Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Observations from the Edge 12.12

A confusing day when I was supposed to be getting some work done at home, some thoughts.

There was a rather small OWS march in support of the west coast port protests today. It culminated in a comparatively large police reaction at the World Financial Center where, after entering the Winter Garden, protesters were met by a man who said if they didn't leave they would be arrested. The World Financial Center just happens to be owned by Brookfield Properties who also own Zuccotti Park. The police said the man worked for Brookfield but Brookfield had no comment when asked. After the announcement something quite disturbing happened. Police moved in and arrested targeted people first, targeted for live streaming video and carrying cameras, for simply broadcasting or recording the event. Reporters were pushed outside, electronics were confiscated, and dozens of arrests were made. This just weeks after Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent a memo to all members of NYPD reminding officers not to interfere with members of the media covering news and warning that members who do so could face disciplinary action. Maybe the financial industry's yearly $5 million in donations to the New York City Police Foundation speaks louder than even commissioner Kelly.

The march began earlier at a freezing cold Zuccotti Park, the wind blowing from both the harbor to the south and the Hudson to the east. Still a few hundred marchers headed off too Goldman Sachs to go squidding. Yes I said squidding, something I didn't quite grasp at first but than I saw a sign with a quote and the sometimes dark light bulb went off in my brain. “The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Those are the first two lines of an article in the April 5, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone titled “The Great American Bubble Machine.” It was written by Matt Taibbi who also wrote “The People vs. Goldman Sachs” for the May 11, 2011 is of the same magazine. Both are worth reading if you want to try and understand what the hell happened to this country's economy.

In an unrelated matter, over lunch I saw some of President Obama's press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in which he said these were truly times of homecoming. I truly wonder what all the thousands of troops stationed in Afghanistan will think when they hear that line.

Finally one of those you just have to laugh at. During this morning's march came this one, "@PennyRed: Chant from inside van - 'whose tweets? Our tweets!' (people arrested for tweeting)."

12/13 update - Matt Taibbi in his Rolling Stone blog today, "I almost shed tears of pride this morning when I read this hilarious passage in the Daily News: Earlier Monday, about 300 protesters in squid costumes surged outside the offices of Goldman Sachs investment bank shouting, "We fry calamari!" and "Everyone pays their tax – everyone but Goldman, Sachs!" You can read the rest here.

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