Occupy Phoenix


Best picture I could take at Occupy Phoenix, using my phone; I know, it’s kind of blurry.

I just came from the demonstrations here in downtown Phoenix and was surprised, in a good way, at what I saw. Thousands of polite, civil, friendly protestors had gathered, and I would say that maybe half of them were white collar people in their 40s, 50s and even 60. Lots of youth, but lots of white hair, too. There was no name-calling, no littering, no shoving, not the slightest hint of violence. I bring this up because the new insidious meme from the right is that those participating in the demonstrations constitute a “mob.” Of course, they considered the Tea Party demonstrations a gathering of patriots. The Occupy crowds, in their eyes, are dirty hippies and anarchists. Which, of course, is total nonsense.

There was no leader, just a string of speakers. The message was simple: there is a huge injustice in America, and the criminal bankers are rewarded for their sins at the expense of the working and middle classes. The goals are simple, too: tax reform, with more taxes on the rich and relief for the less fortunate; greater stimulus to create jobs; and transferring power from Wall Street and corporations to the people the government is supposed to represent. (I know, that’s easier said than done.)

There were the expected idiots, but very few. I’m talking about Truthers with their signs about 911 being an inside job, and the Ron Paul kooks with their monolithic call to “end the Fed.” They were few and far between, but it’s always signs like theirs that the right-wing seizes on to show how deranged liberals are. I kind of wished they’d disappear. Free speech has its pluses and minuses.

The police were everywhere, quietly watching. I even chatted with one about a deranged demonstrator who was reading from the bible at the top of his lungs trying to drown the speakers out. The cop said he’d love to do something, but everyone’s allowed their say. From the way he said it, I’m betting he was sympathetic to the demonstrators.

According to the latest poll I saw, 52 percent of Americans now support the Occupy movement, and 27 percent support the Tea Party. Finally, a movement is bringing together groups that have often been at odds: white collars and working-class workers, young people and old, social rebels wearing masks and clearly challenging the status quo, and the status quo itself — ordinary Americans who brought their entire families with them.

The Phoenix event may have been a bit too polite. It needs to be a little more disruptive and in-your-face. That’s a fine line to balance, remaining civil while generating outrage. But it has to shake up the system, like they’re doing in New York. Meanwhile, I’m doing everything I can to support this movement and urge you all to do the same. We’ve never seen anything like it in America in our lifetimes, and it is so long overdue.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 76 Comments

Changing the system will be tough, but it’s good to see people getting riled up about it.

October 16, 2011 @ 7:43 am | Comment

If “occupy” supporters out-number tea-baggers 2:1, there may be hope yet for Americans. It’s apropos to claim that one’s position represents the “silent majority”, whatever that position may be. From my standpoint, it’s much better for “occupy” to be the silent majority, rather than the baggers.

October 16, 2011 @ 7:46 am | Comment

Bravo to that, SK. I think they are the silent majority. Tragically, they have been marginalized, even though it seems impossible for the majority to be marginalized. They really are the 99 percent, and its beyond great that they are finally finding their voice.

October 16, 2011 @ 7:53 am | Comment

Once this movement reachs a critical mass, civility should be abandoned and pols, bankers and senior bureacrats should be individually targetted with human flesh gestapo tactics. I would revel in a lamp post/Mussolini outcome, but just can’t see it eventuating.

However, I can see the lot decamping to the PRC with their bonuses and generous super plans.

“The Occupy crowds, in their eyes, are dirty hippies and anarchists”.

No worries since to quote Engels: “Indeed, only barbarians are capable of rejuvenating a world laboring under the death throes of unnerved civilisation”.

October 16, 2011 @ 8:25 am | Comment

Richard, not too sure what your knock against the “End the Fed” meme is. The truth is that US monetary policy over the 15-20 years has provided more subsidies to Wall Street than anything else. The Greenspan Put, the Bernanke Put, interest rates diving at the sign of the slightest market decline. The amount of market attention paid to even the slightest utterance coming out of the Fed these days is a sign that all is not well with American capitalism. God forbid I have to build an actual business, just promise me free money so I can make some good bets. Oops I made a bad bet? No problem, the Fed will flood the market with cheap money and keep me afloat.

October 16, 2011 @ 1:18 pm | Comment

The U.S. Border Guard deployed an urban combat trained security squad to the Occupy Phoenix rally today as armed peace keepers and legal observers. Border Rangers who patrol the border took a non-political stance to defend peaceful assembly and free speech of all citizens by exercising our right to keep and bear arms. Phoenix Police units were on scene also keeping the peace. Our founding fathers and founding mothers knew full well that the 2nd Amendment is what protects all our other amendments from tyranny. The U.S.B.G. protected the rights of all parties involved. http://downtowndevil.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/ready_TM.jpg

October 16, 2011 @ 3:20 pm | Comment

The LA City Council passed a resolution supporting Occupy Wall Street — made me proud to be an Angeleno!

October 16, 2011 @ 4:12 pm | Comment

Does Hollywood and Rodeo Drive come within the confines of the LA City Council???

October 16, 2011 @ 5:33 pm | Comment

In 1969, I went to demonstrations like this, only in those days the demonstrators chanted, “Two, four, six, eight, organize to smash the state,” and “Ho Ho Ho Chi Min, the NLF is gonna win.” Well, the demonstrators (including yours truly) were idiots then and they are idiots now. I suppose one can forgive the young ones for being idiots because they don’t know any better, but the fact that there were aging hippies in the crowd is just sad.

October 16, 2011 @ 8:18 pm | Comment

By the way, I don’t think there is any such thing as the 99%. What there is, is the 53% (who pay federal income taxes) and the 47% (who don’t).

October 16, 2011 @ 8:21 pm | Comment

Speaking as a conservative voter, I am not usually much of a fan of demonstrations against policy arrived at by democratic process – it often smacks of an attempt to win through protest what could not be won at the ballot box. However, I find myself sympathetic to the Occupy movement.

The US has seen the continued extension of tax cuts on the rich which cannot possibly be justified economically. It has seen the massive bale-out of the banks which then resisted reform designed to prevent a recurrence of the crisis – something offensive regardless of whether the loans were repaid with interest. It has a political establishment which led it to the brink of defaulting on its debts for purely ideological reasons.

In the UK, the situation is in some ways significantly better, with the coalition having moved through a program of tax increases and spending cuts. However, we also see some of the same phenomenon in the the UK also.

October 16, 2011 @ 8:28 pm | Comment

FOARP,

I disagree with you about bank regulation but I recognize that you at least addressing some real issues.

The basic question is whether you think there should be a lender of last resort? If so, that means banks will, inevitably, be bailed out during times of financial distress. If not, then you run the risk of panic turning into a Depression. I’m not sure what the right answer is, but I am certain that the Dodd Frank bill does not solve the problem. Dodd Frank enshrines “too big to fail” – and guarantees that we will have a repeat of the problems we’ve just had.

The regulations imposed by Dodd Frank do nothing to address the problems that caused the bubble and collapse. The bubble and collapse were caused by the decisions of the Government (both Republicans and Democrats) to encourage home ownership – as a result, Fannie, Freddie and the FHA abandoned their historic underwriting standards, and we ended up with a huge housing price bubble and trillions of junk mortgages that inevitably collapsed. Wall Street firms may have helped things along, but consider this: suppose Fannie, Freddie and the FHA had stuck to their historic underwriting standards, and required substantial down payments on all mortgages that they were financing – do you think we ever would have had the bubble? or the collapse? Of course not. Does Dodd Frank do anything at all about this? No.

It’s foolish, in my humble opinion, to criticize the banks for resisting misguided legislation and rules. Even if the legislation and rules were not misguided, in what universe that you would want to live in could politicians propose regulation and the targets of that regulation would have to keep silent and just accept it? Living in China as I do reminds me on a daily basis that I don’t like that system at all.

And reading about the Occupy protests and their calls to punish the “bankers” reminds me of nothing so much as the Cultural Revolution and the Party’s purges of class enemies. It’s hard to see how anything good can come of it.

October 16, 2011 @ 8:52 pm | Comment

@Doug – The thing is the mechanism by which the investment banks have resisted reform is a palpably undemocratic one – the peddling of influence through lobbyists, the funding of campaigns and PACs. The fact that this is merely the most egregious example of what can be achieved by these means does not make it more legitimate.

RE: 53% -

” . . . You might as well say that the 20 percent of Americans who smoke cigarettes regularly pay 95 percent of federal tobacco excise taxes while 70 percent of the population pays nothing. Does 70 percent of the population really pay nothing to maintain public services? Of course not. They pay income taxes and payroll taxes and property taxes and sales taxes and alcohol taxes and all the rest.

The genius of the conservative rhetorical move here is that most people think of the taxes that you pay when you “do your taxes” in April as being your income taxes. It is, in fact, a consolidated income tax and payroll tax. Thanks to some temporary tax cuts implemented during the recession, a very large share of American workers currently have only payroll tax liability rather than income tax liability. So through sleight of hand, you can convince many more than 53 percent of the people that they are part of the put-upon “53 percent” forced to bear the burden of a nation of slackers. It’s clever. But don’t fall for it, and don’t let your friends and family fall for it either.”

RE: Your leftwing revolutionary past – I fail to see the relevance, unless you believe that these protests genuinely are directed at bringing about a revolution. Instead, in as much as they have any coherent demands at the moment, they are for higher taxes on the rich (or at least an end to the tax-cuts), greater financial regulation, and an end to corporate funding of political campaigns.

October 16, 2011 @ 10:34 pm | Comment

About 40 protesters were arrested here last night. You can find an excellent timeline of what happened here. Highly recommended.

October 17, 2011 @ 1:48 am | Comment

These protesters do not get that Wall Street is one of the weapons of US global power (the other being its military machine). You think having a strong manufacturing base will give you big power status? If that’s the case, then Japan and Germany would be super powers today. Having this Wall Street machine allows the US with a flip of a keyboard move wealth around with complete ease, without having to actually deal with the pollution and labor of production and manufacturing. There’s a famous saying:

Third rate business men sell goods. Second rate businessmen sell information. First rate businessmen sell money.

The Wall Street players are first rate manipulators and businessmen. The world belongs to them and it also belongs to us, but ultimately it belongs to them.

That’s why I forced my son to study business and finance in college, instead of engineering. Even though it is laudable an ideal, being an engineer is unlikely to get you into the upper echelons of elite society. If you don’t believe me, just ask yourself: “Which wealthy/power family has their son/daughter studying engineering or science in school? ”

Studying engineering and science are reserved for immigrants and the people at the bottom rung who want to have a “OK” life, but to truly get into the top tier, you gotta study law or finance.

October 17, 2011 @ 2:08 am | Comment

Can I occupy the homes of the protesters here in the UK because of the housing shortage? I know they haven’t individually caused it, but then again the individuals who work in Wall Street and elsewhere didn’t plot global financial trouble.

I’m glad to see people protesting peacefully if they feel frustated, but at the end of the day this all boils down to politics. Politicians make the laws and appoint the people that oversee how they’re implimented. If so many Americans (as Richard indicates) are really unhappy, they’d get a lot more done by voting for people who advocate change – at both primary and election time. But the problem is that in so many democracies the electorate go for who they think will deliver them individually the most.

If I heard that my MP was wasting public money on pointless projects in my constituency in order to curry favour, he or she would immediately lose my vote. But it seems that the world over these sorts of people can more usually expect to be rewarded than punished by their electorates. We can criticise banks and other financial institutions for their greed, but if not ourselves then many of our fellow citizens are as guilty of putting greed above national good for the years preceeding the financial crisis. It’s just a lot easier to make bogeymen of those that have a lot more money than we do.

October 17, 2011 @ 3:09 am | Comment

Most engineers will have a very comfortable life. A Relative few finance types will have an insanely extravagant life, but most who study finance will have a fairy mediocre one. I guess you can bat for average and “settle” for singles, or you can swing for the fences and connect every so often, but also strike out a lot.

October 17, 2011 @ 3:59 am | Comment

Comfortable if you compare it to blue collar yes. But these days, if you are just “middle class”, you have to constantly worry about your mortgage, your kids’ college tuition, your retirement, etc. There’s not a day goes by where you can sleep soundly. By the time you are 30,40, if you do not make manager, chances are 50-50 you’ll get laid off in another round of down-sizing. It’s an illusory comfort not based on real financial strength.

To truly be “comfortable” (have enough money never having to worry about kids college, never having to worry about mortgage, never having to worry about having no medicare, never having to worry about retirement, AND have more than enough money buy at least one additional property for investment purposes only). You must get out of this mentality of if I just work hard and honestly and “do what I’m supposed to do”, somehow I’m gonna be successful. That’s an illusory idea made up by the 1% for the consumption of the 99%, so they’ll work hard and stay in their place, to maintain “social stability”.

The only way to be a winner, is to emulate what the 1% does, and be the 1% yourself. In the words of my cousin “Don’t be the exploited, be exploiter.”

October 17, 2011 @ 5:09 am | Comment

never having to worry about kids college

You mean your kids are too dim to get a scholarship or pay their own way?

In the words of my cousin “Don’t be the exploited, be exploiter.”

Or stop whining and be thankful you’re living in a free country and have a profession, if not a guaranteed job.

Or I suppose we could live in an anarchist society and live by the gun.

October 17, 2011 @ 5:16 am | Comment

My son is already in college, I’m only talking in general. You are telling me that if your kid cannot get scholarship or grant for college, then it must be his/her or the parents’ fault, and therefore they deserve it? Absurd.

I’m not whining at all, if you read my earlier post you’ll see that I’m telling the protesters to stop being so naive as to believe Wall Street should not be a part of America or any human society, and that they stop whining about being the 99%, and try to be the 1%.

October 17, 2011 @ 5:21 am | Comment

@Stephen King. I just love Tiger Dads like yourself who have their children reading Ayn Rand before kindergartern.

And we all appreciate your advice re social ethics, investment properties, career paths etc.

And since I suffer from infantile leftist tendencies, I hope you also get to assume the Mussolini/lamp post position because your views are so old 20th century.

October 17, 2011 @ 5:44 am | Comment

Funny enough, the influence of lobbyists massively increased when the US govts committee system’s voting procedure went from one closed to the public to an open arrangement. A point well made by Fareed Zakaria in his book on US democracy.

October 17, 2011 @ 6:08 am | Comment

It’s easy to say “be the 1% yourself”. But the simple mathematical fact is that out of every one hundred people who try to reach “the top” (however defined), only 1 actually makes it. That’s my point about swinging for the fences. If you are the one person out of a hundred, then you’re set for life. But for the 99 others who tried and failed, it comes down to whether they have a plan B. Do you dedicate yourself to a field where you could be the home-run champ or you could end up a career minor-leaguer, or do you try at something where the potential reward is less, but the variance is also lower? It’s true, engineers can be downsized. But so can mediocre folks with finance degrees.

Of course, sometimes kids need to be told what’s good for them. At the same time, I think there’s a better chance for someone to excel when doing/studying something they enjoy, rather than doing/studying they’re forced into.

I must say though, that your son is likely in the minority. That filial piety bit is really rather retro, especially on this side of the pond.

October 17, 2011 @ 10:08 am | Comment

I don’t disagree with what you said about plan B. But my point is, too many people (especially those protesters) are asking the wrong question: “Why is it that I worked hard, followed the rules, and get no where in life? It’s not fair!”. It’s because they bought into this “follow the rules and work hard” dream, and think that’s how you become successful. It’s a slogan invented by the 1% to make sure the 99% stay in their place to support them.

The reality is, following the rules is never the way to success and 1%. If George Washington followed the rules, America would never have been founded. If Mao Zedong followed the rules, he would’ve been a teacher in Hunan Teaching College. If Steve Jobs followed the rules,mediocre mp3 players and dumb phones would still be dominating the market. If Osama Bin Laden followed the rules, he would be just another millionaire in the Middle East.

That’s another tragedy about Asians, they always try to follow the rules, and end up being mediocre and nameless.

October 17, 2011 @ 10:46 am | Comment

I agree that the “follow the rules and work hard” dream is the prototypical “American dream – middle class edition”. In the last few years, maybe it has been a bit harder to get ahead by living that dream than it once was.

The “1% dream” is probably the American dream – Gordon Gecko version, or if we’re to use non-fictional examples, perhaps Bernie Madoff or Garth Drabinsky or Jobs, among others. It takes an exceptional individual to be in that top 1%, and those top 1% folks are usually exceptional individuals.

I think, after a process of honest and sober self-evaluation, people with potential should give it a go. But I also think it’s simply not for everyone.

October 17, 2011 @ 11:52 am | Comment

You are telling me that if your kid cannot get scholarship or grant for college, then it must be his/her or the parents’ fault, and therefore they deserve it?

It’s called sarcasm.

The reality is, following the rules is never the way to success

Good point. I have now stolen your identity and am spending your life savings on my next foreign holiday. Thanks for the inspiration!

October 17, 2011 @ 2:58 pm | Comment

It’s a misconception that an apolitical society would be the ideal antipole to a totalitarian society. If people demanded additional legislation on small and medium-sized enterprises, that could be misguided. When it comes to oligopolies, the issue isn’t if new legislation is needed, but which kind of.

And there’s no question that there are incomes which could easily stand more taxation. Some earners say so themselves.

I think the “Occupy” movement is basically a good thing, even if it’s hard to tell exactly into which direction it will kick things off. The people haven’t given up on public life.

October 17, 2011 @ 11:39 pm | Comment

S.K. Cheung : Care to explain how the Tea Party is so evil? All they peacefully [!] protest for is a balanced budget and adherence to the Constitution. If that is so bad, what does that say about you… comrad?

October 18, 2011 @ 5:44 am | Comment

S.K. Cheung wrote:

“It’s easy to say “be the 1% yourself”. But the simple mathematical fact is that out of every one hundred people who try to reach “the top” (however defined), only 1 actually makes it. That’s my point about swinging for the fences.”

OMFG! You are soooooooo full of shyt. I’m a graduate of the foster care system, ex-street person, high school drop out… who has, now, a Doctorates degree and several patents that make the internet do it’s magic. Care to explain that? No.. sorry, SK, what this comes down to is real simple– you are unable to achieve anything because you don’t have what it takes to get off your backside and get things done. You are a nanny-state person who can’t get ahead with out Mommy and Daddy Government holding your hand.

In 1986 I received and award from President Reagan in SF, CA. When he shook my hand [I was about 17 at the time, the youngest CEO in America which is why I got the award], he told me “Only you can stand on your own two feet.”

Take his words to heart, SK, grow a pair and quite your belly whining.

October 18, 2011 @ 5:50 am | Comment

Welcome to my site, Bryan. You won’t be here long if you’re impolite.

The Tea Party isn’t necessarily evil, it’s just a fraud, a canard. It’s simply your typical right-wing, wealthy, white Republicans wearing stupid costumes and fighting to keep themselves rich and everyone else poor. They are inbred and stupid and go against everything I believe in, and they’re also racist (not everyone in the TP, but many). What they are doing will, if implemented, destroy America, taking away programs that help the marginalized survive, while cutting taxes and retaining loopholes for those who need and deserve these breaks the least. They are heartless, petty, mean-spirited and selfish. It is thrilling to learn that many more Americans are supportive of OWS than they are of the Tea Party, a blight on America that will one day be looked back upon as a cancer. Otherwise, I think they’re fine.

October 18, 2011 @ 5:59 am | Comment

Richard, you forgot that the Tea Party is primarily an astroturf “movement” funded by the Koch brothers. Other than that…

October 18, 2011 @ 6:26 am | Comment

Other Lisa (and Richard),

What is the fascination with the Kochs? I mean, leftists see Kochs under every bed. It’s true that they are two of the very small number of very wealthy people who support libertarian causes (the Kochs support pot legalization among other things), while most of the very wealthy donate primarily to left wing causes. But really, the notion that they are the cause of populist anger on the right is, well, foolish. It’s comparable to the penchant of some on the right to see Soros’s hand in everything the left does.

As for your claim of astroturfing and the Tea Party. It is not in dispute that the labor unions have provided material support to the NY Occupy protestors. Does that mean that the protest is just a front for the unions and their agenda? I don’t think so. There would not be a mass protest without some genuine anger, no matter how idiotic and misguided. I think your claim that the Tea Party is just a front for the Kochs is even less fact-based.

Have you (or Richard) ever been to a Tea Party group or talked with any Tea Party members? I haven’t been to any Tea Party meetings but I met a bunch of self-identified Tea Partiers in Connecticut in the spring of 2010, before I moved to China, and I cannot reconcile your (or Richard’s) description with the actual people I met. They were mad – about out-of-control government debt and bailouts (of banks, of GM and of deadbeat mortgagors) – and no one was paying them or telling them what to do. The claim that the Tea Party is full of racists is, I understand, a politically useful meme for the Democratic Party to promote, but again is far less true than the claim that the Occupy protestors are dominated by hard-core communists and anarchists. Although I suppose it depends on how you define “racists” – the only way to find a lot of “racists” in the Tea Party is if you define racism to include opposition to Obama’s desire to turn the US into a social democracy on the scale of Western Europe .

October 18, 2011 @ 7:25 am | Comment

Soros is a gentleman who’s told the world exactly where he stands on the issues, and despite his despicable vilification from the right-wing loons he is someone I look up to.

The racism of many of the Tea Baggers is a well-documented fact, despite the token blacks they parade on Faux News as representative of the movement. It manifests itself in their loathing of Obama not for any specific policies — after all, no one has been more centrist and willing to compromise with the right — but for vague, inane assertions that he’s a communist and an Arab, some Manchurian Candidate with a hidden agenda, such as making slaves of whites. You can google around and find plenty of examples of tea bagger signs that cross the racist line, I’m not going to dig them up. Now, there were dumb signs at Occupy Phoenix, as I noted in my post, and I wish they weren’t there. There was no racism or even a hint of personal insult on those signs. A very different group from the baggers. Young and old, black and white, liberal and libertarian and conservative. From what I’ve read, there are even a lot of tea baggers who’ve joined in. There seems to be some common ground among some of the smarter baggers in their loathing of Wall Street’s corruption, and that’s good.

The unions have been totally open about their support for the OWS movement. There’s no astroturfing — this is organic, organized on Twitter and Facebook, without racist mailings funded by the Koch brothers who are anything but Sorosesque — they are secretive, manipulative, consciously deceptive and dishonest, and monstrously greedy and selfish. (Think about it; what does Soros have to gain from higher taxes on the rich? His support is honest and not self-enriching. Au contraire.)

If you want to defend the Tea Party you may find it more joyful over at Free Republic or Michelle Malkin or other hate sites, where they can’t get enough of the tea baggers. Don’t get me wrong; you’re totally welcome here. But don’t expect to get a lot of love back when it comes to this issue.

October 18, 2011 @ 8:35 am | Comment

Richard,

I can’t believe you can support Soros and attack the Koch brothers in the same breath. They are all rich men, using their money to promote political causes in which they believe. Both finance think tanks and other institutions that provide the intellectual horsepower for their causes. Both contribute money to candidates. I see absolutely no difference between them. Except that the Koch business is a real business, that makes stuff and employs tens of thousands of Americans, and Soros is a currency speculator. Not that I have anything against speculators – they provide needed liquidity to financial markets. Paulson and Goldman Sachs betting on the collapse of mortgage markets? Good for them, in my opinion and apparently in yours, too. I just think it’s ironic that the left would put a financial speculator on a pedestal.

There are certainly some members of the Tea Party who are loons (the birthers, etc). Absolutely. I personally haven’t met any but they are there. There are also Occupiers who are anti-Semites (I’m sure you saw the interview with the LA Occupier who wanted to drive all the Jewish financiers out of the US), and there are plenty who are communists and anarchists (the group that marched to Times Square seems to have been led by the far-left parties). Does that mean the Occupy movement doesn’t represent some legitimate populist anger? Does that mean that most of the Occupiers are anti-Semites or communists? I didn’t say so and I don’t think so. Ditto for the Tea Party and the loons it has attracted along with millions of middle-class, ordinary Americans.

I am also surprised that you would refer to the members of the Tea Party movement with a sexual slur.

I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree about whether President Obama is a centrist or not. IMHO, he is the most liberal president of modern times. There is no doubt in my mind that his primary goal is to reduce inequality, and everything else comes second. That’s the core of modern liberalism and that’s President Obama. It may be true that as a personality matter, he likes to compromise – that’s why he was elected President of the Harvard Law Review, back in the day, because it was thought he could bridge the gap between the hard-left radicals and conservatives on the Review. The reason that conservatives don’t see him as a centrist or a compromiser, however, is because, from the very beginning of his term, he has treated them with contempt. He could get away with that when he had overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate but now the chickens have come home to roost.

October 18, 2011 @ 9:25 am | Comment

@Bryan. Care to give us the title of your “Doctorates” (sic) degree and the uni which awarded it.

How about some of the patents for credentialising your claims.
(FOARP can perform the due diligence here.)

I think it is referred to as a PhD which really means a doctorate in philosophy whatever the discipline, and it acknowledges an original contribution to knowledge.

I suspect you have a piece of paid paper from the Univesity of Hogswash.

Your Reagan claims. Yeah, and Hu Jintai doesn’t dye his hair.

You sound positively deranged. Did you escape from a Neo Nazi compound in Idaho?

October 18, 2011 @ 10:45 am | Comment

The Occupy protests have their own loons. Today the Anti-Defamation League called on the leaders of the protests (are there any leaders?) to denounce the anti-Semites who are participating in the Occupy protests, while acknowledging that such persons are “not representative.” http://www.adl.org/PresRele/ASUS_12/6138_12.htm. The Nazi Party even endorsed the Occupy protests – does that make the Occupiers a bunch of Nazis? Of course not.

There are loons everywhere, especially at protest rallies. If you want to judge the Tea Party by the loons attending its protests, then you have to do the same for the Occupy people. Personally, I think that would in each case just be a cheap shot made for partisan purposes.

October 18, 2011 @ 11:42 am | Comment

Whatever and whoever are part of this Occupy movement, at least they’re doing it. It is active democracy – sometimes you have to remind those we elect that we elected them. And far better they do their protesting in this fashion than by rioting, like in Emgland.

Be grateful people are thinking about your welfare, even if it is tempered by their desire for a better outcome for themselves.

We can’t afford to be apolitical or leave things to others in the hope it’s all work out. That leads to situations like the following http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10759957 – this actually reduced me to tears. This is what leaving stuff to others reduces us to.

October 18, 2011 @ 12:12 pm | Comment

Dear Bryan,
I cannot say for certain who or what urinated in your cereal this morning, but clearly it was something fierce.

If you would have the courtesy to argue against what I said, rather than what you hoped I had said, that would be a fantastic start. In case you’re wondering where the start line is, you haven’t reached it yet. I said I would prefer if the “occupy” movement represented the silent majority, rather than tea-baggers. Clearly, I am not fond of tea-baggers. However, I have not even come close to characterizing them as “evil”, so I have no idea where you got that from. There’s nothing inherently wrong with balancing the budget. It is how the tea-baggers propose to balance the budget that I find troublesome. I’m no economic genius. But I think Warren Buffet has earned his right to be heard. And I would far sooner take advice from Buffet than from a bunch of baggers. I don’t get the up-close perspective of the baggers that Richard and others here get, so I actually don’t feel all that strongly about them. But like others, I liken them to Republicans. The only thing I find more ridiculous than Republicans would be evangelical Republicans. And my impression is that when baggers aren’t wearing a tea-bag for a hat, they skew way towards the latter.

It is fantastic that you appear to have emerged from a meagre background to forge some serious success for yourself. I think that too is some variant of the American dream. The presence of the 1% does in fact mean that 1% of people reach those lofty heights. You might be approaching that level, and you would be a testament to their existence. What I said seemingly does not apply to you, for you are one of the exceptions…just as every member of that 1% is, by definition. I’d go so far to say that not too many people from your background would get to those heights, so you’re the exception even within a cohort of exceptions. The fact that you did it proves it can be done. My point was simply that stories like yours represent the longest of odds, and represent the exception rather than the rule.

I’d say that you exhausted your blend of hard work and fortuitous good fortune on your internet patents, cuz you’re not nearly as gifted in your ability to predict other people’s backgrounds. Suffice it to say that I am not exactly counting on the nanny state for my existence. However, I’m certainly supportive of the state taking care of those less fortunate and downtrodden, for I agree with those who believe that to define the humanity of a society. You’re welcome to support the baggers and keep your hard-earned riches for the grave, but I’m heartened by polls like the one to which Richard alluded which might suggest that the silent majority might have a little bit more heart.

October 18, 2011 @ 12:22 pm | Comment

Thanks for saying that so eloquently, SKC.

Doug, there will always be loons at mass gatherings. I mentioned this in the post above. The Tea Party, however, is in a class of looney all its own. They are about selfishness and stinginess. They yearn for this imaginary time when America was perfect. Those cheerleading the loudest for them are looney in their own right — Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, Michelle Bachamn, the every-frothy Rick Santorum and Clarence Thomas’ wife. It is a loon fest, funded by billionaires who are using their misguided followers to keep their taxes from being raised.

About antisemitism. Obviously I condemn this. But I think it’s being shamelessly blown up by the wingnuts, eager to seize on anything to tar this group as radical, dangerous, a mob. This in itself is a form, ironically, of antisemitism. You must read the clip below, showing how the antisemitism is actually coming in large part from the accusers! From The Jewish Journal:

An ugly old tradition is back: exploiting anti-Semitism to break the backs of popular movements that threaten the power of the wealthiest 1 percent of our population. It is being used to undermine the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has conservatives in a state of near panic….

Perhaps not surprisingly, a bizarre variant of this phenomenon is now being deployed against Occupy Wall Street.

Because utilizing anti-Semitism directly would not succeed in this country today, the reactionary defenders of the economic status quo are using the flip side of the coin: the fear of being labeled anti-Semitic. They are accusing Occupy Wall Street of anti-Semitism, relying on the old myth that Wall Street is Jewish and hence that opposition to Wall Street’s agenda is just opposition to Jews.

Not surprisingly, the first right-wing commentator to use this formulation in the Obama era was Rush Limbaugh. In 2010, Limbaugh told his radio audience that Jews might be having “buyer’s remorse” about having voted for President Barack Obama because “[h]e’s assaulting bankers. He’s assaulting money people. And a lot of those people on Wall Street are Jewish.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) condemned those remarks, labeling them a “new low” for Limbaugh. ADL National Director Abe Foxman explained that Limbaugh’s references to “Jews and money” were “offensive and inappropriate.”

Foxman continued: “While the age-old stereotype about Jews and money has a long and sordid history, it also remains one of the main pillars of anti-Semitism and is widely accepted by many Americans.”

And now the “age-old stereotype” is back, flipped on its head by right-wingers who seek to discredit Occupy Wall Street by accusing it of anti-Semitism, an accusation based on the idea, as Foxman said, “widely accepted by many Americans,” that Wall Street is Jewish.”>An ugly old tradition is back: exploiting anti-Semitism to break the backs of popular movements that threaten the power of the wealthiest 1 percent of our population. It is being used to undermine the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has conservatives in a state of near panic.

….Perhaps not surprisingly, a bizarre variant of this phenomenon is now being deployed against Occupy Wall Street.

This antsemitism meme is yet another canard brought to us by the people most tirelessly promoting the Tea Party: Big Government, Michelle Malkin, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh et. al.

Yes, there are loons at OWS. A tiny fringe of lonely, vocal loons. I saw them at Occupy Phoenix and was delighted at how the crowd of thoughtful, civil protestors ignored them. But let’s be clear: OWS is in no way an antisemitic movement nor are there any more than a few — very few — loonies out there who’ve prompted this tempest in a teacup, puffed up as usual by the GOP noise machine and breathlessly regurgitated by the right-wing blogs and influencers. Utter poppycock. This is a smokescreen to hide the truth the right doesn’t want to acknowledge: OWS is stunningly successful and can make the Tea Party look insignificant if it reaches critical mass. It can shift the dynamics of politics in America and even around the world. So the right has to do whatever it can to smear and discredit the movement. The old chestnut about antisemitism is absolutely perfect! Nice to see it’s backfiring. What will they try next? This is clearly going to get ugly as the right becomes increasingly determined, out of fear, to destroy this ground-up, peaceful movement.

October 18, 2011 @ 1:38 pm | Comment

Doug, Soros is a shrewd and brilliant investor who did spectacularly well spotting opportunities to play the markets when he believed they were going up or down, etc. Is speculating on the economy bad? I do it all the time, investing in gold and commodities and, sometimes, going short. There is virtually no comparison between the generous, determined Soros and the scheming puppetmasters in the background of the Tea Party, the Kochs. Soros is not in this to save himself millions in taxes, unlike the Kochs. For him this has been a matter of principle, a principle he’s held for many years. I hear the reprehensible lies the right tells about him, like he was a willing Kapo under the Nazis (total BS) and worse, and I wonder how one generous, dedicated man generated so much fear and loathing. He’s the whipping boy for the radical right, his name touching off a visceral, angry response among the wingnuts. Fascinating, but utterly irrational. And a superb example of the right-wing Tea Party crowd being led by emotionality ungrounded in reality, and so quick to go after perceived enemies without knowing anything about them. This ignorance-fueled willingness to take drastic actions and smear people will backfire in the TP’s face sometime soon. Watching them be eclipsed by the energy and relative sanity of OWS is hugely rewarding and one that bodes well for America. A turning point? I sure hope so. OWS will increasingly capture more Americans’ imaginations as the tea party edges deeper and deeper over time into irrelevancy.

October 18, 2011 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

I wish Obama was the “most liberal president of modern times.” That’s hilarious. Maybe it’s how one defines “liberal.”

I seem to be quoting this line a lot but, “This word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”

October 18, 2011 @ 3:01 pm | Comment

In order:

1) OL, you’ve made me curious, who would you nominate as the most liberal president of modern times? Using whatever definition of “liberal” you want?

2) Richard, I am glad we agree on the social utility of financial speculation. (Let’s hear it for naked CDSs!) I don’t agree on your characterization of the Koch brothers, and I don’t think you have any facts to back that up. They have been completely above board in supporting liberterian political causes for a long time. One of the brothers even ran for vice president on the Liberterian Party ticket a number of years ago. How is that hiding in the shadows?

3) As for Mr. Soros’s nobility in seeking higher taxes: he has more money than any person could spend in several lifetimes. Nothing the government does, short of a tax on wealth (which I don’t think he has ever supported), is going to affect him or anything he wants to do with his money. So his support for higher taxes doesn’t affect him at all – all it does is to make it that much harder for someone else to get rich. I don’t see that as noble in any sense, he just wants to pull up the ladders so no one else can climb into the boat. I will, of course, agree that Soros has donated generously of his time, energy and money in support of causes in which he believes, as have the Koch brothers.

4) “OWS is stunningly successful and can make the Tea Party look insignificant if it reaches critical mass.” How many people have participated in Occupy protests? The NYT estimates that a maximum of 70,000 participated nationwide last Saturday. Compare this to the 300,000 Tea Party protesters last April 15. http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/17/the-geography-of-occupying-wall-street-and-everywhere-else/. So far as I can tell from half a world away, a lot of the Occupiers are stoned (check out the Howard Stern interview of a few protesters in New York), and a healthy portion of the rest are hard core communists. If you are pinning your hopes for a Democratic Party revival on them, well, good luck. Maybe the Phoenix protests were different than New York and California, I don’t know, but I think the American public will have the same reaction to these protesters as they did to the antiwar protesters in 1972. Most polls show that liberals are about 20% of the US population. Overall, the country is center-right. It’s a pipe dream to think that the Occupy protests are going to change that.

5) I didn’t imagine the anti-Semitic signs and comments at the New York and Los Angeles Occupy protests, they were really there, but I’m happy to see that they are a small minority of the protesters. The same goes for the handful of racists who showed up at Tea Party events.

October 18, 2011 @ 7:59 pm | Comment

For more information about the political breakdown of the US, see http://www.gallup.com/poll/148745/Political-Ideology-Stable-Conservatives-Leading.aspx. According to Gallup, 41% are conservative, 36% are moderate and 21% are liberal.

October 18, 2011 @ 8:11 pm | Comment

A poll from last week showed 52 percent of Americans approve of OWS while 27 percent support the Tea Party. The Tea Party is not a conservative organization, they are radicals who want to overhaul the system to leave all working people behind and let them eat dirt. They want to take benefits away from people just when they need them most, when the US economy is more fragile than it’s ever been and risk throwing the country into a depression. Their “strategy” of slashing spending while offering obscene tax cuts for the rich could destroy America. And many economists back up this view (google around if you doubt this).

If you haven’t been watching how the Koch brothers have paid for astroturfing and dumping millions into the TP, there’s nothing that I can do. Seek, and you shall find. They are a leading force in trying to convince the world there is no global warming, which could threaten their petrochemical behemoth. They try hard to cover their tracks when it comes to funding the Tea Party but the data is out there. You can start your research here.

Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, “The Kochs are on a whole different level. There’s no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I’ve been in Washington since Watergate, and I’ve never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.”

A few weeks after the Lincoln Center gala, the advocacy wing of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation—an organization that David Koch started, in 2004—held a different kind of gathering. Over the July 4th weekend, a summit called Texas Defending the American Dream took place in a chilly hotel ballroom in Austin. Though Koch freely promotes his philanthropic ventures, he did not attend the summit, and his name was not in evidence. And on this occasion the audience was roused not by a dance performance but by a series of speakers denouncing President Barack Obama. Peggy Venable, the organizer of the summit, warned that Administration officials “have a socialist vision for this country.”

Five hundred people attended the summit, which served, in part, as a training session for Tea Party activists in Texas. An advertisement cast the event as a populist uprising against vested corporate power. “Today, the voices of average Americans are being drowned out by lobbyists and special interests,” it said. “But you can do something about it.” The pitch made no mention of its corporate funders. The White House has expressed frustration that such sponsors have largely eluded public notice. David Axelrod, Obama’s senior adviser, said, “What they don’t say is that, in part, this is a grassroots citizens’ movement brought to you by a bunch of oil billionaires.”

Show me similar actions by Soros. He is a myth created by crazed right-wing loons. A bogey man. OWS would go on just fine without his support, which is irrelevant.

The Tea Party is not conservative. They are radical, a creation of Fox news and the koch Brothers, an angry group of fat rich white wingnuts who helped bring us to the brink of catastrophe with their insane refusal for months to raise the debt ceiling, usually an uneventful, necessary move performed many times by Bush II and Ronald Reagan et. al. This was ideological and dangerous. There is nothing comparable done by liberals in the government.

As I said, if you support the Tea Party and the Koch brothers you won’t find a lot of love here. Are you sure you don’t want to go over to Michelle Malkin or Free Republic, where you’d be greeted with open arms? You can probably buy a Sarah Palin mug or a bust of Clarence Thomas or Michelle Bachman and keep them in sight to remind you of the brilliant leadership the TP enjoys. And to your earlier question about whether I’ve actually met and talked with tea baggers, the answer is a resounding yes. Living in Phoenix it’s hard not to. The ones I’ve met adore Glenn Beck and Rush (“Barack the Magic Negro”) and other fear-mongering racists, and have a radical view of the US government. They want “small government” while reaping all the benefits. I was shocked at their closed-mindedness and blatant greed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation, even with people my parents play bridge with. Appalling. Defend them all you’d like. They are racist, inbred idiots when it comes to government. They may be lovely people, but their view on government is deranged.

No covert funding by the Koch Brothers and other Big Oil interests? Watch this. Case closed.

October 18, 2011 @ 11:28 pm | Comment

The Tea Party is not a conservative organization, they are radicals who want to overhaul the system to leave all working people behind and let them eat dirt.

So you’re saying that Tea Party members don’t have jobs?

October 19, 2011 @ 1:38 am | Comment

Working people meaning the working poor and middle class – the ones whose taxes will go up and benefits reduced as the rich are showered with huge tax breaks and loopholes.

October 19, 2011 @ 1:43 am | Comment

Working people meaning the working poor and middle class

I had a quick look on Wikipedia to get some polling on Tea Party membership.

http://documents.nytimes.com/new-york-timescbs-news-poll-national-survey-of-tea-party-supporters?ref=politics

The question on income seems to suggest that Tea Party members are richer than the average polled, but not disproportionately.

Household income less than $50,000 – All = 48%, TP = 35%
Household income less than $75,000 – All = 66%, TP = 60%

A household income of $75,000 a year is still within the definition of middle class if you ask me.

October 19, 2011 @ 1:53 am | Comment

They’re richer than the average wage earners; median income in the US per household is $45-50,000 (depending on where you look). Maybe I should have just said “working poor.” They’re the ones being royally fucked, as are the lower middle class. So let’s make that “lower middle class and below.” Those are the ones who would be crucified by higher sales taxes (like the idiotic 999 plan) and a loss of benefits. And they have no billion-dollar corporations backing them up. In the age of corporate greed they are all but powerless.

October 19, 2011 @ 2:00 am | Comment

@Doug – The problem is – what does “conservative” mean? If the plurality of Americans self-identify as conservatives, then why did Obama win the last election, and why have elections in the US in general been so close for so many years?

If ‘conservative’ means an opposition to tax-and-spend, reasonably limited government, government intervention only where necessary and effective, a fair taxation system placing the burden of funding the state relatively evenly on the broad shoulders of the people without playing one group against another (what used to be called ‘one-nation conservatism’) etc. I would definitely be happy to identify with such people, and I think the majority of Americans would be similarly inclined.

If it means a kind of church-and-guns deficit-fuelled hang-’em-high yahooism seen in the US since at least 2000, then count me out. There are very good reasons why the vast majority of British conservatives would fit fairly comfortably in the right-wing of the US Democratic party, and it’s not because British people are the charicature effete Europeans so loved by certain elements of the press. The US right wing has taken a vast lurch away from genuine conservatism toward a sick, anti-intellectual populism based on identity politics.

October 19, 2011 @ 2:28 am | Comment

Thanks FOARP. Exactly. Traditional American conservatism has been co-opted by fundamentists.

October 19, 2011 @ 2:55 am | Comment

When looking at the 2:1 ratio of “Occupy Wall Street” and “Tea Party” supporters, and assuming that these numbers are basically accurate, Merlin’s Mom comes to my mind. I seem to remember that they made the wicked old witch disappear by simply forgetting her.

One can’t (and shouldn’t) simply “forget” a substantial number of people and their peeves, unjustified as they may be. But by devoting less attention to them, and more to the actual majority, one can begin to see them within reasonable proportions.

I guess that’s why I’m beginning to like the “Occupy” movement, too. They have regained some of the public sphere that has for too long been occupied by noisy people so aptly described by FOARP.

October 19, 2011 @ 4:10 am | Comment

The above proportionality point is well made but I wouldn’t go all optimistic about the US’s future, as it has a long history of hardwired loony right/populist movements which go back to the beginning of the 20th century. I tried to list them in a post on ChinaDivide ages ago, but ended up with RSI.

Ironically, many of them focussed on ‘Wall Street Jewish conspiracies’.

I’m mot sure the US can be cast as an exemplar of modernity, different from old world Europe, due to a persistent evangelical virus within its body politic. Snake handlers and Elmer Gantry types in the ’20s and ’30s to the Fox tent show today.

October 19, 2011 @ 4:34 am | Comment

I would think that the OWS income stats would trend higher than the Tea Party.

Not vouching for the integrity of these syndicated columnists, but:

“The difference between the Tea Party marches of 2009 and the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations of 2011 is the difference between “No more bailouts!” and “Where’s my bailout?” For the Tea Party, Big Government ― too many regulations, too much federal meddling in Americans’ lives ― is the problem. For Occupy Wall Street, bigger government-more taxes, more regulation, more subsidies ― is the solution. The choice is yours.”

Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis blog daily at http://www.infinitemonkeysblog.com and joelmathis.blogspot.com.

October 19, 2011 @ 4:58 am | Comment

That is so absurd, Slim, making the Tea Party sounds sane and prudent and the OWS crowd infantile and inane. Pundits can say what they want. I suggest you read some of Paul Krugman’s and Nicholas Kristoff’s recent columns on the subject.

Of course OWS wants more regulation — a lot more. Elizabeth Warren is a hero of OWS. Someone with power needs to regulate Wall Street; strict regulation would have prevented the meltdown altogether. We don’t want “Big Government’ per se, but we don’t want to whittle the present government down to the bone. A sane tax policy would go a long way toward paying for essential services and even helping reduce the deficit. The deficit and tax reductions are the sacred cows of the Tea Party, even though it is a fact that tax reductions cause the deficit to mushroom. Look at Clinton’s significant tax increases, and the slashing of the deficit. Look at Reagan’s initial round of tax cuts followed by a balloonng deficit; the same under GW Bush.

The “Where’s My Bailout” sign is facetious. It means only that too-big-to-fail banks get aid while the poor unemployed are told tough luck. Something is very off about this — the huge transfer of wealth from the working taxpayers to the banks that created the crisis, while the unemployed watch in utter helplessness: Where’s my bailout means that if the government is showing such largesse to the very wealthiest, why not show some to the victims of the banks’ perfidy? It’s not an actual appeal for money; it’s pointing out the inherent maddening unfairness in the current system.

About whether the OWS crowd is wealthier than the Tea Party crowd, very hard to say. So many of the OWS people are students and unemployed, but also increasing numbers of white collars are joining. As I mentioned, I also saw a lot of white-haired demonstrators, probably retired or near there. It’s an incredibly mixed bag, racially and economically. Large swaths of the tea party, on the other hand, are retired crybabies who just want to make sure they get all their goodies and fuck the younger generations who have to pay for their undeserved benefits, which should obviously be means-tested (sacrilege, wail the baggers!). The tea party is old and decrepit in every way. The movement caters solely to the dull, to the ignorant, to the spoiled, to the selfish, to the herd animal, to idiotsto Republicans. Though as I acknowledged earlier, I am sure some of them are lovely people.

October 19, 2011 @ 5:44 am | Comment

Doug, first and foremost, FDR.

In economic terms only, I’d say Kennedy, Johnson, hell, even NIXON are more “liberal” than Obama (Nixon founded the EPA, you know).

October 19, 2011 @ 9:28 am | Comment

(I am on the fence about including Nixon on that list, but it’s important to point out the difference in tax policy then and now)

October 19, 2011 @ 9:30 am | Comment

Nixon was one of the most liberal presidents in History when it came to domestic policy.

I think that the most vocal in movements like Occupy or the TP generally tend to be idiots that don’t know what they’re talking about, while the more intellectual supporters tend to be in the back. So enough with the name calling of either Occupy or the Tea Party, both have a point if you’re able to talk to the more intelligent supporters of both.

My problem with Occupy is that they have very little in defined goals, and don’t seem to comprehend that more of the blame should be on government for instituting policy that created the housing crisis in the first place.

My problem with the Tea Party is the cognitive dissonance between demanding smaller government and telling the government to leave their social benefits (medicare, social security, etc.) alone.

October 19, 2011 @ 11:39 am | Comment

Richard: “The movement caters solely to the dull, to the ignorant, to the spoiled, to the selfish, to the herd animal, to idiots — to Republicans. ”

Tell us how you really feel, Richard! :-)

October 19, 2011 @ 12:23 pm | Comment

The above proportionality point is well made but I wouldn’t go all optimistic about the US’s future, as it has a long history of hardwired loony right/populist movements which go back to the beginning of the 20th century. I tried to list them in a post on ChinaDivide ages ago, but ended up with RSI.
Ironically, many of them focussed on ‘Wall Street Jewish conspiracies’.

Nothing is as good or bad as first reported – but I’m more optimistic now, than a month ago.
From an Economist blog:

It is not surprising that, given the public’s inevitable ignorance of the niggling details of corporatist system-rigging, the two-party political cartel has very little interest in doing anything about any of this. And it’s not at all clear to me what can be done about any of this. It wouldn’t hurt, though, if more of us were to give up any illusions we may have about which side of the class war our favourite major political party is fighting on: probably not yours. So let’s start a Pirate Party.

I don’t necessarily agree about the recommended remedy, but besides occupying things, knowledge, too, is important. Otherwise, any populist measure may satisfy people – for, say, a month. And then the discontent will be back.

October 19, 2011 @ 12:38 pm | Comment

I just can’t escape from religious dingbats.

Don’t know about other commenters, but to my right on your site
Riachard:

The End-Time is Here. 2008 was Gods last warning, blah blah. Ad Choices.

@ Justrecently.

“….long history of hardwired loony right/populist movements which go back to the beginning of the 20th century.”

I was referring to the long history of populist loony movements of which the Tea Party is the latest incarnation.

Do a google search and you can find a major populist movement in the US in every decade of the last century.

I was not characterising the OWS as such, since I regard it as a welcome progressive development, even if it is emerging during the dying twilight period of the American empire.

October 19, 2011 @ 1:35 pm | Comment

Maybe I should have just said “working poor.” They’re the ones being royally fucked, as are the lower middle class. So let’s make that “lower middle class and below.”

And what would you say is the top end of the household income bracket for that group?

October 19, 2011 @ 3:11 pm | Comment

It means only that too-big-to-fail banks get aid while the poor unemployed are told tough luck. Something is very off about this

I don’t think there’s anything “off”, it’s hard-headedness. If you, I or anyone else on this forum loses their livelihood, government couldn’t care less. Indeed even if a super-rich individual lost his job, it wouldn’t provoke a reaction. But if a bank holding millions of people’s life-savings is about to go under, government will try to stop that.

The question is how to ensure that banks and other financial institutions pay for this implicit guarantee. Rather than increased regulation, I would favour the levy suggested by the Economist.

October 19, 2011 @ 3:22 pm | Comment

Okay, so you support the bailout of the too-big-too-fail banks like Goldman Sachs and are against extending unemployment benefits to those who lost their jobs because of the banks’ mischief. Even though the unemployment benefits are pumped into the economy almost instantly, one of the best form of stimulus, unlike handouts to banks which then sit on the money and hand out lavish bonuses to those who created the mess. Fine. We will never see eye-to-eye on this. I know you once supported Sarah Palin so I think you’re probably drawn to the Tea Party. To each his own. I favor dramatically increased regulation of a banking system that can fuck over the entire population of the US and send shock waves throughout the world, all thanks to incredibly unethical lending practices and hanky-panky, selling CDOs and ARMS and other “financial instruments” they knew had to fail, and which in some cases they were shorting themselves, sucking the money from the poor and working classes while enriching themselves, something that could never have happened if banks were still regulated under Glass-Steagal. I think we had to prop up the banks, but under much stricter terms and with appropriate punishment for those who knowingly fucked over millions of Americans.

October 19, 2011 @ 10:35 pm | Comment

Krugman would be a good source for a lot of things, but asking him for objective and honest analysis of OWS would be akin to tapping The People’s Daily editorial board for their views on the correctness of China’s internet policies.

Here are some attempts to flesh out the movement:
http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/topic/occupy-wall-street-2011-10/

http://drezner.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/10/18/does_the_wall_street_journal_provide_an_accurate_portrayal_of_occupy_wall_street

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204479504576637082965745362.html

Here is a 999 vs 99 percenter comparison
http://rothkopf.foreignpolicy.com/

October 19, 2011 @ 11:05 pm | Comment

Okay, so you support the bailout of the too-big-too-fail banks like Goldman Sachs

I think it’s inevitable that too-big-to-fail institutions will be bailed out. Look what happened when Leeman Brothers went down the pan.

and are against extending unemployment benefits to those who lost their jobs because of the banks’ mischief.

Richard, I’m British, and am proud of the fact that if someone gets unemployed here they automatically can expect (modest) benefits. But the point remains, governments don’t care that much about individuals losing their jobs. They have to take what benefits are on offer. When the State does step in it’s normally to bailout “too-big-to-fail companies”, e.g. the US car industry.

I know you once supported Sarah Palin so I think you’re probably drawn to the Tea Party.

What the hell?! I’ve explained umpteen times my views on Palin, both during and after the election. You even said that you accepted what I said, so why bring this up again? Did you recently have an accident and conveniently lose the part of your memory when we last discussed this? :p

I’ve never said anything to indicate I support the Tea Party, bar the fact that I do think spending needs to be trimmed in certain areas. I’m against extending the Bush era tax cuts for the rich permanently and also think that the tax loopholes need to be closed.

So, pray tell how a guy who supports universal benefits and the NHS can possibly be drawn to the Tea Party. I’m all ears.

October 20, 2011 @ 5:51 am | Comment

They are all rich men, using their money to promote political causes in which they believe.

a pair of them promotes utter evil and insanity while one doesn’t.

October 20, 2011 @ 10:54 am | Comment

Raj, apologies for raising old ghosts, but you always touch a nerve when it comes to domestic US politics and it reminds me of your initial endorsement of Sarah Palin, which I found traumatic. It was this interaction that made me think you were of a like mind with the TP, or at least with the right:

Richard: It means only that too-big-to-fail banks get aid while the poor unemployed are told tough luck. Something is very off about this.

Raj: I don’t think there’s anything “off”, it’s hard-headedness.

Sorry, but something seems VERY off about this to me. You don’t see that? Maybe we should just acknowledge that you and I will never see eye to eye.

October 20, 2011 @ 12:03 pm | Comment

UK conservatives like Raj, from what I glean from his comments, have made peace with a far more extensive and pervasive welfare state edifice, even under austerity, than anything we have ever seen or will see in the USA. To me, that makes their views worth listening to in the quest for the right balance between growth and redistribution.

October 20, 2011 @ 12:27 pm | Comment

I won’t argue with that. But just remember, Raj is nearly always wrong about domestic US politics. (Joking.)

October 20, 2011 @ 12:29 pm | Comment

Richard, apology accepted. Thanks. I guess I can’t undo what I said about Palin during the election, except that I never was actively endorsing her – I was trying to indicate why I could still support McCain (despite Palin’s shortcomings). That might not help much, of course.

Sorry, but something seems VERY off about this to me. You don’t see that?

Ok, we probably misinterpreted each other. It feels wrong and “off”. It doesn’t seem fair that large institutions get lots of money whilst individuals get what they’re normally entitled to. But the reactions of governments are not surprising to me, because I’ve seen that sort of behaviour before. That’s what I was trying to say, and I could have made that clearer.

October 20, 2011 @ 3:11 pm | Comment

It doesn’t seem fair that large institutions get lots of money whilst individuals get what they’re normally entitled to.

But I don’t see it this way. These people didn’t just “get what they’re normally entitled to.” They lost their jobs due to gross irresponsibility and borderline criminality. This was normal in no way. These weren’t your usual layoff. Ten percent of Americans (looking at real unemployment, which includes those who’ve stopped looking for jobs) lost their jobs and the entire society has been shaken into dangerous new alignments. It would seem a bit more palatable if the perpetrators didn’t enjoy lavish rewards doled out by the government. On top of that, the right wants to stop the renewed unemployment benefits and shower obscene tax breaks on those who need them least while fighting Obama’s jobs program, which is nothing radical. I’m looking at the entire picture, and what I see is ugly. It’s no wonder the people are mobilizing. Enough is enough.

October 20, 2011 @ 11:45 pm | Comment

These people didn’t just “get what they’re normally entitled to.” They lost their jobs due to gross irresponsibility and borderline criminality.

Ok, I should have said that people lost their jobs and all they got was the unemployment benefits anyone else would get under any circumstances.

shower obscene tax breaks on those who need them least

I agree that it’s wrong to offer tax breaks to the rich as a priority. It’s not like the US has a particularly high top rate of tax, and given all the tax allowances there is definitely scope to increase the tax take.

October 21, 2011 @ 2:36 am | Comment

Here is a nice piece on PRCs media response to the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

These bozos never cease to amaze.

http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2011/10/21/china-occupy-wall-st-gets-too-close-to-home/#axzz1bRnJMi00

October 22, 2011 @ 3:49 am | Comment

“These bozos never cease to amaze.”

It’s amazing how China can create patently false talking points that become established “facts” and take on a life of their own in the fenqingosphere and the state media who partly feed it.

In this case, the purported “blackout” on OWS coverage. On trade disputes, I’ve started reading from multiple voices that “yes, there is a US-China trade imbalance — the imbalance in profits.”

October 22, 2011 @ 5:05 am | Comment

I seem to recall some of our regular joke-sters here trying to suggest that there was some form of news blackout in the “west” when OWS first started, and was confined to Wall Street alone. That belied incredible ignorance on their part back then. Of course, there is no rock now that would be large enough for them to crawl under in order to tune out the world-wide OWS movement, so even they’ve given up on that theme (and that actually really says something).

The irony is that the CCP is trying to blackout coverage of the movement as it has spread and morphed in different places. That’s simply par for the course for them. And they’re getting mocked for it…which is also par for the course.

October 22, 2011 @ 6:08 am | Comment

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October 24, 2011 @ 11:07 pm | Comment

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