November 26, 2011

In Devastation There Is Opportunity

YouTube video posted by PRostoZDywanu

Interview with Carlton Brown, Commodities Trader, excerpted from the 2003 documentary The Corporation, a film by Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan.

Carlton Brown: I've got to be honest with you. When the September 11th situation happened, I didn't know that, and I must say, and I wanna say this because I don't want to take it lightly. It's not a light situation. It was a devastating act. It was really a bad thing. It was one of the worst things I've seen in my lifetime, you know. But I will tell you and every trader will tell you, who was not in that building and who was buying gold and who owned gold and silver, that when it happened, the first thing you thought about was, "well, how much is gold up?" The first thing that came to mind was, "my God, gold must be exploding". Fortunately, for us, all our clients were in gold. So when it went up they all doubled their money. Everybody doubled their money. It was a blessing in disguise. Devastating, crushing, heart shattering, but on the financial sense, for my clients that were in the market, they all made money. 

Now, I wasn't looking for this type of help, but it happened. When the U.S. bombed Iraq back in 1991 the price of oil went from $13 to $40 a barrel, for Christ's sake! Now, we couldn't wait for the bombs to start raining down on Saddam Hussein. We were all excited. We wanted Saddam to really create problems. "Do whatever you have to do, set fire to some more oil wells, because the price is going to go higher." Every broker was chanting that. There was not a broker that I know of that wasn't excited about that. This was a disaster. This was something that was, you know, catastrophe happening. Bombing. Wars. In devastation there is opportunity.

Stop Consuming Junk. Stop Producing Junk.

Stop Consuming, Start Producing sign
Photograph courtesy Anna Tan and Pak So 

In a November 26, 2011 article titled Violence mars Black Friday shopping, the Associated Press reported:

Black Friday's typical jostling and jockeying took a more ominous turn during this year's bargain-hunting ritual with a shooting, a pepper spraying and other episodes of violence that left several people injured.

In the most serious case, a robber shot a shopper who refused to give up his purchases outside a San Leandro, Calif., Walmart store, leaving the victim hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

. . . . . . . . 

At another Walmart in a wealthy suburb of Los Angeles, a woman trying to get the upper hand to buy cheap electronics unleashed pepper spray on a crowd of shoppers, causing minor injuries to 20 people, police said.

. . . . . . . . 

Meanwhile, police in suburban Phoenix came under fire when a video was posted online showing a 54-year-old grandfather on the floor of a Walmart store with a bloody face, after police said he was subdued Thursday night trying to shoplift during a chaotic rush for discounted video games.

The video, posted on YouTube, shows Jerald Allen Newman unconscious and bloodied as outraged customers yell expletives and say "that's police brutality" and "he wasn't doing anything."

In a police report that redacted the names of officers and witnesses, Newman's wife and other witnesses said he was just trying to help his grandson after the boy was trampled by shoppers, and only put a video game in his waistband to free his hands to help the boy.

November 24, 2011

Live Like A Pirate, Die Like A Pirate

Execution of the Namoa pirates which 
took place on the 11th May 1891 at 
Image courtesy New York Public 

In the November 21, 2011 edition of the New York Times, Kevin Roose writes in the article A Blow to Pinstripe Aspirations:

Being young on Wall Street once meant having it all: style, smarts and too much money to spend wisely. Now, twenty-somethings in the finance industry are losing both cash and cachet.

Three years after the global financial crisis nearly brought Wall Street firms to the brink, the nation's largest banks are again struggling. As profits wane, layoffs have claimed thousands of jobs and those still employed have watched their compensation shrink. These problems are set against the morale-crushing backdrop of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has made a villain of a once-lionized industry.

Much of the burden of Wall Street's latest retrenchment has fallen on young financiers. The number of investment bank and brokerage firm employees between the ages 20 and 34 fell by 23 percent from the third quarter of 2008 to the same period of 2011, a loss of 110,000 jobs from layoffs, attrition and voluntary departures.

... experts say that today's doldrums, unlike previous downturns, are here to stay.

"A lot of the positions that are being cut right now aren't coming back," said Leslie K. Hild, a vice president with the recruiting firm Right Management. "It's an emotional roller coaster for almost everyone."

. . . . . . . . 

In the Readers' Comments to the article, Dan from Madrid writes simply:

Live like a pirate, die like a pirate.

November 21, 2011

Our Sons And Daughters, Our Brothers And Sisters

YouTube video posted by asucd 
showing University of California, Davis 
(UC Davis) student protesters being hit 
with pepper spray by campus police
on November 18, 2011

Law enforcement goons and those who should know better (including UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi) continue to unquestioningly protect the moneyed and the status quo. Change is coming you tools.

November 16, 2011

Dear Mr. Bloomberg: 99 Is Greater Than 1

99% is greater than 1%
90% is greater than 10%
80% is greater than 20%
70% is greater than 30%
60% is greater than 40%
51% is greater than 49%
 100% is 100%

The jig is up. You can't imprison or wall out ideas. You can't imprison or wall out all of the people. It's time to get the dirty money out of politics, our government, the media and the Supreme Court and start caring about 100% of the people. 

Video from the November 15, 2011 edition 
of The Rachel Maddow Show on

> Follow this link to the We Are The 99 Percent website.

November 6, 2011

We Have Not Missed, You And I. We Have Not Missed That Many-Splendored Thing.

Conclusion of the 1955 Hong Kong-based 
film Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing 

Everybody's A Star

Anonymous, LA, 2009
Photograph by Katy Grannan

In the exhibition catalogue for Katy Grannan Boulevard, published 2011 by Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco and Salon 94, New York, the artist writes:

The sun will show you. Ruthless and indiscriminate, it reveals these ghosts, people left with nothing but aspiration and delusion. They thought it would be different here but reality is crueler and far lovelier.

The catalogue ends with an excerpt from The Kinks Celluloid Heroes:

Everybody's a dreamer and everybody's a star
And everybody's in show biz, it doesn't matter who you are
And those who are successful
Be always on your guard
Success walks hand in hand with failure
Along Hollywood Boulevard

I wish my life was a non-stop Hollywood movie show
A fantasy world of celluloid villains and heroes
Because celluloid heroes never feel any pain
And celluloid heroes never really die