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Showing posts tagged occupywallstreet

More propaganda from the New York Post:

The NYPD has begun evicting the hundreds of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators that have been encamped in Zuccotti Park for almost two months….Hours before the massive operation commenced at around 1 a.m., Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano and other officials convened in secret at City Hall to greenlight the campaign to clear the park, sources said.
….Cops handed out flyers early this morning declaring that, “The city has determined that the continued occupation of Zuccotti Park poses an increasing health and fire safety hazard,” to protesters as well as first responders, and ordered personal property removed.

Obviously, the Post gets earlier warning than the protesters. Got to get your lies out first, huh, Bloomberg?
(Feel free to click on the picture, it takes you to the Mother Jones story quoting the Post. I wouldn’t link you guys to the Post without warning.)

More propaganda from the New York Post:

The NYPD has begun evicting the hundreds of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators that have been encamped in Zuccotti Park for almost two months….Hours before the massive operation commenced at around 1 a.m., Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano and other officials convened in secret at City Hall to greenlight the campaign to clear the park, sources said.

….Cops handed out flyers early this morning declaring that, “The city has determined that the continued occupation of Zuccotti Park poses an increasing health and fire safety hazard,” to protesters as well as first responders, and ordered personal property removed.

Obviously, the Post gets earlier warning than the protesters. Got to get your lies out first, huh, Bloomberg?

(Feel free to click on the picture, it takes you to the Mother Jones story quoting the Post. I wouldn’t link you guys to the Post without warning.)



Most Statistics Geeky Reason to Occupy Wall Street
Benford’s law is a statistical property that many collections of random data have. When looking at huge sets of numbers (for example, voting returns by precinct), the first digit is a 1 more often than any other number. If you have a data set where the data fall in the range 1–9, each digit accounts, obviously for one spot. But if things go higher, you add 10 more spots that have a leading digit of 1 (10–19) before you get to the 2s. And so on. And then a hundred 1s, etc. Given enough data, the frequency of each pretty closely matches a certain mathematical formula.
Generating a lot of truly random data that behaves like real data is notoriously difficult to do really well. Back in the fifties, RAND Corporation sold a book containing a million random digits for use in various applications. Deviations from Benford’s law have been used as evidence of cooking the books in fraud cases. As I recall, Ahmadinejad’s obviously stolen Iranian election came nowhere close, not that it mattered.
Finance professor Jailan Wang decided to dump over 40 years worth of SEC data containing 43 different variables for 20,000 firms into some sort of amazing statistical analysis program and see how reliable company filings have been over time. The chart above is the amount of deviation for the manufacturing, information, and finance sectors. Look at how the finance sector gets massively unreliable in the eighties, then declines after the S&L scandal blows up, only to climb back up to its previous record just around 2008.

Most Statistics Geeky Reason to Occupy Wall Street

Benford’s law is a statistical property that many collections of random data have. When looking at huge sets of numbers (for example, voting returns by precinct), the first digit is a 1 more often than any other number. If you have a data set where the data fall in the range 1–9, each digit accounts, obviously for one spot. But if things go higher, you add 10 more spots that have a leading digit of 1 (10–19) before you get to the 2s. And so on. And then a hundred 1s, etc. Given enough data, the frequency of each pretty closely matches a certain mathematical formula.

Generating a lot of truly random data that behaves like real data is notoriously difficult to do really well. Back in the fifties, RAND Corporation sold a book containing a million random digits for use in various applications. Deviations from Benford’s law have been used as evidence of cooking the books in fraud cases. As I recall, Ahmadinejad’s obviously stolen Iranian election came nowhere close, not that it mattered.

Finance professor Jailan Wang decided to dump over 40 years worth of SEC data containing 43 different variables for 20,000 firms into some sort of amazing statistical analysis program and see how reliable company filings have been over time. The chart above is the amount of deviation for the manufacturing, information, and finance sectors. Look at how the finance sector gets massively unreliable in the eighties, then declines after the S&L scandal blows up, only to climb back up to its previous record just around 2008.





ocelott:

The actions of the Boston PD will not go unnoticed. Spread this like wildfire.



Just another chart from Kevin Drum at Mother Jones that may help to explain why there’s a ragtag band of hippies and anarchists, and whoever else is with them camping in a park near you. Also, in case you were wondering which side you ought to be on.



If your recession looks like this, you are the 1%. Which side are you on?

If your recession looks like this, you are the 1%.
Which side are you on?





First, we removed the possibility of creating real, binding contracts by allowing employers to bust the unions that had been entering into these agreements for millions of people. Second, we allowed those same employers to cancel existing contracts, virtually at will, by transferring liability from one corporate shell to another, or letting a subsidiary go into Chapter 11 and then moving to “cancel” the contract rights, including lifetime health benefits and pensions. As one company after another “reorganized” in Chapter 11 to shed contract rights, working people learned that it was not rational to count on those rights and guarantees, or even to think in these future-oriented ways. No wonder people in our country began to live for the moment and take out loans and start running up debts.

And then we dismantled the most ancient of human laws, the law against usury, which had existed in some form in every civilization from the time of the Babylonian Empire to the end of Jimmy Carter’s term, and which had been so taken for granted that no one ever even mentioned it to us in law school. That’s when we found out what happens when an advanced industrial economy tries to function with no cap at all on interest rates.

Here’s what happens: the financial sector bloats up. With no law capping interest, the evil is not only that banks prey on the poor (they have always done so) but that capital gushes out of manufacturing and into banking. When banks get 25 percent to 30 percent on credit cards, and 500 or more percent on payday loans, capital flees from honest pursuits, like auto manufacturing. Sure, GM is awful. Sure, it doesn’t innovate. But the people who could have saved GM and Ford went off to work at AIG, or Merrill Lynch, or even Goldman Sachs. All of this used to be so obvious as not to merit comment. What is history, really, but a turf war between manufacturing, labor, and the banks? In the United States, we shrank manufacturing. We got rid of labor. Now it’s just the banks.

Labor lawyer and author Thomas Geoghegan, in Harper’s Magazine a while back. The whole thing is a must-read article, but Harper’s keeps everything behind a pay wall, last I checked. I’ve downloaded a pdf of the article and will share it with anyone who asks, though. Just part of my campaign to rally people about debt relief in connection to the various Occupy protests going on.


If a bank were guaranteed to get its money back, plus interest, no matter what it did, the whole system wouldn’t work. Say I were to walk into the nearest branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland and say “You know, I just got a really great tip on the horses. Think you could lend me a couple million quid?” Obviously they’d just laugh at me. But that’s just because they know if my horse didn’t come in, there’d be no way for them to get the money back. But, imagine there was some law that said that they were guaranteed to get their money back no matter what happens, even if that meant, I don’t know, selling my daughter into slavery or harvesting my organs or something? Well, in that case, why not? Why bother waiting for someone to walk in who has a viable plan to set up a laundromat or some such? Basically, that’s the situation the IMF set up on a global level—which is how you could have all those banks willing to fork over billions to a bunch of obvious crooks in the first place.
David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years (p. 3). Since it’s unlikely that I can get everyone to just go buy the book themselves, I’m going to start posting some relevant quotes from it. Debt forgiveness of some sort has to be part of the demands of Occupy Wall Street and related protests, so we should learn how to make the case from historical, moral, and pragmatic grounds.


So we are keeping it open-ended. In a way, what we want is to create spaces where people can think about questions like that. In New York, according to law, any unpermitted assembly of more than 12 people is illegal in New York. Space itself is not an openly available resource. But the one resource that isn’t scarce is smart people with ideas. So we’re trying to reframe things away from the rhetoric of demands to a questions of visons and solutions. Now how that translates into actual social change is an interesting question. One way this has been done elsewhere is you have local initiatives that come out of the local assemblies.

David Graeber again, in an interview with Ezra Klein of the Washington Post about what the Occupy Wall Street protesters are trying to do. This is somewhat opposed to the Doug Henwood article I linked to a couple days ago. So, a couple different perspectives on the need for specific demands.

Oh, and midnight passed since the last one, so I feel justified in tagging this one “Link Of The Day” as well.



These gangsters have too much money. They wrecked the economy, got bailed out, and are back to business as usual. We need jobs, schools, health care, and clean energy. Let’s take their money to pay for them.

Doug Henwood argues that the Occupy Wall Street protesters need to come up with an actual purpose soon. This is his idea for something that they (and really most of the rest of us) can use as a rallying call. In any event, it’s worth checking out his reasons for it, as he’s actually a real leftist that loves this sort of thing, and not a moderate center-left neoliberal that tsk-tsk’s about those radicals, which seems to be the furthest left you can go in the mainstream media.

In any event, I’ve been ignoring this whole protest, and shouldn’t be. I’ve finally got some links to write up along these lines, hopefully.