Free Markets, Free People
OWS continues to expand its litany of hypocrisy almost daily, but this one may take the cake. A protest aimed at Wall Street and bankers, one would think that such a protest would eschew any connection with banks during its protest. No?
Last week, one or more Occupy Oakland protesters smashed the windows of a Wells Fargo branch.
This week, the group’s general assembly agreed — in a near-unanimous vote Monday — to temporarily place $20,000 of the group’s money in an account at the country’s fourth-largest bank holding company, Wells Fargo Bank.
Yes friends, the “general assembly” of a protest aimed at banks and bankers has used a bank to protect their donations. In fact, the vote was 162-8. Apparently only those voting “no” recognized the absurdity of the decision given their position on banks.
But obviously the majority feared the money wasn’t safe in and among the crowd of protesters.
As for the irony of the decision – missed it completely apparently. Some of their supporters, sounding off on Twitter, didn’t:
“I am so disgusted right now. the hypocrisy of it all is just amazing,” wrote @GiveMeThatJuice.
“ARE YOU F—— SERIOUS?!,” wrote @graceface.
“I can see the ad now: ‘People’s money is so safe here at Wells Fargo, even our sworn enemies use us for their banking needs!’” wrote @davidcolburn.
You just can’t make this stuff up. Well, you can, but with this bunch there’s no need.
Jim Geraghty’s “Morning Jolt” (besides a quote from one of my posts – thank you) had this from blogger Brady Cremeens . It sums up OWS, as I’ve watched it over the weeks, pretty well. And, as usual the irony impaired left has missed it completely.
Cremeen’s discussion is spot on:
In a hilariously idiotic display of irony, Occupy Wall Street is experiencing firsthand the failure of the system they are clamoring for. They squabbled over how to properly distribute the over half a million dollars in donations they received. Some people felt they deserved more because they were doing more activist work, versus those who spent their occupying days playing drum circles or doing, well, nothing. What’s incredible is that the same people arguing over how to redistribute the wealth given them are pushing for a complete American system of wealth redistribution. They see no correlation between their own inability to “fairly” distribute money and that government mandated wealth distribution would just assuredly fail as well, but on a massive, nation-shaking economic scale.
Similarly, the kitchen staff at Occupy Wall Street ran into problems when they felt they shouldn’t have to prepare food for the “homeless and free loaders”. In summary, the group fighting for a socialist nation where everyone is equal regardless of output refuses to serve those who aren’t doing their share. Apparently, hypocrisy and irony are foreign concepts to the Occupy crowd.
What is perhaps most disconcerting is not that a few college kids and hippies are upset about student loans and mortgages, but that this clearly sordid movement has the complete support of major players in the American political system and media. Elizabeth Warren claims to be the “brains behind Occupy Wall Street” (insert joke here), Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and the President himself have all spoken in support of the protests.
It’s the apparent discovery that their system doesn’t work right in the middle of demanding that system be imposed which has me laughing and shaking my head.
The metaphor he uses is perfect:
Asking “Where did the Occupy movement go wrong?” is akin to musing “Where did Michael Moore’s fitness regime fall apart?” The answer: early, often, all over the place.
Yet for some reason, the left, Democrats and the media are embracing it.
The big question is “why”? Why do they consider this a valuable movement to which they want to attach their political credibility? What happens when, and it will, it all goes sour.
Consider (from Ace of Spades):
Verum Serum has been on this doggedly. For reporting the truth, of course, Mother Jones and left-wing blogs like Alternet implied he was part of a right-wing "smear campaign."
Girls are getting raped at these events. That is not particularly the Occupiers’ fault. In any group, there will be some criminals.
What is their fault is discouraging the girls from reporting the rapes, in the interest of PR for the movement. Apparently talking the position that girls should just close their eyes and think of England.
The ABC report John partially praises fails to mention that fact about Occupy.
In a video by Lee Stranahan and Brandon Darby, one disgruntled Occupier is leaving, because someone on the Sanitation Team (???) took a swing at him, and then the Public Relations Praetorian Guard immediately swept in and began telling him no one took a swing at him.
These droids? What droids? Oh these droids.
These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.
Again, if the charges weren’t so serious, the situation would be entirely laughable. What’s also apparent is the movement is degenerating into what critics predicted it would even while the press continues to give it an overall shine. One can’t help but think of a rotting fish on the beach with glittery scales.
They are creating a society within their encampment that they’re discovering doesn’t work even while demanding that society be imposed on the whole. How the press manages to miss that is beyond me. Well not really. And it certainly isn’t at all surprising that the left misses it.
But my guess is, when this all degenerates to the state of chaos and violence that the Democrats will end up holding the proverbial political bag of dog poo and trying to explain their way out of supporting this mess.
Should be fun to watch.
Watch and listen. Schiff makes a lot of points we’ve been hitting for years. It is a fundamental misunderstanding of capitalism and what it is that drives a lot of the OWS supporters to focus on the wrong entities. Schiff has a lively discussion with them. Interestingly some agree and some simply won’t take the ideological blinders off. You’ll quickly identify who is who.
The Washington Time carries an editorial that discusses the ongoing Occupy protests and it contains a paragraph which I think is a good summary of why I want these things to go on and on and on:
Your efforts serve to paint a clear contrast between the two sides currently waging war for the future of America. On one side are those who believe in the income redistribution of socialism and feel entitled to “social justice,” fueled by a victim complex instilled in them by the very politicians who create and perpetuate their dependence. On the other side are the independent, self-respecting, hardworking Americans whose income and old-fashioned values of personal responsibility sit squarely in the cross hairs of the slackers and the Democratic Party that coddles them.
Many Americans are frustrated with the situation we now find ourselves. And they want things changed, obviously. But you have to ask yourself, as you look around, do I want it overthrown?
In other words is the current system such that it needs to be entirely replaced? That’s the Occupy movement’s belief. It is, essentially, an anti-capitalist movement. And that becomes clearer every day they thrash around looking for something fresh to scream about to keep themselves in the eye of the media.
For instance, today we hear about the announcement that the group who launched OWS is calling for a “Robin Hood tax”:
An anti-capitalist group which sparked the Occupy Wall Street movement has called for global protests Saturday to demand that leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) nations impose a "Robin Hood tax" on financial transactions and currency trades.
"Let’s send them a clear message: We want you to slow down some of that $1.3 trillion easy money that’s sloshing around the global casino each day—enough cash to fund every social program and environmental initiative in the world," the activist group said on its website,www.adbusters.org.
"As the movement matures, let’s consider a response to our critics," Adbusters said on its website. "Let’s occupy the core of our global system. Let’s dethrone the greed that defines this new century."
Take in the language.
“Casinos”. “Robin Hood Tax”. The inference are all quite clear.
That’s not the language that will endear a movement to most Americans. Most Americans are not going to embrace an ideology that would condone redistribution like the OWS folks are talking about. But that’s what continues to emerge as their answer to the world’s problems.
The “greed that defines the new century” provides the communication power for their outreach among any number of other things. They have no clue what it might be like without that system though. It is this system that has built the unprecedented wealth and standard of living that no “Robin Hood” could ever match. But in reality, “Robin Hood” is a central character in their brave new world. Robin Hood is government.
Their ignorance about how economies work knows no bounds apparently. And they demonstrate that point fairly regularly. Most Americans know what caused the wealth, affluence and power we enjoy, and it wasn’t redistribution of wealth through government. In fact, as some polls have shown, it isn’t “Wall Street” most Americans blame for this – it is the very institution that OWS is calling on to impose the Robin Hood tax.
We often hear people talk about “teachable moments” when situations present themselves. OWS is just such a moment. It brings together a collection of misfits, malcontents and economic luddites whose entire mantra boils down to “we want what you have and that’s fair”.
Most people divest themselves of that nonsense when they’re about 7.
Others like those involved in OWS are apparently forever slow learners.
And they therefore provide us with a wealth of “teachable moments” about why what they want doesn’t and won’t ever work. That’s worth having them around for a while.
In this podcast, Bruce Michael, and Dale discuss el-Awlaki Herman Cain and OWS.
The direct link to the podcast can be found here.
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Yes the rabble that calls itself Occupy Wall Street has those that live in the neighborhood of Zuccotti Park less than receptive to them or whatever their still undefined message is:
"They are defecating on our doorsteps," fumed Catherine Hughes, a member of Community Board 1 and a stay at home mom who has the misfortune of living one block from the chaos. "A lot of people are very frustrated. A lot of people are concerned about the safety of our kids."
See, the rabble demand “rights” but they apparently can’t find it in themselves to respect the rights of others, such as property.
Or the ability to walk down a street without being harassed:
Fed up homeowners said that they’ve been subjected to insults and harassment as they trek to their jobs each morning. "The protesters taunt people who are on their way to work," said James Fernandez, 51, whose apartment overlooks the park.
Or something as simple as keeping the noise in the neighborhood down:
"It’s mostly a noise issue," he said. If people can’t sleep and children can’t sleep because the protesters are banging drums then that’s a problem."
One elderly woman told a protester to stop screaming and was met with an even higher volume. "Get some earplugs!" retorted David Spano. "This is the street. I can say whatever I want! I can’t calm down, I’ve been struggling for 30 years!"
Nothing more ignorant than a man who claims his “rights” preclude any responsibility to anyone else. Most understand that as both selfish and clueless. Respect the rights of others? Hey, this is a “revolution”, he’s been struggling for 30 years and that gives him better “rights”.
At a standing room only Community Board meeting, members of the community voiced their anger, frustration and indignation to board members who essentially agreed. They want something done.
Now comes the fun part for Mayor Michael Bloomberg. These people complaining are voters. They’re the people who put him in office. They want action.
The Weekly Standard tells us:
In an interview that will be aired tonight on ABC News, President Obama continues to express his commitment to the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
“The most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side, and that we want to set up a system in which hard work, responsibility, doing what you’re supposed to do, is rewarded,” Obama tells ABC News. “And that people who are irresponsible, who are reckless, who don’t feel a sense of obligation to their communities and their companies and their workers that those folks aren’t rewarded.”
The president also compares the protesters to the Tea Party. “In some ways, they’re not that different from some of the protests that we saw coming from the Tea Party," Obama says.
Really? Not that different?
In Cleveland they’re investigating a kidnapping and rape at OWS there.
In Atlanta, the OWS protesters stormed a hospital.
An OWS protester in Seattle was arrested for exposing himself to children.
They’re talking about plans to disrupt the World Series.
And thievery is rampant within the OWS camps.
There is evidence of anti-Semitism.
Yup, just like the Tea Party.
Succinctly, it is just another in a long line of Marxist protests which just hasn’t been fully found out yet.
And, it’s useful to a certain political contingent at the moment.
But, as Charles Gasparino notes in his NY Daily Post article, at its core Occupy Wall Street is an anti-capitalist Marxist movement:
The standard portrayal of the Wall Street protesters goes something like this: Ragtag group of unemployed young adults, venting often incoherent but overall legitimate populist outrage about economic inequality. But go down to the movement’s headquarters, as I did this past weekend, and you see something far different.
It’s not just that knowledge of their “oppressors” — the evil bankers — is pretty thin, or that many of them are clearly college kids with nothing better to do than embrace the radical chic of “a cause.” I found a unifying and increasingly coherent ideology emerging among the protesters, which at its core has less to do with the evils of the banking business and more about the evils of capitalism — and the need for a socialist revolution.
Gasparino goes on to detail what he found and it’s as unremarkable and as expected a listing of what you’d find at any A.N.S.W.E.R. protest. You know it is radical when even Richard Trumka is vilified:
That was pretty mild compared to the sentiments offered in the official “Statement of the League for the Revolutionary Party” on the protests. These guys view as the enemy not just Wall Street tycoons, but also liberal labor leaders like Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO.
The problem with Trumka, according to the Revolutionary Party and its Zuccotti Park contingent: He wants to work with wishy-washy Democratic Party politicians, where the true revolutionaries want to “defend and develop Marxist theory as a guide to action,” which is the protests’ real purpose.
And yet Trumka is one of many Democrats who at least tentatively embraces this mob. Political expediency. They want to use this to validate their class warfare campaign.
Yes friends, the murderous Che is again plastered on everything and the “revolutionary” Marxist spirit permeates everything – which is why this is eventually destined to implode:
Maybe the worse-spent dollar I have ever spent in my life was on a propaganda broadsheet titled “Justice,” which advocates “Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism.” On the front page of the newspaper-like document, beneath the headline “Capitalism: System Failure,” was a tease for a story on the economy and how “influential business economist Nouriel Roubini” recently said how “Karl Marx had it right. At some point, capitalism can destroy itself.”
Yes, the left-leaning Roubini made that fatuous statement, and many similar ones — so many, in fact, that he has lost much of his credibility in financial circles, though that didn’t quite make it into the “Marx Was Right!” story.
Also absent was any notice of how the much-hated banks benefited not from free-market capitalism, which would have let them fail in 2008, but from crony capitalism that bailed them out. The similar cronyism practiced by Trumka and the Obama administration — massive spending on useless but politically connected businesses like Solyndra, paired with class-warfare rhetoric — likewise has very little to do with free markets.
Yeah, this ain’t the ‘60s kids. And the core then was just as radical as the core of OWS is now. When the war in Vietnam ended, so did the ability of the radicals to get their anti-capitalist message out.
Eventually this will be seen by the populace as a whole for what it really is. That’s because at some point, the true nature of that core that Gasparino talks about will shine through in such a way that even slick spin doctors won’t be able to credibly deny it. And when that happens, the entire movement will collapse like a wet paper box.
My esteemed colleague George Scoville brought to my attention a post about how Republicans are making a mistake in their responses to the Occupy Wall Street protests/movement. John S. Wilson at Mediaite argues that mocking OWS, tying the unruly protestors to the Democrats, and waiting for the protests to fade is just how Democrats set themselves up for a beating by the surprisingly resilient Tea Party.
Wilson is right: conservatives are underestimating OWS. While individual protestors on camera often have no idea what they’re talking about, that’s typical for a large protest; it doesn’t mean OWS is bound to flop. Unless Republicans think Obama won such a convincing victory in ’08 because the voters knew him so well, they should absolutely take this movement seriously and respond energetically.
That said, a few of Wilson’s points are false. Like:
“The message is as clear as the implications: income inequality has gotten out of control and is untenable.”
- Once they were reminded of how much money Obama got from the financial sector, Democrats were forced to get into the weeds about who’s getting more money from Goldman Sachs et al.
- The anti-war protestors have to contend with the fact that it’s been Democrats running those wars, and getting involved in new ones, for the last 3 years.
- The stimulus and bailout bills had plenty of giveaways to large corporations, many of whom were allies of Democrats who voted for those bills.
- Student loan forgiveness is the worst stimulus policy ever, especially when college grads have a low unemployment rate and the average 2011 college graduate starts at over $50,000 — instantly vaulting them into the top 25% of incomes.
They’ll still think Obama is better than the Republican, but the idea is to make them less energetic supporters.
The college grad thing brings me to another misconception:
“that [tax cuts] message probably isn’t endearing to rural white voters who make less than $40,000 a year. How could it be?”
This is just denial. Those voters voted GOP in 2010 when it was all about fiscal issues and Big Government. What does Wilson think has changed about the GOP message since then?
Democrats keep thinking that if they promise to pick Group A’s pocket to give to Group B, Group B will always love them. But electoral politics is less about policy than signaling loyalties and aspirations. What do the rural white low-to-middle-income voters see on TV and in photos?
- a bunch of urban college kids bleating to have their loans forgiven
- the usual screamers and hippies protesting war (is that endearing to the typical Southern or rural family? and does the anti-Israel contingent appeal to evangelicals?) and fossil fuels (which goes over really well in coal towns and places where families are supported by oil jobs)
- city folk fighting with cops and local businesses and generally trashing their surroundings
- bongo drums and twinkle fingers and “the people’s microphone”
- unions openly organizing at these events
When they see that, they don’t think, “Hey, those are the kind of people who will look out for me. Let’s give them a shot.” They’re thinking, “Those are the unwholesome whiners who call me a hick and want to shutter the local factory when they’ve never worked as hard as I do.”
It doesn’t help the Dems that they’re technically the party in power, and have had the upper hand since early 2009. This would be more fertile ground for Tea Partiers if they hadn’t become so associated with political division and gridlock; they should concentrate more on unifying policies like:
- good government
- opposition to bailouts or any special favors for special interests, especially Big Business
- requiring that military interventions involve a clear national interest, which can be mixed with a message of maintaining support for the troops
Offering conservative/free-market solutions on each of those things takes the wind out of OWS’s sails. Tax reform, more transparency/accountability in government, opposing all energy subsidies instead of just the “green” ones, etc.
That’s how I’d respond to OWS. This is precisely the time for Tea Partiers to go out and remind everyone that they’re better-behaved protestors who are running against Washington and against special interests, and to remind the other side that the small-government folks still have energy of our own, and challenge OWS on just who they think their champions are.
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The Hill just published a poll of likely voters. The findings pretty much reflect what I’ve believed about the so-called “99%” protest.
Voters are unimpressed and the attempt to deflect attention from Washington to corporate America isn’t, at least to this point, working:
The Hill poll found that only one in three likely voters blames Wall Street for the country’s financial troubles, whereas more than half — 56 percent — blame Washington.
Moreover, when it comes to the political consequences of the protest, voters tend to believe that there are more perils than positives for Obama and the Democrats.
Of course that’s the double edged sword and the risk the Obama campaign takes trying to embrace this (while also attempting to keep some distance) supposed grass roots movement.
And, as the more radical groups attempt to join as well (see this photo essay for an example), the folks in flyover country are going to get even more turned off.
Personal observation, but it just seems to me the radical left just hasn’t had much to protest about since Bush left office. The anti-war movement (of which most of these groups showing up for OWS were a part) melted away when Obama took office. He even started a third war and not a peep.
There will obviously be those who try to compare this to the Tea Party movement, but those comparisons will fall flat. This is just the left looking for an excuse for the usual suspects to do what they do best – protest. And, despite all the effort by the media to paint the OWS as something other than that is only going to prove the voters are a bit more sophisticated than the spin artists believe.
This poll points out that while OWS has indeed built notoriety, it may not be the sort of notoriety that a politician would want to embrace. Likely voters in the poll said it may not end up being a positive for those who latch on.
Watch carefully as this develops. Prepare for the old “rats deserting a sinking ship” rush when it starts to go south.
And it will go south.