Monday, October 10, 2011

Occupy Wall Street vs. The Tea Party

If I may dig up one of my all-time favorite Onion articles:
79 Percent Of Americans Missing The Point Entirely
WASHINGTON, DC—According to a Georgetown University study released Tuesday, 79 percent of Americans are missing the point entirely with regard to such wide-ranging topics as politics, consumerism, taxes, entertainment, fashion, and professional wrestling. . . .
I've been trying to organize my thoughts about the coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests, not to mention the protests themselves, and I keep coming back to that Onion article,[1] because any way I look at it, just about everyone is missing the point.

The problem, and I suppose this was inevitable, is that Occupy Wall Street is being portrayed as some kind of anti-Tea Party. Left vs. right, blue vs. red, rock vs. country, et cetera—it's the only way we know how to draw battle lines anymore. But how are the two movements meaningfully different? I sure as hell can't figure it out. There are plenty of minor differences, mostly concerning priorities and demographics, but the similarities are much more substantial. Both are popular uprisings against powerful-but-nebulous entities believed to be responsible for America's economic struggles. Both are defined not by easily-identified leaders, but by the sum total of countless unique viewpoints, and thus are not capable of articulating their goals with any cohesiveness or specificity (nor should they be expected to). And both movements, to borrow the classification scheme created by Bill O'Reilly, are teeming with both pinheads and patriots.

And yet, over the last week or so each side has generated mountains of commentary saying, essentially, this: You know the one-sidedly [negative/positive] portrayal of the Tea Party we've been pushing for two and a half years now? Well Occupy Wall Street is totally the opposite!
  • Paul Krugman describes OWS as "a popular movement that, unlike the Tea Party, is angry at the right people." Meanwhile, Ann Coulter says the OWS protesters are angry at the wrong people (and also have poor hygiene, because why not?).
  • Keith Olbermann says OWS is legitimately a grassroots movement that, at least at first, was ignored by the media. Rush Limbaugh says the Tea Party is the "organic" one, while OWS was "manufactured" by the media.
  • ThinkProgess claims the OWS protests "better embody the values of the original Boston Tea Party." BigGovernment insists the protesters are "more aligned with Marxism; with Democratic Socialism; with Soviet Era Collectivism; with the very dangerous and elitist Progressive Movement" than with anything even remotely "American".
So it goes. It's hard to be honest and fair. It's easy to cobble together some empty rhetoric and lob it in the direction of those most inclined to assume the best about their friends and the worst about their enemies.[2]

Not that I have any special insight into who's least wrong, but I'm a big fan of the sentiments expressed in this Reason article:
Of course, the type of loudmouth gadflies who show up at all large outdoor political events, whether Tea Party gatherings, GOP coffee klatches, or Democratic National Conventions, can be found in Liberty Plaza. But to dismiss an entire movement—one that is gathering momentum in cities all around the country—based on the inarticulateness of a few teenagers is entirely the wrong response. It's far more useful to try and understand what is going on here, to grok the meaning of these protesters' motivations, before prematurely passing summary judgment.
Exactly. We should pay less attention to the individual lunatics, and more attention to what a movement is really about. Occupy Wall Street, at its core, is a reaction to the increasing power and influence of large corporations. The Tea Party, at its core, is a reaction to the government's constant interference with private enterprise. But wait a minute—aren't those things connected?

Bailouts, subsidies, tax breaks, special rights and privileges, regulations designed to restrict competition—to name a few of the many ways the government protects and stimulates corporate interests, and those things are every bit as anti-free market as, not to mention directly related to, the high taxes and excessive bureaucracy that gets Tea Partiers riled up.[3] In other words, aren't these two groups—Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party—raging against different halves of the same machine? Do I have to draw a Venn diagram here?

Oh, alright, I'll draw a Venn diagram: that's how alt-text works

Yeah, I'm oversimplifying, but only a little. The greatest threat to our economy is neither corporations nor the government. The greatest threat to our economy is both of them working together. There are currently two sizable coalitions of angry citizens that are almost on the same page about that, and they're too busy insulting each other to notice.

1. The best part is the quote at the end:
"If I want to miss the point, that's my own business," said Ernie Schayr, a Wheeling, WV, auto mechanic. "If I want to complain about having to pay taxes while at the same time demanding extra police protection for my neighborhood, that's my right as an American. Most people in other countries don't ever get the chance to miss the point, and that's tragic. The East Timorese are so busy fleeing for their lives, they never have the chance to go to the supermarket during the busiest time of the week and complain to the cashier about how long the lines are and ask them why they don't do something about it."
2. Here's a refreshing case of common sense and reason transcending partisanship: An open letter and warning from a former tea party movement adherent to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Naturally, the author is anonymous (as far as I can tell). By Reverend Vas Littlecrow Wojtanowicz.
3. By all means, leave a comment if you think I'm wrong, but it's a myth that big corporations are anti-government, right? They don't want to have to compete in a free market, they want to "compete" in an artificially restricted market.


  1. Your footnote #3 is spot on. As economist Steve Horwitz has said, nobody hates capitalism as much as capitalists. It forces them to compete.

  2. You are really speaking from my soul here. Thanks.

  3. I think I may have just found a new favorite blog. Great post!

  4. This is a great post! One of the most thoughtful pieces on OWS

  5. Brilliant Venn diagram !

  6. I am going to pose a question that is fallacious in nature, as it is an either / or proposition. While both movements seek change, the primary difference is the effectiveness of their demands. Whose movement would prove to correct or better stabilize the economy: The OWS, who would bring down the corporations, and spread their wealth to heal the world's ills; or the tea partiers, who seek to weaken the role of government, and hence open up the markets to more competition?

  7. Great post! I appreciate the perspective

  8. There are significant distinctions to be made between the two, and they're important ones. Pointing them out isn't just cobbling together empty rhetoric for present-day propaganda purposes; it's essential for any analysis of where things are heading.

    As has been noted by some of the liberals, the "Tea Party" was not a "popular uprising"; it was an effort, by certain huge-money interests, to misdirect the very sentiment presently being expressed by Occupy Wall Street, and throw it against taxing and regulating same huge-money interests. The sentiment is real. OWS is an expression of it. The Tea Party is merely people with money and power using their money and power to exploit it, and this is the underlying truth of everything that travels under the Tea Party banner.

    From its origin, the Tea Party was entirely--and that word can't be stressed strongly enough--the creation of a handful of corporate front-groups (astroturfers) and Fox News (a huge media corporation). It came to be perceived as a force merely because some very powerful people shoveled an incredible amount of money into making it appear that way. The "movement" itself--the rank-and-file--has never demonstrated it has any power. It can't dictate election results. The big, comprehensive Washington Post canvass of Tea Party groups found that most of them had fewer than 50 members, no money, and were aligned with the big astroturf orgs. Under the Tea Party banner, it does not constitute a "coalition of angry citizens." It's a coalition of citizens whose anger is being misused. As Fox News has cut back on so relentlessly promoting it (as part of a more general effort to appear less insane with the 2012 elections looming), it has all but disappeared (because that was the only thing holding it together).

    Occupy Wall Street is a popular uprising, and has grown organically. It has no big-money benefactors, no billionaires spending a fortune sending buses to every corner of the U.S. to haul in "spontaneous" demonstrators, no 24-hour national cable network pimping it every three minutes; for the first two weeks, it couldn't even get any press coverage at all. I'm more skeptical than some about it leading to a larger movement, but it has undeniably grown by leaps and bounds without any of the generous support the Tea Party was given from the day it launched.

    If OWS becomes a significant movement--and that's a big "if," as I see it--the most likely outcome is that it will obliterate what is left of the Tea Party "movement," because it's a genuine and, more importantly, far more sensible expression of the frustration the inventors of the Tea Party have exploited, and, as the Tea Parties' sponsors--the only thing that kept it going--abandon it, OWS will drain it dry.

    1. No, the TEA Party was a popular uprising that the big monied corporations tried to co-opt. OWS was a popular uprising that the big monied unions tried to co-opt. The people in both movements are articulate well intentioned people that see the same problem. That problem being the corporations and government being in bed with each other. Those that don't see that, won't admit they see it, or lie about it are working against the people from one side of the duopoly or the other. They are either promoting crony capitalism by co-opting the TEA Party or promoting socialism by co-opting the OWS movement. From either side they are promoting stripping the power from the people by overly regulating competitors or by overly taxing them to pay for those regulations.

  9. Unfortunately for the previous poster, most of us who would consider ourselves tea party sympathizers are utterly and totally opposed to socialism and state power. Weaken the state; cut its funding; cut its power; cut its credibility.

  10. This is an excellent post! I'll be linking it here and there.

    I think classicliberal2 has it exactly backwards, though. The Tea Party had its origins in 2008 (that's right, before Obama was elected) with blogger Karl Denninger and a woman named Stephanie (I don't know her last name). They were protesting the bank bailouts and Denninger suggested that people mail tea bags to their representatives. It didn't get much attention at the time.

    The movement really caught fire with Rick Santelli's famous rant on CNBC in early 2009. So it had a genuine grassroots beginning, but since then national organizations like Tea Party Patriots and Tea Party Express have tried to claim leadership. The Republican Party establishment has been trying to co-opt and/or neuter the grassroots efforts. I obviously can't speak for anyone but myself, but I believe that many people on the ground see what is going on and are deeply suspicious of it.

    On the other hand, Occupy Wall Street seems to have been organized from the top. There is a video of former Obama czar (and admitted Communist) Van Jones predicting exactly what is going on now six months ago. So my guess is that OWS was instigated by Organizing For America and some offshoot of ACORN, probably with the assistance of unions. Many of the actual participants on the ground are probably unaware of this and found out via Facebook, Twitter, or their friends.

  11. Another difference I've noticed: The TP seems to comprise mostly older people, while the OWS people seem to be younger. That's just my personal observation, not a scientific survey. But that's another interesting dynamic going on.

  12. The Tea Party folks generally have opposed bailouts and subsidies and support free market capitalism. They distrust government and don't believe it is capable of running the economy. Many of the Occupy Wall St. crowd want more restrictions or the elimination of free market capitalism and the establishment of what they consider a more equal and just society determined by governmental rules. Occupy Wall St. people have great faith in the integrity and ability of the government to run the economy for the common good.

  13. Great post and I agree with you to a point. I think both movements have a point, but I the solutions they advocate are so diametrically opposed that it becomes the central focus. I don't think strengthening the gov and just redistributing wealth is the right idea. That has communist workers party written all over it. At the same time, I don't think just neutering the gov will work either, because the corps already have enough power to rebuild the power of the fed and again legislate in their favor.

    What I'd like to see is a combination. We take back the bailouts, give taxpayers a bonus check, repeal all the corp helping laws out there, if not simply dissolve the institution of corporations altogether and go back to having regular companies. Then take fed gov out of the market entirely. The only role the fed should play is in disputes between the states. The rest is up to the states. Let each state decide it's own environmental law and tax rates and regulations. Then companies couldn't lobby themselves back into power.

    Just my two cents.

  14. Regarding footnote #2: It might be the author is Reverend Vas Littlecrow Wojtanowicz, as the open letter has a link to that web site referencing it as their work.

    classicliberal2, sorry, but you aren't even close to right about the origins of what went on to become "the Tea Party", which was and remains highly decentralized and still has no connections to any of the MSM or "rich" people. You're referring to what the MSM and other elites present as the Tea Party.

  15. @rickl re: the origin of the Tea Party: there were multiple uses of "Tea Party" imagery going back at least as far as 2006 (and the idea of mailing teabags to congressmen goes back to at least the '70s). Connection to what became the Tea Party: None.

    That the professional astroturfers of FreedomWorks and Americans For Prosperity were behind the initial propaganda and events of what we came to know as the Tea Party is a matter of public record, just as is the fact that Fox News was promoting the hell out of it. The Tea Party Patriots didn't have to show up after the fact and try to claim leadership--FreedomWorks, which created the TPP, had also invented the Tea Party "movement" in the first place.

    (The Club For Growth has also been a major financier of teabagger causes, and that helps to draw a particularly sharp contrast with OWS, as CFG it's nothing more than a Wall Street front-group.)

    As for the conspiracy stuff regarding OWS, I do hope you'll let us know when the shuttle lands.

    Some of these responses have helped demonstrate my original point, why it was important (as I said), and why it wouldn't be wise to put much into that Venn diagram. For the teabagger, democracy equals socialism. The teabagger has no real understanding of either concept, or of how government works in the first place, because what passes for his "understanding" of these things has been dictated by the very powers who have a vested interest in his not understanding them.

    (A clue to Anon, Stephen, and Dale: Government doesn't dish out favors to the wealthy and Big Business because some evil liberal socialist in the Big Government wants it to do so. It does it because those interests desire and have the power to purchase that influence. That influence is a negation of democracy, and one can either try to use democracy to try to alleviate it, or one, by default, surrenders to it entirely.)

  16. Kid you not, I was just thinking about Venn diagramming this today, but mine was more complicated. I like your simplicity better..

    Gary Johnson for President for the 99% of us.
    The Peoples President

  17. they're not even close to being the same. tea party salutes the founding fathers and patriotism, ows spits on all of that. the moral values are opposites, tea party against abortion, ows for unlimited killing of the unborn and paid for by the gov't. see they're not the same.

  18. classicliberal2:
    Actually, democracy does indeed lead inevitably to socialism, which is why the Founders created a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy. Benjamin Franklin said, "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch."

    I don't watch Fox News. I quit watching TV on Election Night 2008, except for baseball.

  19. No, rickl, Benjamin Franklin, a forceful advocate of democracy who constructed the most democratic state government of the Revolutionary era, did NOT say that, but thanks for so prominently displaying your complete ignorance of the subject, thus saving me the trouble of drawing you out on it.

    Of course, for anyone with any knowledge of this history, you'd already buried yourself with that tired democracy-vs.-republic saw before you ever got to Franklin.

    Your "understanding" of these matters is typical of teabaggers in exactly the way I described above, which, yet again, explains why drawing these distinctions matter. Stick to what you actually know, and you'll have nothing further to write on this subject.

  20. The Venn diagram is a stroke of brilliance. Will reblog liberally.

  21. @classicliberal2 - it doesn't matter who said something if it is true...bill clinton said "2+2=4". wait, no that wasn't him. but i love the wolf quote, and by extension: "democracy is two wolves deciding on what to have for dinner. liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote." OWS is a joke, but they agree with the TP on one thing: no corporate bailouts, and no crony capitalism. stick to that message and stop defecating on police cars.

  22. Right on the mark! As a former Tea Party leader (our group was coopted by a bunch of GOP stooges) your analysis shows the nature of our problem. As soon as we engage in labels or candidates, we lose. To paraphrase Edward Longshanks in Braveheart, "The problem with politics is... politics".

    We need to focus on specific issues, define the problem and work together as citizens to fix them. Politicians will not. Electing a few more of the "right" politicians will not. We MUST.

  23. "it doesn't matter who said something if it is true"

    When some half-wit suggests I'm ignorant of the history, then, as his evidence, uses a Ben Franklin quote that is not, in fact, a Ben Franklin quote, or even representative of Franklin's views, it matters.

  24. I've visited our local "occupy" forces here in Allentown Pa and I'd have to agree with much of the analysis here. The Venn diagram illustrates the discussion I had with them, only that the wealthy and corporations are not the only ones looking for a piece of the pie. Take away the overbearing gov't (whether it's lib/con or dem/rep) and there is nothing to corrupt.
    Anon wrote - "Right on the mark! As a former Tea Party leader (our group was coopted by a bunch of GOP stooges)"

    Dear Anonymous, I think I know who you are. Why do you continue to perpetuate and live out that fantasy? Paranoia will annoy ya...

    I and many others have subscribed to libertarian views long before you stumbled upon it, but now we're Republican stooges?

  25. I haven't had much time to respond to these comments, unfortunately, but I just wanted to say thanks for all the compliments, and thanks to everyone who has helped spread the word about my blog. I imagine most of you had never seen it before this week, and I hope you'll stick around. I try to post a new article once a week or so, and feedback is always appreciated.

  26. Rather than argue endlessly over who's a genuine Teapartier or whether OWS is part of a Kenyan Marxist Sharia conspiracy ... which would be kinda fun but pointless ... let's try to have a productive discussion of what actual problems we face today. Left vs. Right or Government vs. Free Market is a useless way to analyze things because any idiot with the smallest understanding of American history understands that we need a balance of each to work. Look instead at the Corporatist/Populist Axis ... we as a nation are tilted WAAAAAAAY too far over towards rule by corporations, which aren't even actual people: merely fantastically powerful, utterly ruthless, and now equipped with legal rights superior to yours (...since YOU can go to jail and they cannot.)
    Populists understand that corporations are power tools: great servants, terrible masters. They must be brought under control. Tea Partiers blame government for empowering corporate control of their lives but, blinded by the Left/Right distraction, can't offer any remedy except giving those corporations even MORE control ... which is self-defeating.
    Populists of the Left and Right should unite to fix the problems we agree on; we'll have time to work on the other stuff later.
    Or we can let the corporatists divide us.

  27. Definitely a step in the right direction, rewinn.

    "Tea Partiers blame government for empowering corporate control of their lives but, blinded by the Left/Right distraction, can't offer any remedy except giving those corporations even MORE control ... which is self-defeating."

    This is basically what I was pointing out earlier, but I would quibble with something--wouldn't be me, if I didn't. The Tea Partiers don't see "corporate control of their lives" as a problem; they see government as the problem. The reason their solution is to give those interests even more power is because their message is programmed into them by those very interests (and the apologists for same), with that as the goal.

    When, in the wake of the economic crash, the congress took up the matter of financial reform aimed at preventing it from happening again, the affected Big Money interests slathered their big money around the capitol, purchasing enough congressmen to gut the bill (what was passed essentially reinstated the previous state of affairs that had led to the crisis). Even though the legend is that the bailouts were the spark that lit the Tea Party, there were no teabagger rallies in support of financial reform. Instead, the teabagger, reflecting his Master's programming, reacted in two ways: by ignoring the issue, or by looking upon reform as just a government power-grab, and railing against it.

    Turning the teabaggers into anything remotely useful isn't just a matter of counteracting left/right division as a distraction; it's a matter of some pretty comprehensive deprogramming. They have to stop allowing Dick Armey, the Koch brothers, Limbaugh, Michelle Bachmann, etc. to do their "thinking" for them.

  28. rewinn,
    I would gladly stop arguing endlessly! But when gems like this are thrown out:
    You said,
    "Tea Partiers blame government for empowering corporate control of their lives but, blinded by the Left/Right distraction, can't offer any remedy except giving those corporations even MORE control ... which is self-defeating."
    I have to tell you I don't know what the hell you are talking about! I know of no Tea Party member that embraced the corporate bailouts or subsidies. Ending an argument means ending the false perceptions. The Venn diagram has it right on the overlap area but... with us (I am a Tea Party member) it just doesn't stop at the corporation's undue influence. Government shouldn't be available for any individual or group to rig the rules in their favor.

  29. It's not left/right, false distinctions. It's tyranny in any form vs individual liberty.

  30. I checked out your blog, classicliberal2. You're defending Paul Krugman?


    You got me. I'm speechless.

  31. @waynefromnaz: "I have to tell you I don't know what the hell you are talking about!... Ending an argument means ending the false perceptions."

    Then perhaps you should stop spreading them yourself. The Tea Party and its favored elected officials consistently advocate deregulation--in short, giving those powerful interests even more power. After American financial institutions crashed the economy, the original financial reform bill should have been a cause celebre with them. Instead, they either ignored it or railed against it as some sort of socialist power-grab, while creating outlandish myths about how the crisis had actually been caused by the government, rather than these institutions and their insufficient regulation (Barney Frank, Fanny Mae, anti-redlining regulations in place for decades--anything to tie it to government and not the actual perpetrators). Even the pathetic act that was eventually passed and that, for all intents and purposes, merely reinstated the same state of affairs that had led to the collapse was deemed to be too much, and teabagger-worshipped clowns like Michelle Bachmann have consistently tried to repeal even it. And that, of course, is just one example. It's one of the most telling ones, though, because, as I said before, it's a part of the Tea Parties' self-mythology that it came into being as a consequence of the bailouts.

    "Government shouldn't be available for any individual or group to rig the rules in their favor."

    Government doesn't do those things out of the kindness of its heart. That's an organ it doesn't possess. It does those things because people with money and power want it to do those things, and have enough money and power to buy it. That government is the only reason these people and institutions can accumulate that kind of money and power, and, as it accumulates, those with it work to rig the rules even more in their own favor, in an escalating cycle. We, the people, have to be able to democratically organize to resist that. The teabagger, though, has been programmed to characterizes any effort at resistance as Bolshevism and to stand against it, thus allowing the cycle to continue. They throw their electoral weight behind the very officials who do everything in their power to perpetuate the cycle, and excoriate those who even suggest resisting it as not only wrong but evil.

  32. classicaliberal2,

    Yes, it's much easier to call me a programmed teabagger and place words in my mouth than to engage in any rational thought, isn't it?

    You offer no proof - you say that rigging gov't is the only way that "these people" can accumulate that kind of money or wealth. Nobody has every invented or marketed a product that everyone wants?

    I remember when the Clinton administration began to enforce the red-line regs and it was predicted that it would end in a mountain of bad loans.

    But enough of the fingerpointing of the past.

    OK, look at the venn diagram and think through the possible solutions.

    Restrict the corporations ability to lobby and influence the government and will all be rosey and bright? There will not be other ways found to influence? How about other groups, will they not be free to lobby the government for favorable laws & regulations, bailouts & subsidies? You don't want the Chambers of Commerce weilding too much influence, right? How about churches? How about unions, should they be able to dictate their wages via government power? Should enviromental groups dictate what cars we drive and shut down coal fired power plants? Do we only restrict the groups we approve and allow the rest?

    Attack the problem from the other end. Restrict government to it's constitutional boundries and take away the ability to pick and chose the market winners through subsidies, bailouts, excessive regulation, and laws. There is nothing to lobby for, it's gone - the government is not there to wield it's power in favor of the highest bidder. This does NOT mean no regulation or no government. It means sensible regulation that does not destroy unfavored industries.

    It's not the path to Utopia, because there is no Utopia. But the former solution will lead to an overbearing police state forever enforcing the free speech restrictions needed to be put in place to police politics and it will end in tyranny. Government will still be powerful and a magnet for corruption. The later will greatly reduce what is at stake, what the government can provide through corruption or the concentration of political power.

  33. classicaliberal2:

    Your ad hominems do your arguments a disservice.

    The reduction of political debate to an exchange of slurs is precisely what the author of the original post is warning us against.

    Or do you want to keep us little people fighting amongst ourselves? If so, why? If not, please stop behaving as though you do, or else be seen as a provocateur.

  34. I like the diagram but I think Tea Party members would want Unions included with Large Corporations. I think the point being that when the government does anything that protects one group over another (as opposed to "from" another) they misappropriate power. But let's face it, Congress maintains power by giving advantages in either the tax code or legislation to one "inside" group against the ignorant.

  35. "The greatest threat to our economy is neither corporations nor the government. The greatest threat to our economy is both of them working together."

    There's a word for that: facism

  36. And when spelled correctly, that word is: fascism

  37. "The greatest threat to our economy is neither corporations nor the government. The greatest threat to our economy is both of them working together."

    I disagree. While corporations alone have extremely limited capacity to damage an economy, and while the wrong kinds of governments can damage economies quite nicely all by themselves, those same governments possesses unlimited capacity to destroy the economy of an entire planet simply by working hand in hand with the wrong kinds of corporations.

    Have a nice day! xo

  38. Classliberal2 Provide evidence on what you state about the Teat Party because you are DEAD WRONG.

  39. I agree with the diagram.

    Now with the new "53'ers" forming, you can add a third circle to the mix. They're upset about the same thing.

    I think people are not listening to each other for some reason.

    I could go on and on but no one's listening. LOL.

  40. Hey, I think OWS totally gets the collusion of corporations and government and that that collusion is killing democracy. I don't think that the TP gets even close to that understanding. Government has become run by corporate sponsors.

  41. janjammm, you can think falsely about the TP all you want but a small constitutionally restrained gov't would not be there to enable this crony capitalism. Or any other special interest, including the ones that you or I would favor. American government was instituted to protect the individual, not empower favored groups.

    The problem is that the OWS apparently *only* understands the corporate/gov't collusion.

  42. I truly hope that Ron Paul, or Gary Johnson (or the two on the same ticket) run as a third party candidate in 2012.

    I think they could defeat Obama and whatever stooge the Repub's eventually select. As the writer of this article pointed out, there is alot of common ground between the two groups, and they both embody the type of frustration everyone feels. There is enough anger boiling in this country that I believe a third party candidate could take the election.

  43. Now, all the remains is to discover magic, so one can wish into existence the teabagger's utopian notion of "a small constitutionally restrained government," and place a permanent spell on it so it can never be anything other than that. It does require magic. No one--not even the teabaggers themselves--actually hold to the the Tea Party notion of "constitutional boundaries," particularly not the inventors of the Tea Party, who programmed the idea into their followers to act as a premise for certain policies that benefit themselves. It's a notion with no depth because it was never meant to have any--it was just a catchy, pseudo-Libertarian slogan one could use as an excuse to do things like deregulate finance and industry. Huge swathes of the government that would be killed in the process are extremely popular; often things people went to a great deal of trouble to see enacted; sometimes, even things people died to get. These changes have to be imposed on them--the overwhelming majority of the population--North Korea style. That permanent spell must then be cast to prevent them from changing it back. At the same time, those with wealth and power, magically removed from control of the state by the initial spell but with their wealth and power still intact, would, without the permanent spell in place, simply buy back the government the next day, because the waynefromnazes of the world have made it very clear they have absolutely no interest in even attempting reforms aimed at limiting their influence--doing so would be complicated, and there's no solution that will fit on a bumper-sticker.

    Oh, and the whole of the U.S., of which government is an integral part, would collapse the same day the spell was cast.

    So there's that.

    I suppose I should correct one further bit of idiocy:

    "You offer no proof - you say that rigging gov't is the only way that 'these people' can accumulate that kind of money or wealth."

    No, I didn't. I said the government was the only reason they can accumulate wealth and power, and that's a basic fact, not some theoretical proposition that requires "proof." Government creates the currency; it gives the currency value; it creates the infrastructure by which currency can be used; it provides for laws and law enforcement that prevents others from stealing your money, and on and on. In this way, wealth becomes a source of great power, power that tries to expand by forever trying to rig the rules even more in its favor. The current wealth concentration in the U.S.--the greatest since the Gilded Age--is a sign of a ailing society in precipitous decline.

  44. @janjamm: "Hey, I think OWS totally gets the collusion of corporations and government and that that collusion is killing democracy. I don't think that the TP gets even close to that understanding. Government has become run by corporate sponsors."

    Bingo. And the reason the hardest-core teabaggers don't get that is because they've been programmed with a narrative designed to direct their anger and frustration against government, without any understanding of how government actually works. They're entirely unconcerned with either corporate influence or with democracy, because part of their programming is to look upon democratic reform efforts aimed at limiting influence by the Big Money interests that created them as socialist power-grabs.

    To the extent that they swallow this Kool-Aid and continue allowing the Armeys, Kochs, Limbaughs, Foxes, and the rest to do their "thinking" for them (and this thread has already seen multiple examples of teabag supporters regurgitating memes that were programmed into them, that they accepted without any thought or questions, and that have absolutely no basis in reality), they are useless.

    Fortunately, the "movement," which was always tiny, has been disintegrating for some time, and, as Fox News--one of the only things holding it together--has become far less aggressive in pimping it (in a bid to appear more sane on the verge of 2012), its likely to disappear altogether. A movement like OWS, which is a legitimate grassroots movement that offers a rational outlet for the anger and frustration the Tea Party masters only sought to exploit for their own ends is likely to siphon off its talent and intellectual capital and leave only the hardcore cretins. There will be no question of the two "working together," by that point; one will simply absorb the salvageable elements of the other. The recent polling is telling, on this point. OWS, which was blacked out by the press for weeks and has gotten minimal coverage since that blackout theoretically ended, already has 38% public support, only a few weeks after it came into existence. The best numbers the Tea Parties ever managed--a year-and-a-half into their existence--was 30% (in a single poll).

    I'm more skeptical than some on the matter of whether OWS will become a major political force, but if it does, what I've just described is not only possible but the most likely outcome.

  45. @classicliberal2 Re:idiocy

    So gov't creates currency, laws, & law enforcement and that is put up as a reason for concentration of wealth? Gov't does all those things EQUALLY for all - that doesn't explain why one person becomes a skid row bum and the other an innovative millionaire. And once this wealth is created, yea even "concentrated" from success - it could be put to use to "rigging" a government predisposed to this abuse. Why do you pretend that the problem is not with the government that is willing to be bought?

    And as for magic spells --- that's a hoot. You simply want to change human nature and make greed illegal. Of course it'll only be certain people's greed because in this world of your's there'll always be those who are more equal than others. How come I don't hear how government is being bought by unions, lawyers, and other special interests? They are "more equal"...

    Don't outlaw wealth, outlaw a government that can hand out favors. Sure it'll never be perfect or Utopian, nothing ever is. But the protests should be in Washington, not Wall Street.

  46. Anonymous @7:21:
    There is enough anger boiling in this country that I believe a third party candidate could take the election.

    Yes, I've been thinking that too. But Paul or Johnson don't have what it takes to light that spark.

    I can only think of one person who might be able to pull it off.

    But it's a very tall order, and extremely risky, and I don't think she's inclined to try it. I could be wrong about that, though. Hell, I hope I am.

  47. @waynefromnaz: "that doesn't explain why one person becomes a skid row bum and the other an innovative millionaire."

    Nor was it meant to, and what, earlier, looked like merely a severe reading comprehension problem on your part now begins to look like a phenomenon with a much less charitable explanation.

    A few further words, then, for those stuck on the short bus: For the past 15 years (and probably longer), over half of the 100 largest economies in the world have been corporations, rather than nations. These entities are a legal fiction--entirely the creation of government--and the power accumulated by them is almost unimaginable.

    When it comes to slavishly doing the bidding of these entities, you have refused to address why this is the case, acting, instead, as though it's just something that happens for no reason at all, other than government apparently has a big heart that needs a stake driven through it. The actual why, of course, is blindingly obvious to all but the most obtuse observer. Its obvious to you, as well. You're simply dancing around it so you can continue to cling to your comfortable, pre-programmed fiction, rather than deal with reality.

    Even if you had magic, if you don't curtail the influence of these entities, they will simply buy it all back.

  48. I am neither a TPer nor an OWSer- I am pretty much in the middle and find things that I like on both sides of the aisle. Then again, I find some things on both sides of the aisle to be deplorable. The problem, as I see it, is that much of America is the same as me. Lemme explain:

    In the last three or four presidential elections, the actual positions of the candidates were shockingly similar, and we all (American voting public) had a hard time deciding. Hell, one time, we even had to triple-count one state's ballots and even then, most of America didn't get what they wanted.

    America [unfortunately] needs the Tea Party AND Occupy Wall Street to represent the extremes on either end, and then we need intelligent people to communicate to the rest of the country the drops of truth in the oceans of their rhetoric. Neither Fox News nor the Huffington Post are doing that, and likely never will. Ratings rule, after all.

    As I see it, both groups are attacking the same problem: big corporations with huge amounts of money are buying government influence, which screws the middle class, who make up most of the country. The difference is, one group wants to destroy the corporations [well, some of them, anyway], while the other wants to destroy the government [well, some of it, anyway].

    There needs to be a middle ground policy that reduces this nefarious symbiosis. Separate the lobbyists and PACs and anonymous donors from the political process and have true, well-meaning lawmakers in power. Yes, it is Utopian, and yes, it is unlikely, but that should be our goal and we should create policies and legislation toward that idealistic end.

    Is there a candidate that does this for 2012? Not that I can see... And even if he/she existed, he/she would not be able to scare the bases on the left or right into voting as much as this polarization will. Cynical, but true.

    So, @classicliberal2:

    It would be helpful to your position on the argument [and to this intelligent discussion] to stop being so hyper-dramatic and antagonistic in your criticism of the Tea Party. It serves only to polarize these issues that I see as really two sides of the same coin. Calling those who have a different opinion from you names [teabagger] is childish and undermines you and really only perpetuates the Fox News vs. Liberal MSM fight that is killing America.

  49. classicliberal2 said, " because the waynefromnazes of the world have made it very clear they have absolutely no interest in even attempting reforms aimed at limiting their influence"
    Please do not put your words into my mouth, I don't know where you had them last...

    I've made it quite clear that I do not want *anyone* having undue influence. The current system, perpetuated by this administration but by no means invented by it, continues to favor the largest corporations (donors)to the detriment of smaller competitors. "Too big too fail" is just the latest most blatant feature of this corrupt government.

    It is the establishment Republicans that favors that status quo along with the establishment Dems. You would like to confuse us (TP) with the R's just like I assume you're a Dem lover since you refuse place any of the blame at the feet of the government.

    PS - all the bilge about the Koch Bros. etc... just why would anyone believe it takes billionaire to have a Tea Party. We are a registered non profit at ours and our funds are raised either internally or through fund raisers. It doesn't take billionaire money any more than the OWS needs it to camp on street corners. I'll point that out to any conservative that says OWS is billionaire funded. But I'll never expect that sort of fair minded clarity from the classicliberal2's of the world.

  50. This is one of the very few balanced analyses that I have read. Good to focus on the point, which is that we should unite on the mostly common ground instead of standard party hackery. The venn diagram implies that there is an equal partnership between corporations and government, symbiotic. It would be more accurate to say corporations have the upper hand in a manipulative and abusive relationship that government stays in because it can't get the gumption to leave. But the end result is the same, so I can accept this broad strokes analysis.

  51. classicliberal2 said, "When it comes to slavishly doing the bidding of these entities, you have refused to address why this is the case, acting, instead, as though it's just something that happens for no reason at all, other than government apparently has a big heart that needs a stake driven through it. The actual why, of course, is blindingly obvious to all but the most obtuse observer. Its obvious to you, as well. You're simply dancing around it so you can continue to cling to your comfortable, pre-programmed fiction, rather than deal with reality."

    Dancing around? Then why don't you say what this thing is that is so obvious? All I read from you is blather about how I'm brainwashed and stupid. It's seem to be the only song you know. I've been called worse by better than you ;-)

    Put some meat on your diatribes and tell me what the cure is. Redo "Citizen's United"? Publicly funded elections? More campaign finance reform? All three and more? Come on now, don't make me carry both sides of the argument - jump right in anytime you're ready.

  52. Great blog entry, Mr Sinclair.

    Now for that post from classicliberal2: Where are the smilies because I need that one with the guy who looks like he has a headache and the caption reads: NOT THE SHIT AGAIN. Here we have a blogger who is pointing out what people have in common and then classicliberal2 can't resist playing divide and conquer, as well being FULL OF SHIT.

    The tea party movement was infiltrated and hijacked, of that there is no doubt. Not all of them, but some were reverse astro-turfed (after the fact). The movement started out 100% grass roots. I know this because I was present when the idea was first floated. One Ron Paul supporter, at the Ron Paul Forums, came up with the idea to create a website (Tea Party '07) and take pledges for a 24 hr online fundraiser to be held on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. On that same day, in 2007, Ron Paul rallies were held all over the US AND abroad. The turnout was huge. 6.2 million dollars was raised in that 24 hr online "money bomb", breaking all records for campaign fund raising, and every cent came from individual donors. This got a lot of attention from both neocons and establishment GOP who not only hated Ron Paul, but wanted to find a way to co-opt that energy for the pathetic Republican party. Democrats and progressives saw and were afraid - afraid because Ron Paul actually DOES support ending the wars, closing down foreign US bases, repealing the PATRIOT Act, restoring habeas corpus corpus, and correcting these abuses of power that threaten our freedom - all things the Democrats and progressives have never done anything other than pay lip service to (save for Kucinich who is marginalized by his party as Ron Paul is by his). It was the tea party enthusiasm that brought thousands to town hall meetings in opposition to the "health care" monstrosity. Nancy Pelosi and the other establishment thugs had no choice but to cry "astro turf" to try and discredit a genuine uprising of pissed off Americans. The only big $$$ in the initial year of the tea party movement was the money we all contributed to Ron Paul. classiccliberal2 is either woefully ignorant or just another garden variety, partisan liar with an agenda.

    Now, we see the tables being turned on those who spread lies about the tea parties, as the neocon right accuses OWS of being a Soros astro turf production. I know that that the Democratic Party, various leftist/socialist/communist groups, and the big money that backs them, all want in on this new grass roots movement and to try to take control just as neocons have partially done with the tea parties. Well, I have news for classicliberal2 and the other minions like him: There are tea party people all over OWS and guess what? There is COMMON GROUND, just as James Sinclair has pointed out. Next time you see and END THE FED sign at OWS, remember where that sentiment came from - the man who wrote the book by the same name - Ron Paul.

    I'll close with a final blow to all who wish to see us remain divided:

    Ralph Nader Hearts Ron Paul, Hails Potential Left-Libertarian Alliance

    Thanks again, James Sinclair, for a wonderful and positive piece!

  53. Ladies and gentlemen, we must either all hang together, or we will most assuredly hang separately.

  54. If OWS and TP get together, THIS is our future:

  55. "it's a myth that big corporations are anti-government, right? They don't want to have to compete in a free market, they want to "compete" in an artificially restricted market."

    Sure. This is true by definition if corporations' number one responsibility is to make a profit. Competition drives profits down because there are many actors pushing down prices. Lack of competition allows you to set the price at whatever you want. Therefore you can sell less stuff at a higher price but make higher profits on each sale.

    Note that the government is supposed to enforce rules that either prevent such monopolistic abuses or turn monopolies into utilities that are freed from the profit motive in order to serve the public above all else (the electric company, for instance).

    Far too many private companies want to be "too big to fail", perpetrate monopolistic abuses, and neuter the regulation that is supposed to prevent this. This is socialization of losses and privatization of profits. It is indeed one of the things that the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street should share. But a significant part of the Tea Party believes that all government is bad, which means they are enablers of rent-seeking behaviour. Go figure.

  56. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this exact issue, and talking to type libertarians about it, and I've decided that the Tea Party will never see eye to eye with OWS.

    Yes, we all agree that Big Business and Big Government are now the same thing, and that that's not a good thing.

    But we totally disagree on who ate who, and what to do about it. We're pulling in opposite directions.

    In the Tea Party narrative, elitist, Ivy League public-sector officials work in cahoots with an underclass eager to "vote itself benefits with other people's money" in order to choke the life out of the productive middle class. The solution is tax cuts and deregulation and drowning government.

    In the OWS narrative, malefactors of wealth take control of government via lobbying and campaign contributions in order to institute "socialism for the rich". The solution is tax hikes and more and better government.

  57. What I think is the bottom line for many, not all, TP"ers and associated groups (libertarians, objectivists, etc)is this:

    Who has the guns?
    Who has the power to confiscate?
    Who has the power to jail?

    It's the government.

    And despite the "reductio absurdum" of people saying the TP wants to drown or destroy gov't (show me the anarchist TP!) the point is that the answer is certainly not MORE power residing in gov't. That is the power that is enforcing the current inequality.

    Better gov't - of course everyone wants better. But you just can't install "better". Human nature (and corporate nature) will corrupt. That's why we have limited government with separated powers. That is the better government.

  58. The Tea Parties were not "reverse astroturfed." That Ron Paul event happened in 2007; there was also an event in 2006, and pols and activists had been using "Tea Party" imagery for years before that. Connection to the Tea Party "movement" that appeared in early 2009: None.

    (And, contrary to a popular narrative, Ron Paul is NOT beloved of the Tea Party--in his bid for reelection last year, in fact, he faced no fewer than 4 Tea Party challengers in the primary.)

    The last two Anons have it pretty much right, and it's why drawing these distinctions isn't some mean trick that pees on everyone's unity parade, but is, instead, essential to any sort of sound analysis. Under the spell of the teabagger narrative, one views any genuine reform effort with outright hostility; reformers are seen as Bolsheviks; democracy itself is held in open contempt. To the extent that teabaggers continue to hold to that narrative, they are absolutely worthless as dance-partners in any reform effort. It pretty much renders them worthless in any public policy discussion (as parts of this discussion have vividly illustrated).

    Fortunately, while the hardest-core of teabaggers are virtually certain to remain as worthless as they've always been, it's not at all clear that most of those who have said they support the Tea Party (note that distinction) are so irrevocably gone. The Tea Party has had an INCREDIBLY powerful propaganda apparatus, but all it shovels is unrefined bullshit. That will, it's true, sometimes get you far. With conservatives, it will often get you very far, indeed. But most people are much more sensible; feed them b.s. long enough, they'll start to see it for what it is, and they'll sign on with something like OWS, instead. Support for OWS, after only a few weeks, is already polling at numbers far in excess of the best the Tea Party ever managed (and the Tea Party had been around for a year-and-a-half before hitting its high). This is likely to continue, because OWS, being, unlike the Tea Party, a genuine grassroots movement, is born of people's concerns and frustrations, rather than just being some astroturf project that tried to exploit those things to negative ends.

  59. Left bubble not quite right. Replace "large corporations" with "the wealthy". They're essentially the same.

  60. I love the comments--talk about missing the point. "My side is grassroots. The other side is clearly top down." "They're wrong because of X, but we're right". Build on commonality, people!!! Even if one side is "top down", the masses that make it up aren't. Talk to those people and find common ground.

  61. @Franklin Adams:
    Well said. I'm not convinced either group is substantially more "grassroots" than the other, and, more importantly, I don't see why it matters. They're both filled with people who have things to say, and a lot of those things are worth listening to. Nothing about either movement's origin or relative popularity is going to change that.

  62. Thank you Franklin Adams & James Sinclair.

    Even if you assume that all the TP events were orchestrated by billionaires how were thousands of people coerced to go to them? It's ridiculous. The answer is that everybody is brainwashed - what an awesome argument point!

    Quite frankly if I simply wanted to win an argument and not did not care to exchange ideas, Mr. Classicliberal2 is the perfect opponent! He seems to be incapable of getting past the grassroots/popularity jag. And anyone who believes as I is simply brainwashed so in his (non brainwashed) mind he is always the winner! Congrats to him!

    Well, enough of that sillyness - Thank you Mr Sinclair for your thought provoking Venn.

  63. The question of who is more "grassroots" isn't really debatable--OWS sprang from nothing and grew into something without Big Money help or even any press coverage, much less boosterism, whereas the Tea Party sprang from a coalition of corporate lobbyists, right-wing media shills, and professional astroturfers. That's no more in question than is gravity. The time spent on the nature of these two groups isn't important as some sort of pissing contest, though, James; that isn't the point at all. It's important--indeed, essential--to understanding the character of the two. You can't find any common ground without that.

    Your blog begged this question. I would say this long thread that has sprang up in reply to it makes it plain why it matters. I've tried to outline this at some length. Because they follow Masters, teabaggers are sold a certain narrative, and that's all too often all they "know." That narrative intentionally negates any cooperation with something like OWS. It negates cooperation with any reform effort. To the degree that this narrative is accepted, it precludes their participation in anything constructive. This thread also offers an indication of how deeply this narrative has been accepted by some--there hasn't been a single 'bagger or pro-'bagger who has offered up anything, here, that wasn't directly fed to him by one of his Masters. That's creepy, in itself, but what makes it particularly telling (and problematic) is that these are things that have little or no basis in reality. Anti-democratic sentiments buttressed by a made-up Ben Franklin quote. Anti-redlining legislation of the Carter administration attributed to Clinton then blamed for the Bush Jr.-era financial crisis. The idea that any campaign finance or lobby reform leads to a totalitarian police state. This nonsense--all of which came from Armey, the Kochs, Beck, Limbaugh, and the other clowns who hand out the marching-orders--fills this thread.

    Their origin is what makes you wrong about the Tea Party having things to say that are worth listening to. The Tea Party, as the Tea Party, has nothing of any value to offer, except, perhaps, by accident (in the sense that even a stopped clock is right twice a day). I always use as my stock example of this the health care debate. There were a million reasons to be opposed to the health care "reform" bill. I railed against it from the beginning. My objections, though, were based on what the bill actually was and what it did. The Tea Party objections were based on fantasies that it provided government funding for abortion, government funded health care to brown people with funny accents and without the right papers, established death panels to kill your granny, was socialist in nature, and so on. In short, they didn't have any legitimate objection to it at all. All they added was noise that helped preclude any real debate from breaking out.

    I've also tried to outline where I think there is a chance--even a likelihood--of unity. Most people who are teabagger supporters (as opposed to teabaggers--not an insubstantial distinction) are NOT going to be as sold on this narrative as are the hardcore, nor are they going to be likely to hold on to it and keep eating the b.s. when a genuine movement born out of their genuine concerns and frustrations is out there. I think it possible and even likely they would jump on something like OWS. But not as part of the Tea Party.

  64. Adbusters subscribers have been making demands on and that has led to #ows In the wider strategy, this demonstration is an early step.

    Specifically, the demands are
    - a 1% tax on all financial flows.
    - total transparency in government affairs
    - a true cost global market regime
    -less corporate influence in our lives

    It will grow because the power of the web to unite and educate the 99% is not yet recognised by those that share the majority of the wealth.

    We shall overcome, and in time we will achieve an equality of health, education and opportunity for all souls on the planet. Corporate powers that have been abused shall be effectively police.

    The only question is how many more of us will suffer and die before those in the 'developed world' recognise the injustices and act together.

  65. classicliberal2 said:

    "Anti-redlining legislation of the Carter administration attributed to Clinton"

    Presumably because I said:

    "I remember when the Clinton administration began to enforce the red-line regs and it was predicted that it would end in a mountain of bad loans."

    Notice I used the word *enforce* - now go back and look-up when these Carter era regulations were first *enforced*.

    classicliberal2 ---> "ploink"

  66. I believe that your analysis is correct. I was an active Ron Paul supporter in the last presidential election. After the election I sensed that something had gone wrong and withdrew my support for the Tea Party.

    Last week I wrote a letter-to-the-editor of my local paper supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement and we the 99 percent. The editor chose not to mention OWS explicitly. On the same day a regular columnist, who regularly expresses conservative viewpoints, wrote a column saying that the issues were essentially correct, but the location of the protests were wrong. He wrote that protests should have been located in Washington, D.C.

    As long as we remain divided the politicians and the corporations will remain in control. We must "come together, right now..."

  67. Looks like Slate decided this was a good heuristic. Can't help but wish they would have mentioned you.

  68. The common demoninator between the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street is opposition to bigness-and too much control by big institutions, whether it is big government or big businesses. One of the things I find most upsetting about Obama and the Democrats is that their solutions support more bigness and less freedom. Take the banks, for example, all the regulatory requirements can be handled by the big banks, but will hurt the small banks, who can't afford to compete because of all the regulations. So what will we end up with after all that regulation? Bigger corporations, less smaller innovative ones and less individual control--the exact opposite of what I think most people want.

  69. I've been advocating this all along. In fact, I emailed a Tea Party associate (I lean liberal) to discuss why we can't move forward where we agree. Here was his response to me;

    "Why on earth would they come together when they are such opposites? One group calls for economic and social justice, the other calls for freedom. One asks for smaller government and more personal responsibilty, the other demands government interference and redistribution of wealth. One blames Wall Street, Jews, conservatives, global warming, corporations, the wealthy, corporations, capitalism, empire, greed, corporations, Zionists, entrepreneurs, the successful, drug companies, the richest one percent, and corporations for all the world's ills. The other doesn't.

    One leads peaceful demonstrations and leaves behind no trace. The other is an unruly mob, arrested in the hundreds, crapping on police cars, and leaving garbage and the smell of weed everywhere.

    Capitalism may not be flawless, but we'll probably never know here in America since the free market is not really free. Government interference has created most of our nation's problems - from rising health care costs to the housing collapse and subsequent economic crisis."

    I tried, but they're determined to see us in a negative light, and vice versa. For what it's worth, I advocated a similar view when the Tea Party movement began. We're all just so easily manipulated by media and bias.

  70. The reason this accurate analysis cannot be usefully acted upon is that most supporters of Occupy Wall Street want to use the government - use its power differently - to diminish the power of Wall Street. The anti-federalist Tea Parties want to address the problem by diminishing the power of government. There will never be any significant overlap in the solutions they support:

  71. "The greatest threat to our economy is neither corporations nor the government. The greatest threat to our economy is both of them working together".

    I believe that is what's known as Fascism.

  72. "The greatest threat to our economy is both of them working together"

    The phrase you're reaching for is 'corporate fascism.'

  73. Excellent comment, thanks.

    Most of Tea Party has the very similar purpose as the OccupyWS even though some are intentionally divide the two groups.

    The 2009 Washington Tea Party had the similar purpose as the OccupyWS -- THE VERY BASIC NEEDS OF AMERICANS AND LOVE FOR OUR COUNTRY.

    Your diagram is perfect.

    The major difference, so far, seems to be that Tea Party is manipulated by "Political funds" and has ties to "Lobbying" while "OccupyWS" claims that they don't want to be tied to any political group.

    We ALL need to join our forces and should not be falling into the "Division" -- which is the main tactic of the Greed of 1% -- the 1913 Fed Corp.

    Thanks for your comment.

  74. Exactly, that is what has happened since 1913 in this country. The Fed Corporation ( The Fed Reserve) started to bribe our government officials who have deceived Americans.

    That is how the few now has 10000 trillions using financial markets.

    Compared to the astonishing amount, the corporate Exc salary is still peanuts; however, it is becoming harder on people because a few is getting billions and trillions out of the people -- tax free -- more people falling into Poverty.


    The phrase you're reaching for is 'corporate fascism.'


  75. Reading the thread for the better part of an hour until my eyes grew weary, not to mention a grinding pain developing within the upper-right quadrant of my head, has been something of a lesson in contemporary American eco-political history. And it is infinitely better for me to be more fully informed about these issues than it is to simply have a knee-jerk reaction of pure emotionalism to what I see and read in the editorially filtered media that obscures any possible clear horizon that actually may lie ahead for all of us. Therefore, if it is not already plainly obvious, I speak plainly as a layman, neither a representative of OWS, nor of the Tea Party. I don' speak for Joe the Plumber, but just for myself, Joe Schmoe.

    What is confusing me most about so much of the gist, in general, of Tea Party rhetoric -- one of the latest posts here I can quote is from the sad red earth: "The anti-federalist Tea Parties want to address the problem by diminishing the power of government" -- is the central focus of high-profile TP spokespeople (whether they be "genuine" TP or GOP hijackers capitalizing on mass media's fascination with the movement) on attaining the power of government. In other words, they're politicians. They're not idealists. They're not visionaries. They're just politicians: meet the new boss, same as the old boss. They're probably not even very good community leaders, especially on a national level, and the reason for that is their very rejection of "Big Government" itself. By oversimplifying the vast complexity of what it takes to provide a country populated by hundreds of millions with what it needs to function in the 21st Century -- locally, nationally, and globally -- they reduce our vitality to that of a microscope's view of a hugely diverse economy and culture. Does the reach of government need to be pulled back in? Is there a crucial need for greater fiscal management with an enormous reduction in spending? Absolutely! But to adopt a blanket philosophical policy maintaining government as being something that is inherently evil (for lack of a better or more accurate way of expressing it that actually represents the Tea Party's party line) results in fear, mass hysteria, and utter hypocrisy on the part of those who do so while seeking elected office.

    If it were not for the fact -- yes, FACT -- that politicians and mouthpieces at-large that claim to be speaking on behalf of the Tea Party condemn those of who constitute the progressive (read: The L Word-LIBERAL) faction of the socio-political landscape, I would, in the interest of truly being "fair and balanced," submit some kind of intellectual argument to deconstruct at least part of what OWS is, does, or otherwise represents. But I don't want to. I love OWS. And if you don't grasp what it is that we who support it see as being incontrovertibly, 100 per cent right about its intent, there is not a single word I could post here that would make you get behind it, too, hence the constant he-said/she-said from both sides about The Movement. I'm sure that it isn't beyond reproach, and for those who want to criticize it, reject it, and/or rip it a new one, be my guest. You're quite free to do so, but I will say this: the freedom to speak about all of these issues is at stake here as much as anything. And now maybe I'm the one who's doing the oversimplifying. But then again, what do I know? I'm just Joe Schmoe.

  76. The greatest threat to our economy is neither corporations nor the government. The greatest threat to our economy is both of them working together.

    Is it possible for both sides to agree that a government bought and paid for by the corporations is hardly the best entity to provide oversight of those same corporations?

    Two things are immediately obvious: The first is that corporations are incapable of self-regulation and the second is that politicians are incapable of working toward the common good when their financial interests are involved, which is most of the time. The power each one possesses on its own is immense, but when combined the financial sector clearly has the edge, as we witnessed when the government caved so easily on the bailouts. This essentially leaves us with a government that is helpless to protect anyone's rights and a financial sector that's free to walk all over everyone's rights.

    Arguing over this regulation or that law, or this politician over that politician is self-defeating and won't solve the problem. As long as the government is held captive to the financial sector, anything that we the people demand will be ignored, no matter how many times we hold elections and replace the politicians.

    Money, like religion, should have no place in the public sector as it is incapable of acting neutrally when it is involved.

  77. I never heard of this blog till I saw it today in the Atlantic...For some reason, we are on the same wavelength. This is the article I wrote yesterday.

    Thanks for your writing...

  78. I agree w/ Franklin Adams and all those here who call for us to find common ground.

    Now, what can we do with that common ground? What kind of policy changes could both OWS and the Tea Party get behind?

  79. Very well said! Bravo, sir! It's unfortunate to read the comments of the folks who read your post but didn't understand your message - those who are obviously stuck in the political polarity paradigm.

  80. 1) classicliberal2 -- If you're outside of the Tea Party, how can you know who was there, when it started, and what the true drive of the group is? (not that anyone who claims there is only one driver for the Tea Party could ever be correct) The Tea Party is amorphous, difficult to define, and many of the people there are present for different reasons.

    2) Anonymous about contacting a Tea Party associate:
    When I was investigating OccupyWallStreet, I went to their web site. They have stated very clearly that an increase in Government power for the purpose of redistributing the wealth of the 1% is what they seek. If that is an inaccurate representation of the aims of OWS, then maybe there can be common ground, but unfortunately that's a pretty significant divide.

    The good news is that James' post is evidence that there is hope.

    Suggested reading for everyone:

    From a modern American liberal perspective -- The Wrecking Crew

    From an Austrian Economics perspective -- The Road to Serfdom

    These two pieces of work I think can help people connect the dots on what happens when well intentioned people increase the power of the central government. When there is a concentration of power, it is inevitable that evil people will come and usurp that power for their own gain.

    There are evil people in both major parties, so you can't just tell the good guys from what letter is next to their name on the ballot.

    Fight for your freedoms, fight for the freedom of your neighbors, and always seek to increase your understanding of the situation.

    "The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs, is to be ruled by evil men." -- Plato

  81. As Herman Cain says, you gotta make sure you're working on the "right problem". The question is, do the OWS even understand what they are protesting? Notice:

    Problem With Wall Street, Not Capitalism

  82. Quick point; note that every single example of corporate malfeasance James cited are examples of how they manipulate *governmemt* to get what they want. Without a "bribable" government, corporations lose the biggest tool by far that they have. More government power, for whatever purpose, *will* be manipulated just like it always has. Look at history before suggesting solutions

  83. The problem with the OWS movement is their demands. Forgiveness of debt, living wages, and more big government to cure big government. The movement is sloppy intellectually.

    They also are being organized by the far left. The far left remedy for our problems slants to totalitarianism.

    The Tea Party was a grass roots movement. And you rightfully point out that the Tea Party has some elements of OWS, which is why they haven't run into the streets to oppose them.

  84. @Doug: "Without a 'bribable' government, corporations lose the biggest tool by far that they have. More government power, for whatever purpose, *will* be manipulated just like it always has." all you have to do is find a magic spell that will prevent government from being bribable, now or ever again, and the problem will be solved.

    Aren't teabagger analyses and solutions just SO useful in the real world?

  85. Spot on. I hope those who agree take time to read this:

    It is with these acknowledgments of the core values of democracy and of the love of the ideal of the United States of America that it must be proposed that the only step to restoring the full liberties of the individual is to declare via Constitutional Amendment:

    1. A natural person is a living human, and the Constitution only provides protection of rights for natural persons.

    2. Corporations are prohibited from participating in the political process, including via campaign contribution or attempting to influence any legislative body outside of direct communication between corporate officers and political bodies.

    “….this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

  86. @Jeremy D. Young

    Read Bruce Bartlett's Forbes column, The Europeanization Of America which discusses that while the Hayek of 1944 made sense it no longer does so today:

    If Hayek were even remotely correct, all of Europe would be one huge gulag by this time. At the very least, Europe would be mired in poverty, growth nonexistent and freedom hanging on by the thinnest of threads.

    Of course, that is not the case at all. According to Freedom House, virtually every country in Europe has just as much political freedom as we do. Even organizations like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation, which seem to think that the tax burden is the single most important measure of freedom, concede that many European countries with tax burdens that would be considered confiscatory by all conservatives and probably most Americans are in fact just about as free as we are.

  87. Actually, "An open letter and warning from a former tea party movement adherent to the Occupy Wall Street movement." is not anonymous. I wrote it.

    I thank you for the kind words.

  88. Hi James,

    I came across your post via "The Atlantic" ( I liked it a lot and I shared it via my Facebook profile and some of my friends commented that they enjoyed it. A bit later, I was on and someone asked exactly the question you were answering:

    Having just shared your great Venn diagram via Facebook, and via the Atlantic article, I decided to do the same on Quora. I included a link to the Atlantic article so that Quora users could work their way back to your blog. People have really liked the Venn diagram there too. My feeling was that this was sufficient attribution and wouldn't violate copyright via fair use.

    However, another Quora user has complained that I violated your copyright by doing this.

    I wanted to get your comment. Would you like me to a) take down your image, b) change the attribution in some way, c) its OK as it is now. Thanks again for the great post and I'm sorry if I have offended you in any way here!

  89. "When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators."
    P. J. O'Rourke

  90. @Reverend Vas Littlecrow Wojtanowicz:
    Ah, thanks. (I see an earlier commenter also suggested you were the author, and somehow I missed it.) I'll add your name and (unless you object) a link to your site.

    @Stephen D. Larson:
    Since you asked, my preference is for your Quora post to link to my blog (then again, my preference would be for everything on the Internet to link to my blog, so of course that's going to be my answer). But if I had come across your post on my own, I wouldn't have complained about it, nor will I complain if you decide to leave it as it is. As you said, it's easy enough for people to find the source if they care to.

    That said, I'm not an expert in copyright law, so I won't even try to speculate on whether I could make a claim if I wanted to. But thanks for asking, and thanks for sharing the diagram.

  91. wow, these comments are entertaining.

    I'm not a participant in tea party activity, but I generally support their perspective.

    Please remember that the constitution was designed to limit federal power. Not all government, just federal power. I'd say 90% of what the federal government does today is not assigned to them in the constitution. Anything not specifically assigned in the constitution is to be handled by the individual states.

    So, let's stop both parties from using the tax code and legislation to promote their social agendas. After years of forcing banks to make loans to poor people, did we think it would end well?

    We should be teaching everyone to be debt free. Individuals and government need to be debt free. Instead, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd have created a new class of slaves. That's bad whether it was done by business or by government.

  92. @classicliberal2: It's no mystery. A smaller federal government, with less power to give over to corporations, would do more than any new package of laws that would a) give the government *more* power and b) allow corporations to continue to bribe their way to unequal application of those new laws.

    That's the irony of the OWS folks. Corporations wield power with government as their cudgel, and their solution is to make the cudgel bigger. Really?

  93. @ Anonymous OCTOBER 17, 2011 12:03 PM - Please remember that the constitution was designed to limit federal power. Not all government, just federal power.

    Actually, it was the Constitution before the current one, known as the Articles of Confederation, that restricted the powers of the Federal government. Had that been a useful Constitution, it would probably still be in use today. The current Constitution was designed precisely to give the central government more power.

    @Doug - The cudgel is campaign money - lots of it.

  94. Great post and it does point up the dangers that big business in cahoots with big government has brought us all, right and left, young and old. Except, that if the less government argument of the Tea party were to prevail we will all be better off. Business is a very simple organism, like the way Richard Dreyfuss described a shark in the movie Jaws. Business just wants to gain the best possible advantage, fairly or unfairly, sell lots of stuff, make profits. Btw when they do many of us benefit as employees and shareholders. If we were to truly stem the role of government, business would be "cut off" and have to fend for themselves. I would posit that big business has just adapted to their surroundings over the past thirty years. If government is going to play such a huge role in commerce, then only a fool stays away on principle.

  95. @Carole: Campaign money, sitting in the bank, does absolutely nothing. Having money does not influence much. Giving that money to people in power does.

    The more we centralize that power, the more DC is a one-stop-shop for political and economic favors. It is DC that wields the power; the corporations just buy it. Reduce the power, spread out much of it to the 50 states, and corporations have a tougher time bribing.

    I'm not saying it'll eliminate the problem; humans are still humans, after all. But it's a better solution that giving more power to DC, which is, in turn, bought by campaign money.

    The money buys influence, but if there is no influence, the money buys nothing. If the influence is lessened, the money buys little. The money is most certainly not the problem. Governmental power is

  96. Both factions are observing the different effects of the same root cause: fiat money.

  97. Somebody else said,

    “The protesters”, he said, “are protesting because Wall Street was bailed out. The Tea party protests because Washington bailed out Wall Street.” It’s the difference between understanding and not understanding the source of the problem.

  98. Here's a great article by Erick Erickson, big Tea Party guy and co-founder of, about how he want to find common ground with OWS.

  99. Interesting. And sort of true. Except to me there's the irreconcilable "all citizens should hold some responsibility for the well-being of all citizens" vs "all citizens should be free from responsibility for anyone but themselves."

  100. @Doug: "The more we centralize that power, the more DC is a one-stop-shop for political and economic favors. It is DC that wields the power; the corporations just buy it."

    The same utterly useless, totally ass-backwards, Alice-In-Wonderland "analysis" as before. In the real world, of course, government ends up dishing out "political and economic favors" because those with all the money want it that way, and can purchase it. If Big Oil doesn't want to pay taxes and has the money and power to buy the government, Big Oil will not pay taxes, and abstract philosophical discussions about "centralizing power" will not enter into that process. There's no "we" in the equation, either, and to put the matter bluntly, you and everyone else who have bought this line of manure you're trying to sell are nothing more than tools of those who want to keep that corrupt system running. The public has available as a counter to that system only democracy, and it will either use democracy to proactively resist the influence of those wealthy interests or those interests WILL run the show.

  101. @classicliberal2: You quoted me...

    @Doug: "The more we centralize that power, the more DC is a one-stop-shop for political and economic favors. It is DC that wields the power; the corporations just buy it."

    And then replied:

    "The same utterly useless, totally ass-backwards, Alice-In-Wonderland "analysis" as before. In the real world, of course, government ends up dishing out "political and economic favors" because those with all the money want it that way, and can purchase it."

    What's amazing to me is that, in a blog post about agreement, you can't even understand that you just agreed with me. You insulted what I said, and then said exactly the same thing.

    Dishing out political and economic favors is the power in question. Government owns it, just like you said. Corporations just buy it, just like you said. If it's not there to buy, it won't be.

    Glad we can agree on something.

  102. "Powerful-but-nebulous entities?" Really? I think the US government (Congress in particular) ISN'T a "nebulous entity".

    The difference between Occupy and the Tea Party is vast. And to quote Keith Olbermann or Think Progress? Is that objective? Occupy is funded by George Soros, and supported by CPUSA, but yet the useful idiots on the street believe they are protesting Wall Street and "corporations"? How naive.

    Your Venn diagram is an oversimplification of each "movement's" agenda. The real problem is greater than Republicans versus Democrats, and doesn't have to do with large corporations per se. It's a game about power and influence, for sure, but on a much more complex scale than most realize.

    The Occupy movement chants about some Marxist version of "fairness", and is funded and supported by the same people who want more government control - you know, those "community organizers" who have a better handle on how to do things than we (the unwashed masses) do. The Tea Party is about fiscal responsibility, liberty and limited government ala the Founding Fathers. There is a VAST difference between the two points of view.

    If you (an attorney) can't see there is a distinct difference between the agendas of each respective group, then certainly the nation our Founders envisioned is doomed.

  103. This comment has been removed by the author.

  104. From earlier;

    waynefromnaz said...
    Somebody else said,

    [“The protesters”, he said, “are protesting because Wall Street was bailed out. The Tea party protests because Washington bailed out Wall Street.” It’s the difference between understanding and not understanding the source of the problem.]

    Actually, no. Wall St. got bailed out because they are a protected group. And they're protected because they bankroll our elected officials at a rate higher than nearly any other sector. So, I think those at OWS are pretty keen on the problem.

  105. @Doug: The best one can say for your last is that at least you confirmed that what I wrote went so far over your head that it achieved orbit. That was sort of my point in the first place, so I'll leave it at that.

  106. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. You said what was elegantly what has been bouncing around in my head for a while now. Thanks!

  107. @spatter:

    "Actually, no. Wall St. got bailed out because they are a protected group. And they're protected because they bankroll our elected officials at a rate higher than nearly any other sector. So, I think those at OWS are pretty keen on the problem. "

    So let's clarify this statement, additional bold text mine.

    "Actually, no. Wall St. got bailed out by the government because they are a protected group , protected by the government. And they're protected by the government because they bankroll our elected officials (i.e. the government) at a rate higher than nearly any other sector. So, I think those at OWS are pretty keen on the problem, Wall Street."

    Do you see the disconnect here? Government has the power (to protect a group and do it favors). Wall St buys it. Since humans are susceptible to bribery, is the problem the money, or is it the power being bought?

    If the drug weren't available, the junkies couldn't buy it.

  108. Other things the movements have in common: 1)Neither movement offers much in the way of workable policies that would actually address the problems they complain about 2) Both movements are actually a hodge-podge of groups with dissimilar interests who just share disdain with a particular power structure. 3) Both movements seem to have moved away from their original purpose and are funded by wealthy power players themselves.

  109. @Doug, again, no. (But this is what happens when folk oversimplify arguments).

    You said;

    "Do you see the disconnect here? Government has the power (to protect a group and do it favors). Wall St buys it. Since humans are susceptible to bribery, is the problem the money, or is it the power being bought?

    If the drug weren't available, the junkies couldn't buy it."

    Here's what you don't understand; A politician's power is determined by his ability to get re-elected (not his title). No fat campaign fund? No re-election.

    The bus boycott worked so well during the Civil Rights movement because activists went after the money. If you don't go after the money, you're just shadowboxing. You can "throw the bumbs" out every two, four, or six years but they'll only be replaced by new bumbs until you go to the source.

  110. @ spatter - You can "throw the bumbs" out every two, four, or six years but they'll only be replaced by new bumbs until you go to the source.

    Well said. A smaller government that can be bought is just a smaller bought government. Even if the power is decentralized to the states, the money will follow the power to the states. See below.

    @Doug - Look at the top 5 recipients of corporate federal tax breaks, Chevron, Bank of America, ExxonMobil, GE and Boeing. Collectively, they give $78.7M to the states and only $45.3M to the feds.

    Money and power are like air. They're always going to be a part of any political system. It's more a question of separating them as much as possible, rather than trying to reduce just one of them.

  111. Spatter:

    "If you don't go after the money, you're just shadowboxing."

    What do you mean by "go after the money"? Tax it away from them at confiscatory rates? That throws both those who use their money responsibly in with those who don't, giving the federal government even more money to misuse on their donors or spend on pork barrel projects. Limit campaign contributions? Been there, done that, people get around it.

    The solution is to limit the damage the government can do while keeping essential protections, and distribute them when possible.

    And Carole, this speaks to your point. Your stats actually prove my point. Distributing the power to the states will make the graft cost more. Do you see how much more it would take for corporations to have to deal with 50 governments instead of the one-stop shopping that DC provides?

    Thought experiment:

    If the government had *no* power over the economy, what influence could big money buy? None.
    If the government had *full* power over the economy, and could micro-manage every bit of it, what influence could big money buy? Loads of it.
    If the federal government had no power over the economy, but the *states* had full control, what influence could big money buy? Loads of it *but* it would cost 25-50 times as much. (You don't think that would tend to influence the decision to pursue graft?)

    Government clearly needs to fall somewhere in between none and full control. But the point is, simply possessing the means to buy government power means nothing unless it is used. Make it harder to make the graft useful, and you will have less of it. You will, as Carole noted, never be rid of it; we're all still humans. You must limit the damage that graft can do. Smaller and distributed government both limits the damage, and makes what damage can be done so much more costly that corporations may have second thoughts about engaging in it.

    What I find interesting about OWS supporters is the absolute denial of the issue with government power. I'm having this same conversation on another blog and am getting the same vibe. It's as though the money is the only problem. The Venn diagram at least, in its over-simplistic way, acknowledges that there might be a problem with government, too. But all the commenters here that support OWS can see is corporate money, which, sitting there in a bank account, does nothing. Until, that is, it is used to buy power. And that power resides in one place only; government.

  112. If the government had no control over the economy, who would, and what do you think would happen?

  113. Apparently you didn't finish reading my comment. Let me restate, "Government clearly needs to fall somewhere in between none and full control."

    Also, this was a "thought experiment". We look at the extremes in order to understand the continuum. Corporate influence is directly proportional to government power, regardless of the money. That's the point.

  114. I'm not prepared to live in a society run by unconstrained business, because business is based on profit and the pure pursuit of profit is amoral, anarchic and anti-social. I am also not prepared to live in a society run entirely by all-powerful officials who decide our laws for us, police them, and punish wrongdoers, with impunity. What we have at the moment is an unholy alliance of the two.

    Cutting one leaves the way clear for the other to wreak havoc in its own way.

    Therefore: smaller everything. Local, family-run, sustainable, ethically run businesses, supported but also guided by pared down government there to prevent the worst excesses that we know can occur. This is a cap on "freedom" I suppose, if your definition of freedom is to accumulate as much money as possible through whatever means possible.

    Perhaps I'm veering slightly into whackjob territory here, but I'm increasingly of the opinion that both politics and big business favor megalomaniacs, psychopaths and narcissists, who are naturally attracted to power, and often clever and charming. It doesn't much matter if they are politicians or CEOs, if we hand ANY kind of power to the wolves, we shouldn't be surprised when we get mauled.

  115. I love how the comments here are reinforcing the article's point with all the sniping. Let's simplify.

    Tea Party: government/corporate collusion is ruining the country. Fucking government. Let's get rid of it.

    OWS: government/corporate collusion is ruining the country. Fucking corporations. Let's get rid of them.

    Everyone is so focused on which villain to blame that they totally miss the first sentence. Instead, what should be happening is this:

    Americans: government/corporate collusion is ruining the country. Fucking collusion. Let's get rid of it.

    Only a clueless moron anarchist actually thinks that government is the root of all evil. Only a clueless moron hippie actually thinks that a modern economy could exist without corporations.

    Now can we all stop being clueless morons and address the collusion problem? Both government and big corporations would be much less evil if they weren't able to team up against everyone else.

    Strike at the root of the problem:

  116. @Larry: "Now can we all stop being clueless morons and address the collusion problem? Both government and big corporations would be much less evil if they weren't able to team up against everyone else."

    Because we've never tried to address that before, right? [end sarcasm]

    Fact is we have, many, many times, and we're still having this conversation. The solution before has always been to make government bigger. Instead, corporations have figured out a way around the new rules and we have a bigger problem.

    You seem to think your idea is new. It is, in fact, at least a generation or two old. Your think your solution is new. It's just as old and impotent.

    The root cause is power. Government has power. Money can only buy it. Reduce the power and there's less for the money to buy.

  117. Tea Partyers is supported by the system OWS is fighting. OWS want to delete the very foundation of the Tea Party's existence.

  118. Doug: I never said I was proposing anything new. I said we need to stop sniping at each other and address the root of the problem, which is that money buys power way too easily in our current political system. If we have to do that "again", that is because we fucked up and let the system get corrupted again. "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance", not just against "the big bad government" but against corrupting influences of all kinds that would abuse that freedom.

    Size of government is not ipso facto evil. Scandanavian countries have far larger government social programs than the US or even southern Europe. They're also doing reasonably OK right now, because they didn't over-spend and didn't get bought out by mega corps. So large government is not inherently the problem.

    Size of corporation is not ipso facto evil. Apple is the largest market cap tech company in the world. Are they therefore automatically evil? Does having money automatically make someone evil? No.

    Power exists. Government is not the only place that power happens. If massive amounts of money can buy power, it will do so *wherever* it happens to reside. Simply removing government and hoping that fat cat self-interested corporate overlords will somehow magically stop trying to enrich themselves at everyone else's expense is shear lunacy. They'll just buy someone else (like, say, controlling the means of production, aka monopolies, which any good capitalist should agree is dangerous and unhealthy).

    Right now, *all discussions of the size of government, either direction, are invalid*, because we're not arguing about how large an effective, useful, clued-in government should be. We're arguing about how large a structurally corrupt, bought-and-paid-for government should be. The size of *that* sort of government, I think we can all agree, should be 0. The size of a properly functioning government that pays attention to the public and not the big campaign checks? Something larger than 0.

    Whining and bitching at each other about "the size of government" misses the point, because we don't have the government we should be arguing about in the first place. We need to first pry government and corporations away from each other so that we can refactor both to function in the best interest of the country rather than the best interest of the 1%.

  119. Larry, a very good explanation of your view of things, let me just say. Still disagree, and I'll explain why, but thanks for this.

    "I never said I was proposing anything new. I said we need to stop sniping at each other and address the root of the problem, which is that money buys power way too easily in our current political system."

    Indeed, we need to stop sniping at each other, and also try something other than the same solutions that have failed for over a century. A century, man! If they've always failed, the reason may be you're tackling the problem from the wrong side of the equation. Vigilance is important, but we're having the same conversation as they were during the 1860s when Boss Tweed ran Tammany Hall, for cryin' out loud. Back then, they increased the reach of government, and by doing so, increased their corporation's wealth.

    More government power made Boss Tweed rich. And today, we're having the same conversation. Those who don't learn from history, and all that.

    "Size of government is not ipso facto evil."
    "Size of corporation is not ipso facto evil."

    I can change my telephone company tomorrow. I cannot do so with my government. I can vote occasionally, but who I vote for may not win. Government makes the laws, runs law enforcement, and can incarcerate me. My phone company, on its own, can't. Conflating these two is the source of the problem with OWS.

    The problem comes, as we agree, when the two collude. They collude because corporations have the money and government has the power. To which you note:

    "We're arguing about how large a structurally corrupt, bought-and-paid-for government should be. The size of *that* sort of government, I think we can all agree, should be 0."

    Indeed, but until you can find some way to negate human nature, we will always have that with us. And so we're taking two choices; limiting freedom or limiting oppression. Make demands on all corporations lumping the good in with the bad limits freedom. (Again, not always exercised properly, but that's human nature.) Reducing the size of government, on the other hand, limits oppression. We have so many laws on the books that are stifling the creation of new business, which we need right now.

    "We need to first pry government and corporations away from each other so that we can refactor both to function in the best interest of the country...."

    This is refreshing, because few, if any, OWS supporters here have even suggested dealing with government at all. Instead we see signs and demands about "pay off my student loans" or "give me $20 an hour for not working" or "eat the rich"; demands for *more* government, more redistribution, and frankly covetousness bordering on socialism. I would like to refactor government. Unfortunately, I think the demands being made are more of the same, century-old, failed ideas.

  120. First of all, while greed, hatred, and delusion are part of human existence, that does NOT mean we are BY NATURE that way. The greater mass of people are generous, peaceful, modest, simply want things to be fair.

    However, the FEW that are pathologically greedy and pursue power and then use that to influence other people are the problem, hence the saying about the need for eternal vigilance by the masses.

    On another topic, what the hell is government other than the people elected and appointed to make and enforce the rules that are SUPPOSE to "form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity"? The problem isn't that rules are made and enforced. The problem is WHO is making WHAT rules which was the entire point of the Veen diagram.

    Put very simply, the country is family writ large. Who makes the rules in families? Some nebulous thing we call "family"? NO, it's the people in it that makes the rules. Some rules are better than others and things aren't always fair, but we at least have some idea how families should function.

    Given this, our country is a totally dysfunctional family that delights in abusing its members and has worked very hard to ensure that too many people never grow up, learn self-disciple, can accept "no" for answer, and won't throw a tantrum if they don't get their way. Not every behavior or act is acceptable in the public arena and some things are downright detrimental to others are must therefore be prevented.

    For example, if something has the potential to harm others (pesticides and fertilizer getting into the very water we drink, or, using drugs and feed that poison our food supply, or, selling snake oil that kills people, etc) then the protection of life trumps profit.

    I've rambled enough. Thanks. :)

  121. @Doug - I get it. You want to spread the power over the 50 states rather than have it concentrated in the Federal gov't.

    But when we're talking economic power, the reason the Fed Gov't has it in the first place (a la the Constitution) is because it would be too unwieldy under the 50 state governments. Who would issue Treasuries? For that matter, who would coin the money, or would we have 50 different types of monetary systems? Who would pay the Military? What if S. Carolina defaulted on her debt to China and N. Carolina didn't want to help pay for it?

    I don't argue that both government and Wall Street are parts of the problem. What I don't get is how a less powerful Federal government will help the economic issues. I haven't seen anyone making demands for "more" government. What I have seen is the wish that governments policies should benefit everyone, not just Wall Street. I don't see that wish as a large vs small government problem.

  122. ---------------------------------
    NeoLotus said...
    First of all, while greed, hatred, and delusion are part of human existence, that does NOT mean we are BY NATURE that way.

    That pretty much nails it, where we differ. The founding fathers wrote the constitution to form a government that would frustrate the greed inherent in human nature. It's not necessarily the smallness of it, but the constraints that they put upon it. This government was never meant to hand out favors to separate groups, to play favorites.

    So the OWS crowd wants to end corporate bailouts, but in it's place they demand their own set of bailouts. They lack consistency and integrity if they continue down that road.

    And to accuse the Tea Party of wanting no government is beyond ridiculous. A bunch of middle aged anarchists, eh?

  123. Carole:

    "Who would issue Treasuries? For that matter, who would coin the money, or would we have 50 different types of monetary systems?"

    C'mon, Carole. You have taken my desire for less federal power to mean no federal power. I will reiterate what I've previously said. "Government clearly needs to fall somewhere in between none and full control." There is most certainly a role for a federal government in the economy. My point in using the adjective "smaller" (as opposed to "none") is that I believe the feds have too much power at this point, and because of that, it enables the collusion we're discussing.

    "What I don't get is how a less powerful Federal government will help the economic issues."

    I've been outlining that this whole time, and I will say it for the umpteenth time again. Corporations have political (and therefore, economic) power because it's for sale from the feds. If the fed were less powerful, do you see how that would mean less could be bought? We will always have people to try to beat the system, but we can limit the damage.

    "I haven't seen anyone making demands for "more" government."

    You haven't heard demands for the cancelling of all student loans, or mandating a $20/hour wage even if you're not working, or a true single-payer healthcare system? All of these require the feds to get new powers to override borrowing contracts, increase the amount of money flowing in via taxation or get complete control of the health care system. All the solutions to the gripes of OWS require a larger and more powerful centralized government. Some are even calling for a full, flat-out socialist economy, which tilts federal power way too far to the "full control" side of the spectrum. When anyone wants free money, a stronger federal government is required to provide it.

    As waynefromnaz rightly noted, this government was never meant to hand out favors to separate groups, to play favorites. Not the 1%, not the 99%. It was designed to keep order, handle inter-state disputes, and let the states or the people, via the 10th Amendment, be free to choose their own way.

  124. That Venn diragram says it in a nutshell.

    And then I think there is a parallel question of how we get out of our current economic mess?

    Tea Party: austerity (hurts middle class and poor, could cause a downward spiral? but we're better for it over time?)

    Progressives: "grow" our way out of the problem by boosting employment through gov't spending and boosting overall consumer demand (increases debt, but GDP would groaw faster than debt, so the logic runs)

    What bothers me is that neither Rebubs or Dems agree to pay down debt during the good times (so it would seem), so now our debt-to-GDP ratio is something like 100% (it reached a peak of %115 during WWII as we employed the progressive strategy). I don't believe it was Keynes's intention to run deficits, year after year, but rather to do so during the bad years so as to boost employment and consumer demand.

    So maybe a policy of fiscal conservatism during the good years (but not cutting taxes when there is debt to pay off, mind you), and progressive fiscal policy during the bad years. The gov't is not a business, and gov't is not a household. We need deficit spending during tough times, we need balanced budgets (and debt repayment) during the good times.

    Anyway, the picture is capturing a problem with our political system, I realize, but I think it would be cool to see an equally concise picture re: the competing economic philosophies/strategies to go with it.

  125. @Doug: "If the government had *no* power over the economy, what influence could big money buy? None."

    If you do nothing to curb its influence, Big Money both could and would buy as much influence as it has now. It would do it the day after you cast your magic spell--the only way to turn government into what you're describing. Big Money doesn't have the near-omnipotent influence it has now because of philosophical abstractions; it has that influence because it buys it, and if you do nothing to try to disrupt that, you're not fixing anything.

    You don't acknowledge these things because doing so obliterates your silly pre-programmed narrative and exposes it (and everything you've said here) for the epic fail it has, in fact, been.

    And to bring this back to the point of this entire conversation, this has been a perfect example of why hardcore teabaggers could never work with OWS, or be productive as activists in any meaningful way. Fortunately, there's the other hand: the sane among the Tea Party supporters are most likely to jump ship and sign on to something like OWS.

  126. classicliberal2 said...
    "Fortunately, there's the other hand: the sane among the Tea Party supporters are most likely to jump ship and sign on to something like OWS."
    And if anyone in the OWS crowd can get over the myopic scapegoating of one group and realize the problem is more complex than the class warfare they are being led into... they can sign up to fight the collusion of government with all special interests that crave favors from the government. Variation on the Venn Diagram.

  127. Wayne, that is a *fantastic* video, and explains exactly what the problem is. OWS is fixated on just a few types of incorrect use of government power, while the Tea Party opposes it all.

    I urge all of you, especially Mr. Sinclair, to take just 3 minutes of your time and see how Wayne has explained this. Very well done.

  128. @Doug - let's move on. Say you now have a smaller Federal government, what does that look like in real life? Where did the power go or has it just magically disappeared into the ether?

    Or, if the power now resides with the people, how does that translate at the ballot box? With the exception of traffic laws, laws, codes and regulations have a moral basis behind them, whether we like it or not. How does that figure into your power of the people thing, and the Constitution, for that matter? For instance, if a majority of the "people" desire to discriminate against a certain group, which is forbidden by the Constitution, how do you go about squaring the two? Should economic and social fairness matter at all or is it all about guarding everyone's individual rights?

  129. Carole said...
    "Should matter at all or is it all about guarding everyone's individual rights?"

    I know this was addressed to Doug but I'll give you my 2cents. Protecting the individual's rights is the main reason for a government to exist.How does this "economic and social fairness" you speak of violate an individuals rights? If it does that, then it may be no better than the example you gave of a majority discriminating against the rights of others. It's what the little video is about, not allowing people to leverage their power against the rights of others.

  130. @Wayne. I saw the video but individual rights can get tricky after awhile. Does someone's right not to live next door to a purple house trump the right of the owner to paint her house purple? Who decides?

  131. The video was meant to refer to federal issues. I know we're talking about local issues when we talk about house painting (at least I hope!)

    As a local issue I'd say you can paint your house any color you please. Only if it was a pre-existing ordinance or owner-association regulation that a house buyer was aware of when buying would I say such a law was valid.

    What's wrong with purple?

  132. @Wayne - Nothing is wrong with purple, on my house or my neighbor's. But if you think that power does any better at the state and local level, then I'd have to say you've never lived in a privatized community. There are over 60 million people in the US trapped in a HOA (yes, trapped) where the power is in the hands of a few making life miserable, unbearable, un-American for the many.

    First of all, there's a trade association called the Community Associations Institute that wrote the laws in the 50 states. At the local level, deals were made to the cities that are too good to turn down, and before you know it, Americans are trapped in HOA hell. Real estate developers, lawyers, and property managers have made gazillions. The owners, not so much. In California, 75% of the HOAs are in litigation, while in Illinois it's 65%. Pretty much the same in all 50 states, I think. Google "Privatopia". Do that before giving me the usual "it's a choice or you knew when you signed"...blah, blah, bs. Just do it. Were you aware that the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights do not apply when you live an HOA? It's true.

    A smaller government is not ipso facto a better government. Trust me. In fact, I'd say that individual rights would be in a great deal of peril.

  133. I think the problem has been properly stated. I propose a partial solution.

    "It is possible that most of the problems that we have with our Government and the corporations we interact with today stem from the misunderstanding that not all data is the same! We the People need to understand that Our information is something We keep and let others look at. We need to control it not let others control it. We shouldn’t just give it away or let it out of our control. Ever! We need a different information management model for the future. This is a BIG change for the better. We know we need to get our privacy back and keep it and the first step needs to be to recognize that not all data is the same!"

    We need to amend the bill of rights to make our Personal Data our Personal Property.


  134. Carole said...
    "Google "Privatopia". Do that before giving me the usual "it's a choice or you knew when you signed"...blah, blah, bs. Just do it. Were you aware that the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights do not apply when you live an HOA? It's true."

    1st I'm familiar with HOA's, my mother lived in one. I did not think it was a good deal but for her it worked for the last years of her life. As executor of her estate I would have unloaded it but it went to my brother and he rents it out. I wish him good luck...

    As for your comment that it's not covered by the Bill of Rights - I think you mean that a contract is legally binding. You voluntarily give up you "rights" all the time by obeying your employer's rules, following rules in public and private places. You voluntarily place yourself in these places.

    But you told me to to not say, "it's a choice or you knew when you signed" but...

    I googled and read like you said:

    The leader against HOA's says, "A lot of times, when people buy homes [with HOAs], they don't know what they are signing away," says McKenzie. "It's all justified by contract. You signed, so you consented to it. But people have not really meaningfully consented to be governed by HOAs. Most haven't read the covenants -- they don't know what they mean."

    So there, I didn't say it, he did! You may as well sue the public schools that didn't teach people how to read and think ahead...

  135. Carole, the fact that people abuse power at the local level and the federal level just means that they're all human. It doesn't speak to whether one is better or worse than the other.

    "Local solutions to local problems" is a phrase that we're quickly forgetting. Instead a one-size-fits-all solution from DC is becoming the norm. Do you prefer a more centralized government telling your local school board what to put on the lunch menu? Because then, certain food lobbyists just have to convince one bureaucrat in DC to force their product. I want my local folks to have the last say.

    The Constitution and the Bill of Rights seemed to work pretty well when the power was more distributed. Consolidate what makes sense, but clearly (to me) too much has been consolidated to the detriment of all.

  136. @Wayne - How many contracts have you signed where only one party can change the rules without notice? These are 'adhesion' contracts that are covered by a 'Declaration' that can be hundreds of pages of legalese, usually given to the buyer at closing. People are looking to buy a home, not a restrictive governance system. Regular lawyers that have not specialized in HOAs are routinely clobbered in courts by those that do specialize because HOAs come under contract law, property law and non-profit corporate law in arcane and mysterious ways.

    As for voluntary - please. California, Arizona and Florida consist of HOAs. For that matter, most of the South East is one large HOA. If you want to live within 50 miles of where you work, it's hardly voluntary to live in one.

    Even some libertarians have conceded that "Privatopia" is not all it was supposed to be. And that's because of the power and how it is used. There are 59,999,500 (the other 500 are power mad board members, including some libertarians) people living in the US right now that think it would be great if the federal gov't could straighten out the states and locals.

  137. @Doug - Do you prefer a more centralized government telling your local school board what to put on the lunch menu? Because then, certain food lobbyists just have to convince one bureaucrat in DC to force their product.

    Assuming both the feds and locals are working off a nutrition based approach, I don't think it much matters. But lobbyists are present at the local as well as the federal level, so you aren't gaining much, if anything.

    I live in a progressive area, where we have gone much further in areas of livability, transit, schools, bike paths, sustainability etc than anything the feds have proposed. The thing is, none of the feds have stopped us, either. So where's the beef?

    As far as business regulations, a report just came out that says there is less red tape for setting up shop in the U.S. than there is in all of Europe, Latin America, Africa and most of Asia. Again, where's the beef?

  138. "Assuming both the feds and locals are working off a nutrition based approach, I don't think it much matters."

    It doesn't matter until it doesn't meet your standards. As you note, your local crowd does far better in that area. Local solutions to local problems.

    Comparing a capitalist system to some of those socialist and/or kleptocracies (where, culturally, you have to bribe anyone in the government to get anything done, even the local postal clerk) doesn't really mean much. I'm trying to avoid what many of those other countries wind up with.

  139. @Doug - It doesn't matter until it doesn't meet your standards. As you note, your local crowd does far better in that area. Local solutions to local problems.

    I don't have kids, so tell me if I'm wrong, but it's my understanding that the feds set out the minimum standards and the locals are free to do more than that if they desire. Just as I noted in the observation of my city - the feds don't stop us. In fact, they actively support and help us.

    I might also mention that every part of the Master Plan for my city was done through citizen input. Higher taxes for some projects were put to city-wide votes and passed every time. One of the results is that we haven't faced a city budget crunch the last couple of years. Another result is that people that live in areas of lower taxation try to get their kids into our school district by "borrowing" addresses.

    At the same time, we have Section 8 people living in or near the pricier dwellings and no kids are going hungry. Nor do we by any means pay the highest taxes in the state. Innovative businesses are moving in from the suburbs in order to retain their young employees and are doing so without being offered reduced taxes.

    However, if an area doesn't want any of this, I have not heard of the feds forcing it on them. So I'm trying to figure out why "local solutions to local problems" is even an issue.

  140. The Potato Lobby gets the feds to insist on minimum potato intake. You think that's too much, but it's a federal minimum for whole country. Now what?

    Mighty Moo lobbies the feds to use their milk as the standard. You want to use local suppliers. Now what?

    The principle is "local solutions to local problems", and that should be the driving force. I agree that, if the feds do it "right", no one is put upon. But OWS is protesting lobbyist control over DC, and the problem is that federal government has a hand in setting minimum standards for the country. That one vector for lobbyist money will have an impact in the hundreds of school districts around the country. And as you noted, it's way more expensive for a lobby to influence hundreds of school districts than it is one board or one bureaucrat in DC.

    The principle is the issue, and it makes sense. I'm glad your situation works for you, but it could just as easily not. The singular form of the word "data" is not "anecdote".

  141. Which is why giving MORE power to the one who actually CREATES the laws (as the left suggests) is a huge mistake. We need to eliminate the ability of the government to have that power over the marketplace in the first place. That way, it won't matter if the president appoints the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs as the head of the Treasury Dept. (as Obama did) because the power to bail out the cronies and control the markets in such a grotesquely biased fashion will be severed. We can't just tell the fat cats on Wall St. to start being more 'nice', but we can cut the ability of the government to enable their crimes and gambling. Obviously this would not be a recipe for utopia, as it would relegate much of the regulatory responsibility to the states and local governments, which will have both positive as well as some negative results, but time and evolutionary principles will relatively quickly demonstrate which tactics and rules work best between the 50 different laboratories of policy and social structure innovation. And, most importantly, it would prevent the extreme distortion that has lead to the crises such as the one the world is currently facing.

  142. Hey! Your diagram looks a lot like mine.

    Hamster Wheel System of Power & Profit

  143. You lost me at libertarian...

  144. > The greatest threat to our economy is neither corporations nor the government. The greatest threat to our economy is both of them working together.

    No, the greatest threat to our economy is 100 million people signing contracts to pay mortgages they cant, they won't, or they shouldn't have because the contract put them under water.

    When that came to an end in 2007 (check date on Wiki, don't take my word for it) it caused the financial problems of 2008 (which centered around non-bank institution AIG). Even today I don't think the average American's life has been too affected by the events of 2008, but they are slaughtered by the bubble bursting in 2007. Yet I don't see a lot of anger about the people who willingly participated in the property bubble.

  145. @Doug - NOW I get it. Seriously. I don't have an answer, but I get it. You may be surprised to know that there's a bunch of lefties on your side in this issue.

    Apparently, the school lunch program is administered by the US Dept. of Agriculture, so school lunches and potatoes are in bed together (so to speak) from the get-go. And therein lies the origins of your problem. I wish you luck.

    @Kakulja Evan - That way, it won't matter if the president appoints the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs as the head of the Treasury Dept. (as Obama did)...

    Pres. BUSH appointed Hank Paulson as Treasury Secretary in 2006. Paulson was the former CEO of Goldman Sachs.

    Pres. Obama appointed Tim Geithner, President of the New York Fed in 2009. Granted, that was not much of an improvement, but he was tipped to be Secretary even if McCain had won.

    No one on the left is advocating for MORE government.

  146. Carole:

    "You may be surprised to know that there's a bunch of lefties on your side in this issue."

    That's good to hear. And very glad we could at least see what the other was talking about.

    "No one on the left is advocating for MORE government."

    Wellllll, that's stretching it. Again, see the signs at OWS, especially the ones calling specifically for the end of capitalism and the installation of socialism. Or even the ones wanting to give the federal the power to set a minimum wage even for those not working, or the power to break the student loan contract.

  147. The difference, in a nutshell, is that the Tea Party is largely made up of proto-fascist elements who WILL, when push comes to shove, defend the status quo and support authoritarian repressions, state/police violence, obscene violations of civil rights, etc., all in the interests of the elites. The OWS crowd has some unsavory elements as well, (i.e. people who will defend/tolerate the same things), but fewer, and of those that exist, much more benign. The OWS movement is much closer to an authentic people's movement, representative broadly of all of non-elite society. They're not quite the 99%; more like the 80%, but that's a minor quibble. The Tea Party crowd WILL, when the time comes, be in with the 20%, defending the 1% (at the tippy-top of the 20%), while thinking all the while that they are "the people". They are blind to the true mass will, and they will participate in the suppression of it (or easily acquiesce to suppression by others), when the critical moment arrives. They are essentially a fascist formation, and they will be employed by those who are planning the feudalization of America.

  148. Well you can take your God-damned hands off of the Tea Party if you have no time for conservatism. I don't know what punked you out, and I don't care, but your attempt to dignify the socialist morons in the streets by comparing them favorably with the Tea Party is mistaken at best.
    If you're too darned dainty to be bothered with real issues, have fun with your Venn diagrams.
    Government has the power (indeed the obligation at times) to compel, and corporations do not. That is why the Constitution restricts government and not corporations.

  149. I confess, I stopped reading when you countered Paul Krugman with Ann Coulter, as if they were equals.

  150. Love this post. I've been feeling like a complete misfit while pointing out that the Tea Party and OWS have more in common than not and the salvation of America lies in their realizing it. We are encouraged to pit ourselves against each other. Let's see what happens if we stop. I've always taken it as my solemn duty to vote. Now I think it just encourages the bastards.

  151. From an european point of wiew and this might be regarded as total out of context or as a horrible analogy.


    I recently watched the movie Missisipi burning and a quote struck me that could (but might be utterly misguided) be applied in the case of the divided america.

    Dilouge follows:
    Ward: Some things are worth dying for.
    Anderson: Down here, things are different; here, they believe that some things are worth killing for.

    Derived from this, I ask myself.
    - "Are Tea-party people/republicans willing to deprive OWS-people of their freedom of speech? and/or other individual rights" In order to maintain some sort of republican supremacy.

  152. See Ron Paul...make freedom legal again

  153. Just so you know - a nice color version of your Venn Diagram, listing this blog as the source, is popping up all over Facebook. Be pleased - you've gone viral!

  154. Sorry blogger, the main difference is the Tea Party does not want the banks regulated so they can blow another housing bubble and the OWS wants the damn banks regulated.

  155. If we just want to stay disgusted with each other, we can keep picking apart our differences and holding each other down while big $$$ and big gov't work us over. The elite criminal class (masquerading as "executives" and "elected officials") is sucking our country dry and turning our beloved homeland into "the land of the enslaved and the home of the desperate." I love America too much to settle for that, don't you?

    We can and should set aside our differences and unite forces to go after the root cause of the problems we face: an unwholesome concentration of money and power.

    If we can stop corporations from buying the government, and if we can get the government to stop making unjust laws that reward failure, then we may reclaim the space to create better solutions we can all agree on - solutions that do NOT rely on government-sponsored socialism.

    There are many free-market solutions to our problems. Cooperative and employee-owned enterprises can make big government obsolete if they become the standard business model. People only clamor for socialism when they feel victimized by forces beyond their control. Equitable enterprise would empower people for self-governance.

    The main point is that the Founders of this great nation we call America fought and died so we could live in the home of the free and the land of the brave. If we keep bashing each other, we just help the tyrants to enslave us all the more. Let's not play into their hands so easily. Let's rally the necessary courage to overcome our demographic differences and fight together for liberty and justice for all.

  156. Well said, and I intend to spread that crude Ven Diagram far and wide. We are all being played by a sophisticated divide and conquer strategy.

  157. To the last poster. The Venn diagram is a great start but it is not adequate for doing anything with that "common ground". With the OWS - they only see the corporation/wealthy aspect of government being corrupted. The Tea Party, which came into existence in part due to rage at the policy of "Too Big To Fail" and other corporate bailouts and cronyism, will not attack the wrong end of the problem. Government should not be in the position to favor ANYONE.

  158. OCTOBER 28, 2011 1:35 AM Anonymous said...
    - "Are Tea-party people/republicans willing to deprive OWS-people of their freedom of speech? and/or other individual rights" In order to maintain some sort of republican supremacy."
    Where do you see Tea Party people trying to deprive anyone their right to speech? On the contrary, they are all about having a government that protects individual liberties as opposed to one that picks the winners and losers. It's what is explained in this sort video presentation that begins with the Venn diagram:

  159. This is split up into two comments:

    One thing that EVERYONE seems to be ignoring. The OWS crowd is being supported by openly communist and socialist organizations. Just recently a communist group put forth their list of demands which included the overthrow of our government, confiscation of private property AND FREEING ALL PRISONERS TO BE USED TO CONTROL THE POPULACE!!!!!!!!!!!

    It amazes me that so many people support socialist ideas when we have just emerged from the most MURDEROUS century in the history of mankind because of

    Socialism (Hitler)

    Communism (Stalin, Mao, Castro)

    and Islam (check out


    In fact, the socialist website, states very clearly that the END GOAL OF SOCIALISM IS COMMUNISM. This is the stated intent expressed by Lenin himself over a century ago. Socialists preach about fairness and freedom, but the end result is slavery, government brutality, and genocide.

    How quickly we forget history.

    The site goes on to falsely assert that "Communism is the end of social classes and of the state that rules over us. Communism is the point where socialism is so deeply established that there are no longer rulers and ruled. People manage their lives together, build their communities, and produce cooperatively for everyone as if it were second nature. There are no longer exploiters trying to gather wealth and power for themselves. There are only human beings." The last three sentences are the pure definition of a free enterprise republic, with a strong moral foundation, not an atheistic communist ideal. There are hundreds of examples of Americans reaching out to help each other in a crisis where government has clearly failed. Incidently, The Naked Communist by Cleon Skousen wrote about what communists in this country really want. Things like, destroying the family, destroying belief in God, destroying capitalism, destroying our morality. There are over 50 objectives that communists laid out back in the early part of the last century that they have been diligently working on ever since. Ever heard of Antonio Gramsci? He said
    "Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity. … In the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society."
    Ever heard of the Frankfurt School? This was their philosophy on education: "‘nations were killed by conquest, that is by invasion: But here an important question arises; can a nation not die on its own soil, without resettlement or invasion, by allowing the flies of decomposition to corrupt to the very core those original and constituent principles which make it what it is.'"

  160. Comment 2/3 as it turns out:
    To see how communism works, one only has to look in a history book at the results of their co-ops.

    Fact: Communal farming was implemented by Mao in the 1940's through the Great Leap Forward program which resulted in a self-induced famine where 45 million people died. That's after he forcibly confiscated private farms of 2 acres or more. Anyone who resisted was executed. 20 million people died in 6 months. Stalin also forced famine on the Ukrainian people resulting in 700,000 deaths. He labeled anyone who owned a farm of 24 acres or more as a Kulak and put in place a plan to "liquidate them". Fidel Castro is no angel either. According to record, about 600,00 people have died under his rule. Then there is the democratic socialism of Europe that is collapsing on itself before our eyes.

    Are you sure you want the country to go down this road? Think very carefully.

    Communist China has been feverishly building ghost cities all across the country that are completely unoccupied. I watched a documentary showing the construction of massive apartment complexes in Hong Kong that no one in the city can afford to buy because their government regulated income stands around $6,000.00 a year. That's with a higher education. And the highly educated citizens are being forced out of their ghetto style housing because their communist controlled government is making room for more apartment buildings.

    Are you sure this is what you want?

    You are complaining about corruption in corporations. Some of you have wised up to the corruption in government. And yet you want government to have more control of your lives and more control over business.

    Are you sure that's what you want?

    America was fortunate in a way because we watched and read the horrors of the actions of the Communists, Socialists and Islamic radicals from afar. But if you empower these people to create a new socialist government in this country, it is not unthinkable that we will see that genocide emerge on our own soil.

    Are you sure that's what you want?

  161. Comment 3/3:

    You complain about the banks. But you forget that it was the Democratic-controlled Congress that put pressure on banks to lend money to people for housing and education who could not afford to pay it back. Remember the Fair Housing Act? This forced the banks to lower the standards by which they loaned money and people, average greedy people, soaked up bank loans that they could not afford. So you want to take money from banks and not pay it that right?

    We have a word for that in English, it's called STEALING!!!

    I heard stories of kids who took out college loans only to use it on cars and computers. That is not what it was for! All of this money was not forced on the people. They requested the money, signed a contract promising to repay and now it's caught up to them. So the collaboration between big business, big banks and the US Congress along with the utter stupidity and irresponsible financial decisions of the people is the reason why we are in the mess that we are in. No one with an ounce worth of sense borrows money they can't pay back. And to demand that one does not have to is the sentiment of a thief.

    My point is it is dangerous to align yourself naively with a political philosophy that caused the deaths of about 150 million people in one century. Doing that is like striking a deal with the devil. And do not think for a moment that you will escape their ruthlessness.

    You are being used and lied to by everyone from your college professors to the left wing media to the Democratic Party. If you truly love this country and its people, you will PUBLICLY DENOUNCE the intentions and agendas of the left and progressives and socialists among you. You must start taking control of how you are educated and be willing to hear the arguments of the conservatives. We have been lied to about everything from capitalism to slavery. (Bet you didn't know there were black slave owners and white slaves in this country, did you?) Our country is the greatest country in the world. I for one want to see it passed on to my children. But if you succeed, all of our children are looking forward to a very dark future.

    I don't blame you for wanting reform. I want it too. I am tired of politicians who do things that the rest of us would get 25 to life for whose only punishment is being voted out of office.

    But the direction you are trying to take us to will only lead to more corruption, more abuse, and oppression of the people like we have never seen before. I am sincerely imploring you to reconsider. Listen to Ron Paul, the Tea Party, and the CEOs who have bravely stepped out to talk to you. They are not entirely wrong.

  162. Tea-Partier views are "childishly naïve, staggeringly ignorant, and disturbingly proto-fascistic":


    Weekend Edition October 28-30, 2011
    An Interview With Anthony DiMaggio
    The Rise of the Tea Party


    The problem with the “movement” is that its members’ anger gets manipulated by a small group of partisan and media elites who are essentially Republican Party operatives. This is the dirty little secret of the Tea Party; it’s not really a social movement, but a cluster of elitist interest groups operating locally and nationally, which is quite lacking in participatory elements, and largely driven by a top-down approach, determined and dictated by Republican partisan officials and business elites of the Koch variety....
    A close examination of the various national Tea Party groups finds that they are all lacking in participatory aspects, with active membership extremely sparse, and the leaders of these groups coming from the highest levels of local and national Republican Party chapters and the business system.... the alleged Tea Party “insurgents” who have led the Tea Party “revolution” in Congress are extremely elitist in their policy positions and in terms of their economic backgrounds. They don’t look any different than past political leaders in terms of their support from wealthy business interests, or in terms of their personal affluence, with regard to their past support for the very deregulatory legislation (of the banking industry) that helped destroy the American economy, or in terms of their voting records, which are identical to non-Tea Party Republican members of Congress.


    It’s the same group of Americans – the 20-25 percent of the public – who are essentially Bush dead-enders. Ideologically speaking, I describe the Tea Partiers as packaging old wine into new bottles. On one level, there is an extremely strong overlap between the Tea Party and the traditional religious right that emerged in the 1980s; on a second level, the Tea Party is representative of the same extreme economic right that has long supported deregulation and an assault on the social welfare state. There is nothing controversial about these claims, as public opinion polling (and analysis of these polls) demonstrates these points very clearly.


    A major problem with the Tea Party, in terms of “building a bridge” between its members and Occupy Wall Street, is that very few Tea Partiers (only 15%) even blame Wall Street for the current problems we are facing today. While their rage at the stagnation of American prosperity is very legitimate, their attribution of responsibility for this stagnation is so childishly naïve, staggeringly ignorant, and disturbingly proto-fascistic that it makes working with them difficult, if not impossible. How do you work with people that think Obama is a Nazi, socialist, Kenyan Muslim terrorist? Pick your pejorative adjective as applied to Obama, and Tea Partiers likely agree with it. The above descriptions are so often lumped together in Tea Party rhetoric to the point where political ideologies such as Islamic fundamentalism, socialism, and Nazism, etc. are absurdly lumped together, as if these philosophies have anything in common.

  163. And, regarding "childishly naïve, staggeringly ignorant, and disturbingly proto-fascistic": I give you the posts of "anonymous", immediately before mine, above, as Exhibit A.


  164. Further from the DiMaggio interview cited above:

    "I would add, in addition to what I already said, that these are the same individuals (Tea Party supporters) who have spent decades deriding progressives and anyone on the left who bemoaned the growing inequality throughout the country, largely a product of the class war that has been declared by big business against American workers. Now we are told on the left that these are precisely the kind of people we need to work with in order to build a movement. I simply don’t buy this. If these individuals want to consider in an open minded way the possibility that corporate America may be engaging in behavior that is very destructive to the fabric of American society, than I will be happy to make an effort to work with them in the future. Tea Partiers (particularly the active core group) are totally unwilling, from what I have seen, to consider such points of view. In fact, acknowledging class war runs so strongly contrary to their world view that it would require them to acknowledge that everything they’ve come to believe with regard to the inherent virtues of “free market,” “libertarian capitalism” is propagandistic fiction. There may be some hope for the members of the general public, however, who claim to be sympathetic to the Tea Party, but are not part of the dedicated cadre of inner circle, true believers, who are largely repeating Republican Party talking points and pushing an extreme right-wing, pro-corporate agenda."

  165. And:

    "I think OWS is the polar opposite of the Tea Party. I’ve participated in the OWS movement in Illinois, in the capitol where I live (Springfield), and spoken with a number of others involved in the movement in New York and other Midwestern states. From what I’ve seen so far there are few similarities. While the Tea Party stresses the virtues of “free market” capitalism and favors of business deregulation, elimination of the social welfare state, and ever decreasing tax cuts for the rich, the OWS movement is the opposite in its politics. While still quite vague in many of its demands, the movement has at least refocused attention toward the real culprits in this economic crisis: Wall Street and the government officials who enable them. OWS looks for greater transparency in the political process, and expects political officials to make a serious effort to promote the common interests of American public over expansive corporate power."

    Chris Hedges Explains Why the Tea Party is Fascist
    Oct.23, 2011
    Between Occupy Wall Street, in New York, and the other cities it's spread to, as well as the October 2011 movement that just began here in D.C, something seems to be happening in this country. Earlier at Freedom Plaza Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author, tells us what this could lead to.


    Hedges is, incidentally, the author of a book: "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America". Book reviews here:


    The Christian Right in Disguise?
    Aug 18, 2011 1:54 PM EDT
    New research confirms that the Tea Party firmly unites right-wing politics and evangelical Christianity
    The extent of the rebranding was confirmed this week by a new survey by David Campbell and Robert Putnam, the authors of last year's monumental American Grace. Polling 3,000 people before and after the rise of the Tea Party, Campbell and Putnam identified the two characteristics most likely to turn someone into a Tea Partier: being strongly active in Republican politics and identifying with the religious right. A similar Pew study in February found that 69 percent of white evangelicals agree with the Tea Party.

  167. I find it so self-delusional to call a group that wants to *reduce* the size and influence of government "fascists".

    And because a group is supported by 69% of white evangelicals, then...what, exactly? If 69% of white atheists supported the OWS, would that say anything at all about the views of OWS? If not, than it says nothing about the Tea Party. Just a bunch of uninformed scare-mongering.

  168. I agree with the author that what these groups are protesting is more similar than the news lets on. They do both identify the same problem: too much power in the government/corporations, brought on by the too-close relationship between those entities. However, this is the easy part; solving that problem is much more difficult. The movement’s proposals for solving our problems are what really distinguish them from one another, and what really determine which movement deserves support. Each group blames the opposite half of the corporate-government relationship, and each group proposes to curtail the power of the side they blame. Tea Partiers blame government and trust business to drive the economy, whereas OWS blames businesses and trusts the government to regulate them. The thing is, only the Tea Party cites the correct culprit.
    Why is the government more to blame for these crony-capitalism relationships than business? Because the government, unlike corporations, has a constitution. The government, unlike corporations, has a civic duty, a role to play, and a monopoly on the use of force in order to serve that role. A corporation's only purpose, it's only objective, it's only goal, is to make money. Corporations are succeeding in that goal. A government's purpose is to defend the rights and freedoms of its citizens. The government is failing in that goal. Therefore, the government is to blame. If a high level corporate executive strikes a deal with a high level politician, the politician is corrupt, but the executive is merely executing a wise business move. The executive, unlike the politician, has no legal responsibility to do what's best for the American people: his job description is to do what's best for the company, and he has done so.
    The constitution was so brilliant because it restrained the government’s power by specifically enumerating the powers that government can and cannot exercise. However, today, we essentially ignore the constitution. Many of the checks and balances on the powers the government may undertake are no longer observed, and the government can run wild and do what it likes. It has become tyrannical, and the Tea Party is a pun on history to symbolize the protest, then and now, against that tyranny.
    Ultimately, the government has a monopoly on force. For that reason, businesses must rely on government if they are to expand their power, but government needn't rely on business. If we restrict the power of government, if we stop them from giving the special favors and enforce equality under the law, the power of large corporations will naturally fall as well, because they won't have the government helping them. But if we restrict the power of corporations using the government, the result will be an even stronger government that can still reward certain corporations by punishing their opponents. One solution will restrict the power of both government and corporations; the other solution will exacerbate the problem. We cannot tell businesses what they can and cannot do with their own money; we must tell the government what it can and cannot do with other people's money. The constitution is what tells the government just that, and the longer it's ignored, the longer this nation will remain broken.

  169. I was involved with the tea party groups that were started in Philadelphia (Loyal Opposition) and the Bucks County suburbs of Philly (Kitchen Table Patriots). These 2 groups started with NO MONEY. They had meetings at free or cheap places with a donation jar. Then in mid 2008, 2 empty storefronts were rented for the tea party activists. They had fancy computerized phone dialing equipment. The source was AFP, Americans for Prosperity, and I assume that it is correct that AFP was/is funded in part by the Koch family. My point is that this Koch money came after the fact, it enabled the existing tea party groups to be more effective. The Koch money was not a part of the formation! From my personal 1st hand observations,those claiming that the tea party was not grassroots, but a Kock creation are making a false claim.

  170. Americans For Prosperity is the Koch brothers, yes. Freedomworks is the same general organizational structure. These guys, and relentless promotion from Fox, are the reason anybody's heard of the movement. Whatever "generally skeptical Christian conservative survivalists" may otherwise choose to believe.

    This idea that the Tea Party is about "free enterprise" is kind of baffling; as a rule, their hitch is the size of the federal budget, not the size of the federal government's regulatory authority. Going by the proportions of the biggest, therefore most costly, government programs, which contribute the most to those all-important taxes, they must therefore be most concerned about shrinking the Defense budget, and cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.


    The Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street

    Finally, a truly populist uprising

    By David Morris

    Which stands up for the majority of Americans?

    The Tea Party is the first mass movement against the masses

    Host David Gregory complained about Occupy Wall Street protestors “demonizing banks” and wondered, “Is this not a reverse tea party tactic?” Gregory is right. In many respects Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is indeed a mirror image of the Tea Party.


    Faux Populism vs. True Populism

    Both OWS and the Tea Party might be described as populist but their definitions of populism wildly diverge. That divergence has been clear from their founding.


    Santelli’s insistence that those who lose their homes are “losers” who have only themselves to blame is a sentiment widely shared among Tea Party Republicans and most recently expressed by Republican Presidential candidate front runner Herman Cain. When asked about Wall Street protestors Cain, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza declared, “Don’t blame Wall Street. Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.”


    This lack of empathy for what OWS would call the 99% is palpable wherever Tea Party Republicans come to power.... OWS does demonize powerful banks. The Tea Party demonizes the poorest and weakest of us all.

    For OWS unfairness means taxing billionaires at half the rate their secretaries pay and allowing the top 1% of the population to “earn” as much, collectively, as the bottom 60 percent. For Tea Party Republicans taxes themselves are unfair and inequality is desirable. Indeed, they want to give the 1% even a greater share of the nation’s wealth.


    Even when they agree that federal spending is profligate, OWS and the Tea Party violently disagree on what should be cut. Signs and speeches at #Occupy events often target the exorbitant military spending and foreign wars. But despite the fact that the Pentagon is the poster child for government waste and incompetence, not to mention corruption, it is also the only part of the government the Tea Party considers all but off limits.

    As soon as Republicans took over the House of Representatives in November 2010, they changed the rules so that military spending does not have to be offset by reduced spending somewhere else, unlike any other kind of government spending. It is the only activity of government Republicans believe does not have to be paid for. The Tea Party’s ascendance has only strengthened the Republicans’ resolve that the Pentagon’s budget is untouchable.... Tea Party freshmen were even more likely than their Republican elders to vote against cutting any part of the military budget.


    OWS also knows that government is the only vehicle through which the majority can fashion rules that increase personal security and restrain unbridled greed and private power. If we give up on government we give up on our ability to collectively influence our future. Which is why high on the list of demands by OWS protestors is to minimize the impact of money on politics and increase the number of people voting. Tea Partiers again take the opposite position. They defend the right of global corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections and they advocate policies that suppress voter turnout.


    Today the Tea Party has the upper hand. With the backing of some of the world’s richest men and most powerful corporations, it has successfully converted the justifiable anger at Wall Street and government inaction into an unprecedented and ahistorical form of populism: a mass uprising against the masses. The Occupy Wall Street movement proposes a populism more compatible with other mass protests, one that doesn’t turn its back on neighbors, one that fights against massive inequality and concentrated private power, and that urges reforms that can once again allow us to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

  172. Doug said: "I find it so self-delusional to call a group that wants to *reduce* the size and influence of government 'fascists'."

    Except that they don't really want to reduce the size and influence of the government. Favoring a reduction in the size of government means massive cuts to the defense budget, primarily, and secondarily to entitlements. But they never actually talk about those things. In fact, as described in the article I just posted, the TP Republicans want to put defense spending off the table completely! If not GROW it! They want BIGGER GOVERNMENT.

    The idea that the anti-big-government crowd actually wants to reduce the size of government is foolish, and an illusion. The government did nothing but GROW during the Reagan/Bush years, in spite of Reagan's "anti-big-government" rhetoric.

    It is true of course that they want to shrink "big government" in a few highly selective areas, such as cutting off welfare for the black underclass, etc., etc. -- typically stuff that is TRIVIAL from the standpoint of the total federal budget. That is, anyone with a TRUE interest in government deficits/spending would waste no time at all worrying about that little crap, but instead would pay attention to the 900-lb gorillas in the room. But they don't do that. They wring their hands about the little crap. Ever wonder why?

    Oh yes: they also want to "shrink government" when it comes to oversight and control over the financial sector, e.g. repeal of Glass-Steagal. What a great place to shrink government! Exactly the place that will lead to massive abuses that will eventually result in saddling the public with TRILLIONS in unpayable debts! But hey: it was worth it. We shrunk the federal payroll and expenses by $50 million per year. We got that BIG, BAD GOVERNMENT off our backs, right?

    What a crock. It was all bullshit. They don't really give a shit about shrinking big government. Rather, they are ideologues and demogogues, whipping up Hate-Big-Gubmint sentiment as a cover for their mean, nation-destroying and anti-human agenda.

    (And yes, I'm well aware that the repeal of G-S happened during Clinton's watch. This has NOTHING to do with partisan politics. The DP is in bed with the same corporate crowd and banksters that own the RP. Clinton was a sell-out and a bastard. Obama is a sell-out and a bastard -- even worse than Bush II, which is saying something!)

    Bottom line: when someone talks about rolling-back "big government", look out! The only exception is authentic anarchists, who really want to dissolve the state completely. That's a utopian dream that will be (if it ever comes to pass at all) the project of several generations, or a century. But at least it is a utopian dream with the intention of liberating all people -- not just making life easier for the 1%.

    So tell me now, Doug, about how I'm "self-delusional".

  173. Here's the TP's core platform (from

    15 Non-negotiable Core Beliefs
    1. Illegal aliens are here illegally.
    2. Pro-domestic employment is indispensable.
    3. A strong military is essential.
    4. Special interests must be eliminated.
    5. Gun ownership is sacred.
    6. Government must be downsized.
    7. The national budget must be balanced.
    8. Deficit spending must end.
    9. Bailout and stimulus plans are illegal.
    10. Reducing personal income taxes is a must.
    11. Reducing business income taxes is mandatory.
    12. Political offices must be available to average citizens.
    13. Intrusive government must be stopped.
    14. English as our core language is required.
    15. Traditional family values are encouraged.


    a few points:

    1. Not only is cutting of the military budget (i.e. REDUCING THE SIZE OF BIG GOVERNMENT) not mentioned, but special care is taken to affirm the need for a "strong military" as "essential" (item #3).

    2. Item #s 6, 7 and 8:
    "-- Government must be downsized.
    -- The budget must be balanced.
    -- Deficit spending must end."
    These are amusing in their redundancy, while they are free of any mention of HOW these things might be effected. It is almost as though the table-pounding redundancy is offered as a substitute for rational thought about the HOW.

    3. Item #1 is also amusing:
    "-- Illegal aliens are here illegally."
    Yes. True. Illegal stuff IS illegal.

    4. Incidentally, there's no mention of the War On [Some] Drugs, and the (closely related) HUGE growth of the prison-industrial complex, which is surely one of the most egregious (in terms of civil rights) expressions of big government, and is easily the most prominent example of the way in which the U.S. is being turned into a sort of slave-state, in flagrant violation of several items in the Bill of Rights. But the TP platform is silent on this.

    It seems that the people who wrote this list are barely literate. Which is odd in light of #14: "English as our core language is required."

    Perhaps the writers of the TP platform should be required to master English, themselves? Not to mention rational thought, and the logical implications of one's own words.

    The whole thing is, on one level, laughable. But what is not laughable is that all this is in the nature of fascist movements: they are supported by mobs of ignorant (and usually not-too-bright) middle-class people, full of fear and rage against those they perceive as responsible for the threats to their security -- any convenient scapegoat. It could be Jews, or blacks, or dirty hippies, or "communist infiltrators", or "government bureaucrats", or whatever. Whatever is handy and easy to hate. That is the nature of fascist movements. Ugly, faux populism.

  174. Wow Alan, what you lack in other areas you certainly make up for in volume...

    Let's cut to the chase. Instead of massive cut & pastes and posing opinions as facts let's talk the issues. does not speak for all Tea Party groups anymore than the OWS website's ridiculous demands speak for all the occupiers. There are the broader issues and tactics that are easily compared.

    All the Tea Party people I know (and I know quite a few) will agree with the basic premise of the Venn overlap - corporate bailouts, subsidies, and favored status are an abomination. But attacking these concerns to the exclusion of every other interest that would abuse the government's power is unacceptable to any thinking Tea Party member.

    If we would want to cooperate - the TP & OWS we would have to answer thses questions.

    To the OWS, "Do you not see that this attack on one aspect of the problem, the wealthy and corporations, would only leave the problem of a gov't 'up for sale' still intact for continued abuse by other interest groups?"

    To the Tea Party, "Why will you not join us in this crusade against the forces that subvert our republic? Are you so beholden to the rich that you cannot?"

    My response on behalf of the Tea Party "As explained in our question to the OWS - a partial solution is no solution when it simply shifts the power to other special interests. Limiting the federal government's ability to hand out favors to anyone (a return to constitutional restraint) is the only equatable solution. The OWS partial and unequal solution is the same as the so-called bipartisanship agreements offered in gov't. The partial solutions are the one's weighted in favor of some other group and should never be agreed to. So, why isn't OWS marching on DC against ALL undue gov't influence?"

  175. Alan wrote:
    "The whole thing is, on one level, laughable. But what is not laughable is that all this is in the nature of fascist movements: they are supported by mobs of ignorant (and usually not-too-bright) middle-class people, full of fear and rage against those they perceive as responsible for the threats to their security -- any convenient scapegoat. It could be Jews, or blacks, or dirty hippies, or "communist infiltrators", or "government bureaucrats", or whatever. Whatever is handy and easy to hate. That is the nature of fascist movements. Ugly, faux populism."

    That is fantastic. Now please march yourself down to the nearest OWS protest (like I have) and observe and talk to the 9-11 truthers and banker conspiratorialists that make up a percentage of practically every one. Soak up the antisemitism and delusional scapegoating. Sure they don't speak for the entire movement, I guess - but neither do you see the movement distancing itself from them.

    The fact that you are trying to paint this sort of behavior onto the Tea Party is the laughable part. (Actually quite sad, you now have no credibility, if you ever had any) Are there bad apples in every organization? Sure. The difference is that I have seen our Tea Party admonish and evict that sort from our ranks.

  176. Waynefromnaz wrote:
    "please march yourself down to the nearest OWS protest (like I have) and observe and talk to the 9-11 truthers and banker conspiratorialists that make up a percentage of practically every one. Soak up the antisemitism and delusional scapegoating. Sure they don't speak for the entire movement, I guess - but neither do you see the movement distancing itself from them. The fact that you are trying to paint this sort of behavior onto the Tea Party is the laughable part."

    Hi, Wayne! You're right. I know exactly what you're talking about. Many of the OWS people have taken much too big a page from the right-wing playbook. Their blinkered obsession with the banksters is (as you would seem to agree) one example of this. Another and prominent example, that you did not note, is their favored slogan: the 1% vs. the 99%. But the truth is that the 1% about which they are so exercised is supported materially (and would not exist without) the next 20-30% -- the middle classes of the developed world, WHICH INCLUDES MOST OF THE OWS PEOPLE! The OWS'ers are hardly an oppressed group as they might fancy themselves. From the global standpoint, every one of them is in the upper strata; not in the 1%, but in that critical 20-30% that makes the depredations of the 1% possible. Their scapegoating of the 1% (after the fashion of right-wing scapegoating) is easily the worst aspect of the whole OWS initiative. OWS needs a major re-orientation along the lines of solidarity with the truly oppressed of the world (the global south) while recognizing the systemic context in which the hated "1%" is situated -- a context to which they themselves have (and perhaps still do) lent altogether too much support.

    Be that as it may, I don't retract a word I said about the Tea Party. You say that I am trying to "paint this behavior" onto them; but that is false. They've painted it onto themselves! The OWS crowd may be off the beam in some respects, but the TP is much MUCH farther off the beam. The OWS people are making errors, but most of them are fundamentally good and justice-minded, with fair intelligence, and they are capable of understanding concepts such as e.g. what I wrote in the previous paragraph. In contrast, the TP people are in the main (and I'm sure there are individual exceptions) fundamentally mean, stupid and barbaric. I give you a creature like Sarah Palin as Exhibit A, and Michele Bachman as Exhibit B.

    ...continued, next post...

  177. ... continued from last...

    Regarding your "question to the OWS" (post prior, above): "Do you not see that this attack on one aspect of the problem, the wealthy and corporations, would only leave the problem of a gov't 'up for sale' still intact for continued abuse by other interest groups?"

    This is a poor attempted criticism, Wayne. Very few people in the OWS camp are so ignorant as to be unaware that the "government up for sale" is a CRITICAL part of the problem. The question is what to do about it. The TP "solution" is to attack "big government" as an aggregate, without making key distinctions as to what needs to be attacked and what doesn't. This is, of course, idiotic, and worse. If it were ONLY idiotic, it would not be so bad, but the problem is that it plays into the hands of the Koch-esque forces that will -- note: WILL -- use that energy to advance their nefarious ends.

    Regarding your "question to the Tea Party": "Why will you not join us in this crusade against the forces that subvert our republic? Are you so beholden to the rich that you cannot?"

    Answer: Yes. They are so beholden to the rich that they cannot. The OWS people are people who are in the imperial 20-30%, but at least have some chance of recognizing their privileged position, and forsaking it. They have demonstrated the beginnings of this awareness. But the TP people are blind and incapable of recognizing same, and have not even an incipient sense of global social justice. They're hopeless. They're mostly just bags of reactionary emotional energy, full of incoherent bullshit about "big government", etc. (You'll note that I am opposed to big government, too; but one difference between me and the TP people is that I can identify what big government IS, and they cannot.) They're a proto-fascist formation, an angry mob that is effectively defending the oligarchs against the common people. In contrast, the OWS has at least the general outlines and character of an authentic people's movement -- albeit with plenty of room for improvement.

    You write that " does not speak for all Tea Party groups". OK. Fair enough. They don't. But who DO they speak for? Anyone? My points about the platform stand. It is a ridiculous platform, written by near-illiterates. And it is generally reflective of the incoherence and vacuity that issues from TP people.

    Lastly, regarding the slighting remarks about volume: I don't apologize for it. Grow an intellectual pair, buddy. That means reading things that are more than two paragraphs long. And then thinking about them. And then reading some more. If that is too much for you, then you should not be attempting to engage intellectually.

  178. Alan,

    You said, "Grow an intellectual pair, buddy."

    Well if that means carrying out a discussion where I (I am a Tea Party member)am routinely described as mean, stupid, barbaric, idiotic, vacuous, blind, fascist, incoherent, stupid and illiterate and that proof of such is the existence of a "creature" like ex-governor of Alaska or a current congresswoman...

    Yes, I have the balls to read all of that and to simply say that you put out quite a bit of "volume". There's nothing intellectual about writing more than two paragraphs of that sort of "opinion" as I so graciously called it in my last response.

    So I'll be OK with all that invective and you can harp on my use of the word "volume". Volume is just fine when it has content. Your content is vacuous, if I may borrow from your vocabulary.

    And I'm the one who's supposed to "grow a set".

  179. PS: in defense of TP leading light Sarah Palin: she does NOT suffer from narcissistic personality disorder!

    Does NOT! Repeat: does NOT!

    Does Sarah Palin Have Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
    No. But she’s still vindictive, dishonest, and unjustifiably self-righteous.

    Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2009 2:50pm By Peter D. Kramer


    What of the claim that Palin has narcissistic personality disorder? This diagnosis is at least plausible—but does it add, in any useful way, to the Palin discussion? As readers, we know perfectly well what the unnamed Alaskans are talking about when they slap that label on her. She is full of herself. It’s all about her. If we look at the specific criteria for the condition, we may judge that the suit fits. “Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.” Check. “Has a sense of entitlement” and “is interpersonally exploitative.” Check, check. (More here from Emily Yoffe in Slate about the disorder, and this “cultural moment of the narcissist.”)

    Psychiatrists are not allowed to diagnose people they have not interviewed. Still, I don’t think that I’m transgressing any strictures when I say that I find Palin unlikable. She is, in my reading of her behavior, dogmatic, incurious, irascible, vindictive, dishonest, manipulative, trivial in her view of the world, and unjustifiably self-righteous. Katie Couric did the country a great service by bringing those traits to the fore in her unforgettable TV interview with Palin in September; the Pulitzer Prize committee missed an opportunity when it failed to recognize her work, easily the best piece of journalism of 2008.

    But merely manifesting specific traits (“arrogant,” “exploitative,” etc.) does not qualify you for a diagnosis. You must also meet the general criteria for personality disorder. Your obnoxiousness must cause certain sorts of problems. For instance, from the American Psychiatric Association: “The enduring pattern leads to clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning” (my italics). If a personality style gets you a devoted husband, admiring children, a loyal circle of friends, a governorship, and a vice-presidential nomination, can we really call it a disorder?

  180. Doug, I apologize. I responded above only to the first sentence of your post, the "self-delusional" part. I neglected to reply to this:

    Doug wrote: "And because a group is supported by 69% of white evangelicals, then...what, exactly? If 69% of white atheists supported the OWS, would that say anything at all about the views of OWS?"

    Good questions. The answer to the first is this: it means that a large group of known fascistic, authoritarian, anti-American elements are supporting the TP, with all that that implies. It does not prove that the TP is bad, but it is a little bit like knowing that your movement is supported by a large majority of members of the Nazi Party. It gives you a kind of creepy feeling; know what I mean?

    As for the second question: Yes, it would say something about the views of the OWS. It would say that OWS tends to attract people who place a higher value on reason than on faith, at least in the public sphere -- with all that THAT implies. (As above: "the company you keep", so to say.)

    You'll note that I did NOT just say that faith is bad, or that it should everywhere and always be subordinate to reason. Only that the placing of more value on reason IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE is most consistent with a functioning pluralistic liberal democracy -- which is what we were supposed to have had. It would also say, by almost-necessary implication, that OWS tends NOT tend to attract proto-fascist religious fanatics. I take that to be good, though others might disagree.

    Regarding said proto-fascist religious fanatics, I refer you again (as above) to Chris Hedges book: "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America". Book reviews here:

  181. I've got to remember to turn the links into LINKS, like this:

    book review #1

    book review #2

  182. One last thing, Wayne. I did not say that YOU PERSONALLY are mean, stupid, barbaric, vacuous, fascistic, etc. For all I know, you are intelligent, civilized, perceptive, profound, magnanimous, democratic, and cultured. I don't know you, so I don't know. I was talking about qualities evident GENERALLY in the TP, its statements and its associations. It was not about individuals, except the named ones (Palin and Bachman)

  183. "I don't know you, so I don't know. I was talking about qualities evident GENERALLY in the TP, its statements and its associations."

    I try not to make generalities, especially vicious demeaning ones, by casting an entire group in the light of the worst example I can find. I find that to be intellectually lazy. When a conservative does that it's usually called bigotry or prejudice. When an "intellectual" like yourself does it it's "speaking truth to power" or some other silly slogan. Congrats for being on the "right" side of the double standard.

    I belong to one of the largest Tea Party groups on the east coast. We're incorporated as a non-profit and we do not endorse candidates or parties as stated in our by-laws and so as to satisfy our non-profit status. We do not focus on candidates, real ones or perpetual narcissistic ones. We focus on issues. We educate on the issues and have workshops that help others to make policy decisions or even run on their own (separate from the TP) whether it be for the local school board or whatever. We do have candidate forums run much like the non-partisan League of Woman Voters does. Other than those forums everything we do is issue oriented.

    Alan, pretty much every word out of your mouth about the Tea Party has no correlation with the reality of the good people who are banding together in this area to insure a better way of life for their children and grandchildren.

    I'm not here to counter every strawman attack you make on the caricature that you would like everyone to believe the Tea Party is.

    I'm only here to point out that that is what you do.

    So I think we're done here.

  184. excellent post -- great diagram!!

  185. This back and forth about corporate power vs. government control is interesting, but it plays back into what The Onion was saying: most people are angry but not sure what they should be angry about. Corporations aren't always evil just as government isn't necessarily inefficient or wrong. Both are made up of people and should be answerable to people. Corporations have jettisoned two of their basic loyalties, to employees and to the public (their customers) in order to cater to stockholders and executives. Government has fallen deeper into the control of big money because elections are so expensive and wealth has become so concentrated. Congress passed a law to limit money in politics, but our Supreme Court overruled it, which shows how money has corrupted that institution too. A lot of this money corruption goes back to the Southern Pacific v. Santa Clara County decision and how it was overturned by a false summarizing by a court clerk who had loyalties to the railroad industry. Worth watching this short tutorial by Thom Hartmann to get the gist of this.

    An interesting blog. I'm an Eisenhower Radical by the way, but less libertarian than you are. More Communitarian I guess.

  186. Perfect breasts

    A guy walking down the street sees a woman with perfect breasts.

    He says to her "Hey Miss, would you let me bite your breasts for 100

    "Are you nuts?", she replies. And keeps walking away.

    He turns around, runs around the block and gets to the corner before she
    does. "Would you let me bite your breasts for 1,000 dollars?" he asks

    "Listen sir, I'm not that kind of woman. Got it?"

    So the guy runs again around the next block and faces her again: "Would
    you let me bite your breasts just once for 10,000 dollars?"

    She thinks about it for a while and "Hmmm 10,000 dollars, eh? OK, just
    once, but not here. Let's go to that dark alley over there".

    So they went to that alley and she takes off the blouse to reveal the
    most perfect breasts in the world. As soon as he sees them he jumps on them
    and starts caressing them, fondling them, kissing them, burying his face in
    them...but not biting.

    In the end the woman gets all annoyed and asks: "Are you gonna bite them
    or what?"

    "Nah", he replies. "Costs too much."

    Classic Dresses
    Classic Bridesmaid Dresses
    Wedding Dresses with Sleeves

  187. lestin to the peaple who have done it
    who have what you want

    kevin trudeue show

  188. The phrases “to correct” and “better stabilize” the economy are nowhere equivalent. Reducing government control over BB is not a correction, it is a move towards more stabilization -- more control over what they fear which is the resurgence of democratic (chaotic) movements (but, of course, you still the possibility that unregulated corporate giants might eventually war with each other – producing unstable Oligarchies). On the other hand, a movement “to correct” the economy would be towards limiting the stranglehold BB has been developing over people’s lives (leaving some room for people to develop their own solutions to the problems of societal management that seem most pressing to their generation). One reason we keep drifting towards the stabilizing alternative is because it presents a more understandable and believable solution. The other alternative requires a belief in the ability of people to come together and agree on a workable form of government (one that can manage the problems we are faced with today without disintegrating into chaos). There is one chance for us to demonstrate the viability of this idea and that is in the few schools (k-12) that have not already been reformed and dispirited by RTTT and NCLB and the movements to standardize education to produce compliant workers for the future.

  189. Various comparisons were made between TPP and OWS. The main point they didn't mention was that both movements seem wary of acknowledging religion.

    So what if religion were rephrased "scientifically" to absolutely acknowledge "Zero Point Energy" (other rephrasements can include "connectivity" and/or "creative force"),
    with the main focused goal of the United Movement being to demand reinstatement of Tesla's research on harnessing free energy, and acknowledgement of all researchers who tried to do so but were suppressed (ditto re: stem cell research),
    then that could have the potential to reinstate public consciousness of these suppressed technologies. I imagine that's what elitists fear the most, no less than they fear the internet.

    Just imagine if Wall Street placards would read as follows:

    (AND: the placards should include links to YouTube video's clarifying suppressed tech)

    btw, I have a catchy placard-JPG in my files.

  190. OK, here's my aforementioned placard idea that Occupy campaigners should be emphasizing:

    The JPG is hosted on TinyPic, so not permanent. If anyone here wishes to transfer it somewhere more permanent, you're welcome to do so.

    Is anyone from listening? How about Gritt Vs. Gridd placards, to supplement your various Venn's?

  191. I have learned some good stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I do appreciate your efforts to create one of these magnificent informative websites. Thanks !