On the Role of the Middle Class in Occupy Wall Street

I’ve been involved in a conversation with Juniper Shoemaker these past few days about the Occupy Wall Street movement, the worry that the middle class will eventually co-opt it, and that the concerns of the less-privileged will be subsumed into returning the middle class to the status quo. It’s also been a conversation largely about language, and it’s covered a good deal of territory that we’ve already been over. At the same time, I think the conversation exposes a lot of nuance that we haven’t discussed, so it’s worth continuing in a new post. I’m answering this comment primarily, but there are other bits of the conversation in the “Clue this dude in” post and it touches on something martha said as well.
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The 99% flunked econ? Just want to bang bongos?

On the topic of another sort of privilege, Alan Grayson on Occupy Wall Street:

If you don’t know what the movement’s all about, Stephanie Zvan leaves absolutely no room for doubt as to what the participants want. If you click that link and still claim the movement lacks clarity, you probably work for some entity that wants to keep a real grassroots movement from gaining momentum.

RCimT: Climate round-up

Apropos of the topic of discussion for today’s radio show, here’s a roundup of some links related to climate change, plus some other related sciencey bits that I otherwise just wanted to get out of my tabs. Enjoy!

Here’s how climate change was subsumed into the “culture war”. Good overview of how we got to the point where science and anti-science polarized along political lines, and how it’ll backfire on the pro-money and anti-science crowd.

Knowing that bots and hired trolls have all but filled the discourse on other matters, Googling for related topics and astroturfing dissent as though they were legitimately grass-roots, it’s no surprise that climate denialists are employing these same tactics to muddy the discourse.

Some new study came out claiming some ridiculous things about the science proving anthropogenic global warming, and the media is touting this study as “blowing a hole” in the science, calling those people that understand and accept the evidence “alarmists” in the process. Phil Plait rips ‘em a new one over this mendacity, and in the process, Learns to Stop Worrying and Love the Ad Hominem in the process. Though I’d argue that since he’s also showing why they’re wrong, what he’s doing is simply including a personal attack in the conclusion. You’ll want to click pretty much every one of the links in his post, as the actual debunking mostly happens off-blog.

Like at RealClimate, for example. If you don’t want to go through the links above, at least check that one out.

John Abraham, one of the participants in the Atheists Talk radio show today, had another radio spot recently about climate change that you should check out.

The Koch Brothers, apparently movers-and-shakers in the conservative world, are making a concerted effort to stamp out a wind power generation project in New Jersey. And, of course, disguising it as a grassroots movement.

Mike Haubrich, host of the Atheists Talk show, has a good piece on “Hide the Decline”, those unfortunate terms of trade in the “Climategate” emails. Those emails led to a million false allegations against climate scientists and climate science as a whole due to a simple misunderstanding and a willful ignorance of the truth, even after having it explained a million and one (for good measure) times.

And now that the raw data from the “Climategate” study has been released, and STILL they can’t find any actual wrongdoing or manipulation in the scientists’ processes, I’m sure that’ll evaporate finally! Right?

If we could find some way to keep space debris from smashing it to bits, I’m now convinced space solar is the best path out of this era of fossil fuels and into the next, of renewable resources. Building the arrays and keeping them safe from space junk would be expensive, but no more expensive than, say, three ongoing wars, or the Bush-era tax cuts.

Enjoy the radio show! I’ll be listening live myself, if I can get the stupid feed to work properly this time around. Last time the streaming was glitchy as hell. Here’s to hoping it’s sorted now.

RCimT: Some stuff I missed while I was down and out

In the wake of Scio11, I was sick. Very sick. Two different kinds of sicknesses with different incubation periods and symptoms. My immune system is shot all to hell, and I strongly suspect I’m becoming allergic to my cats, which would explain my sinus problems for the past year and a half, and my sudden downturn in ability to fend off any sniggering little monocellular malcontent that happens by. Got an allergy test eventually – at least, that’s what the doctor tells me, though I’ve not yet heard from the local allergist to actually make an appointment. Meanwhile, work’s been pretty much insane, so I haven’t had nearly as much time to blog as I’d like. So, I had a hell of a lot of tabs in my to-blog-about queue, and now’s as good a time to dump and run as any.

Apparently there’s 1023 protests going on this weekend all over Canada. Given my current state of health, maybe going out in public and overdosing on homeopathic remedies to protest the fact that they’re selling sugar and water is a good idea. I could drink homeopathic echinacea or something.

This is nothing short of awesome. A Dreamworks storyboard artist blogs some of his storyboard brainstorms, and in his latest, he turned Carl Sagan and his Spaceship of the Imagination into something like an interstellar woo Star Destroyer.

The Onion covers the recent Republican repeal of the bill to destroy an asteroid that’s going to hit Earth, sending a strong message of rebuke to Obama and his administration’s big spending ways.

Gawker publishes a handy guide to all the right-wing nonsense that’s being spouted by the usual suspects lately. Great if you need to catch up on your conspiracy theories and you don’t have Fox News.

There’s a row going on right now between Canadian consumers and ISPs — the ISPs have been pushing to move to usage-based billing (to squeeze more blood from a stone, and simultaneously kill competitor Netflix in the video streaming market), and a grassroots effort called OpenMedia.ca has gained enough momentum that politicians are actually forced to overturn at least one decision by the CRTC that would prevent small competitors from offering unlimited usage plans. I may have more to blog about this later. You should probably sign the petition, and visit the website, if you haven’t already.

I hate Ayn Rand and her self-centered, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps (regardless of your lot in life) philosophies. Just saying. So I had to smile when I found out she received Medicare benefits — under an assumed name no less.

I also missed more and better proof that Ratzinger covered up pedophilic abuse. Wow. Seriously.

Reuters reports US government officials admitting privately that the Wikileaks leaks aren’t actually that damaging. Yet they keep beating the wardrum for Assange’s hide, even though lawyers pretty much admit Wikileaks broke no US laws.

The Tea Party is apparently demanding sanitized history, asking that textbooks cover up slavery and the extermination of the natives, because they “make past leaders look like hypocrites”. No… shit.

And finally, this past CES had two pieces of exciting news that add up to one very important and excellent piece of news. That one very important and excellent piece of news is that Microsoft’s computer hegemony is cracking. Significantly.

Lobsters

lobster_2

Maine is famous for its lobster industry. They have yearly festivals, cooking contests, and huge intra-fishery wars, and the industry makes up a huge percentage of the state’s local income. The aggregate total of their fishing industry averaging 15% of their GDP (in 2007 being $48 billion), and lobster makes up a huge chunk of that industry, as 30% of all fishing landings. That means 4.5% of their GDP is directly lobster-related, and with 80% of America’s lobster coming from Maine, that’s a sizable industry with sizable influence.

It’s no wonder the bible-thumpers chose to go after gays instead, with estimates ranging from 1.5% (census self-identified) to 10% (extrapolated from potentially flawed data) of the population being homosexual. I mean, even if they were all fishermen, they wouldn’t make up any more than 0.5% of the GDP! They’re a much smaller lobby with much smaller monetary influence — and therefore much less money with which to fight back.

If gays married, this family would dissolve!  The father would start drinking, beat his kids, they'd divorce and the children put up for adoption!  ZOMG!!!

If gays married, this family would dissolve! The father would start drinking, beat his kids, they'd divorce and the children put up for adoption! ZOMG!!!

Maine had legalized gay marriage back in May, and thus far, nobody’s straight marriage suffered for it. But that never stops homophobic Christians from demanding that civil rights for a minority be put to a majority vote. We all know Christians are the majority and are the real power-brokers in the States, regardless of what they’ll tell you — that they’re the underdogs, that they’re put upon from all sides by the scary minorities. So it’s no surprise that when the religious demand that any civil rights law for a minority of people gets put to a vote by the majority, that the majority will turn out the vote and vote for “marriage = 1 man 1 woman” out of deference to their biblical teachings. I mean, Leviticus 18:22 says clearly:

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. -KJV

It’s a good thing the religious are around to spend over $9 million on attacking civil rights “defending marriage”, outspending the grassroots No-on-1 campaign by a factor of at least 4. All this to the exclusion of any sort of organized religious effort attacking the gigantic and profitable lobster industry that is every bit as much abomination to the Christians’ sense of morality:

11:10 And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
11:11 They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
11:12 Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
Leviticus 11:10-12

Just think of all those sinners making all that money off of abomination! You’d think they’d be a way bigger target than the otherwise harmless gays that just want to marry one another and promise themselves to lives of monogamy. Especially given all of Jesus’ teachings about how you can’t worship God and money at the same time!

Take heart though, my gay and lesbian friends — the homophobes are dying out, literally. They are becoming the aging majority, and where they are still the majority now, they only have a few more electoral cycles left. Soon the youth of today (who split pretty well 80/20 for “No on 1″) will be the majority, and they’ll be around for many many more electoral cycles than the religious assholes that have you subjugated right now.

Blag Hag beat me to this, as well as a number of others that realized the hypocrisy well before I did. Petursey also rails on the fact that the 53% Yes-on-1 outcome shows that 53% of the state’s voters are bigoted.

Christians specifically are fond of saying they are the most tolerant people, and especially much more tolerant than we heathens. Too bad they always vote against tolerance.

RCimT: Teabagging the health care debate

Some goings-on in the US health care debate and political beanbag tournament surrounding it.

A Fox News producer was caught directing 9-12 crowds, but it’s a grassroots effort, honest. Never mind that it was conceived by Glenn Beck, paid for by Rupert Murdoch and directed by Fox News producers, it’s TOTALLY legit.

Speaking of Beck, while advertisers are leaving him in droves, he has at least one friend in the media, who makes the straight-faced claim that the 60 advertisers he’s lost pales in comparison with the millions of companies that exist. Never mind that 60 is the vast majority of his advertisers to begin with. Said author also finds himself in a hole, and as the link above shows, doesn’t know to stop digging. Hilarity!

The e-mail forward A Day in the Life of Joe Sixpack has gotten around the intertubes quite a few times already. Sure, it’s no “Obamma is a secrit mooslem”, but you could always improve it by adding “Commie Medicine” to the list. Ten years from now perhaps teabaggers will scream “keep government’s hands off my Medicare Public Option!

Anderson Cooper invites on a racist teabagger for the second time, and is quite civil with him despite him being demonstrably racist on both occasions.

Life expectancy vs health care costs per capita – not surprisingly, USA comes up both lowest life expectancy, and highest health care cost.

Joe “I Lie!!” Wilson voted yes on a bill that included a provision for illegal immigrants to gain access to health care. Never mind that his current whipping post explicitly denies illegal immigrants in plain English, this makes him not only a douchebag but also a hypocrite.

Dennis Kucinich managed to make the big insurance execs admit that withholding care for cancer patients could result in irreparable harm or death. Video:

And finally, check out documentary evidence (hey, if Creationists think The Flintstones is a documentary, so’s this) that Obama is Hitler reincarnated ZOMG!!

You already know this is all ridiculous. Get out there and do something about it! If the retards can get airtime, surely you reasonable folks can get some airtime as well!

Better late than never.

Senator Hillary Clinton has officially suspended her campaign and endorsed Barack Obama. While she was, right up until mere days before Obama clinched the nomination, claiming she’d take the nomination fight right through til Denver, she has realized that unfortunately the steam has run out for her campaign.

Don’t get me wrong. Obviously I’m supporting Obama, as you could tell from my previous posts, but I sincerely believe that either one of them would have made a fine Democratic president, and a breath of fresh air to the whole world in comparison with what the Republicans evidently have to offer policy-wise.  (And it’s because of the effect of the American government on the world stage that I’m at all interested, to be quite honest.  Yes, I’m a Canadian, but I’m a citizen of this planet, and what America does has far reaching repercussions.)  So, honestly, I’m happy that Clinton has suspended her campaign and thrown her weight behind the grassroots juggernaut that the Obama campaign has turned out to be, even if it means a good person who ran a good campaign has lost what could be her best chance at the most powerful position in, likely, the world.

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