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Occupy the Moment

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Posted on Oct 10, 2011
David Shankbone (CC-BY)

By Eugene Robinson

Occupy Wall Street and its kindred protests around the country are inept, incoherent and hopelessly quixotic. God, I love them.

I love every little thing about these gloriously amateurish sit-ins. I love that they are spontaneous, leaderless and open-ended. I love that the protesters refuse to issue specific demands beyond a forceful call for economic justice. I also love that in Chicago—uniquely, thus far—demonstrators have ignored the rule about vagueness and are being ultra-specific about their goals. I love that there are no rules, just tendencies.

I love that when Occupy Wall Street was denied permission to use bullhorns, demonstrators came up with an alternative straight out of Monty Python, or maybe “The Flintstones”: Have everyone within earshot repeat a speaker’s words, verbatim and in unison, so the whole crowd can hear. It works—and sounds tremendously silly. Protest movements that grow into something important tend to have a sense of humor.

I can’t help but love that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called the protests “growing mobs” and complained about fellow travelers who “have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans.” This would be the same Eric Cantor who praised the tea party movement in its raucous, confrontational, foaming-at-the-mouth infancy as “an organic movement” that was “about the people.” The man’s hypocrisy belongs in the Smithsonian.

Most of all, I love that the Occupy protests arise at just the right moment and are aimed at just the right target. This could be the start of something big and important.

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“Economic justice” may mean different things to different people, but it’s not an empty phrase. It captures the sense that somehow, when we weren’t looking, the concept of fairness was deleted from our economic system—and our political lexicon. Economic injustice became the norm.

Revolutionary advances in technology and globalization are the forces most responsible for the hollowing-out of the American economy. But our policymakers responded in ways that tended to accentuate, rather than ameliorate, the most damaging effects of these worldwide trends.

The result is clear to see: A nation where the rich have become the mega-rich while the middle class has steadily lost ground, where unemployment is stuck at levels once considered unbearable, and where our political system is too dysfunctional to take the kind of bold action that would make a real difference. Eventually, the economy will limp out of this slump and things will seem better. Fundamentally, however, nothing will have changed.

Does that sound broad and unfocused? Yes, but it’s true.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters saw this broad, unfocused truth—and also understood that the place to begin this movement was at the epicenter of the financial system.

For most of our history, it was understood that the financial sector was supposed to perform a vital service for the economy: channeling liquidity to the companies where it could be most effectively used. But the rapid technological, economic and political change the world has witnessed in recent decades created myriad opportunities for Wall Street to channel liquidity to itself, often by inventing exotic new securities whose underpinnings may not exist. The 2008 financial crisis demonstrated the urgent need for reform.

It’s not that investment bankers should be held responsible for all the ills of the world. It’s that Wall Street is emblematic of an entire economic and political system that no longer seems to have most Americans’ best interests at heart.

So a ragtag group—not huge, but idealistic and determined—camps out in lower Manhattan. A similar thing happens in two dozen other cities. And maybe a movement is born.

Already, after less than a month, commentators are asking whether the Occupy protests can be transformed into a coherent political force. For now, at least, I hope not.

We have no shortage of politicians in this country. What we need is more passion and energy in the service of justice. We need to be forced to answer questions that sound simplistic or naive—questions about ethics and values. Detailed policy positions can wait.

At some point, these protest encampments will disappear—and, since the nation and the world will not have changed, they’ll be judged a failure. But I’ve got a hunch that this likely judgment will be wrong. I think the seed of progressive activism in the Occupy protests may grow into something very big indeed.


Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group


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BR549's avatar

By BR549, October 18, 2011 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

ITW and Jayman,
First of all, let’s get one thing straight; the Tea Party was started as a grassroots effort by Ron Paul supporters in 2007 because they realized that the Republican Party (and the Democrat Party, as well) were too corrupt to transform. Ron Paul and his supporters were trying to distance themselves from what the Republican Party had become, that megalomaniacal assemblage of dysfunctional stuffed suits that by any other definition would have been sentenced for treason.

The Tea Party IS the right movement IF the people are becoming more knowledgeable about their own Constitution AND that they can eventually learn to see what elements of our country are actually sabotaging its structure to support their own selfish agenda. There is a huge difference between the once revered philosophical values of both the Republic and Democrat Parties and what those parties have become of late. If those same loyal Tea Party, OWS, Republicans, Democrats, or whatever are still ranting and shaking their fists in the fog, and they cannot see that difference, there is NO group to join that will solve the problem of their ignorance.

As far as the Tea Party being responsible for the country nearly going into default, that would assume that Tea Party was associated with both the Clinton and Bush families, as well, and that it was funded by the banks, which it isn’t. Nothing could be further from the truth. Now, as it happens, the OWS is being accused of being infiltrated by the same elements that caused this whole mess and I don’t doubt that these same elements have attempted to twist the efforts of the Tea Party.

The point of all of this is that the American people have become disgusted with Congress, the courts, the illegal buildup of the military (especially on our own shore), and the only thing they know how to do is head to the streets within any format that seems to ring a bell with them. Again, and of course, there are those elements that love all this control and chaos and will do anything they can to confuse loyalties and have the protesters waste all their energy fighting amongst themselves.

Let me say this. ALL of these groups serve a purpose in that they are mouthpieces for public dissent and the only thing that matters is whether or not enough change can be made NON-violently before the next election in order to avoid a rebellion. These elements (the bank run CIA along with thousands of mindless neanderthal LEOs who still haven’t put the pieces together) are already poising themselves to squash any change. They keep throwing turds in any popular punchbowl so that public dissent can’t seem to ever gain any traction.

My only suggestion is that, rather than complain about the Tea Party or OWS being part of the problem, look at what those two movements represent and the YOU can start to carry the baton from there. If your neighbor is ranting about any one of these groups, remind him of the larger objective. To sit back and criticize these groups while sitting back in a Barco-lounger with a beer is assinine. Both of these organizations have merit as voices for dissent and if they appear to be going off course, it is everyone else’s duty to help remind their members what the larger objective is.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 17, 2011 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

jayman, October 14 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

Okay I’ll be civil, and leave the name calling to the libs, cause you do it so well. Both the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movements get it. Goldman Sachs, the Treasury Department, and the Fed, are just divisions in the same profit-maximizing organization.

Here is why the Tea party is the right movement. The root cause isn’t the rich, but a financial system that was born in 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve.And was given unlimited power to do it’s dirty work when the US left the gold standard in 1971.

It is the Fed that has allowed debt to explode at every level of society while corrupting the banks and politicians with easy money. Today’s mess couldn’t have happened without the ability to create unlimited amounts of currency. And it won’t be fixed without a return to constitutionally limited government and sound money.

If you want to fix it, go with the Tea party, if you want to destroy it, and throw a childish temper tantrum go with occupy Wall Street - the Occupy people are just ranting and venting about stuff they don’t even understand, they lack focus about what they want—and knowledge about the problem.

The problem is, that over half the population in America depends on some sort of hand out from the beast - too many don’t want to give up their Uncle Sugar - Most of the Occupy people probably don’t even want a job, they want money from Uncle Sugar.
*****************************

I have no idea what this means. We have seen what the TeaParty has done—they nearly sank the nation into default, and want to preserve tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans while raising taxes on the poorest.  How is that IN ANY WAY compatible with the OWS movement?

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By jayman, October 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

Okay I’ll be civil, and leave the name calling to the libs, cause you do it so well. Both the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movements get it. Goldman Sachs, the Treasury Department, and the Fed, are just divisions in the same profit-maximizing organization.

Here is why the Tea party is the right movement. The root cause isn’t the rich, but a financial system that was born in 1913 with the creation of the Federal Reserve.And was given unlimited power to do it’s dirty work when the US left the gold standard in 1971.

It is the Fed that has allowed debt to explode at every level of society while corrupting the banks and politicians with easy money. Today’s mess couldn’t have happened without the ability to create unlimited amounts of currency. And it won’t be fixed without a return to constitutionally limited government and sound money.

If you want to fix it, go with the Tea party, if you want to destroy it, and throw a childish temper tantrum go with occupy Wall Street - the Occupy people are just ranting and venting about stuff they don’t even understand, they lack focus about what they want—and knowledge about the problem.

The problem is, that over half the population in America depends on some sort of hand out from the beast - too many don’t want to give up their Uncle Sugar - Most of the Occupy people probably don’t even want a job, they want money from Uncle Sugar.

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By JohnSwims, October 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

Present US government is controlled by the 1%‘ers: the dictators, corporations and rich.  Enforced by their puppets including the Democratic and Republican Parties.

ILLEGAL OR CORRUPT ORGANIZATIONS

Republican and Democratic Parties not representing and serving the majority of Americans, the 99%‘ers.

Federal Reserve and most banks and other financial companies.

Food & Drug Administration, and most pharmaceutical companies.
  FDA’s executives are from pharmaceutical companies which is a conflict of interest.
  Support treatment, not cures and prevention.

AMA & DMA American Medical/Dental Associations
  Support treatment, not cures and prevention.

Major news media represents the 1%‘ers

US/State Departments of Transportation, Auto Insurance Companies that don’t want safe driving.
 
  Not enforcing safer driving such as: 
  Following distance of 1 car length per each 10 mph.
  Consider: 68mph = 100 feet/second
  Reaction Time, eye to foot on brake = 0.75 sec
  At 68mph or 100feet/sec, RT = 50 to 100 ft.
  San Francisco Bay Area freeway following distance about 2.5 car lengths, 45 ft or 0.45sec.
  Enforcing safe following distance would eliminate accordion traffic(stop & go) and most accidents.
  It’s amazing that their are not more accidents.
 
  Time for each 10 miles of a trip:
      9.2 minutes at 65mph
    10.9 minutes at 55mph
    Save 1.7 minutes, 100sec for each 10 miles.
    Save 17 minutes for a 100 mile trip.
    65mph uses 20% more gasoline then at 55mph.
    98% of drivers are ignorant !!
    Semi rig & long trip truckers are educated.
    What the hell is the rush about you idiots?
    Tailgaters should be fined.

Federal, State and Local Tax Systems, Cost for Public Services, Education, and other basic living costs favor the Rich.
  Many taxes, including federal, state, local and property taxes and fines, fees, education costs and public services should be based
  on a fixed per cent of gross income, liquid assets, fixed assets, size and age of families, catastrophic illnesses, etc.

This change of the bases of costs of services, education, ecetera would generate millions of jobs.
 
Rough Example  
  Parking tickets, equivalent punishment/fine for same violation.
  0.08% gross income + 0.01% liquid assets + 0.001 fixed assets
  $100,000 = $80 fine  
    $60,000 = $48 fine
    $30,000 = $24 fine

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By BR549, October 13, 2011 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

MK Ultra, October 13 at 10:28 am
“PS:  Why is it that every time I refer to the Teabaggers as a “movement” I feel the urge (pun intended) to insert the word “bowel” before it?”

I think many of these people actually believe that they are stepping outside of the box with this Tea Party and OWS stuff. It’s too bad that most of them don’t have a clue about what the globalists REALLY have in store for them. For the Tea Partyists, stepping outside the box, to them, is like finally making the transition from their bedroom and discovering that there is so much more to the house they live in. They have no idea yet that anything exists beyond the walls of their home, or that their home had been constructed inside a warehouse that had been buried under rubble for years in the bottom of a canyon.

Meanwhile, the globalists have been hard at work hiring bulldozers to push more rubble on top and make sure these Tea Party people never actually see the light of day or understand the true nature of their dilemma.

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By MK Ultra, October 13, 2011 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

Poor, poor, paid jayman.  He assumes that since his Teabagging “movement” was hijacked by the Kock Bros.  the same applies to every other movement.  As a proud member of the Duh Community, he fails to realize or understand that the OWS people have a brain, something his own poor, poor, misguided movement lacks. 

PS:  Why is it that every time I refer to the Teabaggers as a “movement” I feel the urge (pun intended) to insert the word “bowel” before it?

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By kim, October 13, 2011 at 9:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How can any lifetime tax paying American citizen
defend these betrayers? ( bankster robbers/ corporate
“people” criminals?) These corporations that
outsourced American jobs/prosperity/livelihood were
ALL made by AMERICAN workers and customers/consumers!
The occupiers of OUR offices and buildings STILL have
TAX credits to outsource American jobs to third world
countries     ( After Americans make them a
success of course) So, they ALL betray the people
daily! Why do we pay all of these agencies that are
supposed to protect us? Including OUR military,
working for subsidized corporations and WE THE PEOPLE
are footing the bill!  Oh and where was OUR military
when these bankster robbers/corporate criminals Hi-
Jacked OUR government offices and buildings and
refuse to get out? Policing for oil, defense ( bully)
contractors, mercenaries, Oh and don’t forget OPIUM
empire! NONE of the agencies protect us

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By Leefeller, October 13, 2011 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

Jayman your comments seem baiting and dishonest, like many others who appear here on occasion (usually from the right?) who make the same circle jerk comments and never quite seem to address the issues! Just like the Republicans ossification seems to be their main tool. 

Your comments, do suggest and support the reason for the existence of Occupy Wall Street.
Sincerity of what you write is in question, it seems poorly attempted sarcasm?

Sadly this is all the Republicans ever seem to offer is ‘I got mine!’

Once again this is not about differences of Democrats or Republicans, it is about people, this is a social moment about blatant inequities heaped on the shoulders of the middle class and the poor. The abuses of the bail outs, money in politics the attack on collective bargaining, the list goes on!

I hear you Jayman, you got yours, good for you Jayman. It seems you do not know the difference between a republic and a democracy.

Maybe you can explain to me why money is the same as people?

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By BR549, October 13, 2011 at 6:01 am Link to this comment

CenterOfMass, October 12 at 11:53 am
“Only one thing lies at the center of all of these problems: private money in political campaigns.”

I would agree but also add that what is at the center of all these problems is a lack of integrity, driven by a lack of social and spiritual connection. I mean, what persons would try to adversely influence the very society which reared them except those who felt disassociated from it?

Who exactly knows how and where it started? I dunno. It may be inherent in mankind to start being greedy when he subconsciously starts feeling his social framework eroding and his chances of long term survival are challenged. Maybe THAT was the bigger piece of the picture that Jesus was going for in whatever passage it was in the Bible about him attacking money-changers. I’m not a religious person, but whether true or allegorical, the story, like the Greek Tragedies that are still being regurgitated in reinvented plots in all our movies today, can continue to benefit us all, as generations continue to learn about the inner workings if their minds.

Remember one thing, the AVERAGE citizen has never had to take an oath of office or service. Those that have are military, law enforcement, public servants, and especially, ...... elected POLITICIANS, and as we see the erosion of our culture, it is that oath that they swore to that was meant to keep these people reminded of that higher purpose that keeps us “civilized”; otherwise, it has all been a ruse and we are no better off than we were when we were chasing down wooly mammoths. That oath is what makes the difference and it is that oath that all of us should be grilling the faces of our politicians to the fire for whenever they cross over the line.

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By CenterOfMass, October 12, 2011 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

@Jayman: “If you want to try to convince me that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi are just nice people that had good intentions…”

LOL.  I’ll do no such thing, nor have I suggested so.  Those three are indeed culpable.  Please show me where I have written otherwise.  We also need to add Boehner and McConnell to the list.

“...don’t have the balls to go after the people they elected that screwed them…”

The existence of OWS does not preclude also having “Occupy D.C.”, or additional actions.  There’s plenty of fault to go around, plenty of work to be done, and the people at OWS have the balls to be out there.  Better to have OWS than not to have them.

“If you want people to take you seriously, try being honest.”

Never been anything but that.  See?

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By glider, October 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

@Jayman

If we have any positions in common it is probably due to random chance from your heavily jumbled all over the map positions.

Most people agree that Obama ran a “progressive/liberal” campaign.  After the award winning sales campaign he tacked heavily to the Right and betrayed the Progressives that elected him.  For heavens sake Jayman, Obama is in the pocket of Wall Street (e.g. Summers, Geithner, etc.), he has expanded the MIC, and he torpedoed the Public Option and let the corporate health insurance/pharmaceutical companies virtually write “Obamacare”.  These have absolutely nothing to do with Progressives.  How in the hell can anyone with a straight face call Obama a Communist/Socialist or even remotely a Progressive is beyond me.  And please do not cite any Obama rhetoric (i.e. lies) to make the claim that he is a Socialist.  If we know anything of Obama it is to judge him by his actions.  And by that standard he is a Corporatist.

I think you happen to be largely correct about the OWS crowd being Obama supporters from 2008.  Obama has in essence birthed this movement because he betrayed progressives to the extent that they now realize that the political process will never bring them the change they want.  If Obama had fought for what he campaigned upon I do not believe there would be a OWS movement today.

But how in the world do you get that we are witnessing the failure of the progressive liberal movement??  WTF?? Look at data from the 50’s-70’s and compare it to now.  Since Reagan we have been on a path of Trickle Down Economics, which is entirely consistent with the huge wealth disparity we see in America now.  It is insane for you to be saying that at the culmination of this Reagan/Freidman/Greenspan legacy and 8 years of Bush ending in the near financial collapse of the country.

I recommend turning off the Glenn Beck or whatever or whatever your using to wash your brain!!!

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By jayman, October 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

CenterOfMass, who dominates who ? The Hope and Change movement got screwed royally, and now has evolved into the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, because they don’t have the balls to go after the people they elected that screwed them, or admit they were wrong.

If you want to try to convince me that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi are just nice people that had good intentions, and were corrupted by the evil bankers—save it for the college kids, Obama alone has scooped up over $15 million from Wall Street and Pelosi, Summers, and Geithner should be in prison, The Fed and the EPA should be dismantled, they have become Soviet Union style corruption machines.

If you want people to take you seriously, try being honest.

I should have said progressive liberalism in America, and Europe.

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By CenterOfMass, October 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

@Jayman: “What we are witnessing is the failure of progressive liberalism in America.”

The failure is of the laizzez-faire evolution of Too Big To Fail banks.  The only way that represents “progressive liberalism” is if one is referring strictly to the “progressive” un-bridling of capitalism expressed with giant banks and corporations that dominate our politicians.

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jayman's avatar

By jayman, October 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

Liberals love Capitalism when it’s filling their pockets with money, ask Obama and Pelosi. They love Democracy when they are winning elections.

What we are witnessing is the failure of progressive liberalism in America. The Keynesian clown economic policies, the welfare state and and it’s god like worship of the the federal government.

The Democratic party has been taken over by Socialists, Communists, Thugs and slackers they are ready to to destroy the entire system because they have FAILED, the problems we face are solvable, the system we have is still the best one on the planet, ask the Chinese - globalization presents new challenges that we are perfectly capable of handling, once we get some leadership, without throwing it all away.

Obama has failed, the Democrats have failed, their   progressive liberal social and economic policies have been disastrous for the economy and the country - what did you think they would do, admit it ?

Nope, they play the blame game ,it’s Capitalism and Democracy that has failed, and Bush’s fault.

D.R. Zing thanks for the links, if I ever even remotely considered taking this movement seriously, your link cured me, but I never did.

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By CenterOfMass, October 12, 2011 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

Only one thing lies at the center of all of these problems: private money in political campaigns.

Eliminate that, and you get government by and for the people.
Keep it like it is, and you have government for the wealthy few.

New ways of holding elections?  Secondary.
New political parties?  Secondary.
Term limits?  Secondary.

Nothing that will be achieved by the OWS and other protests will be lasting, unless the money flow is fixed.

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By bpawk, October 12, 2011 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

Occupy Wall Street needs to set aside one day and organize the millions of unemployed, disenfranchised, poor and under-employed to march on Washington which is the seat of power and enabler of laws and regulations that benefit the top one percent. Nothing else will do at this point - let’s see the cops try to arrest 20 million people - you will have international cameras looking out for any abuses by the police or any authority figures - this will show the world how free the U.S. really is.

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D.R. Zing's avatar

By D.R. Zing, October 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

Suggested reading:

Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine/reviews

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By Oceanna, October 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

“Occupy Wall Street and its kindred protests around the country are inept,
incoherent and hopelessly quixotic.”

I found myself rejecting the article after the introduction.

Inept?  How can that possibly be with its trajectory from humble origins, that
has sprung hundreds of other protests nationwide and was acknowledged
worldwide and by major US media within 2-3 weeks of its inception?

Incoherent?  Sure.  It took incoherence to have harnessed the millions of those
joining in support nationwide in a short while.  It sounds like a lot of incoherent
people joining together because of their mutual incoherence.  Or a trip down
the rabbit hole.

Hopelessly quixotic?  For what, pray tell—acknowledging economic collapse
and disparities that rival the Great Depression’s?  For exercising the first
amendment?

Eugene Robinson is nothing more than a condescending and discrediting
mouthpiece of CNN.  I think we can expect to hear more paternalistic pundits
like himself sounding-off as OWS continues to mushroom successfully.  Despite
the media waxing parochial or alarmist.

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By jayman, October 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, I have been around long enough, and take care of myself well enough to know this movement is NOT about me. No one looks out for me and mine, but me. And I want the freedom to be able to keep doing just that, not be punished if I am successful.

These are the same people who voted for Hope and Change and got screwed, the same people that support “don’t ask, don’t read” bills and legislation, and now support a movement that doesn’t know what is about, c’mon how many time to you have get screwed.

If they pissed on your leg and told you it was raining, you’d blame global warming and call for more govt regulations, the govt isn’t the answer, and Wall Street isn’t the only problem—it’s a sham.

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By grokker, October 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

@bpawk   First, you misrepresent my politics by thinking I’m a fan of Obama and a Dem. Number two, Obama is no more a democrat than Bush. The irony is, that most Republicons are too dimwitted to see it. There is virtually no difference in their view of major issues. It’s as if Bush were still president. Torture, the wars, surveillance on citizens, drone attacks, giveaways to Wall Street have all increased exponentially with Obama. I’ll mention it again on these forums - I’m neither Dem or Repub. Deregulation is the body of laws that now govern Wall Street. You see things only in terms of opposites—Dem vs Repub, Lib vs Conservative, and you can’t see that government and corporate America operate hand in hand. You still want to blame government, as if just installing a new set of puppets is going to make it alright. Corporate America and it’s enabling government(dem and repub)are all guilty as charged.

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By jayman, October 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment

Glider, we agree on much more than we disagree, sorry my bad if I misunderstood your post. The word “nationalize’ sends chills down my spine with this government in power. In the wake “Fast and Furious” “Solyndra” “bank bailouts” “TARP”  IRS payouts of billions to undocumented workers, and god only knows what else we DO NOT know about yet, of course Obama would love nothing more than to nationalize every business sector in America to help spread our money around and pay off his friends and send Mishy on more globe trotting trips.

I am not on board that this government could be trusted to do what’s good for the economy, the people, and the country. You would have to completely tear down and dismantle the entire system—the fed, the Dept of Selective Justice, DHS, CIA, FBI, EPA, Dept of indoctrination, implement some sort of transparency and oversight, and start over, it’s riddled with gangsters.

Obama has spent three years setting up regulatory maze that only governments like the old Soviet Union, and companies like Solyndra and GE could love, whoever you put in there is likely to end up using the system for the same purposes. We agree on the goal, but not how to get there.

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By Brian J Foley, October 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

Keep the politicians OUT of this. OWS should sit as a brooding omnipresence and vote out politicians who don’t serve the people. And the 99 percent should organize boycotts, etc. Here’s a short satirical piece I wrote on how the slurs against 1960s protesters don’t work against the 99 percent: http://brianjfoley.net/2011/10/09/occupy-wall-street-the-old-time-insults-they-are-a-failin/

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By Robespierre115, October 11, 2011 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

@Outraged, Words fail you once again. Instead of contributing anything to the discussion you’re personifying the weakness of the current, postmodern attitude: Just big, vague statements without any substance. When the state smashes your face in, then let’s see you peddle your b.s., or you’ll probably just go vote Obama 2012.

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By bpawk, October 11, 2011 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

grokker,
you must be a democrat who infiltrated the movement and will try to cut short anyone who criticizes the government (your beloved Obama who let you down). As you say, “the banks have taken deregulation and run with it.” But they could only have run with it if the government wrote the laws enabling them to - the govt deregulated them (as if Wall Street will regulate themselves), gave them favourable tax breaks (but not to you or I) and of course bailed them out (but not us). Only the government can do that and if they want to blame the banks for tricking them into it, then they don’t deserve to govern and you shouldn’t be apologizing for them.

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By entropy2, October 11, 2011 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

I know, Eugene…bless the dear little hearts. Maybe when they get all grown up, they can be good little Democrats, right?

I don’t think I’ve read a more condescending and patronizing wad of drivel.

The hostility of the Repubs is at least more honest than the feeble attempts by the establishment Dems to piggy-back on (and try to co-opt) the movement.

Hopefully, OWS and its successors won’t allow it to happen.

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By Gmonst, October 11, 2011 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

This article is nothing more than a attempt by the political class to co-opt the movement.  The trouble with democrat-apologists like Robinson is their inability to think of things outside the republican/democrat binary. It comes across to me as attempt to corral this movement and deem it just a popular insurrection against republicans.  In short he is trying to focus attention such that he seems to agree with the Occupy protests while he slyly slips over the fact that he has been a cheerleader for a political group that has been complicit WITH republicans in helping the funnel of money to the top.  We are going to see a lot of this as the political class attempts to frame the movement in ways that makes it seem like its their movement.  Eugene Robinson is the first wave of how the power-elite will try to control this movement and dilute its meaning down to nothing more than a call for more democrats in congress.

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By glider, October 11, 2011 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

Bpawk,

The point is that the Banksters lobbied,i.e. bought and paid for, the government’s current deregulation state.  As Chris Hedge’s pointed out, there is no way to vote against Goldman Saches in our political system since it is their ilk that funds the campaigns and enriches the politicians.  So the democracy has suffered a coup and is now governed indirectly by Corporate Power.  Both the Banksters and their Government accomplices deserve to be objects of a public rebellion.

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By glider, October 11, 2011 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

@Jayman

Me:
“Just what do you think the Fed is if you don’t think they are the Banks?  If you are a Ron Paul fan regarding reigning in the Fed, I would imagine you might find some common ground with the OWS movement in that area.  If you are standard GOP/Dem issue then you apparently like them bubbles.  In any case, “going after the banks” is certainly not easy, but after their recent performance they well deserve to be nationalized”

Jayman:
“glider, your response is typical of a big government Keynesian clown. When years of stimulus fails to stimulate anything except this government’s crony campaign donors, and unions,  billions have been wasted pumping money into zombie banks that should have failed, your response ? Double down and Nationalize the banks”

Jayman, you do not seem to be capable of rational thought.  As has been noted trillions of dollars of public money has been stolen by the Banksters and their crony accomplice Government (under both puppet Obama and your party favorite puppet Bush).  They collaborated together to remove protections such as Glass-Steagall to enable this crime.  Now you can argue to have let the bad banks fail as should be the case in a functioning free market system, but given the absence of effective anti-trust regulations, we were in a situation of Too Big Too Fail rather than Too Big Too Exist.  I am not arguing for “doubling down” on the Bankster ripoff, as you distort my comment.  At the very least the failed banks should have been reorganized or adsorbed by banks with competent management.  They should not of been bailed out with no significant accountability.  But IMO nationalizing the banks and returning the country to a sovereign currency would have been the best outcome by far.  Sovereign currencies have a productive history if you care to study the matter.  America is not a stranger to it as we fought the British for Independence and the Civil War using our own sovereign currency.  Oh, and one last bit, please don’t accuse me of being a Democrat!

Educate yourself here:
http://www.webofdebt.com/

http://thedailybell.com/1684/Anthony-Wile-with-Ellen-Brown-on-the-Efficiencies-of-the-State-and-the-Progress-of-Her-Public-Banking-Vision—-.html

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By grokker, October 11, 2011 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

@bpawk   Perhaps what you are not grasping is the symbiotic relationship of government and big business/banking. There is fault and dysfunction throughout the entire system. But the banks have taken deregulation and run with it. To the tune of all but destroying the global economy. The government enablers are at fault, but using your logic, the banking enablers who made the fraudulent loans to people to kick off the sub prime crisis are not at fault at all, only the borrowers. Here we have banks as enablers and banks as victims of government deregulation that just couldn’t control themselves. Kind of like giving heroin to a junkie.

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By bpawk, October 11, 2011 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

A weird article - I believe an organized group of protesters is much better than unorganized - but as you say in your article
“It’s not that investment bankers should be held responsible for all the ills of the world. It’s that Wall Street is emblematic of an entire economic and political system that no longer seems to have most Americans’ best interests at heart.”

As noted above, you should also go after the politicians that set the laws that give Wall Street bailouts, tax breaks for the rich and deregulation - you are right, it’s the political system that is primary, Wall Street is just the recipient so demonstrate on the White House unless you are afraid to criticize Obama! Also, where’s all the celebs that endorsed Obama who betrayed all of their principles - is their tail between their legs also?

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By Leefeller, October 11, 2011 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Jayman,

Interesting and amusing of course you do not see it, but Occupy Wall Street is exactly about you Jayman.  This is a social movement not a political one, hard to comprehend isn’t it?

FYI: we do not live in a democracy, we live in a bought and paid for by the one percent Republic! Yes, Occupy Wall Street is really about you!

By the way, I like Robertson article for what it is worth, finally the people are being heard, except by those who never listen.

One person, one dollar, one vote!

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By balkas, October 11, 2011 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

hey, dear folks, isn’t it time not to talk about
politicians/politics as a separate group of people
doing somekind of separate work; i.e., disconnected
from other people and what they do or from their
shared TELOS.

‘politicians’ [the single quotes indicate that they don’t
exist in isolation from other members of the ruling
class] in u.s and many lands have an assigned role to
play.

judges have their own task to perform. army
echelons, ceos, plutocrats, robinson/columnists,
lawyers, actors, singers, cia/fbi/city police perform
diff functions; however, always to maintain or expand
own powers/wealth, eclat, pride, glory, etc. and all of
them functioning brilliantly; tho forced to make from
time to time tactical changes.
so, what very functional tactic will the ruling class
use on these protesters?

be certain that one is being readied right now and it
will work brilliantly.
100% sure. also sprachen alle weiser und ueber
millennia. also spricht auch bozhidarevski.
it is time to get serious!!! verrri serious!!  tnx

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By nopuppy, October 11, 2011 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

Great article capturing the real power of the OWS movement. Every old radical and commentator who rails against this movement for being unfocused is missing the important point: this movement is building itself, in a form of direct democracy not seen in protest since 1919, and developing the practices and procedures that give every participant a voice. That’s what will keep it alive. I just hope it can weather the cops (hey, guys, you’re the 99% too!), the winter, and the inevitable blowback when the powers that be get scared.

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By balkas, October 11, 2011 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

u.s system of rule disfunctional? hardly! it functions butifully
for bankers, army echelons, judiciary 99.9999% of elected
politicos, all bankers/lawyers, cia/fbi agents, warriors
against drugs, media, enter- or infant-tainment industry,
arms manufacturers, ceos, most police people, et al.

robinson, chooses to call seeming lack of a system of rule in
u.s “disfunctional politics”.

i wonder how many people noticed the subterfuge in not
calling the constitution and the system of rule based on it
“disfunctional”?

he ‘cleverly’ calls only a small part of the system, the
politics, “disfunctional”; which he posits tacitly as having a
separate existence from the structure of society,
constitution, laws, army, cia/fbi, banking.

it does not. politics is an inseparable part of everything that
happens in u.s.
in short, nothing happens in u.s that is not of the system,
lawful, a moral imperative, or constitutional command. tnx

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By elisalouisa, October 11, 2011 at 6:33 am Link to this comment

“It’s that Wall Street is emblematic of an entire economic and political system that no longer seems to have most Americans’ best interests at heart.”

There you have it. The crux of the problem. Tax payer money used to aid and abet criminals on Wall Street. Bought and paid for politicians gave nary a second thought to “We the People” when they literally gifted Wall Street with 16 trillion dollars. Standing at Wall Street’s Door is perfect.

Will the cunning of the power/elite find a way to subdue this force? We shall see.

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By madisolation, October 11, 2011 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

What back-handed compliments this self-appointed, imperious White House stenographer assigns to the movement: “inept,” “incoherent,” “naive,” “amateurish.” Could he be any more condescending, as he imperiously looks down his nose upon the “unwashed masses?”
“...commentators are asking whether the Occupy protests can be transformed into a coherent political force. For now, at least, I hope not.”
I’ll just bet you do hope not, Eugene. You’re comfy and cozy and sitting pretty. Look at you, raking in all that money, and all you have to do is bow and scrape and write down every lie Obama tells you, you officious little prick.
“The Occupy Wall Street protesters…also understood that the place to begin this movement was at the epicenter of the financial system.”
Oh, don’t worry, Eugene. This naive, unfocused, amateurish movement is well aware that Wall Street wouldn’t rule if the politicians didn’t enable them. Masses of people will eventually converge in Washington, DC. It will be interesting to see what you think when the “naive” masses prick your bubble.

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By grokker, October 11, 2011 at 4:29 am Link to this comment

Correction “....democracy worked in 2008….”

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By grokker, October 11, 2011 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

@jayman   Oh yeah, democracy worked in 2010 all right. The candidate that corporate America and Wall Street wanted got elected by a process of slick Madison Avenue style brainwashing of a population stunned by eight years of Bush. All about money once again. And as for blaming the system, the Constitution etc., systems fail, governments topple, empires fall, get over it. Capitalism in its current form is failing dismally, and its proponents are going down kicking and screaming with it. I don’t blame anything but see it as it is; no hypocrisy there.  Also, I’m not a Democrat.

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By jayman, October 11, 2011 at 3:56 am Link to this comment

grokker, we do have a democracy, it worked in 2010, and it will work again in 2012. And it sure beats the hell out replicating what they have in Syria, Egypt, or Libya.

It’s always the same game with democrats, whenever they can’t get their way it’s democracy, the Constitution, or the system that has failed - When they get what they want they love it - hypocrisy defines this liberal movement.

They have been in charge of this failed government since 2007, they will step aside in 2012 and we’ll see democracy - we have done nothing for the last four years but throw the same crap on the wall and called it by different names - and this president isn’t even trying, it’s a joke.

If the your revolution succeeds and they tear it apart, and the dems slip the noose and get reelected, then I will agree with you, but it ain’t going to happen.

Obama and Mr. Robinson are both hoping 2008 wasn’t a fluke, and that Americans really are stupid - we’ll see in 2012.

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By grokker, October 11, 2011 at 3:36 am Link to this comment

Jayman says “We have a democracy use it”

Nothing could be further from the truth. Democracy under a system of crony corporate capitalism is a sham. Election after election of installed phony corporate candidates. It is a system of rigged pseudo choices. If you have anything to say, try to get be heard in a televised political debate. You’ll be drowned out, ridiculed, and marginalized. This is not even to mention the rigged elections, voter caging and suppression. This “revolution”, if it is one, has got to get way outside the margins of anything recognizable if we aren’t to get fooled again. The money must be removed from the process, and it’s hard to see that happening without a major shakedown.

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By Outraged, October 11, 2011 at 3:04 am Link to this comment

RE: Robespierre115

What’s that you say…..FEAR…FEAR…FEAR…..

LOL

Like I said before “You are so bogus”

Do you have a “problem” with THE PEOPLE…Robespierre…?  Sounds like it to me.  THE PEOPLE are good, that’s all you need to know,, everything else is well…bogus.  You must understand that.  I think you do.

On second thought….... maybe you don’t.  But hey, you’re about to find out.  Like they say, “Live and LEARN.

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By Robespierre115, October 11, 2011 at 2:16 am Link to this comment

When it starts looking like this, then expect many of the current celebrities and “liberals” cheering the movement on to run and hide:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUyib7FeuF4&feature=channel_video_title

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By Outraged, October 11, 2011 at 1:51 am Link to this comment

As an after thought…. I read somewhere that the
“Occupy Wall Street” folks needed some things and one
of them was tents.  Does anyone know how I can send
them one?  I have one I don’t really use anymore… and
well you know… I’d like to put it to GOOD use.

I’d really appreciate a link for that. Thanks.

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By Outraged, October 11, 2011 at 12:53 am Link to this comment

The banks received 16 trillion dollars of taxpayer
money.  To get a grasp on just how much money this
is, is difficult.  Check out this email I received
from congressman Grayson:

“The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says
that our Government has handed out $16 trillion to
the banks.

Let me repeat that, in case you didn’t hear me the
first time. The GAO says that our Government HAS
HANDED OUT $16 TRILLION TO THE BANKS.

That little gem appears on Page 131 of GAO Report No.
GAO-11-696. A report issued two months ago. A report
that somehow seems to have eluded the attention of
virtually every network, every major newspaper, and
every news show.

How much is $16 trillion? That is an amount equal to
more than $50,000 for every man, woman and child in
America. That’s more than every penny that every
American earns in a year. That’s an amount equal to
almost a third of our national net worth—the value
of every home, car, personal belonging, business,
bank account, stock, bond, piece of land, book, tree,
chandelier, and everything else anyone owns in
America. That’s an amount greater than our entire
national debt, accumulated over the course of two
centuries.

A $16 trillion stack of dollar bills would reach all
the way to the Moon. And back. Twice.

That’s enough to pay for Saturday mail delivery. For
the next 5,000 years.

All of that money went from you and me to the banks.
And we got nothing. Not even a toaster.

I have been patiently waiting to see whether this
disclosure would provoke some kind of reaction.
Answer: nope. Everyone seems much more interested in
discussing whether or not they like the cut of
Perry’s jib.

Whatever a jib may be.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to be writing more
about this. But right now, I wanted to keep this
really simple. Just give folks something to talk
about when they’re standing next to the coffee maker.

The Government gave $16 trillion to the banks. And
nobody else is talking about it.

Think about it. Think about what that means.

Courage,

Alan Grayson”

But even that is hard to “picture” so check this out,
and remember this shows just ONE TRILLION
DOLLARS.
(BTW, check out the size of the average man next to that stack of bills)

http://www.pagetutor.com/trillion/index.html

So….. Am I in support of the “Occupiers”?  You betcha.

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By jayman, October 11, 2011 at 12:26 am Link to this comment

mrfreeze, not my words, theirs. If you don’t believe me go to their website and read it for yourself.

They are claiming to use the “Arab Spring” tactics to promote Democracy—We have a democracy use it. Obama is doing nothing but campaigning for reelection, he has abandoned all pretense of governing, or working the levers of of the legislative process - We are leaderless.

Don’t look now, but the Arab Spring is quickly turning to winter, and the same thugs that rode in on that movement will ride in on this one - Outside of Israel there is nothing in the Arab world that remotely resembles Democracy, and never has been - Nothing comes out of Syria, Egypt, Libya, and Iran but more violence, killing, and oppression, the only thing that changes is the oppressors.

I know a lot of people are hurting, and pissed, especially after 3 years of the jokester in the White House and his gangster govt taking advantage of the crisis to steal our money to pay off banks,
unions, and campaign donors and and feeding the beast - and ten years of failed Keynesian bailouts and stimulus.

If the Democrats came out against all of this nonsense, and stuck it to Bernake, Obama, Geithner, the fed, fractional banks, Democrats and Republicans alike, I could almost believe them, but it’s a
partisan political sham. They are protecting their own party, their special interests and their messiah
and trying shift blame onto everyone else—it stinks.

If you want to have a movement, fine, define it. Don’t give me this crap about having no structure,
goals, or agenda, it’s BS, they do.—Robinbson is running another hopey-changey rhetorical game on you , remember when no one wanted to ask what kind of change, or hope for what.

Throwing temper tantrums and breaking stuff is the easy low hanging fruit, and the only thing this
administration excels at.

This is the biggest BS article I ever read ;

“Occupy Wall Street and its kindred protests around the country are inept, incoherent and hopelessly
quixotic. God, I love them.”

Only a college kid at a hippie factory would fall for that crap, like they did in 2008. Step over here I have some hope and change to sell you too - way too funny.

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By mrfreeze, October 10, 2011 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment

@ Jayman - Your words:

“In a nutshell, they demand trillions more in new spending. They demand to be “freed” from their self-inflicted responsibilities. They demand everything to be “free” and handed over to them. They also demand “open borders” for all, and elections to be brought to standards led and organized by a global, collective body.”

Really? You believe your own BS? Perhaps you need some “schooling.” I work in the credit industry (have for many years) and for the last several years I’ve worked with a lot of people having some SERIOUS financial problems. Even though many cannot meet their financial obligations there are NONE who want anything for free. Many are the very people you presume to speak for (you condescending, smug punk); people who have debt they took on believing the “system” might offer some semblance of opportunity. But the truth has finally hit them (and everyone else) in the face: the “job creators,” the corporate interests, the leaders have essentially reduced us all to nothing but “inputs” (yes, I know a little about economics) and there’s nothing worse than being objectified in this way. Add the fact that the “fix” is in and our elected officials along with the SCOTUS have sold us all down the river…......well, there are a lot of pissed-off people out there. Just because you’re good at spewing bourgeois baloney doesn’t mean you know anything.

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By jayman, October 10, 2011 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

Robespierre115, Robinson is typical “I got Mine” fraud, and likes to spew this lofty rhetoric because, well, he can’t see the damage from his house. He gives not a damn about “freedom” and would rather see us all enslaved by the Federal beast to pursue the left’s ideological fantasies, that have ALL FAILED ! Because failure gives him stuff to bitch about and pays his bills.

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By jayman, October 10, 2011 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

glider, your response is typical of a big government Keynesian clown. When years of stimulus fails to stimulate anything except this government’s crony campaign donors, and unions,  billions have been wasted pumping money into zombie banks that should have failed, your response ? Double down and Nationalize the banks. Keynesian are like drunken whores always screaming for more, more, more.

I am not libertarian, but would be that before I would be a destructive, hate America, party before country, tactics before principles Democrat.

The Dodd-Frank bill has already enshrined the federal government into our financial system, and ensured us we will have many more years of the govt breaking stuff, so they can fix it.

Until we repeal it, along with putting the Glass-Steagall act back in place, and letting failed banks fail nothing will change, we are just spoon feeding ourselves to death, and this movement is just a front for grabbing whatever is left.

These are kids who are being manipulated like in 2008, these are they’re demands :

In a nutshell, they demand trillions more in new spending. They demand to be “freed” from their self-inflicted responsibilities. They demand everything to be “free” and handed over to them. They also demand “open borders” for all, and elections to be brought to standards led and organized by a global, collective body.

It will be another Socialist power grab to control money and power. These kids will never see any money, just like in the 1960’s the lion never lied down with lamb, but they all got laid, and high—it’s BS

It doesn’t address problems or offer solutions, it follows Obama’s lead of jumping up and down and throwing temper tantrums, and using this crisis to steal other people’s money to hand out to your friends.

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By westcoastwilding, October 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm Link to this comment

Oooh, what a shameful Troll infestation. Eugene Robinson wrote a wonderful post about how everyday people are making themselves heard and making do without all that funny money with which FOX backed the Tea Party.

I love Eugene Robinson’s heart. He actually has blood pumping through his.

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By glider, October 10, 2011 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

@Jayman

“easier to go after the banks then to admit that the government and the fed has been blowing these economic bubbles for years, and they are getting worse”

Just what do you think the Fed is if you don’t think they are the Banks?  If you are a Ron Paul fan regarding reigning in the Fed, I would imagine you might find some common ground with the OWS movement in that area.  If you are standard GOP/Dem issue then you apparently like them bubbles.  In any case, “going after the banks” is certainly not easy, but after their recent performance they well deserve to be nationalized.

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By Robespierre115, October 10, 2011 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

@jayman, however you are absolutely correct about Eugene, he’s your typical liberal clown who prays to Saint Obama ever night before getting into bed and beating off to Chris Matthews and MSNBC.

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By Robespierre115, October 10, 2011 at 7:31 pm Link to this comment

@jayman, You really need to see a therapist if you’re convinced COMMUNISTS are a threat in 2011 America. Communists are not in charge of the country’s major institutions, corporations or banks. Last time I checked the hammer and sickle went out of fashion in 1990. What kind of system do you propose? Some Ayn Rand nightmare disquised as capitalist utopia?

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By jayman, October 10, 2011 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment

Liberals are walking on eggshells. Eugene likes the idea that they are not focused because that would force an examination of the current presidents failed policies, and lack of leadership. It’s easier to go after the banks then to admit that the government and the fed has been blowing these economic bubbles for years, and they are getting worse - and that the democrats control this failed government, and have since 2007.

The entire movement is fake, just like liberalism in America. It doesn’t seek to fix, grow, or build, it seeks to destroy blame others, and “get mine”, and is just waiting for the anarchists, and communists to take it over like they did the peace and love hippie movement in 1970’s.

I like the fact that Democrats want to own the movement, because one look at it says it all - it is exactly what liberalism in America has become, a refuge for thugs, criminals, Socialists, Communists and people that don’t even know how to clean up after themselves - let the gummint do it - too funny.

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By Robespierre115, October 10, 2011 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

@LostHills, It’s still just a protest, a very inspiring, hopeful and needed one. Revolution means OVERTHROWING the old order and replacing it with something new, it means doing away with the old norms of a society and creating and building new ones. I have no doubt we can get there if the struggle is allowed to evolve.

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By LostHills, October 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment

It’s happening in every State and in 20 other counties. Go down to the camp
nearest your home and find out how serious these people are. It’s not a “protest,”
it’s a revolution. Join them.

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By gerard, October 10, 2011 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

As Occupy Wall Street people have made crystal clear, economic injustice doesn’t
work, and the reason it doesn’t work is that 1% versus 99% is ridiculously and
dangerously out of balance.  It’s unstable. It is toppling of its own accord. It
doesn’t work as a social system, and it it destructive.  Eventually everybody dies—
literally—gated communities and underground shelters included.

Occupy Wall Street is doing some much-needed public education.  It is using
democratic methods to bring about a desperately-needed “transvaluation of
values” that is long overdue.  If Wall Street is halfway smart, they will recognize
what is really happening and join in.  Otherwise, they have little or nothing to offer
young people and will risk losing relevance in a world trying to find a more stable
balance.

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By Robespierre115, October 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

Typical, watered down Eugene refuses to acknowledge that his Dear Leader Obama is also a big target of these protests which are a reaction to an entire system, not just Republicans are right-wingers. And there’s a double edge to his praises for movement’s fractured, incoherent style: Yes, it’s great to see the spontaneous, independent energy of the masses, but people like Eugene are no doubt relieved it hasn’t taken on a more organized, revolutionary identity which could threaten the seats of power on which his golden god and his friends sit.

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