Free Markets, Free People

OWS


Speculation: Aurora shooter an OWS guy? (Update)

At this point, I see it as mostly rumor, but I wonder how the left will react if this is true:

As speculation mounts about the motive behind the mass shooting, one private investigator has claimed that Holmes may have been part of Occupy Wall Street’s most violent faction Occupy Black Bloc.

Bill Warner told how the Batman movie portrays the OWS crowd in a negative vein, leading him to believe that may have been a cause behind the shooting.

Again, note the word “speculation”.  We’ll learn more as the investigation continues.  Interesting that I read this first in the foreign press.

I have to wonder, then, if this indeed turns out to be true, whether authorities will continue to state that he had no ties to known terrorist groups.

That said, my profound sympathies to the families of the victims of this kook’s madness.

UPDATE:  Interesting little back and forth on Twitter about this post among friends and colleagues essentially trying to convince me that I shouldn’t “go there”. 

I disagree.  The possibility exists and this being a news source which clearly identifies the point as “speculation” based on what it gathered from one “private investigator”, I see nothing wrong with posting it.  They obviously found something credible in what the investigator said, credible enough to include it in the story (but obviously not willing to cast it beyond “speculation” until they can find a corroborating source).  I present it as they have.

Never said or directly implied in the back and forth was the “sensitivity” of the recent massacre or the apparent assumed time one must let pass before “speculating”.  We speculate about motive all the time on really fresh crimes (see recent bus bombing in Bulgaria).  The size of this one is the only real difference.   It was a heinous act – agreed.  Got it.  So are green-on-blue murders in Afghanistan, be we don’t assume a waiting period on those.  We discuss them.  We speculate on motive, etc.  Talking about it or what may have motivated the crime won’t make it any less heinous.

Should the source choose to retract, I’ll note that.  Other than that, this is something to be considered in the mass murders this yahoo perpetrated.  Call it what you will, I see it as news.   And if you don’t believe this should be “politicized”, that ship sailed hours ago.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Happy May Day (Update)

In my youth I remember the massive May Day events staged in various communist countries and by fellow travelers in the West.

Now, it is reduced to this (not that I mind):

 

 

The irony, as you watch this bedraggled group (reported to be a whopping 200 to 300) is the one guy claiming to be the 99% even while the real 99% struggle to get past them and go to work doing productive things and not asking others for a hand-out they claim they deserve for no other reason than they exist.

And you can tell … they’re making a huge impression.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the usual suspects just couldn’t wait for the clock to toll midnight:

Broken glass littered several streets in San Francisco’s Mission District after protesters vandalized cars and buildings Monday night, including a police station.

The vandals were in a group that marched from Dolores Park shortly after 9 p.m., following a rally in advance of Tuesday’s planned Occupy general strike, police said. Traveling down 18th Street and onto Valencia Street, the black-clad, masked protesters smashed windows with crowbars and signs, threw paint on buildings and spray-painted anarchy symbols on the hoods of parked cars.

"All I heard was, ‘bang, bang, bang,’ and some dude had the valet sign, trying to break our window," said Adam Koskoff, manager of the Locanda restaurant on Valencia. "I didn’t even see the crowd, and I ran outside and got egged."

The vandals threw paint and eggs and smashed windows at more than 30 businesses, including Tartine Bakery at 18th and Guerrero streets and clothing store Weston Wear on Valencia.

Brilliant.  Certain to win them friends and influence among those one supposes they want to impress with their message, whatever in the heck that is.  Actions like this are sure to win converts.  And political backing, yessir.

UPDATE: Alternative May Day observance – Victims of Communism Day.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


How is Romney different from Obama?

Well, frankly, I’m not particularly sure.  Of course we have RomneyCare and ObamaCare.  And we have this, said in Chandler, Arizona by MItt Romney concerning taxes:

"I am going to lower rates across the board for all Americans by 20%. And in order to limit any impact on the deficit, because I do not want to add to the deficit, and also in order to make sure we continue to have progressivity as we’ve had in the past in our code, I’m going to limit the deductions and exemptions particularly for high income folks. And by the way, I want to make sure you understand that, for middle income families, the deductibility of home mortgage interest and charitable contributions will continue. But for high income folks, we are going to cut back on that, so we make sure the top 1% keeps paying the current share they’re paying or more."

Really?  Because that’s right out of the Occupy Wall Street playbook.  His campaign staff released a press release which stated, “"The principle of fairness must be preserved in federal tax and spending policy,"

Of course they don’t believe that at all or they wouldn’t be talking about “the top 1%” paying more.  It has nothing to do with “fairness” as most people would define it. 

This is what I talk about when I say that Republicans are as much a problem, if not more of a problem, than Democrats.  Republicans like Romney compromise their principles for votes.  This is a class warfare buy-in by him, even using the OWS/Democratic rhetoric.

 

 

If you wonder why Conservative Republican voters are less than enthusiastic about this field, Romney demonstrates it yet again.

Plastic, fantastic Mitt co-opt’s the left’s class warfare rhetoric and caves on taxes.

Nice.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Why college diplomas aren’t worth as much anymore

Or at least one reason they’re not worth as much:

Columbia University is offering a new course on Occupy Wall Street next semester — sending upperclassmen and grad students into the field for full course credit.

The class is taught by Dr. Hannah Appel, who boasts about her nights camped out in Zuccotti Park.

As many as 30 students will be expected to get involved in ongoing OWS projects outside the classroom, the syllabus says.

The class will be in the anthropology department and called “Occupy the Field: Global Finance, Inequality, Social Movement.” It will be divided between seminars at the Morningside Heights campus and fieldwork.

Columbia.  Reduced to pap like this.  And of course the moon pony “teaching” the course is a big fan of OWS:

She said her allegiance won’t keep her from being an objective teacher.

“Inevitably, my experience will color the way I teach, but I feel equipped to teach objectively,” Appel told The Post. “It’s best to be critical of the things we hold most sacred.”

Or at least say we’ll be “critical”.  Because, you know, that at least sounds right.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Adam Carolla explains OWS

It is an interesting 9 plus minutes because Carolla talks about something we’ve noted here any number of time. The entitlement mentality that has crept into the society. The belief that people are entitled to what others have, whether or not they’ve earned it or not. Carolla talks about the "participation trophy". He also mentions how reality deals with that and the result.

LANGUAGE WARNING – strong language

 

 

He pretty much nails what we’re seeing in the OWS protests.  Interesting point about how shame is being used.   Instead of being ashamed you haven’t accomplished what others have, those that are supposed to be ashamed are those that have accomplished things.

Just listen to the President, who, btw, is the first of that particular wave of “participation trophy” awardees to reach the highest office in the land.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


OWS: Let’s disrupt Black Friday

For a group trying to garner support from the public, this is the grand daddy of all bad ideas:

Some demonstrators are planning to occupy retailers on Black Friday to protest "the business that are in the pockets of Wall Street."

Organizers are encouraging consumers to either occupy or boycott retailers that are publicly traded, according to the Stop Black Friday website.

The goal of the movement is to impact the profits of major corporations this holiday season.

It’s one of those “it sounded good on paper” ideas that fall flat upon execution and, in fact, ends up being detrimental to the group trying to pull it off.  

How many stores have Black Friday Sales?   A lot more than there are protesters.   And what are these stores?  Private property.   So what do the stores have every right to do?  Eject those from their property who are being disruptive.  That, of course, will result in a cacophony of unfounded claims that the protesters “rights” have been violated.  

Meanwhile, who do you suppose will not be impressed?  Any potential supporters who also enjoy Black Friday deals and are inconvenienced by these boobs.

As for impacting corporate profits this holiday, seriously?  They couldn’t if they tried.  They don’t have the numbers and besides there are literally millions of outlets and ways to do shopping on Black Friday to include on-line.

This is simply another in a long line of tantrums by those who Billy told us about in his post the other day. 

We have two generations that have been raised to believe that, ultimately, someone else is responsible for the essentials of their lives. They believe they are supposed to retire in their fifties or early sixties, with a pension followed by Social Security. They believe they are supposed to relinquish concern for healthcare costs when they turn 65. They believe that if things get bad enough in their lives, unemployment, and later welfare, will keep a roof over their head and food on the table. They’ve been trained to believe this by a ruling class that has been assuring them since the 1930s that they have the fundamental right to a soft life.

They’re the folks who think money simply exists (or grows on trees), belongs to the government and should be doled out according to need and that it is the evil corporations who run the world.

So they come up with brilliant ideas like this.

Here’s a partial list of those companies these yahoos want to see occupied or boycotted (parenthetical remarks theirs):

- Abercrombie & Fitch

- Amazon.com (yes, we have to stay away from Amazon, too!

- AT&T Wireless

- Burlington Coat Factory

- Dick’s Sporting Goods (I was surprised, too!)

- Dollar Tree

- The Home Depot

- Neiman Marcus

- OfficeMax

- Toys R’Us

- Verizon Wireless

- Wal-Mart

I wonder if this means they can’t use their AT&T and Verizon phones that day to communicate and coordinate?  Of course, only some of those companies will have Black Friday sales (yeah, Home Depot is a hot spot for shoppers on the Friday following Turkey Day).  The list is only an example with the group calling on OWS to hit all publicly traded companies. 

They toss in this little disclaimer too:

"Keep in mind that we are not occupying small businesses or hardworking people—we must make a distinction between the businesses that are in the pockets of Wall Street and the businesses that serve our local communities.

We are NOT anti-capitalist. Just anti-crapitalist.

Ye gods … save us from the economically challenged and politically unhinged.  Clever, no?

No.

Enjoy Black Friday and be sure to hit some of the stores mentioned above.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


OWS: Fail

So what do the real 99% think about the motley .0001% trying to represent themselves as the majority?

Not so much:

A new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows that the "Occupy" movement has failed to capture the attention of a majority of Americans, indicating either ambivalence toward it or lack of interest.

The poll finds that 56% of Americans surveyed are neither supporters nor opponents and 59% say they don’t know enough to have an opinion about the movement’s goals.

The survey, however, does show an increase from 20% to 31% in disapproval of the way the protests are being conducted.

If Occupy Wall Street’s goal was to capture the attention of America and spark a movement that would change its face (even if it isn’t exactly sure what it wanted that change to look like), it has apparently failed, if this poll is any indication.

Majorities didn’t know or care much about them and also weren’t paying enough attention to them to understand if they had any goals and if they did, to have an opinion about them.

In effect OWS has been reduced to a side show that surfaces again every now and then when some new outrage is discovered to have happened among the protesters.

I assume that even the slowest among the Democrats has effectively abandoned OWS by now.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Public support for OWS drops dramatically

Apparently the public has seen and read enough about Occupy Wall Street to make up its mind that it isn’t something it supports.

According to a Public Policy Polling survey, support for OWS has dropped rapidly as more and more reports detail theft, violence, rape, and all sorts of other anti-social behavior (such as defecating in the street) among its participants.

Only 33% now say that they are supportive of its goals, compared to 45% who say they oppose them. That represents an 11 point shift in the wrong direction for the movement’s support compared to a month ago when 35% of voters said they supported it and 36% were opposed. Most notably independents have gone from supporting Occupy Wall Street’s goals 39/34, to opposing them 34/42.

Note again the all important demographic (independents) in which the big switch has occurred.  Democrats who’ve hitched their wagon to OWS should begin deserting it like rats deserting a sinking ship when they see these results.

As for the claim that OWS is more popular than the Tea Party?  Yeah, not so much:

Tea Party 43%, Occupy Wall Street 37%. Last month, Occupy Wall Street had a narrow advantage of 40%-37%.

Among independents:

Again the movement with independents is notable- from preferring Occupy Wall Street 43-34, to siding with the Tea Party 44-40.

That said, the issue OWS supposedly represents is still alive and well even if it is a misinformed position:

I don’t think the bad poll numbers for Occupy Wall Street reflect Americans being unconcerned with wealth inequality.  Polling we did in some key swing states earlier this year found overwhelming support for raising taxes on people who make over $150,000 a year. In late September we found that 73% of voters supported the ‘Buffett rule’ with only 16% opposed.  And in October we found that Senators resistant to raising taxes on those who make more than a million dollars a year could pay a price at the polls. I don’t think any of that has changed- what the downturn in Occupy Wall Street’s image suggests is that voters are seeing the movement as more about the ‘Occupy’ than the ‘Wall Street.’  The controversy over the protests is starting to drown out the actual message.

This is most likely true since most people don’t understand that the economics of earnings isn’t a zero sum game.  On the one hand the left has done a good job of selling the idea that income inequality  is important and can be solved through higher taxes on the so-called or relatively “rich”.

Of course that’s nonsense.  That said, OWS is now more of a detriment than a asset to that cause if this poll is to be believed.   And that means the usual thing for politicians with their fingers firmly in the political wind – those who have embraced the OWS protestors will be trying to find a way to desert and then denounce the rabble.

OWS will linger – today they’re going to try to rally in NYC on Wall Street – but I’d argue we’ve seen the movement’s high tide.  I will now recede into a mere annoying shadow of itself as support is withdrawn by political figures and organizations.  And, of course, you can count on participants getting even more desperate to rally support and I think we all know what that means.  More excess, more stupidity, less support.

I say good riddance.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Zuccotti Park cleared–enforcement of property rights? Or just the result of political pressure?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg finally made the decision to evict the OWS protesters from Zuccotti Park last night.  His decision, he claims, had to do with public health and safety.

Some time after 6 a.m., New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a written statement that while he supports the First Amendment rights of the protesters, his greater priority is protecting the public’s health and safety, and he took full responsibility for the “final decision to act.”

“Unfortunately, the park was becoming a place where people came not to protest but, rather, to break laws, and in some cases, to harm others,” Bloomberg said, noting that for some residents of the area, noise and unsanitary conditions of the Occupy camp had created “an intolerable situation.”

He added: “The First Amendment gives every New Yorker the right to speak out — but it does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over to the exclusion of others — nor does it permit anyone in our society to live outside the law. There is no ambiguity in the law here — the First Amendment protects speech — it does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space.”

Well there is ambiguity (there’s also a right to peaceful assembly although it is arguable the assembly has been peaceful), but note the thing he doesn’t site – property rights.  Or at least not directly.  He sorta, kinda alludes to it when he talks about the “exclusion of others”.  That’s a privately owned park which has been literally taken over by the OWS group and its owners have been denied the ability to make decisions about its use.  Why not just say the occupiers (because that’s what they call themselves – perhaps squatters is a better description) have been declared trespassers and removed?  To easy?

One of the pernicious problems I see all the time when it comes to government officials is their selective enforcement of property rights.   It seems to me that once the exclusionary tactics were applied where those who owned the park were excluded from using it as they wish, they had every right in the world to demand the eviction of the protesters. 

I obviously don’t know what the company that holds those rights had to say because it seems they weren’t really even given a voice in that sort of decision.  On the other hand, had they decided that it was good use of their property and gone along with the OWS protesters, shouldn’t their decision about their property had some weight?

I guess what I’m getting at is that other than a mention here and there, no one knows much about the owners or their druthers.

I’m actually sympathetic with the city’s reasons for clearing the park.  I think Bloomberg is exactly right.  But my larger point is where are the property owners in all of this.  Why aren’t they an integral part of this process? 

Property rights have been under assault in this country for some time.   The abominable Kelo decision was the cherry on top of the sundae that has all but destroyed those rights.   More and more I see government deciding how private property will be used and only enforcing laws on trespassing and the like when it serves their purpose (in this case I imagine that the pressure from those who lived nearby finally got to the point that Bloomberg was forced to act).

The right to private property (and its exclusive use) is a foundational right from which many other rights spring.  Like so much in this country, government has moved in on that right and while giving it lip service has intruded to such an extent in its execution that it is arguable if the right can be exercised properly anymore.  When that right is subsumed, all of our rights are in jeopardy.

We’ll see how much they’re in jeopardy with the upcoming ObamaCare decision.  It will either give us a new lease on our rights or, it may end up being the final nail in their coffin.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Occupy Seattle: A funny thing happened on the way to the forum

Or how not to make friends and influence followers.  

In a textbook example of messing in their own nest, members of Occupy Seattle managed to alienate most of those who turned out to support them at a recent forum.  The story is written up in SLOG which is obviously supportive of the Occupy movement.  But what Dominic Holden describes is a combination of a childish tantrum and totalitarian tendencies by a group so clueless they can’t get out of their own way and so ignorant that they don’t understand what they purportedly support.

The forum:

Organized by Town Hall (and co-sponsored by The Stranger), the forum was intended to discuss the Occupy Wall Street movement, featuring three activists from Occupy Seattle and luminaries from labor, economics, and politics: Washington State Labor Council secretary-treasurer Lynne Dodson; Second Avenue Partners and progressive taxation activist Nick Hanauer; and GMMB political strategist Frank Greer. During opening remarks, JM Wong from Occupy Seattle declared that she wanted “no leadership from the Democratic Party or union bureaucrats. Nonprofits are trying to co-opt us."

Dodson, however, politely explained that labor unions are part and parcel with the Occupy movement’s push for economic reform. "I like to consider myself a union activist, not a union bureaucrat," she said. "This is labor’s fight, this is our fight."

Great … the Occupy movement on steroids.  6 folks there to discuss what’s going on with the movement to a pro-movement crowd, many of them there to find out more about it.  So what happened?

Whatever further insight the speakers planned for the 90-minute event was then cut short when the woman ran on stage. Activists had planned to interrupt the panel because, some said, they opposed the power dynamic created by speakers on stage talking into microphones. Although Occupy Wall Street uses the belabored people’s mic—which involves one person speaking and the crowd repeating everything—to amplify the soft spoken and encourage free speech, last night it was used to silence the panel. The call and-response created an echoing cacophony. Despite pleas from several older audience members who couldn’t hear well to let the panelists proceed, the Occupy activists demanded a vote to overtake the forum.

That’s right – they weren’t doing it the way that particular faction of the Occupy Seattle movement felt it should be done, so it was tantrum time.  The fact that this childish tantrum drove off pro-Occupy supporters?  Meh.  It’s all about the process man:

Assembly time is precious," the man yelled without a hint of irony. "Assembly time is precious!" we all yelled back, wasting precious time.

Then they insisted that everyone discuss the issue among their neighbors. If people opposed, they were drowned out by the people’s mic. So we talked about their proposal. One activist slept on the floor in front of the stage, spread eagle. The place reeked of BO. A man next to me worked through half a tin of chew. Eventually, we took another vote and activists demanded a count by hand.

It was 8:30 p.m. at this point, one hour after the event began, and we’d only heard opening statements. The forum was supposed to conclude by 9:00 p.m. "We have only a half hour left," Licata announced. "This is very interesting."

As the clock counted down, it was apparent that Occupy Seattle had repressed whatever thoughtful ideas the panelists brought to the stage and were willing to fill the time with chatter about unenlightening process. They wanted more power; they wanted to speak. They were also being rank hypocrites. Here is a group purporting to give people a voice and cut through the bureaucratic layers of government and capitalism. Instead, they silenced speech, quashed ideas, and replaced it with their own bureaucratic process reserved for a minority that wanted power. One gray-haired woman who was walking out put it like this: "It was very divisive. Now they are a little group, like the 1 Percent."

The activists lost the second vote, too. So the forum sort of proceeded, but now with occupiers booing speakers on stage when they disagreed and giving them the wrap-it-up hand gesture. For instance, Greer noted, "We learned in the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement, you can attract support or turn of support, and basically fail, and I don’t want you to fail." Despite his support, many activists booed and gestured that he stop talking.

Apparently some of them shouted out, “this is what democracy looks like”.

Really?  Shouting down those who oppose your point of view, drowning out people who tried to talk or respond?   That’s “democracy”?

That’s those totalitarian “we’ll do it my way or we won’t do it at all” tendencies coming to the surface.

Result?

Lots of people were leaving, angry—it was a stark contrast with stellar activism the week before.

Wong justified the interruption, saying, "We need to respect the movement that uses this process. I stick to it because it is a democratic process."

[…]

But the Occupy activists came off as disrespectful, hostile, and woefully misguided about what democracy looked like. The activists added zero new content, but in the process, prevented the speakers from sharing their knowledge (that’s some democracy). Let’s think if the tables were turned: These activists would be outraged if Town Hall set up a stack of speakers at the General Assembly and blasted them with an amplified panel discussion. It was equally selfish to destroy the panel with their People’s Mic.

On his way out the door, Brian King added, "They think it is more important to purify themselves rather than connect with people who are not like themselves. They probably can’t get much further than they are right now."

Process took precedence over respectful interaction and the cultivation of support.  Anarchy took precedence over deliberation and debate.

It reminded me of the insistence on process in totalitarian countries where they justify all manner of vile action based on “process”.   There was no democracy at work at this meeting, it was a minority attempting to use its own process as an excuse to take over the gathering.  And, of course, what they did was badly damage their potential support base:

"I walked in supportive and left unsupportive," said 69-year-old Mary Ann, who declined to provide her last name. "I’m turned off by the negative shouts, repetition, and all I can think about is a cult. And I believe in every one of their damn principles."

Paula and Brian King also headed for the door early. "It was frustrating to listen to people shouting and interrupting," lamented Paula. Brian added, "We are leaving because they are looking inward at themselves and their eccentric process rather than reaching out to people."

I’ve seen all this before, from the radical 60s, the commune movement, etc. This is nothing new.  It is the same old tired stuff in a new century and all it promises is an imposition of a failed ideology masked in words and phrases like “democracy” and “the will of the people”.  They are now defined – by them – as the “general assembly’s procedures” and “the 99%”.  Same crap, different buzz words, different century and a promise of the same outcome as with all the other times it has been imposed through out history.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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