Saturday, December 31, 2011

Occupied Media Interview of Jared Bernstein (repost)

In what is probably our highest profile interview, I'm thrilled to present Occupied Media's interview with economist Jared Bernstein. Dr. Bernstein has fought the good fight for his entire career. For many years he worked with EPI's Larry Mishel on State of Working America, which documented the rise in inequality and decimation of the American middle class. He then joined the Obama Administration as Vice President Biden's Chief Economist. He is now with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and he maintains a blog, On the Economy, which I love both because he presents economic issues in such understandable terms and because you get a glimpse into his personality (tune in for his music selections on Friday, for example).

Dr. Bernstein is incredibly busy - he made time for this interview at 10:00 PM after a 12-hour plus day. He not only took time to meet with us, he also connected us with Larry Mishel of EPI, who has been an amazing resource and advocate. Our deepest thanks for Dr. Bernstein for this interview, for his assistance and, most importantly, for a career dedicated to scholarship and advocacy on behalf of the 99%.

He was remarkably forthcoming and, unlike many economists, was willing to talk outside of the box. His bottom line diagnosis (or maybe it's still just a concern): We are a system that can no longer self-correct; and a system that cannot self-correct, cannot survive.



Special thanks to video editor, Brandon Goff for getting this out so quickly.

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Friday, December 30, 2011

Ricardianoid, Say's Law or Over-the-Top Sexism?

Alright, I've been biting my tongue on this for some time, but since it's been everywhere....

Occupied Media: Interview With Sarah Jaffe (Repost)

I'm really excited to present our most recent Occupied Media interview with journalist Sarah Jaffe. Sarah is an associate editor with AlterNet and has been covering OWS from almost the beginning. She maintains a blog at Ohyouprettythings.net and she tweets at @seasonothebitch (I really want a second interview so that we can talk about Sarah's Bowie obsession).

Sarah and I talk about OWS, her thoughts on the movement and where it might be going. We also discuss student debt and the potential for a debt strike. Sarah presents a good point of contrast to Tamara Draut, whose interview - also about student debt - will be posted later this week.



I started copying Sarah's articles on OWS, but she has written too many - make sure to check them out here.

Thanks, as always, to everyone with the Occupied Media Working Group and a huge thanks to video editor Brandon Goff.

75-Year Anniversary of Flint, Michigan Shutdown

Here's Michael Moore on the Flint, Michigan 1936 shutdown, which he characterizes as the birth of the middle class (excerpted):

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Occupied Media: Interview With Dean Baker (Repost)

I'm extremely pleased to present the most recent Occupied Media installment, our interview with economist Dean Baker. Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, including, most recently, The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. He regularly blogs at Beat the Press, which features commentary on economic reporting.

We discuss Dr. Baker's diagnosis and prescriptions for the economy. Unlike most of the econ folks I've spoken with, Dr. Baker expressed specific concern with our trade imbalances and argues making the dollar more competitive is important for recovery from our short-term economic crisis. Additionally, Dr. Baker has some really interesting ideas for tackling the housing crisis, including giving foreclosed upon homeowners the right to rent their former home for a significant period of time - an interesting solution that would give homeowners in default much-needed leverage in their negotiations with lenders.



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Still Busy - Watch Bill Hicks



Once you're done with part 1 of 7, part 2 of 7 is in the top right corner of the You Tube screen.

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Occupied Media Interview with Larry Mishel (Repost)

Our most recent Occupied Media virtual teach-in is with EPI economist Larry Mishel. EPI is celebrating its 25th year fighting for the 99%. EPI was recently recognized by the Washington Post and Paul Krugman. Krugman had this to say about EPI and Larry Mishel:
At this point EPI is the single best source for analysis of labor issues, one of the best sources of macroeconomic analysis, and in general a bastion of humane clarity. The institute’s success demonstrates just how powerful it is when you combine intellectual integrity with commitment, when you make a point of doing the math right, but also never forget that you stand for something....

Put it this way: I’ve had a number of meetings with senior officials along with other progressive economists, and I always feel that of the group, Larry Mishel is talking the most sense — and, whaddya know, agreeing with me.
I was really struck with his clear commitment to making a more decent, more equal society (he ended the interview by saying we had to do another one).



Top Ten Occupy Wall Street Signs

#10


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hilter's Reacts to the Pepper-Spray Cop (h/t rjs)

Who Are the 1%?

A week or so back, Dan from Angry Bear passed along this Boston Globe article. On its face, the article bemoans rising inequality through a comparison of two Massachusetts neighborhoods: Sherborn, the State’s wealthiest neighborhood and Springfield, a former working-class neighborhood that now resembles a globalized ghost town. Although the article quotes a Sherborn resident disavowing his status as a one percenter, the piece clearly implies that the upscale Sherbornites represent the 1%.

However, as Dan correctly pointed out, Sherbonites are not the 1%: The median income of Sherborn is $190,000 per year; not peanuts, I know, but the lowest paid one percenters make $500,000 per year (even using a significantly narrower definition of income, one percenters make in excess of $330,000 per year). Moreover, the biggest gains over the past thirty-odd years have gone to the top .1%.

When Occupy Wall Street identifies its opposition as the 1%, it’s not talking about people who live in posh neighborhoods with great schools; it’s talking about people who can hire teams of lobbyists who live in posh neighborhoods with great schools. As Gordon Gekko put it:

I'm not talking a $400,000 a year working Wall Street stiff flying first class and being comfortable, I'm talking about liquid. Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred million dollars, buddy. A player, or nothing.

Occupied Media: Interview With John Quiggin (Repost)

I'm extremely pleased to present the most recent Occupied Media installment, our interview with economist John Quiggin. Professor Quiggin usually does his professoring at the University of Queensland, but is currently a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins Univeristy. He blogs at the widely-read Crooked Timber and also on his own blog, johnquiggin.com. He is the author of Zombie Economics, which was named one of the top thirty business books of 2010 and surely can spawn untold sequels.

Professor Quiggin and I discuss the current economic crisis as well as his preferred policies to get us out of this God-awful mess. Among other matters, we discussed criminal prosecutions (which he's against), financial transaction tax (which he's for) and how we can keep this economic system from crashing all the damn time (he doesn't know). I think it comes across how much I enjoyed talking with Professor Quiggin and I'm sure everyone will find him to be as charming as I did.



Thanks, as always, to everyone with the Occupy Missoula Communications Working Group and a huge thanks to video editor Paul Shockey who took days fixing the sound on this video.

Top Ten Pepper-Spray Cop Pics

Since I'm preparing for trial on January 5th and really do not have time to maintain my Daily Blog, I figured I do a quick year-end, Top Ten list. A couple of the Pepper-Spray Cop pics are new to my blog, but most have previously been posted.

#D27, #D28, D#29 - Plenty of Posts, But Minimal Daily Blog

I'm getting ready for trial so, minimal blogging for the next few days. However, I've compiled a Top Ten list (posted today, D27), I've written a new essay (that will be posted the 28th), I'm reposting an Occupied Media interview on the 27th and I'm posting a new Occupied Media interview on the 29th. So, there will be plenty of new content; just not the usual daily links.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

No War But the Class War: Is Political Realignment Possible? (Repost)


Have you ever suddenly realized that several ideas that have been rolling through your mind are connected? People who regularly write and think about ideas live for such aha moments. In fact, I think Aldous Huxley had such experiences in mind when he cleverly described “[a]n intellectual” as “a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex.” Although I certainly won’t claim to be in that rarefied ether, I did recently have a minor moment of clarity with respect to three ideas about OWS that have been preoccupying me (ha, preoccupying).

Friday, December 23, 2011

Donate to Plutocracy Files

This site was started because I was trying to figure out the financial crisis. It turns out that investigation was profoundly radicalizing. When Occupy Wall Street burst on the scene, I immediately supported the cause and was covering through a daily blog as well as our Occupied Media interview series (top left).

This expansion of the blog means it takes pretty much all of my time. I simply cannot continue it indefinitely without support. So, I have an included a membership option as well as two donation options on the top right of the blog. I know times are tough and this time of year is tight, but if you could drop a few dollars into the tip jar or, even better, become a member, it would be appreciated. Thanks for reading and thanks for your support!

By the way, I'm offering Plutocracy Files t-shirts to all members and donors who give $50 or more.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Occupied Media: Interview With Boots Riley

In what is our highest-profile interview to date, I'm thrilled to present Occupied Media's interview with Occupy Oakland's Boots Riley. Of all of the interviews I've done, this was the first one where I was nervous (maybe also my very first interview Jeff Madrick). As you'll see in the interview, Boots is charismatic, endlessly interesting and the camera absolutely loves him. More importantly, his vision for social change and for the Occupy movement is both clear and compelling.

Boots is probably best known as a talented musician and lyricist. He is the front man of Oakland's The Coup and, more recently, he has collaborated with guitarist and activist Tom Morello to form The Street Sweeper Social Club.

Among other matters, Boots and I discuss his history as an organizer (which extends to his youth), how he got "sucked in" (his words) to Occupy Oakland, his vision for social change and the Occupy Movement and his message to progressives and/or radicals critical of Occupy. I have no doubt everyone will find Boots Riley as compelling and thought provoking as we do.



Many thanks to video editor Brandon Goff who got this video ready on short notice.

#D21, #D22 & #D23 2011: Holiday Blog, Part I

Need to get ready for trial and the holidays and therefore, won't be doing as lengthy of a Daily Blog as usual between now and #D26. So, I'm combining the next few days into two Holiday Blogs: Holiday Blog, Part I will be D21, D22 & D23 and Holiday Blog, Part II will be D24, D25 & D26.

I will be posting a new Occupied Media interview on #D22 (it may be Boots Riley - depending on how quickly our video editor can turn the video around. I will also be re-posting an essay on #D23 and am working on another essay (which may or may not be done before the New Year).

In the spirit of year-end reflection, I'm going to post some of the great videos, articles and blog posts that have been posted here over the past three months. I'm also going to be making my way through the Berkeley Sociology Journal page on Occupy (link below) and will post links to articles of note as I work my my through them.

Occupy Wall Street Sign for the Holidays, Part I



Monday, December 19, 2011

Occupied Media: Interview With Alexa D. O'Brien

Our next Occupied Media interview is with citizen activist Alexa D. O'Brien. Alexa founded US Day of Rage, which was directly involved with organizing and promoting the occupation of Wall Street on September 17, 2011. Alexa continues to be involved with Occupy Wall Street and with US Day of Rage's call for an Article V Constitutional Convention. I've now interviewed several high-profile economists and journalist, but I really love the interviews with fellow occupiers. So, I hope everyone enjoys the interview as much as I did and please check out the very important work going on at US Day of Rage.



Many thanks to video editor Paul Shockey.

#D19 - 2011: Daily Blog (#OWS)

Occupy Wall Street Sign of the Day



Sunday, December 18, 2011

#D18 - 2011: Daily Blog (#OWS)

Occupy Wall Street Sign of the Day


Note: For those of you here from the Angry Bear blog, welcome! (And thanks to Dan for the link). I basically do three things on this blog: 1) I have a daily blog (what you're reading) that has a good deal of Occupy Wall Street news, but also the occasional econ link; 2) I conduct interviews, many of well-know econ folks (Jeff Madrick, Doug Henwood, John Quiggin, Larry Mishel, Jared Bernstein, Dean Baker, Bill Black, etc.). Those interviews are listed on the top, left corner of the blog; and 3) I write essays, usually about politics, but sometimes about economics. Here is a link to a econ essay of mine. So, thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoy the site.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Occupied Media: Interview With Professor William K. Black

So, this video took far too long to post due to technical difficulties (and we ultimately ended up posting without video). However, the content is amazing. The interview is with esteemed law professor Bill Black who has been a tireless advocate for reform of the financial system and prosecution of the fraudsters that brought our economy to its knees. The title of his book really says it all: The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.

Professor Black is an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, a white-collar criminologist and a former financial regulator. He blogs at New Economic Perspectives and tweets at @WilliamKBlack. Professor Black has been an advocate of the Occupy Wall Street Movement and he has been remarkably generous with his time.



A huge thanks to video editor Paul Shockey for getting this interview out despite the numerous technical problems.


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December 16, 2011 - Daily Blog (#OWS)

Occupy Wall Street Sign of the Day



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Occupied Media: Interview With Jared Bernstein

In what is probably our highest profile interview, I'm thrilled to present Occupied Media's interview with economist Jared Bernstein. Dr. Bernstein has fought the good fight for his entire career. For many years he worked with EPI's Larry Mishel on State of Working America, which documented the rise in inequality and decimation of the American middle class. He then joined the Obama Administration as Vice President Biden's Chief Economist. He is now with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and he maintains a blog, On the Economy, which I love both because he presents economic issues in such understandable terms and because you get a glimpse into his personality (tune in for his music selections on Friday, for example).

Dr. Bernstein is incredibly busy - he made time for this interview at 10:00 PM after a 12-hour plus day. He not only took time to meet with us, he also connected us with Larry Mishel of EPI, who has been an amazing resource and advocate. Our deepest thanks for Dr. Bernstein for this interview, for his assistance and, most importantly, for a career dedicated to scholarship and advocacy on behalf of the 99%.

He was remarkably forthcoming and, unlike many economists, was willing to talk outside of the box. His bottom line diagnosis (or maybe it's still just a concern): We are a system that can no longer self-correct; and a system that cannot self-correct, cannot survive.



Special thanks to video editor, Brandon Goff for getting this out so quickly.

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December 13, 14 and 15th 2011 - Daily Blog (#OWS)

Occupy Wall Street Sign of the Day



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Occupied Media: Interview With Punkboyinsf

Here's Occupied Media's interview with J'Tao a/k/a @Punkboyinsf, an Occupy steamer out of the Bay Area. My main impression of Punkboyinsf - having gotten to know him a bit - is how generous he is: He's thrilled promote and help out small occupations and fellow streamers. When I asked him about donations, he really wasn't interested in money, but thought maybe he could use some equipment. However, since then, he's lost his phone/camera and had to replace it, courtesy his Mom who he really needs to pay back. Here is a link to donate to that very worthy cause.

Like my interview with OakFoSho, we cover a lot of ground, starting with how he fell into streaming and all of the twists and turns he and the movement have taken since then. Unfortunately, my side of the video was lost due to technical difficulties, but in terms of content, I'm really pleased with the interview:



Special thanks to video editor, Brandon Goff for getting this out so quickly.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

The Flaw (Repost)

Since it's a slow posting weekend, I figured I would post this essay, which was written well before OWS. A few weeks back, a reader requested I reconsider this essay in light of OWS. It's an interesting idea, but I think I accept the Chris Hedges interpretation of OWS as fundamentally conservative in that it stands for restoration of the rule of law and of our democracy. In Burkean terms, OWS is not the French Revolution, it's the American Revolution (which OWS constantly and overtly invokes). In fact, Hedges takes the exact position of this essay: Namely, it is capitalism - and especially the radical form of capitalism that has been in effect since the fall of the Soviet Union - that is the radical, revolutionary force. So, without further ado, here is The Flaw.

December 9, 10, 11 & 12 2011 - Weekend Plus Blog (#OWS)

Occupy Wall Street Sign of the Day Weekend....



Tied up most of the day and through the weekend with work. Will try to post some, but will just include everything here - so, check back for updates....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Occupied Media: Interview With Spencer Mills (a/k/a OakFoSho)

This interview with Spencer Mills (a/k/a OakFoSho) - as well as a slightly earlier interview with Punkboyinsf (which is held up in editing due to technical issues) - are my first interviews of fellow Occupiers. Partially for that reason, but also because I think these guys are absolutely amazing, these interviews may be my favorite.

Spencer and I pretty much cover the map - how he got started with Occupy and streaming, media objectivity, "diversity of tactics" and transparency, the raid of Occupy LA, the various people Occupying trees (I absolutely LOVE the tree people) and the impressive occupation that is Occupy Oakland. As anyone who has watched OakFoSho's stream knows, he's incredibly interesting and opinionated - pretty much a dream interview. So, the one and only, OakFoSho:



December 7, 2011 - Daily Blog (#OWS)

Occupy Wall Street Sign of the Day (apparently they need a permit for the igloo)


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Occupied Media: Interview With Ryan Devereaux

I cannot tell you how excited I am to present Occupied Media's interview with Ryan Devereaux of Democracy Now! Ryan has been covering Occupy Wall Street since before the physical occupation began. He has covered and live tweeted many of the critical moments, including - among many other events - the mass arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge and the arrests and violence that occurred at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway.

In addition to reporting for Democracy Now!, Ryan is a contributing writer for The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, The Nation, AlterNet, New America Media, and others. You can also follow him on Twitter at @RDevro.



December 4, 2011 - Daily Blog (#OWS)

Occupy Wall Street Sign of the Day (h/t friend of the blog David of Our World Report)