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#OccupyLA: Eviction and the Detention of Tyson Heder

  I drove myself down to City Hall on Tuesday night to take part in what would probably be the most important political event in our city for a long time.  I live tweeted as much as I could – right up until my Android phone ran out of batteries.  For those of you who thought I may have been arrested or hurt – do not fret.  Yours truly stayed well out of the way of both protesters and the police, I didn’t even yell and scream.  I just wanted […]

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The End of Apocalypse Nobody Noticed

There is a lot going on right now with all the subjects I like to write about: Occupy LA is getting evicted (probably tonight) to make way for a movie shoot (starring Sean Penn, ironically).  CitiBank’s deal with the SEC to protect them from fault in the MBS mess was overturned by a New York judge.  SOPA and PIPA are threatening the free space of the internet for the sake of protecting intellectual property laws conceived in the 19th century. But I wanted to point out some good news that I […]

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The Absurd Man – à la 8-Bit RPG

Thanks to my very good friend Landon Zakheim – who curated the second annual “Razorblades in Your Reese’s” Halloween short film program at the Downtown Independent last Monday- I was exposed to the tender and hilarious ennui of filmmaker Emily Carmichael.  I am very happy this has happened.  Her short The Hunter and the Swan Discuss Their Meeting was an outcast among the more shocking and musically epic shorts in the program (The Legend of Beaver Dam is one of the greatest things ever, as well), but its sensibility was dry and […]

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Why I Left My Bank

#remember X 2 #nov5 #BankTransferDay #treason #plot #aintnoreasonwhy #neverforget #BankTransferDay is Upon Us It probably wouldn’t surprise you if I told you I was participating in Bank Transfer Day, the Occupy-inspired day of protest where people are encouraged to move their deposits into credit unions and out of the major banks.  You might be surprised when I tell you it was primarily a personal budget decision between my partner and I, and not one made from idealism or outrage.  I even did it early, to avoid any trouble with my […]

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#OWS: Bank of America is At It Again

News broke today that the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation had a little disagreement about a transfer of assets between subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation (BAC) which owns both Merrill Lynch and Bank of America (BofA, the retail bank you’re more familiar with.)  It seems that BAC is moving something on the order of $75 trillion dollars of derivatives risk from Merrill Lynch, which is not insured by American taxpayers, to Bank of America, which is.  This means that just as European banks are about to crumble in on themselves in an epic default, BAC has pushed their substantial share of the risk of those defaults from their shareholders to the FDIC, effectively putting taxpayers on the hook. Here is another great piece on the transfer from former regulator William K. Black. They did this without a peep from the Federal Reserve.  Through the FDIC, you and I now bear the risk of the screwed up European banking system without ever engaging in these risky and fraudulent debt obligations to begin with.  They ate the meal, now we clean the $75 trillion dishes. This is why people do not, and probably should not, trust the financial sector and its narrow interests. People now associate ‘Wall Street’ with a threat to regular people with regular jobs and regular investments. The financial sector is the largest contributor to federal elections, including President Obama.  Mitt Romney is one and is surrounded by them.  And […]

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#OWS: The Morning After

You know the argument about a rising tide, and how it lifts all boats?  This has always seemed a dubious metaphor to me because of all the assumptions it must make in order to apply, and all of the obvious features of the ‘tide’ that it conveniently leaves out of the idiom. Join me while I break it down. (much more below the fold)

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#OccupyLA: Who Speaks For Us?

We Don’t Need a Leader, But We Need Something When the General Assembly in Woodruff Park in Atlanta declined to allow John Lewis, famed civil rights activist and sitting U.S. Congressman to deliver a few words of encouragement, I believe this movement made a curious and possibly detrimental turn toward the irrelevant.  The reason for this is straightforward:  I do not believe you can assault our broken democracy and our broken economic system simultaneously.  By rejecting elected and aspiring representatives of the people from engaging in this movement and taking its message to city halls, state houses, and the impotent galleries of the U.S.  Congress, there is a chance we could doom this protest to the alternate fates of destructive riots or perpetual but inconsequential unrest. <much more below the fold>

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#OccupyLA: How 500 = 99%

It seems like fuzzy math, to see a tiny crowd of mostly white youngsters with a spattering of legitimate community organizers claiming to be 99% percent of the population.  Likewise is it hard to believe that a handful of redditors and youtube jockeys with their somewhat short-sighted stories about personal debt and unemployment could somehow embody the experience of almost the entire population of the richest country on Earth.  On a day when everyone was making suggestions to these protesters on what their demands should be (including of course, yours truly) there were just as many people speaking out against the ‘dangerous’ ‘class warfare’ of a handful of idiot hippies who want to make us like the Communists. It’s just as easy for opponents of this protest to dismiss its participants and their desires as it was for liberals to dismiss the Tea Party in its early days.  Back then, the Tea Party seemed like an over-hyped Fox News focus group, suddenly transformed from studio audience to vocal mob, chanting and waving signs about liberty and socialism and Sharia law.  But just as the Tea Party grew into a legitimate social movement with electoral power, this movement has the same potential, and it’s because its concerns do really do line up with the desires of 99% of people in this country.   (Much more below the fold)

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#OccupyLA: What It Is, What It Could Be

The Counter-Counter Revolution I took a trip to Los Angeles City Hall last night because I heard a rumor that there was the start of something big going on down there.  Since I have a full time job in business development (read: job creation) I couldn’t attend during the day.  I was, thankfully, able to drive my $750 automobile and park it in a garage for $15.00 and make my way to the ad hoc camp that serves as the epicenter of a new wave of the ongoing populist movement in America.  I expected to find a handful of stalwarts, sharing tamales and tugging on one-hitters, waiting for the next day of shallow media coverage to march and yell.  What I found instead was a diverse village of individuals, mostly young, self-organizing as a spontaneous protest spurned on by a feeling of hopelessness and invisibility. But where is it going, and how is it going to get there? (There is an epic rundown below the fold.)

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