Explaining Southern California's economy

The Tea Party is a political movement; Occupy is about protest

AP Photo/The Enterprise, Wayne Tilcock

In this Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, photo University of California, Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad Friday in Davis, Calif. Two University of California, Davis police officers involved in pepper spraying seated protesters were placed on administrative leave Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011, as the chancellor of the school accelerates the investigation into the incident.

Just a quick comment on this segment from this morning's Airtalk broadcast. The issue is whether the Tea Party is getting media treatment equal to the Occupy Movement. 

I'd have to say probably not. But then again, this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. The Tea Party is a political movement: it's an evolution of the Republican Party's libertarian element, which has been a factor, albeit a minor one, for decades. Occupy is a protest movement: it's not running anyone for office but rather complaining about the way the U.S. has allowed equality to stagnate under pressure from a global financial system run amok.

Both groups are angry about the current state of affairs. But their plans of action, strategies, and execution are different in trajectory. The Tea Party wanted to elect candidates and enter the mainstream political conversation. Occupy aimed to...take up space and provide a physical representation of what was really a fairly inchoate sense that something has gone horribly wrong with the nation. 

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Occupy Movement: A Kent State moment at UC Davis?

Occupy Protests Pepper Spray

Thomas K. Fowler/AP

In this image made from video, a police officer uses pepper spray as he walks down a line of Occupy demonstrators sitting on the ground at the University of California, Davis on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. The video - posted on YouTube - was shot Friday as police moved in on more than a dozen tents erected on campus and arrested 10 people, nine of them students.

One of the central problems with understanding the Occupy Movement is that, in America, we have no real recent experience with large-scale protests. It's not like police, mayors, members of Congress, university presidents, of even President Obama himself have been studying the country's last major protest movement, again the Vietnam War.

Some of these leaders have no excuse. They lived through Vietnam. Some were on the protest battlements themselves. Some were in the actual war.

The result is that the country is dangerously unprepared for what has suddenly morphed into an increasingly violent showdown between Occupy protesters and the authorities.

Last week, I suggested that another Kent State shooting is unlikely. "Kent State" is popular shorthand for a 1970 massacre at Kent State University in Ohio, when national guardsmen killed four students and wounded nine, prompting a national outrage and signaling the beginning of the end of the Vietnam War, as well as much of the romance of the countercultural 1960s.

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Visual Aid: The Occupy Movement gets the Shepard Fairey treatment

Corporate-Violence-Obey

Obey Giant

See if you can figure out the model for Obey Giant's contribution to the Occupy Movement's graphic identity.

Yesterday, KPCC's new blog editor, Tony Pierce, and I were discussing the lack of any truly iconic Occupy Movement images. They've got plenty of signs and slogans. "But where's...noted LA public artist and occasional graphic agitator Shepard Fairey in this?" We asked. 

Well, ask and you shall receive. Fairey's Obey Giant site now has five supportive posters available for free download. I've respected Fairey's desire to have these used only by participants in the Occupy Movement and have depicted just one here. The rest can be seen at the site.

It will be easy enough to figure out which public figure served as the model for the poster that's pictured, once you check out the entire selection. But see if you can guess, without looking at the entire lineup.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter.

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Meet Starbucks, your new neighborhood investment bank

Customers queue for coffee at Starbucks

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Welcome to your friendly neighborhood investment bank. Do you want them to leave room for...return on investment?

Here's an idea that's going to get people talking — and funding small businesses. The New York Times' Joe Nocera writes his column today about Starbucks' plan to partner with microfinance organization Opportunity Finance Network to solve a major American problem: a lack of small-scale lending. The project is called Create Jobs for USA. It's a great idea, but it has at least one significant problem: return on investment for the Starbucks customers who would be putting up their money.

Starting November 1, while waiting for you nonfat vente caramel latte, you can donate, say...$5 to the cause. You'll receive a red, white, and blue "indivisible" bracelet (the bracelet is an inevitable piece of viral marketing these days). Starbucks will seed the fund with a $5 million donation. As Nocera points out, this will enable Create Jobs for USA and OFN to borrow against this fund, utilizing a 7-to-1 leverage ration. Presto! Your $5 becomes $35.

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