Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Occupy Wall Street evicted

Early this morning, Mayor Bloomberg directed his police force to clear the park. Occupy Wall Street has ended.

I wish I could say they had a good run, but they didn't. OWS was never successful, nor was it ever about success. It was about nebulous "protest". It was about this, and that, and something else, and this other thing, but not this thing (maybe).

Occupy Wall Street was about wanting change. But not badly enough to actually work for that change.

They didn't want it so bad that they occupied actual Wall Street. Because that would entail physical risk, and it might actually do some good. No, they occupied a nearby park. Making sure in doing so they didn't disrupt anything. Which, unsurprisingly, didn't disrupt anything.

For all their talk of them being the powerful 99%, Bloomberg showed real power, by with a simple order dispersed Occupy Wall Street. Easily.

And they didn't even fight back. They did nothing but allow themselves to be arrested. They didn't even use passive resistance. They didn't even sit down and refuse to move. Why not bring your own handcuffs next time?

But of course, their won't be a next time. Even if the protesters go back to their now destroyed camps, even if they rebuild, they've shown that they are no threat. They can be evicted easily, any time the local mayor chooses. They won't argue, they won't resist, and they certainly won't fight back.

Occupy Wall Street ended today, not with a bang, but a whimper. But did it ever do anything but whimper?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

History is on our side

Good for Occupy Wall Street. They're doing it right. This is how protest works.

Think on the American Revolution. Our Founding Fathers knew violence is never the answer. Thats why they gathered together in an out of the way location (making sure they gathered quietly, so it wouldn't bother anyone), made a list of changes they would like the Crown to implement, then waited patiently for the king to be so impressed by their consensus making abilities that he eventually gave them everything they wanted.

And not just the American Revolution. It worked during WWII as well. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, our response was to send them a lengthy list of demands requests, which due to our phenomenal organizational skills they granted immediately.

Remember how we beat Hitler? He never would have been defeated by bombs. So we created a drum circle. The largest drum circle the world had ever seen at the time. And it worked. Remember that famous speech of his, when he politely resigned from office? Stirring words.

This is the way we get things done. By refusing the bother the system- even a little. By quietly accepting whatever punishment they dish out. By demanding change while doing nothing to bring that change about.

Keep it up Occupy Wall Street. History is on your side.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Occupy Wall Street has already lost

They've lost. And the only thing that will allow them to win is the one thing they will never do- fight back.

Occupy Wall Street is a mess, a mish-mash of half-formed ideas, no solution in sight. But there is one thing almost all of them agree on. Don't fight back. Don't make waves.

When confronting the powers that be, just do what they want, and maybe they won't hurt you too much.

It is 100% pure cowardice. But worse, it's ineffective. When a policeman tells an OWS protester to do something, and they do, who is being hurt by their protest?

Here in Austin, the police tell the Occupy Austin crowd that they must not block the sidewalks. So they don't.  They folded. Quickly.

The powers that be are in no way bothered by Occupy Wall Street. How could they be? The protesters are doing everything asked of them. Politely. Yes Sir, Officer Sir. No drums past 10 PM? Certainly Sir.

When you play by their rules, you aren't protesting. When you let them set the ground rules- let them determine what is allowed and what is not- you can't win. And when you fear your enemy more than they fear you, you've already lost.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Breaking Euro news

Reuters- Euro stocks tumbled in early trading today when French president Nicolas Sarkozy blew his nose twice during a meeting of the G20.

"We've seen him blow his nose before," stated one analyst, "But twice- that's the kind of thing that can really move a market."

The G20, a group of so-called world leaders whose actions have little to do with any actual fiscal policy, are in the spotlight this week as they meet to eat high priced meals, stay in even higher priced hotels, and use the services of even higher priced call-girls.

Earlier in the day, the Euro moved higher against the Swiss Franc when it was reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's limo driver might take sugar in his coffee, when he usually does not.

The common currency erased those gains when it was reported he asked for tea.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cowardice and the lack of direct action

There's really only one reason that America isn't seeing the "bomb throwing" protests like we see in so many other countries. Americans are cowards.

It takes no guts at all, zero, to march with a group of thousands. It takes no balls to run away when the police fire tear gas at you. It is the way of the coward to not fight back as they beat you.

It takes more courage to fight back. To close ranks against the odds. To punch back when getting punched. To not be a passive victim. It takes more courage than most Americans have.

An that is why the Occupy movements will fail. Because the police will beat the protesters all day. They'll do it all day, every day, if needed. Being in riot squads, putting on that intimidating armor, forming ranks, weapons at the ready. The police love to do this stuff! Why do you think they decided to become a cop? To write speeding tickets? No, they joined the force to have a chance to do exactly what they are doing to the Occupy crowd. Bust heads and look intimidating.

Picture their attitudes in the locker room. They put on the riot gear. High-fives.Testosterone rising. "Yeah, we're gonna kick some ass!!"

And then they do. They kick ass. They get to live their fantasy of being a tough guy. They get to be the state sanctioned bully. And since they Occupiers won't fight back, they get to keep being the bully.

But being a bully is no fun if the victim fights back. Thankfully for them, fighting back is the last thing that will happen at an Occupy protest. The protesters will keep getting beaten, the cops will continue to do the beating, and nothing will change. Welcome to the United States of Cowardice.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Well that answers that question!

Guess there's no such thing as easy money. Just a few hours after Papandreou calls for a referendum on Euro austerity measures, he does an about face. No referendum after all.

This is the story of the EU. Issues simply too important to leave to the common man. Ireland voted wrong on EU membership, but they got the chance to keep voting, until they got it right. Greece's people almost had the chance to steer their own ship, but "cooler heads prevailed" and that important decision was taken out of their hands. Who the fuck cares what the people think?

Many times it has been said that for the its client states, EU membership means the total destruction of their financial sovereignty. Does anyone need more proof than Greece? Heads of state "reacted in horror" to the thought that it might be the Greek people who determine the fate of Greece.

Thankfully, the future of Greece was taken away from the people, and is back in the hands of Merkel and Sarkozy. Right where it belongs.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Greek Referendum- easy money shorting the Euro?

It seems almost too good to be true.

Papandreou puts the bailout plan to the vote. He actually calls for a referendum on the bailout. Given the Greek people's thoughts on the austerity measured tied into that bailout, it seems like a no brainer- short the Euro, they vote no, make a ton of dough.

But can it really be this easy? This after all, is a trillion dollar game being played. Would they really leave so much to chance?

But then again, they aren't all knowing. I remember the runup of the markets before the French vote to join the EU. And I made a bundle when the France said non.

So I don't know. But trading is all about following your plan, and I'll be following mine. Prior to the Greek referendum, I'm short the Euro, and looking for some big price action. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The whole world is watching!

That's the chant from the Occupy Wall Street crowd. "The whole world is watching!" Actually, not so much chant as mantra. And actually not so much mantra as magical spell.

I've seen two videos recently, Occupy Oakland and Occupy Denver, where unsurprisingly, police in riot gear beat, gassed, and arrested OWS protesters. Denver had the interesting addition of cops firing rubber bullets into the crowd.

And before it all, while the hostilities are rising, before even one police baton strikes one protester's skull, we hear that desperate chant, "The whole world is watching!"

My question is, even if the whole world actually is watching, why the hell should they care?

Why would the world care? They have problems enough of their own. This attitude then, is a perfect example of American Exceptionalism. Emphasis on the exceptional. When it happens to America, it's exceptional. It's worth watching. It's worth paying attention to. Sure there are riots all over the world, but this is America we're talking about! A truly special place. Why, it's so special a place that even their riots must be top page, big headline, world news. Look! Americans are doing... something! The whole world is watching! 

Granted, in America we aren't really used to seeing these kind of popular uprisings. And we aren't really used to seeing the police beat and bloody protesters to quite this degree. But to think the world cares one whit about America's problems is hubris in the extreme.

The world may be watching. It's on the news, after all. But the world doesn't care. In America, everything we do we want treated like it's a drawing by a three year old. "That's beautiful!", we want people to say. "You're so special for doing that! Why, that might just be the best drawing in the whole world! I'm going to put this on the refrigerator. Everyone is going to want to see this!"

But this isn't preschool. It's a grown up world. And the world doesn't care. Stop thinking that simply being an American makes you Exceptional.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Occupy Wall Street- Fight back you cowards!

Yet another disaster at Occupy Wall Street. Unsurprisingly, the police have once again done in Oakland what they are paid to do. What they are designed to do. Use violence against protestors. That's how they operate. That really is the job. That's why they have handcuffs, and tasers, and guns. That's why they have riot gear, and tear gas, and flashbang grenades. Those are the tools of their trade- violence.

So why is anyone surprised that they use violence to solve the "problem" of Occupy Oakland? The police are hammers, and everyone who isn't a cop is a nail. What I fail to see is why people are so willingly giving themselves up to be hammered.

Occupy Wall Street and its various offshoots keep talking about their "commitment to non-violence". Which is puzzling to me. Because the government sure as hell doesn't share that same commitment.

And please don't think that anyone is safe from being the target of such violence. The police have beaten grandmas, they have maced people with no provocation, they have run people down with their vehicles. And in the latest (but certainly not last) orgy of violence, they shot a man point blank in the head with a tear gas gun. Marine Scott Olsen has a fractured skull, brain swelling, and if he lives, faces the possibility of permanent brain damage.

Mr. Olsen believed that his uniform protected him. The police will surely respect a Marine! If he lives, you can ask him if he still thinks that.

So far, the only thing Occupy Wall Street has done is provide targets. The OWS crowd is quite good at offering themselves up to be beaten, tazered, and tear gassed. And they are even better at videotaping it, then uploading those videos on YouTube. But the police must not subscribe to that channel, because so far the only thing these videos have done is provide more evidence for the police investigators to ignore.

So what is the solution? Ask Sinn Féin. They understood that a political movement must have two kinds of power. It must work both within the system, and outside of it. They understood the unbeatable combination of the ballot box, and the ammo box.

Danny Morrison of Sinn Féin said it best. "Who here really believes we can win the war through the ballot box? But will anyone here object if, with a ballot paper in this hand and an Armalite in the other, we take power in Ireland?"

The police beat and tear gas the Occupy Wall Street crowd because they know they can. Because they know they can do so with impunity. We've seen a police "supervisor" mace a group of women standing behind a barrier. It was in full view of the crowd. It was videotaped. And we actually know who did it. Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna.

If anyone other than a cop maced a group of women, the crime is called, "Malicious wounding with a caustic substance" and will earn you five to 30 years in prison.

For his crime, Bologna was docked 10 vacation days and transferred to a different precinct. A transfer, by the way, that Bologna actually requested, because it provides a shorter commute. This is our two tiered justice system.

But image a third tier. A tier that isn't bound by the victim ideology of the OWS crowd. A group of people that aren't content with simply being mowed down like so much grass by the government's stormtroopers.

Imagine a different scenario with Bologna. Imagine that instead of earning a better drive to work, a group of serious, committed people do to him exactly what he did to those women. Imagine Bologna writhing on the ground, curled up in agony. Knowing in that moment exactly what those women felt- and more importantly- why this is happening to him.

This is justice. Justice which we obviously can't expect from the system. But can we expect this kind of justice from Occupy Wall Street? Or will they continue to work within a system that is obviously rigged against them?

Keep drumming, Occupy Wall Street protesters! Keep drumming.