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Monday, October 3, 2011

No need to go to Wall Street to act up

It appears that the whole "occupy" thing is coming to Portlandia this week. They arrested hundreds of people in New York City over the weekend, and you can almost smell the pepper spray already here in the Rose City.

One complaint that we've been reading about the protests is that they don't have a clear agenda. But an acquaintance of ours who is sympathetic to the protesters' cause says that in fact they do have a list of demands:

1. Place a fee on all Wall Street transactions and tax capital gains the same as income

2. End corporate personhood and overturn the flawed Citizens United decision

3. Get big money out of politics through substantive campaign finance reform

4. Jobs through investment in the public sector and infrastructure, not tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations

Sounds like a program to us. But perhaps the campers need to read up on how to amend the U.S. Constitution, because as a practical matter, short of a revolution, that's probably the only way most of that could get done.

We hope they march on Wyden's office. He needs to hear all about it. Then again, the New York protesters probably have a better chance of seeing him than anybody in downtown Portland.

Comments (44)

I like James Howard Kunstler's take on the "no agenda" thing...

"I hear professional observers complain the Occupy Wall Street marchers (OWSers) "have no clear agenda" or "can't articulate their positions." The essence of the OWSers argument is pretty simple: they've got a raw deal; somebody dealt them a bad hand; someone ran their society into a ditch and not a goddammed one of the older generation will set in motion the machinery to correct the situation, or even acknowledge it."

Some photos from NYC and Boston, including a Kurt Cobain citation (#13) regarding the duty of youth:

One question among many: Will the Bank of America (BAC) require another massive infusion of public money before the demonstrations abate?

The good news: They're finally arresting people on Wall Street. The bad news: It's not the bankers.

One new term I read recently is "normalcy bias." It's the tendency for even intelligent people to be staring at obvious signs of great impending change, but not to see it because of the way things have been for so long.
The presentation was about what will happen if/when the dollar is no longer the world's reserve currency. That's basically all that's propping it up in value and if that changes while the Federal Reserve continues creating more dollars, the standard of living in America will plummet and hyper-inflation will set in.

One little tidbit that I'm not sure is true but sounded scary: If all current personal income in America went to taxes we would still have to borrow.
Right now these Occupy Wall Street protests are being viewed - not as a symptom of trouble - but as a chance to characterize the protesters as this or that. It's normalcy bias.
"When these demonstrations abate"? There's a greater chance they'll evolve into food riots, etc..

This presentation said these changes are already underway, but the catastrophic stuff is yet to hit. You can be sure the Wall Street types that caused Greece, and the whole thing are well on the way to protecting their wealth if/when the dollar tanks, and in fact, are positioned to make a profit off it.

I myself protest through comedy and the occasional angry song. My recent effort "It's Gonna Blow" pretty much captured what I'm expecting.

I fear that there may be a bit of the old "control the opposition" going on.

All the usual suspects with tons of hidden funding are running this thing- including the kill capitalism and instill forced "collectivism" Michael Moore - who the last time I looked is a multimillionaire riding around in his private jet.

Not to say many of the folks on the streets aren't sincere- but let's not be too innocent.

People are really pissed, so controlling the message is an old game.

This economic malaise is clearly the fault of the Federal Reserve and the FDIC. It's the .gov choice to socialize losses and transfer risk to itself. They should be protesting their congressman, not the banks, then there might be some change in votes.

This is all silly anyway; if they were really pissed their demands would be taken seriously, which will never happen because lefties don't have any guns.

I'm perfectly fine with ANY step to voice displeasure over Wall Street driving the global economy into a ditch, getting bailed out with our money, and then collecting record bonuses the next year. Oh, and still not changing any of their business practices.

I would support an outright ban on 75% of what Wall Street does. It's perfectly constitutional to regulate casinos, and Wall Street is nothing but the biggest casino ever to exist.

I don't care if the message is imperfect.

1. Place a fee on all Wall Street transactions and tax capital gains the same as income

That's the 'banking regulations' they've alredy punished the free market with.
($5 BofA fee)
want more?

2. End corporate personhood and overturn the flawed Citizens United decision

Go to Washington

3. Get big money out of politics through substantive campaign finance reform

See my response to #2

4. Jobs through investment in the public sector and infrastructure, not tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations

Like shovel ready? How'd that work $8 billion ago?

As they tweet each other on the capitalist machines and network provided services.

And lastly, sorry I can't attend, I have to go to work to survive.

"Get big money out of politics through substantive campaign finance reform"

Well, how did they suggest this was going to happen? Unfortunately, the beneficiaries of this largess are the law-makers themselves.

I mean it is amazing whenever there is any financial reform of Wall Street how silent the Congress gets from Schumer on down.

Agenda? As stated by protesters:

Re-elect Obama.

Indie, this is the very first sentence on the Occupy Portland website: "Occupy Portland is a nonviolent movement for accountability in the United States government." Sounds like they are talking to Washington.

The problem is collusion between government (both parties) and a cabal of some of the richest people on the planet (plutocrats). If you're blaming just the government, or just the banks, you're missing the point.

Also, don't mistake Wall Street for capitalism. Capitalists have to take losses.

We're at the part where the people who perpetrated the biggest criminal fraud in history, demand that the American People just be polite about it and accept it.

And the usual low-level suck-ups rush to defend Wall Street and deflect the blame to anything else.

Hi Jack:
Slight change in the dialog above. Why don't we (collective we) ever discuss the outflow of JOBS to other countries?
The US corporations cry the "bottom line profit" for their stockholders, global economy, etc. Is there a way to collect some of that corporate profit, either through tarrifs, outright taxation or some other means? What strategies are possible to encourage jobs returning to the USA? Locally in Portland we have lost jobs by a corporation moving their plant to Mexico(Freightliner)
Is it possible to buy anything here not made in China?

Two other local exceptions:

4. Jobs through investment in the public sector and infrastructure

Please no more green condos and actually spend on infrastucture instead of skimming off for benefits like they did with the last $2B they got from the Feds in Oregon.

3. Get big money out of politics through substantive campaign finance reform

I don;t know if that would fix it. Look at how much mileage Homer and G-E have gotten out very few bucks contributed.

Good point Steve.
Often wonder why our elected officials sell out for so cheap...
or do they?

I don't think it's just campaign contributions. It's the power of corporate media to define the narrative for the American Public.
This morning on Fox Business a guest said that if you asked 75% of the protesters why they are at Occupy Wall Street, they would reply, "I don't know. Protesting is cool."
Then they subtly switched to the anarchist description soon to be echoed by their minions up and down the radio dial, and defended by small time players who aren't anywhere near being in the club but want to be.

The story line is going to be, "Why are these lawless troublemakers so upset?" One reason it could work is that we've spent years defining the problem as the Tea Party or Obama rather than focusing on what Wall Street did selling complex financial instruments as triple-A rated when they knew they were crap. The biggest, lawless trouble-makers are in the executive streets counting their bonuses.

This will be betrayed as anti-capitalism or class warfare, but that's more spin. It's just being anti-rip off.

If you bought premium gas at your local gas station and it turned out to be oily water, you'd be furious. But when Wall Street does it, we're not only supposed to do nothing, we're supposed to give the gas station money for their losses and a nice tip as well. Then we let them keep doing it.

Wall Street has relied on ignorance to get this far. All that's happening now is people are waking up.

Sorry, I meant "executive suites" instead of "executive streets".

This probably says it all

I can only hope real change is coming... and that means true corporate responsibility and a return to a free market and the end to the legal fiction of corporate personhood.

Bill you must remember - government bailing out and writing laws that favor some and not all.

Private enterprise does not use the threat of force to backup its decisions. Government does.

Great ideas....unfortunately marching and yelling usually is just used as sound bites to push back against the message. Better if they just got their people out to vote, instead of sleeping in. Votes, not signs, will keep the reactionaries at bay.

I am all for it. Every day they are out there more Americans might realize that it is We the People who can challenge the corrupt power and money system of politics and Wall Street thievery.

And 'Harry', while they are not likely to be Republicans, I guarantee you that the vast majority of those protesters are not Obama supporters. They are more likely me - Liberals against Obama. I agree with most of what I read on this blog and feel powerless given the electoral choices I have.

Our representative democracy has been co-opted by moneyed interests. The protesters are practicing direct democracy as they shape their goals and message(s).

Too much Democracy is a GOOD thing.

...Votes, not signs, will keep the reactionaries at bay.

Am afraid votes can only be depended upon when "machines" don't interfere with the count.
I am for voting, but we need to eliminate those machines and software programs that can manipulate results. I would accept accurate returns even if it takes longer to get the results. Is being in such a hurry the priority?

The City of Portland is a corporation. Act locally.

"Private enterprise does not use the threat of force to backup its decisions. Government does."

The corporations own the government and in that sense they use force to backup their decisions all the time. Did you think Libya was really about helping people achieve freedom, or do you think the corporations wanted it?

I think we can agree there is massive corruption.

But there must be one covering for the other. And I know I did not vote for those people.

A Mauser and 5 rounds will bring more change than 500 letters written or 500 people protesting. Leverage your efforts.

If only “votes not signs” were enough to keep the reactionaries at bay! Clinamen is right-- since Bush 2, there can be no confidence in the results of any U.S. election. Close ties between the major voting machine manufacturers and the Republican Party, shady and criminal records of the owners of one of the companies (a cousin to the owner of another company-- it’s been five or so years now and I can’t recall the names but have the articles in my files) have been documented for years. The Argonne national lab, whose job it is to conduct tests to guard the nation’s security, just weighed in in an article that ought to be front page news everywhere in America. Here’s one account:

It was ignorant to entrust our voting system to computers, and downright crazy in a democracy to trust elections to private corporations with proprietary software. We ought not to be smug here with vote by mail, as votes that are electronically counted are just as subject to hacking as votes that are electronically cast. It’s unrealeastic to imagine that giving every individual a paper slip with their vote recorded on it will keep the system honest. In practice, recounts won’t actually be done, or will be done only in a few “selected” districts...

In Canada all federal elections are cast and tabulated by hand. It takes two days to get the results. Two days for an honest count. (This might not last. There is a movement afoot in the interest of “voter accessibility” to examine internet voting, and some municipal and provincial elections are conducted that way or offer that option).

We could have fool-proof and 100% honest elections if anyone were interested. Simply set aside a national voting day, have votes cast by hand and counted by volunteers, with witnesses from both parties. People who can’t make it on voting day would send write-in ballots, but all vote counting would be done by hand. There would be no lack of volunteers, who would cheerfully do it for coffee, donuts, and a chance to do an important job and schmooze with their neighbors.

I can wait two or three days for an honest election. How many more crooked ones are we going to tolerate? And how much closer to a corporate police state, either naked or under the guise of a righteous theocracy, will a crooked 2012 election bring us?

In the spring of 1917 the Russian people thought change was a great thing and their problems were over...
By 1927 they knew they had been mistaken....

Why did Kate Brown hire a person with a history of obstructiveness to public observation?

State of Oregon placed on Black Box Voting Watch List Aug. 2009 due to hiring state elections director with history of obstructiveness to public observation. (See news article this section)

Letter questioning Kate Brown about the hire:

Bill McDonald

"The good news: They're finally arresting people on Wall Street. The bad news: It's not the bankers."

I sure hope you tried to sell that before you posted it here. Pure comedy gold.

"Often wonder why our elected officials sell out for so cheap"

Potential of future employment a la Charlie Hales.

I will be down there , and if you care at all about your country join us. As they said on Alternet today ,


"News Release from: Portland Police Bureau
Posted: October 3rd, 2011 3:58 PM

Representatives from the City of Portland and the Portland Police Bureau are currently in dialogue with 'Occupy Portland' regarding the event planned for Thursday October 6, 2011 at noon.

Initial efforts are aimed at assisting the group in obtaining a permit for the event. The permit provides for a coordinated set of guidelines. The guidelines spell out the route, authorizing event participants to lawfully be in the street and it is designed to ensure the safe flow of all traffic in the downtown core. Experience has show that working with organizers on obtaining a permit makes the event more collaborative which increases the overall success of the event for everyone.

We are committed to vigorously pursuing the goal of allowing participants to express their view which is there free speech right. Our overall objective is to take all appropriate action to help make this event happen in a way that is safe for participants and the general public alike. We look forward to continuing the dialogue with 'Occupy Portland' to ensure a safe event for everyone."

Just when I thought I had plumbed the depths of cynicism to their absolute nadir and struggled for breath in the suffocating vacuum of abject irrelevance, Occupy Portland combines the two.


Indie, this is the very first sentence on the Occupy Portland website: "Occupy Portland is a nonviolent movement for accountability in the United States government." Sounds like they are talking to Washington.

Oh, get real - we can't even get accountability in Portland. Maybe they should start with City Hall and kind of work their way up to the U.S. government.

Last time I checked freedom of speech and freedom of assembly did not require permission from govt entities .. just sayin

As for being there... wish I could but I will be working out in the Western burbs... trying to make sure I have some $$ to retire on

"Often wonder why our elected officials sell out for so cheap"

Potential of future employment a la Charlie Hales.

So is that why Leonard is selling out our community on our water and possibly our water rights by the time he is done, for a big gig with some international corporation?

I will add that apparently Sam is selling out for some gig too. The SamRand twins are working double time on putting nails on coffins, how I wish they had run instead so that we could have showed them how just how unpopular they are, I suspect they know and they don't care.

What, oh what will Portland do, when those big multinational companies like Siemens won't be allowed to lobby local politicans for light rail projects?

Big, rich companies like Gerdling-Edlin and Walsh Construction and Stacy & Witbeck and Kiewitt Construction and Oregon Iron Works will no longer be able to lavish politicians to entice them to more developer-oriented transit, and - gasp! - we'll have to actually buy BUSES! Oh, the humanity!!!

Indie: "Private enterprise does not use the threat of force to backup its decisions."

Private enterprise has a long history of using not just threat, but actual force:

"During the labor unrest of the late 19th century and early 20th century, businessmen hired the Pinkerton Agency to provide agents that would infiltrate unions, to supply guards to keep strikers and suspected unionists out of factories, and sometimes to recruit goon squads to intimidate workers. The best known such confrontation was the Homestead Strike of 1892, in which Pinkerton agents were called in to enforce the strikebreaking measures of Henry Clay Frick, acting on behalf of Andrew Carnegie, who was abroad; the ensuing conflicts between Pinkerton agents and striking workers led to several deaths on both sides. The Pinkertons were also used as guards in coal, iron, and lumber disputes in Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania, as well as the Great Railroad Strike of 1877."

These days it's cheaper to bribe the cops:

"JPMorgan Chase -- one of the biggest banksters that Occupy Wall Street is standing up to -- made the largest donation in the history of the New York City Police Foundation to the NYPD's nonprofit organization ... just in the nick of time! They donated $4.6 million, supposedly to fund new laptops in patrol cars and security monitoring software. Seems pretty benign ... at first.

Clearly, CEO Jamie Dimon said he hopes the donation shows how much they value the NYPD's 'hard work.' I'm sure that's, uh, part of it. But it's more likely he appreciates how hard the NYPD worked to put demonstrators in their place. The bribe-like donation is so blatant, it's almost unbelievable!"

According to NYCPF, they've received a little over $100M in the 40 years of their existence. That's an average of $2.5M per year, which puts Chase's $4.6M donation in perspective. That's fascism for you - government of, by, and for the corporations (hey, they're people, too, and more important than me or you!).

We are Anonymous.

The events transpiring within Wall Street have caught our eye.

Looks like Oct. 10th might get interesting:

Anonymous Threatens to 'Erase NYSE from the Internet',2817,2394071,00.asp


Perhaps BAC's online problems are a run-up to 10/10:

"Bank of America's consumer online banking service was slow for a fifth day Tuesday, and the bank still wasn't saying what the problem was."

The nation's largest bank, the stock price of which continues its long slide, appears to have few friends:

"On Monday, President Barack Obama and Sen. Dick Durbin, the second-ranked Democrat in the Senate, slammed the bank for charging its customers [$5/mo debit card fees]."

"Portland demonstrators plan to meet at noon [Thursday] at Tom McCall Waterfront Park near the Burnside Bridge, then march through downtown Portland starting at 2:30 p.m. Then they'll settle into a place to base their demonstration, which could continue indefinitely."

"...those organizing Portland's planned march and rally say they'll come up with a formal message later on. They're careful to say they're speaking as individuals, because the group hasn't reached a consensus on its own message yet."


"...the group decided late Wednesday not to seek a permit or submit a route in advance. Police warned traffic and TriMet transit could be impaired downtown on Thursday. The bureau said it would offer updates through its @PortlandPolice Twitter account the day of the march."

I thought I would share this as a rallying point... this was posted on FB friends of Bull Run...
"At the website:

in his letter to the S.E.C. regarding what is currently allowing big banks/investment co.'s to spend $1 and get a $7 tax credit which virtually pays them to buy public assets (like water systems). It's dated June 2011 and on his blog. Huge 'infrastructure funds' are further improving their bottom line by trying to scoop up as much as possible through this loophole. They get the tax credit, fees for underwriting, and eventually, through debt may be able to control whatever their investment is. The total water system debt is $634M and when you add $553M they plan to're at $1.2 billion. Once the construction is done, there will be new increases needed to pay for increased operating costs and according to the bureau's own analysis, the UV plant will be obsolete within 15-20 years, not even as long as the bonds which are now being issued for 25 years."


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
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Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
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Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
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Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
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The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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