Friday, September 7, 2012

It's Time to Move on. Closer to Home. To Gangs and Drugs in Chicago

21 September 2012

It's been about a year since my last post. Frankly, I've lost interest. Looks like the world has lost its only near-term chance for financial reform. The gap between rich and poor grows wider, and grows wider faster.
Daniel Burnham's 1906 Plan for Chicago

I've not been idle. Spent much of the last six months lining up ducks for a Chicago-based project: a plan to free Chicago from gangs and drugs. See if you agree with the logic of this article I've written.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2011  (sorry post in progress to be complete ASAP)

                             - Shakespeare, The Tempest

America is not Prospero, the learned wizard who speaks these lines on the way to effecting a miracle of unification in Shakespeare's Tempest. In recent years America has been anything but prescient in shaping its best future - its zenith - and today America's fortunes will indeed ever after droop. The unravelling of American politics will continue unabated; the nation will drift towards anarchy and thence to the status of a police state. It's now or never.

Monday, October 17, 2011

"I won't believe corporations are people until Texas executes one."

Is she the OWS genius
who first had this insight?
 The Dayton version
This delectable slogan goes to the heart of the cocomanie notion that corporations are people. Corporate personhood (and artificial personhood) is how lawyers refer to this idea. [Move to Amend is looking to reverse the 2010 U. S. Supreme Court ruling that corporations are people, from the standpoint that corporations, like people, have a right to free speech.]

The immortality of corporations - that fact that Texas will never execute one - has a lot to do with the gap between the 99% and the 1% that informs OWS. This Support Corporate Personhood Facebook page supports C.P.P on the ground that "corporations are groups of people". In this Wall Street Journal op ed piece, former General Electric Jack Welsh goes all out in support of this idea.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

OccupyWallStreet: Why are the New York Times and Mayor Bloomberg Dissing OWS? In a Word: Fear.

All we have to fear is fear itself (none visible here).

[Sep 28, updated through Oct 2.] Let's begin with a paragraph from the front page of today's New York Times: "As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge around the Globe":
    MADRID — Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strike. Israel reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries.
It's gone global. New York Times front page .
OK, so it's happening, all of it triggered by the immolation last December of Mohammed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street fruit vendor whom history will one day remember as the Rosa Parks of the Arab Spring of 2011. As a fine CBS 60 Minutes segment showed last February, it was Bouazizi's death (and life) that triggered the Arab Spring. And now, the Arab Spring is a Global Spring, as Peter Coy foresaw in his BloombergBusinessweek cover story of last February. 

But. Wonder of wonders. Even as the Times covers the Arab Spring in its global aspect, it belittles the occurrence of this phenomenon in its own back yard. Times coverage to date has consisted of dismissive stories like this and this, "Gunning for Wall Street with Faulty Aim" (9/23), by Gina Bellafonte, whose interviews with a few occupiers convince her that the "cause [of the occupation] . . . in specific terms, was virtually impossible to decipher."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

OccupyWallStreet: American Tahrir Square?

September 17.  The New York Times writes that 1,000 people today converged on Wall Street. [9/19 ABC News and The Guardian of England put the number at 5,000.] The corporate-critical publication Adbusters, which spearheaded this action, had called for 20,000 people to occupy Wall Street not for a day but for a period of months, emulating the occupation of Cairo's Tahrir Square that forced the ouster last February of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
"Ragingly ignorant anti-capitalists"?

How credible is OccupyWallStreet? What do occupiers want? What impact might they have if they follow through on their pledge of a two-month occupation? And who are they: "ragingly ignorant anti-capitalists", as a TownHall commentator Erika Johnsen writes, or angry youth "united in the spirit of the Tahrir Square revolutionaries", as MarketWatch's Paul Farrell asserts?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wall Street since the Credit Crisis

In a word, they got away with it. How the other half, or the other one per cent, is living now. In New York Magazine, a provocative series of articles by John Hellemen (Wall Street "Triumphant"), John Gapper (Wall Street "Anxious") and Felix Salmon ("Oblivious" at Davos).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Arab World since the Feb 11 Departure of Mubarak

Good stuff about the Arab Spring:
  • The Guardian 5/21/11, Ahdaf Soueif, "Our Revolt is not Obama's: Barack Obama says he wants change in the Arab world yet insults us with the same old bad policies". A short piece, yet surpassingly powerful, about Obama's subversion of the Arab world's quest for economic opportunity even as he professes support for it. U.S. It has wonderful paragraphs like this one:   
The blame is not all with America. We had a regime that was susceptible, that became actively complicit; assiduously finding ways to serve US and Israeli interests – and ruin us. But: we got rid of it. Peaceably, with grace and within the law. We Got Rid of It.
Ahdaf Soueif (pictured right) is an Egyptian short story writer, novelist and political and cultural commentator. More Soueif pieces at the Guardian.