It's the most enduring American value: fairness. And it's about everyone paying their fair share. We all have a responsibility to grow our economy, reduce the deficit, keep us No. 1."

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, told NBC's "Meet the Press," "I don't disparage anybody who protests their government for better government. No matter what perspective they come from."

Republicans "want to lower the barriers against Americans who want to rise," he said. Ryan added that divisive rhetoric is "troubling. Sowing class envy and social unrest is not what we do in America."

So Herman Cain, who has apparently not watched any of the actual protest, thinks Occupy Wall Street is a liberal front to help Obama politically. I guess all the people at the protests who have said they don't much care for Democrats either somehow got by him. That's a problem with poor coverage, too, I think. I'm willing to be that almost everyone at these events leans liberal, heavily, but that doesn't mean they're Democrats. They're protesting against the WHOLE system, not just the GOP half.

But this is unsurprising from Cain, who said in an earlier interview that the banking collapse was three years ago and this is now, so clearly the banks aren't responsible, now it's Obama's fault. Apparently being a frontrunner for the GOP means you drop ridiculous pearls of wisdom like that more often.

His contention that the protests are anti-capitalist or anti-free market, and thus anti-AMERICAN is really interesting. While you might infer an economic system from the Constitution, nowhere in the document does it enshrine capitalism. It actually gives Congress some interesting powers to regulate the economy, which have been broadly interpreted ever since. Cain's right that for a long time, corporations have been best friend with the government, and thus protesting one sort of intrinsically links you to the other, but that's not how most of us WANT it to be. Nor is there any real reason it SHOULD be.

At the very least, Occupy Wall Street is forcing some interesting responses from people.

Gingrich apparently blames schools, for some reason. There has always been hostility to unbridled free enterprise. It leads to a boom and bust economy with few protections, if any, for workers. Talk about a bad education.

Paul Ryan is perhaps the most measured, but even he uses the same language. Leads to "class envy and social unrest." Dude, people don't have jobs to feed their families and work for an honest living. No one in the protest movement is suggesting stripping all the wealth from the wealthy and passing it around, it's about wanting to be able to live a relatively stable, comfortable middle class life style. I think Ryan, and the rest, demonstrate a pretty clear disconnect from what people want, and from what is really going on out here.

If the situation was reversed, Republicans would be all over language like that. Pelosi has had some things to say in support of OWS, but nothing particularly firebrand.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Doesn't it make you want to tear your hair out in frustration, and at the same time, laugh hysterically because it's so ridiculous?

I bet he's totally serious too, and doesn't even recognize how silly it sounds.

Yes. The Tea-Party is avowedly *anti-government*. But somehow, that is exceptionally patriotic. The Wall Street protests, which are for government *reform*, are "anti-American."
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
It's interesting that Pelosi feels fairness is "the most enduring American value," as opposed to freedom or opportunity. I think that highlights one of the fundamental differences of ideology that contributes to the polarization of America.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Historically, all three have been in short supply.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
It's interesting that Pelosi feels fairness is "the most enduring American value," as opposed to freedom or opportunity. I think that highlights one of the fundamental differences of ideology that contributes to the polarization of America.

It's supposed to be. Freedom, when actually realized, ought to amount to fairness. We never, after all, wanted freedom because we thought it'd make things unfair-we wanted it because we thought things were unfair, and needed changing.

One of my personal oldest beefs with the GOP is the way it imagines, to my eyes, that freedom to a say enormously wealthy business is the same as freedom for a family in grinding poverty, or that 'opportunity' is somehow actually equal and freely available across the board.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
The GOP should put up William Graham Sumner against Romney.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
The new response from conservatives to these protests indicates genuine worry on their part. They actually really do not want these protests to gain critical mass. So much so that the consistency of responses like Cantor belie the purposeful and strategic intent of his statements, to decry the 'mobbishness' of the protests, and to simultaneously mock them for having no true message while also trying to define the message for them. What a surprise, right?
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
It's interesting that Pelosi feels fairness is "the most enduring American value," as opposed to freedom or opportunity.

Tell me, what was the impetus for the original Boston Tea Party? Was it a yearning for freedom? Was it to create some opportunity? No? No. It was because of "unfair" taxes.

Freedom and opportunity are *about* fairness. If you don't get a fair shake, you aren't free. You don't get any opportunities.

When did conservatives start thinking about "freedom" as a concept divorced from a sense of fairness? How do you get "opportunity" without fair treatment? Do you have any idea how to reconcile those two things? Poor, and uneducated, and downtrodden is not free. It might be "free," under some definition of the term. Some who are poor and uneducated and downtrodden might succeed. But when the government is set up to advantage others, and to disadvantage you- how exactly are you free? And what does your freedom mean if in relative terms, others are favored from the beginning? And if this is more than an accident, but of a deliberate purpose?
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
The new response from conservatives to these protests indicates genuine worry on their part. They actually really do not want these protests to gain critical mass. So much so that the consistency of responses like Cantor belie the purposeful and strategic intent of his statements, to decry the 'mobbishness' of the protests, and to simultaneously mock them for having no true message while also trying to define the message for them. What a surprise, right?

Right. They're "neo-communists." Why? Because they are for some reason.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
I dunno Orincoro, your last post sounded pretty Communist to me.
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Tell me, what was the impetus for the original Boston Tea Party? Was it a yearning for freedom? Was it to create some opportunity? No? No. It was because of "unfair" taxes.

I'd say it was for freedom from taxation without representation as well as for the opportunity to exercise the right of self-governance.

quote:
When did conservatives start thinking about "freedom" as a concept divorced from a sense of fairness?

We haven't. Justice - which is really the basis of what is being discussed - is a much more nuanced issue than you're making it out to be. We're concerned with both positive and negative freedoms as well as the free will of all parties involved.
 
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
 
Conservative magazine editor admits to be Agent Provacateur at DC Museum

quote:
“As I scrambled away from the scene of my crime, a police officer outside the museum gates pointed at my eyes, puffed out of his chest, and shouted: “Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.” He was proud that I had been pepper-sprayed, and, oddly, so was I. I deserved to get a face full of high-grade pepper, and the guards who sprayed me acted with more courage than I saw from any of the protesters. If you’re looking for something to commend these days in America, start with those guards.”
Oh, this poor delusional man.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Tell me, what was the impetus for the original Boston Tea Party? Was it a yearning for freedom? Was it to create some opportunity? No? No. It was because of "unfair" taxes.

I'd say it was for freedom from taxation without representation as well as for the opportunity to exercise the right of self-governance.

Semantics. I could as easily say: to defeat the unfair tax laws, and to gain fair representation in government. It's the same thing. Pelosi talking about fairness *is* Pelosi talking about freedom and opportunity. It's an aspect of both- and a concept that is very important to a democratic society. You're seriously arguing against fairness? Why? Nobody is arguing against freedom and opportunity.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I dunno Orincoro, your last post sounded pretty Communist to me.

[Wink] Yes, we all know that taking a dim-view of the government actively preferencing members of certain classes is the basis of communism.

Also, the opposite, wanting the government to do this is also the basis of communism.

And of course, if you don't agree with a fiscal policy that is designed to create and sequester wealth in a small wealthy class, which is then able to control the government by eroding the government's ability to effectively regulate the economy, then clearly, you are a communist, and must believe in an authoritarian central government simultaneously run by an evil intellectual oligarchy, *and* functioning according to the will of a tyrannical majority of the working class.... for some reason.

Basically, if you're not a republican, you are a fascist and a communist at the same time- which is technically impossible, but still!

Actually, whatever the conservatives don't like this week, except actually they like it just fine, except they don't like it at all, is the basis of communism.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Actually, whatever the conservatives don't like this week, except actually they like it just fine, except they don't like it at all, is the basis of communism.
I've been on dates like that.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
Dude, I've had relationships like that.
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
You're seriously arguing against fairness? Why? Nobody is arguing against freedom and opportunity.

No. You're the one claiming that's my position. We call misrepresentation like that a straw man. I'm not arguing against fairness. The question is how do we go about maximizing freedom - not whether we're for or against it - and I'm claiming that people frame the issue in different ways and that indoviduals can percieve justice similarly yet with varying nuances (or, even, view it completely differently). The way you couch the issue according to terms and definitions defines the outcome of your reasoning. But no productive conversation will ever come from comments such as "You're against fairness because.." Dismiss what I said by claiming semantics but I prefer to keep the discussion within the relevant context(s) and not ignore the uniqueness of different events.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
Ah... no. You were equivocating. And you can go back and rationalize and try to make me look like an ogre now, but your statement was no more than a semantic quibble. You just didn't want to settle on "fairness," as an appropriate word for some reason...

oh right, because Pelosi likes "fairness," so you need to find some way of being disdainful of the word because it's obviously reserved for left-wing radicals now. So you can't give an inch on the idea that the revolution was about "fairness," because "freedom" and "opportunity" are *really* patriotic words for *real* patriots- not pussy communist words for pussy communists.

You jump and bark and snuffle on the conservative line like a housepet, and you don't even notice you're doing it.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
The question is how do we go about maximizing freedom - not whether we're for or against it - and I'm claiming that people frame the issue in different ways and that indoviduals can percieve justice similarly yet with varying nuances (or, even, view it completely differently).
Why should we even be trying to "maximize freedom"? Shouldn't we be trying to maximize human well being. Freedom is certainly an important component of well being but its not the only component, probably not even the most important component. Individual freedoms would be maximized if we each lived isolated from all human beings whose desires were in conflict with our own, but very few of us would choose to be hermits. We recognize that the benefits to our well being from participating in a community out weigh the loss of liberty.

The preamble to the constitution, states as its first objective unity, then justice, tranquility, defense, general welfare and finally liberty. Why should individual liberty be elevated above above all the others as the most American value and the one that should be optimized? Would it not be more American to be seeking an optimal balance of all those objectives?
 
Posted by Black Fox (Member # 1986) on :
 
I vigorously disagree with you that freedom would be maximized if we each lived isolated from all human beings who we are in conflict with. I think that is a very narrow view of freedom, free-will, and liberty. Choosing to live in a community certainly curtails certain options, but in the same breath it opens more doors than it closes. Many thinkers over time have noted that living in a community gives us freedom to use our creativity and rational mind as we spend less time on mundane tasks.

Just to throw in my two cents, there is considerable scholarship on the matter of the American Revolution as a revolution of elites and not the people. The Constitution is also often seen as a kind of counter revolution to the formation of highly democratic state constitutions following the revolutionary era. The point I am trying to make here is that the Constitution was probably not as much about liberty as it was creating a stable state that could pay its national debt. I might go into this later, but I have to run to class.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
I vigorously disagree with you that freedom would be maximized if we each lived isolated from all human beings who we are in conflict with. I think that is a very narrow view of freedom, free-will, and liberty.
I think we are saying much the same thing but using different words. I think its useful to separate the concept of "liberty" from the concept of "opportunity."

A common definition of liberty is "The state of being free from restrictions imposed by societal authority."

A common definition of opportunity is "A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something."


And to complete the set, We can define freedom to be "The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint."

Personal liberty is pretty clearly maximized by eliminating all societal authority. But that option is one that comes at the cost of opportunity.

Much of the political debate is about striking the right balance between liberty and opportunity.

Freedom, however, is far more complicated because the to power act or speak can be limited by many kinds of things. It can be limited by society, by circumstances, and by natural law. Furthermore, one can have the legal or moral right to act but lack the power to do it or one can have the power to act but not the right.

When society imposes restrictions on ones actions, it by definition reduces liberty, but if those restrictions create circumstances that make other choices possible it is not clear whether they increase or decrease freedom. Restrictions can actually increase some peoples freedom while decreasing the freedom of others, even when the restrictions are applied uniformly. That's why I think its important to separate the two concepts.

[ October 10, 2011, 12:11 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]
 
Posted by Geraine (Member # 9913) on :
 
I am fine with the people protesting for something they believe in. We have had groups here in Las Vegas protesting and they have been peaceful, with no arrests (as far as I know). I understand there have been peaceful gatherings in many other places in the country.

But comparing them to the Tea Party? I think it is a little too soon.

I'm not really paying attention to it much since I think it will eventually go away. Holding signs that say they are in the 99% then giving speeches about overthrowing the government and instituting a totaliaran regime doesn't really lend them much credibility in my opinion.

The fact that these groups are being backed by these massive unions and ACORN don't really help them either. They want to get rid of special interests, but they are playing right into their hands.
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Ah... no. You were equivocating. And you can go back and rationalize and try to make me look like an ogre now, but your statement was no more than a semantic quibble. You just didn't want to settle on "fairness," as an appropriate word for some reason...

oh right, because Pelosi likes "fairness," so you need to find some way of being disdainful of the word because it's obviously reserved for left-wing radicals now. So you can't give an inch on the idea that the revolution was about "fairness," because "freedom" and "opportunity" are *really* patriotic words for *real* patriots- not pussy communist words for pussy communists.

You jump and bark and snuffle on the conservative line like a housepet, and you don't even notice you're doing it.

You really flew off the handle on that one. No need to use such acrimonious language. Your tantrums only make discussions with you more disagreeable.

I have no disdain for 'fairness' despite Pelosi's use of the word. The fact is some terms having multiple nuanced meanings, some specific to certain situations. Using the term accurately and appropriately isn't equivocation. And I don't know how you got patriotism and communism out of all that. Justice is a complex concept but right now you're succeeding at making it overly complex, and doing so with incredibly bad form.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
I believe the phrase "We are the 99%" was originally in reference to the GOP opposition to raising taxes on the top 1%. To me, its a lot less presumptuous when viewed in that context.

In a way, that claim is consistent with the fact that the movement doesn't have one consistent message. They are a mixture of people from the lower 99% of the income bracket and that's a pretty diverse group of people.

Movements from both the left and the right have a long history of claiming to represent the silent majority of Americans. Any one remember Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority"? More recently, Tea Party Leaders like Sarah Palin have claimed to represent the average american and the silent majority. While this always has a tendency to offend the opposition, I think its common because people really believe it. They believe that their viewpoint is held by the vast majority because they are guilty of selection bias. They associate selectively with people who share their values and perspective so nearly everyone they talk to about political issues agrees with them. They then presume that, despite what they read in the media, nearly everyone thinks like they do.

[ October 10, 2011, 02:01 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
The question is how do we go about maximizing freedom - not whether we're for or against it - and I'm claiming that people frame the issue in different ways and that indoviduals can percieve justice similarly yet with varying nuances (or, even, view it completely differently).
Why should we even be trying to "maximize freedom"? Shouldn't we be trying to maximize human well being. Freedom is certainly an important component of well being but its not the only component, probably not even the most important component.

The preamble to the constitution, states as its first objective unity, then justice, tranquility, defense, general welfare and finally liberty. Why should individual liberty be elevated above above all the others as the most American value and the one that should be optimized? Would it not be more American to be seeking an optimal balance of all those objectives?

QFT. The idea of liberty has no meaning outside the contexts of law, order, and equality. Our liberties are only meaningful if we recognize them as a part of a framework of government- not as being rights divorced from and somehow independent of, and only negatively influenced by, the government.
 
Posted by Geraine (Member # 9913) on :
 
I disagree. My liberties enable me to make my own decisions in regards to my own well being.

Why should it be the governments job to determine what is good and bad for me? Not only that, but I fail to understand why people have enough faith in the government to provide for everyone. What makes them think that government would not be more corrupt with even more power?

I do agree with some things the protesters stand for. I do not like special interest groups. I don't think the government should be giving money to businesses at all.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
I disagree. My liberties enable me to make my own decisions in regards to my own well being.

Why should it be the governments job to determine what is good and bad for me?

So if I decide it would improve my well being to steal cars, you think the government should not interfere?

No? I didn't think so.

No one that I've heard is arguing that the government should make all the decisions or provide for everyone. What I've heard people saying is that the government needs pass sensible laws and regulations that maximize the opportunities available to the common man.

[ October 10, 2011, 04:38 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Why should it be the governments job to determine what is good and bad for me? Not only that, but I fail to understand why people have enough faith in the government to provide for everyone. What makes them think that government would not be more corrupt with even more power?

Which is a strange statement in light of constant conservative/GOP opposition to industry regulation...

Anyway, few liberals want the government to provide for everyone-it not being necessary. They would generally, though, like the government to take an interest in its citizens in grinding poverty, aside from how to incarcerate them most effectively.

Another thing: the government already determines, to an extent, what is good and bad for you and I suspect you're perfectly happy with it. The government says, "Hey! Power plant! Less pollution!" or, "Hey! Farmers! Cleaner livestock conditions!" or, "Hey! Drivers! No booze and less speeding!" Those are just a few obvious example. All of them can accurately be said to be the government 'deciding what's best for us', but that's really just another way of saying 'the people electing a government which decides what's best for us'.

Which was always the point, y'know?

Speaking just for myself, Geraine, for a long time I've regarded the conservative claim, "Government shouldn't decide what's good for us!" (and its many varities) with extreme skepticism. On the broader political spectrum, speaking for conservatives as a whole in how they vote and who they elect, it's complete bunk. (Sex ed, drugs, homosexuality)

Speaking strictly to you, though, I regard it with skepticism because I'd be surprised (correct me if I'm wrong) if there weren't some things which you felt the government shouldn't decide what is good and bad and make laws accordingly. Underage drinking, drugs, prostitution, pornography, just for the easy picks.
--------


Gotta agree with capax, as peculiar as that is. In the past on more than one occasion I've thought his rhetoric was objectionable, but this doesn't seem to be one of those times at all, Orincoro-you went quite rude and nutty.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
I disagree. My liberties enable me to make my own decisions in regards to my own well being.

On a limited basis, yes.

Other people's liberties would, were they not contextualized by a system of laws, allow them to make decisions that had adverse effects on you and your rights to attend to your well-being. That is why fairness is an integral component of liberty, as a concept. You are not free unless others are constrained in their freedoms, and conversely, the ways in which you are not free serve to ensure the freedoms of others. "Liberty and Justice," are not separate concepts. They are interdependent.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Orincoro-you went quite rude and nutty.

Fair enough. I have little regard for him as a poster, and I don't care about his feelings at all. But If you think I should back off, I will.
 
Posted by Geraine (Member # 9913) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Why should it be the governments job to determine what is good and bad for me? Not only that, but I fail to understand why people have enough faith in the government to provide for everyone. What makes them think that government would not be more corrupt with even more power?

Which is a strange statement in light of constant conservative/GOP opposition to industry regulation...

Anyway, few liberals want the government to provide for everyone-it not being necessary. They would generally, though, like the government to take an interest in its citizens in grinding poverty, aside from how to incarcerate them most effectively.

Another thing: the government already determines, to an extent, what is good and bad for you and I suspect you're perfectly happy with it. The government says, "Hey! Power plant! Less pollution!" or, "Hey! Farmers! Cleaner livestock conditions!" or, "Hey! Drivers! No booze and less speeding!" Those are just a few obvious example. All of them can accurately be said to be the government 'deciding what's best for us', but that's really just another way of saying 'the people electing a government which decides what's best for us'.

Which was always the point, y'know?


I agree with you on this point. I am fine with regulation on things such as food and drug safety. However, I choose what kinds of food and drugs I take however. I do not want the government involved to the extent in which they tell me which foods I have to buy and which drugs I HAVE to take. If I want to eat my recreation of an Epic Meal Time episode, I should be able to.
quote:




Speaking strictly to you, though, I regard it with skepticism because I'd be surprised (correct me if I'm wrong) if there weren't some things which you felt the government shouldn't decide what is good and bad and make laws accordingly. Underage drinking, drugs, prostitution, pornography, just for the easy picks.
--------

Actually this might surprise you, but I do not think the government should laws regarding any of those things. I truly believe that if drugs such as marijuana were legal it could be taxed for a source of government revenue. Laws on prostitution are mainly handled by the state, and is legal in many areas of my state (Nevada). Underage drinking I agree, however I do believe that it should be lowered to 18. If the person is old enough to vote and server in the military, they are old enough to drink. Pornography (as long as it does not have minors) is fine.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
From Geraine:
Holding signs that say they are in the 99% then giving speeches about overthrowing the government and instituting a totaliaran regime doesn't really lend them much credibility in my opinion.

Who is doing that? Other than the occasional loon, I don't know anyone who wants to overthrow the government and replace it with a totalitarian regime. Are you thinking of the Tea Party? They might not say it often, but that sounds more like their language.

quote:
From Geraine:
The fact that these groups are being backed by these massive unions and ACORN don't really help them either. They want to get rid of special interests, but they are playing right into their hands.

Not really. They want fundamental reform in campaign finance, and I totally agree. I think special interests should have a role, but it's a roll that a single lobbyist could do, rather than hundreds for each company. Unions should have a voice in government, so should Wall Street, really, but they shouldn't CONTROL government. You remove their money from the equation and just let them argue on the merits and you fundamentally change government. I'm all for that.

quote:
From Geraine:
However, I choose what kinds of food and drugs I take however. I do not want the government involved to the extent in which they tell me which foods I have to buy and which drugs I HAVE to take.

What is this a reference to? I can't think of a single food the government MAKES you eat, and the only drug I can think of they MAKE you take are immunizations. You want to bring back the era of polio and smallpox?

quote:
Orincoro:
Fair enough. I have little regard for him as a poster, and I don't care about his feelings at all. But If you think I should back off, I will.

(not to dogpile, but) I don't think you have to like other posters, though it'd be nice if we could all at least respect each other, even if we don't really want to.
 
Posted by Geraine (Member # 9913) on :
 
Actually Lyrhawn, it is right on their website. They are linking speeches given at the protest on the website calling for a totalitarian regime. If it was just a nutcase doing it, why link the speech?

What sort of campaign finance reform are they looking for? The Supreme Court has already ruled on this. I think if they want some change, their time would be better served electing officials into office that would take up their cause and pass bills to that effect. Shutting down parks and being an annoyance to the general public probably isn't the best way to get what you want.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/it_nyc_lam_sterdam_bmE4vlV5aDUWhBRv9IbaiK#ixzz1aNzIGOx7

quote:



Zuccotti Park smelled like an open sewer -- with people urinating and defecating in public.

And some couples have taken advantage of the free condoms distributed by organizers to do the nasty in full view of other protesters.

“It kinda makes me think of what Woodstock must have been like,” said one protester, Sarah, 19 from the Upper West Side.

“I haven’t hooked up with any guys ... but one of my friends did have sex in a tarp with a guy last night.”

The free chow offered to protesters was boosting the crowd.

“People say they are here for the cause, but the real reason is the free food,” quipped Cameron, 26, of Jersey City.

“On my third day, they had smoked salmon with cream cheese. You know how much smoked salmon is a pound? Sixteen dollars. I eat better here than I do with my parents!”


Many of the protesters said they are here for the long haul -- and predicted trouble if cops try to clear the park.

“When the weather starts getting cold, we’re already talking about bringing tents in here,” said Robert, 47, of Pennsylvania. “I’m not going anywhere.

“I lost my job of 22 years, and someone has gotta pay,’’ he said. “Civil disobedience is something we may need to keep this site occupied. If everyone does it at once, the cops won’t be able to do anything.”

Three protesters took their sleeping bags and tried to camp out on Wall Street near Nassau Street last night. When police told them to move, one demonstrator, Zachary Miller, 20, from California, was arrested for disorderly conduct, cops said.

At one point yesterday, a speaker from Washington, DC, told protesters how to break out of zip ties and handcuffs in case they get collared.

The protest vet, Ryan Clayton, 30, demonstrated how use a bobby pin to spring the cuffs open -- while claiming he was “not encouraging people to break out of restraints.”

So there is people doing their business in the streets, organizers are providing free condoms (why not portable bathrooms?) and free food to people who attend. They are now training protesters how to break out of handcuffs and zip ties.

Now to be fair, I agree with SOME of the things they are saying. I do think we need to do away with the federal reserve, and I was always against the bailouts from the very beginning. I am against special interest groups dictating government decisions. Going however from one extreme (corporations with too much power over the government) to the other (government having too much powerf of corporations) doesn't really solve anything.

Just read another article that said Libertarians and Tea Partiers are starting to join, much to the dismay of a lot of the other protesters. I don't know why that made me chuckle, but it did. [Big Grin]
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
Right, and the conservative movement has trained you to think that any movement in favor f stronger government is in favor of a polar opposite to economic liberalism.

It's never what *is* but what *would* be. You don't want the government putting you on some sort of personal meal plan with a little hamster ball full of sedatives and vitamins in your government flat with no windows. Ok. Who does want that? These protests, and we can reasonably ignore nut cases talking about totalitarian regimes, are about the government being run by a small minority of the rich. That is a basic underlying motive.

It's impossible to address these concerns because they are unreasonable- just as I don't worry about the Tea Paety actually succeeding in completely obliterating the government and all social programs, you should not fix your gaze on wacky left wing nuts. Because unlike in the conservative camp- our nut cases don't dictate our policy objectives. Today, the conservative movement's leadership is so whipped by it's fringe components that it must espouse goals that, were they to have any chance of being accomplished, Those leaders would likely not advocate them. Not least because it would put them out of a job, and then probably endanger their lives.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Geraine -

Link me to the website that says what you're citing.

quote:
Shutting down parks and being an annoyance to the general public probably isn't the best way to get what you want.
Someone really should have told that to civil rights protesters. Do you have any idea how tough it was to get to work in Birmingham and Selma during those marches? Traffic was a nightmare!

As for your article, while I'm sure that captures some of the truth, it reads with a clear thesis, not so much an open exploration of what's happening as a whole.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
The article is from the Post. Whenever you read an article from the Post, you should treat it like something being said by Glenn Beck.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
That extreme? Because I saw that today Glenn Beck declared o. His radio program that the protestors want to haul the media out of their offices and kill them. And then he said, literally, kill them with their hands. It was... Odd.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
It sounds weird without the chalkboard charts-it needs sole context, then it's perfectly rational!
 
Posted by Black Fox (Member # 1986) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
I vigorously disagree with you that freedom would be maximized if we each lived isolated from all human beings who we are in conflict with. I think that is a very narrow view of freedom, free-will, and liberty.
I think we are saying much the same thing but using different words. I think its useful to separate the concept of "liberty" from the concept of "opportunity."

A common definition of liberty is "The state of being free from restrictions imposed by societal authority."

A common definition of opportunity is "A set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something."


And to complete the set, We can define freedom to be "The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint."

Personal liberty is pretty clearly maximized by eliminating all societal authority. But that option is one that comes at the cost of opportunity.

Much of the political debate is about striking the right balance between liberty and opportunity.

Freedom, however, is far more complicated because the to power act or speak can be limited by many kinds of things. It can be limited by society, by circumstances, and by natural law. Furthermore, one can have the legal or moral right to act but lack the power to do it or one can have the power to act but not the right.

When society imposes restrictions on ones actions, it by definition reduces liberty, but if those restrictions create circumstances that make other choices possible it is not clear whether they increase or decrease freedom. Restrictions can actually increase some peoples freedom while decreasing the freedom of others, even when the restrictions are applied uniformly. That's why I think its important to separate the two concepts.

Under those definitions I would have to say that government's role is to maximize opportunity within reasonable restrictions to personal liberty(no murder, etc.).

In response to many people's view of regulation: do you have any problem with the rule of law? I have always seen regulation as simply being the application of law. People seem to have no problem with the regulation of murder and rape (not allowed), but for some people any application of law to commerce and daily dealings is somehow wrong? Many modern Americans have this odd misconception that early Americans were against taxation and regulation of any kind. They were not, their main dispute was that they wanted that taxation and "regulation" to come from their own elected assemblies. I see nothing wrong with a majority of Americans deciding that they don't want their futures put in jeopardy by financial institutions that do not seem to have the country's well being at heart.
 
Posted by Black Fox (Member # 1986) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I believe the phrase "We are the 99%" was originally in reference to the GOP opposition to raising taxes on the top 1%. To me, its a lot less presumptuous when viewed in that context.

In a way, that claim is consistent with the fact that the movement doesn't have one consistent message. They are a mixture of people from the lower 99% of the income bracket and that's a pretty diverse group of people.

Movements from both the left and the right have a long history of claiming to represent the silent majority of Americans. Any one remember Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority"? More recently, Tea Party Leaders like Sarah Palin have claimed to represent the average american and the silent majority. While this always has a tendency to offend the opposition, I think its common because people really believe it. They believe that their viewpoint is held by the vast majority because they are guilty of selection bias. They associate selectively with people who share their values and perspective so nearly everyone they talk to about political issues agrees with them. They then presume that, despite what they read in the media, nearly everyone thinks like they do.

My favorite example of this is from liberals who were astounded that John Kerry lost against George Bush. Obviously conservatives are just of guilty of this as I know so many who see the election of liberals to office as being the product of some elaborate conspiracy since everyone in their community is a red blooded American.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
As opposed to what, green-blooded Americans?

Is the Romulan vote really that big a constituency? Lord knows all the Vulcans are liberals up there in their ivory tower.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Hey, what do you guys think of this? It was uploaded by a conservative but I'm halfway through so far and it seems unedited, just a glimpse at Occupy Atlanta and their, hm... unique method of decision making.
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
As opposed to what, green-blooded Americans?

Is the Romulan vote really that big a constituency? Lord knows all the Vulcans are liberals up there in their ivory tower.

You forgot Andorians, Hortas, and several others.

Specieist. [Razz]
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
It sounds weird without the chalkboard charts-it needs sole context, then it's perfectly rational!

Right. Just throw in some circles, hand-waving, some speech ticks, garbled swallowing and panting, and it all makes sense.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
As opposed to what, green-blooded Americans?

Is the Romulan vote really that big a constituency? Lord knows all the Vulcans are liberals up there in their ivory tower.

You forgot Andorians, Hortas, and several others.

Specieist. [Razz]

I bow to your superior knowledge of Star Trek xenobiology. [Smile]
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Black Fox:
Many modern Americans have this odd misconception that early Americans were against taxation and regulation of any kind. They were not, their main dispute was that they wanted that taxation and "regulation" to come from their own elected assemblies.

Well, to be fair, you're talking about people who might also form a political movement named after a group of costumed rioters who broke onto private property and destroyed a year's supply of valuable tea, no doubt bankrupting whatever merchant had been unlucky enough to import it, because they disagreed with the (nominal) imposition of duties they would be required to pay in order to purchase it (which they hadn't). And this same group of people who might, within the same year of forming, denounce peaceful public protests by the unemployed... for no specific reasons.

But if people actually think the opinions and specific practices of the forefathers has some special enduring relevance and ever-present application to the way things are done today, then I say bully to you. And while you're at it, you can also live according to 18th century social customs, medical practices, diets, and daily activities- if you put so much stock in the way the founders did things.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
More than 100 arrested in Boston when protesters refuse to vacate a recently renovated park

Some video from the event

Police say that they weren't allowed to be there. It was a second camp established after the first camp became overcrowded.

OccupyBoston says that they got permission to be at the park so long as they agreed not to damage any of the plants that were recently planted for the expensive renovation project. They also say the police, more than 200 strong, lined up in full riot gear, though that doesn't appear to be the case from the video of the arrests.

Be interesting to see if they try to occupy the same area again tomorrow. The arrests happened around 1am local time in Boston, early Tuesday morning.
 
Posted by Black Fox (Member # 1986) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Black Fox:
Many modern Americans have this odd misconception that early Americans were against taxation and regulation of any kind. They were not, their main dispute was that they wanted that taxation and "regulation" to come from their own elected assemblies.

Well, to be fair, you're talking about people who might also form a political movement named after a group of costumed rioters who broke onto private property and destroyed a year's supply of valuable tea, no doubt bankrupting whatever merchant had been unlucky enough to import it, because they disagreed with the (nominal) imposition of duties they would be required to pay in order to purchase it (which they hadn't). And this same group of people who might, within the same year of forming, denounce peaceful public protests by the unemployed... for no specific reasons.

But if people actually think the opinions and specific practices of the forefathers has some special enduring relevance and ever-present application to the way things are done today, then I say bully to you. And while you're at it, you can also live according to 18th century social customs, medical practices, diets, and daily activities- if you put so much stock in the way the founders did things.

I wrote quite a bit and decided it would be rather pointless. I generally dislike talking about history with people that have a poor grasp of it or have a strong desire for one particular flavor of it to be universally true.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Hey, what do you guys think of this? It was uploaded by a conservative but I'm halfway through so far and it seems unedited, just a glimpse at Occupy Atlanta and their, hm... unique method of decision making.

I gotta say that the optics of such a white crowd throwing out the black guy doesn't look good.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Occupy Denver appears to have had a decent turnout over the weekend.

Looks like a couple hundred people maybe.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
Are they repeating every statement so that the entire crowd can hear what is being said?
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Yes.

It started in New York because they aren't allowed to use bullhorns.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Hey, what do you guys think of this? It was uploaded by a conservative but I'm halfway through so far and it seems unedited, just a glimpse at Occupy Atlanta and their, hm... unique method of decision making.

I gotta say that the optics of such a white crowd throwing out the black guy doesn't look good.
Well, he wasn't rejected, they just said that he had to wait, like everyone else, for the time when the floor was open to contributions from everyone.

Even Lewis has said that he didn't feel slighted, he just didn't have time to sit around and wait for the appointed time.

I don't think it was a slight, but it strikes me as kind of silly. In the time it took them to make their decision, they could have just let him speak and been on their way. I'm a big fan of everyone having a voice, but geez, what a mess. Sometimes you have to make compromises for the sake of efficiency and effectiveness. If I had to sit through that crap all day, I'd be gone pretty fast.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Hey, what do you guys think of this? It was uploaded by a conservative but I'm halfway through so far and it seems unedited, just a glimpse at Occupy Atlanta and their, hm... unique method of decision making.

I gotta say that the optics of such a white crowd throwing out the black guy doesn't look good.
Quick recap for those who didn't watch the video:

Announcer introduces John Lewis, Georgia congressman, Civil Rights hero, and recent recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. However, before Rep. Lewis can take the mic, the group leader asks if anyone is opposed to his addressing the group. A "block" politely objects, since "the point of this general assembly is to kickstart a Democratic process in which no singular human being is more valuable than any other human being." The leader then spends eight minutes trying to determine whether there is consensus within the group for having Rep. Lewis speak. In the end, since no consensus emerges and since "this group makes its decisions by consensus", Rep. Lewis is not allowed to speak.

My take: 1) alienating prominent Democrats might not be strategically wise, 2) making decisions only by consensus in such a large group, particularly decisions of such immediacy, is a good way to generate irrelevance, 3) the human megaphone and the lecture on using hand signals (rather than clapping or speaking) are...I don't know, kinda weird in a techno-utopian, Esperanto-like way. It seems like something that sounds good in the abstract in a dorm room late at night, but when translated to a real human experience doesn't actually work very well.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Well, he wasn't rejected, they just said that he had to wait, like everyone else, for the time when the floor was open to contributions from everyone.
... If I had to sit through that crap all day, I'd be gone pretty fast.

Basically the same result, knowing that their process was this slow, they told him to wait knowing that he'd be gone.

It's like when the phone company puts you on a really long hold.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
I don't think it's the same thing. Yes, it had the same result, but that doesn't mean the method is irrelevant. You're assigning intent to them.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
Their intent seemed pretty clear to me, based on the speech of the "block" and the girl who proposed to make Lewis wait until after the agenda had been completed. They didn't specifically not want him to speak, they just wanted to maintain the "everyone is equal" vibe of the protest, even if that meant offending someone who has significant political power and relevance. It seems a simple matter of ideology trumping practicality.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
You're assigning intent to them.

*shrug* Sure. I think people are smart enough to reason out the likely results of their actions even if the details are couched within bureaucracy and procedure.

Maybe they did learn a lesson or two when the police let the protesters onto a bridge and then arrested them for blocking traffic [Wink]
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Hey, what do you guys think of this? It was uploaded by a conservative but I'm halfway through so far and it seems unedited, just a glimpse at Occupy Atlanta and their, hm... unique method of decision making.

I gotta say that the optics of such a white crowd throwing out the black guy doesn't look good.
Quick recap for those who didn't watch the video:

Announcer introduces John Lewis, Georgia congressman, Civil Rights hero, and recent recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. However, before Rep. Lewis can take the mic, the group leader asks if anyone is opposed to his addressing the group. A "block" politely objects, since "the point of this general assembly is to kickstart a Democratic process in which no singular human being is more valuable than any other human being." The leader then spends eight minutes trying to determine whether there is consensus within the group for having Rep. Lewis speak. In the end, since no consensus emerges and since "this group makes its decisions by consensus", Rep. Lewis is not allowed to speak.

My take: 1) alienating prominent Democrats might not be strategically wise, 2) making decisions only by consensus in such a large group, particularly decisions of such immediacy, is a good way to generate irrelevance, 3) the human megaphone and the lecture on using hand signals (rather than clapping or speaking) are...I don't know, kinda weird in a techno-utopian, Esperanto-like way. It seems like something that sounds good in the abstract in a dorm room late at night, but when translated to a real human experience doesn't actually work very well.

I think this is a great assessment.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
It's worth noting that this is not some new, wacky, unusual way of running large conversations at protests. I've seen it used as a mechanism multiple times over the last decade. There are reasons for the hand signals, for example. [Smile] It actually works far better than someone only seeing it from the perspective of a hostile outsider might guess.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Hostile? Who's hostile? [Razz]
 
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
 
At the first post-march New Orleans General Assembly, a young man who has been participating in Occupy Wall Street made himself available to teach the human microphone and hand signals. In our smallish crowd, the microphone could have been avoided if people would have agreed to sit closer together and last I'd heard, our city hadn't prohibited the protestors from using electrical audio equipment. I DID like the hand signals and it made it convenient to "applause" someone's ideas without cutting them off with actual applause.

But it is a HARD, and possibly inefficient system when used in such a diverse group. For example, in order to practice the general assembly tactics of submitting a proposal, keeping the discussion on track, and reaching a consensus...the Occupy Wall Street guy had everyone vote on whether the movement should be violent or non-violent. Should have been really easy to vote and reach a consensus, right? Nope. It took an HOUR with people demanding their chance to speak and question any number of finer points, like whether the vote prohibited a person from striking a police officer if they were struck first. *sigh* This was followed by ANOTHER hour long discussion of whether or not the New Orleans team accepted the Occupy Wall Street guidelines and techniques for reaching a consensus.

Another example, a "block" is meant to signify an objection so strong that an individual would leave the movement even if the majority of protestors were in favor of the proposal. The idea is that majority rules with the exception of "blocks." A "blocker" is usually given the opportunity to make his/her case with the hopes that an adjustment to the proposal would satisfy the blocker and the group. But in the case of the New Orleans General Assembly, "blocks" were being used by anyone who felt like they objected and wanted to voice that objection. And in a leaderless movement made up individuals to often lead their own charities and outreach programs, there were ALOT of people who wanted their chance at the "microphone." I don't know if our local general assembly has worked the kinks out yet and I don't know if this works better in HUGE crowds,

Its a great system for letting people make their voices and their opinions heard, but it does invite individuals to derail an action that could better the group as a whole.

However, there may be a slippery slope when it comes to dealing with politicians. Around here, the Ron Paul supporters have been especially aggressive when it comes to promoting their candidate every time they're given a chance on the soapbox. They were often chanted down with "people not politicians" which is more in line with the ideals of the group. The Tea Party has courted politicians with mixed success, so I imagine that many with the Occupy movement are concerned that a revolution by the People and for the People, could be hijacked by politicians looking for a soundbite. What would be best would be if the politicians would settle for speaking in solidarity with the Occupy movement, rather than taking the microphone and speaking for them.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
The editors of The New Republic are deeply skeptical of the occupiers.

quote:
[I]t is just not the protesters’ apparent allergy to capitalism and suspicion of normal democratic politics that should raise concerns. It is also their temperament. The protests have made a big deal of the fact that they arrive at their decisions through a deliberative process. But all their talk of “general assemblies” and “communiqués” and “consensus” has an air of group-think about it that is, or should be, troubling to liberals.

<snip>

[W]e are hard-pressed to believe that most Americans will look at these protests, with their extreme anti-capitalist rhetoric, and conclude that the fate of the Dodd-Frank legislation—currently the best liberal hope for improving democratically regulated capitalism—is more crucial than they had previously thought.

It seems like many of the editors' expressed concerns are informed by the video that Dan_Frank posted earlier (which is linked to from the article). They refer to the human microphone as "genuinely creepy" while recognizing its logistical value, and find the single-minded focus on consensus decision making as betraying an anti-democratic impulse. Coupled with the radically negative views expressed about capitalism (even the sort of regulated capitalism establishment Democrats support) the editors label the occupiers as being "out of sync with [liberals'] values."

(h/t Ben Smith)
 
Posted by Bokonon (Member # 480) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
[qb]Tell me, what was the impetus for the original Boston Tea Party? Was it a yearning for freedom? Was it to create some opportunity? No? No. It was because of "unfair" taxes.

I'd say it was for freedom from taxation without representation as well as for the opportunity to exercise the right of self-governance.

Actually, a good review of the historical data is found in this book: http://amzn.com/0300178123

(Note: I am a personal friend of Professor Carp)

Interesting (though not necessarily relevent) points include the 50 years of silence on who participated was potentially out of fear of getting sued by the East India Company for damages, that the tax would have made tea cheaper, and that the Boston Sons of Liberty were considered wimps and not dedicated to the cause by their New York and Philly brethren.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
But all their talk of “general assemblies” and “communiqués” and “consensus” has an air of group-think about it that is, or should be, troubling to liberals.
*blink* Liberals should be troubled by good-faith efforts to ensure minority voices are heard and consensus is reached?

Man, I hate when conservatives try to tell liberals what they should be like.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
But all their talk of “general assemblies” and “communiqués” and “consensus” has an air of group-think about it that is, or should be, troubling to liberals.
*blink* Liberals should be troubled by good-faith efforts to ensure minority voices are heard and consensus is reached?

Man, I hate when conservatives try to tell liberals what they should be like.

(Psst, TNR is a liberal mag. The writers are liberals, not conservatives).
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Nah. The New Republic calls itself liberal. But it's been contrarian and anti-liberal for ages, with the exception of Galston. It's a mag that's deeply concerned with the mechanisms of power and thoroughly entrenched in ways to manipulate the system; that some of its ends are liberal can't disguise the fact that its methods are as traditional as they come.

(Edited to add: that's not to say that I'm not sympathetic to arguments of practicality. But they're hopelessly lost when it comes to trying to understand a protest driven by the hatred of corporatism, since they long ago confused corporatism with professionalism and professionalism with respectability.)
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
Oh my god. Marty Peretz has controlled TNR for God knows how long. It is not a liberal-leaning publication.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
I was just reading something about Occupy Wall St:

"[T]he whole essence of the movement is to reject the game’s rules as it is being played, to produce change that includes each of these demands but goes much further to question the structures that make those demands necessary. The analogy to the heart of the Arab spring uprisings, to the civil rights movement, to the counter-cultural protests of the 60’s, are striking. They all believed they were operating under a system that needed to be changed in the way it functioned before their specific demands could be realized; their power lay in the evidence of the mass support they provided for change, the evidence that things could not go on as they were, that those that held the levers of power had to use them to implement deep changes or get out of the way and let others that would do so get at it."
http://pmarcuse.wordpress.com/

The analogy with the 60s civil rights protests made me realize how comparatively tough a task these protestors face. Unlike the freedom riders or the people who did sit-ins at white restaurants, the OWS people don't have unjust laws they can flaunt through civil disobedience. One of the things that made the civil rights protests powerful is that people were getting the shit beat out of them for drinking at the wrong fountain. There's nothing these contemporary protesters can do to similarly underscore the injustice in the system they're opposing. It's not like they can get themselves arrested in front of cameras for drawing needed unemployment payments, or for getting health care they don't have insurance for.

Not that I have a better idea, but this is one reason why I don't expect this kind of activity to do much good unless the number of activists gets truly huge. And it's a bit of a catch-22, because without inspiring news stories this is very unlikely to happen.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
Okay. I would call TNR liberal based on its consistent support for Democratic policies (particularly fiscal and domestic policies) as well as the editors' self-identification as liberal. If you don't want them in your liberal club, though, I guess that's fine.

Still, I think calling the editors of TNR conservatives is fatuous.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
http://gawker.com/5848488/the-right+wing-version-of-we-are-the-99-percent-heartbreaking

quote:
[W]hat makes "We Are the 53%" so heartbreaking isn't that its contributors are enormous jerks—it's that so many of them could just as easily be writing in to We Are the 99 Percent. Like the guy on the left, who can "barely afford" his rent. Or the "former marine" in the center who hasn't had "4 consecutive days off in 4 years." The phrase "I don't have health insurance" pops up frequently on "We Are the 53%," but not as a cry for help or an indictment of a broken system. Here, it's a badge of pride.

 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
TNR isn't conservative, for sure. It's centrist. Like the Democrats.

It's a magazine that embodies the ideals of what Krugman and Greenwald mockingly call "Serious People" -- the kind of pundits who often support Democrats but knew for certain back in '03 that opposing the Iraq war was a sign of fringe lefty naivete. People like Joe Lieberman. The kind of people who often say, "David Brooks/Tom Friedman has a good point..."
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
TNR isn't conservative, for sure. It's centrist. Like the Democrats.

I would characterize it as Obama-centrist rather than, say, Bloomberg-centrist. It's not Brooks and it's also not Krugman (Friedman is a pretty good exemplar, though). Personally, I'd call it "liberal" and I think most people would agree with me, but I'd be fine with "center-left."

To Tom's point, though, this isn't a case of conservatives telling liberals what to be like. It's "serious people" of a center-left ideological bent telling "liberals" (in which they include themselves) what to be like. It's rather like the perpetual hectoring David Frum gives conservatives while maintaining his self-identity as part of the group.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
I basically agree. I guess I just don't like Serious People. Not since Iraq. As I see it, they have a lot of blood on their hands and hardly any remorse about it.

One quibble: I wasn't saying TNR is like Brooks, I was saying they're the type who often "see Brooks's point," perhaps while respectfully disagreeing, as opposed to thinking Brooks is almost always entirely off base.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
SenojRetep, for an example of what I would consider a liberal mag, try this one.

http://motherjones.com/
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
Kate-

I have, at times, read Mother Jones articles. And Salon. And TPM. It doesn't change my opinion that TNR can reasonably be considered a liberal mag, especially if you ignore the foreign policy aspects.

Again, just because David Frum isn't Andrew Breitbart doesn't make him not a conservative. Just because Richard Just is not Josh Marshall doesn't make him not a liberal.

But, again, I'm fine with "center-left." I termed it a liberal mag because that's obviously how the editors see it, and I was referencing their opinion given in the article I linked to.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
I listened to Limbaugh yesterday at work! He was even more limbaugh than usual. He called the occupy protestors meaninglessly small and meaningless and pure genuine trust fund nobody kids obsessed with not being meaningless, but it's meaningless because they're meaningless so there.

He also I believe flat out literally said that Obama is purposefully setting up riots using occupy wall street as a front.

Well, at least the conservative response to the protests ought to keep things entertaining.
 
Posted by twinky (Member # 693) on :
 
Here's my problem: the Tea Party, avowedly right-wing fringe, garnered instant attention and now commands real political clout.

Occupy Wall Street, which is being labelled as fringe left, was slow to garner attention and is still not considered a "serious" or legitimate movement.

The whole conversation in the US has shifted so that the centre is on the right, and the left wing is now considered a radical fringe.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Well, let's be fair; the Tea Party took a year or so to really get traction, and that was even with corporate sponsorship and the support of a major media outlet.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Yeah, that's my memory of things as well. As time passed though, the...group impression?...of them changed pretty quick as far as fringe or not.
 
Posted by twinky (Member # 693) on :
 
Why resort to memory, when Nate Silver has put together convenient graphs? [Big Grin]
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
Thanks twinky.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
So handy to have your own pet "news" corporation.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
Speed has not been a problem with the Occupy movement. Exposure was, but that was fixed thanks to the police (see: my comments to capax earlier) and now it's sustainability. They've been helping themselves to a surprising amount of spotlight, so you're seeing a new phase: conservatives already feeling very, very threatened by them, and we move on to the PR war.

Occupy is regarded very favorably by the public. The tea party is not. Anywhere this goes hinges on the maintenance of the Occupy message as something people in general like, versus how the tea party says stuff that hardcore conservatives like but which scares off everyone else.

Gruh??
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
quote:
Gruh??
What?
 
Posted by talsmitde (Member # 9780) on :
 
This could get interesting. The owners of Zuccotti Park want everyone out of the park by 7 a.m. tomorrow morning for cleaning, and many of the Occupy Wall Street protestors are refusing to move, as 1) they've been trying to work with the city on sanitation and 2) the owners have established rules (banning tarps, sleeping bags, etc.) that essentially prohibit the protestors from returning as full-time occupiers.

They're calling for all those in the New York area who can to come down to the park by midnight tonight.
 
Posted by Glenn Arnold (Member # 3192) on :
 
The problem here is that the police have blocked the protesters from using public property to protest, so they wound up on private property. Public property should be available to the public. America should be a free speech zone.

I just don't understand why the police have worked so hard changing this from a protest against economic injustice to a referendum on police abuse of power.
 
Posted by Glenn Arnold (Member # 3192) on :
 
And apparently Tony Bologna should have been removed from his post as far back as 2004.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by talsmitde:
This could get interesting. The owners of Zuccotti Park want everyone out of the park by 7 a.m. tomorrow morning for cleaning, and many of the Occupy Wall Street protestors are refusing to move, as 1) they've been trying to work with the city on sanitation and 2) the owners have established rules (banning tarps, sleeping bags, etc.) that essentially prohibit the protestors from returning as full-time occupiers.

They're calling for all those in the New York area who can to come down to the park by midnight tonight.

Haven't those been the rules from the start though? They've flouted them for weeks now and nothing has been done about it.

I wonder why they're all of a sudden changing their minds, and if after a cleaning, they'll let them back in. If the police want to remove them, they'll remove them. I think we've learned that much.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
So handy to have your own pet "news" corporation.

http://www.imgur.com/Kb72R.jpg
 
Posted by talsmitde (Member # 9780) on :
 
It appears that Brookfield Properties has withdrawn their request for the city's help in clearing the park, as they believe they'll be able to work with the occupiers to maintain the property.

They decided this late last night, though it just broke about 40 minutes before the cleaning was supposed to begin at 7 EDT this morning. Following Occupy Wall Street on Twitter, it seemed that the crowd at the park got quite large overnight and early this morning.
 
Posted by Jake (Member # 206) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
So handy to have your own pet "news" corporation.

http://www.imgur.com/Kb72R.jpg
Those fatcats!
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
So handy to have your own pet "news" corporation.

http://www.imgur.com/Kb72R.jpg
Those fatcats!
According to HUD statics, 0.75% of Americans are homeless. Combining this with the FOX News stat, there are nearly twice as many people without homes than without refrigerators. I wonder where all those homeless people are storing the fridges.
 
Posted by Tarrsk (Member # 332) on :
 
They live in the refrigerators, obviously. You think that scene in "Indiana Jones and the Something of the Crystal Skull Thing" was made up out of nothing?
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
According to HUD statics, 0.75% of Americans are homeless. Combining this with the FOX News stat, there are nearly twice as many people without homes than without refrigerators. I wonder where all those homeless people are storing the fridges.

Well, it looks like Fox is citing a DOE survey which only surveys homes.

Table HC3.5 Appliances in U.S. Homes, By Household Income, 2009

The number looks a bit different at 99.4% (opposed to 99.6% in the graphic) below the poverty line, if I'm reading it right, but close enough to be what they're probably classifying as poor.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
So are they only counting the poor that have a place to live?
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
I think so.

While it makes sense for the DOE survey (in terms of how I think it was meant to be used), it is somewhat misleading when used in the Fox News "argument."
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
So are they only counting the poor that have a place to live?

kmboots, The stat is from DOE and its a percentage of all households with a refrigerator, not poor people.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Just wanted to be sure which level of exhausted outrage to muster.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
Its also worth noting that most poorer people rent, and, in most areas, building codes require places rented as domiciles to have refrigerators and stoves.

So

1. Poor people are very unlikely to own a refrigerator or any other major appliance.

and

2. The fact that nearly all poor households have refrigerators in their residence is a result of exactly the kind of government regulation the right wing opposes.
 
Posted by Darth_Mauve (Member # 4709) on :
 
I've also heard Fox and other Right leaning/right wing commentators say that the protestors were all, "Trust Fund Babies"--Children of Rich parents who didn't need to work, so took to protesting out of boredom/guilt/because they can.

Of course the way to limit Trust Fund Babies is through....

A strong inheritance tax.

So shouldn't the Right be all for a strong Inheritance tax so that these protesting trust-fund babies would have to get a job like the rest of us and not have time to protest economic injustice?
 
Posted by Geraine (Member # 9913) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
I've also heard Fox and other Right leaning/right wing commentators say that the protestors were all, "Trust Fund Babies"--Children of Rich parents who didn't need to work, so took to protesting out of boredom/guilt/because they can.

Of course the way to limit Trust Fund Babies is through....

A strong inheritance tax.

So shouldn't the Right be all for a strong Inheritance tax so that these protesting trust-fund babies would have to get a job like the rest of us and not have time to protest economic injustice?

I've really only heard Limbaugh say that they are trust fund babies.

Has anyone else mentioned that this is starting to look a lot like Shay's Rebellion? (Without the killing and violence of course)
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
I've also heard Fox and other Right leaning/right wing commentators say that the protestors were all, "Trust Fund Babies"--Children of Rich parents who didn't need to work, so took to protesting out of boredom/guilt/because they can.

Of course the way to limit Trust Fund Babies is through....

A strong inheritance tax.

So shouldn't the Right be all for a strong Inheritance tax so that these protesting trust-fund babies would have to get a job like the rest of us and not have time to protest economic injustice?

The 'trust fund baby' argument is used to highlight the large OWS contingent comprised of affluent consumers who profit(ed) from and enjoy(ed) the fruits of the system they now oppose, a group Charles Krauthammer calls in his most recent column the "Starbucks-sipping, Levi’s-clad, iPhone-clutching protesters denounce[ing] corporate America even as they weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over." This argument against isn't against the existence of trust fund babies but against their actions. It's the same reason the right is critical (and dismissive) of Warren Buffet's comments - if they (meaning the rich who support redistributive policies) have so much money, why not write a fat check to the IRS and voluntarily redistribute your income? The same goes for inheritance money. The right believes you're more than welcome to donate it but its's not within the government's power to tax the hell out of it.

These rich liberals posses more effective means of exacting the change they desire than partying in downtown Manhattan. The real issue is in identifying what percentage of 'trust fund babies' are among the protesters. Each side of the political spectrum is going to propose a wildly different number.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
I don't know if breaking it down into two "sides" is fair.

Actually, I've read a number of articles from non-white progressives, and they pretty much echo the same concern that the Occupy Wall Street crowd is disproportionately privileged white people.

That doesn't mean that they don't sympathize with the overall goals of the movement though.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
These rich liberals posses more effective means of exacting the change they desire than partying in downtown Manhattan.
This is a stereotype that the right would love you to believe but which simply isn't true. Sure, its likely true for some of the protestors but not for most of them. I know quite a few people involved and none of them qualify as "trust fun babies". They are at best middle class and many of them are lower middle class.
 
Posted by DarkKnight (Member # 7536) on :
 
quote:
So shouldn't the Right be all for a strong Inheritance tax so that these protesting trust-fund babies would have to get a job like the rest of us and not have time to protest economic injustice?
Nope. They have a right to protest anything they want. Just like the protestors can even say things like:
Leftist racism at occupy wall street
More
Although I do believe they should be held accountable for defecating on a cop car, blocking traffic, trespassing, and so on.
Occupy wall street begins to chafe its neighbors
As for Warren Buffet
Warren Buffett refuses to pay taxes he wants others to pay
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
Since when does being "Starbucks-sipping, Levi’s-clad, iPhone-clutching" make you upper class? I live in a developing country where a lot of my students who don't have refrigeration or running water in their homes, wear Levi's and have i-phones. You may think that's financially irresponsible, but an smart phone costs a lot less here than a refrigerator and orders of magnitude less than decent house.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
DK, It seems like you are not aware that some of of the OWS protestors are the very same people who came out to Tea Party protests. It isn't as simple as left vs. right.
 
Posted by DarkKnight (Member # 7536) on :
 
quote:
but an smart phone costs a lot less here than a refrigerator and orders of magnitude less than decent house.
That is true pretty much everywhere. Although if you can afford a $100 iPhone plus probably at the cheapest $40 a month you can afford a refrigerator.
quote:
It seems like you are not aware that some of of the OWS protestors are the very same people who came out to Tea Party protests. It isn't as simple as left vs. right.
So these people in the videos are Tea Party people?
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
So these people in the videos are Tea Party people?
Possibly. More likely they aren't really aligned with either. There are certain groups of wackos (like the LaRouche movement) that show up at anything resembling a protest.

Its rather hypocritical to complain that people paid too much attention to these fringe groups during the Tea Party protests and then turn around encourage the same thing for the OWS.
 
Posted by DarkKnight (Member # 7536) on :
 
quote:
Its rather hypocritical to complain that people paid too much attention to these fringe groups during the Tea Party protests and then turn around encourage the same thing for the OWS.
Can you provide videos of the same thing, or similar occupations from a Tea Party event?
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Can you provide videos of the same thing, or similar occupations from a Tea Party event?
Strange. So now video footage of Tea Party protests will be relevant, somehow? Seems to me that before, it was only ever the preamble to, "But Bush protestors..."
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Starbucks-sipping, Levi’s-clad, iPhone-clutching protesters denounce[ing] corporate America even as they weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over...
It's interesting that Krauthammer doesn't see a distinction between the members of corporate America that Occupy is actually protesting and, say, Steve Jobs. You'd think he'd do more research.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
further,

quote:
The 'trust fund baby' argument is used to highlight the large OWS contingent comprised of affluent consumers who profit(ed) from and enjoy(ed) the fruits of the system they now oppose
Because I'm sure Limbaugh, Krauthammer or you have exceedingly quickly organized social demographic data on the occupy crowd.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
Starbucks-sipping, Levi’s-clad, iPhone-clutching protesters denounce[ing] corporate America even as they weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over...
It's interesting that Krauthammer doesn't see a distinction between the members of corporate America that Occupy is actually protesting and, say, Steve Jobs. You'd think he'd do more research.
You think that Krauthammer does research? How would that be helpful when trying to frame this protest as both class warfare against the wealthy and snobby elitism? You think that facts are gonna help with that?
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Can you provide videos of the same thing, or similar occupations from a Tea Party event?
Strange. So now video footage of Tea Party protests will be relevant, somehow? Seems to me that before, it was only ever the preamble to, "But Bush protestors..."
Just to be clear, since I have spoken here on this subject a lot, I have been pretty consistent in acknowledging that both OWS and Tea Parties have attracted a significant subset of wackjob "career protester" types. I don't think, in either case, that it's fair to judge to overall protests based on these people.

For example, the young short-haired white male harassing the Jewish man in one of DarkKnight's videos has a pretty active presence on OWS youtube videos. He goes by "Lotion Man," which sounds totally above board, and is pretty clearly more than a little insane. He doesn't represent OWS as a group, in my opinion. Focusing on one or two complete loons is an easy way to discredit any protest, because protests by their nature draw a certain crowd anyway so you're guaranteed to find a few crackpots.

The flavor of nutjobbery will vary, of course, and each of our biases will inform just how crazy we are willing to admit someone is. It's true that no Tea Party protester ever crapped on a cop car, but this is not surprising. After all, loony righties tend to focus their misguided rage at other groups (the gays, or the lazy), while loony lefties typically prefer to take their crazy out on cops and other authority figures.

I think a much more useful discussion involves looking at the overall goals of the respective groups, or trying to get a pulse for the members in general.

There are some NRO videos floating around that show seemingly more sane and coherent OWS protesters, which still doesn't really bode that well for the wisdom of the group as a whole. I expect most left-leaning folks would still see these as unfair representation, but they are at least less focused on one or two obvious nutcases. The people in the videos are able to form coherent sentences, even if what they're saying doesn't amount to much. That seems like a marginally more valuable discussion point.

I think the best discussion point would be looking at actual policy suggestions put forth by the people at OWS, but the movement thus far seems to disjointed to do that. All the demands I've seen have been patently ridiculous, but they've also been disavowed by OWS "leadership" so mocking them seems a bit unfair.
 
Posted by Geraine (Member # 9913) on :
 
Oh but Dan, have you forgotten? One racist comment or sign at the Tea Party rallies meant that the Tea Party was inherently racist.

Since there are possibly wacko Tea Party people at the OWS rallies, I cannot help but believe that OWS is indeed inherently racist as well.

Snarkiness aside, I do agree that you cannot judge the entire OWS event by some of the crazies. It is important to look at the policies they are proposing. Unfortunately due to the way they are running their protest (no leadership) it is going to be very difficult for them come up with an actual list of policies and resolutions that they want implemented.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:

Oh but Dan, have you forgotten? One racist comment or sign at the Tea Party rallies meant that the Tea Party was inherently racist.

Support for things like Alabama's immigrant law don't mean nothin', either!
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Oh but Dan, have you forgotten? One racist comment or sign at the Tea Party rallies meant that the Tea Party was inherently racist.
Geraine, Are you seriously arguing that one racist comment or sign at a Tea Party rally was the only evidence for racism with in the Tea Party?

Several survey's, found that Tea Party supporters were more than twice as likely to hold racist views such as "the problems of blacks are exagerated", "the government helps blacks at the expense of whites", "blacks are more likely to be poor because they are lazy" and so forth. They were also nearly twice as likely as the average American to believe that Obama was born in Africa and a closet Muslim -- ideas which are implicitly racist. Furthermore, Tea Party leaders made a lot of very racial charged statements, like "we should shoot hispanics".
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
Oh but Dan, have you forgotten? One racist comment or sign at the Tea Party rallies meant that the Tea Party was inherently racist.

Since there are possibly wacko Tea Party people at the OWS rallies, I cannot help but believe that OWS is indeed inherently racist as well.

Snarkiness aside, I do agree that you cannot judge the entire OWS event by some of the crazies. It is important to look at the policies they are proposing. Unfortunately due to the way they are running their protest (no leadership) it is going to be very difficult for them come up with an actual list of policies and resolutions that they want implemented.

They have, stop coddling the rich, make them pay their fair share; and regulate wall street and get the economy providing jobs again.

That's just the tip of the mother effin' iceberg, has your head been stuck under the sand or something?
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Oh but Dan, have you forgotten? One racist comment or sign at the Tea Party rallies meant that the Tea Party was inherently racist.
Geraine, Are you seriously arguing that one racist comment or sign at a Tea Party rally was the only evidence for racism with in the Tea Party?

Several survey's, found that Tea Party supporters were more than twice as likely to hold racist views such as "the problems of blacks are exagerated", "the government helps blacks at the expense of whites", "blacks are more likely to be poor because they are lazy" and so forth. They were also nearly twice as likely as the average American to believe that Obama was born in Africa and a closet Muslim -- ideas which are implicitly racist. Furthermore, Tea Party leaders made a lot of very racial charged statements, like "we should shoot hispanics".

Nitpick: you are not direct quoting, you are paraphrasing. I believe that you believe you are accurately representing their views, however, especially with regards to your first three quoted examples, in each case if you rephrase the wording so that it is more accurate to the polls themselves, it changes the meaning to be focused almost entirely on one issue: systemic racism. In other words, the polls that I've seen tended to be various ways of asking if Tea Partiers felt that systemic racism is a problem in the US. And yes, a majority of them don't seem to think it is.

You can argue that they're wrong, and that's fine, but I think it totally devalues the very label of "Racist" to say that someone who disagrees with this premise is inherently a racist.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
quote:

You can argue that they're wrong, and that's fine, but I think it totally devalues the very label of "Racist" to say that someone who disagrees with this premise [that systemic racism is a problem in the US] is inherently a racist.

Is that because it's never racist to disagree about whether there's systemic racism? Or is it because it's supposed to be a question that reasonable people can obviously disagree about in the present day?

As a salient example: I don't think it would've been possible for someone who read the news to deny that systemic racism was a problem in the US in the 50s, unless they were racist.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
Really? Ignorance is not a defense? I mean, the media wasn't always on the side of reform, and even today, many people don't really understand how institutionalIzed racism affects them.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
Oh but Dan, have you forgotten? One racist comment or sign at the Tea Party rallies meant that the Tea Party was inherently racist.

Oh, and no. I never heard any reports of racist signs at Tea Party events- I still think the Tea Party is partly motivated by racism.

Did you really think this was the justification people had for calling it racist? There are better reasons to think so than a few idiots with signs.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
Oh but Dan, have you forgotten? One racist comment or sign at the Tea Party rallies meant that the Tea Party was inherently racist.

You (and dan_frank too) have both been through this on the board before. I pointed out that the tea party has a real problem with racism. It's not entirely surprising, they also have problems with homophobia and islamophobia! I was right then, I got to laugh about it through the Mark Williams debacle, and I'm still right now. I will always have been right! And no, the tea party's problem with racism is not based on whatever percentage of signs at protests 'prove' the tea party is 'inherently racist.' But I have these problems to credit for completely sabotaged races in my state, which all but gave democrats seats they still should not have ever had.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
quote:

You can argue that they're wrong, and that's fine, but I think it totally devalues the very label of "Racist" to say that someone who disagrees with this premise [that systemic racism is a problem in the US] is inherently a racist.

... Or is it because it's supposed to be a question that reasonable people can obviously disagree about in the present day? ...
Yes.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
I don't know about that. I think it takes some serious blinders to deny that the history of US theft (of both labor and wealth) from black Americans has been a major cause of their contemporary disadvantaged status. Whether or not injustice is actually being actively perpetuated now, the situation remains unjust because the past injustices still have obvious effects.

An apt comparison would be a poverty-stricken European Jew whose poverty is partly the result of the Nazis impounding his entire family fortune.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
You're not sure. That's fair. So, let's consider it again, in the barest terms possible. Do you think that someone is racist if they don't agree with the following statement: Current systemic racism is the main cause of poverty among minorities (or specify it to African-Americans, if you prefer)

Just remember, it's okay if you think they are totally wrong or ignorant. You probably think that about a lot of people who you wouldn't call racist.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
OK, I can see your point.

This got me interested in the exact wording of the polls we're talking about. The first one to show up on my Google search was this one from UDub:
http://depts.washington.edu/uwiser/mssrp_table.pdf

I would not characterize the answers that were more common among Tea Party members as indicating racism (except in the pretty trivial sense that racists, along with some non-racists, will generally agree with them). They're kind of borderline. They indicate a sort of racial tone-deafness that I would be unsurprised to find among whites of my father's generation (though not my dad himself!), but that I would be appalled to find among my students.

Example:

quote:
Irish, Italians, Jewish, and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way
up. Blacks should do the same without special favors. (Agree)

My first reaction to this question is, what do you mean by special favors? Affirmative action springs to mind. It's not racist to be against affirmative action. But in other contexts I can imagine this statement expressing the sentiment that blacks shouldn't expect not to have to struggle against prejudice to make it in the world (in other words, that it's not unjust that they have to struggle against it).

If I heard someone my dad's age say these sentences out loud, I can think of some contexts in which I'd be a little put off, but definitely not conclude "that guy is racist." If someone my age made this statement in conversation, no matter the context, my first reaction would be, "What is this guy's problem?"

Since the Tea Party demographic skews pretty old (as I understand it), that might be the best explanation for the numbers.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
If I heard someone my dad's age say these sentences out loud, I can think of some contexts in which I'd be a little put off, but definitely not conclude "that guy is racist."
Me, I just conclude that a lot of people my dad's age, despite being very wonderful people in most other ways, are racist.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
You're not sure. That's fair. So, let's consider it again, in the barest terms possible. Do you think that someone is racist if they don't agree with the following statement: Current systemic racism is the main cause of poverty among minorities (or specify it to African-Americans, if you prefer)

Just remember, it's okay if you think they are totally wrong or ignorant. You probably think that about a lot of people who you wouldn't call racist.

Did you mean to say hit "current" so strongly- or did you mean to include current and historical institutionalized racism?


Anyway, your terms are not clear enough. A person *might be* racist if they believe this. They might "just" be ignorant of history and of the present situation, but that seems unlikely. Also, it seems unlikely that a person who is so deeply ignorant of the history of American society might also hold enlightened racial views. Part of overcoming racism is understanding that many standing cultural conflicts stem from racial inequality in the past. A difficult leap to make if you don't understand that past.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
I think I was precisely clear enough. I think that what you're saying is that the information I gave is insufficient to reliably conclude that the example person in question is racist. They very well could be! It might even make it more likely! I'm not saying they aren't. I'm just saying that the one does not by necessity follow the other.

PS: Cool, glad I made myself clear, Destineer. I think I agree with your assessment.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
My angle on the 'systematic racism is a problem today' question is that, shooting from the hip, is that someone could believe that and not be a racist. I begin to wonder about it, though, the more they are acquainted with current events and race relations and *still* think it's not a current problem.

That kind of thing is possible to think, honestly and without malignancy, in ignorance. It takes one or the other or both, though, the more current a person actually is.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
I think I was precisely clear enough. I think that what you're saying is that the information I gave is insufficient to reliably conclude that the example person in question is racist. They very well could be! It might even make it more likely! I'm not saying they aren't. I'm just saying that the one does not by necessity follow the other.

The information is not sufficient to positively identify a racist. But I would call it sufficient to reliably indicate racist attitudes. I would feel reasonably sure that a person had racist attitudes if he or she denied systemic racism as an extant problem. That would exclude someone with no education or analytical experience, such as a young child.

One need not subscribe to any specific racist agenda to have racist attitudes. They are propagated by the "common sense" of the ignorant. They are a symptom of ignorance, not necessarily of radical ideology. If youre only talking about the racism of highly indoctrinated extremists- this is a separate case, where reasoning against the concepts of systemic racism are more developed, and based more on willful obstinance and scapegoating than simple ignorance of fact.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
My angle on the 'systematic racism is a problem today' question is that, shooting from the hip, is that someone could believe that and not be a racist. I begin to wonder about it, though, the more they are acquainted with current events and race relations and *still* think it's not a current problem.

It's interesting.

We're talking about a number of phrases that are codified "no-go" zones for signalling racism. On one hand, I think that relying too heavily on this kind of thing to identify racists can be flawed because many "progressives" can easily become savvy with this kind of language without changing attitudes. On the other hand, with the growing influence of social networking, the ease of access to broadband and mass media*, how many people in America can really be ignorant of this kind of signalling as opposed to rejecting it for whatever reasons, good or bad?

* And one could even note that by pointing at stuff like that posted at Sociological Images that the media, while very good at communicating the kinds of things and phrases one shouldn't say to "appear" racist, is still full of racist concepts and images.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
Hmmm, small numbers of protesters showing up in various cities around the world. 3000 maybe in Toronto, 500 in Hong Kong, pretty small stuff.

The most lively ones appear to be the ones in Rome
quote:
In the worst unrest Rome has seen in decades, rioters tore up cobble stones or threw petrol bombs as the police used baton charges to control the crowd, which numbered several thousand. Protesters chanted “Killers. Killers” as thunderflashes exploded in the square, buildings were set alight and a police van burnt.

Much of the anger was directed against Silvio Berlusconi, prime minister, and the 316 members of parliament who saved his government from defeat on Friday.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/c0f54f7c-f735-11e0-9941-00144feab49a.html#axzz1atMPsJRA

Estimates of the size of that one vary widely, anywhere from tens of thousands to a hundred thousand.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SnKjgKGNZM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kCrVY1VyxQ

Fascinating stuff. I wonder if this kind of stuff will catch on, particularly in China which is the other big country with income inequality on the order of the US. Nothing really so far though, except for some isolated protests in Henan.
 
Posted by talsmitde (Member # 9780) on :
 
I didn't see anything above in the thread about the arrests of about 27 people at the Citibank in midtown.

Here's a video of an Occupier being pushed from the sidewalk into the bank to be arrested.

Here's an article describing the incident from the perspective of the protestors.

And here's Citibank's statement on the incident. [Edited to remove editorial comment.]

[ October 16, 2011, 04:44 AM: Message edited by: talsmitde ]
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Honestly, the protester description doesn't make them look good. It sounds like they stayed inside after being asked to leave, and only tried to leave after the police arrived and decided they would arrest the protesters for trespassing.

It is less clear what was up with the women outside, but bank property likely extends outside the doors. If she was among those asked to leave, moving her inside was to make it easier to process her arrest.

They don't seem to be throwing the NYPD under the bus; of course the bank doesn't make decisions about people being arrested, and I can't blame the police for asking a bank branch be closed so they could deal with a large group of trespassers who had not left on request.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
It doesn't really sound like they were good or bad. They went in, it was a simple act of civil disobedience, they were accordingly arrested, as they should have been, and off they went to jail. One person resisted arrest, which is not so cool, but other than that, meh.

As for the woman outside, I'm not sure what's up with that, as there's really no context to it. Her attitude was one of confusion and annoyance, as if she was an innocent bystander, and it's odd that they picked her out and not anyone else standing around.

I don't see them throwing the NYPD under the bus either.

On the whole, it looks like they put together some impressive numbers for the march on Times Square.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
If it was civil disobedience, then the protesters reporting it are doing a good job of hiding that. There's no civil disobedience in closing a bank account, and they specifically did not cop to staying in the bank after being asked to leave (though the way they glossed the situation strongly suggests they did). If it was about civil disobedience, they should be stating that they refused requests to leave. Not saying they were "about to leave".
 
Posted by T:man (Member # 11614) on :
 
I went down to Occupy Chicago saw at least a couple thousand people. Lots of angry people, lots of homeless.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
If it was civil disobedience, then the protesters reporting it are doing a good job of hiding that. There's no civil disobedience in closing a bank account, and they specifically did not cop to staying in the bank after being asked to leave (though the way they glossed the situation strongly suggests they did). If it was about civil disobedience, they should be stating that they refused requests to leave. Not saying they were "about to leave".

That isn't what I read. Stories elsewhere say that the protesters swarmed into the bank during the march, only one person actually closed an account. They were asked to leave, they refused, they were peacefully, with one exception, arrested.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
If it was about civil disobedience, they should be stating that they refused requests to leave. Not saying they were "about to leave".

Yeah, this puts it in that sort of 'goading' strategy which was present at the dancing protest in DC — and which I loathe. You goad the police and try to get them to be forced to take action against you by being a stubborn jerk, so as to film it and call them fascists or whatever.
 
Posted by talsmitde (Member # 9780) on :
 
Yeah, now that more information is out, it doesn't look as good for the protestors. Although I'm loathe to trust the New York Post's version of events, as they're a Murdoch paper, it's clear from even the protestors' versions of events that they were providing "testimonials" while inside the Citibank branch, which suggests that there was at least some shouting and civil disobedience, which will, of course, lead to arrests.

As at least a few people mention in this Reddit thread, it'd be much more powerful if there were a much longer video available, where we see the protestors peacefully into the branch, standing in line, and while in line, politely talking to other customers about how student debt impacts their lives, but the video conveniently doesn't begin until the police are already on the scene.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
Conveniently, of course.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
From the New York Post's article

quote:
Sandra Fox, 69, of Baton Rouge, La., stood, confused, on 46th Street with a ticket for "Anything Goes" in her hand as riot police pushed a knot of about 200 shouting protesters toward her.

"I think it's horrible what they're doing," she said of the protesters. "These people need to go get jobs.

This is a pet peeve of mine. In my experience with war protests "Get a job" is, with the exception of obscenities, the most common thing for conservatives to yell at protestors. Why do thy automatically assume people protesting don't have jobs? Nearly all the activists I know have jobs and families -- just like all the people in Sunday School.

In this circumstance, its particularly stinky because

1. One of the central drivers of OWS is high unemployment. Lots of people are there specifically because they can't find jobs -- despite trying really hard. Is this woman unaware of the high unemployment rates? Does she really think that the 10% of the population is out of work because they just aren't trying hard enough to find jobs?

2. The woman making the insult is on vacation in NYC(i.e. enjoying expensive leisure activities rather than working), on her way to a broadway show (i.e. not going to work) and 69 years old, so most probably retired and collecting SS and medicare benefits. What possible right does she have to be calling other people lazy because they choose to spend their time trying to change the world rather than taking expensive vacations.

This is just a classic example of the way I see people subtly dehumanizing the opposition. It reflects a subconscious believe that "They aren't as human as we are, so they can't relate to the challenges that face real people like us."

I wonder if people yelled "get a job" and Tea Party protests?
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
Arizona has a bunch of job openings for fruit pickers and the like after their immigration bill was put through [Wink]
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
http://occupyphilosophy.blogspot.com/2011/10/99-53-and-distributive-justice.html

quote:
Hardly anyone chooses to live in poverty. The tens of millions of Americans who, like our friend the Marine, can’t afford health insurance, aren’t choosing to forgo it. (Maybe the sign-holder would refuse socialized medicine on principle—it would be interesting to find out if he takes advantage of the services of the Veteran’s Administration—but, pretty clearly, most would not.) If circumstances of those even at the bottom rung of current casino-capitalist realities aren’t even close to as bad, in many obvious ways, as those of Saudi women or Roman slaves, it remains the case that they have legitimate grievances, and despite the sociologically-illiterate babble of the Herman Cains of the world, it’s impossible to seriously argue that the difference between their circumstances and those of the Wall Street profiteers are entirely, or even mostly, under their control.

 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
That isn't what I read. Stories elsewhere say that the protesters swarmed into the bank during the march, only one person actually closed an account. They were asked to leave, they refused, they were peacefully, with one exception, arrested.
Lyrhawn: read the article "describing the incident from the perspective of the protesters" linked above. This quotation, in particular:

quote:
The demonstrators (all Citibank customers) were asked to leave, and when they tried to comply Citibank’s security locked them in and wouldn’t let them leave!
The articles saying only one person closed an account are based on citibank's account -- which I believe is mostly accurate. My comment was on the *portrayal by protesters* of their actions. Note that the woman forcefully arrested was yelling about being there to close her account.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
The articles saying only one person closed an account are based on citibank's account -- which I believe is mostly accurate.
"Only one person closed an account" is not the same as "Only one person wanted to close an account." If Citibank refused to serve people who wanted to close accounts (I don't know if they did or did not but its consistent with the story), it would be rather deceptive of them to later report that only one person closed an account even if its technically true.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
quote:
That isn't what I read. Stories elsewhere say that the protesters swarmed into the bank during the march, only one person actually closed an account. They were asked to leave, they refused, they were peacefully, with one exception, arrested.
Lyrhawn: read the article "describing the incident from the perspective of the protesters" linked above. This quotation, in particular:

quote:
The demonstrators (all Citibank customers) were asked to leave, and when they tried to comply Citibank’s security locked them in and wouldn’t let them leave!
The articles saying only one person closed an account are based on citibank's account -- which I believe is mostly accurate. My comment was on the *portrayal by protesters* of their actions. Note that the woman forcefully arrested was yelling about being there to close her account.

I read it but found it mildly confusing.

Were they all there to close their accounts but only one person succeeded before they were asked to leave? Did they move to leave as soon as they were asked, or did they stick around until the police were on the way? All but one of them were peacefully arrested, and in the past protesters haven't particularly resisted since their legal team is all over it with getting legal counsel to arrested protesters.

You can read it to say that they went there to close their accounts and were asked to leave then trapped inside. That sounds like a bizarre event, so you can disregard that, but then what happened?

The woman who was dragged insice kept saying "I'm a customer" but we don't know if she was a bystander there to make a deposit or if she was a proster there to close her account (unless I missed something in that video).

You can read their account negatively or positively. There's enough information missing to put whatever spin on it you want (I'm not accusing YOU, fugu, of that. I mean anyone, myself included).
 
Posted by CT (Member # 8342) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I wonder if people yelled "get a job" and Tea Party protests?

If it happened, I don't recall reading about it.

You lay out my reaction for me most accurately, so I'll leave it with a "what she said." [Smile]
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
Random news bits
quote:
Bank of Canada head calls Occupy protests 'entirely constructive'

In a television interview, Mr. Carney acknowledged that the movement is an understandable product of the ``increase in inequality’’ – particularly in the United States – that started with globalization and was thrust into sharp relief by the worst downturn since the Great Depression, which hit the less well-educated and blue-collar segments of the population hardest.

"You’ve had a big increase in the ratio of CEO earnings to workers on the shop floor,’’ Mr. Carney said, according to a transcript of the interview with Peter Mansbridge of CBC News, parts of which aired on Friday evening. "And then on top of that, a financial crisis.’’
...
The words that Mr. Carney applies to the civil disruption carry extra weight because the Harper government is pushing for him to become the next chairman of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), a group charged with co-ordinating the overhaul of international banking regulations. There is widespread fear that, the more time that passes, the tougher it will be to muster political enthusiasm for reforms, against which the financial industry is lobbying furiously.

Mr. Carney has been a fierce critic of the industry backlash and has vowed to counter it.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/bank-of-canada-head-calls-occupy-protests-entirely-constructive/article2202064/


quote:
After nearly a three-hour discussion of if and when they should march, Occupy Toronto demonstrators finally took the streets and marched to Dundas Square. Their occupation lasted only 10 minutes, before the group walked back to St. James park.

The group chanted "we say fight back" and "we are the 99 per cent" as they marched on the roads, while also stopping at traffic signals.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/hours-later-occupy-toronto-takes-to-the-streets/article2202532/
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
You can read their account negatively or positively. There's enough information missing to put whatever spin on it you want (I'm not accusing YOU, fugu, of that. I mean anyone, myself included).
But what I'm saying re civil disobedience is about how the situation is being portrayed by people who were there and others sharing a similar agenda. I'm saying if it was an act of civil disobedience, it is being portrayed entirely wrongly to have the effects that civil disobedience targets.

I am also saying that protesters so far have given no reason to think the police at the bank acted anything other than maybe a bit hastily, and fully within the general limits of police behavior. Again, I'm not spinning what happened beyond pointing out that all the accounts lead to that conclusion, so no matter which is true, I see no reason to be angry at the police (or claim there was injustice).
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
I tend to agree on the last point. It doesn't appear the that, as you said other than being a little hasty, that they acted particularly improperly.

And I guess I see what you're saying about how the protesters themselves are portraying it. If they really were all there to close their accounts and were arrested, then it was really just a plain old boycott/protest rather than civil disobedience.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
I tend to agree on the last point. It doesn't appear the that, as you said other than being a little hasty, that they acted particularly improperly.
I don't have enough information to judge. In my opinion, they acted improperly in forcing the woman who was outside the bank, back into the bank. There maybe some justification for that, but I have not seen it.

It also seems to me that, since the protestors were not threatening violence, it would have been sufficient for the police to escort them out of the bank. Arresting them seemed excessive to me.

But I think the question of whether or not the police acted appropriate is off target to begin with. The police were not the target of this action, the bank was and from the footage I've seen the bank reacted very badly in a way that escalated the problem.

Customers have a right to close their accounts for any reason, including to protest Bank policy. They have a right to inform the bank of their reasons for closing their account, as long as this is done in a non-violent non-threatening way, which based on the videos it was.

How do I think the bank should have handled the situation? I think a manager should have come out on the floor and said, "I understand a number of you are here to close your accounts as a protest. Will those of you who are customers here to close your accounts please form a line here." Then they should have proceeded process the closing of accounts as quickly as possible. If the protestors remained after closing their accounts, the manager should have announced "Those of you who have closed accounts are no longer customers of this bank. We kindly request you leave immediately." If at this point, the protesters refused to leave, the manager should have asked bank security to escort them out. If they resisted -- then and only then would calling the police have been a proportionate response.
 
Posted by Scott R (Member # 567) on :
 
Rabbit, that seems reasonable.

If I were protesting, I most definitely would have NOT stood in the line they told me to stand in.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
This. I imagine that the point was to close the account publicly. For it to be effective, they needed to draw attention to the act.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
I don't have enough information to judge. In my opinion, they acted improperly in forcing the woman who was outside the bank, back into the bank. There maybe some justification for that, but I have not seen it.
If she had been asked to leave bank property (again, which extends outside the bank), and had not, and they had decided to arrest her for protesting, it would make perfect sense to get her inside with the others being arrested for trespassing. If they told her to go inside (there's no evidence they didn't) and she refused to do so, then using physical force has to be acceptable, or the police wouldn't be able to arrest anyone who just refused to go with them.

quote:
Customers have a right to close their accounts for any reason, including to protest Bank policy. They have a right to inform the bank of their reasons for closing their account, as long as this is done in a non-violent non-threatening way, which based on the videos it was.
You missed non-disruptive; banks have always insisted on high levels of decorum from customers, out of politeness to other customers. Much as I'd expect any library to throw out a group of people protesting in a reading area even if they were non-violent and non-threatening.

quote:
How do I think the bank should have handled the situation? I think a manager should have come out on the floor and said, "I understand a number of you are here to close your accounts as a protest. Will those of you who are customers here to close your accounts please form a line here." Then they should have proceeded process the closing of accounts as quickly as possible. If the protestors remained after closing their accounts, the manager should have announced "Those of you who have closed accounts are no longer customers of this bank. We kindly request you leave immediately." If at this point, the protesters refused to leave, the manager should have asked bank security to escort them out. If they resisted -- then and only then would calling the police have been a proportionate response.
The bank stated only one of the protesters asked to close an account, and was able to do so. The videos made available don't show enough to know how much protesting was going on inside the bank, but the accounts of protesters certainly suggest they didn't just say they wanted to close their accounts, but actively engaged in protesting. Which is disruptive, something the bank has an active policy against (whether the disruption is protesting or not).

I am not saying the bank or the police responded in the best possible way. I am saying the bank and the police both seem to have responded in acceptable ways. Nothing heinous or outrageous went on there, just protesters disrupting a place of business that responded by trying to get them to leave, leading the police to be called, who decided to arrest them for trespassing.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
kate: certainly. But they also have to accept that when drawing attention to the act violates the standards of conduct of the business they are in, they are likely going to be asked to leave, and that staying past that is trespassing, for which they can be arrested. There's nothing to be hugely outraged at anywhere here, as I've seen a lot of people in various places saying they are.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Once they are asked to leave and don't it becomes civil disobedience. I would also note that one can be public without necessarily being disruptive*. A t-shirt or sign (without a stick), talking in a conversational, non-threatening manner to other customers I think puts the bank on thin ice when demanding they leave and then the bank is prompting the disruption and arrests.

* I am not saying that they did this, just that it would have been possible to do this.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
Once they are asked to leave and don't it becomes civil disobedience.
If that was their intent, then they should stop saying that they were about to leave when the police arrived.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I don't know their intent. Or if they had an intent and decided not to stick it out. Or if they intended to leave but got carried away or waited too long.

The line where protest becomes civil disobedience can get pretty blurred and easily crossed in the actual event (even with people trained in how to know where that line is) and it doesn't always depend on the intentions or the actions of the protesters.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Certainly. Of course, since any civil disobedience in this case is aimed at larger policy decisions, the bank manager and police are still acting within reasonable limits -- any changes the civil disobedience would be aimed at need to occur on much higher levels.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
True, but those higher levels are hard to reach. Sort of like customer service. Unfortunately, you have to make a lot of fairly helpless underlings miserable before you can even reach the people who have any power.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
That's fine, just don't get outraged at the bank staff or police. They aren't responding outrageously.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I don't believe I did get outraged at either.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Most excellent. Please make sure to pass this reasonableness on to the numerous people talking up the bank arrests as an example of heinous misconduct.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Well they may have been. I wasn't there so I don't know the specifics of that situation.

I am just trying to provide a little insight about how things can go inside a protest/civil disobedience action. Much of what colours an event can even be less what is done than how it is done. I have found it fairly easy to be arrested in a polite and cheerful manner, but then the police arresting me have generally been polite and friendly. And my fear/anxiety response tends to be expressed as humour or getting really chatty. The same situation can get a lot uglier when the police are overly aggressive or when the fear response on either side is aggressive. The bank may have responded better by not escalating the situation by trying to force people to leave. The protester could have been more threatening than they meant to be.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
Certainly. Of course, since any civil disobedience in this case is aimed at larger policy decisions, the bank manager and police are still acting within reasonable limits -- any changes the civil disobedience would be aimed at need to occur on much higher levels.

Yes, but one of the reasons for civil disobedience is that normal channels aren't working. The average customer can't get access to the CEO to discuss their concerns or voice their complaints. If their goal is to get the upper echelons to start listening to and addressing their concerns, then getting their attention by non-violent disruption of business at the accessible levels, it is a reasonable application of the principals of civil disobedience.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
fugu13, Where did you get the idea that there are well established standards of conduct for banks like there are for libraries. Standards of conduct for libraries are widely accepted and often posted. I've never heard of a bank having any particular standards beyond, wait your turn in line. I've never heard of any one being thrown out of a bank for talking loudly to other customers, carrying anything short of a weapon or wearing clothing emblazoned with political statements.

While it's certainly true that a bank is private property and has the right to demand people leave the premises, its also true that banks have contractual obligations with their customers and preventing customers from accessing bank services, violates those obligations. Banks can't just throw people out because they want to withdraw money from their accounts. That isn't legal or just. And while it also isn't exactly what happened, its a part of what happened.

Banks have to balance their desire to maintain "standards of conduct" within their business against their obligation to provide services to all their customers. From what I've seen of the videos, I think Citibank did a rather outrageously bad job of it.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
Yes, but one of the reasons for civil disobedience is that normal channels aren't working. The average customer can't get access to the CEO to discuss their concerns or voice their complaints. If their goal is to get the upper echelons to start listening to and addressing their concerns, then getting their attention by non-violent disruption of business at the accessible levels, it is a reasonable application of the principals of civil disobedience.
I never said it wasn't (though I have said they're going about it ineffectively if their message is civil disobedience). It is entirely possible for both sides to be acting reasonably.

quote:
I've never heard of any one being thrown out of a bank for talking loudly to other customers, carrying anything short of a weapon or wearing clothing emblazoned with political statements.
I've seen people asked to be quiet in banks (well, more often credit unions, but I don't think they are drastically different for these purposes) dozens of times (mostly when younger, because I hardly go to physical branches nowadays). I've never seen anyone thrown out, but that's probably because the people have quieted down.

quote:
While it's certainly true that a bank is private property and has the right to demand people leave the premises, its also true that banks have contractual obligations with their customers and preventing customers from accessing bank services, violates those obligations. Banks can't just throw people out because they want to withdraw money from their accounts. That isn't legal or just. And while it also isn't exactly what happened, its a part of what happened.
I think you're assuming rather more about what went on inside than I am.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
If she had been asked to leave bank property (again, which extends outside the bank), and had not, and they had decided to arrest her for protesting, it would make perfect sense to get her inside with the others being arrested for trespassing.
I think you are wrong on this. A side walk outside of a business may technically be private property, there is a public right of way to any sidewalk that is along a street or part of a thorough fare. Athoug this sidewalk does not appear to be along a street, it does appear to be a public access route into Washington Square. You can't charge someone for trespassing on a sidewalk that is normally open to pedestrian traffic. You might be able to charge them with loitering, but not trespassing.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Actually, at least in Illinois, you can be charged with criminal trespass on public property (such as a sidewalk) if a police officer asks you to leave and you decline.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
I think you're assuming rather more about what went on inside than I am.
I'm not assuming much. My opinion is based on the videos that have been posted and the reports of eyewitnesses. What I saw is that a group of about 2 dozen people stood in a large lobby area inside the bank and announced they were there to close their accounts. One of them was able to do that. Several members of the group gave brief speeches explaining why they were closing their accounts. The protester were very calm and generally respectfully. Description of this group as "a threatening mob" are entirely inaccurate. There was no shouting, name calling, or other threatening behavior. The crowd of protesters was not large enough that it interfered with the movements of bank employees or customers. While I'm sure the speeches were distracting, most of the bank employees appeared to be ignoring it and going about their business. Unless the protestors escalated things after the video clips I've seen, the bank could have chosen to continue ignoring them. Some other banks did and there was no incident.

What are you assuming about what went on inside.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
I'm assuming that what happened inside was roughly equivalent of what you saw, or worse. Anything in that range and citibank's request for the people being disruptive to leave or be quiet is reasonable. People aren't complying with reasonable requests by the bank staff? Calling the police is reasonable. The best choice? No, but not an unreasonable one.

I'm seeing more of videos of the inside of citibank, now. People were yelling at staffers. Yelling speeches, yes, but I'm not going to get annoyed at a manager who doesn't want people yelling inside their bank branch. Especially as the videos clearly show the protesters are completely surrounding the customer service counter and are right next to the offices. That's right from the first video, here: http://redgreenandblue.org/2011/10/17/occupy-wall-street-citibank-was-stupid-chase-bank-was-smart/2/ .

The videos of people inside other banks I've seen so far usually show much more circumspect protests.

Again, best response? Probably not. Within the range of acceptable responses to people yelling at bank staff and customers who refuse to leave? Yeah. Well within.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
I think you are wrong on this. A side walk outside of a business may technically be private property, there is a public right of way to any sidewalk that is along a street or part of a thorough fare. Athoug this sidewalk does not appear to be along a street, it does appear to be a public access route into Washington Square. You can't charge someone for trespassing on a sidewalk that is normally open to pedestrian traffic. You might be able to charge them with loitering, but not trespassing.
If you look at the google street view of the bank branch, it is away from the sidewalk, on a private plaza.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Actually, at least in Illinois, you can be charged with criminal trespass on public property (such as a sidewalk) if a police officer asks you to leave and you decline.

I don't generally doubt you kate, but I'm skeptical that you have the facts correct. I'm willing to believe that you can be charged with trespassing in a public park. I'm also willing to believe you can be arrested for loitering on a sidewalk. But laws that guarantee right of access to thoroughfares, like sidewalks, are pretty standard. Until I hear it from an Illinois lawyer, I'm not going to believe you can be charged with criminal trespass on any sidewalk that's a public thoroughfare.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
quote:
I think you are wrong on this. A side walk outside of a business may technically be private property, there is a public right of way to any sidewalk that is along a street or part of a thorough fare. Athoug this sidewalk does not appear to be along a street, it does appear to be a public access route into Washington Square. You can't charge someone for trespassing on a sidewalk that is normally open to pedestrian traffic. You might be able to charge them with loitering, but not trespassing.
If you look at the google street view of the bank branch, it is away from the sidewalk, on a private plaza.
I did check that before I made my post. The Citibank in question is located in Washington Square Village which is owned by New York University (not Citibank). The sidewalks in front of the bank are a thoroughfare that provides access to the gardens and apartment complex. New York University might have the right ask people to leave the grounds, but Citibank almost certainly did not.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Rabbit, I believe the statute is:
quote:
Sec. 21-5. Criminal Trespass to State Supported Land.
(a) Whoever enters upon land supported in whole or in part with State funds, or Federal funds administered or granted through State agencies or any building on such land, after receiving, prior to such entry, notice from the State or its representative that such entry is forbidden, or remains upon such land or in such building after receiving notice from the
State or its representative to depart,
and who thereby interferes with another person's lawful use or enjoyment of such building or land, commits a Class A misdemeanor.

Bolding mine. At least here, the sidewalks were (at least in 2003) considered land supported by state or federal funds and police officers were considered representatives of the state.

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=094-0263

I don't know whether those charges would stick as they were generally dropped in the cases I am familiar with but they were certainly made. And the legal advisers didn't suggest using the fact that the people charged were on a sidewalk as a defense.

But I am glad to know that you don't generally doubt me. [Wink]
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
I did check that before I made my post. The Citibank in question is located in Washington Square Village which is owned by New York University (not Citibank). The sidewalks in front of the bank are a thoroughfare that provides access to the gardens and apartment complex. New York University might have the right ask people to leave the grounds, but Citibank almost certainly did not.
I bet you citibank got authority in their lease over the part of the walk in front of their branch, as is typical in business leases when the location involves plazas and such.

And if you had looked that up, what was up with the talk about sidewalks?
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
And if you had looked that up, what was up with the talk about sidewalks?

They were on a sidewalk which is a thoroughfare to a park and an apartment complex. Typically, charges of trespass can only be made on sidewalks which are for the sole access of a private business or residence. Trespass is not normally a legitimate charge on a sidewalk that serves as a thoroughfare or which is used to access multiple properties, which this is.
 
Posted by Glenn Arnold (Member # 3192) on :
 
I'm trying to figure out why Rush Limbaugh thinks trust fund kids are protesting against Wall Street. Does he even know what a trust fund is?

Or maybe we should be thankful that trust fund kids are so willing to work against their own self interest in the interest of social justice.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
I'm trying to figure out why Rush Limbaugh thinks trust fund kids are protesting against Wall Street. Does he even know what a trust fund is?

Or maybe we should be thankful that trust fund kids are so willing to work against their own self interest in the interest of social justice.

Of course they are! I know a lot of trust fund kids who go to UC Berkeley, and virtually all of them are on the side of the Occupy Wall Street crowd.

The idea that people aren't willing to work against their own short-term economic "self-interest" in the pursuit of goals they believe are moral and overall beneficial is silly. Both liberals and conservatives knowingly vote against their personal "self-interest" all the time, based on whatever their philosophy might be.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
There's a really good series of lines from Platoon that discusses this dynamic. Warning quite a bit of profanity.

King: "Hey, Taylor, how in the f*** you get here anyway? You look educated.
Chris: I volunteered for it.
King: You did what?
Chris: I volunteered. I dropped out of college, told 'em I wanted the infantry, combat, Vietnam.
Crawford: You volunteered for this s***, man?
Chris: Believe that?
King: You's a crazy f*****, giving up college?
Chris: Didn't make much sense, I wasn't learning anything. I figured why should just the poor kids go off to war and the rich kids always get away with it.
King: Oh, I see, what we got here is a crusader.
Crawford: Sounds like it.
King: Shiiit, you gotta be rich in the first place to think like that. Ever'body know, the poor are always being f****d over by the rich. Always have, always will."

The line "you gotta be rich in the first place to think like that" stings because in a way it's very true.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
Or maybe we should be thankful that trust fund kids are so willing to work against their own self interest in the interest of social justice.

Yep.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:

The line "you gotta be rich in the first place to think like that" stings because in a way it's very true.

Rich in the sense of leisured and educated. I think, whether you're rich or not, a leisurely and educated life will inevitably lead some people to conclude that they are getting *too* sweet of a deal. That, and the confidence inborn of a person who's life has always worked out in every way, will make you believe you can do anything. In many ways I identify with this attitude. As somebody from a moderately wealthy background, I've always craved the stress and uncertainty of dynamic environments and foreign places. Had it not been for the wishes of my parents, I would have joined the military in my early 20s.

Growing up with money, you just assume anything is doable and that you deserve the chance to do it. It never occurs to you that you aren't entitled to be whomever you wish. I don't think I even realized that blindness in myself until I'd really lived for a long time without support from my parents, and found that I was doing few of the good things I had always imagined I would be doing on my own. I had friends like this too- people without money and without real hope. And I would ask them- "If you want to do something, and really change something in your life, then why don't you ask your parents for help?" And I was so naive that i actually hadn't realized that I had friends whose parents *couldn't* and *wouldn't* help them financially to achieve things. And we're not talking about starting a business or something, but just going to school for a year, or moving, or buying a musical instrument, or whatever. And though I had had this pride in not asking for things, I wasn't *doing* anything I wanted to do- I felt like I couldn't; like i had no confidence. So I asked my parents for money to start over- and magically the confidence returned.

I'm not ashamed of that, I think it's human nature to imagine your invincible when you know there's a safety net. That's actually the reason I'm so much in favor of a social welfare system: when you know that failure is not death, but only shame, your gaze widens to encompass all your possibilities. Conservatives tend to think that a safety net makes you lazy, but I think that's backwards. My safety net always made me more daring.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
This interesting article from WaPo got me thinking about some of the complaints about the movement.

One of the complaints is that they don't form a party or political movement that works within the system, and the usual answer seems to be "that's because they're trying to fundamentally change the system."

At the end of the day, we need some sort of functional political system. Protesters might want to overthrow the system and replace it with something, but what? We still have the government we have, flawed but not terrible (and I think campaign finance reform goes a long way toward fixing problems in why the government is so dysfunctional). A new constitution or a revised one isn't going to happen, and given the political climate, I'd be scared to death if we tried it.

So aren't going to fundamentally restructure government. How do we reform it? Campaign finance reform is a big one. I think as a part of it, we need some other campaign reforms as well. I think certain kinds of election air time in advertising should be free on networks. Ban congressmen from working for a lobbying firm for 5 years after they are out of office. I have a feeling like campaign finance reform is also going to have to include some sort of constitutional amendment that limits corporate personhood, and at least puts severe limitations on corporate money's involvement with campaigns. That seems unlikely as well, which I guess just means waiting for the composition of SCOTUS to change before trying again.

Reforms that are aimed at the process of elections and how congressmen stay in congress seems like the easiest way to effect real change in the system, but I can't imagine most anyone in the system now will really support it, not unless at least some stand up and start calling them out on it.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
... Why do thy automatically assume people protesting don't have jobs?

Really tiny example, but the source appears hostile enough to the Wall Street protests that it's still helpful
quote:
On Oct. 10 and 11, Arielle Alter Confino, a senior researcher at my polling firm, interviewed nearly 200 protesters in New York's Zuccotti Park. Our findings probably represent the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion.
...
Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn't represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda.

The vast majority of demonstrators are actually employed, and the proportion of protesters unemployed (15%) is within single digits of the national unemployment rate (9.1%).

An overwhelming majority of demonstrators supported Barack Obama in 2008. Now 51% disapprove of the president while 44% approve, and only 48% say they will vote to re-elect him in 2012, while at least a quarter won't vote.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204479504576637082965745362.html

I was also heartened by seeing articles that said that the Wall Street organizers are well aware of their serious demographic deficit among visible minorities and have started efforts to attract more.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
quote:

I'm not ashamed of that, I think it's human nature to imagine your invincible when you know there's a safety net. That's actually the reason I'm so much in favor of a social welfare system: when you know that failure is not death, but only shame, your gaze widens to encompass all your possibilities. Conservatives tend to think that a safety net makes you lazy, but I think that's backwards. My safety net always made me more daring.

Very apt.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
From that WSJ article:

quote:
In 1970, aligning too closely with the antiwar movement hurt Democrats in the midterm election, when many middle-class and working-class Americans ended up supporting hawkish candidates who condemned student disruptions.
So depressing. Nothing like being absolutely right to lose you an election.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
A new constitution or a revised one isn't going to happen, and given the political climate, I'd be scared to death if we tried it.
ok liberals, revoke roe vs. wade, agree that waterboarding isn't torture, dismantle the EPA, get rid of that silly concept of 'separation of church and state,' commit to voucher systems for public schooling, recriminalize marijuana, have a federal 'right to work' law to undo the unions, and we might not block parts of your campaign finance reform in the new convention.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
From that WSJ article:

quote:
In 1970, aligning too closely with the antiwar movement hurt Democrats in the midterm election, when many middle-class and working-class Americans ended up supporting hawkish candidates who condemned student disruptions.
So depressing. Nothing like being absolutely right to lose you an election.
Reminds me of the first time I heard Glenn Beck say the real lesson of Vietnam as it pertains to Afghanistan and Iraq is that we didn't try hard enough. We should have stuck around even longer as we were on the cusp of victory, and we snatched defeat from its jaws. It was listening to the whiny spineless anti-war crowd that screwed us all over.

I nearly pulled over I was so angry. Seriously like saying the lesson of the Crusades was Europeans just needed more spunk.

[ October 18, 2011, 11:48 AM: Message edited by: BlackBlade ]
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
A new constitution or a revised one isn't going to happen, and given the political climate, I'd be scared to death if we tried it.
ok liberals, revoke roe vs. wade, agree that waterboarding isn't torture, dismantle the EPA, get rid of that silly concept of 'separation of church and state,' commit to voucher systems for public schooling, recriminalize marijuana, have a federal 'right to work' law to undo the unions, and we might not block parts of your campaign finance reform in the new convention.
A terrifying thought. But on the other hand, I think constitutional amendments to facilitate real campaign finance reform and replace the electoral college with direct election of the President would be a good starting place. I also think that the overwhelming majority of Americans would support such amendments.
 
Posted by Annie (Member # 295) on :
 
I have nothing original to add to this discussion except for this political cartoon I just drew.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
*snort* Of course it appeals to my politics, but I got a giggle out of it, Annie:)
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Annie:
I have nothing original to add to this discussion except for this political cartoon I just drew.

I love it Annie.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Cracked offered this summary today:
quote:
Oh I get it. The banks have done the wrong, but got all the money anyways. The people who aren't the banks are currently away from the money, and in many cases, the jobs. The government does nothing to stop the banks and the wrongs, and even does the wrongs for the banks when the banks ask. Finally, there's something wrong with taxes and that should be different.

 
Posted by Parkour (Member # 12078) on :
 
Don't forget ending capitalism.
 
Posted by talsmitde (Member # 9780) on :
 
Speaking of summaries:

Huffington Post reported today that on the 15th, OWS created a working group tasked with organizing a national general assembly to meet beginning July 4, 2012 in Philadelphia. The announcement is here.

Though, as one commenter below pointed out, this has not been approved by the movement as a whole and is not in any way an official announcement, but elsewhere I've seen it greeted with a fair amount of excitement.

[ October 18, 2011, 10:37 PM: Message edited by: talsmitde ]
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
To be fair, I have no idea how anything could be approved by the movement as a whole.
 
Posted by pooka (Member # 5003) on :
 
Im excited to see the nonpartisan independent political party
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
That is a crazy long list, but the idea of an assembly convening in Philadelphia brings a smile to my face.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
I wish they'd stop using "non-partisan" to describe everything in that announcement.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Did it irk you as much when the Tea Party and those covering it asserted its independence and non-tie-ins with the GOP?

(A few of the questions I've posed to you feel, to me, like I might be coming off as badgering-it's not my intent. I think it's largely the intersection on posting times and topics.)
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Not really, no. I'll tell you why, and you tell me if the difference is just an excuse I'm making due to bias.

First of all: I guess if "partisan" is strictly pertaining to the Republican/Democrat, then I am actually not nearly so bothered in this situation. And there is some logical sense to that interpretation of the word, that I had not considered. I have generally used "partisan" to refer to the left/right dichotomy at least as much as the two current parties. I'm not the only one to use it this way, but I've also never paid much attention to whether or not it was a generally acceptable usage. What do you think?

Assuming the usage holds up, then I would say that the Tea Party is undeniably right wing/libertarian, (and by my definition undeniably partisan!) but not beholden to the Republican party. Their goal was always to reform or replace the Republican party, though. There's no question which side of the fence tea partiers fall. And I definitely get irked when people try to pretend it's a centrist movement, and co-opt public support (the same way I get irked at the "99%" label). It's not. The one unifying principle of every tea party I have seen has been small, limited government, which is fundamentally a right-wing position.

I feel like my answer was all over the map there. I hope it was semi-clear. The tea party was fundamentally right wing. The OWS is fundamentally left wing. If either say they are nonpartisan, I call BS. If either say they are not the same thing as the Democratic/Republican parties, I think that's fine. So, saying they want a nonpartisan delegation, but also saying that it's a foregone conclusion that this delegation will put in place heavy restrictions on capitalism, is just disingenuous. You can want the restrictions, but be honest about who you are!

PS: Don't sweat it, Rakeesh. I may get my panties in a twist when I feel like you're picking on me, but that's really on me. So, I definitely appreciate you clarifying that you're not doing that, and as far as I'm concerned, we're cool. I like you a lot. [Smile]
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
I guess if "partisan" is strictly pertaining to the Republican/Democrat, then I am actually not nearly so bothered in this situation.
This is certainly the only way in which I use the word. I am, for example, strongly partisan, but I am not particularly liberal.

quote:
The OWS is fundamentally left wing.
Why do you think so?
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
The signs, statements, people, and demands that I have seen there. Signs like "one day the poor will have nothing to eat but the rich." People identifying as socialist or communist. Demands like a $20.00 minimum wage and guaranteed wage regardless of employment, or a state monopoly on health services. I've seen the occasional libertarians, because OWS is protesting crony capitalism. But they are, unsurprisingly, rare, probably because the way OWS is protesting crony capitalism is by demanding we dismantle capitalism, or at the very least by demanding more government interference by picking winners and losers, which is a very non-libertarian approach.

I assume you disagree that the OWS movement is left-wing? Why? Alternatively, why did you not have the same problem with my characterization of the tea party as right-wing?
 
Posted by natural_mystic (Member # 11760) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Assuming the usage holds up, then I would say that the Tea Party is undeniably right wing/libertarian, (and by my definition undeniably partisan!) but not beholden to the Republican party. Their goal was always to reform or replace the Republican party, though. There's no question which side of the fence tea partiers fall. And I definitely get irked when people try to pretend it's a centrist movement, and co-opt public support (the same way I get irked at the "99%" label). It's not. The one unifying principle of every tea party I have seen has been small, limited government, which is fundamentally a right-wing position.

No dispute with your thesis- just a few quibbles. I'm not sure what beholden means here. In particular, I don't see the Tea Party being where it is today without the cheer leading of Republican operative Roger Ailes' network, or former Republican senator Dick Armey's organization, or Republican ally American's for Prosperity logistical support etc.

Also, by small government, I take it you mean low taxation. Many of the tea partiers have no problem having the federal government dictate womens' reproductive rights. This observation, of course, does not detract from your thesis about the Tea Party being right-wing; they are libertarian when it suits them.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Signs like "one day the poor will have nothing to eat but the rich."
Again, why do you think this is fundamentally leftist? Is it really true that only leftists are conscious of class struggle?

quote:
I assume you disagree that the OWS movement is left-wing? Why? Alternatively, why did you not have the same problem with my characterization of the tea party as right-wing?
I think the Tea Party as it was originally intended was not a right-wing movement; it became right-wing when it was co-opted about a year later by the usual suspects and marginalized its libertarian elements.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
It's not. The one unifying principle of every tea party I have seen has been small, limited government, which is fundamentally a right-wing position.
Small limited government is a right wing slogan not a principal they follow. For the past 30 years the Republican party has been the party of big military, strict penalties for blue collar crime, large prisons, and police power. They've promoted Christianity in the schools, the war on drugs and laws against abortion, porn, sexual freedom and homosexuality. They've supported sin taxes, restrictive immigration laws, centralized regulation of school curricula, and corporate welfare. And the Tea Party seems to support all those things. With that kind of record, its ridiculous to say "small limited government" is a right wing principal.

It's also ridiculous to call the republicans "fiscally conservative". The federal Deficit sky rocketed under the last 3 republican Presidents, during good economic times.

What the republicans are against isn't big government, its anything that interferes with the rich getting richer. Its anything with a hint of redistributing wealth, unless that redistribution favors the already rich. So the republicans are against progressive taxes (but they love sales tax on food), they're against welfare, against national health insurance, against unions, against the minimum wage, against environmental regulations, against health and safety regulations, and against economic regulation in any form.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
quote:
Demands like a $20.00 minimum wage and guaranteed wage regardless of employment, or a state monopoly on health services.
The second demand was what Milton Friedman wanted, and Hayek, I think.
 
Posted by natural_mystic (Member # 11760) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
It's not. The one unifying principle of every tea party I have seen has been small, limited government, which is fundamentally a right-wing position.
Small limited government is a right wing slogan not a principal they follow. For the past 30 years the Republican party has been the party of big military, strict penalties for blue collar crime, large prisons, and police power. They've promoted Christianity in the schools, the war on drugs and laws against abortion, porn, sexual freedom and homosexuality. They've supported sin taxes, restrictive immigration laws, centralized regulation of school curricula, and corporate welfare. And the Tea Party seems to support all those things. With that kind of record, its ridiculous to say "small limited government" is a right wing principal.

It's also ridiculous to call the republicans "fiscally conservative". The federal Deficit sky rocketed under the last 3 republican Presidents, during good economic times.

What the republicans are against isn't big government, its anything that interferes with the rich getting richer. Its anything with a hint of redistributing wealth, unless that redistribution favors the already rich. So the republicans are against progressive taxes (but they love sales tax on food), they're against welfare, against national health insurance, against unions, against the minimum wage, against environmental regulations, against health and safety regulations, and against economic regulation in any form.

I think Dan would respond that this is what distinguishes the Tea Party from the Republican Party. However, the proliferation of anti-abortion bills since the Tea Party-fueled Republican successes of 2010 suggests that they (the Tea Party) are also prone to carve out exceptions to small government orthodoxy when it suits them.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Hm, we may be hitting a bit of a snag on definitions. And I'll freely admit, I'm probably the one with the wonky definitions, as I have a pretty weird view of stuff. So, my apologies!

I consider myself right-wing. Even conservative! I don't agree with traditional conservative stances on... homosexuality, abortion, or immigration, off the top of my head. There's probably more. Basically, I'm a non-isolationist libertarian. But I still consider that, essentially, "right-wing," because I'm of the opinion that economic freedom is a bigger issue than any of those. I consider people in favor of a heavily regulated economic system to be essentially "left-wing."

So, I would say the tea party has been fundamentally right wing pretty much since it's inception, just as OWS is the reverse.

Re: the class struggle thing... well, if we want to go there... yes? I reject the premise that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. It's a myth. But I really hope that we can address the other things I said and not just focus on this one sentence because, well, I think this part alone could become a big debate.

Natural Mystic: Despite being in favor of abortion rights myself, I think your characterization is flawed. Pro-Lifers believe an unborn baby is a person with full rights, thus aborting them is murder. Reproductive rights don't enter into it. If you agree with their premise, then their conclusion is not antithetical to a small government any more than laws against murder are. Making it a debate about reproductive rights is very common, but I think it moves the goalpost to a meaningless discussion. If a fetus is a person, pro-lifers are right. If it's not, they aren't. That's the discussion, as far as I'm concerned.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Yeah, guaranteed minimum income is actually a pretty frequent call from the most economically liberal (which generally aligns with what we call the conservative end of the spectrum, at least superficially). I consider it one of the most important reforms we should eventually adopt.

But if you go that direction you really should get rid of the minimum wage -- which one would hope wouldn't be a problem; what justifications there are pretty much just disappeared, after all.

I hadn't noticed the OWS people calling for a guaranteed minimum income, though, and I've perused several popular sets of candidate demands. Which is too bad, because I think few of the measures they are talking about actually address the inequality issues they say motivate them.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
Re: the class struggle thing... well, if we want to go there... yes? I reject the premise that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. It's a myth. But I really hope that we can address the other things I said and not just focus on this one sentence because, well, I think this part alone could become a big debate.
That, recently, the rich have gotten richer in a way disproportionately faster than they have gotten richer relative to the less rich in the past is indisputable. That the rate of increase in wellbeing of the middle class has, in the same period, been lower than in the several decades previously is also indisputable.
 
Posted by natural_mystic (Member # 11760) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Natural Mystic: Despite being in favor of abortion rights myself, I think your characterization is flawed. Pro-Lifers believe an unborn baby is a person with full rights, thus aborting them is murder. Reproductive rights don't enter into it. If you agree with their premise, then their conclusion is not antithetical to a small government any more than laws against murder are. Making it a debate about reproductive rights is very common, but I think it moves the goalpost to a meaningless discussion. If a fetus is a person, pro-lifers are right. If it's not, they aren't. That's the discussion, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm not disputing there are ways to rationalize this. Look- if I believe that animals are nearly-persons, and should enjoy the same protections against torture that people do, then government is just doing it's job regulating the way animals are treated. However, I don't see this being a popular small-government position. ETA: to what extent can you incorporate other (far from self-evident) beliefs before the principle of "small government" is lost, and it becomes, as Rabbit said, simply a slogan?

[ October 20, 2011, 03:20 PM: Message edited by: natural_mystic ]
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:


Re: the class struggle thing... well, if we want to go there... yes? I reject the premise that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. It's a myth. But I really hope that we can address the other things I said and not just focus on this one sentence because, well, I think this part alone could become a big debate.

I am not sure how you can reject that premise. The rich have tools that they can use to get rich (health, education, safety, starting capital) that the poor do not. How could it not be easier for the rich to get richer and harder for the poor to keep from getting poorer? It is kind of how nature works. Take a herd of deer. Barring intervention, the healthier, stronger animals will get more and better food and get even healthier and stronger. The weaker animals can't compete and get weaker. As humans accumulate wealth, they have an advantage in the competition for wealth.
quote:


Natural Mystic: Despite being in favor of abortion rights myself, I think your characterization is flawed. Pro-Lifers believe an unborn baby is a person with full rights, thus aborting them is murder. Reproductive rights don't enter into it. If you agree with their premise, then their conclusion is not antithetical to a small government any more than laws against murder are. Making it a debate about reproductive rights is very common, but I think it moves the goalpost to a meaningless discussion. If a fetus is a person, pro-lifers are right. If it's not, they aren't. That's the discussion, as far as I'm concerned.

You are missing a big part of the discussion. If you re-phrase it as, "If the fetus is a person who has taken up residence in another person and will be using their organs for a while", you will be closer to understanding the debate.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Re: the class struggle thing... well, if we want to go there... yes? I reject the premise that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. It's a myth. But I really hope that we can address the other things I said and not just focus on this one sentence because, well, I think this part alone could become a big debate.
It's not a myth. Having heard you flat-out contradict what is, well, objectively accurate so far as statistics can show us...what *would* convince you it wasn't a myth? Direct economic evidence that the wealth of the top tiers grows at faster rates than the lowest doesn't seem to cut it. What would?
 
Posted by Jake (Member # 206) on :
 
I'm curious to know why you think that it's a myth, Dan.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Taking poor get poorer literally might be Dan's contention; the poor in the US have consistently improved in how well off they are for quite some decades. And most of that increase has been because of the operation of free markets, because most of that increase is from the increasingly cheap availability of food, clothing, and consumer goods.

In fact, even in recent years the growth in how well off (note: not the earned income; a lot of the growth recently has been in gov't programs and price drops at the low end) of the poor hasn't been too bad relative to the rich. The middle class is the segment that's had much more lackluster growth than previous periods.

And a herd of deer, boots, seriously? Human ecology isn't remotely like a herd of deer.
 
Posted by Jake (Member # 206) on :
 
quote:
Taking poor get poorer literally might be Dan's contention; the poor in the US have consistently improved in how well off they are for quite some decades. And most of that increase has been because of the operation of free markets, because most of that increase is from the increasingly cheap availability of food, clothing, and consumer goods.
Ah, I'll bet that is what he means.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:

And a herd of deer, boots, seriously? Human ecology isn't remotely like a herd of deer.

No. Because we do intervene. We fiddle.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
If he meant the 'rising tide lifts all boats' it's a myth, I can agree with that. If he means all boats are being lifted in proportion to their size, that's another thing.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Not just because of that; because the wealth of a human, which is derived from either the use of force to extract benefit or mutual exchange for mutual benefit, isn't remotely analogous to the well-being of a deer, which is derived from its participation in a herd capable of warning it of predation, access to sufficient resources, and sufficient predation to prevent the herd from growing too large. If that's the sort of mental model you're using for the human condition, it's no wonder where your economics are.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Nor do we eat leaves and grass. Seriously. You are going to act like a jerk over an analogy demonstrating that beings who are well off have an advantage when it comes to becoming more well off? Are you disputing that?
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Re: the class struggle thing... well, if we want to go there... yes? I reject the premise that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. It's a myth.
Why do you believe this is a myth?

Consider for example the data on this graph. It shows that when adjusted for inflation, the median household income in the US was completely flat from 1965 to 2000. Over that same period of time, women were moving into the cash economy so most middle class households went from having one income to two. So in 2000 in many households in the bottom half, it took 2 workers to earn the same amount (adjusted for inflation) that one worker earned in 1965.

Over the same time the inflation adjusted per capita GDP grew from $20,000 to $36,000.

How does that not amount to the poor getting poorer while the rich get richer?
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
If he meant the 'rising tide lifts all boats' it's a myth, I can agree with that. If he means all boats are being lifted in proportion to their size, that's another thing.

Do you think the rising tide in the US is lifting all boats, check the data I posted above. There was a time when economic growth in the US "lifted all boats", but for the last 40+, the lower half of households has not risen at all despite significant economic growth. That's a big part of the problem. The rising tide is not only not lifting all boats equally, its not lifting all boats period.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Disclaimer: I'm doing this from work and am not taking the time to find stats, just working from memory of what I've read. Soooo if I incorrectly remember a detail, feel free to call me on it. Please don't assume I'm lying to make my point. Also, most of this is discussing trends over the last few decades, not specifically the last year or two.

Fugu13 definitely addressed a large part of what I was saying, so... thanks man! In a literal sense, the poor are not getting poorer. Part of this is in reduced price of commodity goods that make up a large portion of the poor's expenditures, as he said. Increases have also come in general quality of life... when rich people create expensive new technology that improves lives, after a few years the price drops dramatically and it improves the lives of the middle class, and then a few years later the price drops again and it improves the lives of the poor. See: cars, refrigerators, computers, cell phones, etc.

I'm curious how some of you are defining "in proportion" in this context. How do we determine the "right" proportion for increases in wealth? If the rich are getting richer, and the poor are also getting richer but not as rich as the rich are getting, well, that slogan seems a hell of a lot less compelling to me, and I suspect that's why nobody uses it, despite it being more factually accurate.

Most people I discuss this with also use "rich getting richer/poor getting poorer" in tandem with the "shrinking middle class," or with the "stagnation of middle class wages," both of which I think are also grossly inaccurate. Going on the assumption you will ask me how I can say this, I'll elaborate below.

The only way the middle class shrank significantly in the last thirty-odd years was by a significant percentage of them moving into a high enough wage category that they no longer count as middle class. The number of people living in low-income households didn't increase. How is more people doing well a bad thing?

And finally, a commonly cited stat that is supposed to prove middle class wage stagnation is that household median income has not increased significantly over the last thirtyish years, while productivity has. But this only works if you look at household income. On an individual basis median income has improved at a rate commensurate with productivity increases. It's just that more people are living on their own now than were then, because they can afford it.

Again, these stats are mostly from like 2007/2008 if memory serves, and I know things are worse now than they were then but I don't know that we should be talking about a broken system or discussing massive overhauls based on a trend of 3 or 4 years.

[ October 20, 2011, 05:17 PM: Message edited by: Dan_Frank ]
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Oh cool, while I was writing Rabbit posted the misleading median household income data!
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
I've seen the "misleading" allegation debunked however at SA when another sought to claim the data misleading.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by natural_mystic:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Natural Mystic: Despite being in favor of abortion rights myself, I think your characterization is flawed. Pro-Lifers believe an unborn baby is a person with full rights, thus aborting them is murder. Reproductive rights don't enter into it. If you agree with their premise, then their conclusion is not antithetical to a small government any more than laws against murder are. Making it a debate about reproductive rights is very common, but I think it moves the goalpost to a meaningless discussion. If a fetus is a person, pro-lifers are right. If it's not, they aren't. That's the discussion, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm not disputing there are ways to rationalize this. Look- if I believe that animals are nearly-persons, and should enjoy the same protections against torture that people do, then government is just doing it's job regulating the way animals are treated. However, I don't see this being a popular small-government position. ETA: to what extent can you incorporate other (far from self-evident) beliefs before the principle of "small government" is lost, and it becomes, as Rabbit said, simply a slogan?
Responding first to the bold: Precisely! Because most small-government types don't think that animals are nearly-people, they think they are significantly removed from people. If you're a vegan libertarian then you would see government restrictions on what can be done to animals as consistent, because you would see animals as near-people deserving of protection. That isn't contradictory.

It comes down to a war of ideas in these situations. It's not about small gov/big gov, it's about what is a person, and what should be given the rights of a person. I don't think animals are people. Nor do I think fetuses are people. So I don't think either of them get much in the way of rights.

But if someone disagrees with me on that, then they can be fully consistent in opposing me and remaining a proponent of small government. These aren't "rationalizations" any more than a libertarian supporting government-enforced punishment for murder or theft is a rationalization. I really think this is getting into philosophy as opposed to politics, but I know I'm a minority on that opinion.

Addition: I think contrasting abortion to drug rights is a great way to look at this. I can't really think of any way a consistent, principled small-government proponent can support the war on drugs. Because there's no war of definitions here. Drugs are drugs, people either have the right to ingest poisons when they choose to do so, or they don't and government can try to force them not to.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
I've seen the "misleading" allegation debunked however at SA when another sought to claim the data misleading.

That's cool! I've seen stuff too! Care to... share any of what you saw?
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
I'm on my phone.

Post via HTC EVO, make the smart choice, an android choice.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Okay. Thanks for the advice, I'll try to remember to make the smart choice in the future.
 
Posted by natural_mystic (Member # 11760) on :
 
You're missing my point somewhat. From a bird's eye view you have what appears to be a thoroughly intrusive government action - government dictating the interaction between a private individual and her doctor. This is justified by incorporating a far from universal belief to carve out an exception for extreme government intrusion. In this way you get government creep. At the end of the day you get a government where virtually all actions can be rationalized, yet it is a sizable government. Having carved out all these exceptions, it is hard to take someone seriously when they object to something on the basis of 'small government.'

As for the drugs thing; certainly there are lots of self-identified small government types who are against legalization. I would be curious about their justifications. Also, what are your views on a drinking age exceeding, say, the age at which one can vote or serve in the military? Or drunk driving enforcement?

quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:

Fugu13 definitely addressed a large part of what I was saying, so... thanks man! In a literal sense, the poor are not getting poorer. Part of this is in reduced price of commodity goods that make up a large portion of the poor's expenditures, as he said. Increases have also come in general quality of life... when rich people create expensive new technology that improves lives, after a few years the price drops dramatically and it improves the lives of the middle class, and then a few years later the price drops again and it improves the lives of the poor. See: cars, refrigerators, computers, cell phones, etc.

In a literal sense the poor are getting poorer. They are less likely to be able to get good healthcare (hopefully this will change shortly), less likely to be able to afford to send their children to college, less likely to be able to find affordable daycare for their kids. Ie their access to the resources/mechanisms whereby their kids have a better chance to climb the social ladder is severely limited. But they have a big screen tv, so it's all good.
 
Posted by Parkour (Member # 12078) on :
 
Don't forget their fridges. Tthese ows types must just be mad about nothing.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by natural_mystic:
You're missing my point somewhat. From a bird's eye view you have what appears to be a thoroughly intrusive government action - government dictating the interaction between a private individual and her doctor. This is justified by incorporating a far from universal belief to carve out an exception for extreme government intrusion. In this way you get government creep. At the end of the day you get a government where virtually all actions can be rationalized, yet it is a sizable government. Having carved out all these exceptions, it is hard to take someone seriously when they object to something on the basis of 'small government.'

As for the drugs thing; certainly there are lots of self-identified small government types who are against legalization. I would be curious about their justifications. Also, what are your views on a drinking age exceeding, say, the age at which one can vote or serve in the military? Or drunk driving enforcement?

Ah, okay, I see what you mean. To a certain extent I agree, when you make rationalizations for why gov intrusion into "X Issue You Really Care About" is okay then you can do this ad infinitum and end up with lots of government intrusions. I do still think the abortion one is sort of sticky because to many people they literally see it as killing another human being that should have full rights as a human being, and that's why I say it becomes a discussion of philosophy rather than politics. I mean, saying it's a decision between a woman and her doctor leaves the proposed 3rd party out of it. That's like saying if you and I plan to kill Fred, and the government stops us, it's interfering in a personal decision between you and I.

I have never seen a similar justification for ostensibly small-government types who favor illegalization of drugs, though. I doubt it exists. Ditto for drinking ages (or any ageism, really) and ditto again for homosexuality. These are issues where the only "victims" are the people engaging in them, and I can't see how anyone can argue otherwise. What other victim could there be?

Drunk driving enforcement's really interesting for me. I mean, drunk drivers are indisputably operating a death machine and endangering other people. The minarchist in me still doesn't like the idea of government intrusion, but the minarchist in me usually takes a backseat to the realist in me. How different is drunk driving than, say, a guy shooting his rifle in random directions from his porch? Both are sort of his right/his property etc... but he's also actively endangering everyone around him. Overall I'm fine with this being considered a crime.

quote:
Originally posted by natural_mystic:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:

Fugu13 definitely addressed a large part of what I was saying, so... thanks man! In a literal sense, the poor are not getting poorer. Part of this is in reduced price of commodity goods that make up a large portion of the poor's expenditures, as he said. Increases have also come in general quality of life... when rich people create expensive new technology that improves lives, after a few years the price drops dramatically and it improves the lives of the middle class, and then a few years later the price drops again and it improves the lives of the poor. See: cars, refrigerators, computers, cell phones, etc.

In a literal sense the poor are getting poorer. They are less likely to be able to get good healthcare (hopefully this will change shortly), less likely to be able to afford to send their children to college, less likely to be able to find affordable daycare for their kids. Ie their access to the resources/mechanisms whereby their kids have a better chance to climb the social ladder is severely limited. But they have a big screen tv, so it's all good.
So... this is interesting. I think there is compelling evidence to suggest that most of the goods and services I listed are cheap because of market forces, while the two key services you listed both have severely inflated prices. Would you agree with that? We probably disagree on why the prices are inflated, but I'm wondering if you also disagree on my premise so far.
Edit: You mentioned more than two services, but the Big Two I was referring to were healthcare and education costs, in case it wasn't obvious.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Parkour:
Don't forget their fridges. Tthese ows types must just be mad about nothing.

For sure! This is totally what I'm saying.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Dan, you talk about full rights as a human being for fetuses. For what other human being does full rights include the right to use someone else's body as a host? That is the part of the discussion you are missing. That is why it isn't as simple as "is it a human being or not".
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Well, sure, but the host also invited the other "human being" to live there. (Except when they didn't, but even a lot of pretty staunch christian right conservatives still are willing to allow for a rape clause)

I have to say I am semi-uncomfortable with us continuing down this avenue too far, because I don't really want to get into a full blown abortion debate... especially one where I take the devil's advocate role of a pro-lifer. That sounds... exhausting.
 
Posted by Parkour (Member # 12078) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Parkour:
Don't forget their fridges. Tthese ows types must just be mad about nothing.

For sure! This is totally what I'm saying.
trollwarring already? Seems a little early for that.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Hm? I was just providing a sarcastic reply to your sarcastic comment. I don't think a little friendly sarcasm = a troll war, do you? I think this discussion has been pretty awesome and civil so far.
 
Posted by natural_mystic (Member # 11760) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Ah, okay, I see what you mean. To a certain extent I agree, when you make rationalizations for why gov intrusion into "X Issue You Really Care About" is okay then you can do this ad infinitum and end up with lots of government intrusions. I do still think the abortion one is sort of sticky because to many people they literally see it as killing another human being that should have full rights as a human being, and that's why I say it becomes a discussion of philosophy rather than politics. I mean, saying it's a decision between a woman and her doctor leaves the proposed 3rd party out of it. That's like saying if you and I plan to kill Fred, and the government stops us, it's interfering in a personal decision between you and I.

No dispute that abortion is a sticky issue.
quote:

I have never seen a similar justification for ostensibly small-government types who favor illegalization of drugs, though. I doubt it exists. Ditto for drinking ages (or any ageism, really) and ditto again for homosexuality. These are issues where the only "victims" are the people engaging in them, and I can't see how anyone can argue otherwise. What other victim could there be?

Drunk driving enforcement's really interesting for me. I mean, drunk drivers are indisputably operating a death machine and endangering other people. The minarchist in me still doesn't like the idea of government intrusion, but the minarchist in me usually takes a backseat to the realist in me. How different is drunk driving than, say, a guy shooting his rifle in random directions from his porch? Both are sort of his right/his property etc... but he's also actively endangering everyone around him. Overall I'm fine with this being considered a crime.

Presumably the justification is that there is some unacceptably high probability that the drunk driver will do some serious damage to property and/or people. There is also quantitative evidence showing that having a drinking age of 21 instead of 18 will result in fewer fatalities. What exactly is the difference between these situations from a libertarian perspective?

quote:
So... this is interesting. I think there is compelling evidence to suggest that most of the goods and services I listed are cheap because of market forces, while the two key services you listed both have severely inflated prices. Would you agree with that? We probably disagree on why the prices are inflated, but I'm wondering if you also disagree on my premise so far.
Edit: You mentioned more than two services, but the Big Two I was referring to were healthcare and education costs, in case it wasn't obvious.

I definitely agree that the costs of healthcare and education have vastly exceeded inflation. I don't know what happened with education, but I would argue that healthcare is attributable, to some degree, to certain interests being able to circumvent market forces.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Well, sure, but the host also invited the other "human being" to live there. (Except when they didn't, but even a lot of pretty staunch christian right conservatives still are willing to allow for a rape clause)

I have to say I am semi-uncomfortable with us continuing down this avenue too far, because I don't really want to get into a full blown abortion debate... especially one where I take the devil's advocate role of a pro-lifer. That sounds... exhausting.

I am content to abandon this particular conversation but not to leave your earlier statements unchallenged.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
Nor do we eat leaves and grass. Seriously. You are going to act like a jerk over an analogy demonstrating that beings who are well off have an advantage when it comes to becoming more well off? Are you disputing that?
Your analogy doesn't demonstrate anything, and I'm very frustrated that you think it does.

Rabbit: your link doesn't go anywhere, and I'd be very surprised if it says what you say it does, because as far as I'm aware, median household income in that period went up over 25%.

quote:
I'm curious how some of you are defining "in proportion" in this context. How do we determine the "right" proportion for increases in wealth? If the rich are getting richer, and the poor are also getting richer but not as rich as the rich are getting, well, that slogan seems a hell of a lot less compelling to me, and I suspect that's why nobody uses it, despite it being more factually accurate.
I'm going with that the proportion drastically changed starting around the 80s. More people became far more better off before then than after then, even using optimistic numbers.

quote:
And finally, a commonly cited stat that is supposed to prove middle class wage stagnation is that household median income has not increased significantly over the last thirtyish years, while productivity has. But this only works if you look at household income. On an individual basis median income has improved at a rate commensurate with productivity increases. It's just that more people are living on their own now than were then, because they can afford it.
You're drastically understating what the statistic means. For many people, living alone isn't voluntary, and it means giving up the large (and mostly unmeasured) output that used to come from someone engaged in housework and the like (and also frequently engaging in the informal, very undermeasured economy of childcare and the like). What's more, household size decline has not been very dramatic in the period we're talking about -- 2.76 in 1980 vs 2.63 in 2009. It *did* have a dramatic decline from 1950, when it was 3.37, though, which completely undermines your argument: if the gains from household size decrease are what's compensating for the change in household income now, the greater decrease in household size then could only have resulted in an even larger scaling factor for changes in household income back then (which were drastically increasing). After all, the biggest expense of a (median) household is support of the number of individuals in it.

quote:
In a literal sense the poor are getting poorer. They are less likely to be able to get good healthcare (hopefully this will change shortly), less likely to be able to afford to send their children to college, less likely to be able to find affordable daycare for their kids. Ie their access to the resources/mechanisms whereby their kids have a better chance to climb the social ladder is severely limited. But they have a big screen tv, so it's all good.
Healthcare for the poor (as opposed to the middle class) is largely through a lot of healthcare institutions not pursuing medical debt owed by the poor, private social endeavor, and (in large part) government healthcare. All of those have been increasing in this period, not decreasing. There are numerous colleges low income families can afford to send their children to, and daycare among the poor has almost always been a matter of informal systems, not purchasing through a daycare provider.

And anyways, you're ignoring the most important things. We *know*, with certainty, what the biggest expenses are on average in the lives of poor people: food, transportation and housing. Those have dropped as a percentage of income for those in poverty quite drastically, while quality has in all cases gone up drastically. The poor are not getting poorer, overall. (By the way, given the way college education is structured in the US, it is probably better overall for poor families *not* to save for college, strangely -- household assets are counted strongly when determining available financial aid).
 
Posted by natural_mystic (Member # 11760) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
Healthcare for the poor (as opposed to the middle class) is largely through a lot of healthcare institutions not pursuing medical debt owed by the poor, private social endeavor, and (in large part) government healthcare. All of those have been increasing in this period, not decreasing.

Do you have a link for this?

quote:

There are numerous colleges low income families can afford to send their children to,

What colleges are you thinking of here?

quote:

and daycare among the poor has almost always been a matter of informal systems, not purchasing through a daycare provider.

Do you have a link for this? My inclusion of this was based on anecdotal evidence and my own observations, so I'd appreciate seeing an actual study on this.

quote:

And anyways, you're ignoring the most important things. We *know*, with certainty, what the biggest expenses are on average in the lives of poor people: food, transportation and housing. Those have dropped as a percentage of income for those in poverty quite drastically, while quality has in all cases gone up drastically. The poor are not getting poorer, overall. (By the way, given the way college education is structured in the US, it is probably better overall for poor families *not* to save for college, strangely -- household assets are counted strongly when determining available financial aid).

I defined the sense in which I regard them as getting poorer. The growth in after food/transportation/housing income doesn't really speak to this. The housing costs is also a bit misleading. They would not find housing cheaper if they were to try and live in a good school district. Which, again, speaks to the poor being priced out of the mechanisms of social mobility.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:

Rabbit: your link doesn't go anywhere, and I'd be very surprised if it says what you say it does, because as far as I'm aware, median household income in that period went up over 25%.

The link is to a pdf document. Check your downloads.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
The link doesn't download anything, and gives page not found. I found it with a little googling, and it looks like you just copied google's elided URL rather than the real URL.

The graph you show has some sort of problem, possibly related to the CPR's changes over time. If you go to the census directly for the info, you'll find this page: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/data/historical/household/index.html . If you'll check out the appropriate link, you'll see that household income went (in 2010 dollars) from about $40k in 1967 to about $53k in 2000 (though it's lower now), an increase of a decent bit over 25% (1967 to 2010 is probably very close to a 25% increase).

Your graph only shows around a 10% increase.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
natural_mystic: I'll try to get you all your links as soon as I can, but keep in mind we're talking about poverty, not the middle class. The average cost of regular childcare for a 4 year old was, in 1997, over $3000 in every state, and in many places over $5000: http://www.policyalmanac.org/social_welfare/archive/child_care.shtml .

In other words, well beyond the means of those in poverty even if drastically lower. Certainly there are probably some using it, especially occasionally, but it just isn't possible for someone in poverty in the US to be relying on paid childcare. Not that it shouldn't be possible, but at least in recent history, it hasn't been possible.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
quote:

And finally, a commonly cited stat that is supposed to prove middle class wage stagnation is that household median income has not increased significantly over the last thirtyish years, while productivity has. But this only works if you look at household income. On an individual basis median income has improved at a rate commensurate with productivity increases. It's just that more people are living on their own now than were then, because they can afford it.

You're drastically understating what the statistic means. For many people, living alone isn't voluntary, and it means giving up the large (and mostly unmeasured) output that used to come from someone engaged in housework and the like (and also frequently engaging in the informal, very undermeasured economy of childcare and the like). What's more, household size decline has not been very dramatic in the period we're talking about -- 2.76 in 1980 vs 2.63 in 2009. It *did* have a dramatic decline from 1950, when it was 3.37, though, which completely undermines your argument: if the gains from household size decrease are what's compensating for the change in household income now, the greater decrease in household size then could only have resulted in an even larger scaling factor for changes in household income back then (which were drastically increasing). After all, the biggest expense of a (median) household is support of the number of individuals in it.

Interesting. I think we can chalk this up to me operating from memory. So, to clarify: There is a study that claims median household income did not increase significantly in the last 30 yrs, isn't there? Is that what Rabbit tried to link? But now you said median household income increased during that time, so maybe that stat was just wrong? What I'd read was that the stat may be accurate but it was misleading because individual median income had increased during the same time. I think I filled in the gap with "people are living alone" when in reality there are a number of ways both of those could be true. Like, going from two earners making less to one earner making more, for example.

Just want to add a thank you for your participation here. You're obviously very learned with regards to economics. If it's cool for me to ask, is it just a serious armchair interest, or do you work in a related field?
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Well, sure, but the host also invited the other "human being" to live there. (Except when they didn't, but even a lot of pretty staunch christian right conservatives still are willing to allow for a rape clause)

I have to say I am semi-uncomfortable with us continuing down this avenue too far, because I don't really want to get into a full blown abortion debate... especially one where I take the devil's advocate role of a pro-lifer. That sounds... exhausting.

I am content to abandon this particular conversation but not to leave your earlier statements unchallenged.
To clarify, feel free to continue to challenge what I've said. My comment wasn't intended to give me the last word at all! I'm not really exhausted yet, I just anticipate a time when the prospect of continuing to play devil's advocate here will feel more trouble than it's worth. It was basically just a warning that I may concede at any point. As long as you're cool with that, challenge away! [Smile]
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
After all, the biggest expense of a (median) household is support of the number of individuals in it.
I question this. Many of the major expenses for middle income households, such as rent/mortgage, insurance, cars, major appliances, and utilities are at most weakly dependent on the number of individuals in the household. When a household splits up (due to divorce for example), they suffer economically because it is significantly more expensive to support 4 people living in 2 households than it is to support the same 4 people in one household.


The biggest factor influencing the size of households in the US over the last 30 years has been the increasing median age of the population which has resulted in fewer households with children. It's certainly expensive to raise children, but the major expenses for a family of four don't drop by a factor of two when the kids move out on their own.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Well, sure, but the host also invited the other "human being" to live there. (Except when they didn't, but even a lot of pretty staunch christian right conservatives still are willing to allow for a rape clause)

I have to say I am semi-uncomfortable with us continuing down this avenue too far, because I don't really want to get into a full blown abortion debate... especially one where I take the devil's advocate role of a pro-lifer. That sounds... exhausting.

I am content to abandon this particular conversation but not to leave your earlier statements unchallenged.
To clarify, feel free to continue to challenge what I've said. My comment wasn't intended to give me the last word at all! I'm not really exhausted yet, I just anticipate a time when the prospect of continuing to play devil's advocate here will feel more trouble than it's worth. It was basically just a warning that I may concede at any point. As long as you're cool with that, challenge away! [Smile]
That's fine.

Here is yet another set of numbers that show the gap increasing.

http://blogs.reuters.com/david-cay-johnston/2011/10/19/first-look-at-us-pay-data-its-awful/

Or this: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/bankers-salaries-vs-everyone-elses/

A handy combination? http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10?op=1
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
Perhaps relevant
quote:
DAVID FRUM

The American Dream moves to Denmark
At the GOP's latest debate, Rick Santorum utters some hard truths about our economic decline
...
The American dream is still alive. It's just more likely to come true in Denmark than in the USA. In fact, the American dream is less likely to come true in the USA than in any other major economy except the United Kingdom's.

The freezing of income mobility is distinct from, but probably related to, two other important trends in American life: The stagnation of middle-class incomes and the widening of the gap between rich and poor.

The American dream is less likely to come true in the USA than in any other major economy except the United Kingdom's.

A generation ago, an American family did not need to "climb the ladder" to become better off. If a family started in the dead middle of the income distribution in 1947 and ended in the dead middle of the distribution in 1973, it still saw its standard of living approximately double. By contrast, middle-class incomes barely budged in the quarter century leading up to 2007.

At the same time, the richest have pulled away from the middle — and the richest of the rich have pulled away from the merely affluent.

Conceptually, you could imagine a highly unequal society with rapid income mobility. You could imagine a society with little mobility, but in which all classes were getting richer at approximately the same pace. America, however, is a society of widening inequality, hardening class lines, and stagnating living standards for most people. And all of these trends rely on numbers from before the economic crisis and before the election of Barack Obama.

http://theweek.com/bullpen/column/220484/the-american-dream-moves-to-denmark
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13

Taking poor get poorer literally might be Dan's contention; the poor in the US have consistently improved in how well off they are for quite some decades. And most of that increase has been because of the operation of free markets, because most of that increase is from the increasingly cheap availability of food, clothing, and consumer goods.

quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank
In a literal sense, the poor are not getting poorer. Part of this is in reduced price of commodity goods that make up a large portion of the poor's expenditures, as he said

Once again, I question the validity of these claims. Over the last half century, the price of essential consumer goods like food, energy and housing has not been decreasing relative to median incomes. Here is some data on average prices as a percent of the median income which I've put together from a variety of internet sources

code:
         
1965 1980 1990 2009
house 200% 430% 430% 450%
car 38% 31% 36% 51%
loaf of bread .003% .003% .004% .003%
gallon of gas .0045 .007% .004% .003%


This is hardly a comprehensive study but the data does not support the contention that the prices of staples have been dropping relative to incomes.

The data is also consistent with my personal observation that the costs of essentials like housing, energy, transportation and food have risen faster than the general rate of inflation over the past several decades. I can't find any data on it, but it seems to me that in the US the prices for fresh fruits and vegetables have risen considerably more than the prices for other foods.

**Edited to add: Before someone accuses me of cherry picking the data for effect, these were the only stables for which I could find prices for a large range of years. If anyone has access to price histories for other staples, I'd be very interested.

[ October 21, 2011, 01:49 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
The biggest factor influencing the size of households in the US over the last 30 years has been the increasing median age of the population which has resulted in fewer households with children. It's certainly expensive to raise children, but the major expenses for a family of four don't drop by a factor of two when the kids move out on their own.
Luckily nothing I said implies that. Even if we attempt to apply my statement to the individual level, I'm only (approximately) saying that overall expenses will drop by a substantial amount with each person that moves out. Some of that drop will only be taken when a household downsizes living arrangements, of course -- but that does happen, and more and more frequently, as households rent more and more often compared to owning.

It is more important to keep in mind I'm talking at a population and generational level. A given household will move only rarely, so it is a reasonable approximation to, in the short term, say its housing costs are independent of family size (though, as I mention above, a lot less so in the long term). But as households have changed in size, the size of their dwellings (in terms of relative expense to other dwellings) most definitely has changed in size. The median household today is, a good percentage of the time, living in an urban home, and urban home prices are extremely sensitive to their capacity (much moreso than rural ones). Further, this is before we get into the ~11 to 12% of the median household's income that's spent on food (again, heavily dependent on number of people), the 3% on clothing, the 14% on transportation (how sensitive this is to household size depends on composition of the household, of course), the 6% on healthcare (extremely sensitive to family size).

I'm not so certain you can pin the fall in household size as soundly on an aging population, either. Age of first child is also rising, so even an older population will frequently still have children. I think the increasing population of single people (and single parents) is also going to be a big contributor -- and reducing a household from two adults to one adult (again, this is at a population and generational level, not an individual household level, though it applies there, too) *does* drastically decrease expenditures for that household, as I described.

quote:
Interesting. I think we can chalk this up to me operating from memory. So, to clarify: There is a study that claims median household income did not increase significantly in the last 30 yrs, isn't there? Is that what Rabbit tried to link? But now you said median household income increased during that time, so maybe that stat was just wrong? What I'd read was that the stat may be accurate but it was misleading because individual median income had increased during the same time. I think I filled in the gap with "people are living alone" when in reality there are a number of ways both of those could be true. Like, going from two earners making less to one earner making more, for example.

Just want to add a thank you for your participation here. You're obviously very learned with regards to economics. If it's cool for me to ask, is it just a serious armchair interest, or do you work in a related field?

Starting at the last, I've done some minor stuff relating to economics as work, and it is more than just a serious armchair interest (a decent bit of education, plus I intend to work in a related field, international development, eventually), but I don't work in a related field at the moment.

Median household income has not increased very much (well, sort of; median household income has fluctuated up and down a good bit in this period) in the past thirty years. Rabbit was trying to say it hasn't increased very much in the last 45-ish years, which is very wrong. But most of that growth came in the first 15 years of those 45 years.

That's what's concerning. Starting about 30 years ago, richer people started getting more well off at a higher rate than they had for about the forty years (or more, with an intermission when the economy was rather wonky with the great depression) before that, and people in the middle class suddenly saw their rate of increase in well being drop like a rock (the story's a lot more complicated, because "income" isn't really a good measure of that, but it works as an approximation).

Poor people are actually doing reasonably well (in terms of increase in standard of living), though you don't see it in earned income statistics as much, both because government transfers to the poor have overall improved a lot and because the particular products poor people consume most have dropped hugely in price and improved hugely in quality.

But that change in middle class improvement in well being from "improving at a good clip" to "hardly improving at all" when the upper income segments went from "improving at a good clip" to "improving at an even better clip" is very worrisome, especially as it accompanies a big drop in total factor productivity. Yes, it is great that an increasing number of people are moving out of the middle class upwards. But it looks like part of how that is happening is by extracting rents from the rest of the middle class.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Poor people are actually doing reasonably well (in terms of increase in standard of living), though you don't see it in earned income statistics as much, both because government transfers to the poor have overall improved a lot and because the particular products poor people consume most have dropped hugely in price and improved hugely in quality.

This is what I was getting at, but I came to that conclusion very much more from a layperson's perspective. What I've read and heard over the years fits this-the poor aren't getting poorer in the sense that they cannot afford necessities and such, they're getting poorer in the sense that there is an amount of prosperity in the United States, and it's going to have some limit. And the poor and middle class are getting less of it now than they used to.

'Getting poorer' is not the same thing as 'poor'.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
fugu, do you know of any good data on how the SOL of US poor compares to poor people in the real full-on welfare states?

Sorry, it must feel like I treat you like a human encyclopedia sometimes. But please take it as a compliment, which it is!
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Rakeesh: the poor are getting about the same amount of additional prosperity as they did in the past, possibly more, and their situations are improving, not declining. It's the middle class(es) that's not receiving as much prosperity as it used to, and about treading water (though probably not declining, except in relative terms).

Destineer: an extremely difficult to measure question. Poor people in the US have better housing (including things like necessary heating and air conditioning), and at least until quite recently ate better. I'd have no problem saying rural poor in the US have a higher standard of living than poor people in all but maybe two to four European countries. But urban poor are a different story. Urban poverty in the US carries with it increased levels of violence, increased drug-related crime (mostly driven by our counterproductive war on drugs), social systems that perpetuate poverty more than in Europe, and worse (though not all that bad; the lower middle class has it much worse) healthcare. It is a much more complicated story.

Even so, the urban poor in the US are better off than the urban poor in many countries in Europe. Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and so forth, are in many closer to third world countries than we commonly think of them.

I think you might find this report very interesting: www.timbro.se/bokhandel/pdf/9175665646.pdf
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
the poor are getting about the same amount of additional prosperity as they did in the past, possibly more, and their situations are improving, not declining. It's the middle class(es) that's not receiving as much prosperity as it used to, and about treading water (though probably not declining, except in relative terms).

Sorry, I said that wrong. Thinking of the top tier vs. everyone-I should've said that it was my understanding that, overall, the 'not rich' are getting less prosperity proportionally now than in the past. As for the poor, it's always been my impression that standards of living have steadily been rising for pretty much everyone, overall, for a very, very, very long time. And to me, the relative terms part you mentioned last is what's most relevant to this discussion.

Are the super-rich just...more deserving or something of higher relative prosperity gain than everyone else? There's wealth being generated by our economy, but proportionally our population isn't getting as much of it anymore (is my understanding).
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
Are the super-rich just...more deserving or something of higher relative prosperity gain than everyone else? There's wealth being generated by our economy, but proportionally our population isn't getting as much of it anymore (is my understanding).
I don't think they're more deserving of a higher relative prosperity gain (than the middle parts of the income distribution: the poor are keeping up pretty well, once you include the effects I mentioned).

Regarding wealth generated by our economy, it looks like most of the wealth being generated by our economy for the last 30 years has been mostly the increased application of capital and manpower, unlike previous growth, which was more heavily driven by increased technology. That doesn't mean the wealthy are more deserving of the increase, but it does help explain why they've been so good at extracting the increase, I think.

Honestly, a lot of it has probably been absorbed by the increasing costs of healthcare -- instead of raises, people are receiving increases in employee-related expenses (which often means they're getting roughly the same level of actual healthcare, but at a higher cost to their employer, and often to themselves as well). That may even be hiding some actual increase (that is, the ratio might not be as bad as it looks), but the data is very hard to untangle.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
I think I've finally figures out how to post the correct link for graph I referred to earlier. Here it is

The graph does in fact show no signicant increase in the inflation adjusted median household income between 1965 and 1995. The graph does not give the source for the data so I can not judge its accuracy. It is however consistent with the numbers fugu gave for median income in 1965 so I presume the discrepancies are in the period between 1965 and 1990.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
By the way, it isn't the super rich who are corralling the gains, just the fairly well off. The households showing disproportionately high growth start at about $90k a year.

Rabbit: yep, no idea how they're getting what they're showing (and as you say, they've failed to explain their calculations). The numbers in the official reports (which explain their calculations extensively) don't look like what they say (and it isn't like they're talking about something different; the graphs are clearly labeled).
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
I don't think they're more deserving of a higher relative prosperity gain (than the middle parts of the income distribution: the poor are keeping up pretty well, once you include the effects I mentioned).
You keep saying this but how can it be given that housing, medical care, transportation, energy and food have all increased faster than income growth. Do the poor really get all the basics from public assistance so their spending their money on stuff like that is going down in price like cell phones and computers?
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
Thanks, fugu. Interesting article. I'm afraid I thought the argument of section 4.4 (for the thesis that increased leisure in Europe doesn't do much to explain the productivity disparity with the US) was extremely weak. But it wouldn't surprise me much if the taxes in a typical EU nation are currently high enough to stifle growth undesirably.

quote:
By the way, it isn't the super rich who are corralling the gains, just the fairly well off. The households showing disproportionately high growth start at about $90k a year.
That certainly fits with my anecdotal experience.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Rabbit: Because that's not true in the timeline I'm talking about. For instance, food prices only started rising recently, and are still down from 30 years ago. What's more, the categories of food that are high shares of costs for the poor are among those doing the best.

Medical care for the poor has also gotten cheaper (for them, not in terms of actual amounts spent): medicaid, in particular, grew to cover a much higher percentage of the poor in the past 30 years (that's in the public assistance part of the equation, of course).

Housing's a much more complicated story. Housing prices were going up a lot, which was causing a lot of problems, but that only started exceeding the growth of income in about 2000. Luckily, housing prices have since crashed, and the 30 year trend for housing prices is back to below the growth of income in the poor.

Heck, even average gas prices over the past 30 (well, 31) years have barely increased, and were down until now except for a brief spike a few years back. That one's a bit unfair because the early 80s gas prices were an anomaly, but even so.
 
Posted by MrSquicky (Member # 1802) on :
 
Little side story. Eric Cantor was supposed to give a talk at Penn today about his view of economic inequality, but Occupy Philly protested and some of them may have been able to get in to see him, so he ran away like a little girl.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
I think some of our disagreement is based on the who we consider to be the poor. There is a great deal of controversy about the official government poverty level and many people argue that many families earning up to twice the official poverty level can be reasonably considered poor. In my experience, lower income families that don't qualify for government assistance are the ones who have suffered most over the past few decades.

I also question some of your information like this.

quote:
For instance, food prices only started rising recently, and are still down from 30 years ago.
This is not consistent with either my personal experience or the data I've been able to find. The data I've found has shown that food prices for staples, like bread and rice, were nearly constant as a percentage of the median income between 1965 and 2005. But that's a bit misleading because eating patterns have changed significantly over that time. Families are less likely to have a stay at home Mom than they were decades ago and so they are more reliant on prepared foods. Even though the prices of specific items has remained flat, the amount that a family needs to spend on groceries has gone up.

Transportation costs have also risen. Not only has, the price of cars has gone up faster than the rate of inflation, changes in working and living arrangements make it so families need more cars.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
I would bet money that in caloric terms, food is more affordable than 30 years ago, particularly for the poor. But food prices and availability do not equate to quality nutrition. And the fact that people can get more calories for less money is a dubious indicator of economic health- the implications regarding public health, productivity, education and quality of life are obvious enough. If you're using food as an indicator of prosperity, you have to take into account that obesity is an epidemic among the poor- few Americans are starving, true, but the effect of food quality and distribution on quality of life is still important above a basal metabolic necessity.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
I don't think they're more deserving of a higher relative prosperity gain (than the middle parts of the income distribution: the poor are keeping up pretty well, once you include the effects I mentioned).
You keep saying this but how can it be given that housing, medical care, transportation, energy and food have all increased faster than income growth. Do the poor really get all the basics from public assistance so their spending their money on stuff like that is going down in price like cell phones and computers?
Indeed, it must also be pointed out that since the Clinton administration the CDI, which is used to calculate social security payments and similar has been slowly been fabricated as to be not resemblant to reality.

Using inflation measurements as back prior to clinton and plugged into SS, social security payments would be 70% higher.

Also GDP growth is also falsified significantly because it also uses a falsified inflation measurement to determine gdp growth.

In reality, using the original measurements one would see that the US has been in a recession during the time time, the mortgage foreclosures, high unemployment, etc are all consistent with a recession, not with a growing economy.

its all explained in that Chris Martenson video I linked earler.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

Transportation costs have also risen. Not only has, the price of cars has gone up faster than the rate of inflation, changes in working and living arrangements make it so families need more cars.

Do you happen to know numbers on hours worked relative to 30 years ago? Another indicator of quality of life wou
Be hours worked in comparison to income. Do people now work more hours or less? For instance, I wonder if e working poor and lower middle class commute longer and work more hours for the same relative economic status.

Purely anecdotally, the upper middle class friends and relatives of my parents now seem to work less hours and earn more money, largely due to technological advances that would not effect low wage workers. For instance, telecommuting saves hours per week in travel time, and in the publishing business, which is where most of these people are, 3 days in the office per week is the norm for many positions.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
I think some of our disagreement is based on the who we consider to be the poor. There is a great deal of controversy about the official government poverty level and many people argue that many families earning up to twice the official poverty level can be reasonably considered poor. In my experience, lower income families that don't qualify for government assistance are the ones who have suffered most over the past few decades.
That's very true. There's a bad gap problem between, where earning more can remove significant gov't assistance.

Regarding food prices, here's an index on commodity food prices on the global market: http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2010/11/economist_food-price_index

Down since 1980, only starting to move upward after 2000. Regarding the highest food costs, here's the price of the same quantity (actually a bit more) of red meat as a percentage of income since 1970 through 2008: http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/30/our-cheap-cheap-food/

Down a lot, and has only leveled off in the past decade, not climbed any amount worth noting.

quote:
Transportation costs have also risen. Not only has, the price of cars has gone up faster than the rate of inflation, changes in working and living arrangements make it so families need more cars.
The price of new cars has risen faster than inflation. Poor people are generally not buying new cars. If you check the price of used cars, especially the lifetime costs (which are much lower, as more recent cars require far less maintenance), you'll find it has remained well under increases in income.

Regarding needing more cars, I think you're going to need to show some data that shows that's actually had an impact worth talking about on transportation costs among the poor.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

Transportation costs have also risen. Not only has, the price of cars has gone up faster than the rate of inflation, changes in working and living arrangements make it so families need more cars.

Do you happen to know numbers on hours worked relative to 30 years ago? Another indicator of quality of life wou
Be hours worked in comparison to income. Do people now work more hours or less? For instance, I wonder if e working poor and lower middle class commute longer and work more hours for the same relative economic status.

Purely anecdotally, the upper middle class friends and relatives of my parents now seem to work less hours and earn more money, largely due to technological advances that would not effect low wage workers. For instance, telecommuting saves hours per week in travel time, and in the publishing business, which is where most of these people are, 3 days in the office per week is the norm for many positions.

Yeah, if I have to spend more than 3 days in the office in a given week something must have gone seriously wrong.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
Part of it is austerity measures though, laying off empoyees and having 4 day work weeks in order to save on utilities and wages.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
Perhaps for temp and hourly workers. 4 day work weeks are somewhat meaningless to many salaried workers- the workweek is the amount of time necessary to finish the work on time.
 
Posted by T:man (Member # 11614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

Transportation costs have also risen. Not only has, the price of cars has gone up faster than the rate of inflation, changes in working and living arrangements make it so families need more cars.

Do you happen to know numbers on hours worked relative to 30 years ago? Another indicator of quality of life wou
Be hours worked in comparison to income. Do people now work more hours or less? For instance, I wonder if e working poor and lower middle class commute longer and work more hours for the same relative economic status.

Purely anecdotally, the upper middle class friends and relatives of my parents now seem to work less hours and earn more money, largely due to technological advances that would not effect low wage workers. For instance, telecommuting saves hours per week in travel time, and in the publishing business, which is where most of these people are, 3 days in the office per week is the norm for many positions.

Yeah, if I have to spend more than 3 days in the office in a given week something must have gone seriously wrong.
Was that sarcasm? I can't tell, but that's how I read it.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
Little side story. Eric Cantor was supposed to give a talk at Penn today about his view of economic inequality, but Occupy Philly protested and some of them may have been able to get in to see him, so he ran away like a little girl.

Yeah, I doubt this would have been much of a disruption to his remarks. According to Weigel the audience "would have consisted almost entirely of protesters" which is why Cantor backed out.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
So cantor is a coward then.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
C'mon Blayne, gimme a break. If true, the man wasn't going to be giving a speech, he was going to be heckled and booed and shouted down by a hostile crowd. That's not cowardice, that's just deciding, "OK, today I'm not going to work for OWS."
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
Its clear they lack the confidence in their platform and are unable to stick to their guns and unwilling to face directly the people they have had such an easy time demonizing from the safety of their 1% bought political positions.

The OWS movement wants to be heard and taken seriously, so Cantor was clearly fearful of directly engaging them.

On a related note, anyone else struck by the thought that if the US hadn't invaded Iraq, Iraqi's would be right now overthrowing Saddam by themselves WITHOUT destroying the nations infrastructure?
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Blayne -

That assume the Arab Spring would have happened exactly as it has without the Iraq War happening. It also assumes that there wouldn't have been a destructive civil war in Iraq that DID destroy the infrastructure.

Both are incredibly thin assumptions.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Its clear they lack the confidence in their platform and are unable to stick to their guns and unwilling to face directly the people they have had such an easy time demonizing from the safety of their 1% bought political positions.

Is there a politician in this country who has sufficient confidence in their platform to go and speak before what will likely (again, if true) be a hostile, unruly, pre-planned crowd of opponents? Lemme know when you find one, k, and I'll credit your accusation of cowardice as something more than a totally partisan, "Ha!"

quote:
The OWS movement wants to be heard and taken seriously, so Cantor was clearly fearful of directly engaging them.

Well, sure, the movement as a whole would like to be heard and taken seriously. What's that got to do with anything? Fred Phelps wants to be heard and taken seriously, presumably. That's not to liken OWS to Phelps, but to point out how inaccurate it is to claim that 'wants to be taken seriously' equates to 'should be taken seriously in all cases'. It doesn't. One could say, with quite a lot of fairness, that if they wanted to be taken seriously, they shouldn't behave in such a way as to make it so easy for Cantor to dodge them-that is, by pointing to their own behavior as a justification.

Your notion on Iraq and the Arab Spring is just plain silly. It's so much conjecture. You might as well throw up your shoulders and say, "Huh, well maybe Saddam woulda gone down anyway!" (That is, in fact, precisely what you did, in different language. With another, "Ha!" on the end.)

I wonder how many political heroes of yours, Blayne, would have behaved the way you wanted Cantor to behave so as not to be a coward? Can you name one? An example of a politician who went out of his way to go and speak in front of an overwhelmingly hostile crowd that had rigged the audience before the event began?

Man. I'm no fan of Cantor, but it's viewpoints like yours that make it easier for people to blithely dismiss OWS.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
If this had been a group of Cantor's constituents, I think he would have been obligated to see them. But a random rabble demanding to have time to yell at him? I don't think he's obligated to be yelled at and use as a media tool (he has a Tool Exclusivity contract with the RNC anyways) for OWS.

Would be been a neat thing to try to watch a dialogue though, if either side had been willing to engage in one.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
I don't think he's obligated to be yelled at and use as a media tool (he has a Tool Exclusivity contract with the RNC anyways) for OWS.

Unless he's some sorta coward.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
On the other had, if he had tried to engage the crowd but they shouted him down and he left in disgust, I would have gained some respect for the man.

And it probably would have been a PR positive for him as well.

"Look, I TRIED to meet with them, but all they wanted to do was shout and wave pitchforks."
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
I suspect the same people that accuse him of cowardice now would then go on to accuse him of a cynical PR ploy, had it played out, as well as dismissing the audience in that case as the fringe.

With more moderate observers, however, it could well have been good PR for him as you say.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
The people who would have done that wouldn't have liked him either way. The people who like him will like him regardless. It's the people in the middle, for whom this was likely a non-event, that he could have gained some goodwill with.

I have zero respect for him, and I want to throttle him when I see him on TV most of the time, but even I would have seriously thought twice about entering that room with that crowd in his shoes. I still would have done it though. A chance to debate for me is like a moth to a flame. But I'm not a soulless politician, so there's that.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by T:man:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

Transportation costs have also risen. Not only has, the price of cars has gone up faster than the rate of inflation, changes in working and living arrangements make it so families need more cars.

Do you happen to know numbers on hours worked relative to 30 years ago? Another indicator of quality of life wou
Be hours worked in comparison to income. Do people now work more hours or less? For instance, I wonder if e working poor and lower middle class commute longer and work more hours for the same relative economic status.

Purely anecdotally, the upper middle class friends and relatives of my parents now seem to work less hours and earn more money, largely due to technological advances that would not effect low wage workers. For instance, telecommuting saves hours per week in travel time, and in the publishing business, which is where most of these people are, 3 days in the office per week is the norm for many positions.

Yeah, if I have to spend more than 3 days in the office in a given week something must have gone seriously wrong.
Was that sarcasm? I can't tell, but that's how I read it.
Nope, not at all. Orincoro makes a good point.
 
Posted by T:man (Member # 11614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Nope, not at all. Orincoro makes a good point.

Wow.

I really can't understand that lifestyle.

ETF:qb tags
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
What lifestyle? Telecommuting? Being able to spend more time with my loved ones? Yeah, it's pretty incomprehensible.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
PS: That time, it was sarcasm.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
T:man's reaction is more one of incomprehension. You forget that there was a period of your life when you would have found it hard to believe that someone would trust you enough to get work done, that you were being payed good money for, on your own at home, without their supervision. For people like me who entered the workforce during difficult financial times, that kind of an arrangement is a pipe-dream.
 
Posted by happymann (Member # 9559) on :
 
I found this article very interesting. It's a long article by G. William Domhoff, professor of psychology and sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I wasn't completely surprised by most of his numbers (I was expecting the trends, if not the magnitude). What I found more fascinating and more appropriate for the OWS crowd were his comments near the end regarding CEO wealth and the tricks they use to justify CEO pay raises. There's very little in this article that talks about solutions, but I did want to see if others on this board feel that Domhoff has a solid enough methodology that his numbers and conclusions can be accepted (since I'm not an economist or statistician, or anywhere close to one, I have to take him at face value).
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Most of the facts in the article seem about right, but he's spinning them like crazy. For instance, the "what percentage of wealth should people have" for various slices of the population is probably being interpreted more in the context of income, which for many people is a truer measure of wealth than actually measuring total wealth.

Some of his causative stories are all out of whack, too. The cuts in capital gains weren't anywhere near enough to explain the growth in income of the top 400 people in the US; that growth is better explained by the high gains of the stock market itself in the period he's talking about (which occurred because of the great moderation). I mean, his story doesn't even make the vaguest sense: according to him, keeping approximately 15% more of before tax income was enough to sextuple incomes among the top 400. I can't even imagine the weird amplifying effects he'd need to theorize to say that was what happened.

In fact, if he is theorizing the capital gains tax change is what caused that, it seems more likely he would be overjoyed. By cutting the tax about in half, total tax revenue on that part of the population went up three times! Now, that's probably before inflation, so it only went up maybe two times. Still, a huge gain. (Of course, he isn't, and I grant a lot of that is his money is power position; I'm very leery of that position, because in any non destitute society it is going to be true that a substantial chunk of the wealth will be in the hands of a relatively small number of people, and so it seems he will always consider things extremely problematic. There needs to be some rational discussion of the tradeoffs).

Then he starts getting weaselly (and arguably contradicting himself), leading off here:

quote:
It is widely believed that taxes are highly progressive and, furthermore, that the top several percent of income earners pay most of the taxes received by the federal government. Both ideas are wrong because they focus on official, rather than "effective" tax rates and ignore payroll taxes, which are mostly paid by those with incomes below $100,000 per year.
But then he shows the chart that the top 20% pay 64% of all taxes -- and he carefully doesn't show what percentage of taxes smaller portions of the top 20% pay, or the percentage of *federal* taxes paid by those groups, which is higher -- which would show that, indeed, "the top several percent of earners pay most of the taxes received by the federal gov't", something he's just said is wrong!

Then he starts going into paranoid conspiracy theories:

quote:
So the best estimates that can be put together from official government numbers show a little bit of progressivity. But the details on those who earn millions of dollars each year are very hard to come by, because they can stash a large part of their wealth in off-shore tax havens in the Caribbean and little countries in Europe, starting with Switzerland.
The US has many tax problems, but if he's worried about the situation looking more equitable than it is due to tax avoidance, the US is the last place to start looking: many major European economies (that he holds up as comparatively better examples) have *far* higher rates of tax avoidance. We're pretty good at actually collecting tax, and many of the rules he holds up shortly after as letting the wealthy avoid tax are there to make sure we do tax, and tax accurately.

More manipulative rhetoric comes up when he calls an 18% reduction in the gini coefficient due to progressive taxation and transfers things that "don't do much to reduce inequality". As a portion of the gini scale, the reduction is roughly equivalent to the difference in inequality between Egypt and Norway. In other words, a lot.

The CEO pay section can be mostly ignored. Once you control for company size, CEO pay in the US is not nearly so outsized compared to Europe (we have much bigger companies), and once you control for company profitability, almost all the rest disappears (we have more profitable companies). So even if the process for determining CEO pay is so completely bankrupt as in his examples, it somehow sets the bar about where you'd expect for companies of a given size and profitability. He also ignores that CEOs in certain countries (especially China, as a handy example) extract greater political power *instead* of higher salaries -- it isn't always a correspondence (far from it).

I'm sad that by the end he pretty much gave up credibility; it started out reasonably strong. Mostly I'm sad because there is a strong case to be made for increased redistribution of wealth in the US, and I am very for it -- but I dislike those who can't resist saying things that are obviously false about the very facts they just presented, probably assuming nobody reading the article would inspect the actual numbers too closely.
 
Posted by Bokonon (Member # 480) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Its clear they lack the confidence in their platform and are unable to stick to their guns and unwilling to face directly the people they have had such an easy time demonizing from the safety of their 1% bought political positions.

Is there a politician in this country who has sufficient confidence in their platform to go and speak before what will likely (again, if true) be a hostile, unruly, pre-planned crowd of opponents? Lemme know when you find one, k, and I'll credit your accusation of cowardice as something more than a totally partisan, "Ha!"
Well, there was this guy.

NOTE: I don't believe this event exactly meets Rakeesh's criteria. I don't believe that "unruly" applies in this case, but "hostile" and "preplanned crowd" of opponents do.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
T:man's reaction is more one of incomprehension. You forget that there was a period of your life when you would have found it hard to believe that someone would trust you enough to get work done, that you were being payed good money for, on your own at home, without their supervision. For people like me who entered the workforce during difficult financial times, that kind of an arrangement is a pipe-dream.

Well, it's sort of a pipe dream for me, too. I changed jobs in August. I used to work an 8-5 office job in the financial industry, but I was getting frustrated and feeling stagnated, so I quit. And now I have a come-in-whenever-you-feel-like-i-or-just-telecommute job working for a software consultant. So, I definitely understand having a hard time wrapping your head around it.

I must have misread him, I think, because the way he said it to me felt more critical. Like, "I can't understand that lifestyle" is the sort of thing I used to say to a former friend regarding his relationships with women. And it was not a judgment neutral statement.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
quote:
Once you control for company size, CEO pay in the US is not nearly so outsized compared to Europe (we have much bigger companies), and once you control for company profitability, almost all the rest disappears (we have more profitable companies). So even if the process for determining CEO pay is so completely bankrupt as in his examples, it somehow sets the bar about where you'd expect for companies of a given size and profitability.
I'm not sure exactly what's meant here by controlling for the size and profitability of companies. What is the correlation supposed to be? Should one expect that a company of twice the size (in terms of total holdings, I guess?) would naturally pay their CEO twice as much? Would a company be expected to pay the CEO twice as much if it's twice as profitable?

One wouldn't necessarily expect rank and file workers to make appreciably more money working for a larger or more profitable employer. Why should that hold for CEOs?
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Destineer: first, a thought experiment. Does it make sense for someone who is the CEO of a small company with five million dollars in revenue to be paid the same as someone who is the CEO of a company with a five hundred million dollars in revenue? No, CEO pay shouldn't scale exactly with company size (and I wasn't saying it should), but there is a definite correlation between company size and reasonable CEO pay, because the CEO of a larger company carries more responsibility.

If two companies of the same size (and in a comparable industry) have different levels of profit, the CEO of the more profitable one should be paid more: something he's doing is working. I'm not saying the CEO is somehow directly responsible for the higher profit in every case, but somehow his company is doing better than a different, but overtly similar company, and even if his only talent is hiring/not driving away the right people and letting them make the decisions, that's something hard to find in the field of CEOs.

Consider the typical employee of a company, though. Perhaps someone doing quality control of parts. The responsibilities of that worker do not scale up with the size of the company; they presumably are able to check roughly the same number of parts, which will contribute roughly the same amount to the bottom line of the company no matter what the size is. The worker *is* frequently paid more when they are more productive (which is when the work of the things they have influence in is more profitable, just as with a CEO), though, with bonuses and raises and such.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Destineer: first, a thought experiment. Does it make sense for someone who is the CEO of a small company with five million dollars in revenue to be paid the same as someone who is the CEO of a company with a five hundred million dollars in revenue? No, CEO pay shouldn't scale exactly with company size (and I wasn't saying it should), but there is a definite correlation between company size and reasonable CEO pay, because the CEO of a larger company carries more responsibility.

This seems perfectly reasonable to me. A larger company with more irons in the fire means more risk and complexity, theoretically with more possibility of failure not just because of that, but because of more people looking to better you economically. For those and other reasons it's not surprising or unreasonable that 'pay' (all the various incentives, that is) would be greater for a larger company. I also agree with fugu that this won't be analagous to a lower-level employee, one whose responsibilities and risks aren't going to change as much if they're working for, say, a local oil change place and JiffyLube.

What seems problematic to me, from what little I've read and heard and learned, is the way those incentives are decided and who does the deciding. Specifically, it seems that at the very high ends the people who are doing the deciding are likely to not only hope to become even higher top executives themselves-and therefore want such pay to increase-but their own worth in the present is increased if pay for a given higher level executive is also increased.

It doesn't seem to work that way elsewhere. If Joe service mount tech gets a raise, chances are it wasn't decided by his assistants and peers-and that raise doesn't make him that much more valuable in the near future, either.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
the CEO of a larger company carries more responsibility
Perhaps the idea that CEOs actually bear responsibility -- as opposed to simply having to be paid as if they bore responsibility -- should be examined a bit.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Perhaps the idea that CEOs actually bear responsibility -- as opposed to simply having to be paid as if they bore responsibility -- should be examined a bit.
Well, I will agree that by the time they get to that level it seems that the consequences they bear are going to be 'reap enormous financial benefits' if they're successful, and 'lose their job/face demotion with a substantial parachute' if they fail, barring all but the most egregious screw-ups. But I'm not very well informed on the subject.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
quote:
Does it make sense for someone who is the CEO of a small company with five million dollars in revenue to be paid the same as someone who is the CEO of a company with a five hundred million dollars in revenue? No, CEO pay shouldn't scale exactly with company size (and I wasn't saying it should), but there is a definite correlation between company size and reasonable CEO pay, because the CEO of a larger company carries more responsibility.
That makes some sense, although one would also expect the CEO of a larger company to have a correspondingly larger and more supportive staff.

The real question I was trying to get at is, why should one conclude that the disparity in pay between CEOs of large, profitable companies versus small, less profitable ones is reasonable? You seemed to be saying before that the difference in pay between big US CEOs and small European ones is about what we should expect. Why is that?

I mean, look at the disparity in compensation in other important administrative fields. Like educational administrators. The president of Harvard might make 10 or 12 times as much as the president of Northern Michigan University, but that's nowhere near the difference between top CEOs and below-average ones. Yet the same considerations you cite apply here: large differences in scale and performance.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
The real question I was trying to get at is, why should one conclude that the disparity in pay between CEOs of large, profitable companies versus small, less profitable ones is reasonable? You seemed to be saying before that the difference in pay between big US CEOs and small European ones is about what we should expect. Why is that?
We've got a lot of data that tell us what the approximate relation between firm size (and lots of other factors) and CEO pay are. We can use standard statistical tools (regression) to determine how close the CEO compensation data we see in the US is to what we would expect, given the various properties of firms in Europe, the pay of CEOs in Europe, and the properties of firms in the US. That doesn't show that the pay isn't necessarily outsized, but it does show that the pay isn't any more unusual (well, not much more, it does tend to be somewhat higher), but it does show that the pay isn't much outsized compared to Europe, and since a lot of people play up the comparison between US CEO pay and Europe CEO pay, that undermines a lot of the argument.

For instance, in the period when CEO pay grew six times (roughly) at the largest companies in the US, those companies also grew six times. A six times increase in pay doesn't sound so completely outrageous, all of a sudden. It might be high, but it isn't so outsized as to be ridiculous.

What's more, while CEO ability only has small effects on the bottom line of a company, when you multiply that by large companies, you get big numbers. For instance, a CEO of a company a few hundred down the list of top companies might reduce performance by one or two hundredths of a percent vs the best pick for the job . . . but at a large company, that variation (among skilled CEOs, not between skilled and bad CEOs) is tens of millions of dollars. Between a skilled and a mediocre CEO, the difference can easily reach hundreds of millions of dollars, while still only representing a few hundredths of a percent of the market value of a firm -- and it is easy to find examples of bad CEOs tanking the market value of a firm by many percentage points.


I *do* agree with the points voiced by Greg Mankiw (which I'm blatantly requoting from a WSJ column):

quote:
But the supply of talent is
inelastic and the allocation of
talent would not be affected if everyone faced high tax rates.

So while I don't think there's anything particularly bad about CEOs being paid what they are, I also am fine with taxing high earners (many of them those same CEOs) at higher rates than they currently are (and I should point out that their compensation is mostly not coming from long term capital gains).

Here's an interesting contrarian view, with some things worth thinking about (such as why people with considerably less worthiness and value creation than many CEOs -- startup founders -- aren't villified when they take far larger payouts).

Btw, a point you'll see made if your ead around a few places (such as here) is, compensation at large private firms is basically in line with that at large public firms. If all that was happening was the boardroom collusion described in the currently fashionable stylized account of CEO pay setting, that wouldn't be the case.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Regarding this point:

quote:
That makes some sense, although one would also expect the CEO of a larger company to have a correspondingly larger and more supportive staff.
Not as much as you might think. There's only so many people you can use to run an organization without carving the organization up into smaller sections and putting people in charge of them. At some point, the responsibility is limited to a small set of people, and ultimately one (with directorial but not executive oversight by the board of directors). There may be lots more people working under such a person, and I would certainly hope they were better at their jobs at much larger companies, but that's not taking anything away from the fact the CEO has to make decisions about a much larger company, that can make or cost such a company hundreds of millions to billions of dollars depending on which choice the CEO makes. No matter how many people are there giving him the advice on which course is better, and no matter how good they are, the CEO is the one making such decisions, many times a year.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
No matter how many people are there giving him the advice on which course is better, and no matter how good they are, the CEO is the one making such decisions, many times a year.
Which is why, when a company fails, a CEO is generally left destitute and unable to find work in the business world.
 
Posted by DarkKnight (Member # 7536) on :
 
quote:
Which is why, when a company fails, a CEO is generally left destitute and unable to find work in the business world.
While I understand that you are maxing out the sarcasm meter, is this what you hope happens to CEO's when a company fails? Would that be your just punishment? They should be left penniless and never find work again?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
If their reward is commensurate with the size of the company, so that they earn hundreds of times more than a line worker for shouldering hundreds of times more responsibility, shouldn't they suffer hundreds of times worse than a line worker when their decisions doom their company? And yet they suffer far, far less.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
While I understand that you are maxing out the sarcasm meter, is this what you hope happens to CEO's when a company fails? Would that be your just punishment? They should be left penniless and never find work again?
Well they certainly shouldn't make money-that is, their punishment amounts to 'I won't make as much money as I would have if things had gone well'.

Anyway, he didn't say 'never find work again'. He said 'unable to find work in the business world'. That is to say, if you're a CEO and your company fails, it's a peculiarity that you stand a chance at being able to flit away to another top-executive position.

It's always been strange to me, the conservative willingness to stand up for the big man. The biggest man, in fact-wealthy beyond the lifetime of all but a few, with political, social, and economic power that are likewise never going to come to the vast majority of society. Small government, limit the power of big organizations over our daily lives, individual rights and freedoms and absences of interferences. And somehow, this ideology amounts to, "Hey, hey! Let's not get snippy about CEOs."
 
Posted by DarkKnight (Member # 7536) on :
 
How would you make them suffer? If the large company fails, do we raid the CEO's home, seize all of their assets, and blacklist them from ever working again? Maybe throw them in jail without possibility of seeing the light of day because the company failed? What if the company just loses lots of money? Do they get the same percent of their assets taken?
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
How would you make them suffer? If the large company fails, do we raid the CEO's home, seize all of their assets, and blacklist them from ever working again? Maybe throw them in jail without possibility of seeing the light of day because the company failed? What if the company just loses lots of money? Do they get the same percent of their assets taken?
Well that's clearly what Tom was suggesting. All of those things together, in fact.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
quote:
If their reward is commensurate with the size of the company, so that they earn hundreds of times more than a line worker for shouldering hundreds of times more responsibility, shouldn't they suffer hundreds of times worse than a line worker when their decisions doom their company?
I don't see much reason why they should. I guess I get a little skeptical when issues about who deserves what get brought into discussions about what's the overall best system in something like economics. It seems to me the question should be, what system leads to the best overall outcomes? If the most beneficial system involves some people getting a better lot than they deserve, so be it.

That said, our present system doesn't seem entirely successful, and the idea that CEO pay is no more than they deserve is (a) ridiculous and (b) not much reason to preserve the present system. But my guess is that fugu is right that the best way to fix the problem is with taxes.

quote:
For instance, in the period when CEO pay grew six times (roughly) at the largest companies in the US, those companies also grew six times. A six times increase in pay doesn't sound so completely outrageous, all of a sudden. It might be high, but it isn't so outsized as to be ridiculous.
But wait, I thought you agreed earlier that there's no reason pay should scale linearly with the size of the company. (That is, there's no reason the CEO of a $500M corp should make 100 times as much as the CEO of a $5M corp.)

Is it just that, when you fit a curve to the pay of foreign executives like you were talking about, you actually do see a linear dependence between size and pay?
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
But wait, I thought you agreed earlier that there's no reason pay should scale linearly with the size of the company. (That is, there's no reason the CEO of a $500M corp should make 100 times as much as the CEO of a $5M corp.)

Is it just that, when you fit a curve to the pay of foreign executives like you were talking about, you actually do see a linear dependence between size and pay?

You only see a 1:1 correlation (linear means something else) in pay increases in the *very* largest companies. In most companies (including those, once you take into account the original salaries) you see that a company that increases in size by 10% has about a 3% increase in CEO pay. That seems to be higher at the top end, but most of the models only fit linear relationships to the overall sample (easier to be confident of the math). In particular, there's a lot more competition in the US for CEOs at the top end: keep in mind that even the tiniest percent difference in company value caused by a CEO will almost certainly amount to tens of millions, and probably hundreds of millions to billions of dollars. Then look at the CEO salaries of the top 400 companies.

quote:
Which is why, when a company fails, a CEO is generally left destitute and unable to find work in the business world.
Which is why, when a worker messes up at the thing they do and are fired, they are left destitute and unable to find work? You've got some messed up morals, Tom, if you think that's what should happen to people who mess up badly at their jobs. Last I checked, normal workers who had that happen were paid whatever their employment contract stipulated, including any severance pay stipulated, and then went and found a new job.

It happens that CEOs that mess up badly do have a much harder time getting hired anywhere, and frequently cease being CEOs. Just like someone who messes up badly at many jobs has a harder time getting hired to do the same job, and frequently leaves that occupation. Sometimes they're able to convince someone that the problems weren't their fault (and sometimes they're right) and get hired again in a similar position.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Which is why, when a worker messes up at the thing they do and are fired, they are left destitute and unable to find work?
Oh, not at all. Because...

quote:
You've got some messed up morals, Tom, if you think that's what should happen to people who mess up badly at their jobs.
...if the rewards for success must be summarily greater, the consequences of failure should be greater as well. Or should at least exist. Meg Whitman is running Hewlett Packard, for God's sake.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
...if the rewards for success must be summarily greater, the consequences of failure should be greater as well. Or should at least exist. Meg Whitman is running Hewlett Packard, for God's sake.
Ah, so what's the income cutoff for being left destitute and unable to find work upon messing up your job? You're messed up, Tom.

As for Meg Whitman, she grew a company from $4 million revenue to $8 billion revenue and won numerous awards for doing so. This is what you want rewarded with destitution? What does a CEO have to do to not deserve to be struck down in your book?
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
If their reward is commensurate with the size of the company, so that they earn hundreds of times more than a line worker for shouldering hundreds of times more responsibility, shouldn't they suffer hundreds of times worse than a line worker when their decisions doom their company? And yet they suffer far, far less.

'suffer' is not the word for it, realistically. They don't suffer. They are rewarded.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Ah, so what's the income cutoff for being left destitute and unable to find work upon messing up your job? You're messed up, Tom.
Excellent question. I'll let the details people work on that. Do we agree that CEOs don't really face any real burden of responsibility, then, since apparently you have to be "messed up" to mention the possibility?

quote:
As for Meg Whitman, she grew a company from $4 million revenue to $8 billion revenue and won numerous awards for doing so.
Is it seriously your opinion that she left eBay in a good position?
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:

quote:
Which is why, when a company fails, a CEO is generally left destitute and unable to find work in the business world.
Which is why, when a worker messes up at the thing they do and are fired, they are left destitute and unable to find work? You've got some messed up morals, Tom, if you think that's what should happen to people who mess up badly at their jobs. Last I checked, normal workers who had that happen were paid whatever their employment contract stipulated, including any severance pay stipulated, and then went and found a new job.

I don't think Tom is suggesting that is what should happen; I think he is suggesting that is what does happen. "Normal" workers don't generally get to have contracts that stipulate huge severance pay packages. Or severance packages at all. "Normal" workers are lucky to get two weeks.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Normal workers do get things like unemployment, though-and as they move up through the middle class, things like severance pay aren't, y'know, totally unheard of.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
Excellent question. I'll let the details people work on that. Do we agree that CEOs don't really face any real burden of responsibility, then, since apparently you have to be "messed up" to mention the possibility?
A burden of responsibility is not the same as having a required punishment of being destitute with no job. If you look at actual data, you'll see that CEOs that haven't demonstrated high capability as a CEO and are then fired rarely get hired again by companies of similar size or larger. But evidence doesn't seem to matter to you, so I don't know why I bother.

quote:
Is it seriously your opinion that she left eBay in a good position?
Better than when she found it? By a long shot. And if she made some mistakes towards the end, it hardly sunk the company. They've got really strong competition from Amazon, not to mention that the downturn hit a lot of their core customers, but their revenue is going back up again, and their profits are doing even better.

So, you've made clear that you think working long hours in business for thirty years, having a successful upper management career, taking a risky move to a small startup with only a few million dollars in revenue through the dot com crash (which many larger companies didn't survive) and turning it into a multi-billion dollar company, and then messing up some (but still leaving it one of the biggest internet companies in existence) should be punished by destitution, instead of being hired by a company intent on expanding its IT services capabilities and looking for some of the expertise she clearly has. You don't take a company from a few million dollars in revenue through one of the worst periods for companies of your type into multiple billions of dollars in revenue without a heck of a lot of expertise.

As an aside, I find it hard to believe someone as intelligent as you is advocating retribution morality. You're acting like a high schooler who thinks he has all the answers, and they somehow consistently involve making life much worse for people he doesn't like because he doesn't like them.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I didn't say they were unheard of, just that they could not be assumed to be part of the experience of "normal" workers. I have a pretty decent (compared to a lot of people) salaried job and if I screwed up - or even if I didn't and they just decided they didn't need me - I would basically get whatever vacation time I had not used.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
A burden of responsibility is not the same as having a required punishment of being destitute with no job.
Oh, absolutely. So do we agree that, because the punishment does not scale with size, the rewards should not, either?

quote:
you've made clear that you think working long hours in business for thirty years, having a successful upper management career, taking a risky move to a small startup with only a few million dollars in revenue through the dot com crash (which many larger companies didn't survive) and turning it into a multi-billion dollar company, and then messing up some (but still leaving it one of the biggest internet companies in existence) should be punished by destitution
I don't believe I've said that at all. I expressed skepticism that Whitman should be CEO of Hewlett Packard.

quote:
I find it hard to believe someone as intelligent as you is advocating retribution morality.
You just offered a justification for CEO salaries based on the same logic.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
Oh, absolutely. So do we agree that, because the punishment does not scale with size, the rewards should not, either?
No, because that's an insanely stupid thing. Of course rewards scale with things other than risk. They also scale with required expertise and level of responsibility, for instance, two things that are very high for a CEO of a large company.

Whereas, as far as I can tell, your position seems to be that anyone who makes more than a certain amount needs to be prepared to be made destitute for messing up at their job. How about instead of giving an exact number for this cutoff, you give an amount which you're sure will be above the number. Clearly you can manage that, or you wouldn't be able to say so clearly that CEOs of large companies are paid high enough to justify it.

quote:
You just offered a justification for CEO salaries based on the same logic.
If you think this, you should improve your logic. Saying that it is reasonable for people to choose to pay workers who provide returns for a company commensurate pay does not mean it is reasonable to take away all money (note: not just all pay; you said destitute) from CEOs who do not manage provide large returns for a company. I'm not at all sure where you get it is the same logic. Could you provide what you think I've said, in logical statements, and then show that they necessarily imply what you've said?
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
fugu13, What do you mean when you say the the CEOs of a large company are "responsible" for more? I can think of two ways in which this might be true. 1. The CEO's decisions are more critical and influencial for company performance or 2. The CEO bares a greater portion of the risk.

You've already agreed that the latter isn't true. Is there any reason to believe that the former is true? I would expect that the larger the corporation, the less difference the CEO actually makes, particularly in the short run. In larger companies, I would expect a much larger of fraction of the decisions are made at lower levels and that the CEO would be far more dependent on analysis and advice from staff.

In a small business, the CEO usually owns a major portion of the business and makes most of critical decisions based on their personal expertise. So in a small business, the CEO is largely responsible for the company performance by either criteria. I don't think that either is particularly true for larger corporations.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
Meg Whitman was used quite honestly as our last class example of dysfunctional incentives in and rewards towards holders of top-level positions like CEO's. She's an excellent example of someone who, as the quote goes regarding Meg in some of the more hit-piece commentary on her business career, "failed her way to the top."
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Meg Whitman was used quite honestly as our last class example of dysfunctional incentives in and rewards towards holders of top-level positions like CEO's. She's an excellent example of someone who, as the quote goes regarding Meg in some of the more hit-piece commentary on her business career, "failed her way to the top."
Hit-piece commentary notwithstanding, it sounds to this layman like fugu has made some pretty compelling statements as to why Whitman shouldn't be considered to have 'failed her way to the top'. It takes a pretty specific point of view to say of someone who leaves a company (for example) substantially better than they found it that they're just a failure.

Perhaps she would have been a failure if she kept going in a given job, but that's an entirely different discussion.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
fugu13, Your arguments seemed to be founded on the idea that if the market forces are working, that if CEOs weren't worth what they are paid, they wouldn't be being paid so much. But as best I can tell, the evidence doesn't support that position at all. Companies with "credentialed" CEOs don't outperform other companies. For example, corporations with Harvard MBAs as CEOs significantly underperformed companies whos CEOs held no advanced degrees.

From what I've seen, the escalation of CEO salaries is a result of companies competing to draw a "successful" executive from some other company rather than promoting from within. In my admittedly limited experience, that strategy leads to catastrophic failure far more often than soaring success, particularly for technology companies. The proliferation of MBA CEOs with no real appreciation for their companies core expertise is one of the major problems with the US economy.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Of course rewards scale with things other than risk. They also scale with required expertise and level of responsibility, for instance, two things that are very high for a CEO of a large company.
And yet punishments do not scale? Why not?
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Hit-piece commentary notwithstanding, it sounds to this layman like fugu has made some pretty compelling statements as to why Whitman shouldn't be considered to have 'failed her way to the top'. It takes a pretty specific point of view to say of someone who leaves a company (for example) substantially better than they found it that they're just a failure.

Perhaps she would have been a failure if she kept going in a given job, but that's an entirely different discussion.

I guess Whitman's big deal now is her politician-dom, but I always will know her as that clown that bought skype (but not any of the associated technologies that run skype). If I'm lucky, there's a surviving thread mucking about where me and some other guys were talking about it because it made practically no sense, what she was doing. Later on, when HP was the subject, we discussed that how between carly fiorina, mark hurd, leo apotheker, and meg whitman, it was like HP had a desire to die under a parading succession of terrible CEO's. About the best you could say for her is that she could at least be counted as an improvement by HP's standard, but that's .. not saying much.

As for how well she treated eBay, by the bottom-line measure of growing net income (conveniently during the part of the company's life where it went public) .. she did fine! And this probably misses all the reasons why ebay couldn't have been happier to get rid of her.

Anyway, it's just an aside, because, yeah.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
You've already agreed that the latter isn't true. Is there any reason to believe that the former is true? I would expect that the larger the corporation, the less difference the CEO actually makes, particularly in the short run. In larger companies, I would expect a much larger of fraction of the decisions are made at lower levels and that the CEO would be far more dependent on analysis and advice from staff.
Big company CEOs still make the big decisions that risk substantial parts of the company, such as moving completely out of hardware production into all services (what HP is doing right now). Making decisions that involve more money is a pretty obvious definition of more responsibility.

quote:
In a small business, the CEO usually owns a major portion of the business and makes most of critical decisions based on their personal expertise. So in a small business, the CEO is largely responsible for the company performance by either criteria. I don't think that either is particularly true for larger corporations.
Interestingly, substantial parts of the wealth of CEOs of large companies tend to be tied up in the stock of that company due to stock options and the like -- that was certainly the case for Meg Whitman, for instance. That doesn't mean they're risking destitution, but you can hardly say they have nothing on the line.

quote:
fugu13, Your arguments seemed to be founded on the idea that if the market forces are working, that if CEOs weren't worth what they are paid, they wouldn't be being paid so much. But as best I can tell, the evidence doesn't support that position at all. Companies with "credentialed" CEOs don't outperform other companies. For example, corporations with Harvard MBAs as CEOs significantly underperformed companies whos CEOs held no advanced degrees.
You should think through how selection bias applies to that question for a second. I know you know enough stats to understand the point. Studies routinely do find a small correlation for small differences in various measures of scale between the CEOs of publicly held companies. A small correlation that explains far more of a difference in company value than the entire salary of the CEOs (and this is among CEOs who are presumably all fairly good, so compared to a mediocre or bad CEO, the value explained is large).

quote:
And yet punishments do not scale? Why not?
Because there's no reason for them to be. They don't scale for anyone else, but you're saying they somehow suddenly need to scale at the very top. You're the one calling down hellfire, you justify it.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
As for how well she treated eBay, by the bottom-line measure of growing net income (conveniently during the part of the company's life where it went public) .. she did fine! And this probably misses all the reasons why ebay couldn't have been happier to get rid of her.
While I'm entirely content to agree she has some serious flaws, you have to be pretty darn skilled to take a small company through the dot com crash and into multi billion dollars territory from under five million dollars in revenue. Things like the acquisition of Paypal were very good ideas (and since Paypal is a large part of eBay's potential growth opportunities right now, looking even better in hindsight). I'm not so sure that just any medium competent CEO could have done the same thing she did -- after all, there were an awful lot of CEOs of companies of similar size who didn't even survive the crash, much less make their companies one of the largest few tech companies in existence.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by DarkKnight:
How would you make them suffer? If the large company fails, do we raid the CEO's home, seize all of their assets, and blacklist them from ever working again?

One proposal:
quote:
Buffett told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in May that top executives must be held responsible for the performance of companies that falter.

“You need a person at the top who has all the downside that somebody has that loses their job working at an auto factory,” he said in an interview released by the panel in February. If a company fails, management should “give back five times the highest compensation they received in the previous five years.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-11/buffett-retains-his-100-000-berkshire-salary-after-faulting-pay-excesses.html

And some elaboration
quote:
Too often, executive compensation in the U.S. is ridiculously out of line with performance. That
won’t change, moreover, because the deck is stacked against investors when it comes to the CEO’s pay.
The upshot is that a mediocre-or-worse CEO – aided by his handpicked VP of human relations and a
consultant from the ever-accommodating firm of Ratchet, Ratchet and Bingo – all too often receives gobs
of money from an ill-designed compensation arrangement.

...

Getting fired can produce a particularly bountiful payday for a CEO. Indeed, he can “earn” more
in that single day, while cleaning out his desk, than an American worker earns in a lifetime of cleaning
toilets. Forget the old maxim about nothing succeeding like success:
Today, in the executive suite, the all too-prevalent rule is that nothing succeeds like failure.

Huge severance payments, lavish perks and outsized payments for ho-hum performance often
occur because comp committees have become slaves to comparative data. The drill is simple: Three or so
directors – not chosen by chance – are bombarded for a few hours before a board meeting with pay
statistics that perpetually ratchet upwards. Additionally, the committee is told about new perks that other
managers are receiving. In this manner, outlandish “goodies” are showered upon CEOs simply because of
a corporate version of the argument we all used when children: “But, Mom, all the other kids have one.”
When comp committees follow this “logic,” yesterday’s most egregious excess becomes today’s baseline.
Comp committees should adopt the attitude of Hank Greenberg, the Detroit slugger and a boyhood
hero of mine. Hank’s son, Steve, at one time was a player’s agent. Representing an outfielder in
negotiations with a major league club, Steve sounded out his dad about the size of the signing bonus he
should ask for. Hank, a true pay-for-performance guy, got straight to the point, “What did he hit last year?”
When Steve answered “.246,” Hank’s comeback was immediate: “Ask for a uniform.”
(Let me pause for a brief confession: In criticizing comp committee behavior, I don’t speak as a
true insider. Though I have served as a director of twenty public companies, only one CEO has put me on
his comp committee. Hmmmm . . .)

http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2005ltr.pdf

It's worth noting I think, that excessive CEO compensation is damaging not only to the gini index, but also to shareholders (who can include anyone from Buffet to your average Joe holder of a mutual fund/pension plan).
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
I always will know her as that clown that bought skype (but not any of the associated technologies that run skype).
I first encountered her when she destroyed the careers of a few of my friends by betting heavily on Pokemon, back in the late '90s.

quote:
Because there's no reason for them to be. They don't scale for anyone else, but you're saying they somehow suddenly need to scale at the very top. You're the one calling down hellfire, you justify it.
What makes you think they don't scale for anyone else? As an assembly-line worker, if your mistake destroys an assembly line, you don't think that'll come up? I think they do scale, but not with size.

quote:
you have to be pretty darn skilled to take a small company through the dot com crash and into multi billion dollars territory from under five million dollars in revenue
You keep speaking as if Whitman were somehow instrumental in growing eBay. Do you believe it would not have happened had she not come in well after the company became successful?

[ October 24, 2011, 05:35 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
quote:
You only see a 1:1 correlation (linear means something else) in pay increases in the *very* largest companies.
Ha ha, oops. [Razz] Yes, I know what linear means.

quote:
In most companies (including those, once you take into account the original salaries) you see that a company that increases in size by 10% has about a 3% increase in CEO pay. That seems to be higher at the top end, but most of the models only fit linear relationships to the overall sample (easier to be confident of the math). In particular, there's a lot more competition in the US for CEOs at the top end: keep in mind that even the tiniest percent difference in company value caused by a CEO will almost certainly amount to tens of millions, and probably hundreds of millions to billions of dollars. Then look at the CEO salaries of the top 400 companies.
You're making it sound like the CEOs of large US companies do in fact make more than you would expect extrapolating from the pay of small-time CEOs. Is there some reason that's not the right way to read the fact that (it sounds like) the slope of a graph of CEO pay vs. size goes up considerably for the largest companies (which are, as you say, mostly American)? Just because there's so much money at stake with every percent increase? I guess I don't find that point so convincing.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
... From what I've seen, the escalation of CEO salaries is a result of companies competing to draw a "successful" executive from some other company rather than promoting from within.

On this note:
quote:
Schumpeter at The Economist pointed me to a paper by Richard Cazier and John McInnis on one of my favorite topics: CEO hiring. Cazier and McInnis first confirm, not surprisingly, that pay for new, externally-hired CEOs is positively related to the past performance of their previous firms. In particular, they measure EXCESS_COMP as the difference between actual first-year compensation and the compensation that you would predict just based on the characteristics of the hiring firm; EXCESS_COMP turns out to be positively associated with the CEOs’ prior firms’ stock returns. That makes sense, since you would think that people from successful companies would be able to command a higher price than people from less successful companies, and it isn’t obviously controversial, since you would think they would deserve it.

But what do the new firms get for this pay premium? It turns out that their future performance, measured in terms of return on assets and operating return on assets, is negatively associated with excess compensation based on prior performance.* In other words, people from successful companies don’t deserve the pay premium because the higher the premium they are able to command, the less well they are likely to do.
...
In the end, you get something vaguely like the Peter Principle: the more successful Company A is, the more market power its CEO has, and the more likely she is to be overpaid to be CEO of a company she is not qualified to lead.

http://baselinescenario.com/2011/10/16/the-more-you-pay-the-less-you-get/
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
What makes you think they don't scale for anyone else? As an assembly-line worker, if your mistake destroys an assembly line, you don't think that'll come up? I think they do scale, but not with size.
They don't scale for anyone else's degree of compensation (though the causation does go in the other direction: people engaged in riskier jobs do receive higher compensation). Of course consequences scale with the degree of the mixup.

quote:
You're making it sound like the CEOs of large US companies do in fact make more than you would expect extrapolating from the pay of small-time CEOs. Is there some reason that's not the right way to read the fact that (it sounds like) the slope of a graph of CEO pay vs. size goes up considerably for the largest companies (which are, as you say, mostly American)? Just because there's so much money at stake with every percent increase? I guess I don't find that point so convincing.
I'm not trying to say US CEO compensation is perfect. I'm just saying those really big outsized sounding numbers are almost entirely possible to explain by company size and profits scaling up. They mean you can't say US CEOs are obscenely compensated compared to European ones, because adjusting for the size of the company, they aren't. Ditto, the ratios between lowlevel worker pay and CEO pay aren't outrageous compared to European ones, because European companies tend to be smaller and less profitable. The largest companies in the US very possibly do pay somewhat outsized amounts, but I'm hardly going to get super upset about it; we're talking between all of them maybe one or two hundred million dollars, which just isn't that big a problem considering the scale of the problems in our economy.


quote:
You keep speaking as if Whitman were somehow instrumental in growing eBay. Do you believe it would not have happened had she not come in well after the company became successful?
Do I think she had something to do with the company she was in charge of growing around two thousand times larger? Yeah, I do. And she was widely regarded as instrumental in it by those in and outside of eBay during most of that period.

Mucus: Buffett's proposal is a very bad idea, but that isn't surprising, he's made it clear that he's mostly throwing out his recent sound bites for political reasons. There's a pretty simple reason it's a bad idea, though: when a company starts doing badly, it frequently gets rid of the parts of the management team perceived as problems, then hires new management to attempt to turn the company back around. If Buffett's plan were enacted, nobody would ever want to come into a company in trouble in an effort to turn it around. And anyone who felt a company might fail within the next few years would abandon ship like crazy (pretty much ensuring it would fail).

Regarding the study, yep, boards probably are generally paying too much attention to past CEO performance. Of course, that entirely undermines the argument that boards *aren't* using CEO performance to set pay (not that there weren't lots of studies already showing that). Note that the study didn't find (as far as I can tell from the abstract, but they'd have mentioned this) that CEOs with better previous performances didn't create better performance at the new firm, just that the size of the increase in salary based on prior performance was negatively correlated with the change in performance at the new firm, which isn't the same thing.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Since we're on the subject of HP CEOs, Fiorina's a good example of someone who has been subject to consequences. She went from millions of dollars a year in salary and benefits to maybe a couple of hundred grand (total) from being on a few boards of directors of smaller companies she has some connections that might help for, and she'll probably never be an executive officer again. Heck, she's probably earning more in interest on her investments than she is in salary.

Not destitution by any means, but not zero consequences, to lose around 90% of her compensation (probably permanently) and her career path. Even with her golden parachute, she lost a huge amount of future earnings (75% or above, I guesstimate) when she made those missteps she made with HP. I don't think you'll find many jobs where people can lose that percentage of their future earnings even when they make a pretty big misstep at work.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
I'm not so sure that just any medium competent CEO could have done the same thing she did -- after all, there were an awful lot of CEOs of companies of similar size who didn't even survive the crash, much less make their companies one of the largest few tech companies in existence.
It can be very difficult at times to tell the difference between skill and luck.

Unlike nearly all the companies that went under in the dot com bubble, e-bay was actually profitable before it hired Whitman and went public. Most of the companies that didn't survive, didn't survive because their business model was fundamentally flawed and not because they were poorly managed.

E-bay's original business model was sound. It filled an unfilled niche'. Its operating costs were very low enabling it to maintain a huge profit margin while charging fees most sellers found reasonable. With that base, reasonable competence was all that was really needed to build a successful company.

Nothing Whitman did was particularly visionary. You tout the purchase of Paypal, but when it happened most e-bay sales were already going through Paypal and e-bay's own payment service was laying an egg. It was a very obvious move. This was a classic of Harvard MBA management. Why develop expertise yourself, when you can just buy a smaller company that's got it.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
E-bay's original business model was sound. It filled an unfilled niche'. Its operating costs were very low enabling it to maintain a huge profit margin while charging fees most sellers found reasonable. With that base, reasonable competence was all that was really needed to build a successful company.
I've only argued she is, as CEOs go, somewhat above medium competence. You'll hardly see me singing her praises as one of the best examples of CEOs out there. Of course, she was repeatedly awarded for being a good CEO during most of her tenure, so apparently a number of people thought she was. I also never said she was particularly visionary, but it takes more than just a sound business model to grow to a multi billion dollar company.

quote:
This was a classic of Harvard MBA management. Why develop expertise yourself, when you can just buy a smaller company that's got it.
Buying companies with existing expertise is classic management, period. And since ebay did try to develop a paypal competitor (unsuccessfully) before giving in and buying paypal, the aside isn't even right.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
quote:
The largest companies in the US very possibly do pay somewhat outsized amounts, but I'm hardly going to get super upset about it; we're talking between all of them maybe one or two hundred million dollars, which just isn't that big a problem considering the scale of the problems in our economy.
I definitely agree with you there.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
Of course, she was repeatedly awarded for being a good CEO during most of her tenure, so apparently a number of people thought she was.

Most horrid CEO's can point to repeat awards for performance. Jill Barad had a wall of 'em.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
The largest companies in the US very possibly do pay somewhat outsized amounts, but I'm hardly going to get super upset about it...
I wouldn't be upset about it if I didn't believe that it contributes to a culture of entitlement among executives.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
Mucus: Buffett's proposal is a very bad idea, but that isn't surprising, he's made it clear that he's mostly throwing out his recent sound bites for political reasons.

It's worth pointing out that while the Bloomberg interview is from March of this year, the reasoning is from 2005 and is inside a letter to shareholders. That of course doesn't rule out that he made the comment based on political reasoning, but I don't think its clear since much of the reasoning is from the standpoint of high CEO pay being a bad investment.

quote:
If Buffett's plan were enacted, nobody would ever want to come into a company in trouble in an effort to turn it around.
"Nobody"? Not even an unemployed auto-worker or a recent college graduate? "Nobody" is obviously an exaggeration or at least I hope it is since it should be clear that many people would take such an offer, just not necessarily the current people that want to be a CEO, but I think that's by Buffett's design.

It's way better than a lottery ticket, I think. You run the risk of having to pay back the base salary (or simply going bankrupt), but for five years you get to enjoy the perks of being a CEO. That could be a good deal for *someone* on the healthcare benefits alone. That's the downside, but the upside, if you manage to turn the company around could be stock options paying off to the tune of billions of dollars.

Or in his words
quote:
I think there should be significant downside to them. I’ve suggested to them that maybe they give back five times the highest compensation they received in the previous five years or something. It has to be meaningful but it can’t be so Draconian that you don’t get Directors. You’ll get CEOs, you don’t have to worry about that, if you’ve got a lot of upside for CEOs you can give them the downside of, you know, sack cloth and ashes and you’ll still get CEOs that--

 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
It's way better than a lottery ticket, I think. You run the risk of having to pay back the base salary (or simply going bankrupt), but for five years you get to enjoy the perks of being a CEO. That could be a good deal for *someone* on the healthcare benefits alone. That's the downside, but the upside, if you manage to turn the company around could be stock options paying off to the tune of billions of dollars.
How many failing companies do you think, if they manage not to fail, could afford to hand out stock options to the tune of billions of dollars? Much less with another of Buffett's proposed rules in place: expensing stock options.

I also don't think you have a remote idea the complexity involved in running a large company, that you're proposing random people come in to run one. I barely have an idea, but the complexity of operations at such large companies is astounding in every way I have approached it.

I think Buffett's design was to be bombastic, to put downward pressure on the pay expectations of companies he acquires significant interests in, and quite possibly to make political points. It's clear in your quotation he wasn't doing anything other than tossing off a bit in a way that would get him in the news. There was no serious analysis behind his "proposal".
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
I also don't think you have a remote idea the complexity involved in running a large company, that you're proposing random people come in to run one.
We let random people be president. I don't see too much of a distinction. But, then, you know how I feel about the uselessness of executives in general.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
We let random people be president.
No, we don't. It's pretty hard to take your thoughts on the matter seriously when you say such silly things about the subject. As for the uselessness of CEOs...well, it doesn't seem like your opinions on the matter are based much on evidence, much less experience in business.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
No, we really do.
Look at the current candidates for president. Heck, look at last election's. Which of those do you think would be qualified to run Hewlett Packard?

quote:
As for the uselessness of CEOs...well, it doesn't seem like your opinions on the matter are based much on evidence, much less experience in business.
What evidence can you possibly present for the utility of a chief executive that controls for the role of a senior staff?
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
No, we really do.
Look at the current candidates for president. Heck, look at last year's. Which of those do you think would be qualified to run Hewlett Packard?

'Bad selection process' isn't the same as random. Regarding the presidency, the biggest factor in attaining the office is, drumroll please, 'political skill'. Now our execution of determining that is obviously far from without flaws, but it's peculiar to suggest that the top politician of our government shouldn't have 'political skill' pretty far up on the list of determining factors.

quote:
What evidence can you possibly present for the utility of a chief executive that controls for the role of a senior staff?
This is merely RRR's 'argument' repackaged. "The staff/advisors do the work." It's just...baffling, the idea that a senior staff of some sort wouldn't be necessary for a vastly complex organization such as a nation or corporation. Just to see where we're standing, Tom-have you ever been a politician or executive, or occupied a position which required a large staff? (The answer to the first question I know, and I suspect my second answer is correct.)

If the answer to both questions is 'no', on what basis do you suggest a chief executive is useless?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Because I have worked for chief executives, and watched them be useless. In fact, never once in my life have I ever worked for a competent executive. That is not to say that my anecdotal experience should be anyone's gospel -- but, rather, that I have never seen an executive make a decision that almost anyone else in the room could not have been equally comfortable making, and/or had not already made. To be frank, I've watched a bunch of glad-handing, golf-playing ninnies lunch their way through company after company while other people clean up their messes and dress up their decisions for them in shiny folders. The idea that these people actually bear any kind of responsibility that justifies their salaries is, in my own experience, laughable. But I'm not attempting to draw some kind of universal conclusion from that, of course.

At the end of the day, they seem to exist because it's harder to take an entire group of appropriately-dressed people out to lunch. [Smile]

Note: I'm not saying these executives are stupid. Far from it. In many cases they're very smart, savvy, and insightful people. But they are not responsible. They do not own their own decisions; they make decisions on behalf of the people who bear the fruits of those decisions, and often in lieu or at the expense of those people. And there is no reason for those people to believe that the CEO makes those decisions for anyone's betterment but the senior staff.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
I also don't think you have a remote idea the complexity involved in running a large company, that you're proposing random people come in to run one.

I'm not proposing "random" people, I've done a search and I don't see where that word came in. I don't think Buffett is either. He's just saying he'd be satisfied with the CEO candidates that would accept draconian conditions in the case of failure, a group that clearly doesn't contain "nobody."

quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
It's clear in your quotation he wasn't doing anything other than tossing off a bit in a way that would get him in the news. There was no serious analysis behind his "proposal".

I don't think that's clear at all.
As a historically outspoken critic of CEO pay, plus as the person that determines the (relatively modest) pay of his 40 or so CEOs, I think it's clear that he's done plenty of analysis over the years. The performance of his underlings matters a great deal to his shareholders (which would include himself).
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Do you remember what your thoughts were on chief executives before you'd worked for any? How many have you worked for, and in how varied a setting of business, geography, etc., and what was your role?

If the answers are what I think they are, you'd straight-up laugh off someone using the kind of experience you're talking about to castigate some other profession, such as teachers, doctors, lawyers, police officers, advertisers, and so on and so forth. But somehow, for chief executives for whom your vision is so narrow (and I don't mean your conclusions), it's OK.

I frankly disbelieve you're not drawing a universal conclusion from your experience. Geeze, Tom, several of the things you've said in this thread-in this post, even-contradict that.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
you'd straight-up laugh off someone using the kind of experience you're talking about to castigate some other profession
Where have I said that I believe my anecdotal experience should be considered representative?
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
We let random people be president.
No, we don't. It's pretty hard to take your thoughts on the matter seriously when you say such silly things about the subject. As for the uselessness of CEOs...well, it doesn't seem like your opinions on the matter are based much on evidence, much less experience in business.
The irony of his statement is that not only is the presidency rarely random, it's so highly, tightly controlled that we have little say in it at all, but it's anything but random.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
I'm not proposing "random" people, I've done a search and I don't see where that word came in. I don't think Buffett is either. He's just saying he'd be satisfied with the CEO candidates that would accept draconian conditions in the case of failure, a group that clearly doesn't contain "nobody."
Random in the sense of possessing no particular qualifications; in the sense you brought up with "an unemployed auto-worker or a recent college graduate".

quote:
As a historically outspoken critic of CEO pay, plus as the person that determines the (relatively modest) pay of his 40 or so CEOs, I think it's clear that he's done plenty of analysis over the years. The performance of his underlings matters a great deal to his shareholders (which would include himself).
There's no doubt Buffett walks the walk on basic pay levels, but I don't recall any evidence of him having written a "pay off the last five years' salary if your company fails" clause in any CEO contracts.

Rakeesh: I think Tom's made pretty clear that he's trolling yet again. Little point in attempting to actually nail down a position.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Where have I said that I believe my anecdotal experience should be considered representative?
"...on what basis do you suggest a chief executive is useless?

Because I have worked for chief executives, and watched them be useless."

That took about five seconds, including pasting and quoting. And before you object, you're sending mixed messages here. On the one hand, you say you feel executives are useless because you've only ever worked with useless executives-their staffs did all of the actual work. Then you go on to say, in so many words, "Well, I'm not saying my anecdotal evidence should count." But it's the only thing you actually bring to the table.

I don't know if you're trolling (I wouldn't be surprised), but your responses sound like someone responding dishonestly, or like someone who validated their own prejudices. I notice you didn't answer my question about what you thought about executives before working with them, and I also don't think you're stupid enough to really believe our presidents are chosen at random.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Btw, Mucus, I should point out that the random person thing is an aside. You still haven't dealt with the meat of the criticism, which is that the idea wouldn't penalize people who actually caused the fall of a company, most of the time, but instead people guilty of nothing more than being unable to right an overturning ship (a monumental task). Further, if it isn't punishing those responsible, in what way does it give them an incentive not to be irresponsible?
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
If I understand him correctly, the idea was that not only the CEO would be penalized but everyone who else was responsible. The CEO (and directors) were only highlighted because of their extraordinary pay, but by no means was the idea that the penalties would stop there.

e.g.
quote:
I think it’s enormously important when you get very big financial institutions and maybe in other cases too, well, we’re in a building run by the Keywood Company. It’s the most successful construction company in the world and it has been for decades. Nobody’s ever heard of it but it’s huge and it’s got a set of management principles and basically it started with Pete Keywood saying that arranging a compensation system so that (when) the company got in trouble not only he went broke but all the people that got him in trouble went broke.
(My emphasis.)
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
In that case it really isn't a real proposal. After all, what mechanism would (or could!) be used to determine who, specifically, was responsible for the failure of the company?
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Also it seems like that is still just dodging fugu's main point, which is that by the time a company goes completely belly up there is an excellent chance that those originally responsible will be long gone, so the punishment will fall on the heads of people trying to, as he said, right an overturning ship. Whether this is the CEO's head, the Board's heads, or any other groups, it doesn't really solve this fundamental problem.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Also it seems like that is still just dodging fugu's main point, which is that by the time a company goes completely belly up there is an excellent chance that those originally responsible will be long gone, so the punishment will fall on the heads of people trying to, as he said, right an overturning ship. Whether this is the CEO's head, the Board's heads, or any other groups, it doesn't really solve this fundamental problem.

You are ignoring Tom's mainpoint. If its impossible to assign responsibility when a company fails, why isn't the converse also true. Why is it reasonable to say that the CEO is responsible when a company succeeds? And if the CEO isn't actually responsible either way, then how can you claim they deserve a huge salary because they have an enormous responsibility?

As for a serious proposal for holding CEOs responsible, I'd suggest that the majority of their compensation should be in terms of stock that they cannot sell until 5 years after they have left the company.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
I notice you didn't answer my question about what you thought about executives before working with them...
I started working for executives when I was twelve. I don't think I did think anything about them before that, except maybe, "Oh! Those are people who own suits!"

(As a side note, Rabbit has the right of it. I am attempting to demonstrate that, because it's impossible to pin the failure of a company on a CEO, it's ludicrous to base CEO salaries on the concept that a CEO might be responsible for the success of a company. Ergo, I am not at all invested in proving that CEOs are bad people who need to be punished; rather, I'm interested in proving that their "responsibility" is a fiction, since they bear no real responsibility at all. Being the person who signs off on a decision is not the same thing as being responsible for it. There is no responsibility where there is no accountability.)

[ October 25, 2011, 10:37 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
Rakeesh: I think Tom's made pretty clear that he's trolling yet again. Little point in attempting to actually nail down a position.

Is he really?
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I don't think that is clear at all.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
... what mechanism would (or could!) be used to determine who, specifically, was responsible for the failure of the company?

It's not clear, but in this case, it sounds like Pete Keywood designed the compensation scheme penalty to be non-specific.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Also it seems like that is still just dodging fugu's main point, which is that by the time a company goes completely belly up there is an excellent chance that those originally responsible will be long gone, so the punishment will fall on the heads of people trying to, as he said, right an overturning ship. Whether this is the CEO's head, the Board's heads, or any other groups, it doesn't really solve this fundamental problem.

You are ignoring Tom's mainpoint. If its impossible to assign responsibility when a company fails, why isn't the converse also true. Why is it reasonable to say that the CEO is responsible when a company succeeds? And if the CEO isn't actually responsible either way, then how can you claim they deserve a huge salary because they have an enormous responsibility?

As for a serious proposal for holding CEOs responsible, I'd suggest that the majority of their compensation should be in terms of stock that they cannot sell until 5 years after they have left the company.

Yeah I wasn't talking to Tom at all, actually, (I will now, though: Hi Tom! [Smile] ) I was talking to Mucus re: his conversation about Buffet's proposal to make execs pay back money if their company goes under. So... there's that.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
You are ignoring Tom's mainpoint. If its impossible to assign responsibility when a company fails, why isn't the converse also true. Why is it reasonable to say that the CEO is responsible when a company succeeds? And if the CEO isn't actually responsible either way, then how can you claim they deserve a huge salary because they have an enormous responsibility?
quote:
(As a side note, Rabbit has the right of it. I am attempting to demonstrate that, because it's impossible to pin the failure of a company on a CEO, it's ludicrous to base CEO salaries on the concept that a CEO might be responsible for the success of a company. Ergo, I am not at all invested in proving that CEOs are bad people who need to be punished; rather, I'm interested in proving that their "responsibility" is a fiction, since they bear no real responsibility at all. Being the person who signs off on a decision is not the same thing as being responsible for it. There is no responsibility where there is no accountability.)
Then you should be just fine with the situation as it is, where people who are looking at the company directly set pay, instead of some weird outside force that attempts to do so equitably. Of course assigning direct responsibility for particular things is hard! But businesses somehow manage to evaluate employees at all sorts of rungs of the ladder. People get promoted, people get bonuses, people get praise, because we *can* trace a lot of things to people, even at middle management and above, when familiar with the details of an organization. Do evaluators do a perfect job? No, not at all, but that's hardly reason for action. Is the person supervising a few dozen grant reviewers not responsible for the performance of those grant reviewers, because it isn't possible to trace any the output of positive grant reviews directly to them? No, because the performance of the group of grant reviewers as a whole is still their responsibility, and even if it isn't entirely possible to say when they do a bad job and when they do a good job, it would be a much worse world if we didn't *try*.

That's the fundamental problem with this line of thinking. With this line of thinking, hardly any worker in any field where output is not completely and directly measurable would be deserving of anything, because, absent things like just not doing work, it would be possible to trace responsibility for output to that worker for certain.

And that's counterproductive nonsense.

quote:
Is he really?
Yeah, he's ignoring every question that would let someone pin down an actual position. That's classic trolling. Of course, I think Tom trolls more on autopilot than out of conscious decision. He lays down a ridiculous position, defends it over and over and says his position is obviously right, and if ever pinned down, says "that wasn't really my position, you should have known I was just exaggerating for effect!" despite the entire previous conversation.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
The cue for me was simpler. Or at least, the 'obviously trolling' cue was-the whole 'random dudes as President'.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I don't think that exaggeration or writing in general terms is the same as trolling. Tom's point is not that tough to figure out. If we are making the claim that the obscene rewards given to these CEO's (or bankers, or brokers or whatever) are justified because the responsibility is so enormous, then the consequences of failing in that responsibility should also be extreme. And it isn't.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
I don't think that exaggeration or writing in general terms is the same as trolling. Tom's point is not that tough to figure out. If we are making the claim that the obscene rewards given to these CEO's (or bankers, or brokers or whatever) are justified because the responsibility is so enormous, then the consequences of failing in that responsibility should also be extreme. And it isn't.
First, they are extreme. As demonstrated by example, a CEO who fails majorly can be unable to continue in that career path and give up ~75% or more of their future income.

Second, he was saying a heck of a lot more than extreme, he was saying they should be left *destitute*, specifically and repeatedly. And that's ridiculous, failing both on moral and practical grounds.

Please pay greater attention to the conversation.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
It helps your argument to start from the point with the qualifier 'obscene'.
 
Posted by scholarette (Member # 11540) on :
 
I think in considering money and motivation, especially at this level, we need to keep in mind that depending on how much you have. If you ask most people to do some job for 20,000 and they say no, then you ask them to do it for 200,000, there is a good chance they will change their answer. However, offer 20 million, if someone says no, odds are even for 200 million the answer will still be no. Increase by the same order of magnitude, but different results. Or for the value of some set amount, offer someone $1 a million and they will be willing to do vastly different things for that million than someone who has $1 million.

Would a CEO be willing to do a good job for a huge amount less? Probably- with several caveats. If you offer someone a job for $50 and someone else is offering $51, suddenly that $1 means so much more. So, the industry standard matters.

I would like to see CEO pay be based on median employee at that company pay. In that case, the CEO would have motivation to increase pay to the workers so his/her pay will also increase.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Can you understand that, when losing 75% of their income still leaves one a billionaire, it is a different category of consequence than a person who, making a smaller mistake, ends up losing their (only) house?

Where you get hung up on broad words like "destitute" or "obscene", I feel that you are nit-picking away at what are larger truths. Different styles of communication, but neither is insincere or trolling.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
I would like to see CEO pay be based on median employee at that company pay. In that case, the CEO would have motivation to increase pay to the workers so his/her pay will also increase.
While companies are of course free to use whatever standard they want, this doesn't make sense from a perspective of scale.

Imagine a manufacturing company with 100 employees, 80 of whom are various low level workers, 15 of whom are higher paid mid-level managers and professionals (heads of departments, accountants, and so forth), and 5 of whom are upper management, including the CEO. The median pay is the pay of one of the 80 low level workers, whose pay is determined by market wages for that sort of position, which is heavily determined by how productive the workers are at manufacturing things.

Now imagine the company grows ten times the size (perhaps a series of mergers or something). There are perhaps 800 low level workers, 150 middle management, and 50 upper management, culminating in the CEO. The median pay is still the pay of the low level worker, but the CEO, even with the support of more upper management, is still making decisions that reflect more responsibility (and there'd actually be fewer upper management than 50; it scales sub-linearly with company size). Deciding to move the company's main focus to a new product area, for instance, moves around roughly ten times as much capital as it did at the smaller company. If CEO pay is tied purely to median worker wage, it will be impossible for the CEO to be paid more, and that doesn't really make sense. It doesn't make sense for them to be paid ten times as much, either, but total compensation doubling or tripling would make a lot of sense.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Well, sure-'rhetotical exaggeration' when it agrees or close to agrees with your fundmantal PoV. Something quite different if it's otherwise.

It's going to be harder for a vastly wealthy person to do something that renders them destitute. That's one of the intrinsic advantages to wealth-you're further from poverty. That a screwup when you're wealthy is less likely to render one destitute or even moderately well-off is hardly obscene, it's one of the points of attaining wealth. It could be argued it's the point-not being or likely to be poor.

quote:
...I feel that you are nit-picking away at what are larger truths. Different styles of communication, but neither is insincere or trolling.
So, what, because you feel the 'larger truth' you're talking about is accurate, it's unreasonable to point out details are problematic?
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
Can you understand that, when losing 75% of their income still leaves one a billionaire, it is a different category of consequence than a person who, making a smaller mistake, ends up losing their (only) house?
You have strange notions about how much CEOs make. Only the very highest paid CEOs make more than $20 million, and there are CEOs at many high value companies that make under $5 million. So even most of the highest paid CEOs would need to save 100% of their compensation for 50 years to have a single billion dollars. A large company CEO paid a more typical compensation of $5 to $10 million (these aren't tiny companies -- Sprint, UPS, Tyson Foods, General Mills, PG&E, et cetera) would have to save their salary for 100 to 200 years to reach a single billion dollars.

In the particular example, the CEO was being paid less than $5 million a year, and her lifetime future earnings will probably be on the order of $200k to $500k a year (she's earning about at the low end of that right now, as her only income is from being on the boards of some medium companies). Well off, yes. Hardly what you're talking about, though, and definitely a drastic change in income.

It might help if you were more aware of reality when making your assessments.

(edit: changed some places that said salary to compensation; also, note that I ignore the effect of interest on saving entire compensation -- it doesn't really change the point that CEOs with very few exceptions are far from billionaires)

[ October 25, 2011, 04:31 PM: Message edited by: fugu13 ]
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
Where you get hung up on broad words like "destitute" or "obscene", I feel that you are nit-picking away at what are larger truths. Different styles of communication, but neither is insincere or trolling.
If the larger truths lead to outright stupid conclusions, perhaps the nit-picky details are useful.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Oh, and the numbers above are total compensation, not salary. Substantial portions of them are in stock and stock options, which are both much less liquid than salary (especially given the restrictions on how executive officers are allowed to deal in their own stock) and tie the long term benefits of the CEOs to their companies exactly as people like to call for more of.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Any way you can have this conversation without being insulting? I assume that you mean well, but it is getting more and more difficult to read your posts as anything other than nasty.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Any way you can have this conversation without being insulting? I assume that you mean well, but it is getting more and more difficult to read your posts as anything other than nasty.
kmbboots, you (and Tom) have more than once said flat-out wrong things in this discussion, recently, and when called on it your response has been 'you're ignoring the larger point and nit-picking'. Tom has failed to respond to much of anything directly, except to describe his anecdotal evidence as the reason for his perception of CEOs while also saying his anecdotal evidence shouldn't be taken on its own.

Can you see why that would be frustrating? If someone is going to say something that's just plain wrong, they shouldn't be frustrated when it's pointed out. It's a discussion board.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
I am getting a bit testy. It is in part because the arguments being made are so often based on factually inaccurate assumptions, when the facts are readily available. For instance, with this, it isn't like CEO pay isn't plastered all over the news and such.

Part of being respectful in a conversation is arguing based on facts or reasonable assumptions instead of things that have been made up out of whole cloth. But I will try to moderate my tone more.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
It is possible that you and I cannot constructively discuss such things. Which is not the end of the world.

I live in a situation where I am confronted daily with both - yes, obscenely - wealthy people who are wealthy through no commensurate achievement or merit and people who, through no great fault of their own are, at best, struggling against overwhelming burdens. It is true; I see it. Families with no safe place to live. People who work hard and still have to go without medical treatment.

And, honestly, merit of fault is a distraction any way.

I don't think that you are arguing that there is nothing wrong with this situation or that this situation doesn't exist but you do give the impression that you are adding your voice to that side of the argument. Please imagine that I find that just as frustrating.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
quote:
Can you understand that, when losing 75% of their income still leaves one a billionaire, it is a different category of consequence than a person who, making a smaller mistake, ends up losing their (only) house?
You have strange notions about how much CEOs make. Only the very highest paid CEOs make more than $20 million, and there are CEOs at many high value companies that make under $5 million. ...
I think that the two of you are making different true points here. "Billionaire" is a measure of wealth. "Make" usually refers to income.

An example is Richard Fuld (Lehman Brothers) who accumulated a net worth of roughly a billion dollars and could lose 75% of his income or even all of it and still be very comfortable.

That is a point not invalidated by the fact that he "made" "only" half a billion or so over an 11 year period at Lehman Brothers.

As for how rare this is, it looks like of Forbes' 413 American billionaires, eye-balling it, the vast majority were CEOs at some point or another. Describing whether this is "sufficiently" rare for this conversation to focus on them is of course, a matter of perspective.

(Although a part of me does idly wonder how many people in China were the equivalent of billionaires before the revolution came.

What IS the tipping point is an interesting question.)
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
I live in a situation where I am confronted daily with both - yes, obscenely - wealthy people who are wealthy through no commensurate achievement or merit and people who, through no great fault of their own are, at best, struggling against overwhelming burdens. It is true; I see it. Families with no safe place to live. People who work hard and still have to go without medical treatment.

What on Earth does this have to do with the discussion currently going on? The discussion isn't 'is desperate poverty bad', but rather 'do top executives in fact do little or nothing to earn their compensation'?

I can certainly understand why you'd find fugu's approach just as frustrating, if you're starting off from such a different place-one that fugu isn't talking about. I don't think it's intentionally dishonest, but it's certainly not the same discussion, either-he's not talking about what you think he's talking about, even if ideologically his points do less harm to your opponent than you'd like.

You wouldn't put up with this kind of thing if the topic was, say, abortion and someone suggested that you were 'adding your voice' to complete apathy for the unborn. Why doesn't fugu deserve the same kind of consideration?
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
Seeing large, nebulous social issues is not a reason to side with whichever side of a specific argument tends to use the right rhetoric. I hope that isn't what you're arguing, because it sure sounds like it.

As I've stated numerous times here in thread, I'll state my specific argument here again: CEO pay in the US, given the size and profitability of the companies involved, is probably somewhat higher, but not excessively higher, than it should be. That this is true by the yardsticks the US is commonly asserted to have a problem vs (such as CEO pay in Europe) is readily confirmed by data. The problem is small compared to other, much larger problems (such as the general plight of poor people and the decline of the middle class), and is almost certainly corrected by measures worth supporting anyways, namely raising taxes.

As I've stated in *other* threads repeatedly, I am for a good-sized increase in taxes that extends down to around $100k to $150k in household income, simplifying the tax code drastically, cutting federal expenditures (grant programs and homeland security especially) by a lot, restructuring FICA taxation so that it isn't regressive and is sustainable, creating a negative income tax on the lowest bracket so there's a guaranteed minimum income, and instituting national single payer health insurance.

I am for all these things because I have researched the problems that pertain as well as I know how, trying to use data as much as possible to help me understand what actually helps and how much. I am not for these things because other people I share some opinions with are for these things. I am not for these things because they use sound bites that agree with my general sympathies. I am not for these things because they hurt people I like or help people I don't like. I am not for these things because they attempt to get rid of things I perceive as social wrongs unless I have reason to believe there wouldn't be worse social wrongs created in the attempt.
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
I think that the two of you are making different true points here. "Billionaire" is a measure of wealth. "Make" usually refers to income.

An example is Richard Fuld (Lehman Brothers) who accumulated a net worth of roughly a billion dollars and could lose 75% of his income or even all of it and still be very comfortable.

That is a point not invalidated by the fact that he "made" "only" half a billion or so over an 11 year period at Lehman Brothers.

As for how rare this is, it looks like of Forbes' 413 American billionaires, eye-balling it, the vast majority were CEOs at some point or another. Describing whether this is "sufficiently" rare for this conversation to focus on them is of course, a matter of perspective.

(Although a part of me does idly wonder how many people in China were the equivalent of billionaires before the revolution came.

What IS the tipping point is an interesting question.)

Very few top CEOs are billionaires, even among the very highest paying companies in the US (much less once you look at the top few hundred). Feel free to check it. I was underscoring why so few were billionaires, and the simple reason is because CEOs don't make enough to become billionaires, generally speaking.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
In the particular example, the CEO was being paid less than $5 million a year, and her lifetime future earnings will probably be on the order of $200k to $500k a year (she's earning about at the low end of that right now, as her only income is from being on the boards of some medium companies.
Which particular example was this? The only person I've seen singled out as an example was Meg Whitman and she is in fact a billionaire. And while her current "salary" from HP is only $1, her total compensation will most likely be much greater than $200k to 500k per year.

Her predecessor, Leo Apotheker, was hired at HP shortly after being fired as CEO of a German software company. He lasted less than a year at HP but between his signing bonus and his severance pay received over $20 million for a few months of work.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Rakeesh, we very likely are having different conversations. I am not so sure why you would consider one more valid than the other.

If someone suggested that my arguments regarding abortion are adding my voice to the argument to leave abortion legal, I would agree. I don't think that "apathy for the unborn" is a policy. You could say truthfully that my arguments put me on the same side of the policy debate with those that have apathy for the unborn.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Rakeesh, we very likely are having different conversations. I am not so sure why you would consider one more valid than the other.

Because you're addressing fugu as though he's having the one conversation, when he's specifically stated which conversation he's having, and then criticizing him for 'nitpicking'. It's not about which conversation is more valid-that's still another conversation.

quote:
You could say truthfully that my arguments put me on the same side of the policy debate with those that have apathy for the unborn.
Yeah, and if I said 'you're supporting baby killers', you might get a bit testy.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I think that the language was inflammatory but, if by "baby killer" you meant those who support abortion rights for whatever reason, you would be correct. My problem wouldn't be with your understanding of what side of the issue I am supporting.

Again, I don't see why fugu or you get to determine the rules of the conversation.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:

As I've stated in *other* threads repeatedly, I am for a good-sized increase in taxes that extends down to around $100k to $150k in household income, simplifying the tax code drastically, cutting federal expenditures (grant programs and homeland security especially) by a lot, restructuring FICA taxation so that it isn't regressive and is sustainable, creating a negative income tax on the lowest bracket so there's a guaranteed minimum income, and instituting national single payer health insurance.

Which I why I am giving you the benefit of the doubt.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
And your bringing scenes of desperate, grinding poverty into an unrelated discussion wasn't inflammatory? You specifically stated that it 'felt like' fugu was opposed to your point, which was that it's important to eradicate poverty as you described. That's not inflammatory?

C'mon'.

As for deciding the rules, I'm not trying to set rules and I don't think he is either. I do think he-and everyone else here-is allowed to say, "This is what I'm talking about, not what you're saying I'm talking about or what you 'feel' like I'm talking about." Especially if that person goes into great detail about what they think, and why.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Of course, they are. What I found objectionable were the accusations of trolling and the insults.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Bringing the things you brought into the discussion, and criticizing fugu for 'seeming to speak' against it, is something of an insult.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
How, exactly?
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Can you see why that would be frustrating? If someone is going to say something that's just plain wrong, they shouldn't be frustrated when it's pointed out. It's a discussion board.

I can tell you what the wrong response is, flat-out: to write it off as trolling and to psychoanalyze him as insincere.

Gee, and this thread was doing so well before!
 
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
 
quote:
I can tell you what the wrong response is, flat-out: to write it off as trolling and to psychoanalyze him as insincere.
I tried to have a discussion with him and wrote pages and pages of answers to his points, including specific questions to attempt to narrow down his position. He didn't bother conversing honestly and settled into his typical trolling routine when it comes to taking outrageous positions on controversial topics. It isn't like this is unusual for him, and it isn't like I didn't try to talk reasonably about it. I've been responding thoroughly and forthrightly through the entire history of my participation in this thread, so I don't appreciate being told I'm the one having the wrong response.
 
Posted by Juxtapose (Member # 8837) on :
 
quote:
As I've stated numerous times here in thread, I'll state my specific argument here again: CEO pay in the US, given the size and profitability of the companies involved, is probably somewhat higher, but not excessively higher, than it should be
This is about how I see things, but it makes me wonder if the focus on CEO compensation (which I'm emotionally sympathetic to) doesn't sort of miss the point.

If increasingly large corporations require CEOs with increasingly large compensation packages, is it worth it to re-examine how we regulate mergers? And do some corporations merit being broken up? I'm thinking specifically of financial corporations here, and reducing CEO compensation wouldn't even be the primary benefit.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
Second, he was saying a heck of a lot more than extreme, he was saying they should be left *destitute*, specifically and repeatedly.
I need to clarify, in case you haven't understood this point, that I was not advocating that they be left destitute. I was pointing out that because we would not leave them destitute (or force them to otherwise suffer 1000 times the actual responsibility of a line worker), the idea that we should give them 1000 times the reward based on that assumption that they bear a similarly large responsibility is one that, to my mind, does not pass muster.

The truth is that we pay them 1000 times more because their friends, who set their pay, would like to see them paid 1000 times more, and have been conditioned to believe that this is not only normal but somehow demanded of the market. And they will pull out all the facts and figures they like to justify this iniquity, on the grounds that the status quo must exist for a reason.

------------

quote:
If increasingly large corporations require CEOs with increasingly large compensation packages, is it worth it to re-examine how we regulate mergers? And do some corporations merit being broken up?
Oh, absolutely. CEO pay, IMO, is only an obvious symptom of a far deeper problem. There's actually a fairly interesting article making the rounds that examines which companies actually hold the bulk of the wealth in the world, and IIRC it turns out that roughly 50% of the total wealth is actually held by 25 corporations, 20 of which are financial institutions. On the boards of those corporations sit under 300 people, and 50 of those are on more than half of them. You could fit the men who own half the planet comfortably in my yard.

[ October 25, 2011, 09:27 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
Seeing large, nebulous social issues is not a reason to side with whichever side of a specific argument tends to use the right rhetoric. I hope that isn't what you're arguing, because it sure sounds like it.

As I've stated numerous times here in thread, I'll state my specific argument here again: CEO pay in the US, given the size and profitability of the companies involved, is probably somewhat higher, but not excessively higher, than it should be. That this is true by the yardsticks the US is commonly asserted to have a problem vs (such as CEO pay in Europe) is readily confirmed by data. The problem is small compared to other, much larger problems (such as the general plight of poor people and the decline of the middle class), and is almost certainly corrected by measures worth supporting anyways, namely raising taxes.

As I've stated in *other* threads repeatedly, I am for a good-sized increase in taxes that extends down to around $100k to $150k in household income, simplifying the tax code drastically, cutting federal expenditures (grant programs and homeland security especially) by a lot, restructuring FICA taxation so that it isn't regressive and is sustainable, creating a negative income tax on the lowest bracket so there's a guaranteed minimum income, and instituting national single payer health insurance.

I am for all these things because I have researched the problems that pertain as well as I know how, trying to use data as much as possible to help me understand what actually helps and how much. I am not for these things because other people I share some opinions with are for these things. I am not for these things because they use sound bites that agree with my general sympathies. I am not for these things because they hurt people I like or help people I don't like. I am not for these things because they attempt to get rid of things I perceive as social wrongs unless I have reason to believe there wouldn't be worse social wrongs created in the attempt.

I like your ideas, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
In related news Jon Stewart called Cantor a pussy for not speaking in front of the OWS crowd, I consider myself vindicated.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Oh, of course-no source is more credible than the partisan (whose politics I often like) comic (whose humor I dig) who makes zingers for a living (that are often really good)...well.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
To be fair, I don't think credibility is necessarily important when you need to have what is ultimately a question of opinion validated. Were there some kind of obvious authority on which people are pussies or not -- Chuck Norris, maybe? Mr. T? -- then perhaps credibility would be a question. But here Blayne's saying, "A famous person I respect claims to share my opinion on the question of whether someone is a pussy, and I feel validated."

(For my part, I think it's a very exceptional politician who speaks before a hostile audience that expects to ask open questions, and certainly not one who is only speaking in order to deliver some canned sound-bytes. Cantor had nothing to gain by speaking to that crowd, and he's not enough of a statesman to consider that people might have had something to gain by speaking with him.)
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
If that's what Blayne meant, then I was mistaken-my bad. I admit I consider it quite a bit more likely, though, that the expression was less nuanced.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
This CBO report on trends in income inequality seems quite timely. The major take away (at least for me) was that changes to tax code have had relatively minor impact on the change in income inequality. Much more significant is the concentration of labor income. Several theories are put forward about why the after tax incomes of the top 1% have been growing so quickly. To my layman's understanding, the explanations are 1) the high end jobs got harder as the companies got larger and the playing field got more complex, 2) corporate boards have been remiss in their obligations and 3) the nature of corporations has changed, such that profits are more likely to be extracted as income rather than reinvested in the corporation. I've copied some of the relevant quotes below.

One relevent excerpt, summarizing some academic findings:
quote:
The authors concluded that their findings are most consistent with the theories that technical changes have enhanced the value of certain skills and that the increasing scale of corporate and financial activity has raised the value of corporate executives and financial professionals, rather than that weak corporate governance has led to excessive compensation.
This is then disputed by another academic study, which suggest that "the highest-income households’ share of income is explained by the prices of assets in financial markets and possibly by the evolution of corporate governance and entrepreneurship, rather than by superstar theories or by technological change that complemented certain skills." A third competing theory is given (although the CBO authors dismiss it to some degree):
quote:
Others have argued that the observed growth in the conversion of C corporation income into S corporation income has contributed to the rapid growth in income for the highest-income households.
On a different note, I found this demographic tidbit interesting:
quote:
The study found that nonfinancial executives, managers, and supervisors made up the largest subgroup of the highest-income households, accounting for 31 percent of the top percentile. Medical professionals were the second largest occupational category, making up 16 percent, while financial professionals accounted for 14 percent and lawyers for 8 percent. No other single occupational group accounted for more than 5 percent of the top percentile.
For those who don't want to do the math, that leaves 31% unaccounted for. There is some suggestion in the report that a share of these are entertainers in various fields (sports, music, movies), and some are small business owners (although perhaps they're included in the nonfinancial managers, executives and supervisers category), but I'd be interested in knowing what that composition looks like.

<edit>I went and checked the original paper, written in 2007 using data up to 2005. The additional professions are:
Computer, math, engineering, technical (nonfinance) - 4.6; Not working or deceased - 4.3; Skilled sales (except finance or real estate) - 4.2; Blue collar or miscellaneous service - 3.8; Real estate - 3.2; Business operations (nonfinance) - 3.0; Entrepreneur not elsewhere classified - 2.3; Professors and scientists - 1.8; Arts, media, sports - 1.6; Unknown - 0.9; Government, teachers, social services - 0.8; Farmers & ranchers - 0.5; Pilots - 0.2.

If you consider just the top 0.1% you get the following distribution: Executives, managers, supervisors (non-finance) - 40.8; Financial professions, including management - 18.4; Not working or deceased - 6.3; Lawyers - 6.2; Real estate - 4.7; Medical - 4.4; Entrepreneur not elsewhere classified - 3.6; Arts, media, sports - 3.1; Computer, math, engineering, technical (nonfinance) - 3.0; Other - 2.6; Business operations (nonfinance) - 2.2; Skilled sales (except finance or real estate) - 1.9; Professors and scientists - 1.1; Farmers & ranchers - 1.0; Unknown - 0.7.
</edit>

[ October 25, 2011, 11:15 PM: Message edited by: SenojRetep ]
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
... For my part, I think it's a very exceptional politician who speaks before a hostile audience that expects to ask open questions, and certainly not one who is only speaking in order to deliver some canned sound-bytes.

That's question period in Parliament.
(The first part anyways)
 
Posted by odouls268 (Member # 2145) on :
 
Wow.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
... For my part, I think it's a very exceptional politician who speaks before a hostile audience that expects to ask open questions, and certainly not one who is only speaking in order to deliver some canned sound-bytes.

That's question period in Parliament.
(The first part anyways)

My feelings exactly, parliament is awesome to watch once they get into the swing of things.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Maybe to refocus this discussion a little bit (though feel free to carry on, I guess):

Police assault Occupy Oakland encampment with flash bangs and pepper spray canisters

The report is that they swept into the camp at night with flashbangs, pepper spray canisters and bean bag guns. Scores were arrested. Supposedly the reason was that the camp was unsanitary, but the protesters are disputing the veracity of that claim.

There have been a few encounters between police and protesters in Oakland, but the protesters have been overwhelmingly peaceful. Not going to be hard to connect this to the police actions in New York, I think.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Interview with a couple protesters

You get an idea of what the camp was like here. It seems somewhat organized, and like many of these camps, like they cleaned and took care of it fairly well.

In response to the camp bring broken up, 1,000 march

Several in the march were also arrested.

More on the march.

Looks like the police had them at every turn.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
There have been a few encounters between police and protesters in Oakland, but the protesters have been overwhelmingly peaceful.

Yep. Overwhelmingly.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Even your own links mention that there were reports of a sexual assault and a severe beating, Lyr. By what metric is that "overwhelmingly peaceful?"
 
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
 
Reports of assault is absolutely something that merits investigation. I imagine more could have been accomplished if the police has peacefully worked with the protestors. There are occupied cities where the protests and police have a working relationship.

I'm not sure storming a camp in the middle of the night dressed in riot gear and then firing tear gas into a crowd which contains children, the elderly, and disabled, was the appropriate and useful course of action.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
There have been a few encounters between police and protesters in Oakland, but the protesters have been overwhelmingly peaceful.

Yep. Overwhelmingly.
I can't get the link to load. What is it?

My comments was more about their protest activities. They aren't rioting, they aren't attacking police officers (I think there might be a few exceptions to that). And the problems in the park were reports, but I'm not sure how much I believe them without some independent confirmation. I don't doubt the possibility given where the camp is, it used to basically be an open air homeless camp, and the fact that anything is possible. But I also don't particularly trust the media or the government on this one. Show me the investigation and the report that proves it. Until then, it's random unsubstantiated report that even the news reports is unsubstantiated since they claim to be unable to reach the scene.

Even if true, overwhelmingly means mostly, not entirely, and thus allows for small exceptions.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Live Chopper cam feed of Oakland protesters in the streets.

Looks like they were just milling around with a line of police nearby.

Now I can see clouds of tear gas.

And now it looks like the feed has been cut as soon as the tear gas was fired and cops moved in. Convenient.

Now it's back up, though the viewpoints are a little less clear. It appears to be taking place over a couple of blocks, with police covering the area.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Occupy Atlanta camp cleared up by police earlier tonight

Looks like is was a fairly peaceful clearing. Police came in, calmly arrested the protesters, and off to jail they went. Looks like they came in force, perhaps expecting something serious, but it went down calmly.

Some interesting bits in the story. Apparently one of the reasons for shutting it down was that a man was walking around with a loaded AK-47 (which he is legally allowed to do). The mayor, who had previously said people would be allowed to stay in the park until Nov. 7, cited a "hip-hop concert" as proof of the escalating nature of the danger in the park.

Interesting how armed protesters at Tea Party rallies are a-ok, but at an Occupy rally, they're dangerous. I don't think it was anything close to the main justification for ending things, but that being singled out as significant is interesting to me.

Some more video of the man power brought to clear out the park.

They also noted in both Oakland and Atlanta that the camp material left behind would be confiscated and not returned. I don't know how it works in Atlanta or Oakland, but here in Lincoln, people are mostly getting by on donated materials, between food, personal hygiene supplies, tents, and even heaters for the tents. Occupy Wall Street has used some of their donated funds to purchase similar items.

I wonder how much these evictions pushes are merely smokescreens to force the protesters to exhaust their limited resources to even carry on. Setting up another camp could prove tricky if they have to start all over. I doubt it's the main reason, but it could be a reason.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
130 arrested Monday in Chicago for staying in Grant Park after hours protesting
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
There have been a few encounters between police and protesters in Oakland, but the protesters have been overwhelmingly peaceful.

Yep. Overwhelmingly.
I can't get the link to load. What is it?

My comments was more about their protest activities. They aren't rioting, they aren't attacking police officers (I think there might be a few exceptions to that). And the problems in the park were reports, but I'm not sure how much I believe them without some independent confirmation. I don't doubt the possibility given where the camp is, it used to basically be an open air homeless camp, and the fact that anything is possible. But I also don't particularly trust the media or the government on this one. Show me the investigation and the report that proves it. Until then, it's random unsubstantiated report that even the news reports is unsubstantiated since they claim to be unable to reach the scene.

Even if true, overwhelmingly means mostly, not entirely, and thus allows for small exceptions.

It's reprinted from the Oakland Trib. Here is another site hosting an excerpt... does that one work?

Basically, there was some infighting. Woman was threatened, guy was assaulted (punched, choked), then a mob formed to kick the guy doing the assaulting out, he was threatened with a knife, and someone (article is confusing, not sure if it was the knife guy or the assaulting guy) was hit in the head with a piece of wood.

I think you are splitting hairs re: "overwhelmingly," though I agree you are technically correct. Still, just as a thought experiment, try to imagine your reaction if there had been a sexual assault at a tea party, and how you'd take it if I tried to write it off and claimed the event was still "overwhelmingly" safe. I think you might find you are letting your bias effect how seriously you're taking it. What do you think?

It's Oakland, man. You grew up in the Midwest, I think, so maybe you don't know, but... Oakland is not a safe place, by any stretch. The city looks for reasons to riot. This isn't terribly surprising, and frankly I don't even think it's fair for conservative blogs to try to use Occupy Oakland against the Occupy crowd in general. But I do think that trying to defend Occupy Oakland does not make the rest of OWS look terribly good.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
BTW, that was your 1137th post
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
So it was! Is that... is that a special number?

I don't really get leetspeak... I guess that's llet, which doesn't look like anything. What am I missing?

Dang, though, I have been posting a lot here lately. Didn't notice when I crossed 1,000.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
There have been a few encounters between police and protesters in Oakland, but the protesters have been overwhelmingly peaceful.

Yep. Overwhelmingly.
I can't get the link to load. What is it?

My comments was more about their protest activities. They aren't rioting, they aren't attacking police officers (I think there might be a few exceptions to that). And the problems in the park were reports, but I'm not sure how much I believe them without some independent confirmation. I don't doubt the possibility given where the camp is, it used to basically be an open air homeless camp, and the fact that anything is possible. But I also don't particularly trust the media or the government on this one. Show me the investigation and the report that proves it. Until then, it's random unsubstantiated report that even the news reports is unsubstantiated since they claim to be unable to reach the scene.

Even if true, overwhelmingly means mostly, not entirely, and thus allows for small exceptions.

It's reprinted from the Oakland Trib. Here is another site hosting an excerpt... does that one work?

Basically, there was some infighting. Woman was threatened, guy was assaulted (punched, choked), then a mob formed to kick the guy doing the assaulting out, he was threatened with a knife, and someone (article is confusing, not sure if it was the knife guy or the assaulting guy) was hit in the head with a piece of wood.

I think you are splitting hairs re: "overwhelmingly," though I agree you are technically correct. Still, just as a thought experiment, try to imagine your reaction if there had been a sexual assault at a tea party, and how you'd take it if I tried to write it off and claimed the event was still "overwhelmingly" safe. I think you might find you are letting your bias effect how seriously you're taking it. What do you think?

It's Oakland, man. You grew up in the Midwest, I think, so maybe you don't know, but... Oakland is not a safe place, by any stretch. The city looks for reasons to riot. This isn't terribly surprising, and frankly I don't even think it's fair for conservative blogs to try to use Occupy Oakland against the Occupy crowd in general. But I do think that trying to defend Occupy Oakland does not make the rest of OWS look terribly good.

I do love the Midwest. On the other hand, give me a little credit, I grew up within walking distance of Detroit. I'm not exactly out in the cornfields. Well, actually now I AM in the corn fields, but I didn't grow up there! [Smile]

I see your point. I hadn't read that much detail on the incident, so thanks for finding a story for me. That IS troubling. While I think my point still more or less stands about the protest itself being peaceful from the point of view of the interactions between the protesters and the police, that looks like a rather poor mark for their own general behavior. I know some of the Occupy camps have dedicated security teams to stop stuff like that from breaking out.

As for how I would view a Tea Party rally, it's an interesting question. There's really no way of knowing, but if an isolated incident was reported at a single event, I'd like to think I'd give them the benefit of the doubt. I think of myself as a pretty fair judge of some events, but "fair" absolutely doesn't mean impartial. Obviously I have a bias. Still, I can think of plenty of times on here where I've given someone I either don't like or don't agree with the benefit of the doubt because the specific complaint against him or her simply wasn't good enough.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
That's cool. I definitely feel the same way about impartial/bias etc: I can sense my bias bleeding through, and I think back to how I would be willing to write off a single racist sign at a tea party rally as not indicative of the overall rally (especially when other tea partiers would walk up to the racist and tell them how their sign was offensive and lame). That's why I mentioned above that I don't agree with people acting like bad behavior in Oakland = bad behavior from all OWS people. Oakland may not be Detroit, but it's nevertheless done a lot to earn its reputation.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
So it was! Is that... is that a special number?

I don't really get leetspeak...

Well, it's literally leet.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet
 
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
 
Former US Marine in hospital after being hit by police projectiles at Oakland raid

Along with the report on his injuries, the page also includes a video showing Olsen on the ground, bloody, after being hit. As a group of protestors rushes to his aid and moment later, another tear gas canister is launched by nearby police officers into the crowd.

[ October 26, 2011, 09:23 PM: Message edited by: Shanna ]
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
And when Shanna says "nearby," she means "just out of arm's length." This wasn't a case of a cop firing randomly at a knot of people he couldn't quite make out; this was a case of a cop who watched a bloodied man collapse to the ground in pain ten to twelve feet away, watched members of a fleeing crowd turn back to cluster around him to check on his condition, and then tossed a grenade directly into the center of that crowd from three yards away.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
So it was! Is that... is that a special number?

I don't really get leetspeak...

Well, it's literally leet.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leet

Wouldn't that be post 1337? And I had post 1137? Or am I missing something?
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
And when Shanna says "nearby," she means "just out of arm's length." This wasn't a case of a cop firing randomly at a knot of people he couldn't quite make out; this was a case of a cop who watched a bloodied man collapse to the ground in pain ten to twelve feet away, watched members of a fleeing crowd turn back to cluster around him to check on his condition, and then tossed a grenade directly into the center of that crowd from three yards away.

I've seen the video, and something definitely went wrong here. I'm adamantly opposed to cops who abuse their power, and I don't want be an apologizer for them.

However, I do think it's wrong to attribute to malice what can just as easily be characterized as incompetence. I wonder if, given the high tension of the situation and the fact that it was night, the cop was deliberately trying to keep people away from the injured man, or if he simply saw a crowd of people rushing towards the barricade, panicked, and threw a flashbang.

In the same vein, I've seen some people (such as the narrator of the video I saw) imply or outright state that the police shot Olsen in the face with a tear gas canister intentionally. That seems, again, like attributing much more malice than the facts really lend themselves to. Canister launching isn't normally done with extremely high levels of precision, it's more of a point-and-shoot sort of deal. If you point and shoot into a crowd, there's a chance someone's going to get hit.

Either way, the Oakland PD doesn't have the best history, any more than crowds in Oakland do. If it turns out the cops in question did everything as intentionally and maliciously as Tom implies, I won't exactly be shocked.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
Dan_Frank: You're right.
I must be seriously tired. Have been seriously tired. etc.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
No problem! Just glad I wasn't confused. Plus I still have post 1337 to look forward to.

PS: You can just call me Dan if you want. Really, I won't mind.
 
Posted by Glenn Arnold (Member # 3192) on :
 
quote:
I wonder if, given the high tension of the situation and the fact that it was night, the cop was deliberately trying to keep people away from the injured man, or if he simply saw a crowd of people rushing towards the barricade, panicked, and threw a flashbang.
Sorry, based on the body language of the thrower, I can't see either of these possibilities.


Just to provide some balance.
 
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
 
I didn't get that implication from the narrated video. Rather, he seems to point out the deliberate nature of the SECOND canister which is launched from only feet away directly into the crowd of protestors as they attempt to assist an injured man.

Again, the amount of force used by police just seems so unnecessary. Tear gas canisters are meant as non-lethal force. So are bean bag projectiles. But they still are incredibly dangerous and even if no one is severely and directly harmed by the canister itself, its amazing no one was trampled as people fled the gas. If anything, it seems to rile up the protestors and make them more prone to physically acting out against the officers.

I just wonder when we stopped expecting more from our police force. They should be the highest models of the community. Here in New Orleans where cops are put on trial for murder, the local police force has been incredibly cooperative with the local Occupy movement, even escorting multiple marches! There's no excuse for this kind of senseless force just because its a rough city. All the more reason for them to be BETTER!
 
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
 
EDIT: Nevermind, didn't realize Glenn had already linked to the story about Albany Police refusing to arrest protestos
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
quote:
I wonder if, given the high tension of the situation and the fact that it was night, the cop was deliberately trying to keep people away from the injured man, or if he simply saw a crowd of people rushing towards the barricade, panicked, and threw a flashbang.
Sorry, based on the body language of the thrower, I can't see either of these possibilities.


Just to provide some balance.

That's fair. As I said, I'm not holding any of these theories very tightly, I'm just wondering if it's a possibility.

Re: the article you linked... it's cool that things went so well there, and that the cops were so reasonable.

Tangentially, though, I wonder... why do we have laws if we don't enforce them? If it's illegal to camp on city or state land, then arrest the people that do it. If you don't think we should because they weren't doing anything wrong... then why did we make it a crime to camp on the land in the first place? I feel the same way about speed limits. If you aren't going to strictly enforce them, then why are they at the number they're at?

Having hundreds or thousands of laws that are frequently not enforced and that nobody takes seriously just creates an attitude of general disregard for the rule of law. And then people are shocked when they get arrested (not thinking of Oakland here, but of the various other occupy arrests where some people expressed such disbelief that their civil disobedience could get them arrested)
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:

Again, the amount of force used by police just seems so unnecessary. Tear gas canisters are meant as non-lethal force. So are bean bag projectiles. But they still are incredibly dangerous and even if no one is severely and directly harmed by the canister itself, its amazing no one was trampled as people fled the gas. If anything, it seems to rile up the protestors and make them more prone to physically acting out against the officers.

Seriously, more than one major protest in Oakland in the last couple of years have turned into riots. If the police decided to arrest everyone at the event, prepping with the assumption that a riot would break out once they started making arrests was a perfectly reasonable to do.

Again, this doesn't excuse the specifics of the Olsen situation. The flashbang was unnecessary, without question. It's just to say that protests turn into riots very easily in Oakland, and it's not unreasonable for the cops to assume this would be the same sort of situation.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Dan -

I think it might be one of those "spirit of the law" things. My guess would be that the anti-camping law was meant to deter homeless people from sleeping there. This is a peaceful protest. While they might not like it, I think it's a case where bending the rule is justified. Laws aren't always a suicide pact, otherwise why would we even bother with judges?

And as far as the "we're just trying to stop a riot from forming" defense, that seems counterintuitive. Flashbanging a group of people trying to help an injured man is MORE likely to cause a riot. People look for a specific instance of police brutality to rally around in a situation where a riot is more likely. Why give them the bait?
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
That's a good point, Lyr, but I still generally think that people who engage in civil disobedience should be prepared to be arrested. And if they are disorderly, they shouldn't expect the arrest to be gentle. Again, a "not gentle" arrest is a far cry from being shot in the face with a tear gas canister, so don't assume I'm saying something I'm not. [Smile]

Hey, Lyr, I have a couple links to more footage of Occupy Oakland, both a couple days before the disruption, and during. These sources are unabashedly conservatives, but they have some pictures and video I hadn't seen, and perhaps you haven't either. Provides another perspective on the situation. Both are done by the anonymous Zombie, who's a small l libertarian conservative who lives in the Bay Area and does photo blogs of most major protests around here.

The situation on the 22nd, after the eviction notice had been given but while it was still being ignored.

And a convenient hub of videos of the events surrounding the eviction.

One of the very last videos in the second link includes the footage of the injured guy and the flashbang. Zombie expresses some doubt that the guy was really injured, which, if the guy in that video is Olsen, is obviously wrong by now. Although it briefly made me wonder whether or not we've gotten explicit confirmation that it is Olsen in that video, as the previous version I'd seen cuts different footage together. Eh, for the time being I'm assuming it's Olsen, and thus the guy is legitimately injured and the flashbang is overkill.

Anyway, I'm actually a pretty big fan of Zombie, as he's been covering protests in the Bay Area for years. Anti-Bush protests, anti-war protests, Tea Parties, Anti-Tea Parties, and nonpolitical stuff like the Folsom Street Fair and Slutwalk. I know he provides a lot of conservative commentary in both of those links, but he also provides a lot of interesting footage and pictures, so I hope you don't just write all of it off. [Smile]
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
If not for the footage, I likely would have written him off. The first link has some interesting photos, but not a whole lot I really find highly objectionable, except for his smattering of racist and other comments. It's pretty clear he has an agenda from his comments on those photos.

The videos are interesting. If the video of two things being thrown at the cops is indicative of the "rocks and bottles" then it looks pretty overblown to me, though the paintball bomb was totally uncool. I saw two things that looked like water bottles flying through the air. However, that crowd could easily be interpreted as menacing. It would have been nicer to see a full video to see why those cops were arresting those two particular people, though I highly doubt it justifies the crowd acting like that.

I've seen longer cuts of the video on YouTube, it's the same guy, even if it ISN'T the same guy, that doesn't make what the police did okay. The fact that the videotaper assumed he was faking it betrays a lot of bias. He's clearly trying to portray the protesters in a negative light, which is silly since half the stuff he's showing isn't bad, and the stuff that IS bad doesn't require him to tell us it is, it's self-evident.

I wish there was some more complete reporting on what happened. This complicates the stories I've been seeing, but it doesn't really give a complete picture.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
He's absolutely biased, and doesn't pretend otherwise, but I appreciate that you didn't let the existence of that bias blind you to some of the behavior he showcased. I didn't think you would.

(As an aside, I'm a little perplexed how you found him to be racist, but that's a derail so only answer if you feel like it... also I do think his photoblog successfully highlights the fact that some of the reasons the cops wanted to shut the place down seem justified... sanitation issues, drug use, and graffiti, specifically)

To me it's less proof that the police were justified in their aggressive tactics than it is proof that the crowds were, well, not terribly peaceful. But I guess I summed up my position before: It's Oakland. Most protests in Oakland have flavors of riot in them at some point, and the police there are on edge and overreact to perceived threats. Everybody involved acted badly, and neither side's behavior justifies the other side.

Edit: Hey, this article does a fairly good job excoriating both sides of the situation. I approve.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
On his racist interpretations:

1. The two black security people were only chosen because they were the toughest or meanest looking guys around. What the hell is that based on? It seems to imply that he personally was scared of them, which makes me think he's playing on the stereotype of black guys in the inner city being inherently dangerous or scary.

2. The assumption that the black guy with some money, and you can't really tell it's a money roll of any kind, must be a drug dealer. Would he have assumed that if the guy was white, or might he have been the group's financial representative or something?

As for the justifications, the signs and pictures of outhouses suggest that these were problems that were addressed and probably solved, just as the protesters claimed. Reports say that the park was already a breeding ground for rats. The group claims they cleaned regularly, and I don't see anything to contradict that claim (or to support it really). I think you need more than a bucket of soiled hay to prove that. I'm not sure if a little plastic bag is indicative of widespread crack use. I'm not at all surprised by the widespread smoking of weed, but then, while I recognize the illegality, I'm also not particularly bugged by it since I'm in favor of legalization. Also, last I checked weed was decriminalized in California. As of last year, smoking weed is punishable by a simple ticket, it's not a jailable offense. So he's not making an argument based on legal justification, he's saying these are unwashed hippies that we should boot out. I can't argue with some of the hippie anarchist stuff going on there. But that's not a legal justification, it's an ideological one.

quote:
Everybody involved acted badly, and neither side's behavior justifies the other side.
I think this is closest to the mark. Still, I think the police overreacted to their poor behavior in a manner that wasn't just unjustifiable, it was outright stupid. As you say, it's Oakland. That's the kind of behavior that sparks MORE riots, it doesn't quell them.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
So, what makes you think he only chose the two black guys because they were the scariest guys he could find? This really reads like you're projecting on this issue, to me.

Re: the drug dealer... I don't think that was racially motivated either. It's definitely a roll of cash, which, whether you're white or black, looks kinda suspicious.

Basically, I think 90% of the people he showed were not shown in a favorable light, but you're focusing on the black people he showed as if those decisions were racially motivated. I think that is off base, and you need to read between the lines a lot to get there.

Re: the justifications... I'll trust you on the rats, as I haven't seen that report. But on the human waste issue it seemed like they were still having some problems. There was also vandalism and, frankly, having been to protests in Oakland in the past, I find it really unlikely that there wasn't widespread drug use, beyond just smoking weed. But I will grant you that a single crack baggie is not proof positive of this, it's just confirming my bias.

And yes, I will absolutely grant you that the OPD has never figured out how to behave in a way that doesn't let people flagrantly break the law but also doesn't engender massive bad will and spark more rioting and outrage down the road. They pretty much always err on the side of "play the role of jackbooted thug," even when they would otherwise have a lot more of my sympathies.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
So, what makes you think he only chose the two black guys because they were the scariest guys he could find? This really reads like you're projecting on this issue, to me.
He has a picture of two black security guards (I assume these are the actual security guards) with a caption that says something like 'apparently their security plan is to find the two scariest looking guys around and put them in charge of security.'
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
New Social Justice Index Places U.S. Near Bottom

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/social-justice_n_1035363.html?ir=Politics&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009

http://www.sgi-network.org/pdf/SGI11_Social_Justice_OECD.pdf
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Actually, he says (in the midst of an entire paragraph talking about their security) "Basically, the scariest looking guys, and/or those guys with with strongest authoritarian urge, have assumed the role of internal policemen."

Again, I think you're reading what you expect to be there. I didn't get the impression that he was trying to do that at all, and in all of his photo essays I haven't seen any penchant for racism, so I still maintain you're off base with this accusation.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
You see a white guy (general 'you', not you specifically, Dan) with a roll of bills, you think, "Gambler maybe. Could be going to a strip club or something. Maybe a bookie, or a dealer." You see a black guy of the same build with that same roll of bills, you think, "Drug dealer. Maybe a bookie. Could be going to a strip club.

As for the security guard bit...well, to some people, unknown black men are scarier than unknown white men. Pretty straightforward. It doesn't make the guy a frothing-at-the-mouth David Duke activist or something, but, "Scary black guys!" is a pretty strong ping on the racist radar and doesn't require much projection.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
You see a white guy (general 'you', not you specifically, Dan) with a roll of bills, you think, "Gambler maybe. Could be going to a strip club or something. Maybe a bookie, or a dealer." You see a black guy of the same build with that same roll of bills, you think, "Drug dealer. Maybe a bookie. Could be going to a strip club.

As for the security guard bit...well, to some people, unknown black men are scarier than unknown white men. Pretty straightforward. It doesn't make the guy a frothing-at-the-mouth David Duke activist or something, but, "Scary black guys!" is a pretty strong ping on the racist radar and doesn't require much projection.

Really? I know you're using a general you, and I appreciate that a lot, but I still gotta still disagree with you, man. I see a white, hispanic, or black guy wearing a wifebeater in the middle of a park in Oakland holding a roll of bills, and I assure you, my first thought is always "drug dealer." Gambling and strip clubs don't even blip my radar in that situation. Now, if he's wearing a suit and just got out of a nice car parked in certain neigborhoods of Oakland? Yeah, then I might think strip club or gambling (though honestly I don't think about gambling much so I'd just assume strip club).

It has to do with attire, overall appearance, and location. Not race.

And again, guys, the caption is not "These security guards are scary!" juxtaposed with a picture of some black dudes. It's a lengthy description of the security system in place, and he mentions that the people on security are generally either scary looking or authoritarians. I'm not saying that a caption of "Scary black guys" isn't racist, guys, I'm saying that summing up his caption as "Scary black guys" is totally wrong.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
Occupy Central!
My dad took the picture on his way to work at JP Morgan.
#Nostalgic for Hong Kong

[Smile]
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
An editorial by Dahlia Lithwick on how people (specifically corporate media) asking "What do the occupiers want" are clueless. Her take, it's complicated and you wouldn't understand because you're corporate tools.
quote:
By refusing to take a ragtag, complicated, and leaderless movement seriously, the mainstream media has succeeded only in ensuring its own irrelevance. The rest of America has little trouble understanding that these are ragtag, complicated, and leaderless times. This may not make for great television, but any movement that acknowledges that fact deserves enormous credit.

 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:
An editorial by Dahlia Lithwick on how people (specifically corporate media) asking "What do the occupiers want" are clueless. Her take, it's complicated and you wouldn't understand because you're corporate tools.
quote:
By refusing to take a ragtag, complicated, and leaderless movement seriously, the mainstream media has succeeded only in ensuring its own irrelevance. The rest of America has little trouble understanding that these are ragtag, complicated, and leaderless times. This may not make for great television, but any movement that acknowledges that fact deserves enormous credit.

OWS desperately needs this editorial to be believed. Sadly, it's not just the mainstream media and pundits that are wondering what the protesters want, it's the public in general as well. This type of editorial helps stall to get the time they need. But the rational public have been patient while the occupiers shout all the wrongs of the country and tiptoe around the true reality: It's getting cold, the people are getting tired, and if they don't come to a consensus and present some solutions, OWS will end up "ensuring its own irrelevance" and with a swiftness I believe will catch them off guard.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
As soon as they settle down with a list of demands, and as you say, get tired and go home, they'll be pigeonholed and this whole thing will be swept under the rug.

That's most of the reason why they're not doing it.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
As soon as they settle down with a list of demands, and as you say, get tired and go home, they'll be pigeonholed and this whole thing will be swept under the rug.

That's most of the reason why they're not doing it.

I think most of the reason they're not doing it is because it seems pretty impossible for them to get consensus on anything substantive. On NPR this morning, the liason from the Philadelphia mayor's office talked about how it took a week and a half for the occupiers there to agree to a response to a minor request of the city (I forget the exact issue, and am not able to find the news story right now). A week later, the issue still had not been addressed, even after coming to a consensus on how to address it, because the protesters couldn't agree on what format the response to the mayor's office should take.

Meanwhile, several mayors who were originally supportive have changed their opinions as the costs, both material and social, have added up. In Oakland, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Baltimore and Philadelphia, the mayors are making clear that the situation cannot continue much longer. The cost of additional police, the tensions within the camps, and the frequent lack of appropriate sanitation are all cited as reasons for concern by otherwise sympathetic local officials.

I don't see any good end game for the occupiers. They're coming into conflict, not with the 1%, but with local police and city officials. Clashes with police are great for generating news articles and attention, but it seems like a long term loser. Either things escalate and the occupiers come into more or less perpetual conflict with the police, which distracts from their anti-Wall St. message, or they concede to the dispersment requests of the local officials and the whole thing dies with a whimper. If they could coalesce sufficiently quickly into a real national movement, that'd be a different thing. But given their seeming inability to coalesce over even low-level things, it strikes me as a somewhat unlikely outcome.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
I'm interested in what people think of the latest attack ad that tries to connect Elizabeth Warren with the most radical and violent elements of Occupy Wall Street.

Attack Ad
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Occupy Central!
My dad took the picture on his way to work at JP Morgan.
#Nostalgic for Hong Kong

[Smile]

I'm like, I wish it was bigger than the Falun Gong protest. Or at least I think I wish it was bigger than the Falun Gong protest.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Occupy Central!
My dad took the picture on his way to work at JP Morgan.
#Nostalgic for Hong Kong

[Smile]

I'm like, I wish it was bigger than the Falun Gong protest. Or at least I think I wish it was bigger than the Falun Gong protest.
Also less crazy than the Falun Gong protest.

edit: As a bonus though, they are literally under a bank.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
I'm interested in what people think of the latest attack ad that tries to connect Elizabeth Warren with the most radical and violent elements of Occupy Wall Street.

Attack Ad

Well, for the first 40 seconds or so there's nothing violent in it, just showing Warren has expressed strong support for OWS and pointing out that most people at the OWS are strongly anti-capitalist and tend towards communist politics. I say "most" because, well, that's certainly the group that I've seen to be the most vocal, both in videos, in person, and online. Maybe there's a quieter majority but they aren't apparent to me.

So, I don't think those guys ranting about destroying capitalism are the most violent and extreme wing of the OWS movement. I see them as relatively mainstream Occupiers, and I think showing them is perfectly fine.

Where the ad goes totally wrong is when it starts trying to make it sound like Warren is explicitly violent. The blood and teeth on the floor quote is an example of rhetorical hyperbole, no more offensive than Palin's crosshairs or Tea Partiers' signs saying "kill the bill"... us conservatives bitched and moaned when people tried to paint our rhetoric as promoting actual, real violence, so it's totally slimy to turn around and do the same thing to the opposition. I think anyone who tries to pretend that the language of combat and conflict has no place in politics is deluded... they're called "campaigns" for pete's sake.

I'm going to give Warren the benefit of the doubt and assume the stone-throwing comment is also rhetorical hyperbole, and thus also a stupid cheap shot. If she is telling a literal story of something she did in her youth, then I think it's fair game to know she really did act rather like the more violent members of OWS.

Soooo overall the first half of the ad seems like a fine attack ad. The second half goes too far, with the above mentioned possible reservations.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
I don't see any good end game for the occupiers. They're coming into conflict, not with the 1%, but with local police and city officials.
If you look at protest history in America, you'd find that this happens far more than you'd think for left-wing groups, not because they're naturally more violent (though that has been an undercurrent of their history), but because they tend to be more brutally repressed. You never saw the government turn the hoses on protesters at a Klan rally.

Yet those movements achieved success not just in spite of, but in part because of the national attention focused on them in the wake of repression. I suspect, given our media culture, that effect is only amplified today.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Will Occupy Wall Street grow into a Tea Party-style political organization on the left? I suspect not, because its methods are too anarchist. Will it force the government to enact laws that regulate financial institutions more strictly or restrain the political power of corporations? Not while Republicans control the House of Representatives. But nothing concrete or lasting was achieved by the Bonus Army of American veterans who encamped in Washington, D.C., in 1932, or by the British workers who protested their unemployment and poverty by marching from the small town of Jarrow to London in 1936. All that those earlier protesters managed to do was add new voices to the political conversation. That alone wouldn’t be a small achievement.
Why I Signed
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Video from just before Olson was hit in Oakland

You can't see the incident...but the troubling thing is that Olson is maybe three feet away from the police. How do trained officers fire from that range and NOT hit someone intentionally? His position appears to connect with where the previous videos show; him right in front of the line of police officers.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
New York CIty firefighters remove generators from Zucotti Park

I guess it's questionable whether they're even allowed to. They said there's no allowance for the use of these generators...but it's private property, and there doesn't appear to be a law AGAINST the use of generators on private property, so where do they get the authority?

And a lesser question, how are they allowed to confiscate the property, and not just demand its removal? Normally that would strike me as a ticketable offense, you can't just take stuff like that.
 
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
 
How explicit has the permission been from the owners of the park?

I'm unsure about the legality of the firefighters actions. I can very much see their case as they're presenting it. But it seems pretty obvious that the concern is less about safety and more about finding ways to deter the occupiers.

And once again I'm wondering why, if the goal is to get rid of the protestors, city officials keep doing things that earn the occupiers more attention? Sympathy for the movement grows everyday and this news story is bound to bring in new protestors even if some do leave because of the dropping temperatures.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Initially the owners of the park gave them permission to be there so long as they didn't wreck the park.

When they were going to be evacuated for a cleaning, the protesters banded together to scrub the park, at which point the owners said they were satisfied and called off the eviction.

The permission is pretty clear.
 
Posted by MrSquicky (Member # 1802) on :
 
In a breaking news story, MF Global, a brokerage firm that its CEO, John Corzine ex-governor of New Jersey and ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs, was trying to transition into a "mini-Goldman Sachs" has imploded after it was revealed 1) that they bet heavily on European debt and then leveraged those bets at a rate of about 40 to 1 and 2) talks to buy a large part of the business fell through when it was discovered that they had broken major regulations by mingling customer money with the money they were betting with and are now missing around $700 million of customers money.

They're going through a very messy bankruptcy right now and are likely going to be subject to fines and possibly criminal prosecution (although not holding my breath on that one).

John Corzine near single handedly destroyed this company. His severance package, when all this came to light, was $12 million.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Yup. That'll really piss people off, shockingly.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Tenneesee judge orders state to stop arresting protesters

And in other news, Occupy Oakland is trying to get movement on a General Strike in the city.

I read a couple OpEds a few weeks ago about Occupy Wall Street trying the same thing, but it's hard to pull off. Have their been any major GENERAL strikes in major US cities in the last even 20 years?
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
So yeah reposting here, Colbert is trying to get his SuperPac I think to back the OWS.
 
Posted by Vadon (Member # 4561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Tenneesee judge orders state to stop arresting protesters

And in other news, Occupy Oakland is trying to get movement on a General Strike in the city.

I read a couple OpEds a few weeks ago about Occupy Wall Street trying the same thing, but it's hard to pull off. Have their been any major GENERAL strikes in major US cities in the last even 20 years?

Edit: Never mind. I said a buddy of mine who works as a field coordinator for a union told me a little while ago that a general strike would be illegal. But I'm not sure if that's true.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
Noam Chomsky's speech to Occupy Boston.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Noam Chomsky's speech to Occupy Boston.

We need more people like him.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
More chaos in Oakland. After shutting down the port for about five hours, protesters broke into an abandoned Travelers' aid building "in order to, as some shouting protesters put it, 'reclaim the building for the people.'". In the process, the occupiers lit several large bonfires around the building, broke some windows, and sprayed some graffiti. When the police arrived, the occupiers (according to city officials) "began hurling rocks, explosives, bottles, and flaming objects at responding officers. Several private and municipal buildings sustained heavy vandalism."

The vandalism aside, I'm a bit surprised by the ratcheting up of actions meant to harm local economies through general strikes, shutting down ports, etc. For me, it brings to mind the era of militant labor protests from the late 19th and early 20th century much more forcefully than the peaceful sit-in ambiance of the Zuccotti park occupiers, which strikes more of a hippie-vibe.

<edit>And now I see that Chomsky mentions favorably the era of militant labor protests (although he, I think incorrectly, suggests the Great Depression was when they solidified. I would say the Pullman Strikes and other rail worker strikes in the late 19th century, and the work of, for instance, Eugene Debs in the early 20th century were of a piece with the founding and progress of the CIO during the Great Depression. If only there were someone on these boards with a history degree and a focus on labor movements that could clarify for me!?</edit>
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
On the violence at Occupy Oakland yesterday, there's (unedited) video up on one of Breitbart's sites showing the anarchist wing (referred to as the "black bloc" due to their predilection for dressing in black hoodies with black bandannas covering their faces) doing damage to various stores, banks, businesses. Other occupiers stand up to the hoodlums, yelling "no violence" and do their best to (semi-effectually) prevent the vandalism. The violent riots in Rome last month seem to have similarly been sparked by the actions of anarchists marching with the Occupiers.

I haven't seen any disavowals from Occupiers of their violent anarchist wings. Instead, most of the language I've seen has urged inclusivity (although I haven't seen anyone confronting the issue of the anarchists specifically). Do you think such inclusivity, even of violent actors, is to the betterment or detriment of the overall movement?
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
From SenojRetep:
If only there were someone on these boards with a history degree and a focus on labor movements that could clarify for me!?

Hi there, Lyrhawn at your service.

The violence attributable to the Railway strikes of the late 19th century, as well as the Haymarket massacre, the Ludlow massacre, and the Homestead massacre is far more because to the response by business and government than of inherent militarism in the movement. At that point in history, strikes and protests by labor groups were pretty much illegal. If you tried to strike, you were violently put down by the company, and if they couldn't handle you, they either called in private police forces or they enlisted the aid of the federal government, which used US troops to break up demonstrations and strikes, often violently. Yes, the railroad strikes did reach a crescendo of violence at one point where they started to burn rail cars stopped on the tracks, but you have to remember that these were isolated incidents of pent-up rage, rather than sustained movements that either realized actual results, even though they were very, very loosely organized proto-unions. The pre-Wagner history of labor movements is one of crushing defeat, where business and government utterly destroyed union protest and dissent. The body count was horrific.

I think you also have to look at the day and age in which they lived. I mean look at what happened in Ludlow. You had roving bands of armed miners engaging in pitched battles with company-hired off-duty militia. But that was followed by the company setting fire to the Ludlow camp, killing dozens of women and children who lived there after being evicted from their company-owned houses. Violence begat violence in a much more visceral way back then, and the government didn't much care about protecting protesting so much as silencing them.

After the passage of the Wagner Act in 1935, union membership exploded. It peaked in the 40s (maybe the 50s) and then started a very slow downward spiral after Taft-Hartley was passed in 1947 specifically as a measure to restrict the power of unions to organize and collectively bargain, and further restricted in 1959's Landrum-Griffin Act.

The post-Wagner era was perhaps more militant because it was more organized, and the 30s were a flash point because businesses still tried to repress them like it was the 1890s, but this time unions had manpower, a backbone, and a government that wasn't willing to bayonet them into silence. It changed everything. The 20s and 30s also saw a lot more labor violence because of an influx of immigrants with far more radical labor ideas than most of what we had kicking around in the 1880s. Back then, English probably wasn't the language you hear exhorting members to violence in a packinghouse union hall in Chicago, it was probably Polish. With increased union numbers, the drive for all union shops, and a laissez-faire approach to labor repression from the government, conflicts between labor and management reached a fever pitch in the 30s and 40s, and it resulted in a lot of violent conflicts.

It's really hard to gauge some of this. It depends on what you call "militant." Do you mean groups that actively, intentionally chose violence as a first weapon against owners? If that's the case, then I think you'll find it's a common thread that's woven throughout the entire movement from the 1880s with the Knights of Labor to the the 1960s and 70s with the AFLCIO, Teamsters and UAW (though, a lot of that violence was turned inward, but that's another story). But usually it's an undercurrent rather than a first choice. I think you'll find that the vast majority of union-related violence in the 1880s-1950s period was instigated by either the government or business to repress strikers. Violence mostly came as a response. That doesn't excuse or hide the fact that there were violent union members that instigated violence, but it was hardly the norm. There are far more examples of factory sit-ins, like the massive Flint Sit Down Strike in the 1930s that unionized GM under the UAW, than there were organized violent attacks. For a parallel, compare the UAW sit down strikes to Ford's response at the Battle of the Overpass, where several UAW organizers were beaten bloody, including Walter Reuther, but Ford thugs, simply for passing out union literature.

I don't think Chomsky is wrong, it's just that the 1880-1910s stuff is so much juicier because of the body counts. But that was hardly due to any especial union militarism.
 
Posted by Destineer (Member # 821) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:

quote:
By the way, it isn't the super rich who are corralling the gains, just the fairly well off. The households showing disproportionately high growth start at about $90k a year.
That certainly fits with my anecdotal experience.
Returning to this, I can't see how it fits with the CBO report cited here by Krugman:
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/graduates-versus-oligarchs/

quote:
There has been no rise in the share of the 81-99 group! It’s all about the top 1 percent.

Second, even within the top 1 percent the gains are going mainly to a small minority.


 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
If I'm reading him right, Krugman's comparing income shares, which have stayed pretty constant for the 80-99 group. That means their actual incomes have been increasing in proportion to the overall economy, which I think is consistent with what was written earlier. If you look at page 3 of the CBO report Krugman's referencing, you see that all income groups' inflation adjusted incomes have increased over what they were in 1980, although at very different rates.

From the CBO report:
quote:
For other households in the highest-income quintile (the 81st through 99th percentiles), average after-tax income grew by 65 percent between 1979 and 2007. That growth was not nearly as great as for the top 1 percent of the population, although it was much greater than for most other households

 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
In a breaking news story, MF Global, a brokerage firm that its CEO, John Corzine ex-governor of New Jersey and ex-CEO of Goldman Sachs, was trying to transition into a "mini-Goldman Sachs" has imploded after it was revealed 1) that they bet heavily on European debt and then leveraged those bets at a rate of about 40 to 1 and 2) talks to buy a large part of the business fell through when it was discovered that they had broken major regulations by mingling customer money with the money they were betting with and are now missing around $700 million of customers money.

They're going through a very messy bankruptcy right now and are likely going to be subject to fines and possibly criminal prosecution (although not holding my breath on that one).

John Corzine near single handedly destroyed this company. His severance package, when all this came to light, was $12 million.

Saw this linked from Ben Smith's blog; thought it was funny.

Recent MF Global ad from Bloomberg News.
 
Posted by twinky (Member # 693) on :
 
*snort*
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
I lol'd.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
But...only $12 million?!? That is (comparably) destitute!.
 
Posted by MrSquicky (Member # 1802) on :
 
That's the risk that he gets so highly paid for taking on.

Another little twist, it looks like what was basically stealing their clients money that MF Global did may have been legal, in large part due to the lobbying efforts of Jon Corzine. (article)

Here's my favorite bit:
quote:
Just three months ago, Mr. Corzine's firm assured regulators that the proposed rule could cripple the futures brokerage industry by hurting their profitability. In a letter, MF Global told regulators that they were trying to "fix something that is not broken," adding that the firm was not aware of any brokerage firm like itself that was unable to "provide to their customers upon request any segregated funds."

 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
If roles were reversed and Republicans were against this, they'd be going NUTS over this right now. Instead, I'm not hearing much of anything from politicians, and I bet if we did, Republicans would be quick to slap it down.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
In other news, I'll be going to my local Occupy movement tomorrow morning. I just need to think of a slogan to write on my cardboard.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
Good for you! Be safe and have fun. Be polite to the police officers if you can.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
I'm always polite to police officers!

*tosses his just completed sign*
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
It's pretty cold out there, if the cops show up, how about this for a sign:

"Hey pigs! I'm cold, can I borrow your blanket?"
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
BB, Are you going to SLC or is their an Occupy rally in Utah county?
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
Provo. I'm seriously thinking about getting winter supplies and dropping them off at the SLC one though.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
If roles were reversed and Republicans were against this, they'd be going NUTS over this right now. Instead, I'm not hearing much of anything from politicians, and I bet if we did, Republicans would be quick to slap it down.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Could you clarify?
 
Posted by T:man (Member # 11614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Good for you! Be safe and have fun. Be polite to the police officers if you can.

I've been surprised how polite people at Occupy Chicago have been to the police.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
If roles were reversed and Republicans were against this, they'd be going NUTS over this right now. Instead, I'm not hearing much of anything from politicians, and I bet if we did, Republicans would be quick to slap it down.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Could you clarify?
If the GOP was pro-banking reform rather than anti-reform, they'd be screaming their fool heads off about this. Case in point, they hate Obama's green policies, so when Solyndra happens, they cry bloody murder and subpoenas start flying. If they were pro-reform, they'd be screaming about this too, especially since it's PRECISELY the kind of thing regulators and reformers were trying to avoid with the banking bill, but the GOP cried foul and it was removed from the Dodd bill, which the Tea Party wing, at the very least, wants repealed entirely.

It's also a bit of an indictment of Democrats, who should really use stories like this to hammer home their issues.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Huh. I first heard about it on a conservative blog. They gleefully pointed out Corzine's history in the Democratic party, and basically blamed crony capitalism for the problem, among other things.

Edited to add a link

[ November 05, 2011, 12:25 AM: Message edited by: Dan_Frank ]
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Surprise surprise.

Mind you, I actually think the article makes a couple of decent points, but the if that's an attempt to blame Democrats when the real issue is systemic Wall Street corruption, they really, really lose me.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Well, I think they'd agree with you that the problem is systemic wall street corruption. The partisan angle would be, I think they're saying that most Democratic legislation on the issue doesn't help and usually makes the problems worse (and they heavily insinuate this is intentional on the part of the Democrats, which is one angle I'm skeptical of).

As always, though, Lyr, I really appreciate that you read the link and are open-minded enough to acknowledge if it makes a good point, even while fundamentally disagreeing with them. That's really cool. [Smile]
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Ive never heard the phrase "Blue Wall Street" before. It sounds a little disingenuous, but it's certainly true that Wall Street gave Obama a ton of cash in the 2008 election. It's also true that in THIS election, thus far, donations to the GOP have dwarfed donations to the Democrats. The part Democrats probably don't want highlighted is that Wall Street funds both sides of the aisle, especially when Democrats are so wary about what to do with Occupy Wall Street.

If you ask me, they gave Obama money because they thought he was going to win and wanted to curry favor, but this race is a toss-up, so they're hedging their bets but throwing their weight behind the person they actually want to win, the person who will give them the biggest pass, and that's a generic GOP candidate.

The point about home ownership is way off base. Yes, big banks are pretty important in the mortgage business, but let's not forget that the big banks just imploded the entire mortgage lending market through practices that Democrats want to heavily regulate. Getting a home isn't any easier when the economy is in free fall because of the lending mishap.

If Democrats were smart, which they aren't, they'd be all over this because they want the issue, because it helps them make their point with financial regulation reform, and because, despite the fact that Corzine is a Democrat, they want to point out that this is exactly what they warned against. All the better that Corzine IS a Democrat, by attacking him, they'll appear to be putting principle above party.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
Well, I made some new friends. I think I'm going to go meet up with Occupy every Saturday. Though next time I'll bring gloves. My hands are not even working right now.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
Check it out, I'm in the state paper.

Black sweatshirt, check the photo gallery.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
I didn't think Provo was big enough to support that many protesters. [Wink]
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
It isn't, but is seems to be a burgeoning movement. I was very surprised by just how encouraging those passing by were. Of course there were some, "Go get jobs!" folks, but they were easily outnumbered by those waving, giving us the thumbs up, or coming by to talk with us about what they could do.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
Occupiers storm the barricade at the "Americans for Prosperity" conference.

The AFP is an annual multi-day conference, supported in part by large financial donations from the David and Charles Koch. The protesters evidently weren't trying to get into the conference center so much as they were trying to impede anyone else from getting out. There may or may not have been some arrests, depending on who you talk to. Three occupiers were injured when they moved in front of a car which was trying to get through a green light.

More from Dave Weigel's blog.
quote:
The event made news for the reason that the October 1 march on the Brooklyn Bridge made news: It was a mess, and authorities didn't know what to do. Attendees at the summit today tell me they were stuck in the building as protesters tried to get in and police kept the two movements apart.

 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
That's not right. If you want the freedom to assemble and have your voice heard, then you should allow others that same courtesy. Trying to walk into a venue and out shout the other side is counterproductive.
 
Posted by draco (Member # 12672) on :
 
re: senoj retep.
I have been in the occupy movements in SF and Oakland. I have attended many of the demonstrations and also Occupy SF traveled to and participated in the Oakland general strike. i am a public contact for one of the working groups. The media coverage from the general strike is very skewed. When I participated, there were tens of thousands of people peacefully protesting and picketing at the ports. yes I know there were some persons who let frustrations eg violence show but there ware so many ppl who did not engage in any violence. The longshore union I was told will be paid for their day of nonwork because of unsafe working conditions. There are so many different views you can take if you excise pieces of any moment in history. May I suggest reading or following the locals who actually participated in the movement. Also if ppl are put off by the general violence which I seen only with the police, I would refer you to the fact that there are provacateurs from the police and media.


search occupy police infiltrators
search wikipedia's occupy timeline.

I have lost my glasses and am using an unfamiliar computer so cannot ezlink these for you. I have just taken a shower and My biggest peeve for me to leave would be dirty socks and uns. I will stay as long as I can do this.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Dear Occupy Thread,

How many racist signs did there need to be at Tea Parties in order to safely characterize Tea Partiers as racists, again?

Conversely, how many sexual assaults have to occur at OWS events before it's fair for people to characterize Occupiers as rapists? Or, how much vandalism before they can be called vandals? How many assaults before they can be called thugs?

Just to be clear, I don't think that the average Occupier is a raping vandal thug, any more than I think the average Tea Partier is a racist. But I do think the media's bald-faced hypocrisy on this is pretty outrageous.
 
Posted by twinky (Member # 693) on :
 
You're comparing two things that are quite different. Generalizing from professed opinions is not the same as generalizing from actions; regardless of the legitimacy of either, I suggest that the latter is always less legitimate than the former in relative terms.

The obvious reason for this is that opinions don't have to be professed to be held, whereas you can't call someone a rapist or vandal until they have actually committed the act in question.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
How many racist signs did there need to be at Tea Parties in order to safely characterize Tea Partiers as racists, again?

It took more than that, for serious people to start thinking that. Things like the strong long-lasting (in the face of all sorts of evidence) Birther nonsense, support for racist policies on the federal level.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
I don't really have any comment on the Birther thing; I recognize that it existed, but I never actually encountered a birther at any Tea Party, and every single conservative blog and pundit I follow mocked Birthers mercilessly. So... yeah. I got nothin'.

Regarding "support for racist policies on the federal level" ... whew, man, that's pretty harsh. We've discussed this before, and I understand that based on one's ideology they may feel conservatives are embracing racist policies... but in what way is it productive to use that language, rather than arguing from a somewhat more objective/intellectual stance against said policies? Wouldn't that be better?

Put another way... by this criteria, it's reasonable for a hardcore libertarian to call Occupiers (or even run-of-the-mill moderates) "thieves" since they support state taxation for non-core services. Do you think that it is in any way productive or helpful when a libertarian or minarchist calls you a thief? What value does that exchange provide, to either participant? Wouldn't it be more productive (and civil!) for them to argue with your positions directly?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
quote:
every single conservative blog and pundit I follow mocked Birthers mercilessly
This may be a case of confirmation bias, then. You realize that the Birther idiocy is still viable enough that Republican candidates for President can get a bump in their polls by expressing doubts about his citizenship?

quote:
by this criteria, it's reasonable for a hardcore libertarian to call Occupiers (or even run-of-the-mill moderates) "thieves" since they support state taxation for non-core services
I think there's a bit more of a stretch here, actually, since once you've conceded that the government has any right at all to demand money for any services, you're just left quibbling over what constitutes a "core service" of the government.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Well, when we're talking specifically about those policies-such as fences, punishing those who harbor illegals, mandatory papers-carrying, questioning based on race-I talk about things more specifically. But here the question was specifically about racism.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
every single conservative blog and pundit I follow mocked Birthers mercilessly
This may be a case of confirmation bias, then. You realize that the Birther idiocy is still viable enough that Republican candidates for President can get a bump in their polls by expressing doubts about his citizenship?
Oh, it could easily be confirmation bias! I tried to ignore Trump as much as possible, so forgive these next questions (and if you don't know the details offhand, I'm not asking you to search for 'em, it's just idle curiosity): How significant of a bump was it, and is there some way it was definitively pinned down to his embracing of the Birther crowd, or is it a correlation/causation sort of a situation?

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
by this criteria, it's reasonable for a hardcore libertarian to call Occupiers (or even run-of-the-mill moderates) "thieves" since they support state taxation for non-core services
I think there's a bit more of a stretch here, actually, since once you've conceded that the government has any right at all to demand money for any services, you're just left quibbling over what constitutes a "core service" of the government.
Sure. Anarchists, then. So say you're talking to an anarchist... If meaningful dialogue between you two is possible, I suspect it will not involve him calling you a thief. If he does that, I think he's signalling that he's more interesting in name-calling than in actually arguing his position. What do you think?

quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Well, when we're talking specifically about those policies-such as fences, punishing those who harbor illegals, mandatory papers-carrying, questioning based on race-I talk about things more specifically. But here the question was specifically about racism.

Well, right, here the question is specifically whether or not it's valuable to characterize people in favor of those things as racist. I don't think it facilitates any sort of understanding, or discussion, or hell, even argument. I think, in fact, it is a label specifically designed to shut down dialogue or argument. And I think that's lame.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
http://www.illdoctrine.com/2008/07/how_to_tell_people_they_sound.html

I think this brief video will be helpful in illustrating where I'm coming from, Dan.

quote:
Well, right, here the question is specifically whether or not it's valuable to characterize people in favor of those things as racist. I don't think it facilitates any sort of understanding, or discussion, or hell, even argument. I think, in fact, it is a label specifically designed to shut down dialogue or argument. And I think that's lame.
I wouldn't go so far as to call someone who supports such policies a 'racist', anymore than I'd say of someone who told a lie, "You're a liar!" They are, however, racist policies and humoring the sensitivities of people who support them doesn't seem to be especially worthwhile.

To be clear though, it's not my starting point. When talking about those things, I point out that they don't work, they're unAmerican, violate all sorts of laws, and they target specifically based on race. None of those things, for these particular subjects, are really very debatable. A wall wouldn't work, and it's a stupid way to attack the problem. Punishing private citizens who help illegal immigrants-even church programs-is unAmerican. Questioning based on race is legally problematic.

Those are remarks designed to shut down argument, because there's not much to be argued about. But-again-they aren't what we were talking about. We were talking about to what extent the racism label can apply to the Tea Party, and how much it stems from signs of all things.

My point is there's actually quite a bit more than just signage at rallies to bring to that discussion, such as a higher degree of support for...well, let's just call them racially biased policies amongst the right-wing/Tea Party.

Put another way, "That's a racist policy," is actually quite different than, "You're a racist." In fact, reading the former statement as the latter is a not-uncommon way of shutting down criticism of...racist policies. If the person defending them changes the subject to, "You're saying I'm a racist!" well suddenly the topic is very different. They're allowed to get angry about that-it's a personal insult! And it's much easier to reject than is the claim 'support for race-based questioning is racist'.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
http://www.illdoctrine.com/2008/07/how_to_tell_people_they_sound.html

I think this brief video will be helpful in illustrating where I'm coming from, Dan.

quote:
Well, right, here the question is specifically whether or not it's valuable to characterize people in favor of those things as racist. I don't think it facilitates any sort of understanding, or discussion, or hell, even argument. I think, in fact, it is a label specifically designed to shut down dialogue or argument. And I think that's lame.
I wouldn't go so far as to call someone who supports such policies a 'racist', anymore than I'd say of someone who told a lie, "You're a liar!" They are, however, racist policies and humoring the sensitivities of people who support them doesn't seem to be especially worthwhile.

To be clear though, it's not my starting point. When talking about those things, I point out that they don't work, they're unAmerican, violate all sorts of laws, and they target specifically based on race. None of those things, for these particular subjects, are really very debatable. A wall wouldn't work, and it's a stupid way to attack the problem. Punishing private citizens who help illegal immigrants-even church programs-is unAmerican. Questioning based on race is legally problematic.

Those are remarks designed to shut down argument, because there's not much to be argued about. But-again-they aren't what we were talking about. We were talking about to what extent the racism label can apply to the Tea Party, and how much it stems from signs of all things.

My point is there's actually quite a bit more than just signage at rallies to bring to that discussion, such as a higher degree of support for...well, let's just call them racially biased policies amongst the right-wing/Tea Party.

Put another way, "That's a racist policy," is actually quite different than, "You're a racist." In fact, reading the former statement as the latter is a not-uncommon way of shutting down criticism of...racist policies. If the person defending them changes the subject to, "You're saying I'm a racist!" well suddenly the topic is very different. They're allowed to get angry about that-it's a personal insult! And it's much easier to reject than is the claim 'support for race-based questioning is racist'.

Yeah I've seen that video, and I like it. I also totally agree with your assessment of every policy suggestion above.

Lots of people accused Tea Partiers, not of endorsing policies that might be racist, but of being racists themselves. Far as I have seen, this is not a case where anyone needed to flip it and make it about who they are... that was the narrative from the get go. Did you see something different?
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
Has the tea party at least shifted to the point where at least half of them acknowledge that Obama was born in America? Like, so that this is no longer literally a minority position?
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
Lots of people accused Tea Partiers, not of endorsing policies that might be racist, but of being racists themselves. Far as I have seen, this is not a case where anyone needed to flip it and make it about who they are... that was the narrative from the get go. Did you see something different?
That was the narrative for some people, sure. Plenty of people find it difficult to distinguish between 'support for racist policies' and 'racist'. Speaking for myself, though...I don't find a whole lot different about it either. I'm splitting hairs because it makes actually discussing the racist threads in those policies easier, not because I don't think supporting them points to any kind of racism.

The Tea Party in particular, and conservatives in general, are allowed to dodge being called on support for racist policies by pointing out that they're not racists. That's an insult! By the time the hapless liberal/Democrat manages to get the conversation back to those same racist policies, if they ever do, they're on the defensive-not the person who thinks it's kosher to question 'Mexican-looking' pedestrians.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Has the tea party at least shifted to the point where at least half of them acknowledge that Obama was born in America? Like, so that this is no longer literally a minority position?

Citation needed.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
The Tea Party in particular, and conservatives in general, are allowed to dodge being called on support for racist policies by pointing out that they're not racists. That's an insult! By the time the hapless liberal/Democrat manages to get the conversation back to those same racist policies...

When on earth does this happen? My impression of the exchange is more like, people interviewed to talk about tea parties saying "oh well the only reason they don't want the health care reform bill to get passed is because they hate Obama. And you know why so many people hate Obama, right? It's because they don't want a black man in the white house!" and the interviewer nodding sagely.

Which, by the way, is a much more relevant topic. Tea Party involvement in dumbass immigration reform was relatively minor compared to protesting stuff like Obamacare and the stimulus. And from what I saw the accusations of racism kept flying, even when the conversation was localized to these topics.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Has the tea party at least shifted to the point where at least half of them acknowledge that Obama was born in America? Like, so that this is no longer literally a minority position?

Citation needed.
Man, you weren't kidding about confirmation bias, given that this has already been discussed, here.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Has the tea party at least shifted to the point where at least half of them acknowledge that Obama was born in America? Like, so that this is no longer literally a minority position?

Citation needed.
Citation
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Dude, I'm willing to acknowledge that they made up a statistically significant group, but... a majority? When nearly every major outspoken Tea Party advocate thinks they're crackpots fixating on a detrimentally stupid conspiracy? Breitbart, Coulter, Beck, Reynolds, basically all of PJM's contributers... all of these people have repudiated the Birthers. Who hasn't, exactly?

I'm not basing this off of my personal experience at tea parties, as I've only been to one (not many of them where I live). I'm basing it off of everything I've seen online. If this is confirmation bias, then introduce some new data to my blinkered perspective, please.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
Man, and that was as late as the part where Donald Trump became a ~tea party darling~ by making a big issue about Obama's eligibility to be president.

Which, of course, goes back to what Tom said. I had hoped that sort of thing was literally impossible to ignore, but..
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
"As late as"...? I assume you're trying to imply that it was a larger percentage earlier, but again, I'd love to see some evidence. Trump made the Birther issue bigger than it ever was before that, so I'd bet that was the height of Birther-enthusiasm (addendum: just browsed through the timeline on wikipedia and the height of Birther fury was during Trump's farce.)

I could play a game of technicalities and point out that even the highest stat is not "at least half of them" but honestly, I'd rather just admit that 41-49%% is insanely higher than I ever would have pegged it at.

Re: my confirmation bias... What can I say? When I'm hungry for politics I tend to read pundits and blogs, both right and left (to avoid confirmation bias!), and avoid any mainstream news outlets. And pundits, both right and left, have been pretty overwhelmingly mocking and dismissive of Birthers. Rightfully so.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Dude, I'm willing to acknowledge that they made up a statistically significant group, but... a majority? When nearly every major outspoken Tea Party advocate thinks they're crackpots fixating on a detrimentally stupid conspiracy? Breitbart, Coulter, Beck, Reynolds, basically all of PJM's contributers... all of these people have repudiated the Birthers. Who hasn't, exactly?

I'm not basing this off of my personal experience at tea parties, as I've only been to one (not many of them where I live). I'm basing it off of everything I've seen online. If this is confirmation bias, then introduce some new data to my blinkered perspective, please.

Dan, Did you even look at the link I posted. The week before Obama released his long form birth certificate, only 34% of people who identified themselves as Tea Party said they believed Obama was born in the US. 45% of people in the Tea Party said they believed he was not born in the US. That's not a insignificant number of marginalized cooks.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Nope! I hadn't! We crossposted. I've since looked at it, though. And responded. Above your post asking if I saw it! Man, that cross posting has now conspired to make both of us look like oblivious jerks, but hopefully everyone will see it's not true. [Smile]
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
If this is confirmation bias, then introduce some new data to my blinkered perspective, please.
the majority of tea party members, when polled, haven't figured out that the president was born in the united states. Less of them believe the truth than believe a falsehood. This is also not new data. This is available from a whole smorgasboard of easily googleable polls on the beliefs of the tea party. It is also not difficult to find prominent tea party leaders and officials jumping wholeheartedly on board with birther claims, or support for people who are riding Birther paranoia, like trump or taitz.

Just look at the pie plate on Rabbit's link.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
I did see Rabbit's link (see above about crossposting!) and yeah, I'm totally eating crow about the average tea partier, I guess. Or at least, roughly half of tea partiers, as reflected by a single poll. It's a tad depressing, in any event.

Re: tea party "leaders" and "officials"... eh, if you mean movement organizers like that idiot from the Tea Party... Express? Train? Space Shuttle? Whatever it was called... who made those ridiculous and, yes, racist comments about Obama before vanishing into obscurity a few years back... yeah, I'm not surprised.

But people like that aren't much more (or less) equipped to "speak for" the tea party than any random guy with a sign. They're just the ones that took some extra initiative and/or had some capital to help organize people. The tea party ideological leaders, the guys the tea parties want to speak at their events (people like Breitbart, as I mentioned above), have always decried the Birthers as ridiculous and stupid, damn near unanimously.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
It's worth noting that Rick Perry has also said that, as far as he's concerned, it's an open question.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Whether or not he actually believes that or was using it as a desperate attempt to pander to the Tea Party is also an open question.

Of course, in neither scenario does he come out looking particularly good.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Whether or not he actually believes that or was using it as a desperate attempt to pander to the Tea Party is also an open question.

Of course, in neither scenario does he come out looking particularly good.

And I would add, that both scenarios contradict Dan_Frank's contention that birthers are a tiny marginalized minority within the Tea Party.
 
Posted by dkw (Member # 3264) on :
 
Dan has already acknowledged that he was wrong on that point.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Yup. My personal opinion is that Dan's got some pretty big blinders up about the Tea Party (but then, that's hardly rare in politics-guilty myself), but throw something like that on the wall and it sticks!

My overall feel is that the Tea Party leadership (like many political groups) does a little dance around issues like this. The heavy hitters, such as Perry and the commentators you mentioned, Dan, can't take a firm stance in support of the controversy. It is after all a profoundly stupid issue, and expressing support of the possiblity that 'maybe he ain't!' says some pretty unpleasant things about the speaker to serious-minded observers.

But they can do things like point out, "Well it's not totally 100% proven yet. I can understand why some people think..." They can express permission for other people to still believe, but still be safe themselves from accusations that they believe themselves. They get to have their cake (support from believers) and eat it too (protection from accusations). Politically speaking it's a very cynical and effective strategy.

Not unlike vigilante border patrol, actually, now that I think about it. Politicians do it for their far fringes all the time, of course, but there's no doubt in my mind that the Tea Party in particular does it on a variety of issues-such as this one.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Well, Rakeesh, the only part where I disagree strongly with you is re: "the heavy hitters." Oh, it's true for some presidential hopefuls (Perry, Palin, etc. all take the "Well I think he was born in the US but eeeeh why is he so reluctant to show his birth certificate? Hmmm?" route), because like all presidential hopefuls they want to appeal to everyone with a snowball's chance in hell of voting for them, so they pretty much just end up being mealy mouthed, wishy washy losers. I've never really tried to defend them, I don't think, nor will I. Almost all presidential candidates dance this dance, on a variety of issues that may or may not be considered a deal breaker to you.

But there are other tea party heavy hitters. People on the "hard right" as you guys would define it. People like Breitbart, Beck, and Coulter. And I mentioned the right-wing blogosphere, right? Reynolds, PJM contributers, Powerline contributers, etc... most of whom have been featured speakers at various tea party events. In fact, these are generally people the tea party creams their jeans for (for god's sake, Breitbart is their hero), and every one of them has called the birther phenomenon fundamentally idiotic and ridiculous. As I said before, I think most of the intellectual face of the tea party, such as it is, has dismissed the birthers completely. But I agree, the presidential candidates associated with the tea party have not, probably because they don't think they can afford to. Which sucks.

I went away from this post for a bit, and coming back to it, something else occurs to me. The birther issue came up in this thread out of the discussion of racism. So, here's maybe where Rakeesh would say my pro-tea party blinders come back on, but I think it's interesting that people equate the birther thing automatically with racism. Certainly that's part of it for many birthers, no doubt, but I think the wider appeal is simply that it would make Obama's presidency illegitimate and so we'd have to get rid of him. I think, to a lot of Republicans/Tea Partiers, a willingness to buy into the birther BS is probably akin to the McCain birthers of '08 (he was born in Panama so he can't be president!) which thankfully died quickly (although that could just be because Palin-frenzy overshadowed it once he announced his VP, and he didn't win and never really had much of a shot) or stolen election hysteria in '00. A large subset of people aren't content to fight their battles via the ballot box, and would rather find a way to say that the president is fundamentally illegitimate and should be booted from office.

It's stupid. It shouldn't happen. But it isn't always racially motivated. I wonder especially if the massive uptick in birthers after the Trump thing had more to do with this phenomenon than a sudden influx of even more racists. What do you think?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
For the record, I don't think Coulter, Beck, or Breitbart are on the "hard right." I think they're liars and thieves and charlatans who pretend to hold political opinions when in reality they are merely cynically partisan for their own personal enrichment. I think Charles Koch, Rick Santorum, and Pat Robertson are on the "hard right."
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Ah.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
http://mediamatters.org/blog/201002070002
I found this linking to reports that while Breitbart himself, when asked directly about Birthers, would...well. He'd call it stupid and ridiculous and a losing issue, but was often careful to point out it was because they 'didn't have the evidence'. Not because it was a bunch of lies, mind you-but because it couldn't be converted into a winner at the polls. But for quite some time, at the very least, his own website fostered a lot of Birther nonsense.

This is the sort of thing I was talking about re: the dance. And yes, most politicians do it, but not over an issue so transparently founded in a bunch of BS.

As for whether the Birther hysteria was itself connected to racism...well. To be honest, I'm not sure what evidence would convince you of that aside from petitions from a majority of them stating, "We are so upset about this possibility because he's black." Yeah, the dots connecting are 'if he's not a citizen, we hafta get rid of him'. Obviously. The question after that is why is it so important to get rid of him?

For me, the belief in the 'evidence' of a conspirary the Birthers had was so dishonest I looked for other explanations. The claims they were making was just such a non-issue. But...for a black President with a 'Muslim-sounding' name...well. *shrug* This all comes back to the question we've talked about before, namely-which party have a bigger race issue, the left or the right? We haven't really gotten anywhere on that before, and it seems unlikely we will now.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
To this day, I still regularly see posts in comment threads on media sites insinuating that Obama is somehow a secret Muslim.
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
To this day, I still regularly see posts in comment threads on media sites insinuating that Obama is somehow a secret Muslim.

All the time.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I googled to see what Glen Beck had said about the birther movement. Some of the comments on the first site I found (The Blaze) were hard to fathom. For example:

quote:
WHO is this man in the WHITE HOUSE? Why won’t he just show his Birth Certificate.
PPS: This is NOT the main issue…but it could be…he‘s not supposed to be in office or he’s the Anti-Christ (who just appeared) …Since I believe in Revelations’ teachings…I can believe almost anything about him. HE talks like the ANTI-CHRIST; HE moves like the ANTI-CHRIST; HIS EYES (the mirror to one’s soul) are pure EVIL…EVIL. SO don’t YOU go telling US what to believe when many of us have spent a lot of time digging through pages of records and comparing things like the TIME LINE and the US PASSPORT issuing records, and have seen the foreign aid application to Occidental College (Obama’s first) … YOU don’t have to believe it…fine. We don’t say you do. BUT the only people who approved this guy were PELOSI (yeah, right) and FEINSTEIN (more ?) something stinks… YOU stick to educating us about the CONSTITUTION and our FOUNDING FATHERS and the MUSLIM quest to take over the WORLD, we get it that you don’t agree, but since we’re not SHEEPLE…we are entitled to our own belief… there are Millions who agree with me that Obama is a MUSLIM WOLF in SHEEP’S CLOTHING, Sponsored by GEORGE SOROS and Communists/Socialists/Marxists brain washed by COMMIE PLANTED PROFESSORS in YALE, et al and his goal is to destroy EVERYTHING GOD made. I will be the first to apologize if I see a real, and I mean forensic experts (several of them) testimony that it’s real.

One of the responses to the above:

quote:
my reading of the Bible and prophecy leads me to think that the anti christ will be a homosexual jew? Although I realize i’m labled as an anti semite I think that is a pretty common interpretation. Not just trying to be ugly or smart..
Excellent reason to doubt President Obama's anti-christ credentials.

[ November 08, 2011, 05:08 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]
 
Posted by twinky (Member # 693) on :
 
Re: Accusations that the GOP is intentionally sabotaging the economy, I'm reading through this and finding some interesting snippets:

quote:
The intransigence over the debt ceiling enraged Republican stalwarts. George Voinovich, the former GOP senator from Ohio, likens his party's new guard to arsonists whose attitude is: "We're going to get what we want or the country can go to hell." Even an architect of the Bush tax cuts, economist Glenn Hubbard, tells Rolling Stone that there should have been a "revenue contribution" to the debt-ceiling deal, "structured to fall mainly on the well-to-do."

 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Clearly they're all socialists.
 
Posted by twinky (Member # 693) on :
 
Further up on the first page, there are some quotes from members of the Reagan administration.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Video of cops assaulting Berkely students with night sticks

Now, the video has zero context to it, I don't know what was going on before this, but when the video starts, I see students with linked arms, and cops who out of nowhere just start attacking them, and continuing to attack a couple of them once they are down.

I can't imagine what context would make this okay. It looks pretty bad.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Agreed. That looks heinously bad.

I've been watching back to back videos of Occupiers (a lot of Black Bloq a**holes, but not entirely them) smashing property and shoving old ladies down stairs and knocking cameras out of peoples' hands and generally being violent menaces, so I will admit I was primed to see some sort of provocation you'd missed. But... I didn't. I mean they're being sort of pushed forward by the guys in the back, and I imagine they probably crossed some invisible line and were failing to comply with police demands that they back up (how could they, without the whole crowd backing up?)... but that's utterly worthless as an excuse for this behavior. Those cops went so far overboard it would be comical if it weren't horrifying.

In fact, the footage in that minute and a half is absolutely worse than all of the various Occupier violence I've seen spread through dozens of camps throughout the country. Damn.

[ November 10, 2011, 03:16 AM: Message edited by: Dan_Frank ]
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
On a much more lighthearted note...

I'm pretty sure you're doing it wrong, guys.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Cop #14 is going to have a very bad day in the press, I predict.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Of course there were some, "Go get jobs!" folks,

Funny story about this -

apparently a much significantly higher percentage of occupy protesters are employed, compared to members of the tea party.

also as documented by this infographic, they're better educated, are supported by the majority of the american public (in comparison with the tea party's dwindling 20%), and the protests already dwarf tea party activity at its peak, by an order of magnitudes.

welp, this thing just keeps going and going.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
A couple points on the infographic:

If you subtract those who are reported retired, Tea Partiers are more highly employed than Occupiers, not less (85% to 70%). Other reported metrics, like educational level attained, party affiliation (or lack thereof), <edit>and income level</edit> are strongly correlated with age, so the differences reported may be primarily inter-cohort effects, since (as reported) OWS is primarily a youth movement while the Tea Party skewed significantly older. Furthermore the comparisons of relative protest size are significantly skewed by Occupy protests in Europe, which have dwarfed in size (by orders of magnitude) Occupy protests in the US. I'm not sure how such protests should be counted, but in terms of US policy and opinion I think the more relevant comparison is purely on a domestic basis. I'll be surprised if any domestic Occupy protests ever top the 320,000 person Tea Party protests on tax day in 2009.

Also, I think a more fair favorable/unfavorable comparison would be to compare people's opinions of the Tea Party in mid-2009, rather than today. If you do that, OWS still garners more support, but the difference is significantly less. This article, for instance, reports a poll* from July 2009 where the Tea Party's favorable/unfavorable is 41/22, which is comparable to OWS reported favorable/unfavorable on the infographic of 53/23.

So, all in all, the infographic analysis isn't too bad although they could have done better, but I'd say Samp's interpretation of it is significantly skewed. As to whether "this thing" will just keep going and going, my honest opinion is that if it doesn't get integrated (or co-opted or captured or whatever) into the Democratic machine within the next few months, it will continue to dwindle in importance until it is essentially non-existent. But then, I *did* predict an imminent Perry resurgence a couple of weeks ago, so maybe I'm not the most reliable political prognosticator.

*It's a Rasmussen poll, so the house lean should probably deduct about four points from the reported "favorable" column, giving something more like 37/24 favorable/unfavorable.

<edit>Further evidence of favorable/unfavorable comparability; a Quinnipiac poll reports a 30/39 favorable/unfavorable divide for OWS as of November 3. I can't find the source for the favorable/unfavorable result reported in the infographic, so I can't speak to the reliability of that pollster, but Quinnipiac has a fairly good reputation without a significant house effect, as I recall.</edit>

<edit2>It looks like maybe it was this Time poll which was reported out on Daily Kos. The fact that OWS's net favorable-unfavorable has gone down a total of 30 points in under a month is, I think, remarkable.</edit2>

[ November 10, 2011, 11:48 AM: Message edited by: SenojRetep ]
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
I'd like to see that divided by Fox News viewers and everyone else. Fox has been hammering OWS for the last couple of months.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Here is another interesting OWS infographic. Some of the numbers are a little off of Sam's, which may be statistical variation or it may be because it was taken at a different time (this one has been floating around for at least a few weeks i believe). Still, it's interesting, and also includes some metrics the comparison graphic does not.

PS: Sam do you prefer Sam or Samp? I used to do Samp, but then I got the impression that Sam may actually be your name (Sam Primary, derp) so... yeah.

PPS: I love how that infographic actually seems to be implying that OWS "wins" in civil disobedience because they've had more arrests. Maybe I'm projecting motives on the infographic, but that's the impression I got, and I just... wow.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Cop #14 is going to have a very bad day in the press, I predict.

He should get a lot worse than that, in my opinion. But he probably won't even lose his job. Bleh.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
I've always been amused by the fact that it got turned into "samp." Samp Rimary? Where's that come from? The wastebasket of Star Wars character name rejects?

quote:
but I'd say Samp's interpretation of it is significantly skewed
My 'interpretation' of the infographic is skewed?
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
I think Samp Rimary was an Andorian. I don't actually know enough Star Wars to know what an Andorian is, but I'm pretty sure I know enough Star Wars to know that they're something.

So, yeeeaah... I mentally pronounced it "SAMP-ruh-merry" or something along those lines for... quite a long time. Years, probably. I just assumed it was a made up word, and didn't give it any more thought. [Dont Know]

Actually, I'll totally cop to something else, even more embarrassing! For at least a year, I mentally read "Hatrack" as "HA-track" and did not make the mental connection to, you know. A hat rack. When I did I just sort of sat there in stunned silence, made speechless by my own dumbassery.

So, now you know. Just keep that between us, okay?
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I've always been amused by the fact that it got turned into "samp." Samp Rimary? Where's that come from? The wastebasket of Star Wars character name rejects?

quote:
but I'd say Samp's interpretation of it is significantly skewed
My 'interpretation' of the infographic is skewed?
To me you seemed pretty "rah-rah go team" about it, so I was a bit surprised when I didn't see that borne out in the graphic itself.
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I've always been amused by the fact that it got turned into "samp." Samp Rimary? Where's that come from?

I think that might have been my fault. Sam didn't work for me as a shortening as Samprimary; Samp did.

I also call Dagonee Dags, not Dag. (Because DaG was someone else entirely.)
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Y'know, it was also only a few months ago that I noticed where SenojRetep comes from. Another big "Wow I'm dumb" moment.

How about you, rivka? What's the trick to correctly processing your screen name?
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
I'm guessing it's an anagram of Varik. Which is... hm, apparently a village in the Dutch province of Gelderland!

Is your secret revealed?
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
For the longest time (and this is still sorta the case today) I mentally pronounced Samprimary as "Samp-Primary".
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
Yeah, me too BB, I think that's a more accurate way of demonstrating what I was trying to say above.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
I used to pronounce sakeriver as sake (as in, "I'll do it for your sake") until someone made reference or a joke, at which point I had an oooooh moment.

In my head, whenever I see "BlackBlade" I automatically translate it to "Mormegil," which is his Elvish name (in Sindarin).
 
Posted by Sean Monahan (Member # 9334) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I used to pronounce sakeriver as sake (as in, "I'll do it for your sake")

That's not how it's pronounced?
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
I've since been led to believe that it's sake river.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
not star wars per se, but

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andorian

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Andonian_tea
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/m7ymg/correction_to_the_misleading_infographic_saying/
 
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
How about you, rivka? What's the trick to correctly processing your screen name?

It's just my first name with a lowercase r.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
In my head, whenever I see "BlackBlade" I automatically translate it to "Mormegil," which is his Elvish name (in Sindarin).

I'm not parsing this correctly. Is there a character named BlackBlade, or is that how the phrase translates into Elvish?
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
not star wars per se, but

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andorian

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Andonian_tea

Oh god I'm the worst.
 
Posted by Dan_Frank (Member # 8488) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
How about you, rivka? What's the trick to correctly processing your screen name?

It's just my first name with a lowercase r.
Aha! Now that's downright Machiavellian!
 
Posted by Juxtapose (Member # 8837) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/m7ymg/correction_to_the_misleading_infographic_saying/

I see you, and raise you.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
In my head, whenever I see "BlackBlade" I automatically translate it to "Mormegil," which is his Elvish name (in Sindarin).

I'm not parsing this correctly. Is there a character named BlackBlade, or is that how the phrase translates into Elvish?
Turin Turambar, my all time favorite Tolkien character, who is woefully under appreciated, changes names a few times throughout his travels in Beleriand, but during his time in Nargothrond, he is known as Mormegil, the Black Blade (or Black Sword), because the sword he carried, Anglachel (reforged as Gurthang) was made from meteorite rock, and thus black.

Seriously man, read the Silmarillion, or at least read the Children of Hurin.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
*raises hand* I have read it, and consider it a must read before one does any world building.
 
Posted by advice for robots (Member # 2544) on :
 
Although it's really easy to end up just copying Tolkien's world after you read Silmarillion.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
George R. R. Martin is good example of world building that reveres Tolkien, but doesn't copy him. I'd say the only major qualitative differences it the use of language and naming conventions in Tolkien, but 1. Not every writer can also be a philologist, and 2. Martin's naming conventions are specifically Medieval and European, which demands a far lesser degree of complexity.

Middle Earth still comes across as richer, but that's possibly because it's so much more foreign, and Martin borrows so much from the not too distant European past.
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Juxtapose:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/m7ymg/correction_to_the_misleading_infographic_saying/

I see you, and raise you.
Andrew Gelman points to some inconsistencies in Schoen's reporting on the poll. Kind of funny, since Schoen is a Democratic pollster whose pronouncements on the poll try to make OWS look bad (or, at least, outside the mainstream), while Gelman is (to the best of my knowledge) a Republican* who dismantles Schoen's misrepresentation of OWS.

*I make this inference based on the fact that he occasionally used to guest blog on David Frum's site back when it was called "NewMajority" (i.e. building a new Republican majority).
 
Posted by SenojRetep (Member # 8614) on :
 
More evidence of tensions between Occupy groups and local governments

After a violent shooting death in the Oakland camp, it looks like the mayor and police will again try to clear out the plaza (which led to violent confrontation last time). Drug overdoses in Portland and Salt Lake lead to eviction notices there, with protesters vowing to stay. There's also a story from Burlington, VT about an occupier who apparently shot himself in his tent and city officials express concern over the discharge of a fire arm in a crowded and public space.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Protesters removed from Zuccotti Park

It's the latest in a string of evictions over the weekend, but obviously it's the biggest news because it was the original Occupy space. Supposedly they'll be allowed to return at some future date for some reason.

The press was kept a block away, which looks pretty damned suspicious to me. If the reports of thousands of books being thrown into dumpsters is true I'll be a little extra furious, but it would seem to be in keeping with most cities' habit of destroying whatever is left behind after they remove the protesters. Very few cities have made provisions to collect and return property after evictions, and some have going out of their way to destroy it, as was the case in Atlanta and Oakland.

I don't like that it was unannounced, under cover of darkness, and without access to the press. It's the latest in a string of poor behavior that doesn't fit the rose-colored glasses version of American protesting that we often have of our society. Looks like not a lot has changed since the 60s and 70s.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
On that front, little has changed. Conservatives still yap about freedom while doing absolutely nothing to demonstrate that they have an understanding of what freedom is.
 
Posted by talsmitde (Member # 9780) on :
 
As one tweet put it: "NYC authorities clearly #OWS eviction is just and reasonable. That's why they're doing it at 2 am and barring all press."

Following the #OWS feed, it appears that many of the protestors are regrouping at Foley Square.

The NYT has some pictures, as well as a partial account of the night.

There's also a livestream here.

Some reports on Twitter about NYPD cutting down some of the trees in the park, as well as chucking the books from the camp's library, and using a sound cannon, but haven't seen any confirmation of any of these things outside of Twitter.
 
Posted by talsmitde (Member # 9780) on :
 
More links.

Details on the 5,000+ volume library that was destroyed.

Tweets from journalists about the media blackout and arrests of reporters.

For being a sanitation hazard, Zuccotti Park got cleaned up in a hurry.
 
Posted by DarkKnight (Member # 7536) on :
 
Bloombergs statement
quote:
At one o’clock this morning, the New York City Police Department and the owners of Zuccotti Park notified protestors in the park that they had to immediately remove tents, sleeping bags and other belongings, and must follow the park rules if they wished to continue to use it to protest. Many protestors peacefully complied and left. At Brookfield’s request, members of the NYPD and Sanitation Department assisted in removing any remaining tents and sleeping bags. This action was taken at this time of day to reduce the risk of confrontation in the park, and to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood.
quote:
“I have become increasingly concerned – as had the park’s owner, Brookfield Properties – that the occupation was coming to pose a health and fire safety hazard to the protestors and to the surrounding community. We have been in constant contact with Brookfield and yesterday they requested that the City assist it in enforcing the no sleeping and camping rules in the park. But make no mistake – the final decision to act was mine.

“The park had become covered in tents and tarps, making it next to impossible to safely navigate for the public, and for first responders who are responsible for guaranteeing public safety. The dangers posed were evident last week when an EMT was injured as protestors attempted to prevent him and several police officers from helping a mentally ill man who was menacing others. As an increasing number of large tents and other structures have been erected, these dangers have increased. It has become increasingly difficult even to monitor activity in the park to protect the protestors and the public, and the proliferation of tents and other obstructions has created an increasing fire hazard that had to be addressed.

quote:
No right is absolute and with every right comes responsibilities. The First Amendment gives every New Yorker the right to speak out – but it does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over to the exclusion of others – nor does it permit anyone in our society to live outside the law. There is no ambiguity in the law here – the First Amendment protects speech – it does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space.

“Protestors have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments.


 
Posted by DarkKnight (Member # 7536) on :
 
NYT account of what happened
quote:
The mayor’s office sent out a message on Twitter at 1:19 a.m. saying: “Occupants of Zuccotti should temporarily leave and remove tents and tarps. Protesters can return after the park is cleared.” Fliers handed out by the police at the private park on behalf of the park’s owner, Brookfield Properties, and the city, spelled out the same message.

 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Shen Tong, a protester and former leader of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, tried to calm the growing tension between protesters and police. Addressing a crowd of about a hundred people two blocks from the park, he shouted, and his words were echoed by all those standing near.

"Brothers and sisters of the NYPD who used to think you're not part of this. Tonight, you're a part of this," he said. "You used to think you could just keep your head down and get along, or maybe get ahead, but tonight, we tell you, you are involved!"

Shen said the key to winning the night was to stay mobile.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/15/zuccotti-park-cleared-occupy-wall-street_n_1094313.html
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Yeah, sending that message at 1AM was a total dick move. (In related news, does anyone else find the Times' naked bias hysterically funny? It's like they're personally put out about it. Maybe one of their editors used to jog through the park every morning. *grin*)
 
Posted by talsmitde (Member # 9780) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
(In related news, does anyone else find the Times' naked bias hysterically funny? It's like they're personally put out about it. Maybe one of their editors used to jog through the park every morning. *grin*)

You mean like this?

"One young father, pushing his toddler son in a stroller, gave police officers guarding Zuccotti Park a thumbs-up sign. Another man, rushing by in a cream suit, flashed them a megawatt grin, and a blonde woman stopped in her tracks. 'Ooooooh, good,' she said."

Father with stroller . . . suit with a megawatt grin . . . blonde woman saying "Ooooooh, good," . . . that's not loaded imagery at all.
 
Posted by talsmitde (Member # 9780) on :
 
There was an incident at UC-Davis yesterday, where a campus police officer pepper-sprayed about ten protestors, who were sitting with their arms linked, from about three or four feet away.

USA Today article

Fuller YouTube clip

Video of medic treating those hit by pepper spray

Be sure to have the sound on for the video at the second link: the UC Davis students on the quad at the time were very upset.
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
There was another incident at occupy Portland where a protester hit a police horse. Most places view hitting a police service animal (dog or horse) the same as hitting a police officer. I wonder if the perpetrator was charged with assault - and if not, why not, especially considering the possible injury of the horse.
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
To be fair, the horse had just trampled his girlfriend, and he couldn't reach the cop's head. If you don't want your horse punched, you probably shouldn't use it to knock people over.
 
Posted by Bella Bee (Member # 7027) on :
 
In that video it looks like he hit a different horse from the girlfriend trampling one.
Although punching a horse in the face is pretty cruel, it's also not very kind to the horse to use it as some kind of battering ram or crushing machine.
 
Posted by Glenn Arnold (Member # 3192) on :
 
I'm still trying to find the frame where he punched the horse. I'm assuming it's somewhere near the 2/3 mark, just before the guy behind the second horse is knocked down. Can anyone pinpoint the time?
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
That UC Davis incident was at once shocking and at the same time part of a pattern of events that doesn't surprise me at all.

This was a particularly bad one though. Students staging a sit-in are slowly and methodically, almost thoughtfully pepper-sprayed? Come on, how can you make the argument that sitting, armed linked, heads down students are menacing you?

Their excuse was that they used the pepper spray instead of beating them with clubs. Well gee, I guess we should be thankful for that!
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
In the evening after the incident, students form a silent gauntlet of protest as UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car.

She looked a little rattled, but it was hard to tell. Smart move by the protesters. Earlier in the day it was time for shouting. Then, it was time for silence. Whoever had the idea knows what he or she is doing.
 
Posted by Shanna (Member # 7900) on :
 
Applause to whoever organized the silent protest. Brilliant decision. Just watching it gave me the chills. I can't imagine what it felt like to walk it.

This is a great article about the event at UC Davis: Militarization Of Campus Police
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
I've been following this closely. I know a number f the people involved, and it took place 100 yards from my music department and English faculty.

Chancellor katehi, in essence, is completely and utterly incompetent and dangerously so. Her reasoning was that this police confrontation was the only viable solution to the problem of removing protesters. Not negotiating. Not waiting for them to disperse. Not allowing them to air their grievances publicly, but attacking them to "gain compliance" as she put it.
 
Posted by talsmitde (Member # 9780) on :
 
Orincoro: I was on Occupy UC Davis's Facebook page this morning and came across this note from Kristin Stoneking, the campus minister for the Cal Aggie Christian Association, talking about how and why she came to be escorting Chancellor Katehi to her car the night of the silent protest. It's good stuff, with thoughts on the nature of power and the dangers of violent responses.

I'll be keeping UC Davis in my thoughts today, and I hope all goes well for the students rallying at noon today in the quad. My large public university in the Southeast has been pretty quiet, but then again, the administration isn't trying to double fees again in the next five years, or at least haven't told us that they're planning to do so. [Roll Eyes]
 
Posted by talsmitde (Member # 9780) on :
 
And Shanna, thanks for sharing that article on the militarization of campus police. Yeah, it's hard to credibly argue that sitting down with linked arms is somehow "violent."
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
I know Ostertag personally, he was one of my professors at one time, though I didn't find that we had a lot to talk about in terms of music. He's an interesting guy- he definitely is an expert on protests and riots.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
While on the topic of money.

http://xkcd.com/980/huge/#x=-10984&y=-7344&z=5
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:
Applause to whoever organized the silent protest. Brilliant decision. Just watching it gave me the chills. I can't imagine what it felt like to walk it.

This is a great article about the event at UC Davis: Militarization Of Campus Police

Yes. A silent protest in that instance is far more penetrating. Looking at the police officer who sprayed the group first, it became clear to me that once he got his bottle out and shook it, he was going to do it. It was either that, or look weak by putting it back.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
My brain is in a weird place right now.

I've watched about eight hours of civil rights documentaries over the course of the past two days for the directed reading I'm doing, and I'm in the middle of a stack of books on the same subject.

If that video, the one of the spraying, had been in black and white, there would have been nothing distinguishing it from the Civil Rights Movement except their clothes.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
My brain is in a weird place right now.

I've watched about eight hours of civil rights documentaries over the course of the past two days for the directed reading I'm doing, and I'm in the middle of a stack of books on the same subject.

If that video, the one of the spraying, had been in black and white, there would have been nothing distinguishing it from the Civil Rights Movement except their clothes.

Well that, and we didn't have pepper spray in the 60's. They would have been beaten with clubs, mauled by dogs, and high pressure hoses spraying them.

Still, the policemen were completely out of order. I just read the UC Davis campus police chief was suspended. Sure he's responsible for his officer's conduct, but the cops who sprayed the cans, shouldn't get paid administrative leave. They should get paid administrative leave and then be told they've been fired once the investigation is complete.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
Tear gas was commonly used. Not EVERY encounter with police looked like a confrontation with Bull Connor. That's beside the point though.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
I didn't write this to complain. The terrifying thing isn't that justice is relative. The terrifying thing is to witness injustice and to act as if one sees nothing. While I was getting my masters, I once had a conversation with a girl who at the time had 3 years of work experience under her belt. She is now the HR director of a joint stock company. We were talking about a marketing strategy for Weida's paper industry. Her idea was to carve out a new market by advertising Weida's high quality dinner napkins to China's nine hundred million farmers. Surprised by her cocksureness, I asked her if she knew how farmers wipe their mouths after each meal. She returned my question with a misgiving look. I raised my hand and wiped my mouth on my sleeve. She looked at my graceless action with contempt.

During a macro-economics class, a classmate attacked blue collar workers who'd been laid off, and unemployed high school dropouts: "80% of them are where they are because they don't work hard. They chose not to specialize in something when they were young, so they can't get jobs now! Those kids are perfectly capable of studying and working. I've heard that a lot of students use their holidays to make thousands to pay their tuition." You can't find a person who knows less about the struggles of rural China than this classmate of mine.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/10/why-many-in-china-sympathize-with-occupy-wall-street/247356/
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
Lyrhawn:
quote:
Tear gas was commonly used. Not EVERY encounter with police looked like a confrontation with Bull Connor. That's beside the point though.
Ah yes, I'd forgotten about tear gas. No, not every confrontation was a Bull Connor level of excess, but there was also Kent State.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
I read the following statement in a Washington Post article.


quote:
Indeed, the disjunction between how the UC-Davis police read this video (they see an officer doing his job) and how many others read this video (they see a man in a uniform causing great and unnecessary pain to unresisting students) indicates that we have reached a kind of intellectual impasse about what kind of police we want and what limits should be placed on their power.
What struck me is that there is no fundamental contradiction between these two views of the video. The officer was doing his job and he was causing great and unnecessary pain on unresisting students. That is the problem.

We have a police force that is trained to see the public as the enemy and ordered to inflict pain as part of their job.

"Just doing their job" is no more an excuse for these officers than it was for the guards at Treblinka.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Lyrhawn:
quote:
Tear gas was commonly used. Not EVERY encounter with police looked like a confrontation with Bull Connor. That's beside the point though.
Ah yes, I'd forgotten about tear gas. No, not every confrontation was a Bull Connor level of excess, but there was also Kent State.
Kent State was not a Civil Rights protest, it was a Vietnam War protest.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
If it helps, American tear gas is being used right now ...

quote:
US firm's teargas used against Tahrir Square protesters
Egypt's military junta fired CS gas cartridges made by Combined Systems Inc of Pennsylvania, say demonstrators

The teargas used by interior ministry troops in Cairo's Tahrir Square is supplied by a US company. Demonstrators say cartridges retrieved from the scene are branded with the name and address of Combined Systems Inc (CSI).

The firm is located in Jamestown, Pennsylvania. It specialises in supplying what it calls "crowd control devices" to armies and "homeland security agencies" around the world. It also manufactures lethal military equipment.

Protesters say the CS gas seems more powerful than that used by Egyptian police during the country's last popular uprising in February. "It's stronger, it burns your face, it makes you feel like your whole body is seizing up," one witness said. He added: "It doesn't seem to be combated by Coke or vinegar."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/21/tahrir-square-us-teargas-used-egypt?CMP=twt_fd
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Lyrhawn:
quote:
Tear gas was commonly used. Not EVERY encounter with police looked like a confrontation with Bull Connor. That's beside the point though.
Ah yes, I'd forgotten about tear gas. No, not every confrontation was a Bull Connor level of excess, but there was also Kent State.
Kent State was not a Civil Rights protest, it was a Vietnam War protest.
Not being forced to kill people in another country we had no business being in, or pay for it with my tax dollars seems like a civil rights issue to me.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
quote:
Not being forced to kill people in another country we had no business being in, or pay for it with my tax dollars seems like a civil rights issue to me.
While that's a rational argument, you know as well as I do that the terms "Civil Right's Movement" and "Civil Right's Protest" have taken on a meaning much more specific than the literal definition of the words.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
quote:
Not being forced to kill people in another country we had no business being in, or pay for it with my tax dollars seems like a civil rights issue to me.
While that's a rational argument, you know as well as I do that the terms "Civil Right's Movement" and "Civil Right's Protest" have taken on a meaning much more specific than the literal definition of the words.
I'll grant that's true. But it wasn't something in my thoughts when I wrote what I did. I was merely pointing out that the state of protesting response at that point in American history also included killing Americans.
 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
I'll grant my comment was kind of nit picky.
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
If only getting grants for grad school was this easy. [Wink]
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
Granted.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
More video surfaces of police brutality in Oakland.

Yeesh. Not really sure how to explain that away.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Granted.

Grant Rolled
 
Posted by BBegley (Member # 12638) on :
 
quote:
Whenever I need to breezily inflict discipline on unruly citizens, I know I can trust Defense Technology 56895 MK-9 Stream, 1.3% Red Band/1.3% Blue Band Pepper Spray to get the job done! The power of reason is no match for Defense Technology's superior repression power. When I reach for my can of Defense Technology 56895 MK-9 Stream, 1.3% Red Band/1.3% Blue Band Pepper Spray, I know that even the mighty First Amendment doesn't stand a chance against its many scovil units of civil rights suppression.

When I feel threatened by students, no matter how unarmed, peaceful and seated they may be, I know that Defense Technology 56895 MK-9 Stream, 1.3% Red Band/1.3% Blue Band Pepper Spray has got my back as I casually spray away at point blank range.

It really is the Cadillac of citizen repression technology.

Buy a whole case!

Amazon Review of UC Davis Pepper Spray

Customer images
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
More video surfaces of police brutality in Oakland.

Yeesh. Not really sure how to explain that away.

He wouldn't move. He wouldn't leave. He wouldn't get on the ground. Pretty much explains it. I would have hit him too.
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
So arrest him. When someone breaks the law, though I question right off the bat what law this guy was breaking by standing in the street, but when someone breaks the law, you arrest them. You don't beat them.

How is that okay?
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
More video surfaces of police brutality in Oakland.

Yeesh. Not really sure how to explain that away.

He wouldn't move. He wouldn't leave. He wouldn't get on the ground. Pretty much explains it. I would have hit him too.
You would have hit an unarmed person who presented no physical threat to you? Physically restraining him and arresting him would not have been sufficient? I agree he should have gotten on the ground, especially after the officer told him to, but swiping at his head and legs with a truncheon would have been your solution? Do you not appreciate the problem that people see in this kind of behavior?

Of course, we are never there in the moment, but we *can* see through video who is in control, and who is not. The officer here allows himself to get out of control. That is not the kind of position that a policeman should find himself in. And that goes back to the first moments of the confrontation. Had he stood before the person and demanded that he sit, without offering the suggestion of violence, the man may have sat. Had he, upon approaching the man and finding that the man was evading him, stopped and restated his demand, the man may have complied. But what did he do? Each time he approached the man with the threat of violence, and, quite naturally, the man backed away each time- until the officer found himself chasing after the man, hacking at his legs and at one point his head, in an attempt to get him to stop. Why would the man stop, knowing that the end of a truncheon is going to greet him as soon as he complies? The officer has left him little choice, and he responds naturally.

Ultimately, the officer appears to be enraged. Whether he merely *appears* to be so, or not, that is not the image that a police officer ought to project- one of an enraged man with a club. Whatever you think about a civilian putting himself in that position, the officer is supposed to be a professional. If that's what being a professional looks like, then color me very surprised.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
quote:
He wouldn't move. He wouldn't leave. He wouldn't get on the ground. Pretty much explains it. I would have hit him too.
That's just an odious thing to say, capaxinfiniti. As much as I've often thought your politics pretty shill-ish, this is different. It's just *nasty*.

Think, for a moment, of what kind of company that statement puts you in. I'll rephrase, but it's still accurate to what you said: "When an American citizen, peacefully protesting in a nonviolent, nonthreatening way, refuses to cooperate with law enforcement-one of the *points* of peaceful, nonviolent civil protest-law enforcement has the go ahead to hit them."

It's talk like that that gets your crew, conservatives that is, tagged with all sorts of unpleasant associations with he Civil Rights movement. It's a nasty, shameful thing to have said and you ought to be embarrassed by it. I hope after thinking about it, you don't mean it.
 
Posted by scholarette (Member # 11540) on :
 
http://www.despair.com/occupythenorthpoletshirt.html
 
Posted by scholarette (Member # 11540) on :
 
Here is another article about policy brutality- pregnant woman beaten and pepper sprayed and then miscarries. Not yet confirmed by media, but this is pretty disturbing.
http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/pregnant-woman-miscarries-after-being-sprayed-with
 
Posted by Parkour (Member # 12078) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
More video surfaces of police brutality in Oakland.

Yeesh. Not really sure how to explain that away.

He wouldn't move. He wouldn't leave. He wouldn't get on the ground. Pretty much explains it. I would have hit him too.
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
And when people think like you in law enforcement, they typically legitimize the protesters in a way they could normally only dream of.


 
Posted by The Rabbit (Member # 671) on :
 
Why is that so many conservatives, who are opposed to "big government", have no problem with non-violent people being maced or beaten for refusing to follow police instructions?
 
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
 
Honestly? While I think there's a bit of over-generalization happening here, I recall some research being done a few years back that concluded that a) conservatives feel disgust far more strongly than liberals; and b) conservatives are somewhat more likely to respond with and approve of violence against things that disgust them. It's fairly rare to hear conservatives complaining about violent governnment reactions; when they do, it's usually a complaint that the government actually organized or implemented the reaction badly, and not that the reaction was violent.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
It's fairly easy to see capax's line of reasoning here, he isn't too far off from embittered reactionary central.

quote:
Originally posted by What Someone Actually Said:
“Leftists are the most violent prone segment of the American population. That's why I hold that Democrats, Liberals and other criminals should be rounded up and in many cases hanged so they won't get lots of innocent people killed and brutalized.”


***********

"Minor problem here as related to Zuccotti Park. While it is private property in the sense most of us think of as private property, it is technically a Privately Owned Public Space. When it was originally built back in the '60s, the builders built it in exchange for being allowed to build the adjacent building taller than would usually be allowed. As part of that agreement, the owners were required to leave the park open 24 hours a day. They could still regulate what activities were allowed in the park, just not the hours. So the owners would have to renegotiate their agreement with NYC in order to be able to close the park during certain hours. Hopefully they'll be allowed to do that and make the modifications necessary to be able to close the park when needed."

*****************

Ideologically, they appear to be more related to the anarchist movement than to anything else. I'm seeing the same sort of rhetoric that theyu used when they burned Seattle a couple of years ago, and attacked the various international financial conferences. If they have a motto, it allears to be Loot Rape Pillage and Burn.

We've dealt with barbarian savages before. We've done so in a rather unpleasant manner. Since it's considered impolite to sell them into the merciful institution of slavery, we're stuck with liquidating them.

Hanging is the green solution.


******************

Where shall my second call upon you, boy?

I don't want to lynch them. I'd be happy to try them by Counter-revolutionary court befire I hang them. That should take about five minutes per OWSer.

They are fighting against my country and the prosperity of my children and grandchildren. They are cirrational and dangerous. Their existence is partly a factor of not having conducted mass executions of communist agents as a result of the McCarthy and House Unamerican Activities investigations.

I am not a nice person. They have taught me hate. Now I want them dead.

I'm not holding my breath, though.


******************

Not saying I agree with Dennis completely, but not saying "no" either. But Winston, you must understand that many of the people doing this protesting are professional whiners. They get paid to make a scene. I have no use for such drivel. And these 'kids' that are bitching about school debt, etc.? They studied and got degrees in areas such "Ancient Mesopotamian Basket Weaving" just as a ludicris example- what possible need are there for such in a depressed worldwide economy?

I know you have a socialist streak that is strong in you, Winston. But try to look at it from other perspectives. Over here across the pond, we ARE more ocnservative and most of us do not hold with these whiny little spoiled brats. If they were my kids, suffice to say an arse whooping would be in store. I also have already told my kids if you get arrested doing something stupid, don't bother calling me. And they understand why!


**************************

What the OWSers don't understand is that Zucotti park is PRIVATE PROPERTY. The second the owners, in this case Brookfield Properties, asks them to leave they MUST leave. If not, they're tresspassing, and Brookfield has every legal right to send in the cops to arrest them.

Some of the public spaces various OWS protest groups have occupied make things more complicated, but Brookfield has the same rights on Zuccoti park that I do with people in my front yard. When I say get, you get.


Only a matter of time before this is increasingly the mainstream of conservative American thought, I've already started seeing it on IRC channels with people who I thought 'normal'. Maybe Capax doesn't think they should be hanged but I wouldn't be surprised if he agreed with the 'professional whiners' rationalization for beating them.
 
Posted by Mucus (Member # 9735) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
Why is that so many conservatives, who are opposed to "big government", have no problem with non-violent people being maced or beaten for refusing to follow police instructions?

It depends on the government.

quote:
“So I hope that we’ll hear more of this [from Mr. Obama] because the young men and women taking the streets in Tehran need our support,” Mr. Graham said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The president of the United States is supposed to lead the free world, not follow it.”

...

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, said, “I believe that we could be more forceful than we have” in dealing with Iran.

“If America stands for democracy, and all of these demonstrations are going on in Tehran and other cities over there, and people don’t think that we really care, then obviously they’re going to question, do we really believe in our principles?” Mr. Grassley said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/22/back-iran-protesters-gop-urges-obama/?feat=home_headlines
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
That's just an odious thing to say, capaxinfiniti. As much as I've often thought your politics pretty shill-ish, this is different. It's just *nasty*.

It's talk like that that gets your crew, conservatives that is, tagged with all sorts of unpleasant associations with he Civil Rights movement.

I think you and a few others are overreacting to what I said. The recent spat of conflicts with police are less about the alleged injustices on wall street and more about the anit-authoritarian/anti-police tendencies of some of the people involved in the OWS movement. These people taking the fight to the police wouldn't respect them in any circumstance. Their behavior originates from a twisted sense of "if you're not with us, you're against us" as well as a poor understanding of the demographics of the police force. What happened to the police being part of the 99%? These are the Americans who get drunk drivers off our streets and keep guns and drugs out of our schools; who go to domestic violence calls and see the wife's face bloodied, her eye hanging out of her socket because her husband hit her so hard; these are Americans who care enough about the quality of their country that they risk their lives to protect the safety of their fellow citizens. Meanwhile occupy wall street huddles in parks, banging on drums and overdosing in tents...

OWS would do well to keep the police on their side. These sideshow antics are neither here nor there. They don't advance their cause and they don't garner support. If the complaints of the occupy crowd can't stand on their own merit they shouldn't resort to taunting then vilifying the police in order to draw back the waning American public interest. The police are charged with maintaining order and ensuring the rights of everyone in these cities. Meaning citizens of any ideological persuasion should be able to go about their lives without excessive molestation by the protesters.

quote:
Think, for a moment, of what kind of company that statement puts you in. I'll rephrase, but it's still accurate to what you said: "When an American citizen, peacefully protesting in a nonviolent, nonthreatening way, refuses to cooperate with law enforcement-one of the *points* of peaceful, nonviolent civil protest-law enforcement has the go ahead to hit them."
It puts me in the company of the peace officers of this country, and I'm proud to be there. As I implied above, I don't see this as an OWS issue and I sure as hell don't see this as a civil rights issue. Orinoco broke down the incident in a fairly accurate way, thought our analyses of the event differ. I think the officer showed great restraint and control by giving the man plenty of time to comply (and later by hitting only the mans leg, and once, his arm.) Instead the man stood defiantly in front of the officer when he could have continued his protest at an alternate location. Notice the officers first action is to grab the protester by the shoulder, turning him so his back is toward the officer, standard procedure for arresting someone. But the man jerks away, facing the officer and raising his hands. Then he doesn't get on the ground, etc, etc. So I don't feel the actions of this police officer were unprofessional or inexplicable. This guy wanted to be a martyr and he got it.

quote:
It's a nasty, shameful thing to have said and you ought to be embarrassed by it. I hope after thinking about it, you don't mean it.
You're trying to shame me into keeping silent about what I believe. Imagine if everyone was told to be embarrased about sharing their opinion. Since when has silencing a dissenting voice been part of your ideology? I know you're capable of constructing a more substantial counterargument.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Capax,

quote:
I think you and a few others are overreacting to what I said.
You said a peaceful, nonviolent protestor should be treated violently by the police with an attack by a truncheon. You didn't just say it was OK for that to happen, you specifically approved. People are objecting to that. Big shocker.

quote:
The recent spat of conflicts with police are less about the alleged injustices on wall street and more about the anit-authoritarian/anti-police tendencies of some of the people involved in the OWS movement. These people taking the fight to the police wouldn't respect them in any circumstance. Their behavior originates from a twisted sense of "if you're not with us, you're against us" as well as a poor understanding of the demographics of the police force. What happened to the police being part of the 99%? These are the Americans who get drunk drivers off our streets and keep guns and drugs out of our schools; who go to domestic violence calls and see the wife's face bloodied, her eye hanging out of her socket because her husband hit her so hard; these are Americans who care enough about the quality of their country that they risk their lives to protect the safety of their fellow citizens. Meanwhile occupy wall street huddles in parks, banging on drums and overdosing in tents...


Well, goodness gracious me, I forgot that the people who define what OWS is about are far-right conservative Republicans. That sure makes things easier! Every single police officer is a hero who took the job out of a sense of altruistic public duty, and the OWS protestors are drug addicted tent-huddling whiners. Glad that's straightened out.

By the standards you're using, the Tea Party is a bunch of racist, crazy, Birther-believing xenophobes, though. Of course when someone paints with the kind of brush you're doing, and focuses on someone you like rather than blithely and ignorantly dismiss out of hand...well. Then it's an overgeneralization, of course.

quote:
OWS would do well to keep the police on their side. These sideshow antics are neither here nor there. They don't advance their cause and they don't garner support. If the complaints of the occupy crowd can't stand on their own merit they shouldn't resort to taunting then vilifying the police in order to draw back the waning American public interest. The police are charged with maintaining order and ensuring the rights of everyone in these cities. Meaning citizens of any ideological persuasion should be able to go about their lives without excessive molestation by the protesters.

Yeah, that's why OWS is spreading. Because they're not garnering support. Your reasoning is laughable, but let's suppose for the sake of argument you're right, the only reason they've maintained or improved their PR is by 'taunting and villifying the police'. Cops aren't allowed to freaking hit people just for being taunted. It's supposed to take more than that before the threshold of violence is crossed.

And before you go all holier-than-thou about the police, and incidentally implying that people are ungrateful for low crime rates, etc., bear this in mind: those rules about violence, when to escalate, etc., they exist as much to protect cops as they do to protect the citizens. But in any event, y'know who the cops answer to? Us. We make their rules for them. That's the way it's supposed to be in an open, representative society. We're not supposed to just sign off on whatever they do, because hey, they're cops.

As others have said, this is actually the sort of thing a conservative should be pretty up in arms about: when and how the government is allowed to use violence against its citizens. But, whew! Good thing it's only a bunch of protesting liberals. Now you don't have to be concerned about the government using violence against peaceful political protestors.

I'll say that again, just to point out how deeply hypocritical your belief in limited government actually is: 'government using violence against peaceful political protestors'.

quote:
It puts me in the company of the peace officers of this country, and I'm proud to be there. As I implied above, I don't see this as an OWS issue and I sure as hell don't see this as a civil rights issue. Orinoco broke down the incident in a fairly accurate way, thought our analyses of the event differ. I think the officer showed great restraint and control by giving the man plenty of time to comply (and later by hitting only the mans leg, and once, his arm.) Instead the man stood defiantly in front of the officer when he could have continued his protest at an alternate location. Notice the officers first action is to grab the protester by the shoulder, turning him so his back is toward the officer, standard procedure for arresting someone. But the man jerks away, facing the officer and raising his hands. Then he doesn't get on the ground, etc, etc. So I don't feel the actions of this police officer were unprofessional or inexplicable. This guy wanted to be a martyr and he got it.

Ironically your attitude does a disservice to the police, or do you think helping OWS make martyrs out of peaceful protestors is helpful to the cops? If you think Orincoro broke down the incident accurately, you simply cannot come to the conclusions you're drawing-they don't match up. His viewing of the incident only leads to a substantial disapproval of how the officer behaved.

quote:
You're trying to shame me into keeping silent about what I believe. Imagine if everyone was told to be embarrased about sharing their opinion. Since when has silencing a dissenting voice been part of your ideology? I know you're capable of constructing a more substantial counterargument.
Oh, I've got absolutely zero hope that that would've 'shamed you into keeping silent'. It's an Internet forum, dude, I don't have that power. I had a fleeting hope that you'd realize, "Whoa, hey, violence against peaceful protestors by the government...that's bad! I'm not supposed to like that!" since you've been less of a political hack lately than you have in the past. But I was clearly mistaken.

In that post, I was incredulous you'd say something like that, and I (and others) explained why. It actually seemed to me that once you were confronted with what you were saying, you might revise your statement. Now I'm just heaping scorn on your deeply hypocritical, dishonest politics.
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
Rakeesh, you can object and not overreact. This isn't the first time you've become instantly emotionally riled over a simple remark of mine. I'll try to wade through your condescending, snarky, and sarcastic remarks and comment on your points but really, you come across as someone who lacks control of their emotions. Do you act this way in public or do you reserve your distasteful antics for the internet forums?
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
The recent spat of conflicts with police are less about the alleged injustices on wall street and more about the anit-authoritarian/anti-police tendencies of some of the people involved in the OWS movement.
I think not.

In most publicized instances of police and protestor altercations, the police have escalated tensions through underhandedness, aggression, and a refusal to communicate honestly, and react to acts of civil disobedience with reciprocal responses. Hitting, pepper spraying, and jabbing protestors who make no physical challenge is not a reciprocal response, in case you thought it was- it is an escalation. Just is- and in most of the cases we have discussed here, the police have escalated to violence without cause.

Police have procedures for dealing with riots, and procedures for dealing with unlawful protest, and they are not the same procedures. So far, we've seen a great number of police actions that look like responses to riots, when there was no rioting occurring. Punitive use of violence is not appropriate. That is simply not the purview of the police, and for that we can blame the municipalities and governing bodies of universities that have seen such police behavior, as much as we can blame the police themselves. The protestors have every right, when they challenge the authority of the police in a controlled and non-violent manner, to be treated with reciprocal levels of force. That is a solid principle of civil disobedience and protest in our country.

My take on it is this: The police officers on the ground do not have the judgement needed to understand how to best deal with these situations in a way that will lead to the most equitable outcome for all. They know how to be cops, and cops are good at winning violent struggles and dealing with aggressive people. They are not good at dealing with subtler challenges to their authority, which are really challenges to the system that they represent. As such, sending cops into peaceful protests with riot gear and pepper spray, in phalanx formation, puts the police in mind of being threatened, and places them in a situation which *is* inherently threatening. To them. But it's like sending your army into enemy territory, and then "defending yourself" because you're surrounded. Why did you do it that way? In the case of UC Davis, it was done, I think, out of an overconfidence and rashness on the part of the chancellor and police chief, who believed that they could intimidate the students, and instead found themselves in the position of escalating to violence out of desperation.


It's rather interesting, I think, that this systemic overconfidence and disregard for alternatives come at the tail end of two large scale wars that were essentially founded in this problem. Some of these cops *are* former marines and army. I do wonder if, as a country, we've somehow gotten used to the idea of fighting against an enemy we have completely given up hope of dealing with as an equal.

[ November 23, 2011, 02:57 PM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
quote:
OWS would do well to keep the police on their side. These sideshow antics are neither here nor there. They don't advance their cause and they don't garner support.
Are you deliberately ignoring that OWS really took off with the help of conflicts with police? Do you really still not understand the concept, or how it was demonstrated in a way you are completely, doggedly overlooking?

quote:
You're trying to shame me into keeping silent about what I believe.
More people than just me are probably just trying to shame you into having a clue about what you're talking about, especially when it comes part-and-parcel with a headscratching support of violence.
 
Posted by kmbboots (Member # 8576) on :
 
I agree. Shame, in this case, should be applied to encourage one to rethink their position not just be silent about it.
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Yeah, that's why OWS is spreading. Because they're not garnering support. Your reasoning is laughable, but let's suppose for the sake of argument you're right, the only reason they've maintained or improved their PR is by 'taunting and villifying the police'.

That wasn’t the point I was attempting to make but I can see the confusion. I don’t believe taunting and vilifying the police is an attempt at improving their PR. I meant that the protesters need these clashes with the police to get front page news coverage because their protest actions alone don’t generate enough public interest that Americans demand or seek out information on the movement.

Regarding OWS spreading: A recent Gallup poll (similar results were obtained by Public Policy Polling) doesn't suggest support for OWS is spreading. The poll shows a majority of Americans are indifferent toward the occupy movement and 20% are opposed. These numbers are very similar to those of approximately 1 month ago, hardly justification for believing support is spreading. In addition, approval of the way the protests are being conducted has dropped significantly in the last 4 weeks while disapproval has increased. Consider also the closing of occupy camps around the country, all without significant (read: hardly any) outrage from the general public.

For a movement whose continued existences is threatened by time, opposition, and indifference, the prospect of stagnating support is ominous.

quote:
By the standards you're using, the Tea Party is a bunch of racist, crazy, Birther-believing xenophobes, though. Of course when someone paints with the kind of brush you're doing, and focuses on someone you like rather than blithely and ignorantly dismiss out of hand...well. Then it's an overgeneralization, of course.
Fine. I think there have been overgeneralizations on both sides. My point was to maintain the understanding that police are part of the taxpaying public too.

quote:
Cops aren't allowed to freaking hit people just for being taunted. It's supposed to take more than that before the threshold of violence is crossed.
The man made provocative actions then resisted arrest. The man was given multiple lawful orders - leave, move, get down. His civil disobedience was still disobedience. Anyone engaging in it should be aware of the consequences and willing to continue their fight in court, where the judicial system will determine if their actions were indeed civil disobedience and whether the actions of the officer were justified. I acknowledge the existence of alternatives to this type of force - pepper spray, tackling, maybe a shouting contest? - none of which you would likely approved of.

quote:
those rules about violence, when to escalate, etc., they exist as much to protect cops as they do to protect the citizens. But in any event, y'know who the cops answer to? Us. We make their rules for them. That's the way it's supposed to be in an open, representative society. We're not supposed to just sign off on whatever they do, because hey, they're cops.


Right, and when you say “us” I hope you understand that to mean you, me, conservatives, liberals, cops, criminals, and everyone else who is part of this country. Just because one person (even a group of people) agrees to certain rules doesn’t make them law, nor do I have to agree with your rules. I sign off on what occurred in this incident because I find the measures taken to be lawful and justified. My endorsement is part of my representation in this representative society.

quote:
As others have said, this is actually the sort of thing a conservative should be pretty up in arms about: when and how the government is allowed to use violence against its citizens. But, whew! Good thing it's only a bunch of protesting liberals. Now you don't have to be concerned about the government using violence against peaceful political protestors.


This isn’t an issue of conservative vs. liberal and I encourage you to not make it one. I’m fully aware - even expect - that some conservative probably don’t share my opinion on this incident.

quote:
Ironically your attitude does a disservice to the police, or do you think helping OWS make martyrs out of peaceful protestors is helpful to the cops?
I don’t think my solidarity with the police is a disservice. This man being hit did little to advance his cause, nor, I argue, did it significantly detract from the credibility of the police once a reasonable explanation for the officers actions was given.

quote:
It actually seemed to me that once you were confronted with what you were saying, you might revise your statement.


I would expect only that the person expound upon the statement. Which I did.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
The man made provocative actions then resisted arrest. The man was given multiple lawful orders - leave, move, get down. His civil disobedience was still disobedience. Anyone engaging in it should be aware of the consequences and willing to continue their fight in court, where the judicial system will determine if their actions were indeed civil disobedience and whether the actions of the officer were justified. I acknowledge the existence of alternatives to this type of force - pepper spray, tackling, maybe a shouting contest? - none of which you would likely approved of.
See, you're talking just like the UCD chancellor- " strategies for gaining compliance" was the line, I believe. Which rather ignores any alternative that is not overtly forceful. For instance, waiting. Talking. Politely conferring with group leaders.

These incidents have all been set off by police action that attempted to disassemble forums that had not been used to the satisfaction of protestors. These occupations are about demanding attention, and when there is not even a consideration of formal airing of grievances and acknowledgement of the protests, this leads to agitation, and resistance to police presence. Part of the genuine shock on the part of UCD's community, including myself as a long time Davis resident and alum, is that the chancellor did not even *consider* allowing the protest to become a public forum. Her first thought was of dismantling and removing it, full stop. That is *troubling* on a university campus, whether the occupation be lawful or not- a governing body and an executive can make exceptions to the interpretation of the law, if there is an obvious need. Civil disobedience appeals directly to that prerogative, to ignore the law in favor of a higher purpose, and so to reform the system through mutual engagement.

As to your point: "civil disobedience is still disobedience." Yes it is. But it is a type of disobedience that, if done correctly, clearly telegraphs its intent, and demands a set of responses that examine the willingness of government and authorities generally to enforce the laws, and to examine their own priorities concerning the issues being protested. Civil disobedience is done publicly, in an organized fashion, for a specific political purpose. The intent of the civil part of civil disobedience is that it is an attempt to legitimize political opposition, and demonstrate the inadequacies of the extant system for dealing with that opposition. It also calls attention to the oppositions lack of appropriate or (ostensible) necessary representation in government.

Uncivil disobedience is represented in petty crime and chicanery: not paying parking tickets, flouting minor regulations, all done in the belief that a person will not be caught, and if caught, not charged. Civil disobedience invites and welcomes consequences. And interestingly enough, civil disobedience has been *stunningly* successful in these instances: revealing lack of restraint among authorities, and overt hostility toward opposition to the establishment. The results very neatly *prove* the point of the protesters- that they are living in a system which is deeply and aggressively intolerant to their views, and deaf to their actual needs.

[ November 23, 2011, 08:48 PM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
Two recent developments concerning OWS:

This video has surfaced showing police clearly and explicitly warning the protesters of the consequences were they to continue blocking the public roadway at UC Davis.

--------------------------------

Occupy L.A. to be evicted Monday. Another instance of city residents and officials losing patience with OWS, despite previous support. LA is a critical warm-weather bastion of the occupy movement. Atlanta is the next best hope for fair-weather protesters, if you don't mind tuberculosis..
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
Be sure to keep reminding us at regular, almost scripted intervals how the tide is turning against OWS; that way, you'll never miss the potential timing to be right at least once!
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
You do that they're supposed to be blocking the road right?
 
Posted by BlackBlade (Member # 8376) on :
 
cap: So because the police warned them, now suddenly it's OK? I'll be sure to remember that the next time I don't feel like waiting at a red light. I'll just blare my horn as I drive on through.
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
cap: So because the police warned them, now suddenly it's OK? I'll be sure to remember that the next time I don't feel like waiting at a red light. I'll just blare my horn as I drive on through.

That's a false analogy. The law is not on your side nor do you have the right to endanger the lives of other law-abiding citizens by driving recklessly. In any case, the decision of the UC Davis campus police was OK before this video was released. But this video shows the police acted in a patient, professional manner and that their actions weren't sudden or rash. The debate over whether or not the group should have been forced to move can continue but this nonsense about the unethical behavior of the police and putting two officers on administrative leave should stop.
 
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
 
Nonsense, eh? Ok. Here's a question for you. If the police acted in a patient, professional manner in informing the students that they would be beaten unconscious if they did not remove themselves from that location, and the police did indeed summarily beat them unconscious when they did not move, would it still be 'nonsense' about unethical behavior? How about if they were shot after a warning? Does the ethical behavior of the police's decided-upon procedure continue to be nonsense at any point along the continuum?

The answer is obviously no (well, at least I hope it's obvious to you) but I can't be sure if you know what that point means, in terms of describing the unethical behavior / administrative leave issue being 'nonsense.'

Actually, I'll go ahead and guess not!
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Does the ethical behavior of the police's decided-upon procedure continue to be nonsense at any point along the continuum?

Of course it doesn't. That's a stupid question, coming from someone like you. There are important differences between pepper spraying, beating to unconsciousness, and shooting people with a firearm. The police needed the roadway cleared and chose a course of action that was both quick and efficient, followed orders and protocol, maintained the security of the officers, and resulted in no lasting discomfort for the protesters. Pepper spraying did all of that.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
cap: So because the police warned them, now suddenly it's OK? I'll be sure to remember that the next time I don't feel like waiting at a red light. I'll just blare my horn as I drive on through.

That's a false analogy. The law is not on your side nor do you have the right to endanger the lives of other law-abiding citizens by driving recklessly. In any case, the decision of the UC Davis campus police was OK before this video was released. But this video shows the police acted in a patient, professional manner and that their actions weren't sudden or rash. The debate over whether or not the group should have been forced to move can continue but this nonsense about the unethical behavior of the police and putting two officers on administrative leave should stop.
:snort:

I love that you think it matters whether the UCD police *thought really hard* about pepper spraying non-violent civil disobedient protestors in the face before doing it. Stay classy buddy. Stay classy.

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Does the ethical behavior of the police's decided-upon procedure continue to be nonsense at any point along the continuum?
Of course it doesn't. That's a stupid question, coming from someone like you. There are important differences between pepper spraying, beating to unconsciousness, and shooting people with a firearm. The police needed the roadway cleared and chose a course of action that was both quick and efficient, followed orders and protocol, maintained the security of the officers, and resulted in no lasting discomfort for the protesters. Pepper spraying did all of that.

And sparked an *international* furor over police violence. Why? Because pepper spraying people is *violent* and *excessive*.

You just... dude, you don't get it. You don't assault people with chemical weapons unless you *have* to. And that doesn't count towards *having* to get your job done. Yeah, they needed to clear a "roadway.*" But whatever, you've steadfastly ignored any of a dozen sounds explanations of why this was not, in fact, "by the book" police work.

*and by the way dude, I happen to have spent a lot of time on that quad, and I happen to have used that "roadway," and it is in fact a footpath across a 15,000 square yard open space, surrounded on all sides by wide bike paths that can accomodate hundreds of bicycles at a time, and flanked by two large pedestrian causeways that have room for, oh, probably 500 people to walk down them... The Davis campus is *huge.* The footpath "roadway" in question is not a vital artery of campus transportation. You've ignored every piece of input from everyone who knows anything about this situation, so do go ahead and ignore that too, and imagine the students were blocking an actual road, and not a footpath across an enormous quad, hindering *no one*.

[ November 26, 2011, 06:46 PM: Message edited by: Orincoro ]
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
The footpath "roadway" in question is not a vital artery of campus transportation. You've ignored every piece of input from everyone who knows anything about this situation, so do go ahead and ignore that too, and imagine the students were blocking an actual road, and not a footpath across an enormous quad, hindering *no one*.

Dude-buddy, I'm aware of the location of this incident and the general-purpose nature of the path. It's not a roadway in the sense of allowing local traffic. But to get to the heart of it, I think your ignoring the purpose behind obstructing the "roadway" in the first place. The intent of this small group was to make it impossible for the police to transport protesters who were arrested before the pepper spray incident occurred. The police weren't going to walk the arrested through demonstrations and across the quad. They had their vehicles near the freshly-dismantled encampment, and were leaving with the arrested, rendering the path temporarily a road.

quote:
But whatever, you've steadfastly ignored any of a dozen sounds explanations of why this was not, in fact, "by the book" police work.
I haven't ignored them. I have, in fact, offered arguments and counter-arguments for my view and did so in a respectful, sincere way.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
Right, Capax, its called "civil disobedience." Obstructing the actions of the police in a controlled, non-violent manner, in order to make their job harder, and cause them, and others, to question the validity of their decisions and the process that led up to the standoff.

You hand waved the *biggest* element of all of this, which is that pepper spray is a weapon of last resort, according to every source I have consulted, and according to the myriad number of experts who have contributed to news reports in the last many days.

It is, and I think you would submit to this point, a weapon of self-defense. It was not used in self-defense.


quote:
They had their vehicles near the freshly-dismantled encampment, and were leaving with the arrested, rendering the path temporarily a road.
So? So if it's a road you can pepper spray people in the face? You shouldn't just force their hands apart and arrest them? Too much work? Because it's a road? You can't do what you're supposed to do in *every other variation of civil disobedience arrests?* Since it's a road, assault is warranted? Do examine this reasoning. You're arguing that pepper spray was appropriate essentially because it was convenient.
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
quote:

Dude-buddy, I'm aware of the location of this incident and the general-purpose nature of the path. It's not a roadway in the sense of allowing local traffic. But to get to the heart of it, I think your ignoring the purpose behind obstructing the "roadway" in the first place. The intent of this small group was to make it impossible for the police to transport protesters who were arrested before the pepper spray incident occurred. The police weren't going to walk the arrested through demonstrations and across the quad. They had their vehicles near the freshly-dismantled encampment, and were leaving with the arrested, rendering the path temporarily a road.

Do tell us more about this society of yours that should crush dissent whenever it wants.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
No, see, Blayne... they were *blocking* the *path*, so it was okay to spray *chemical weapons* in their *faces*. Okay??
 
Posted by Blayne Bradley (Member # 8565) on :
 
I imagine if the police were using white phosphorous we would still hear cries of "but they didn't obey orders and were breaking the law and they were a bunch of useless whiners to boot!"
 
Posted by Dobbie (Member # 3881) on :
 
Chemical weapon? Pepper spray is essentially a food product.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
Bratwurst is both a food product and chemical weapon. There are overlaps.
 
Posted by capaxinfiniti (Member # 12181) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Right, Capax, its called "civil disobedience." Obstructing the actions of the police in a controlled, non-violent manner, in order to make their job harder, and cause them, and others, to question the validity of their decisions and the process that led up to the standoff.

I see your arguments circles back to the issue of civil disobedience. Civil disobedience isn’t an argument to fall back on when protesting results in consequences you don’t like. It doesn’t grant you carte blache to break any law you deem necessary to advance your cause. Just because you "cause [the police], and others, to question the validity of their decisions and the process that led up to the standoff" doesn't mean they will agree with you in the end.

quote:
they were *blocking* the *path*, so it was okay to spray *chemical weapons* in their *faces*.
If this is how you reduce the issue in your mind, it’s easy to see why our views differ so greatly.

The crime(s) they committed went beyond simply “blocking” the road:

Unlawful assembly (on the road, not the presence on the quad.)
Violating a rule or regulation of the institution - disruptive activities, failing to leave when ordered.
Failure to stop at the command of a law enforcement officer.
Interfering with an arresting officer.
Resisting arrest.

If those on the path had allowed the police to leave with the 3 arrested persons, the protesters could have continued their protest unhindered while allowing the police to maintain peace and safety on the campus.

quote:
You hand waved the *biggest* element of all of this, which is that pepper spray is a weapon of last resort..
Pepper spray is a non-lethal option that officers can use at their discretion but always according to protocol and regulation. Around 45% of U.S. police departments allow the use of pepper spray in response to passive resistance. Meaning a large percentage of the police agencies in this country don’t believe pepper spray is only for defense. It can function to deter non-compliance, minimize the level of resistance, and reduce the possibility of injury to both the officer and the arrestee.

quote:
So? So if it's a road..
I think the issue of it being a road or path or whatever you want to call it is irrelevant, and that claim is supported by my comments above. It could have been grass or ice or asphalt, the intention of the protesters was to keep the police from completing the arrests. That's why they were pepper sprayed.
 
Posted by Rakeesh (Member # 2001) on :
 
Really? They thought this would stop the arrests, eh? Goodness, they were sure stupid!

Just like those sit-inners at lunch counters, they thought they'd stop segregation right then!
 
Posted by Lyrhawn (Member # 7039) on :
 
If the marchers would have just dispersed when they were ordered to, Bull Connor wouldn't have needed to turn the fire hoses on them. After all, it's just water, and they WERE violating police orders. Totally justified.
 
Posted by Orincoro (Member # 8854) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by capaxinfiniti:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Right, Capax, its called "civil disobedience." Obstructing the actions of the police in a controlled, non-violent manner, in order to make their job harder, and cause them, and others, to question the validity of their decisions and the process that led up to the standoff.

I see your arguments circles back to the issue of civil disobedience. Civil disobedience isn’t an argument to fall back on when protesting results in consequences you don’t like. It doesn’t grant you carte blache to break any law you deem necessary to advance your cause. Just because you "cause [the police], and others, to question the validity of their decisions and the process that led up to the standoff" doesn't mean they will agree with you in the .
No, civil disobedience does not give you carte Blanche. However, it *does* afford you the right not to be abused unduly by the police. It forces the police to arrest you, and forces the justice system to either charge you, or endure your continued arrests and disruptions. Civil disobedience is a very important part of the traditions of civil rights protests. It does not require that the police agree with you, but it *forces* the police to deal with you, in a most inconvenient way. The police have no right to punish this behavior. They can only make arrests. This inexplicable idea of yours that somehow pepper spraying non aggressive people is just part of the play book is