I don’t know how many of you have been following the “Occupy Wall Street” protests but I thought this was a decent historical perspective of the movement. There’s a great tradition of populist anger against the economic elite. The protesters don’t seem to have any real leadership or defined goals, they appear to want it that way, but they are reflecting similar complaints going all the way back to the Shay and Whiskey Rebellions.
It is my possibly vain hope that reading up on such historical matters might inspire efforts like Occupy Wall Street to greater cogency and a deeper, more solid foundation in longstanding (if embattled and problematic) American values than they now seem to possess. You don’t have to look as late as the 19th-century Populists and the 1930′s labor movement, for example, to find an American left deeply immersed in both economic issues and an ambitious vision of a better country. Those things were present at the creation.
Occupy Wall Street probably doesn’t, when you shake it down, want to secede from the union like the whiskey rebels — happily enough. But those rebels didn’t start out by wanting to secede, either; they’d fought in the awful front lines of the Revolution in hopes that those sacrifices might lead to something for them and their families; it didn’t. Occupy Wall Street does seem to want to secede, somehow, from the hopeless-feeling regurgitation, through the two political parties, of elite finance theories and policies that never seem sincerely dedicated to any fundamental improvement of opportunity for what they call, not wrongly, “the 99%.”
But a lot of efforts to state a goal for the protest itself devolve in sloganeering about the economic situation and self-admiring paeans to the virtues of protesting. Wouldn’t galvanizing this stuff require… leadership? Our founding democratic-finance activists weren’t such communitarians that they refused to have leaders and set achievable goals. They were used to being rank-and-file — even though as miltiamen, they elected their leaders.
And they knew where they’d succeeded and failed. This thing in Zuccotti Park is open-ended. It has no declared closing date. How can it ever declare victory, get the hell out, build its organization, and come back to fight another day? (lms)
Here’s a story
that people have been waiting for:
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born Islamic militant cleric who became a prominent figure in al-Qaida’s most active branch, using his fluent English and Internet savvy to draw recruits to carry out attacks in the United States, was killed Friday in the mountains of Yemen, American and Yemeni officials said.
From the department of who didn’t see this
Most Bank of America customers will soon see a new charge on their statements — $5 for any month in which they use a BofA debit card to make a purchase.
Consumers should prepare for more such charges, analysts say, as big banks strive to recover revenue they have lost to financial reforms adopted in the aftermatch of the economic meltdown.
The new Bank of America fee will be phased in early next year, said Anne Pace, a spokeswoman for BofA, the nation’s largest retail bank.
Customers will still be able to use their cards at the bank’s automated teller machines without being charged, the bank said Thursday.
They also can make debit purchases free if they have a mortgage from Bank of America or if they have a total of $20,000 on deposit at Bank of America and in certain Merrill Lynch accounts (you may recall that Bank of America’s corporate parent bought Merrill Lynch as the financial crisis set in).
The bank, like others, has been testing ways to recover debit-card revenue that is going away because of new regulations.
Banks previously had charged merchants 44 cents on average every time they accepted a debit card for a purchase. Under new regulations that take effect Saturday, banks with more than $10 billion in assets will be able to charge merchants only 21 cents to 24 cents per transaction.
Bank of America and other big banks have said they will compensate by charging customers. “The economics of offering debit cards have changed,” Pace said in interview. (lms)
Texas was a “weak Governor” state until the decade of Perry. Perry has assiduously turned perhaps thousands of appointments into crony opportunities, shaping the bureaucracy in a way no other governor ever tried to do on a grand scale. This is not insidious in itself, but there are so many instances of barely qualified “friends” replacing experienced technocrats that it hurts Texas, while it benefits Perry. Today’s big story in Austin involves the biggest money bureaucracy in state government – the Texas Department of Transportation, or “TXDOT”. Big $$ for crony
From the story:enempany lobbyist and former top aide to Gov. Rick Perry was chosen Thursday
An energy company lobbyist and former top aide to Gov. Rick Perry was chosen Thursday to lead the 12,000-employee Texas Department of Transportation and will be paid at least $100,000 more annually than the career engineer he succeeds. lpartment of Transportation and will be paid at least -…$1more annually than the career engineer he succeeds.
Amadeo Saenz, 55
Experience: Engineer. Worked for 33 years for TxDOT.
Phil Wilson, 43
Experience: Lobbyist, executive for Luminant Energy. Texas secretary of state for one year. Aide for 15 years: U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, Gov. Rick Perry.
Note from me: This new salary is the max allowed for a state employee, but they are going to try to gain an exemption to pay Wilson even more.
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