#OccupySF: a community peacefully protesting economic oppression


URGENT ANNOUNCE

Occupy Cafe Invites You to Join the Occupy National Gathering July 4th

Join the Occupy National Gathering [#NatGat] from almost anywhere with Occupy Cafe.


Occupy Cafe invites
You to join the
Occupy National Gathering
in San Francisco
Satellite Gathering

Friends Meeting House
65 Ninth Street at Market
map link

RSVP to pamastrocola@aol.com

Wherever you are in the world with a phone line to the US or an internet connection, you can participate in 5 days of inquiry, movement building and visioning toward a just, sustainable and democratic future.

SF Cafe Call Schedule
Join for 1 or 2 hour rounds
Wednesday July 4th 8am to 10 am PDT
*********
NVC Tele-workshops July 3 & 4 – 3 to 5pm PDT

Hot Links

Thanks for caring. Your participation makes a difference!

Ben & Jitendra
Occupy Cafe Stewards

posted on: July 3, 2012 1:48 am freemansullivan


Stand in Solidarity with Quebec

“The ongoing struggle against rising costs is only a first step towards free education, which is itself a step towards a more egalitarian society, solidarity and justice. Imagining a better society is the first step in fighting for it.”
CLASSE (The temporary Quebec-wide student organization that has 84,000 members)

SF Solidarity With Quebec!

Occupy Education!

Striking students in Quebec are setting an example for youth and all of us across the continent to take a stand against tuition hikes and austerity (take from the 99%–give to the 1%). The student strike was organized in a highly democratic way and aims to practice real democracy. When pushing back, students and allies have been met with repression, including violence, mass arrests, media smears and the anti-protest Bill 87, which severely limits free speech and assembly.
Quebec’s struggle is our struggle; we too face tuition hikes, education cuts and massive student debt.
Stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Quebec; be part of the growing global movement of resistance to the rule, austerity and corruption of the 1%.
Mark Your Calendars

Thursday June 28th 8:30pm: 

Guerrilla Movie Screening
B of A Plaza/Canadian Consulate
555 California St. @ Kearny 
(Montgomery BART), San Francisco
-New videos from the streets of Quebec, find out about the fight in Quebec and at home and enjoy popcorn and beverages before getting out in the streets the next day.

Friday June 29th 11:30am: 

Solidarity March/Delegation to Canadian Consulate
Canadian Consulate
580 California St. @ Kearny, San Francisco (across from 555 Ca St.)
-Solidarity with demands of CLASSE stop tuition hikes & oppose repressive anti-protest Bill 78
-Bring casseroles (pots, pans, spoons to make noise) 
-Wear red!

Occupy Education N. California
Occupy Action Council SF
Occupy SF Direct Action Work Group
Facebook Event Page/Invite Friends!: https://www.facebook.com/events/309015382526657/

posted on: June 15, 2012 2:53 pm amyo

Read more about marches and direct actions


Occupy Environmental Justice vs. Chevron

On Wednesday, May 30, in solidarity with people from around the world coming to Chevron’s annual shareholders meeting at their San Ramon headquarters, Occupy Environmental Justice activists made our presence known outside Chevron’s San Francisco office at 345 California St. We creatively called attention to their reckless fossil fuel extraction practices, which include hydraulic fracturing in California. Hydraulic fracturing, aka “fracking”, is a toxic method of drilling for oil and gas in which water, sand and chemicals are injected under high pressure into the earth, endangering water, air, farmland, and increasing the possibility of earthquakes.

Chevron’s environmental atrocities are enormous and span the globe from South America to Africa, from California to Pennsylvania. Occupy activists were in San Ramon in the morning, with people from Ecuador, Brazil, Nigeria, Africa, Texas, and Richmond, CA. Chevron’s refinery in Richmond is the biggest greenhouse gas polluter in California. The people of Richmond, besides inhaling the toxins exhaled by the Chevron refinery and suffering health problems, have had to battle the billionaire corporation’s appeal of years of property taxes, and deceitful schemes to expand the refinery to be even more polluting. Some spoke inside the meeting, telling firsthand experiences of Chevron’s lethal impacts on their communities, and others made their presence known outside as the shareholders drove in, avoiding our eyes.

From Ain’t Broke

 

What those outraged by Chevron’s actions (or, non-actions when it comes to cleaning up oil spills) have in common is a realization that we are as healthy as the water, air, and food we take in, and when the elements which keep us alive are poisoned, so are our bodies. This truth is painfully real for communities of Ecuador, where families have cancer as a result of living with residual oil toxicity for decades. Chevron has been in a two-decade-long court battle to avoid taking responsibility for its toxic legacy in Ecuador. In the fishing communities of the Niger Delta, the waters are severely polluted from Chevron’s careless drilling. Chevron’s toxic reach extends to many other countries across the earth – see TrueCostofChevron.com for an Alternative Annual Report.

The importance of clean water and air has also hit home for many people in the United States whose homes and watersheds are becoming the property of gas and oil companies. These companies drill with increasingly damaging chemicals and increasingly high pressure, as hydraulic fracturing assaults more and more land, water, and health. Chevron is one of many companies engaged in the fracking process in the U.S., including California. While they are still in the “rushing to catch up” phase regarding fracking gas and oil wells, Chevron is attempting to greatly increase the demand for fracked gas by planning to build plants in Texas to process “natural” gas and turn it into plastic resin.

A few hours after the shareholder’s meeting, we gathered outside Chevron’s San Francisco office, with art and voices, to stand for the truth about this poisonous company and their poisonous practices, including hydraulic fracturing. Our banner listed alphabetically the chemicals used in fracking fluid – at 180 feet, we’re still only up to the A’s. Companies have been reluctant to disclose the chemicals they use, prompting some to call for more disclosure. The chemicals and health effects have been studied and are quite disturbing. (Source for banner is a congressional report available online http://tinyurl.com/FrackingChemicals). We do not feel that obtaining some more information about how and where people are poisoned should be the goal of the environmental movement when it comes to fracking. We believe it should be banned altogether, and had handouts to give to passersby explaining why.

We also offered them free bottles of “Frackelicious FrackWater Unsustainable Energy Drink”, (water with food coloring and label) and asked them to sign away rights to drill under their land, risking kidney and endocrine damage, hair loss, skin rashes, and increased cancer risk. While there is no gas or oil shale underneath San Francisco homes, the situation of being deceptively coerced into leasing, and then subjected to poisoned water and air, is all too real for a growing number of victims of fracking. Yet it is also awakening great numbers of people who otherwise wouldn’t connect the dots about environmental poisoning – health – corruption of industry, and turned many into activists. The horrors of fracking are many: polluted wastewater, radioactivity brought up from the ground, inevitable well casing leakage, truck traffic and accidents, dangers to workers, tragic sand mining that destroys land and health in the midwest, industry control of government and exemption from environmental laws, and massive water use. Despite all of this, gas from fracking masquerades as a “clean energy”, yet that image is crumbling.

Californians should be aware that fracking is taking place in our state. Industry documents reveal that fracking is underway in Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, Solano, Kern, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Monterey counties. Fracking, especially near farmland, poses threats to statewide food and water supplies. This year Occidental Petroleum Corporation plans to frack 140 unconventional shale wells in CA – many in the Sacramento River watershed and the SF Bay Delta, which provides drinking water to over 23 million Californians. What’s more, hydraulic fracturing has been linked by the EPA and U.S. Geological Survey to earthquakes. The seismic vulnerability of California, our water shortage problems, and the amount of food grown here, should make fracking a serious concern.

All watersheds are sacred, and all life is interconnected and deserves respect, something companies like Chevron have no regard for, wherever they are in the world. Chevron, with 2011 profits of $26.9 billion, is an example of the ravenous greed of the 1% occupying, literally, our bloodstreams, lungs, and atmosphere. And of course, occupying our government. According to ThinkProgress.org, Chevron spent more than $9 million lobbying Congress in 2011, and contributed $467,996 to federal campaigns (91% to Republican candidates). The obscene influence of dirty energy companies on government is the reason that renewable energy receives such a small amount of financial and political will. Yet renewables still show amazing potential, and in greater numbers with growing organization and creativity, we are awakening and stepping up to the huge task of our time – to shift from fossil fuels and nuclear to conservation and clean renewable energy.

Calls to action – Call Chevron CEO John Watson – 925-842-3232 – and express your concern about Chevron’s toxic legacy in the Ecuadorian Amazon, where thousands of people are suffering from skin disease, cancer, and other illnesses. Ask the employee you speak to to urge Watson to do the right thing and clean up his company’s mess. (Speak respectfully so whoever answers/picks up the message will engage in the most useful dialog possible).

Call CA Governor Jerry Brown and ask that he ban hydraulic fracturing in the state of California – 916-445-2841. This will take a lot of pressure in order to happen, but it is possible. More news comes out every day about the environmental and political liabilities of fracking, and there may come a point when the disasters are not worth the industry bribes.

Call Obama and tell him fracked gas and oil are NOT “clean” energy sources, and that fracking is inherently dangerous beyond anything regulations can mitigate, it must be banned. Say that fossil fuels and nuclear are not “change”, they are a dead end for our planet. 202-456-1111.

Learn more about Chevron and the movements to hold them accountable:

http://truecostofchevron.com/ – Alternative annual report. Very informative.

http://ran.org/ – Creative non violent direct action campaigns on behalf of the forests, their inhabitants, and the natural systems that sustain life.

http://www.richmondprogressivealliance.net/index.html – Progressive leadership in the community breathing in the pollution from Chevron’s Richmond refinery

Keep in touch with, and support if you can, these groups fighting fracking in CA:

http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/take-action/in-your-community/pacific-region/ – Working for clean, un-privatized water and food, and for a ban on fracking in CA and across the country.

http://www.facebook.com/StopFrackingLosAngeles – (“Stop Fracking California State”, news and calls to action about fracking, focusing on California)

And nationally:

http://ecowatch.org/2012/citizens-announce-nations-largest-ever-fracking-rally-in-washington-d-c/ – Consider coming to D.C for this rally, July 28th, and spread the word.

http://www.owsstopfracking.org/ – Occupy Well Street. Something we should all support and learn from.

gaslandthemovie.com – Watch/host a screening. See “Scientific facts/Affirming Gasland” to see how slimy the industry is in countering the truth.

http://endocrinedisruption.com – scientific facts on chemicals used in drilling and other industries.

Learn more about the problems:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr/petro-plutocracy_b_1498524.html – How Citizens United gives petroleum companies o b s c e n e control, and how much of that connects to fracking.

And the solutions!

http://grist.org/renewable-energy/the-truth-about-renewable-energy-inexpensive-reliable-and-inexhaustible/ – Fantastic article about renewable energy. Please share!

Please write to us if you have questions, or would like to offer help/support/your creative energy! OSFEnvironmentalJustice@gmail.com

by Ellen Osuna

See more media and video

posted on: June 2, 2012 6:11 pm peterm


Ahmed Salah, Egyptian Revolutionary, speaks at #OccupySF

Mr. Salah, one of the co-founders of the 6th of April Youth Movement. Salah talks about the various strategies that were learned, developed, and implemented by activists and civil society groups in the years leading up to the Jan 25 protests, which after 18 days of nonviolent mass action, led to the ouster of Egypt’s former President, Hosni Mubarak.

This video is from live stream on May 5th, 2012 at Sue Bierman Park by Clark Sullivan

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

See more media and video

posted on: May 16, 2012 9:28 am freemansullivan


Wells Fargo Meeting Takeover

Read more posts from Occupy SF Communications

posted on: April 24, 2012 10:07 pm communications


A28 Occupy SF Picnic… A Huge Success!

April 29, 2012  San Francisco

The A28 Occupy SF Spring Picnic in Sue Bierman park was a huge success!  About 100 OSFers showed up for a day in the sun on the lawn.  We ate excellent vegan and non-vegan food donated in pot-luck style by the many amazing cooks amongst us.  We drank icy beverages, wine and shared the blessings of Mother Earth.  Kudos to Phil for his dynamite BBQ, to those who brought salads, pasta, fancy Italian cold cuts and delicious vegetarian fare.

There were many great conversations and much hilarity.  Our comrade Boston who survived a brutal attack was amongst us, returning (as he said) from the dead.  Pirate Mike was up from the Santa Cruz mountains with his crew.  Nick was there, Beth, Ideological Jane, Stardust in Human Form wore is tie-dye, David S. was in the house on a quick bike trip down from painting Big Man, Belle Star, Maria, Angelina, Chance, Lisa, Bob, Peg and Reede, even the illusive Marc showed up to argue with all of us.  There were too many others to name all.

The highlight of the event for your blogger was Miran Istina’s original acapella songs, Frontline and Bruises which I tried to record but fumble-fingered and lost instead.  Hat’s off to Miran who headed out on the Greyhound home to Oregon.  Her two songs were amazing!  Other musicians delighted the picnicers with tasty folk, jazz and union songs.

Let’s do it again soon gang!  And a special shout out to Outreach WGers Ben and Rachael for organizing the event.

Read more outreach posts

posted on: April 29, 2012 11:23 pm carlos


SNARKIE – How Change Happens

Yet another fantastic example of journalistic stupidity crossed our computer screens here at ILWG.  The snark claws came out quickly for this gem.

Meet Today’s Snarkers:
Jane is purple
Ryan is blue
Peter is red

And we present to you the NYTimes article arguing “Bain ain’t bad for you, America!”

How Change Happens
by David Brooks

Forty years ago, corporate America was bloated, sluggish and losing ground to competitors in Japan and beyond. But then something astonishing happened. Financiers, private equity firms and bare-knuckled corporate executives initiated a series of reforms and transformations.
Forty years ago, median incomes in America were rising.  But then something astonishing happened. The financiers seized the entire economy and stole all the gains from its growth.  As a result, for the last thirty years, median incomes have been stagnant.  Is David Brooks actually implying a CEO would do their own dirty work?  That’s what lobbyists and consultants are for!  Sorry, Brooks.  Mike Tyson can flatten your average bare-knuckled corporate executive in less than three rounds.
The process was brutal and involved streamlining and layoffs. But, at the end of it, American businesses emerged leaner, quicker and more efficient.
Quicker and more efficient at stealing from people.  They figured out they make more money by downsizing ethics.  So Brooks is an advocate for corporate anorexia?  What sort of example is he setting for America’s youth?
Now we are apparently going to have a presidential election about whether this reform movement was a good thing.
If you’re a corporate scumbag, you’d call it a reform movement.  If you were a worker on the receiving end, you’d call it corporate greed at its worst.
Last week, the Obama administration unveiled an attack ad against Mitt Romney’s old private equity firm, Bain Capital, portraying it as a vampire that sucks the blood from American companies. Sorry, Mr. President.  Buffy Summers is a way cooler vampire slayer than you’ll ever be. Obama is just making sure that the vampire meme stays with the Republicans instead of all that Vampire Squid Goldman Sachs funding biting him in the ass.  
Then Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. gave one of those cable-TV-type speeches, lambasting Wall Street and saying we had to be a country that makes things again.  
The Obama attack ad accused Bain Capital of looting a steel company called GST in the 1990s and then throwing its workers out on the street. The ad itself barely survived a minute of scrutiny. As Kimberly Strassel noted in The Wall Street Journal, the depiction is wildly misleading. Right, because The Wall Street Journal is a totally impartial judge in this case. I agree with Strassel: Obama is a “Crony Capitalist” asshole.  But that doesn’t make Romney the “Vulture Capitalist” any less of an asshole.  No matter how you slice it they both stink.  
The company was in terminal decline before Bain entered the picture, seeing its work force fall from 4,500 to less than 1,000. It faced closure when Romney and Bain, for some reason, saw hope for it in 1993.  Funny how that happens to be the same time when free trade made it cheap and easy to ship the jobs to overseas sweatshops.  Just a coincidence I’m sure. Bain acquired it, induced banks to loan it money and poured $100 million into modernization, according to Strassel.  Bain held onto the company for eight years, hardly the pattern of a looter.  Right, that sounds more like a parasite. Finally, after all the effort, the company, like many other old-line steel companies, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001, two years after Romney had left Bain.  Brooks’ comment is the economic equivalent of blaming the rape victim.
This is the story of a failed rescue, not vampire capitalism. Technically he’s right.  Vampires don’t dismember and devour the bodies when they’re done sucking the victim dry.  That’s cannibalism!
But the larger argument is about private equity itself, and about the changes private equity firms and other financiers have instigated across society.  You mean like the big changes back in 2008?Like the changes that are responsible for decimating the middle class and driving them to poverty?Over the past several decades, these firms have scoured America looking for underperforming companies. Then they acquire them and try to force them to get better.  If doctors did what Brooks is praising here, they’d be sued for medical malpractice in a heartbeat.
As Reihan Salam noted in a fair-minded review of the literature in National ReviewNewspeak Translation: in the opinion of overpaid lobbyists, hacks, and other bottom feeders, in any industry there is an astonishing difference in the productivity levels of leading companies and the lagging companies. Private equity firms like Bain acquire bad companies and often replace management, compel executives to own more stock in their own company and reform company operations.  These private equity firms are a cover for their cronies to get rich through executing massive accounting fraud schemes.
Most of the time they succeed. Research from around the world clearly confirms that companies that have been acquired by private equity firms are more productive than comparable firms.  The beatings will continue until morale improves!
This process involves a great deal of churn and creative destruction. It does not, on net, lead to fewer jobs. A giant study by economists from the University of Chicago, Harvard, the University of Maryland and the Census Bureau found that when private equity firms acquire a company, jobs are lost in old operations. Jobs are created in new, promising operations.  In local, familiar places like Shanghai, Taipei, and Singapore.The overall effect on employment is modest.  Unless you get laid off.  I think the proper word here is “catastrophic”.
Nor is it true that private equity firms generally pile up companies with debt, loot them and then send them to the graveyard. This does happen occasionally (the tax code encourages debt), but banks would not be lending money to private equity-owned companies, decade after decade, if those companies weren’t generally prosperous and creditworthy.  Funny how Brooks doesn’t name any companies that have been piled with debt and looted.  If I didn’t know any better, he’s trying to say there aren’t even any bad apple private equity companies because it’s all the tax code’s fault.
Private equity firms are not lovable, but they forced a renaissance that revived American capitalism. Last time I checked, American capitalism was in a coffin – setting interest rates artificially low no matter what market pressures are sounds like good old Socialism to me.The large questions today are: Will the U.S. continue this process of rigorous creative destruction? Creative destruction is only for the small business chumps and the middle class. The big ass banks and the financiers don’t get to creatively destruct – they get propped up with cheap FED loans instead, turning them into giant zombie killers of the economy.  Moneeeey!  Monnneeeeyy!  More immediately, will the nation take the transformation of the private sector and extend it to the public sector? Like privatizing healthcare, education, and even FREAKING Presidio Park (right at you, Pelosi) isn’t enough for them?  So lemme get this straight, they want to take the exact same methods that destroyed the economy in 2008 and run the rest of society like that?  I want the drugs Brooks is on!  They must be amazing to think that’s a good idea!
While American companies operate in radically different ways than they did 40 years ago, the sheltered, government-dominated sectors of the economy — especially education, health care and the welfare state — operate in astonishingly similar ways.  Funny, I thought making sure as many people as possible had access to education, health care, and welfare when they’re unemployed was a good thing.  Is Brooks arguing that government would work a lot better if the government denied education, health care, and welfare to certain types of people…like private enterprise?  
The implicit argument of the Republican campaign is that Mitt Romney has the experience to extend this transformation into government.  Breaking stuff is transformative in the strictest definition of the word.
The Obama campaign seems to be drifting willy-nilly into the opposite camp, arguing that the pressures brought to bear by the capital markets over the past few decades were not a good thing, offering no comparably sized agenda to reform the public sector. Of course, it’s the capital markets analysis that’s the worst thing about the Obama campaign, not his escalating imaginary war on drugs, his even more imaginary war on terror, the NDAA fueled police state repression, or his complete gimp-like submission to Wall Street.  Nope. It’s definitely the campaign’s capital markets analysis that makes him wrong.
In a country that desperately wants change, I have no idea why a party would not compete to be the party of change and transformation.  Sure, if you define change and transformation as magnifying the economic inequality between rich and poor as much as possible.
For a candidate like Obama, who successfully ran an unconventional campaign that embodied and promised change, I have no idea why he would want to run a campaign this time that regurgitates the exact same ads and repeats the exact same arguments as so many Democratic campaigns from the ancient past.  Because the Republicans’ 1890s economic policy, 1690s social policy, and 1590s foreign policy is totally fresh and original, just ask Ronald Reagan.  Or Herbert Hoover.  Can we get another option?  I’m not a fan of the glass shards or the turd sandwich.

Yet another fantastic example of journalistic stupidity crossed our computer screens here at ILWG.  The snark claws came out quickly for this gem.

Meet Today’s Snarkers:
Jane is purple
Ryan is blue
Peter is red

And we present to you the NYTimes article arguing “Bain ain’t bad for you, America!”

How Change Happens
by David Brooks

Forty years ago, corporate America was bloated, sluggish and losing ground to competitors in Japan and beyond. But then something astonishing happened. Financiers, private equity firms and bare-knuckled corporate executives initiated a series of reforms and transformations.
Forty years ago, median incomes in America were rising.  But then something astonishing happened. The financiers seized the entire economy and stole all the gains from its growth.  As a result, for the last thirty years, median incomes have been stagnant.  Is David Brooks actually implying a CEO would do their own dirty work?  That’s what lobbyists and consultants are for!  Sorry, Brooks.  Mike Tyson can flatten your average bare-knuckled corporate executive in less than three rounds.
The process was brutal and involved streamlining and layoffs. But, at the end of it, American businesses emerged leaner, quicker and more efficient.
Quicker and more efficient at stealing from people.  They figured out they make more money by downsizing ethics.  So Brooks is an advocate for corporate anorexia?  What sort of example is he setting for America’s youth?
Now we are apparently going to have a presidential election about whether this reform movement was a good thing.
If you’re a corporate scumbag, you’d call it a reform movement.  If you were a worker on the receiving end, you’d call it corporate greed at its worst.
Last week, the Obama administration unveiled an attack ad against Mitt Romney’s old private equity firm, Bain Capital, portraying it as a vampire that sucks the blood from American companies. Sorry, Mr. President.  Buffy Summers is a way cooler vampire slayer than you’ll ever be. Obama is just making sure that the vampire meme stays with the Republicans instead of all that Vampire Squid Goldman Sachs funding biting him in the ass.  
Then Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. gave one of those cable-TV-type speeches, lambasting Wall Street and saying we had to be a country that makes things again.  
The Obama attack ad accused Bain Capital of looting a steel company called GST in the 1990s and then throwing its workers out on the street. The ad itself barely survived a minute of scrutiny. As Kimberly Strassel noted in The Wall Street Journal, the depiction is wildly misleading. Right, because The Wall Street Journal is a totally impartial judge in this case. I agree with Strassel: Obama is a “Crony Capitalist” asshole.  But that doesn’t make Romney the “Vulture Capitalist” any less of an asshole.  No matter how you slice it they both stink.  
The company was in terminal decline before Bain entered the picture, seeing its work force fall from 4,500 to less than 1,000. It faced closure when Romney and Bain, for some reason, saw hope for it in 1993.  Funny how that happens to be the same time when free trade made it cheap and easy to ship the jobs to overseas sweatshops.  Just a coincidence I’m sure. Bain acquired it, induced banks to loan it money and poured $100 million into modernization, according to Strassel.  Bain held onto the company for eight years, hardly the pattern of a looter.  Right, that sounds more like a parasite. Finally, after all the effort, the company, like many other old-line steel companies, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001, two years after Romney had left Bain.  Brooks’ comment is the economic equivalent of blaming the rape victim.
This is the story of a failed rescue, not vampire capitalism. Technically he’s right.  Vampires don’t dismember and devour the bodies when they’re done sucking the victim dry.  That’s cannibalism!
But the larger argument is about private equity itself, and about the changes private equity firms and other financiers have instigated across society.  You mean like the big changes back in 2008?Like the changes that are responsible for decimating the middle class and driving them to poverty?Over the past several decades, these firms have scoured America looking for underperforming companies. Then they acquire them and try to force them to get better.  If doctors did what Brooks is praising here, they’d be sued for medical malpractice in a heartbeat.
As Reihan Salam noted in a fair-minded review of the literature in National ReviewNewspeak Translation: in the opinion of overpaid lobbyists, hacks, and other bottom feeders, in any industry there is an astonishing difference in the productivity levels of leading companies and the lagging companies. Private equity firms like Bain acquire bad companies and often replace management, compel executives to own more stock in their own company and reform company operations.  These private equity firms are a cover for their cronies to get rich through executing massive accounting fraud schemes.
Most of the time they succeed. Research from around the world clearly confirms that companies that have been acquired by private equity firms are more productive than comparable firms.  The beatings will continue until morale improves!
This process involves a great deal of churn and creative destruction. It does not, on net, lead to fewer jobs. A giant study by economists from the University of Chicago, Harvard, the University of Maryland and the Census Bureau found that when private equity firms acquire a company, jobs are lost in old operations. Jobs are created in new, promising operations.  In local, familiar places like Shanghai, Taipei, and Singapore.The overall effect on employment is modest.  Unless you get laid off.  I think the proper word here is “catastrophic”.
Nor is it true that private equity firms generally pile up companies with debt, loot them and then send them to the graveyard. This does happen occasionally (the tax code encourages debt), but banks would not be lending money to private equity-owned companies, decade after decade, if those companies weren’t generally prosperous and creditworthy.  Funny how Brooks doesn’t name any companies that have been piled with debt and looted.  If I didn’t know any better, he’s trying to say there aren’t even any bad apple private equity companies because it’s all the tax code’s fault.
Private equity firms are not lovable, but they forced a renaissance that revived American capitalism. Last time I checked, American capitalism was in a coffin – setting interest rates artificially low no matter what market pressures are sounds like good old Socialism to me.The large questions today are: Will the U.S. continue this process of rigorous creative destruction? Creative destruction is only for the small business chumps and the middle class. The big ass banks and the financiers don’t get to creatively destruct – they get propped up with cheap FED loans instead, turning them into giant zombie killers of the economy.  Moneeeey!  Monnneeeeyy!  More immediately, will the nation take the transformation of the private sector and extend it to the public sector? Like privatizing healthcare, education, and even FREAKING Presidio Park (right at you, Pelosi) isn’t enough for them?  So lemme get this straight, they want to take the exact same methods that destroyed the economy in 2008 and run the rest of society like that?  I want the drugs Brooks is on!  They must be amazing to think that’s a good idea!
While American companies operate in radically different ways than they did 40 years ago, the sheltered, government-dominated sectors of the economy — especially education, health care and the welfare state — operate in astonishingly similar ways.  Funny, I thought making sure as many people as possible had access to education, health care, and welfare when they’re unemployed was a good thing.  Is Brooks arguing that government would work a lot better if the government denied education, health care, and welfare to certain types of people…like private enterprise?  
The implicit argument of the Republican campaign is that Mitt Romney has the experience to extend this transformation into government.  Breaking stuff is transformative in the strictest definition of the word.
The Obama campaign seems to be drifting willy-nilly into the opposite camp, arguing that the pressures brought to bear by the capital markets over the past few decades were not a good thing, offering no comparably sized agenda to reform the public sector. Of course, it’s the capital markets analysis that’s the worst thing about the Obama campaign, not his escalating imaginary war on drugs, his even more imaginary war on terror, the NDAA fueled police state repression, or his complete gimp-like submission to Wall Street.  Nope. It’s definitely the campaign’s capital markets analysis that makes him wrong.
In a country that desperately wants change, I have no idea why a party would not compete to be the party of change and transformation.  Sure, if you define change and transformation as magnifying the economic inequality between rich and poor as much as possible.
For a candidate like Obama, who successfully ran an unconventional campaign that embodied and promised change, I have no idea why he would want to run a campaign this time that regurgitates the exact same ads and repeats the exact same arguments as so many Democratic campaigns from the ancient past.  Because the Republicans’ 1890s economic policy, 1690s social policy, and 1590s foreign policy is totally fresh and original, just ask Ronald Reagan.  Or Herbert Hoover.  Can we get another option?  I’m not a fan of the glass shards or the turd sandwich.

Read more ideological liberation posts

posted on: May 31, 2012 8:36 pm janesmith