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Alan Grayson Shreds P.J. O’Rourke on #OccupyWallStreet

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One of the intriguing things about the commentary by the media and political operatives on OccupyWallStreet is how often they try to denigrate it, usually via ridicule and attacks on the appearance or presumed demographics of the participants. The underlying message is that the protestors are slovenly unproductive losers and hence have nothing in common with respectable middle class people. That flies in the face of the evidence on the ground, where the crowd in Zuccotti Park has gotten to be both older and more mixed ethnically than it was at its inception, and many of the Occupy demonstrations in other cities have solid representation of the middle aged and retirees.

Indeed, seniors are logical allies of OWS: they’ve been hurt by financial-elite-favoring policies, like the gutting of pensions to boost stock prices and CEO pay and near zero percent interest rates which are a transfer from savers to banks. They are also old enough to have lived through the heyday of the American middle class, the 50s and 60s (many remember the Depression) and know that they were well served by the New Deal social contract that has been dismantled over the last 30 years.

The efforts to discredit OWS are intriguing and reveal a deep seated sense of vulnerability among the powers that be. Despite the high level of press coverage, relatively few people have yet to participate in these gatherings. But this effort is applying pressure on the deepest fault line in American society, is not going away and continues to gain ground. Even if OWS does not mature into a political force, it is already having an impact, by shifting the nature of discourse and unearthing rotting corpses that the top 1% and their allies in the chattering classes hoped to keep buried: the fact that ordinary citizens have been on the wrong side of the greatest transfer of wealth in history, and virtually all of their supposed protectors stood by or had their hands in the till. No wonder those at the top of the food chain feel so threatened.

Alan Grayson does an effective job of kneecapping one of these typical attacks, this one from P.J. O”Rourke:

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129 comments

    1. F. Beard

      Agreed. PJ made an ass of himself.

      As of now, Alan Grayson is a hero of mine.

      New motto? “We’re not working because the system isn’t working!”

      1. Jackrabbit

        Here is Grayson back in May 2009: Is Anyone Minding the Store at the Federal Reserve? quizing the Federal Reserve Inspector General. A must see for anyone that wants to know how things work at the Fed.

        It’s heartening to see people of principal standing up to TPTB. There have been quite a few (but not enough, until recently) in this crisis:

        - Those who warned about sub-prime before Lehman went down.
        - The executive at Lehman that warned about their precarious state and was immediately fired.
        - Bloomberg’s suit against the Federal Reserve to discover who got bailed out
        - Yves, Ratigan, Glen Greenwald of Salon and other journalists and bloggers
        - A few academics like Prof William Black, Stiglitz, Steve Keen, James Galbraith, and Krugman (even if you don’t like keynsian economics, you have to recognize that he has used his stature to speak out about the problems)
        - A few representatives like Alan Grayson
        - NY AG Schneiderman
        - OWS

        (Apologies to many that I’ve left out. This list is not meant to be exhaustive.)

      2. Heron

        ^^^ All of This.

        Seriously, we need to elect more people like Grayson. We need to find these people of principle, and we need to put them in power.

        As to O’Rourke, he is a man outside of his time; an old relic of the Baby-boomer culture wars still caught up in the mystique of fighting “the hippie”. He can no more comprehend or provide meaningful solutions for a world bereft of the prosperity he has always lived in by the greed and selfishness he has long advocated, than he can provide insults and condescension relevant to modern experience. Former (and hopefully, future) Congressman Grayson not only shreds him, he shreds an entire outlook as archaic and anachronistic as the 1800s-style small government, laissez faire economics that useful idiots like O’Rourke so consistently advocate, and with a grace and verve which O’Rourke’s own prose has never possessed. Get the former into office, and the later to a Reenactors’ convention.

    2. Sufferin' Succotash

      Really. Talk about being trapped in a 1965 time warp. OWSers are supposed to be stock beatnik characters a la Timothy Carey in a surfing movie.
      The good news is that things will not end well for the people who misread the protestors this badly.

    3. Jim Haygood

      Hmmm, I didn’t see much of an attack by PJ O’Rourke in this clip, other than a couple of rude quips. Was it edited out? It would have been interesting to begin from the beginning.

      I laffed my ass off at ol’ PJ’s Republican Party Reptile. But that was long ago and far away, when a brief delusion developed that the Puke Lickin’ party could actually be kewl. Wrong-o!

      Gotta change with the times, PJ. Don’t petrify into a dogmatic old partisan like Kurgman.

      1. Mike M

        Yeah, I thought he was a funny guy back at the Lampoon, and he wrote some funny stuff right after, going after the pious left, but, he’s getting old and stale. Whatever, he found a profitable niche, and maybe he’ll adapt with a new schtick.

        1. scraping_by

          Not to carp, but do read what Tony Hendra, one of the founders of the Lampoon, had to say about O’Rourke in his memoir _Father Joe: The man who saved my soul_. Might be sour grapes, but I see what he was saying.

          1. Mike M

            Hey, inject the members of Python with truth serum, and I’ll bet what they’ll have to say about each other isn’t pretty. Comedians are not the best of people. But, they sure can be funny if you ignore all that.

          2. rotter

            Yeah but i dont care about the proffesional rivalries, or wife swapping relationship crises of The Monty Python. None of the members of Monty Python have ever written a book called “Americas fun New Imperialsm” and ranted and raved about all the fun and profit oto be had from dropping 1000 lb bombs on poor people in other countries. I mean PJ O’rourke, as it turns out (suprise! suprise!) gets a lot of his material about narcissistic liberals and “the culture of entitlement” by means of direct psychological transference. Orourke has had some (minor) influence on the political culture and is culpable to some extent. Yes, hes a just a dick, but hes a dick with some blood on his dick-hands.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Jim,

        He did start an attack, and would have continued. He was completely dismissive, but Grayson went right after him, big time.

  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I don’t know if this is too late. I don’t know if OccupyWallStreet has already made their list of policy demands.

    I just want to say that silence is the hardest argument to refute.

    Most people fear silence, especially adults. Witness the need for some music or sound in the car or when jogging in the park. Babies are OK with that. They are OK with silence. Silence makes grown ups very uncomfortable.

    Silence is the scariest sound, for a lot of people.

    I recommend silence for OWC.

    Not invisibility though. Make yourself visisble. Drag your tired body there. Occupy some physical space. But be silent.

    1. R Foreman

      I know what my demand would be.. disgorge the $$Trillions you took in bailout money, all of it, then we’ll decide how long we’re going to lock you up for. Do it not, and we’ll hunt you down like dogs, every last delicate prep-school one of you, using some of the toughest special forces on earth.

      As you can see my demands are simple.

      1. Ray Duray

        I have to say I like where you are going with this. Though it might be just wishful thinking.

        Sadly, I think we’re a ways out in time from when the Special Forces will be anything but brainwashed HUA zombies. Their career path takes them from the public military into mercenary shops. And those bosses don’t cotton to the Pat Tillmans of the world.

        1. JTFaraday

          I saw a documentary about Pat Tillman. I thought it was interesting that his family was so upset that the govt didn’t tell them he was killed by “friendly fire,” but never seemed to go the full step of asking whether he was assassinated.

          1. skippy

            “Rangers lead the way” also means *Your Back* is too a HOLE lot of yahoos with get sum trigger fingers, including chairborne pilots a world away. That’s a big list.

            Skippy…never become a poster boy, if given an atta boy, immediately disgrace your self, then do your job, keep your mouth shut and head down.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      “We will not be co-opted by hierarchical organizations, no matter how wonderful their cause may be,” said the “Occupy Wall Street 99 Per Cent Working Group” on Friday.

      This places the messy democratic process over policy, journey over final destination, and spirit over ritual sacrament. How do you label a change of heart, a conversion of the soul? How do you distill a paradigm-shift into a creed or catechism, a lobbyist’s white paper or presidential teleprompter? How do you codify and institutionalize the faith that we are our brother’s keeper?

      One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.”

      The Pharisees’ Orwellian propagandists understand language and crave labels. But as Tao suggests, as soon as you name a thing:

      … it excludes people
      … it divides and separates
      … it ceases to exist
      … you get the thing’s name instead of its reality
      … you create a denomination

    1. Pablo

      “proven nutjob” wow – thank you for the informed opinion! Now crawl back under your rock.

      1. KFritz

        Yes, but his ‘nom de blog’ captures his habits of ‘thought’ so accurately. Let’s give him credit for truth in advertising.

    2. LucyLulu

      I don’t know if he’s a “nut job” but he’s definitely pushy and obnoxious. He was the one representative who could make Bernanke sweat buckets and even make Geithner look nervous in the post-bailout Congressional hearings. I think he may be exactly what we need, perhaps to team up with overly-diplomatic Elizabeth Warren. Oh, and he’s running for the Senate in 2012, by the way.

      I think I might be falling in love…..

      1. za

        The speech asking why the taxpayers own Red Roof inns and asking if we could stay there for free was hilarious and epic.

        1. JasonRines

          Indeed it was Za! Next time, do an extra second of work for the people Za and post the link: http://www.google.com/search?q=alan+grayson+and+red+roof+inn&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari . Those extra moments per day times millions of people is how balance victory over tryanny will come.

          I am framing these historic events as the American people are the Employer and the political/banker class as the Employee. What happens when your Employee steals from YOU the Employer? You fire those middle managers pronto. I wrote an article called ‘Make No Mistake You’re Being Fired: http://ragingdebate.com/browse-articles/government-and-politics/make-no-mistake-youre-being-fired .

          The United States has weaved in an out of Fascism since the 1930′s. I want to try Capitalism now thanks where competition is honest and cheaters are jailed. I don’t care my deck of cards wasn’t as good as a trust fund baby.

          1. shekissesfrogs

            That’s a perfect sound bite or a sign.

            “I want to try Capitalism now thanks where competition is honest and cheaters are jailed.”

            Right wingers are saying that the protesters are trying to end capitalism, and Bloomberg is saying they want to hurt the “job providers”
            Obama diehards can’t argue with it and it’s directed right at the seat of power.

    3. Cheyenne

      Why is Grayson a nut job? Because he was the only member of the House who knew how to ask a question? Because he disemboweled Ben Bernanke using a Fed report Grayson had received THAT DAY?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0NYBTkE1yQ

      Grayson taught us more about the Fed with a half-dozen 5-minute Q&A sessions than the rest of his former colleagues did COMBINED.

      “Cross examination is the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth. You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it. A lawyer can do anything with cross-examination if he is skillful enough not to impale his own cause upon it.”

      John Henry Wigmore

    1. strateshooter

      :) correct.

      they have tried to ignore…and were on ridicule last week.
      Hard to do though now that Hosni Obama has finally jumped on the bandwagon (where was that jerk when people were being pepper sprayed and clubbed in the Square though ?)
      Obama is a stooge and weak..and a total liar when he says these guys acted immorally but not illegally. There is copios evidence of illegality by these people.
      I ahve never been so disappointed in a politician as I have in Obama. He is an extremely gifted man who had the potential for greatness…but his judgement is consistently poor and his ethics suspect.

      1. scraping_by

        Actually, Barry might have crossed a milestone about this one.

        The man’s stock in trade is talking out of both sides of his mouth. His normal pattern is to acknowledge the truth, then contradict it with the lie that’s the new reality.

        However, he used to carefully do this in two different sentences, often separated by a couple of off to the side statements. The MSM got him elected by only publishing the acknowledgement, and now they resurrect the lie to counter the perception he’s unreliable.

        Later, the acknowledgement and the lie were two sentences one after the other. The tape might have to end at an akward place, but the awful truth could be concealed.

        This one, he tells the lie right after acknowledging truth. In the same sentence. His acknowledgement is a mischaracterization, true, but closer to the truth than the bully barkers of the right get. So, he’s still keeping up his fake sincerity act while performing his duties as the bankers’ lackey.

        Perhaps he just doesn’t care anymore.

    2. Clonal Antibody

      There is no known citation for Gandhi ever saying this, though it is commonly attributed to him.

      However, in describing the stages of a winning strategy of nonviolent activism, a close variant of the quotation first appears in a 1914 US trade union address by Nicholas Klein:

      And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And that, is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.

      General Executive Board Report and Proceedings, Biennial Convention, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (1914) http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=I-0UAAAAIAAJ&q=%22first+they+ignore+you%22+%22build+monuments%22&dq=%22first+they+ignore+you%22+%22build+monuments%22&lr=&as_brr=0&pgis=1

      Also from Science, Pseudoscience, and The Three Stages of Truth – http://www.cs.uwaterloo.ca/~shallit/Papers/stages.pdf

      Quote:
      The oldest quote which I have been able to find that suggests truth goes through several stages is due to the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), who wrote in 1818 [29]

      Der Wahrheit ist allerzeit nur ein kurzes Siegesfest beschieden, zwischen den beiden langen ZeitrÄaumen, wo sie als Paradox verdammt und als Trivial gering geschÄatzt wird.

      which is translated as follows:

      To truth only a brief celebration of victory is allowed between the two long periods during which it is condemned as paradoxical, or disparaged as trivial. [29, Preface to the First Edition, p. xxv]

      To Schopenhauer is often attributed another quote about the stages of truth; see below.

      The next oldest citation of the “stages of truth” quote is located in an 1866 paper of the German embryologist Karl Ernst von Baer (1792-1876). Von Baer wrote [34, p. 92]

      Deswegen sagt Agassiz, dass wenn eine neue Lehre vorgebracht wÄurde, sie drei Stadien durchzumachen habe; zuerst sage man, sie sei nicht wahr, dann, sie sei gegen die Religion, und im dritten Stadium, sie sei lÄangst bekannt gewesen.

      which I translate as follows:

      Therefore Agassiz says, when a new doctrine is proposed, it goes through three stages. First, people say it is not true; then, that it is against religion; and in the third stage, that it was long known.

      Agassiz, of course, was Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, the Swiss-American naturalist. However, I have not been able to ¯nd this passage in any of Agassiz’s writings. Von Baer’s use of the quotation was popularized by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge in support of their theory of punctuated equilibrium [13]

  2. Meg

    I also do not like the criticism found in *certain* circles that the protesters are just looking for “free stuff” like free college education and free health care “without having to work for it.”

    I think we can all figure out where the freeloader meme originates.

    1. F. Beard

      I think we can all figure out where the freeloader meme originates. Meg

      The bankers are the biggest free loaders. They create the money the rest of us have to earn.

      Remember the expression “3-6-3″? It used to be the banker motto: “Borrow at 3%, lend at 6% and be on the golf course by 3PM”.

  3. jck

    Grayson is the guy who thinks that the fed has $9 trillion in off balance sheet transactions. He also lost most of his fortune in a ponzi scheme.
    Complete cretin.

        1. sdemetri

          You’ve proven nothing. He was a victim, and judge and jury have so far all agreed with this, of Derivium’s Ponzi scheme. It wasn’t his…

          All you are doing is accusing him of what the judge and jury exonerated him of… Go away.

        2. DP

          You didn’t read very carefully. Grayson didn’t lose in this Ponzi scheme, he withdrew his money before it collapsed. The bigger issue is that the motivation of Grayson and the other investors was to evade U.S. taxes on capital gains from appreciated stocks. Grayson got his highly appreciated stock from a few months of work at a startup and didn’t want to pay capital gains taxes on it, so he laundered it through this obvious tax fraud and was fortunate enough to pull his money before the whole thing collapsed. Every one of the investors in this scheme that was audited by the IRS was found guilty of tax fraud, but for some reason Grayson, as a member of Congress, wasn’t audited.

          Whether I agree with him on some issues or not, Grayson is in my opinion a crooked scumbag.

          1. sdemetri

            You said, “The bigger issue is that the motivation of Grayson and the other investors was to evade U.S. taxes on capital gains from appreciated stocks.”

            You are presuming that was his intent. There was no evidence at all Grayson was in it to do so. Neither have you proven anything except your bias against him.

          2. Mike M

            Wow, uh, what the hell? I swear, until the day I die I will be surprised at how every now and then I hear of some sort of new scheme like that to profit from changing money. I could elicit some sympathy for him if he got nailed by an actual ponzi scheme, but, what the hell was that? He had to be an active participant. Yeah, verdict, scumbag. Amazing.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Get your facts right. Grayson did lose money but he was still one of the richest men in Congress even post his losses, IIRC the 10th richest.

          Second, he’s a lawyer, not a finance type. Look at the roster of finance pros who were victimized by Madoff, including Henry Kaufman. There was a ponzi in the 1980s or early 1990s that fleeced even bigger Wall Street pros, including John Whitehead, former co-chairman of Goldman.

          Third, this is pure ad hominem. This has NOTHING to do with the argument Grayson is making.

          1. exMBB

            Actually Grayson was a pretty good value investor I guess. He lost 10% of his capital + “millions” or potential upside under the worse case scenario (fraud). Talk about downside protection.

  4. james m

    PJ *never* makes reasoned arguments, his schtick is jr high wit, and trademakrk is baby boomer cultural references. Huckleberry Hound? That’s grandpa for ya.
    Ya want reasoned analysis was that he could NOT find porn online?
    I wasn’t pleased with Greyson. He recited numbers that he knew were a sure fire crowd pleaser, he wasted the opportunity to unseat a kneekerk PJ ad homonym with a real argument. Without a panel member who elevate the discourse, every appeal is to the gallery.

    1. Bill

      So whats wrong with a sure fire crowd pleaser ? Even if the format is like Springer’s the crowd did cheer . A crowd of dumb yes men sheeple , or….. DO THEY SEE A PROBLEM IN OUR NATION? Do that want a voice that TRULY represents them ? YES – But so far we have few .

      1. Tom Mc Cool

        John Emerson hits a very important nail on the head! Bob Somerby keeps making this same point at The Daily Howler, that liberals and their so-called leaders are so busy denigrating anyone who doesn’t agree with them precisely that they end up with no one listening to them.
        Calling all the Tea Party people racists or morons is unlikely to engender their cooperation. But it does make our tribe feel good because we’re sooooo much better than those people.

        1. rotter

          I agree with you. Those working class people who have been so abused and deluded by the rentier establishment as to believe thier insterst lie with it, should be treated like Serbian Rape camp victims. Too brutalized to have a clear idea of whats happening around them.The actual Left, such as it is, should come up with a real strategy for reaching these people.

    2. John Emerson

      *Without a panel member who elevate the discourse, every appeal is to the gallery.*

      Liberal intellectuals are the biggest f*****g m****s on the face of the earth. Democrats and liberals have been failing to communicate to the gallery for more than four decades. That’s their biggest weakness. But whenever one of them tries, the rest of them jump on him and tear him to pieces.

      Some people are so completely schooled and academicized that they think that if you’re right, and if you win the argument, you win. You end up with all these losers strutting laughing about how stupid the winners are. It’s really disgusting because these smartasses make it evident that they don’t know how politics works and don’t really care either. They’re the morons.

      Politics isn’t a college class graded by a teacher. If you don’t get your message out to the gallery, you lose, pure and simple.

      1. JasonRines

        You spoke partial truth but a couple of points:

        1) Any version of your solution set to the problem of the lack of the stereo amplifier would be rejected.

        2) Both left and right media supported the banking class for forty years. The amplified I mentioned that is missing is independent media. This is why third party movements all failed. Both right and left must FUND such a project instead of being led off a cliff again by attempting a movement without the most important part.

        3) If near half the population are morons as you suggest and you are so enlightened, why didn’t you propose the solution in the first place? BTW, I was once very much like you, the rough Libertarian type. It tells me you have likely not had any serious oppression yet from standing behind your convictions. Once you do, you’ll realize the beauty of the concept moderation and not demonize the base that fought for labor. If your really an a American Capitalist, fight for trust busting like Teddy Roosevelt.

        1. Nathanael

          Funding? You don’t per se need funding….

          ….you need farmers and farm workers. And people from all other crucial industries. (Transportation is a hard one, because Big Oil is sure not going to be on the side of the 99%).

          Remember that money, for the purpose of a movement, is merely a medium of exchange. If you have the right people on board you have the goods and services you need, and then you don’t need money — or you’re able to print your own money, which is usually more practical.

          This particular fight is a fight about money, and a fight against a cartel which has a stranglehold on the money supply — so this is important!

          You don’t need money — you need numerous supporters from crucial industries. I leave it to other people to specify which industries (besides food production) are crucial. The security forces? Almost certainly. People who have the ability to control housing? Definitely.

      2. scraping_by

        What you’re talking about is the liberal message put forth by the traditional corporate media. The same people who called Bush II “strong” and Sarah Palin a serious candidate are supposed to get it right for people they don’t like?

        And supposedly, these are a bunch of radical chic posers who’ll talk freedom and while pulling down professional salaries. As opposed to the faux populist posers in the pay of the bankers.

        In reality, I first ran into this sort of anti-middle America pose in the writings and lives of a lot of right-wing free marketers from the early part of the 20th century. It was all the rage to praise willpower over convention but it was explicit they were elites rising above the rules. Much like a group of financiers we all know.

        The Rush Limbaugh/PJ O’Rourke clustering is at work here, too. There is no real connection between lifestyle decisions and economic approaches. Yet, the “dirty hippie” meme is trotted out, with the solemn assurance this is shocking to the silent majority, every time law, morality, and decency is mentioned in connection with finance. By people who are proud to have nothing to do with the silent majority. Meh.

        1. skippy

          Vote for President Johnson on November the 3rd…or we must die.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unF1QIdwdfs&feature=related

          Long haired freaky people need not apply?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVJiz7n7dIE&feature=related

          Skippy….OWS theme song[?], Daft Punk – Harder Better Faster Stronger. Should bounce nicely off the architecture…eh.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVi9bJ-hKyE&feature=related

          Robot version:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ7nq3MI2pw&feature=related

      3. rotter

        The Problem with what your saying is, who are you talking about? “Liberals” and “Democrats” have absolutely 0 interest in responding in an effective way to the “free market” syndicate which rules the country, they are in fact, its apparatchiks.

      4. rotter

        The Problem with what your saying is that,I dont know who you are talking about. “Liberals” and “Democrats” have absolutely 0 interest in responding in an effective way to the “free market” syndicate which rules the country, they are in fact, its apparatchiks.

          1. John Emerson

            There are probably 50 million Democrats in this country, and neither what you say nor what I say is true of all of them. I have no idea which smelly little orthodoxy you speak for, but what you said is not pertinent to what I said or to much of anything. You’re just venting.

      5. Jane Doe

        You are right. You can see much of that on display here, which is interesting to then see people deny what you are saying or qualify it. The truth is that the people who are liberals who are in charge or who speak the most are the last people who should be speaking. The people who should be speaking are people who have the ability to call a duck, a duck. And that’s what Grayson did here. I don’t care about anything other than that fact. But you can see from the demonization of him that this is what motivates much of politics. FDR and LBj were supposedly complete assholes. ANd FDR certainly had some issues with race, but none of that matters to me as a Black man- want to know why? His politics went on to help people of color, and all Americans in general. That’s the standard that should be used. But the liberal navel gazers are why we get men like Obama as President. He talks reasonable, but then does unreasonable things, and we ignore it because he talks the way liberals want to be talked to rather than because he does the right things.

    1. scraping_by

      He was big in the 1990′s. What Rush Limbaugh did on hate radio, ad homemen attacks based on supposed clusters of attributes (think “sushi-eating liberals”) he did under the guise of journalism.

      O’Rourke is Limbaugh for the haters who don’t want to be seen as working class. You can tell that when he screams about not bathing and bongos to discredit the observation that the OWS demonstrators have got it right. Dramatic and a completely irrelevant. A poor attempt at the appeal to ridicule.

      Grayson did it just right. Don’t match the tone, don’t try to answer the lies, just tell the truth. Good on un.

      http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

      1. Mike M

        !990s?? C’mon, just use Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pj_orourke

        He first came to prominence as the managing editor of the National Lampoon in the 70s, when it was the funniest satire rag in America, and possibly the english speaking world. Criticize him all you like, and, personally, I think he hasn’t aged well at all, but, anyone who was responsible for the Lampoon 1964 High School yearbook deserves a special little penthouse in comedy heaven when he goes.

        Never, ever compare him to Rush. Shame on you.

  5. slim-hat

    We live in an entertainment (and message) cloaked media world. I expect exactly this kind of goofy hijinx to ensue on teevee — it knows nothing else really. Frankly I’m surprised there isn’t more of it (or worse) but if the protest lasts, it will. Good for Grayson for being serious about it though. Not sure how this sit in will work out as they generally get washed away by some government group. It would be nice though, if they made their point to the people who represent ‘US’ and to what I think is a (purposely) anesthetized public that hasn’t really participated with good information for a long time.

  6. PaulArt

    Brilliant! Thanks for this Yves. By the way, I don’t know about this: “Indeed, seniors are logical allies of OWS….” -w here I go to Church, I see a lot of Seniors and a lot of them are middle and lower middle class and I doubt it very much if they are allies of anyone other than the GOP. I have always felt that the entitlements are a double edged sword because they remove these people from the reality of the ‘free market’ as defined by the plutocracy. A man who gets a worry free monthly check in the mail from Social Security and who also has no worries about his medical care – I have believed its always easier for these people to vote on the basis of color, ‘take my country back’ and ‘keep the gummint hands off my Medicare’. Case in point, the Tea Party brigade and also every meeting in the Repub Primaries – mostly older white people.

    1. F. Beard

      I have always felt that the entitlements are a double edged sword because they remove these people from the reality of the ‘free market’ as defined by the plutocracy. PaulArt

      Have no fear. The Austerians have their eyes on Grandma’s SS check. Obviously (in their eyes), it is the old people who are to blame for the economic crisis.

      Good! Let em touch the “3rd rail of politics”.

      1. Susan the other

        I think it’s just divide and conquer all over again. If we had single-payer, aka nationalized medical care, then old and young alike would make all those actuarial tables actually make sense in a medical insurance world. As it stands now we just have fragments. We should have medicare for all. That we do not is just the first step in a divide and conquer strategy. And this strategy is for the sole benefit of Big Pharma et. al. who live under the delusion that they bootstrapped their magnificent corporations.

    2. noe

      Granny will vote against her economic self interest – GOP, because the loony left keeps pushing for

      1. Drive by homosexual sex on TV.

      2. The Dream Act.

      3. Co opting popular culture -Dancing With The Stars – granny would have liked it – but for the bumps and grinds, and sexual innuendo in every style. Sex on the stage – with transgender men no less!!

      4. Ridicule for her religious beliefs.

      need I go on?

      The Democrats do not understand that their cultural depravity will keep many in the middle hugging the GOP out of fear of what is coming next. Doo Dah parades in Des Moines?

      The Tea Party agrees with OWS… but they are terrified of a world where gays and illegals flood our streets and schools.

      so yes.. granny is xenophobic and homophobic… more afraid of them than banks.

      1. F. Beard

        Excellent point. The Left IS unnecessarily offensive. But I disagree. Granny will march with the fags when it becomes obvious that the Right consists of cold-hearted and stupid bastards.

        Bastards to the Right of US
        deviants to the Left,
        here we are
        stuck in the middle
        and screwed.
        apologies to Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan

      2. Christophe

        Noe,

        While your puritanical fervor derives from one of the longest standing and most ingrained cultural currents in the US, your attempt to speak for others by claiming it to be the only cultural current is disingenuous. Far more genuine would be for you to speak for yourself. However, that would not leave you room to hide your prudery, bigotry, and obsession with sex behind an imagined cultural consensus.

        The next time you aspire to contribute to a blog thread, try not to leverage your argument on an absurdity like cultural depravity. Moral depravity may have been the term you were looking for, as depravity is a moral concern. In a species as culturally diverse as humanity, imagining some universal culture that conveniently matches your moral beliefs is sheer lunacy. Endeavoring to speak for that imagined culture is a bigot’s folly.

      3. fremd

        Let’s hope that the GOP takes away her medicare then. When she’s gone, we can restore it for ourselves.

  7. LeeAnne

    P.J.’s lucky that Grayson is too smart and skilled a debater to out him as the alcoholic he is. And that’s being kind. I didn’t use the D word.

    O’Rourke sad to say has been washed up for years.

    What’s striking about this is that he is still employed for appearances like this. That is a clear reflection of the corruption of TV media in particular, and those in corporate power positions generally.

    No matter, he’s been making a fool of himself for so long, he’s still in the picture as long as he adheres to the company line.

    1. neo-realist

      I thought Alan went rather easy on an end stage alcoholic.

      But Maher also disappointed me with his snap assumption of the OWS people being a bunch of pot smoking hippies without a clear message.

    1. F. Beard

      Send me 150k and we’ll call it even! Patrick

      Excellent thinking! That would compensate both borrowers and savers for the thieving banks.

      But at the same time, the banks should be put out of the counterfeiting business lest they inflate away the value of that $150,000.

      PS.
      I’m not sure $150,000 is enough. On average, the bailout checks should pay off ALL debt to the counterfeiting cartel.

  8. Martskers

    Grayson is running to recapture his old seat in
    the House, not for the Senate. I wish he would
    run for the Senate. I’m afraid that, even if
    Elizabeth Warren were to win, the voices of the
    TRUE progressives (actually, I should use the singular
    since Bernie Sanders is the only true progressive left after Russ Feingold lost his election)in that dysfunctional would still be in the wilderness.

    As for criticisms of the media’s coverage of the
    “Occupy” movement, that same phenomenon is
    repeating itself all over the country, where media
    outlets, as minions of the power elite, make
    every effort to dismiss, and even scoff at,
    the “Occupiers.”

    Here in Memphis, the best coverage of the movement
    has come, unsurprisingly, from the local African-
    American newspaper, the Tri-State Defender, which
    has a long history of involvement in that “other”
    movement (i.e., civil rights), which may explain
    its far more intuitive coverage of this one:

    http://tri-statedefenderonline.com/articlelive/articles/6731/1/Occupy-Wall-Street-offshoot-now-ready-to-Occupy-Memphis/Page1.html

    1. Aquifer

      I was an unabashed fan of Warren – until i saw the first Mass Dem primary “debate” (sad what passes for “debate” these days …) She is good on what she does best, and for which she achieved her present “heroine” status, but elsewhere? Hmmmm .. She studiously avoided criticizing Obama even when pointedly asked whether she “disagreed” with him on a particular issue.

      Granted there were questions of import that were not asked, e.g. issues re the wars and healthcare, but her answers on those that were make me want to know what her stands on these other issues are.

      She would be a freshman Senator and i am thinking she may wind up being a “don’t rock the boat” voice for her party. A female Sanders? I am beginning to think not so. She may be a one trick pony – willing to compromise too much in order to further her positions on finance which, though quite admirable, are, IMO not broad enough to deal with the problems OWS is really all about.

      I just hope we don’t start Warren mania, as too many did with Obama, before looking a little further …..

  9. mad as hell.

    PJ reminds me of a nervous, washed up, corny, unhumoristic humorist. He is a righty and Maher always has at least one on his show. I think Maher has him on his show because there is some weed connection.

    I’m more worried of Grayson being so willing to take up the OWS mantle as one of it’s leaders. Which is what he said on the show and the audience applauded their approval. Don’t need a democratic politician trying to lead the movement.

  10. Schofield

    As ever human beings instinctually seek parity. It is afterall adaptive. The growing understanding by the “Ninety-Niners” that belief in Neo-Liberal ideology increasingly ensures wealth being sucked into the “Black Hole” of the “One-Percenters” is promoting revolt. The time is rapidly arriving when the “One-Percenters” and their political accomplices will recognise their sociopathy has done them no favors as an adaptive strategy.

    1. scraping_by

      “Adaptive” indeed. What Ms Warren said about wealth is doubly true about politics.

      While we will, and should, reach our own conclusions about politics in the privacy of our own minds, getting the thing done in the real world can’t be a solo business.

      Bye the bye, I didn’t hear Grayson taking over the OWS demonstration. No “we” as far as that went. Recognizing they nailed the most important problem is perception, not participation. Their doing impacts our knowing. Is our knowing going to impact our doing?

  11. Graham

    I heard about Grayson before his first election from a blog and sent him money. I think that was the first time any politician ever got any money from me (I am 50). I send him some every now and then. I like the way he frames. I like the way he fights. We need more like him. He is a threat to TBTB and that is why he has been vilified in the press. His rhetoric increases the chances that a bank will lose 1 penny on looting transactions, as does E. Warren’s. It is amazing to me the way the fangs come out, from very powerful people, when someone starts talking about justice for the working class. We need to turn this around in a big way, and OWS is a prelude to the pitchforks and torches that will come out soon if something is not done to reign in the looting of the middle class.

  12. Ron

    The Vietnam War was popular until the middle class college grads were drafted and sent home wounded and killed in large numbers for a reminder 50K killed and 500K wounded, no small number and it has changed the way America goes about military adventures, so massive public protest does impact public policy.
    The issue today is that the American consumer has been over promised from the house in the burbs with never ending refi’s and kitchen remodels to that shinny new car and various electronic appliances. What great jobs await the millions of unemployed or recent college grads? Picking fruit/vegetates or keeping the lawns green as the illegals are run out of town? How about those high paying construction jobs always in need after major storms. The problem facing the bank protesters is that they want the American Dream, it was promised!

    1. F. Beard

      The issue today is that the American consumer has been over promised from the house in the burbs with never ending refi’s and kitchen remodels to that shinny new car and various electronic appliances. Ron

      No. The issue today is that our money system is defective and imposes a false reality on us. Kids should live better their parents. It’s called “human progress”.

      It is absurd that people and factories sit idle when there is still so much human need MERELY because of the money system.

      I am not for social credit but C. H. Douglas was right to point out that the US which supposedly had no money in the 1930s had all it needed to defeat both Japan and Germany in WWII.

      Our money system is based on theft, usury and government privilege. It is absurd anyway one looks at it – ethically, mathematically, historically and physically.

      1. Ron

        Oh Please, kids should live better then there Dad and Mom, what a rally cry! I want a better, faster car then my Dad or I am gonna cry! That’s the reality of what you are saying. Most people in the world walk, they don’t even have enough money for a bike, yet in America everyone is suppose to live in a 3 bedroom rancher on a quarter acre lot, have multiple auto’s and go to an Ivy league school. We consume 25% of the worlds energy and have troops stationed in over 137 countries to keep the hope alive of the American Dream life for every middle class kid?
        I think the protesters are OK and worthwhile but its core values is all about continuing the false belief in the great American luxury consumer binge that will end sooner or later.

        1. F. Beard

          Most people in the world walk, they don’t even have enough money for a bike, Ron

          That kind of absurd poverty is your model? We are NOT too rich; they are far too poor.

          You hair-shirt liberals are understandably unpopular. Pardon the rest of the world if we don’t share your ideal of what life should be?

          But I have a suggestion. Let’s make sure the system is honest and not worry so much about the outcome so long as it was arrived at honestly? Too much to ask? Minding our own business too hard?

          And as for “better lives” that does not necessarily mean more of the same as their parents had. It could mean working a 3-day week for example.

          I don’t know what “better lives” would be but I do have the honest conviction that an honest system would lead to them.

          1. Aquifer

            It seems to me that perhaps one has to decide what one needs to be “honest” about and one question that we haven’t “honestly” asked, and answered, is what does it mean to be devoted to an economic system that requires perpetual growth in a world that has tangible, and increasingly demonstrable, limits ….

            The only thing I know that refuses to recognize limits to growth is cancer – and we know how that turns out ….

          2. F. Beard

            is what does it mean to be devoted to an economic system that requires perpetual growth in a world that has tangible, and increasingly demonstrable, limits …. Aquifer

            The need for perpetual (and exponential!) growth is a consequence of our usury-based money system. Usury has long been condemned by philosophers and the world’s major religions. Yet our money system is based on it.

          3. Aquifer

            Does usury explain the (relatively) recent concept of “planned obsolescence” whereby the useful life cycle of everything is designed to be short – where the concept of making something well enough that it “will last forever” is not only considered “quaint” but downright foolish? And that is quite aside from the manipulations of Madison Ave in creating “wants” and turning them into “needs”, not to mention the Gospel of Prosperity that sings from the pulpit …

          4. F. Beard

            Does usury explain the (relatively) recent concept of “planned obsolescence” whereby the useful life cycle of everything is designed to be short Aquifer

            American automakers tried that crap in 1960s (70s?). I have not yet forgiven them and probably never will.

          5. F. Beard

            not to mention the Gospel of Prosperity that sings from the pulpit … Aquifer

            “You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest. You may charge interest to a foreigner, but to your countrymen you shall not charge interest, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are about to enter to possess. Deuteronomy 23:19-20 New American Standard Bible (NASB) [bold added]

    2. Fíréan

      The issue today is . . . of corruption and the trickle down adverse effects ( more like a tsunami than trickle) on a majority of the population. Not a singular issue limited to the specifics of demographics, nor limited to any one generation, not limited to the confines of party politics ( left or right), nor race nor creed

      Maybe one ought read the other topics within this blog which cover just some of the parts of the “issue” of the blatant corruption of the system.

      1. Ron

        “issue” of the blatant corruption of the system.”

        Blatant corruption has been around before you were born and will be here long after you are dead! The big problem now is that the middle class believed all the silly hype about home ownership piling up over 10 trillion in debt and wanting to live like the rich by buying expensive knock offs from China on credit thinking they were living the American Dream.
        Its been ok to bomb Iraq and other 3rd world countries back to the stone age so that we can keep American military vendors busy but when it comes to losing our house in the burbs or paying off that expensive college education that has little or nothing to do with the current job market then its time to get pissed off! No its time for the American public to grow up and not only be pissed off at Obama and the banks but themselves for being so greedy.

        1. LifelongLib

          I bought a townhouse with a small yard because I was tired of having to move every two years when the landlord decided to sell. And I didn’t want to pay rent when I was retired. And my kid wanted a dog. I drive a 6-year-old Civic. I’m interested in astronomy so I have a telescope (made in China). I like having access to the internet and e-mail so I have a computer (probably also made in China). I admit to buying more books than I have time to read, but I’m not living some mad mass-consumption lifestyle. I suspect there are a lot more middle-class people like me (minus the telescope maybe) than this imaginary wealth wannabee that you suggest.

      2. Fíréan

        My reference was specific to present corruption, and that enfolds not just a few issues. We are all aware that corruption has been around for however long, though in our own society many have long turned a blind eye to it.

  13. Fraud Guy- Also

    A commenter yesterday made the suggestion for OWS that I am going to keep repeating. A chant:

    “Mark to market. Mark to market.”

    These words will send fear through the spines of the elites they are targeting, because those elites will realize that the three card monte game isn’t working any more. People have figured out the central lie at the hear of the financial sytem, which is that financial statements reflect the value of underlying assets. FASB repealed mark to market in early 2009, at the height of the crisis, and the change was widely characterized as “temporary”, for the duration of the emergency. Three years on, and the whole thing has gone down the memory hole, never to be discussed in polite society. If we don’t change it, history will show it to have been the singularly most important act on our road to becoming a banana republic, which is a system of government where the rulers’ arbitrary powers are justified on the basis of some “emergency situation” in the distant past that nobody even remembers.

    1. psychohistorian

      I like the Mark To Market meme a lot.

      Too bad it couldn’t be applied back to 2008 when the real rich really were exposed. Not as big of losses now but maybe still significant enough to break their hold on the world.

  14. Namazu

    One of your guest bloggers used to work for Grayson, and could probably tell us whether he’s a nut-job or uses a not-job act for effect. For the young protesters to hitch their wagon to Grayson would be almost as damaging as letting Michael Moore speak for them. I hold out great hope for their generation, and I recommend they use some of their free time to read some of PJ O’Rourke’s old stuff from Rolling Stone magazine.

    1. Ignim Brites

      Well Alan Grayson is not going to challenge Obama and the OWS will depart once the weather turns a little cooler. The real beneficiary of this will be “Start a Revolution” Ron Paul, since he is the only politician with a semi coherent view of Wall Street. Mr. Corporations are People Too is toast. Obama and the Dems will of course have to dial up the faux hostility to the rich. So bottom line is that the wealthy are facing fairly significant, possibly massive, revaluations of the values of their assets, from either the market (Paul/Reps) or government (Obama/Dems). A bear market guarantees a democratic wipeout a little over a year from now; at which point it will be up to a younger generation of Dems in CA and the northeast to man up and begin working of secession, the new word for revolution. It’s all over now baby blue.

    2. rotter

      PJ Orourke? Havent heard that name in a looooong time. Being a paid flak for wal st and the republican party dosent lend distinction any more now that CNN and the NYT are paid flaks for wal st. My Favorite PJ Orourke “stuff” are the ones he dosent like to talk about anymore. His diatribes against Isreali occupying troops, and Pat Robertsons PTL club. Wonder if he had to sign a confession and or make a statement of contrition for those. His shtick is SOOOOO transparent once you get the jist of which isnt hard.

    3. John Emerson

      O’Rourke was always a piece of shit politically. He didn’t show it immediately. If you like O’Rourke and don;y like Grayson and Moore, I’d say you’ve had your three strikes. Back ti the dugout.

  15. dictateursanguinaire

    lol @ Grayson debunking the ‘lefties don’t know econ’ meme.

    ‘maybe you were the one who flunked me!’
    ‘no, but I would have.’

    –PJO hacks out an awkward laugh–

    priceless

  16. Eureka Springs

    Grayson is a Democrat. He is part of the problem. His rhetoric in the video soft sold Dem side of the blatant two party sellout he knows exists. He also voted for the most despicable Dole Romney Obama health looting spree of a bill… Dems called victory. Nearly a trillion more government dollars to do the wrong thing while kettling millions more citizens into the profiteer insurance non-negotiated pharma beast.

  17. mac

    I think that just by “being there” the OWS frightens many people. That may well be the best they offer, agendas, demands etc can be argued, BUT “being there” just is!

  18. rotter

    This is great, but Orourke isnt hard to “shred”. The worst abuse i think ive ever seen anyone take was heaped on Orourke by chris mathews (of all people) back in 2009, when orourke was plugging his latest stacked, bound toilet paper project.

  19. notsofastfriend

    Many here seem offended by the media characterization of Occupy Wall Street as a bunch of unwashed intellectually vapid loafers looking for handouts. Yet in the same breath they ridicule Tea Party members as a bunch of homophobic, crazed gun touting religious zealots.

    My observation as been that there are many hard working honest folks who identify themselves more with one camp then the other but in either case looking for truth and a better way.

    Perhaps, when quick to pass judgment we should best remember that both political parties are currently bought and paid for by the monied interest who frankly don’t care about you, your family, neighbor or country. Yet, will not hesitate to exploit and foment the apparent hatred of one group towards the other. I suggest we quit our petty labeling and kick some Wall Street ass.

    1. John Emerson

      I’ve seen no evidence that the Teapartiers are anything other than hard-core Republicans. Some of them are so hard core that they don’t think Boehner is rightwing enough, but they’re essentially just more fanatical than Boehner.

  20. Hugh

    I concur with Eureka Springs. Grayson voted for Obamacare. That I know of he has never rejected Obama. It’s good that he supports OWS and that he was a critic of the Fed, but for me this is another example of rotating heroes. We need to look at the totality of a public figure’s positions and not be so enthralled by those occasional pronouncements of theirs with which we agree. Grayson is a Democrat, one of the two parties responsible for looting us. And he is that most paradoxical of creatures an Establishment liberal. They speak to progressives but deliver for the elites. See Grayson’s vote on healthcare as an example. This is part and parcel the concept of revolving heroes. There is a standard cast: Sanders, Kucinich, Krugman, Feingold, Grayson, etc. They will take up a progressive position and garner praise and the attention of progressives for a few days or a few weeks, but it never seems to lead anywhere. It never becomes a base upon which to build on. It never turns into or amounts to real opposition. Rather they establish some progressive cred and then disappear until the next on the list shows up to do their star turn. The upshot is that far from helping a real opposition to come into being, they have precisely the opposite effect, dissipating progressive energies and resources to no useful purpose.

      1. Willam Hurley

        Former Rep Grayson was unrestrained in his assessments of the President’s and White House’s political slipperiness and eagerness to capitulate to the minority party.

        More and more Americans are now feeling free to express their own sentiments regarding the President’s inability and more importantly his unwillingness to take maximum advantage of the mandate we gave him at the ballot box in Nov 2008. Unchallenged, the President will likely recommit himself to his past habits thus rendering him unelectable in 2012.

        1. Fíréan

          The full transcript of the Alan Grayson-Dylan Ratigan radio interview, not a video, is available at the bottom of the link given by the previous poster (above). Thereby one can read the full interview, and it’s not favourable to Obama.

      2. Hugh

        Thanks, I can’t access videos. I would just note that the video is time stamped considerably after his defeat in the November 2010 elections. Breaking with Obama before that election would have said more than an interview 4 months later. The other point would be if he has broken with the Democrats. Earlier in the thread, there were those who were saying Grayson was going to run for office in 2012. If he is running as a Democrat, then he has not broken with the Democrats and this helps position him, that he still thinks his best route is to work within a totally corrupt party.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Grayson had one of the most, if not the most, liberal voting records in Congress. He was most decidedly not a Blue Dog.

          And I have to tell you, I’m not sure I’d weigh as much on Obamacare as you do. Even Bernie Sanders voted for it. I was consistently opposed to it on the blog, and I got huge reader pushback, not just the Kossack Obamabots, but people who were uninsured (or worse, had relatives die due to lack of insurance) and were genuinely outraged that anyone would oppose a plan that would give the uninsured coverage, even if it did have warts. They were unable to accept that they were likely to get overpriced insurance that would not cover much.

          1. Nathanael

            I suspect the view from New York State on Obamacare was different from the view from most other states. Here, we already *had* pretty much every one of the ‘good’ legal rules in Obamacare — and we have overpriced, unaffordable insurance with obnoxious, abusive insurance companies.

            We don’t have an individual mandate, but we *do* have the government forcing Medicaid patients into the hands of private HMO companies, and we know exactly what a bureaucratic mess it is….

            …so I think we’re more cynical about it than people from outside NY. I have noticed that the “this isn’t going to work” reaction to Obamacare came most loudly from NY-based commenters (myself included).

          2. Hugh

            First, having a liberal voting record in the Congresses of the last 30 years doesn’t mean much. Especially in the Obama Congresses, it can mean being somewhere to the right of Richard Nixon. I don’t recall saying that Grayson was a Blue Dog. Indeed several of the Blue Dogs voted against Obamacare although their reasons were that corporatist as it was it was not corporatist enough.

            Second, I am vastly unimpressed by voting records. Some of us have dissected votes on the net for years. The only votes that you can really say mean anything or show anything are those where 1)it comes down to a make or break vote, like healthcare, or 2)the vote isn’t needed but the lawmaker votes against his/her stated position anyway.

            Third, beyond voting records, there is leadership, a quality of which I have seen nothing among the Democrats in years.

  21. Baudelaire

    You know what the “Occupy Wall Street” movement is?

    It is all the things that were in the original Tea Party, but were steadily ignored as the TP became a Republican booster club.

    The Tea Party is a contradiction. They want a balanced budget, but they also want the US military to intervene everywhere. Obamacare is a dirty word, but don’t dare touch social security or medicare. Individual rights are important too, but don’t push it too far. After all, republicans came up with today’s policies.

    There are a few nuts in the OWS crowd, but from what I hear “Occupy Wall Street” is about bringing the fraudsters to justice. Its about changing the banker/government dynamic that runs this country. It’s about free markets. It’s about ending endless debt. It’s about stopping the wars. It’s about the rule of law. It’s about the libertarian soul of America.

    Since the TP lost the focus of addressing the root problems of America, they remain unresolved.

    It’s sad, really. The TP talks about sewer legislation, redistricting, and supporting House Speaker Boehner’s plan to add $2 trillion in debt, while the real issue is Congress has spent more than it takes in, and the costs of the promises outweigh the means to pay them. In the process, you and I are less free than we used to be.

    There was no place left for folks to go.

    It’s up to the Libertarians to let them know there is a place for them with us.

    Pete Blome
    Chair, Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County

    1. Willam Hurley

      Ahh yes, the inevitable missing missive from the Ayn Rand wing of the “It’s certainly not my fault” party.

      The motley assemblage known as “Tea” parties were and remain wholly-owned, manufactured properties of the wealthiest hyper-partisan people in America. Without money, organizational instruction, appointed liaisons, prepaid access to press outlets and interviewers, extensive & PR marketing efforts and many other logistical, staffing and communications widgets provided – free-of-monetary-cost – the “tea” parties would be just as they were before their manufacture – bitter, self-isolated pockets malcontents, nationalist, white supremacists, Birchers and other assorted right-wing loons who had been cast into the cultural by William F. Buckley and the leadership of the old GOP.

      Understand this, a product conceived and born as the outcome of a corporate branding experiment is neither political nor related in any way to democracy.

      There are exactly 0 (zero) similarities between the “Tea” parties, a Koch Industries subsidiary, and the “Occupy” phenomenon taking root – organically – across the nation and, maybe, even the globe.

      1. Jim in MN

        And yet…without a place for well-meaning folk who want reform but disagree with liberal politics, the thing collapses back into itself.

        This is the riddle about whether America can reinvent itself socially and politically. Do those who normally sit comfortably on one side or the other of the political spectrum take this crisis seriously enough to ‘get over themselves’ and make sacrifices? Cuz I see a lot of complacency on both sides and that bodes poorly.

        I think we need to form a united front against corruption and bust up the elite schmoozefest even as we disagree about taxation, divisive identity politics and the like.

        That is where the independent/libertarian faction comes into play. America isn’t going anywhere as a political shift without that group. So get with it and rethink exclusionary (and especially smug/superior) positions.

        This is the moral/political/soclal/economic equivalent of war. It needs to be met with commensurate seriousness.

    2. Nathanael

      I almost agree with you, “baudelaire”, but you don’t understand money, and that makes you a pawn of the bankers.

      This is simply WRONG:
      “while the real issue is Congress has spent more than it takes in, and the costs of the promises outweigh the means to pay them”

      Learn about money. Not the fairy tales they teach, the real facts. First of all, money is a shared illusion. Its main purpose is to ‘grease the wheels’ of real economic activity. In order to do this, it must keep changing hands. The only way to keep money changing hands — to prevent it from being hoarded and ending up useless — is to have it continuously, slowly devalued. This means continuous low-level inflation is a GOOD thing. This means money-printing is an important way of keeping the country doing productive things.

      Next, learn about the problems of concentration of wealth — you may understand this already. There are three problems: the very wealthy can buy power; those who are too poor are unable to buy things they need; and the majority are unable to bargain with their labor (they are under duress, worried about food, so they can’t bargain). The third problem is crucial, as it means that excess concentration of wealth is *self-reinforcing*. The first problem means that excess concentration of wealth is both self-reinforcing *and* can destroy the other values we care about. The second problem means that excess concentration of wealth creates a society of sick, hungry, unhappy people.

      Accordingly, a healthy society needs to not only devalue the money (inflation), but to break up great concentrations of it and redistribute them to the people at the bottom of the ladder so they get a fair chance (progressive taxation and the social safety net).

      The problems in Congress are unwillingness to tax the rich, unwillingness to manage the money for the general benefit, and willingness to engage in the wasteful, expensive pet projects of some rich, powerful people (such as foreign wars). The common element here is that they’re controlled by a small group of overly powerful, overly rich people.

      The means to pay for what this country needs in public services (and it needs a LOT, from railroads to water systems to medical care) are there, Congress is simply unwilling to take them from the thieves who are sitting on them money — and unwilling to print money — and so forth.

  22. neo-realist

    I’m not sure if the elites are feeling all that vulnerable yet; Surprised by the growth of OWS in all likelihood, but not vulnerable. They can be made to feel vulnerable if they do what the Tea Party people did and started running for office, winning some seats and pushed for responsible regulation of the Financial sector, investigations and criminal prosecutions of Financial Fraudsters, and job creating centric policies.

    1. Nathanael

      The problem is that the power elites are delusional, living in a fantasy-world bubble, like Versailles before the French Revolution. I doubt they’ll *feel* vulnerable until their heads go into the tumbril. They *should* feel vulnerable, but they’re too *stupid* to.

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