Episode CCLXXX: Islamic silliness »« Baba Brinkman on Atheists Talk radio

A completely justified howl of moral outrage

You may recall that comic book artist Frank Miller posted an appalling rant against the Occupy movement, revealing that he really is a nasty right-wing conservative fascist deep down…as if we hadn’t noticed in his work. Now another legendary icon of the comics world speaks out: Alan Moore says what he thinks about Miller.

Well, Frank Miller is someone whose work I’ve barely looked at for the past twenty years. I thought the Sin City stuff was unreconstructed misogyny, 300 appeared to be wildly ahistoric, homophobic and just completely misguided. I think that there has probably been a rather unpleasant sensibility apparent in Frank Miller’s work for quite a long time.

As far as I can see, the Occupy movement is just ordinary people reclaiming rights which should always have been theirs. I can’t think of any reason why as a population we should be expected to stand by and see a gross reduction in the living standards of ourselves and our kids, possibly for generations, when the people who have got us into this have been rewarded for it; they’ve certainly not been punished in any way because they’re too big to fail. I think that the Occupy movement is, in one sense, the public saying that they should be the ones to decide who’s too big to fail. It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it. We would definitely have to agree to differ on that one.

I’ve never met Miller, but I have met Moore a couple of times, and have heard him speak a few times, too. He’s weird but interestingly so, and I can also say that he seems to be a genuinely good person — a nice demonstration that you can be opinionated without being an asshole.

Comments

  1. Sili says

    a nice demonstration that you can be opinionated without being an asshole.

    Where’s the fun in that?

  2. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    you can be opinionated without being an asshole.

    I’ve heard people make this claim. Frankly, I’m rather dubious.

  3. Moggie says

    a nice demonstration that you can be opinionated without being an asshole.

    I’m sorry, I seem to have wandered into the wrong blog.

  4. Father Ogvorbis, OM says

    I’ve heard people make this claim. Frankly, I’m rather dubious.

    Er, correct me if I am wrong, but you just expressed an opinion (which makes you opinionated) and did it politely (and it is possible to be a polite asshole) and in a nonassholish way. Or are you the exception which proves the rule?

    I can’t think of any reason why as a population we should be expected to stand by and see a gross reduction in the living standards of ourselves and our kids, possibly for generations, when the people who have got us into this have been rewarded for it;

    We have spent the last thirty years living off of the infrastructure investments made between 1935 and 1980. Decent roads from anywhere to anywhere; public education from preschool to graduate school; public libraries; national, state, county and city parks and recreation areas have all been created, constructed, paid for and enjoyed by the entire nation.

    In the 1920s, a non-railroad road trip from New York to Los Angeles took a reinforced company of troops and some (for the time) heavy duty military vehicles. Today anyone with a somewhat reliable car can do it for fun.

    Before World War II, our public education system, save for unusual districts, did not prepare children for further education or jobs beyond farming and manufacturing. Today’s system, even underfunded as it is, helps to create students who can take on the challenges of higher education.

    Free public libraries have existed for longer than the United States but, outside of large towns and cities, the depth and breadth of books was severely limited. The increase in funding for libraries in the immediate postwar period allowed expansions in collections (and such things as interlibrary loan) which provided generations with almost any information needed.

    Thanks to unions, the middle class was able to take vacations which also fueled the growth of National Forests, National Parks, recreation areas, public beaches, public parks and other areas for the enjoyment of the public. The increased support of the public, in turn, allowed the spending levels at the state, local and federal level (Mission ’66, for example, in the NPS) to bring the facilities up to modern standards.

    This investment, and other investments too numerous for me to go into without making this wall of dreck even longer, created a capital fund, an infrastructure investment, which allowed the 1980s and 1990s to go by with absurdly low taxes. The investment in infrastructure ended (well, not completely, but it was cut almost through the bone) and we consumed the public works. Now, when the bills for the last 30 years are coming due, we have an entrenched oligarchy (the rich are the only ones in the US who have seen their actual pay rise in the last 30 years) who can spend millions to protect their billions.

    When US citizens protest, when a true grass-roots movement like Occupy Wall Street begins to raise the consciousness of the forgotten middle class, is it any wonder that the rich and their minions attack us unmercifully? Alan Moore’s short response is beautiful. And is exactly the calm, rational, reality-based response needed as the radical right vilifies those who want the same oppportunities — travel, recreation, education — that their parents and grandparents had.

    Thank you, Mr. Moore.

    (sorry for the long comment — it really is an occupational hazard_

  5. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    One thing I’ve noticed about the Occupy movement is a lack of a unified platform. I’ve seen all sorts of ideas coming out of Occupy, ranging from abolishing corporate personhood to reinstating the financial regulations of the 1930s Glass-Steagall Act. However there are several unifying themes in the various Occupy groups.

    I found an interesting quote from Bill Dobbs, who claims to be a spokesman for Occupy Wall Street in New York:

    All the energy has gone into an outcry over economic conditions, with the hope that others will join us and pick up issues they care about. Our best hope is inspiring other people to take action to bring economic justice.

    I have my own horse in this race. The influence of money in politics is one of the greatest factors behind the gap between the superrich and the rest of us. Most of the Occupy movement recognize this. The call for tighter regulation of campaign contributions won’t gain traction anytime soon. The Supreme Court, in its Citizens United decision, cleared the way for corporations to spend unlimited funds to influence elections, often using money from anonymous donors. The court struck down most of the McCain-Feingold law that had set tight restrictions on such donations, arguing that government did not have the right to regulate political speech.

    The Occupy movement have achieved a lot by having the open ended process that they’ve had so far. However they should be selective in that there are some people who are trying to glom onto the stage that they’ve created with ideas that aren’t part of the main movement.

  6. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way…

    I ♥ you, Alan Moore.

  7. says

    Alan Moore:

    Well, Frank Miller is someone whose work I’ve barely looked at for the past twenty years.

    This is one of the most understated put-downs I’ve seen in quite some time.

    I can’t think of any reason why as a population we should be expected to stand by and see a gross reduction in the living standards of ourselves and our kids, possibly for generations, when the people who have got us into this have been rewarded for it; they’ve certainly not been punished in any way because they’re too big to fail.

    This seems self-evident to me, as well.

    So why is there so much resistance? And I don’t mean from the thug-like behavior of the police in many instances. I mean, from the general population.

  8. karmakin says

    Because a lot of people think that they’ll be the winners, and as such, the more the losers lose, either comparatively or economically (lower wages for the other guy means lower prices meaning my wages are worth more) the better off they’ll be.

  9. Gregory Greenwood says

    I think that the Occupy movement is, in one sense, the public saying that they should be the ones to decide who’s too big to fail. It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way…

    I think Moore describes OWS rather well here – it is a non-violent, eminently reasonable movement that is simply asking for a little social justice. Why should the architects of the banking crisis escape the consequences of their actions while the rest of us suffer? Why should the ultra-rich and the big multi-nationals be allowed to entrench their power, wealth and privilege up to and including the increasingly obvious manipulation of the political system?

    These aren’t the concerns of some kind of fanatical fringe of extremists, these things affect the vast majority of people everyday, and yet if you listen to the attack dogs at Faux News or indeed the majority of large media outlets you could be forgiven for thinking that OWS was evil incarnate; a calculated campaign of extemist political aggitation aimed at the destruction of society, prosperity and ethics that puts our own godless baby-eating exploits in the shade.

    I would like to think that this is nothing more than differing perspectives – where you stand being dictated by where you sit and all that – but I find it increasingly difficult to accept that this is all that is happening. The hatchet job that is being done to the protest movement just has to be seen to be believed, while the extremes of the police response are quietly brushed under the carpet. America is now a society where it is considerd acceptable to deploy weaponised chemical agents against protesters whose only ‘crime’ is not to immediately scuttle off when some fascist with a badge tells them to get thee hence, and most people don’t seem to either know or care about it.

    With major media outlets showing disporportionate ownership by far right figures, there is no need to invoke any kind of conspiracy theory to explain why reporting on OWS is so biased. The situation is far worse than some shadowy plot – the US media culture (and indeed media culture beyond the US in many societies) is now so far skewed to the Right that this type of depiction of liberal political protest is simply par for the course, the default position, and since many people never bother looking beyond the most easily accessible sources of news their worldview follows exactly where the major media outlets lead, and so they are hostile to the very people whose protest is aimed at helping them. Which I suppose shows the benefit to the powers-that-be of keeping your populous under-educated, ill-informed and addicted to reality TV and similar tripe – welcome to the bread and circuses of the twenty first century.

  10. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    nigel:

    So why is there so much resistance? …. I mean, from the general population.

    What’s the Steinbeck quote?

    *Googling!*

    Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

    Feel free to substitute “poor” with “middle-class”. (Not that there’s a whole lot of difference any more.)

    The “American dream” has completely ruined us. The thought that hard work will pay off is absolutely fucking laughable, but too many people don’t realize that they are, in fact, being exploited. I mean, productivity has increased exponentially since the 1970′s, but at the same time wages have been dropping. Things like healthcare and higher education have been outpacing inflation in cost, once again since the 1970′s, but no one has taken it to the streets ’til now.

    The American dream has made us complacent.

  11. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    Not that it is hard to take Frank Miller down, since he says so many dumb things, but Moore does it beautifully.

  12. Gregory Greenwood says

    Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel @ 13;

    The “American dream” has completely ruined us. The thought that hard work will pay off is absolutely fucking laughable, but too many people don’t realize that they are, in fact, being exploited.

    This is, sadly, very true. It is all part of the myth of the ‘self made man’, with the word ‘man’ being very deliberately employed, this being a patriarchal game afterall. How many of the super rich really accrued their wealth entirely legally? Still less in a truly ethical fashion or simply ‘by the sweat of their own brow’? Most people who become rich get that way off the back of the usually largely unacknowledged labour of others, and the proper connections are far more important than anything so banal as actual ability or a strong work ethic.

    At every level, the system is configured to keep the rich wealthy at the expense of the poor, and maintain the control of the powerful by effectively disenfranchising the ordinary citizen, and the true genius of the lie of the American Dream (and , indeed, many aspects of capitalism in general) is supplementing the stick with the carrot. Keeping people down trodden through force and fear alone is difficult to acheive, and still more difficult to maintain in the long term. Not to mention expensive.

    However, if you can co-opt them into facilitating their own oppression by convincing them that elevation to the Olympian heights of wealth and privilege is just around the corner, that they need only stretch a little further, work a little harder, endure a little longer, and the fairy godmother of the free market will make all their dreams come true – then you can control them far more effectively than you can with any number of checkpoints and tanks.

    And should manipulating their aspirations fail, then you can aways exploit their fears, and that is where terrorism/illegal immigration/the homosexual ‘threat’/the spread of the Occupy Wall Street protests/our own humble godless selves/the moral-panic-scare-of-the-week comes into play. Anything to keep the ordinary people distracted from the fact of the true authors of their exploitation.

  13. alkaloid says

    Miller may just be jealous that Moore’s V was the symbol of the movement.

    I don’t exactly think 300-style leather thongs would be practical for long-term camping as a protest.

  14. says

    nigelTheBold

    So why is there so much resistance? And I don’t mean from the thug-like behavior of the police in many instances. I mean, from the general population.

    The behavior of the police is one reason. Many people side with those in authority. If the police were taking the side of the 99%, then more people would support the movement. Seeing people get pepper sprayed by someone in uniform sends the message that those are bad people who deserved to be pepper sprayed.

    Audley’s Steinbeck quote has a good point too, but remember that when Eugene Debs got 6% of the popular vote for the presidency — enough to qualify a party for public matching funds today — those socialists looked like average Americans. The average American today cannot identify with an all-day drum circle.

    Plus we don’t have enough of our own media yet. This situation has improved over the last 10 years. At least the evening hosts on MSNBC take our side most of the time, DemocracyNow is available on basic cable’s public access in many cities today, but then that’s about the end of it.

  15. kemist says

    Keeping people down trodden through force and fear alone is difficult to acheive, and still more difficult to maintain in the long term. Not to mention expensive.

    Indeed.

    That’s what I’ve been thinking for a while about the American Dream, and one of its offshoots, positive thinking.

    Behind their cheery delusion of empowerment and happiness, positive thinking / American Dream both present a very dark side of guilt and oppression, that is inflected by both self and others.

    It’s the facist’s dream come true : there’s no need for a thought police when you train people to police their own thoughts. No need for force when people beat themselves up for what they perceive as their own failures.

    It’s your own fault you lost your job. It’s your own fault you’re poor. It’s one thing to be told so by the privileged, quite another to tell it to yourself. But you can make it all better by keeping that big smile on and working even harder. It’s not hard to guess what choice is left to you when you finally, inevitably find out that you are too tired for this to keep going on.

  16. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    ahs:

    Seeing people get pepper sprayed by someone in uniform sends the message that those are bad people who deserved to be pepper sprayed.

    You’re completely correct, of course, but this sentiment gives me the fucking willies.

  17. raven says

    I can’t think of any reason why as a population we should be expected to stand by and see a gross reduction in the living standards of ourselves and our kids, possibly for generations, when the people who have got us into this have been rewarded for it;..

    This is a critical point, widely reported and widely unknown anyway.

    Median US per capita income has fallen for 3 or 4 years in a row. By a lot, 10%.

    We are getting poorer!!! It’s the enonomy, stupid!!!

    That is what is driving OWS, a true mass movement. And this impoverishment is hitting young people the hardest. Whether they have the right causes and right solutions is highly arguable but they do have a damn good reason to be ticked off.

  18. Wishful Thinking Rules All says

    Is there really that much resistance to the protestors? I could see moron Republicans repeating talking points about how the protestors are lazy hippies… but everyone else? Well ok, Wall Street workers probably hate them too… but the other 80% of the USA?

    Most people I’ve interacted with on this appear to like the general message of the protestors, but are ambivalent about them. Many point out the protestors don’t have a real plan and aren’t pushing for specific changes. Are theses guys going to just protest forever? It’s been months, can they leverage their publicity for actual change? This is the kind of stuff I hear.

    Anyone have a link to a national poll on the protestors?

  19. raven says

    Household Income Falls, Poverty Rate Rises – WSJ .comonline.wsj.com/…/SB1000142405311190426550457656854396821…Cached
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo

    14 Sep 2011 – The income of the average American family—long the envy of much of the world —has dropped for the third year in a row and is now roughly where it was in 1996, adjusted for inflation. … They lost their three-bedroom home in 2007 during a two-year spell ….. Ben Stein on the 2012 GOP Candidates. 10:01 …

    Even the Wall Street Journal reported this.

    1. Median family income is down by 10% to 1996 levels.

    2. Poverty rates have risen sharply and are highest in half a century or so.

    3. Even the birth rate has fallen for several years in a row. People are looking at their finances and deciding they are too poor to have children right now.

  20. raven says

    Time for some anecdata.

    Our current impoverishment seem to have hit younger people pretty hard.

    I know a lot of 20 somethings with good degrees from good colleges who are working at entry level jobs that come and go because that is all that is available.

    They are struggling without any job or income security and no sign of a future like the last two generations had.

    We have ended up handing our children a broken society and world. It’s a wonder they still talk to us.

  21. Silent Service says

    I’d hate to think all of my childhood icons in the comic industry turned out to be giant worthless dicks; and it was starting to look that way. Thank you Alan.

  22. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    Father Ogvorbis, OM #5

    I’ve heard people make this claim. Frankly, I’m rather dubious.

    Er, correct me if I am wrong, but you just expressed an opinion (which makes you opinionated) and did it politely (and it is possible to be a polite asshole) and in a nonassholish way.

    Fuck off, jerkwad.

  23. Father Ogvorbis, OM says

    Fuck off, jerkwad.

    I am sorry. That was a failed attempt at humour. It was not meant as a dig at you, or your comment. I was trying to be funny and fucked it up big time. Sorry.

  24. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    I’m sorry too, because I was responding to your attempt at humor with my own attempt at humor.

    I still love ya, Man. Let’s both forget this whole thing happened.

  25. download says

    I liked Sin City, but then I also assumed it was a film attempting to be ironic. Am I to understand that Frank Miller took that thing seriously?

  26. Azkyroth says

    Most people I’ve interacted with on this appear to like the general message of the protestors, but are ambivalent about them. Many point out the protestors don’t have a real plan and aren’t pushing for specific changes.

    My understanding was that there was a manifesto on their website, and “they don’t have a plan” was something the media was pushing especially hard….

  27. raven says

    Hey ‘Tis.

    speaking of opinions, do you think the Euro will survive? As bad off as we are, the Europeans seem to be even worse.

    Krugman says no. IMO, the Euro can’t survive in its current form.

    1. The 20 something nations on the Euro are way too different. It only takes one or two blowing up to put a lot of strain on the others.

    I’m not sure how to modify the Euro to make it a viable currency. Maybe make it the overall currency and have each nation use their own historical currency. Let exchange rates into the Euro float freely.

    It doesn’t look like any of the Europeans have any idea how to make the Euro work either.

    Do you think the Europeans are going to be able to stabilize Greece, and the PIGS. I don’t see it happening. They’ve just been lurching from crisis to crisis.

  28. Sir Shplane, Grand Mixmaster, Knight of the Turntable says

    Alan Moore is and always will be the coolest creepy old bearded dude* ever. He can even be a wizard if he wants, even though wizards don’t real.

    *PZ, of course, being the coolest adorable old bearded dude.

  29. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    raven #32

    speaking of opinions, do you think the Euro will survive? As bad off as we are, the Europeans seem to be even worse.

    Krugman says no. IMO, the Euro can’t survive in its current form.

    The problem with the euro is the European Central Bank isn’t powerful enough to impose its will on European economies. All other reasonably hard currencies are controlled by a central bank, the Euro isn’t. What needs to happen for the euro to remain stable is true fiscal union. That isn’t going to happen.

    The southern European countries (GIPS: Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain) acquired large loans and now have large deficit to GDP ratios. The more economically stable countries, particularly Germany, have much smaller deficit ratios.

    Krugman explains the major problem well:

    [I]t requires a real depreciation on the part of the debtors, a real appreciation on the part of the creditors — that is, wages and prices in the GIPS must fall relative to those in Germany.

    But the official policy of the eurozone’s leaders is that this adjustment should be entirely one-sided. Spending must fall in the debtors, but there will be no offsetting expansionary policy in the creditors — so the thrust of policy is entirely contractionary for the eurozone as a whole. At the same time, the ECB is committed to very low inflation at the aggregate level, which means that real exchange rate adjustment must take place mainly through deflation in the GIPS, which is both very difficult and has the effect of raising their debt burden relative to GDP.

    Even with unlimited political will, this would be a recipe for prolonged recession and stagnation in Europe. With political capital limited in practice — watch Spain’s new government quickly become just as unpopular as the old one! — it’s a recipe for catastrophe.

    No wonder eurocrats placed their faith in the confidence fairy. But she’s not coming.

    It would take a radical reversal of course to save this thing. And so far I see no willingness to face up to that necessity.

    I’ve always had a nagging suspicion that the euro was too lightly regulated. But I admit financial regulation, or lack thereof, is one of my bugbears.

  30. unclefrogy says

    Unfortunately I do not think we have 2 or 3 generations of things in the economies of the world to just slowly get worse for the majority of us and our grandchildren. WE will face and are already experiencing some of the other problems that will make ordinary economic mismanagement seem like a minor side issue, namely the effects of population growth, fossil fuel scarcity energy cost and use, environmental degradation and weather-climate change.
    I would also expect deadly disease epidemic any time now to spread globally, it could be a human disease or even a disease of some of our agriculture crops of which we have far to little genetic variation.
    I am not very confident that we here in the united states will be able to address any of the problems we are facing any time soon. The reactionary forces of the established power structure have been taken over by the ignorant and greedy regardless who wins the election which I suspect will not be the liberals the results I fear are predictable
    as the great philosopher Bender said “We’re Boned”

    uncle frogy

  31. KG says

    ‘Tis,

    A big part of the problem is that the German government (and a few others of the “strong” economies but I’ll focus on the German) have never explained to their population that the Euro has greatly enhanced their ability to export to the “weaker” ones, by preventing the latter devaluing and so putting up the price of German goods. At the same time, German real wages have been held down, so German consumption can’t rise, and the population have been convinced that the crisis shows how virtuous they are and how feckless everyone else is. Merkel, even if she had the nous to see the approaching crash, can’t reverse course for political reasons. Absent some sudden outbreak of sense in Berlin, the Euro is done for, and the resulting turmoil will probably turn the already serious crisis of capitalism into a slump worse than the 1930s.

  32. raven says

    Thanks ‘Tis.

    The present crisis seems to show that the Euro as it is now, isn’t workable.

    From our and others past experience, the governments never fix things until after they have totally collapsed. And sometimes not even then.

    My best current guess is that the Euro will lurch from crisis to crisis for as long as they can prop it up. And then one day, everything will crater. Like what happened to us when the housing bubble blew up.

  33. tariqata says

    @21, Wishful Thinking:

    Is there really that much resistance to the protestors? I could see moron Republicans repeating talking points about how the protestors are lazy hippies… but everyone else? Well ok, Wall Street workers probably hate them too… but the other 80% of the USA?

    Most people I’ve interacted with on this appear to like the general message of the protestors, but are ambivalent about them. Many point out the protestors don’t have a real plan and aren’t pushing for specific changes. Are theses guys going to just protest forever? It’s been months, can they leverage their publicity for actual change? This is the kind of stuff I hear.

    I’m somewhat ambivalent about the Occupy movement myself. I agree with its broad goals – which, based on the manifesto and some discussion with protestors at the Occupy Toronto site, I would define thusly: the current system for distributing wealth and its benefits is not working and existing institutions are not capable of fixing the problem, so we need to have a national (and global) conversation to develop meaningful alternatives. However, I think the tactic of occupying public places of significance has allowed that message to be overridden by a conversation about whether or not protests are a nuisance.

    I don’t know if this is true of every city where the Occupiers were eventually forced to leave their camps, but in Toronto, I would argue that the media, the local government, and nearby residents and business owners were able to shift the discussion from the issues of economic polarization and structural poverty to the question of whether or not it was fair for the Occupy movement to take over a local park so that local dog owners couldn’t walk through it without being confronted by their message and the evidence that they were sleeping in the park. The media’s complicity really undermined the protestors’ ability to share their message with the people they most needed to reach (i.e., those who might have been sympathetic, but were unclear on what was going on in the park).

    I also think that for many of us, even if we recognize the systemic problem that the Occupiers are calling attention to, the idea of camping out until there’s some substantive, but as yet undefined, response from people in power seems very threatening. The current situation is bad, but I think that things are going to have to get a lot worse before many people will be willing to participate in trying to hammer out what change might look like instead of clinging to whatever stability we can.

    However, that said:

    Anyone have a link to a national poll on the protestors?

    I don’t know about a US-wide poll, but a Canadian poll from early November found that on average, most of us (58%) saw them in a favourable or somewhat favourable light.

  34. Midnight Rambler says

    My (anecdatal) impression is that a considerable part of what makes people ambivalent towards the Occupiers on the negative side is that they’ve extended into a lot of smaller cities and towns where there really isn’t anything to protest, and have simply become a nuisance. Occupy Portland (Maine) basically consisted of about 10 people camped out in a park in the snow, not much different from a homeless encampment. Since the city isn’t exactly a center of finance and industry, most of the attention they got was negative. In my small town, the same group of about 15 people that has been protesting the Iraq war outside the post office every week for the last 10 years (another tremendously effective tactic) just changed their name and signs.

  35. David Marjanović says

    Which I suppose shows the benefit to the powers-that-be of keeping your popul[ace] under-educated, ill-informed and addicted to reality TV and similar tripe – welcome to the bread and circuses of the twenty first century.

    One Berlusconi out of direct political power, plenty to go.

    do you think the Euro will survive?

    It’s too big to fail. The political will for far-reaching, unheard-of measures will keep rising.

    As bad off as we are, the Europeans seem to be even worse.

    No. You’re worse off, you just don’t care. :-)

    Maybe make it the overall currency and have each nation use their own historical currency. Let exchange rates into the Euro float freely.

    That would be a jump off a cliff for every Eurozone country. Including Germany. The impacts would cause a crater that the rest of the world would fall into.

    The problem with the euro is the European Central Bank isn’t powerful enough to impose its will on European economies. All other reasonably hard currencies are controlled by a central bank, the Euro isn’t.

    This was originally sold as a feature: the ECB is independent of petty politics and has no other job than to keep inflation down. That’s backfiring now.

    What needs to happen for the euro to remain stable is true fiscal union. That isn’t going to happen.

    That’s what I thought 2 weeks ago. Following one of the latest summit meetings, it suddenly looks a lot more likely than it used to.

    At the same time, German real wages have been held down, so German consumption can’t rise, and the population have been convinced that the crisis shows how virtuous they are and how feckless everyone else is.

    Cannot be said often enough. “They didn’t do their homework, they lived beyond their means/failed to fight corruption/whatever, why should we pay for them” seems to be a very common sentiment in Germany.

    Merkel, even if she had the nous to see the approaching crash, can’t reverse course for political reasons. Absent some sudden outbreak of sense in Berlin

    Strangely enough, this has happened before. Fukushima turned Merkel’s position on nookular power plants by 180°.

    …I don’t think Fukushima was worth it, though.

    My best current guess is that the Euro will lurch from crisis to crisis for as long as they can prop it up. And then one day, everything will crater. Like what happened to us when the housing bubble blew up.

    What do you mean by “like” and “us”? The popping of the US housing bubble is what triggered the debt crisis of GIPS. It’s all one big single global crisis.

  36. Aquaria says

    I also think that for many of us, even if we recognize the systemic problem that the Occupiers are calling attention to, the idea of camping out until there’s some substantive, but as yet undefined, response from people in power seems very threatening.

    Black people doing nothing but sitting at lunch counters was threatening once upon a time.

    The problem isn’t that OWS doesn’t have a message or an end goal; they do. The problem is that the media ignores it to focus on people sleeping in parks of their own free will.

    When your government isn’t listening to you and the media is not only ignoring you but actively colluding with the government to fuck you over, what do you do?

    Do you just take it?

    And if you think the media isn’t in bed with the government, then you’re not paying attention.

  37. demonhype says

    I never read Alan Moore until I was perusing some cheap reprint comic book piles a discount store had acquired (comics were rare, they just sold whatever they were able to get, so I had to look). At first nothing looked promising, but then as I paged through them a few words in one of them caught my eye and I read on. And got hooked. And while my mom did the rest of her shopping, I sat down on the floor and went through every single box until I found every single issue they had, I took them home and read them. Ravenously. It was an amazing how much this writer seemed to observe–things I would speak about and be told that I’m nuts and everything is fine and to stop being such a damned communist–and how incredibly prescient he seemed as well (this was after our splendid little war with Iraq had started and I was one of the minority who could see why it was wrong and where we were heading with it). It was as if he was speaking with my voice, the one I had to keep silent while listening to all those sweet little ladies at work talking about how important it is we murder all those evil brown Muslins off the face of the earth, and it made me feel less alone and helpless against it all. I fell in love with Alan Moore before I even knew who he was. Before that, I tended to ignore that name but now it’s a sure-fire way to get my attention!

    I was actually a little afraid to read on here, worried that maybe Moore might not be as amazing in his IRL opinions as he is in his writing, given how many other people who seemed completely awesome have gone round the bend and shown sociopathic conservative tendencies.

    The book, BTW, was the Ballad of Halo Jones, probably one of his more obscure ones since I never hear it mentioned ever, but for me it’s on a level with V for Vendetta. It starts with a woman who is born in an area where unemployed people on welfare are segregated out so no one has to look at them (and there is major violent hostility against them by the employed people), at a time when Earth is engaging in an unethical war to steal resources from another planet or galaxy because we’ve crapped through all of our own natural resources–and even better, it’s a story about women. It’s just the story of a restless woman who lives in this messed-up, eerily familiar system in the future and is constantly trying to escape, and most of the other characters are also women who are living through it as well. No feminism, no underscoring of the fact that they are women, just a story with well-developed characters who happen to be female. It not only passes the Bechdel test, it receives extra credit, and I very much recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it. I ended up buying the collected B&W edition years later, which was a hell of a lot easier to read than the one I orignally had with all that hideous eighties coloration on it. Wish they would do that with V for Vendetta–I’ve seen B&W panels online and they are incredible!

    I still mostly choose a comic based on whether I like the art (I’m an artist, after all), but there’s two writers whose work I would buy no matter who drew it and one of those is Alan Moore.

    (The other is Adam Warren. I’ve always enjoyed Adam Warren’s humor, but he introduced me to the concept of memes and Schrodinger’s Cat in some very interesting ways when he was writing for Gen 13 (kind of Red Dwarf-like integration of the concept with the story), and that kind of put him over the top in my book!

  38. raven says

    What do you mean by “like” and “us”? The popping of the US housing bubble is what triggered the debt crisis of GIPS. It’s all one big single global crisis.

    Are you sure? Our housing crash and the subsequent banking failures was 4 years ago.

    There was was collateral damage, notably to Ireland and Iceland.

    But AFAICT, the current Eurozone crisis started in Greece, when their ability to collect taxes failed and they kept spending anyway. It is slowly spreading to the rest of the IPS of the GIPS.

    So how is anyone going to fix the Euro? It clearly isn’t working right now when a small country like Greece can take down the entire Eurozone. It isn’t enough to say politicians are going to discover some brains and backbone and convert that to “will”. There has to be an acknowledgement of what didn’t work and a fix that will work.

    I’m sure at this point, all the European policy makers are frantically trying to come up with something.

  39. Aquaria says

    My (anecdatal) impression is that a considerable part of what makes people ambivalent towards the Occupiers on the negative side is that they’ve extended into a lot of smaller cities and towns where there really isn’t anything to protest, and have simply become a nuisance.

    This is dangerously naive.

    Nothing to protest? Even smaller cities like Portland have corrupt governments in bed with big business in bed with the media. It’s not just a big city problem. The problem extends everywhere.

    Since the city isn’t exactly a center of finance and industry, most of the attention they got was negative.

    It doesn’t have to be a center of anything to have businesses getting outrageous tax breaks at your expense.

    Well, you are the largest port in New England by tonnage. That makes the city a center for a major business.

    You can bet that the shipyards or the National Semiconductor plant got some tax breaks that hurt you.

    In my small town, the same group of about 15 people that has been protesting the Iraq war outside the post office every week for the last 10 years (another tremendously effective tactic) just changed their name and signs.

    They were right about the war. They’re right this time. Anyone being annoyed with them for trying to get people to face the truth doesn’t change that.

  40. tariqata says

    Aquaria @ 42:

    I’m not sure if you were responding directly to my comment, or just riffing off it, but just to clarify:

    I do think that the media has been complicit in distorting or outright ignoring the message of the Occupy protests, and said so explicitly in my post. That’s been immensely harmful to the movement, because even if – in my opinion – people are wrong to feel threatened by a call to work toward a more economically equal society, social change is nonetheless threatening to many people, and without integrity in the media coverage of the protests, that fear is worsened.

    In Canada, this may be exacerbated by the fact that the overall economic situation isn’t as bad as in the US, so even though a lot of people here are in very precarious circumstances, the proportion of the population that wants systemic transformation is smaller than the proportion that would be okay with some incremental modification, but that fears that too much change will make things worse for them, rather than better.

  41. Midnight Rambler says

    tariqata:

    I also think that for many of us, even if we recognize the systemic problem that the Occupiers are calling attention to, the idea of camping out until there’s some substantive, but as yet undefined, response from people in power seems very threatening.

    Uh…no, frankly, it seems pretty stupid. Precisely because there is nothing threatening about it; there’s no reason for the powers that be to do anything at all. The problem is, everyone sitting on the sidelines watching (and I admit I’m part of that group) doesn’t have any better idea of how to shake things up.

    Aquaria:

    Nothing to protest? Even smaller cities like Portland have corrupt governments in bed with big business in bed with the media.

    Sure, but what are they actually accomplishing when their “protest” is more about sanitation and police calls to the park for runaways and fights than about those issues?

  42. raven says

    Oh for Cthulhu’s sake.

    Nothing gets done without making some noise. Anyone who can’t see that is stupid or a christofascist moron, not that there is much difference.

    If everyone just wrote polite letters to the newspaper, we would still be ruled by kings working for god. That is the literate class, most people would be slaves and serfs.

    If you look at any social change, chances are people were out in the street and more.

    The American Revolution against British rule wasn’t exactly quiet. The civil war wasn’t all that quiet either.

    Civil rights, equal rights for the majority of the population that happens to be female, ending the war in Vietnam, ending US female slavery and forced births, all had people out in the street. A lot.

    I was from time to time one of them. Those of us who lived in that era, not so long ago, know what works and what doesn’t. Every government fears people in the streets. Because they know they are losing control and they know if enough people get out there often enough, they are going to lose their easy, high paying jobs.

    Further away, look what happened in the Soviet bloc at the end of the 20th century. Or the Arabs last year.

    The real opposition to OWS is the usual. People who are happy with the status quo for whatever reason. Pea brained libertarians who think they will be able to rip of the taxpayers like the libertarian bankers and wall streeters. Tea Partiers. The GOP. Anyone who thinks a declining empire and an impoverishing and disappearing middle class is a just the way it goes and everything is OK.

  43. says

    Two of my favourite comicbook authors involved in a verbal cagematch to the death? Am… Am I dead? Is this paradise?

  44. says

    Aquaria writes:
    And if you think the media isn’t in bed with the government, then you’re not paying attention.

    The media is more in bed with the oligarchs than with the government. The government and the media are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the corporations’ masters.

    Other than that I’m sure that Chelsea Clinton’s qualifications as a journalist are impeccable. She’ll ask all the tough questions. As will Gloria Vanderbilt’s son. Admittedly he’s turned out to be a handsome expressionless talking head who reads a teleprompter pretty well… The folks like Glenn Greenwald, the editors of Counterpunch, Tomdispatch – the people who are trying to do journalism – are drowned out by the weirdo right wing bootlickers.

  45. Zabinatrix says

    Gregory Greenwood

    This is, sadly, very true. It is all part of the myth of the ‘self made man’, with the word ‘man’ being very deliberately employed, this being a patriarchal game afterall. How many of the super rich really accrued their wealth entirely legally? Still less in a truly ethical fashion or simply ‘by the sweat of their own brow’? Most people who become rich get that way off the back of the usually largely unacknowledged labour of others, and the proper connections are far more important than anything so banal as actual ability or a strong work ethic.

    This is all very true, but a real problem for rational discussion about these things is that of course there are some people who manage. There is always that spectacular, go-to anecdote of someone you know (or even yourself) who made it from poor to rich by good and honest old-fashioned hard work.

    I’ve seen so many discussions about things like healthcare for the poor, taxes on the rich, et cetera and there’s pretty much always those people there, with their success anecdotes. Most such discussions will boil down to “Well they/I did it, why can’t you? Just get a job, earn money, get rich – you’ll have no problems with this then!”

    Try to explain to them that the available chances to get rich, or even the available chances to get a crappy job, are far fewer than those who are looking for them… well you just get another “I could do it, so why can’t you?” in response. Some people just don’t seem to be able to understand that even though yes, some can, not everyone can.

    It’s like all those people I’ve seen who see no problem with lowering/getting rid of any minimum wage requirements even if some people already have a wage too low to live on. Those people will usually say something like “I used to have a job flipping burgers too, but when I needed more money to pay for my living expenses I got a higher paying job. It’s that simple people – if you need more money, don’t work a job like that. No need to pay a living wage on those jobs.”

    When there’s already more people looking for jobs than there are jobs of any pay grade on the market, these people expect anyone who wants it to be able not only to get a job, but also a high-paying one? Yes, some people can, but not everyone.

    Some people are lazy or without work ethic or without the social skills to get through a job interview – but even if everyone were the perfect worker the pure numbers say that they can’t all get employed and they certainly can’t all get a high-paying job. It’s not an excuse to be lazy, but it’s definitely a reason to never assume that people without enough money are simply lazy. But from pretty much every discussion I’ve seen on these subjects, that’s apparently very hard for some people to understand.

  46. sc_f34d31c0eb054f13969e9cb8ec8e73c0 says

    The real opposition to OWS is the usual. People who are happy with the status quo for whatever reason. Pea brained libertarians who think they will be able to rip of the taxpayers like the libertarian bankers and wall streeters. Tea Partiers. The GOP. Anyone who thinks a declining empire and an impoverishing and disappearing middle class is a just the way it goes and everything is OK.

    Kind of similar to my take. I think a lot of people want to raise children in the world they grew up in and that these people are angry that the world has changed and that the status quo is not working for them. OWS is a manifestation of the fact that we’re not headed in a good direction and I think a certain amount of the resistance to OWS is from people wanting to pretend that we are headed in a good direction. Wishful thinking is incredibly powerful (well, you guys are pretty aware of that already). People will fight OWS to the end just for the space to believe their children are going to live in a free and prosperous country.

    Someone else was saying that OWS isn’t the least bit threatening. If not, why the demonization by the media, particularly by the right wing? Seems to me like a lot of people feel threatened by it. Some of the criticism is so over-the-top that the people making it are either rabid or doing Glenn Beck impersonations to get folks riled up. Either way a lot of people seem to be worried about OWS.

  47. raven says

    OWS is a symptom, not a cause.

    We are statistically getting poorer rapidly and a lot of people, particularly the young, are struggling.

    They aren’t happy. Why should they be.

  48. argentreivich says

    @13 Well said!

    ever heard that one?

    “The strength of your dreamin’
    Prevents you from reason
    The American Dream
    Only makes sense if you’re sleepin’”

    A french comedian (Coluche) also used to say to make fun of such mirage and of the people clinging too hard to it:

    “I don’t trust the poor ’cause they are potentially rich”