These are costumes from a foreclosure firm's Halloween party last year. Shock warning. They dressed as handicapped homeless people they had foreclosed on.

OWS clout?

Oct. 26th, 2011 02:46 am
Anansi133 said:
And if the [OWS} general assembly can demand quiet from its own membership and be ignored, what does that say about their clout outside the park?

Clout? I saw a headline in a serious national publication referring to "The 1%" with no further explanation needed. OWS has already changed the national conversation. And more and more people are learning how to spell Glass-Steagall.

( I tried to post this as a comment at but encountered a bug. )
Of course this will be dismissed without reading, because it happened in Berkeley. ;-/

“When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn’t know what we’d find,” Muller wrote. “Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that.”

In other words, the deniers’ claims about the alleged sloppiness or fraudulence of climate science are wrong. Muller’s team, the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, rigorously explored the specific objections raised by skeptics — and found them groundless.

Muller and his fellow researchers examined an enormous data set of observed temperatures from monitoring stations around the world and concluded that the average land temperature has risen 1 degree Celsius — or about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit — since the mid-1950s.

This agrees with the increase estimated by the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Muller’s figures also conform with the estimates of those British and American researchers whose catty e-mails were the basis for the alleged “Climategate” scandal, which was never a scandal in the first place.

The Berkeley group’s research even confirms the infamous “hockey stick” graph — showing a sharp recent temperature rise — that Muller once snarkily called “the poster child of the global warming community.” Muller’s new graph isn’t just similar, it’s identical.

Muller found that skeptics are wrong when they claim that a “heat island” effect from urbanization is skewing average temperature readings; monitoring instruments in rural areas show rapid warming, too. He found that skeptics are wrong to base their arguments on the fact that records from some sites seem to indicate a cooling trend, since records from at least twice as many sites clearly indicate warming. And he found that skeptics are wrong to accuse climate scientists of cherry-picking the data, since the readings that are often omitted — because they are judged unreliable — show the same warming trend.
Here's Vanity Fair with a very good long detailed article about Elizabeth Warren and consumer finance issues.
Which row of this chart are you on? It shows the top 1% beginning at $400,000/yr.


Worth reading: says we need more tax brackets at the top.
This is from a journalist who saw the actual questions and answers and disagrees with the WSj about their interpretation.

[M]any of the protesters consider themselves Democrats, many will vote for Obama in 2012, and, relatively speaking, "income inequality" doesn't actually rank too high on their list of grievances.

What frustrates you the most about the political process in the United States? {Open Ended}

30% Influence of corporate/moneyed/special interests
21% Partisanship
15% Joblessness
7% Corruption
6% Income inequality
5% Everything
3% Our democratic/capitalist system
3% Stagnant middle class wages
2% Entrenched bureaucracy
2% Bush tax cuts
2% Obama abandoned left
2% Military spending
2% Federal Reserve

Also, fascinating:

What would you like to see the Occupy Wall Street movement achieve? {Open Ended}

35% Influence the Democratic Party the way the Tea Party has influenced the GOP
11% Break the two-party duopoly
9% Promote a national conversation
9% Engage & mobilize Progressives
8% Not sure
7% Direct Democracy
5% Overhaul of tax system: replace income tax with flat tax
4% Single payer health care
4% Radical redistribution of wealth
4% Pull out of Afghanistan immediately
4% Dissolution of our representative democracy/capitalist system

[ Resorted in order of priority ]

More details at the site.

Azi Paybayrah obtained the internals of the poll from Schoen[the WSJ author], and it contains these radical findings: Only six percent say “income inequality” is what frustrates them most about the political process. Only four percent of protestors want the movement to achieve “radical redistribution of wealth,” while 35 percent want it to emulate the Tea Party by exerting more influence on the Democratic Party. It finds that a huge majority wants tax hikes on the rich, but so do other polls. It finds strong support for more regulation, but Wall Street reform is also supported by majorities. The poll finds that less than a third would be prepared to resort to violence — and over two thirds wouldn’t.

Putting aside whether this poll should even be seen as representative at all, it portrays a movement that seems to want to work within the system to achieve change that isn’t all that radical after all.
Good coverage of OWS, pictures. This is from Riverdaughter, a chemist recently laid off. Respectable middle aged lady, professional class. See her last half dozen or so entries, covering a week or so.
"Wall Street is not one entity."

Neither is OWS. Forgive me while I get philosophical and Buddhist and use a lot of white space.

Set A: What can I (a frail rural retiree) actually do for or against OWS or their issues? Nothing much except research and post.

Set B: What different acts are the different people labeled OWS actually doing? Are there any of those acts I strongly agree or disagree with?

Do any of Set A easily match up with any of Set B? Yes. I agree with the economic message they're publicizing, and I can support that by researching and posting statistics, graphs, etc.

At this stage, that's all I can do, so that message is all I NEED to know about or judge. (Even if they all turned out to be bait and switch vampires or something, still the 'bait' is a true message worth supporting for itself.)

(Of course it's fun to debunk the silly charges against them too.)
Good capsule coverage of several Occupy cities here, scroll down:

Here's a map showing occupation sites worldwide:

they have very legitimate gripes. [....]
The problem in a nutshell is this: Inequality in this country has hit a level that has been seen only once in the nation's history, and unemployment has reached a level that has been seen only once since the Great Depression. And, at the same time, corporate profits are at a record high.

A good chart that shows what the 1% owns and what the 99% own.
From an informative article at Business Insider:

Do they have legitimate gripes?

To answer the latter question first, yes, they have very legitimate gripes.

And if America cannot figure out a way to address these gripes, the country will likely become increasingly “de-stabilized,” as sociologists might say. And in that scenario, the current protests will likely be only the beginning.

The problem in a nutshell is this: Inequality in this country has hit a level that has been seen only once in the nation’s history, and unemployment has reached a level that has been seen only once since the Great Depression. And, at the same time, corporate profits are at a record high.
Originally posted by [ profile] gabrielleabelle at Mississippi Personhood Amendment
Okay, so I don't usually do this, but this is an issue near and dear to me and this is getting very little no attention in the mainstream media.

Mississippi is voting on November 8th on whether to pass Amendment 26, the "Personhood Amendment". This amendment would grant fertilized eggs and fetuses personhood status.

Putting aside the contentious issue of abortion, this would effectively outlaw birth control and criminalize women who have miscarriages. This is not a good thing.

Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only place women can get abortions in the entire state, and they are trying to launch a grassroots movement against this amendment. This doesn't just apply to Mississippi, though, as Personhood USA, the group that introduced this amendment, is trying to introduce identical amendments in all 50 states.

What's more, in Mississippi, this amendment is expected to pass. It even has Mississippi Democrats, including the Attorney General, Jim Hood, backing it.

The reason I'm posting this here is because I made a meager donation to the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning, and I received a personal email back hours later - on a Sunday - thanking me and noting that I'm one of the first "outside" people to contribute.

So if you sometimes pass on political action because you figure that enough other people will do something to make a difference, make an exception on this one. My RSS reader is near silent on this amendment. I only found out about it through a feminist blog. The mainstream media is not reporting on it.

If there is ever a time to donate or send a letter in protest, this would be it.

What to do?

- Read up on it. Wake Up, Mississippi is the home of the grassroots effort to fight this amendment. Daily Kos also has a thorough story on it.

- If you can afford it, you can donate at the site's link.

- You can contact the Democratic National Committee to see why more of our representatives aren't speaking out against this.

- Like this Facebook page to help spread awareness.

Referendum on giving all fertilized eggs full 'personhood' status. Coming in other states too.
Here are some charts on who owns what...

...referencing these sources, which are all clickable at the site:
Read more... )
Bill Clinton shows a serious problem here....

[F]rom the end of the Second World War to about 1980, we had enough inequality to reward hard work and raw talent and creativity, and enough equality to build the world’s greatest middle class and allow poor people a reasonable chance to work their way into it.

And the distribution was the bottom 90% had 65% of the income; the top 10% had 35% of the income; the top 1% had about 9% of the income.

And those numbers have changed in the last 30 years. The 90% share has dropped from 65 to 52. The 10% share has gone from 35 to 48. The 1% share has gone from 9 to 21.

That’s a breathtaking increase in inequality, and I don’t think it’s good for our long-term stability.
Detailed estimates from the Congressional Budget Office — which only go up to 2005, but the basic picture surely hasn’t changed — show that between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted income of families in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. That’s growth, but it’s slow, especially compared with the 100 percent rise in median income over a generation after World War II.

Meanwhile, over the same period, the income of the very rich, the top 100th of 1 percent of the income distribution, rose by 480 percent. No, that isn’t a misprint. In 2005 dollars, the average annual income of that group rose from $4.2 million to $24.3 million.


The budget office’s numbers show that the federal tax burden has fallen for all income classes, which itself runs counter to the rhetoric you hear from the usual suspects. But that burden has fallen much more, as a percentage of income, for the wealthy. Partly this reflects big cuts in top income tax rates, but, beyond that, there has been a major shift of taxation away from wealth and toward work: tax rates on corporate profits, capital gains and dividends have all fallen, while the payroll tax — the main tax paid by most workers — has gone up.

And one consequence of the shift of taxation away from wealth and toward work is the creation of many situations in which — just as Warren Buffett and Mr. Obama say — people with multimillion-dollar incomes, who typically derive much of that income from capital gains and other sources that face low taxes, end up paying a lower overall tax rate than middle-class workers. And we’re not talking about a few exceptional cases.

According to new estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, one-fourth of those with incomes of more than $1 million a year pay income and payroll tax of 12.6 percent of their income or less, putting their tax burden below that of many in the middle class.

1. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Owns 40 Percent Of The Nation’s Wealth: As Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz points out, the richest 1 percent of Americans now own 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. Sociologist William Domhoff illustrates this wealth disparity using 2007 figures where the top 1 percent owned 42 percent of the country’s financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home). How much does the bottom 80 percent own? Only 7 percent:

As Stiglitz notes, this disparity is much worse than it was in the past, as just 25 years ago the top 1 percent owned 33 percent of national wealth.

2. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Take Home 24 Percent Of National Income: While the richest 1 percent of Americans take home almost a quarter of national income today, in 1976 they took home just 9 percent — meaning their share of the national income pool has nearly tripled in roughly three decades.

3. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Own Half Of The Country’s Stocks, Bonds, And Mutual Funds: The Institute for Policy Studies illustrates this massive disparity in financial investment ownership, noting that the bottom 50 percent of Americans own only .5 percent of these investments:

4. The Top 1 Percent Of Americans Have Only 5 Percent Of The Nation’s Personal Debt:
Using 2007 figures, sociologist William Domhoff points out that the top 1 percent have 5 percent of the nation’s personal debt while the bottom 90 percent have 73 percent of total debt:

5. The Top 1 Percent Are Taking In More Of The Nation’s Income Than At Any Other Time Since The 1920s: Not only are the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans taking home a tremendous portion of the national income, but their share of this income is greater than at any other time since the Great Depression, as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities illustrates in this chart using 2007 data:

For an excellent resource about how much income Americans at these different income levels have, see the Tax Policy Center. The top one percent of Americans have an average income of $1.5 million.
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