$10 million huh? No wonder he looks so happy:
I wonder when we’re going to see something like this outside the White House:
(Don’t worry. I was just joking. Like that’s going to happen.)
Sgt. Gary Stein was discharged from the Marines because he created a web page critical of President Obama. Despite the fact that I agree with Sgt. Stein’s political views, I think the Marines did the right thing. One of the things that makes our military great is the fact that it is a non-partisan institution. Sure, we know that individual service members have political views — often strong ones — but the military presents itself as assiduously non-partisan. Our American military, including the individual men and women serving within it, supports America as a whole, not specific parties within America.
To address the tension between serving ones country and losing ones First Amendment speech rights within that same country, the Department of Defense came up with a fairly decent compromise: If you’re presenting yourself as a private citizen, you have full First Amendment rights. When you are actually wearing that uniform, however, you represent the American military and your powers of speech, while presenting yourself to the public as a service man or woman, must be consistent with the military mission and therefore be non-partisan.
Not all Marines, however, seem to be subject to the same scrutiny as Sgt. Stein was. The Mellow Jihadi has come across a group of Marines and other members of the Armed Forces who have actively embraced the Occupy philosophy, including creating a web page advancing the far Left occupy agenda.
The Mellow Jihadi, who takes seriously his responsibility to remain non-partisan, even as he shares with his readers interesting stuff from all over the world, asks in a polite and non-partisan way “Please tell me if this the way Marines (active-duty or not) should be treating their uniforms.” As I understand it, the answers he’s received from people associated with Occupy Marines have, apparently, been non-responsive, unless you consider obscenities and threats adequate answers to the question.
The Department of Defense Directive regarding political activities while in uniform actually provides a pretty clear answer to the Mellow Jihadi’s question:
4.1.2. A member of the Armed Forces on active duty shall not:
22.214.171.124. March or ride in a partisan political parade.
126.96.36.199. Attend partisan political events as an official representative of the Armed Forces, except as a member of a joint Armed Forces color guard at the opening ceremonies of the national conventions of the Republican, Democratic, or other political parties recognized by the Federal Elections Committee or as otherwise authorized by the Secretary concerned.
It is no defense to the conduct of the people in the Facebook page to say that OWS isn’t partisan but is, instead, a “people’s movement.” Because OWS has a clear political agenda, that in itself makes it partisan. In effect, by having clear, consistent policy goals, OWS has turned itself into a political party. As for the fact that some of the people in the photos may be former or fake service members . . . well, the former group should be ashamed of itself and the latter group is committing a fraud on the public. Neither group has anything to boast about.
My parting question: Will these protesters, assuming they are still (and actually) active duty, be subject to the same sanctions that saw Sgt. Stein discharged (not very honorably) from the Marines? Or in Obama’s America, is all political speech by men and women in uniform to be treated equally, except that some (that favorable to the Obama agenda) will be treated more equally than others?
Zombie has another superb photo essay, this one about the OWS protest of Shimon Peres’ San Francisco visit. If you haven’t already checked it out, please do. My favorite part is the bit with the San Francisco motorcycle cop. You go, guy!
Please remember when you read Zombie that Zombie is the new media. Part of dis-empowering the anti-American, socialist, antisemitic, anti-Leftist old media is to support the new media. By the way, it’s no coincidence that in describing our shiny, rich, famous old media, we use precisely the same adjectives that we use to describe the violent, aggressive OWSers on the street. Different appearance and tactics, but same ideology and goals.
We tend to find what we’re looking for. Since conservatives know that Obama comes from a socialist background, has advanced policies that are antithetical to capitalism, and has defeated opportunities and initiatives that are supportive of capitalism, we’re going to assume that, in any speech he gives, ordinary statements are actually code for a socialist agenda. Having this predisposition (“to a hammer, everything is a nail”) can damage ones credibility. Monomania is not normally associated with reliable analysis.
Except that, with regard to Obama’s recent State of the Union speech, I can tell you with a certain amount of assurance that all those conservatives who saw in it a strident call to class warfare, the end of an American system based upon equality of opportunity, and the destruction of the free market were probably right. Or, if they weren’t right, they’ve met an equal, although completely opposite, monomania that manages to read the same message into Obama’s speech.
(Come on, Bookworm, spit it out! What are you saying?)
What I’m saying is that the Occupy crowd is thrilled with Obama’s speech, which they see as a high level articulation of their beliefs and agenda:
Linking the dominant themes in Obama’s nationally televised address Tuesday to the mantras of the Occupy Wall Street movement would have been unthinkable five months ago. But in having its message echoed in the State of the Union address, the Occupy movement reached a milestone in changing the national conversation.
“Once you say the definition of my campaign is fairness, you don’t have to say anything else,” said Lawrence Rosenthal, an expert on social movements who directs UC Berkeley’s Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements. “It is the central tenet” of the Occupy movement, he added.
Obama never specifically mentioned Occupy – and probably won’t, analysts said, because the term remains politically divisive. For some, the dominant images of Occupy are of street activists confronting police and committing vandalism, as has occurred several times after Occupy demonstrations in Oakland.
“He won’t, because given half a chance, the Republicans would try to link him to everything that’s gone on with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations,” said James Miller, a professor of politics at the New School for Social Research in New York.
Still, analysts found Obama’s speech full of several Occupy-related themes: The president said he would not reward multinational corporations who “remove jobs from this country” and demanded “no bailouts, no handouts, no copouts.” Obama even outed himself as a member of the monied class when he said that “we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes.”
“Tax reform should follow the ‘Buffett rule,’ ” Obama said, referring to billionaire Warren Buffett, who has volunteered to pay more taxes. “If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.”
When Obama said Tuesday that “if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up,” Rosenthal said, “it’d be hard not to say that he was alluding to the Occupy movement.”
(Read the rest here.)
Apparently while Occupy the White House was a bust from the sidewalk point of view, it worked perfectly when it came to occupying the Oval Office.
Zombie has put up a short post explaining just how debased the Occupy movement really is. Please disseminate Zombie’s post widely, as this is the type of story that might help otherwise disinterested Americans understand that the Occupiers are not a grass-roots movement made up of people who lost their jobs recently but are, instead, hard-core Leftists with a deep hatred for all things American, or even all things decent.
I’ve blogged here before about Madison Rising, an almost-heavy metal rock group that several vets formed. Despite its hard guitar licks, pulsing beat, and gravel voiced singing, the band’s orientation is definitely conservative. It’s songs are pro-military, pro-American, pro-capitalism and anti-OWS. It’s not necessarily my kind of music (I’m a bit old for it), but it’s definitely my kind of band. (Kind of like Taylor Swift: Her music doesn’t float my boat, but I really admire her because she is a classy gal in an often debased industry.)
I learned recently that I have a “one degree of separation” relationship with Madison Rising. The band’s manager is Richard Mgrdechian. Back in 2006, he wrote a very good book called How The Left Was Won: An In-Depth Analysis of the Tools and Methodologies Used by Liberals to Undermine Society and Disrupt the Social Order. I have a copy of the book in my office, courtesy of Rich himself. When he first published How The Left Was Won, Rich was still living in the Bay Area. I met him for coffee (he’s a really nice guy), and he told me about the impetus for the book. Rich gave me permission to post several interesting passages at my blog, which you can see here, here and here.
You can see where I might have a strong interest in Madison Rising, given that it’s a band I admire, managed by a man I like. Just the other day, the band added to the list one other reason for me to like it: it walked into the lion’s den, performing at an OWS rally — to the great delight of the OWSers, who had no idea what the band was singing, but who knew they liked the music:
In a story you will NOT hear or read about in the mainstream media, it appears Madison Rising truly did “occupy” the Occupiers and those in attendance were completely oblivious to the fact that they were being entertained by a pro-American, pro-military, pro-capitalism (you get the picture) band. In fact, they absolutely loved the music; they were dancing to it, cheering them on, and even tweeting how “tight” this band was as they performed songs like American Dream, Honk if You Want Peace, Before the Hyphen Came, and Where Was The Media Then. Perhaps they were too stoned to pay any attention to the lyrics or could it be they are just that clueless? My guess is both!
You rock, guys, truly you do!
It’s not only conservatives who have noticed that the waning OWS movement was pretty much whiter than white. Black activist preachers have noticed the same thing and are trying to mobilize their congregants to get out there to camp on sidewalks like homeless people along with the white drug-addicted, violent OWSers:
The Rev. Harold Mayberry stood before his First African Methodist Episcopal Church congregation Sunday morning in Oakland and outlined how it was time for members to connect with the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Nationally, many African American leaders have acknowledged a disconnect between the Occupy Wall Street movement and the larger black community.
Mayberry is among nearly two dozen prominent African American Bay Area pastors trying to bridge that gap at the community level through a growing national effort that is ramping up today – Martin Luther King Jr. Day – called Occupy the Dream.
“This is a great leap forward to involve local pastors,” said James Taylor, an associate professor of political science at the University of San Francisco and an expert in African American studies. “The general critique of Occupy is that it has lacked a specific agenda. But this could be a sign of maturity for the movement.”
In February, the pastors will ask their congregants to withdraw a small amount of money – at least $30 – from their bank accounts and deposit it in either a credit union or a minority-owned bank.
If that symbolic move doesn’t get the attention of “Wall Street banks,” as Mayberry described the nation’s largest financial institutions, then in March, Occupy the Dream will ask larger African American-dominated institutions, churches and black professionals to begin transferring greater amounts to credit unions.
“I ain’t got no problem with people becoming millionaires – I wouldn’t mind joining the club myself,” Mayberry told his congregation. “My problem is when you are so insensitive to people who have not been able to raise themselves up to the level where you are – and you snuff out their dreams.”
I just heard from a friend who lives in and functions in the welfare/drug community. (I’m not kidding when I say that I have contacts in all walks of life.) There’s a black market of food stamps there. My friend is dining on roast beef tonight because another friend traded his food stamps with him for weed. All these people have a few things in common: they’re white; they’re drug users (mostly post); they rely heavily on welfare programs because of their drug use, whether we’re talking about impairment from actively using drugs or from decades of past drug use; and they support the OWS movement. They are explicit that they see OWS as a way to ensure a continued flow of welfare benefits.
Is this really the milieu to which black pastors want to sink their congregants?
UPDATE: This video of Valerie Jarrett giving a rousing political speech at a historically black church (after which the church hosted a voter registration guide) seems apropos. At least Michelle Obama limited her black voter drive speech to the BET awards, a venue that doesn’t get the tax benefits extended to a church.
As you already know, I’m sure, the Ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem are fighting hard to segregate men and women in public spaces in Jerusalem. I posted about the fact that Mr. Bookworm analogized this small group, which is fighting against a democratic, egalitarian government, to the sharia law that exists across large segments of the Muslim world. I doubt Mr. Bookworm arrived at this thought by himself. I haven’t been reading the New York Times lately, nor listening to NPR, but I’m willing to bet that their coverage implies that this comparison is real and valid.
Today, the AP managed to state outright that the Ultra-Orthodox are aping the Nazis. Here’s the AP headline:
The implication, of course, is that the Ultra-Orthodox Jews outfitted themselves in swastikas and jackboots. What the Ultra-Orthodox really did was to dress themselves up in concentration camp garb, thereby sending the message that they are helpless prisoners of a Nazi-style Jewish government:
Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered Saturday night in Jerusalem to protest what they say is a nationwide campaign directed against their lifestyle. The protesters called Israeli police officers Nazis, wore yellow Star of David patches with the word “Jude” – German for Jew – dressed their children in striped black-and-white uniforms associated with Nazi concentration camps and transported them in the back of a truck.
The Ultra-Orthodox’s stunt was tacky, offensive, ugly, distasteful, and inappropriate. But the more correct description of this tasteless bit of street theater would be that “Ultra-Orthodox Jews use Holocaust-era Images in Protest.” For the AP to have implied otherwise adds one more layer of indecency to the whole protest — and, worse, it’s a layer of indecency that dovetails perfectly with the Leftist (especially the European Leftist) effort to paint Jews as Nazis. It’s bad enough when radical Jews describe each other as Nazis, without having the media pile on too.
UPDATE: Somehow, this post seems apropos, insofar as it explains that the OWS add-on to the Rose Bowl Parade relied on Nazi imagery to depict the Jews’ alleged influence on world finances.
There’s nothing like a Progressive who’s not worrying about reelection. If you thought Barney Frank’s moobs were repellent, wait until you get a look inside Lynn Woolsey’s brain. The 10-term House Democrat from Marin County is retiring this year, so she finally feels that she can speak freely. It’s not pretty.
For example, we learn why Woolsey doesn’t like Michelle Bachmann, who holds, not just a JD, but an LL.M. from the prestigious William & Mary School of Law:
“[S]he’s an idiot,” Woolsey said. “It’s not very politic to say that of another member of Congress, but she is.”
As it happens, I’m not overly impressed with academic credentials, since I think they often train people away from decency, logic and common sense, but I feel obligated to point out here that Woolsey’s education consists of . . . well, it’s unclear. According to Wikipedia, she attended a lot of schools, but doesn’t seem to have emerged with any discernible degrees. That’s okay. She clearly had enough education to lose her decency, logic and common sense anyway.
Woolsey doesn’t like Newt Gingrich either:
“He would be the worst president on earth.”
She does concede, though, that he’s got a brain, which would make him more dangerous than the “idiot” Michelle Bachmann.
The Tea Party crowd don’t fare well in Woolsey world, since she sees them as an impediment to saving the world from climate change (never mind that the climate change narrative is unraveling before Woolsey’s eyes):
“Half of them have never held an elected office in their lives; they don’t know nothing,” Woolsey said. “They don’t know why they’re against what they’re against. They don’t know what is happening to our environment. All they know is it’s not something they’re supposed to support.”
Poor Lynn. She apparently missed the poll showing a wide-spread belief that Tea Party members are better informed than your average 10-term member of the House of Representatives. I guess it’s axiomatic that the ill-informed are always the last to know to that particular truth about themselves.
Lynn may not like Tea Partiers, but she does love the Occupy crowd:
“I love the Occupiers,” Woolsey said. “They’re such a breath of fresh air for me. I’ve been waiting for them for a long time.”
There’s nothing like a gang of Apple computer toting, drug-taking, dirty, vomiting, defecating, raping, murderous thugs to excite an aging Progressive politician.
Interestingly, Woolsey is not a Barack Obama fan. Not only is he too conservative for her (“He’s a moderate president. He’s not a progressive.”), she thinks he’s not a very nice person:
“He is kind of a cold, aloof guy.”
Back in 2008, she was rooting for Hillary, both because she thinks Hillary is a more principled Progressive than Obama (there’s a scary thought), but also because she thinks Hillary has the cajones Obama lacks.
Woosley, apparently, isn’t the only one who isn’t thrilled about Barry. Although Woolsey was speaking to an “overwhelmingly liberal” crowd, I think she sensed a certain chill in the air when it came to Obama. How else to explain the fact that she felt compelled to tell those in attendance that they must vote for him in 2012:
“Do not stay home,” she said. “Any one of those other people — we thought George Bush was a problem, huh.”
I wish I’d been at Woolsey’s talk. Seeing the Progressive mind unfettered is kind of like wading in an old swamp. It looks ugly and smells bad, but there are still interesting things swimming in the depths.
San Francisco used to be charming. Now it’s just kind of creepy — or, at least, large parts of it are. For example, the OWSers are creepy. Even creepier is what happens when the OWSers come together with the nekkid Santas. And I have to ask, as I always do: Why is it always only the ugly people who insist on taking their clothes off?
As I was up early, I listened to KSFO’s Brian Sussman show. A man called in, identified himself as someone who works at the Port of Oakland, and described with some amusement the eight or so luxury buses that pulled up, disgorging a bunch of people in their 30s and 40s, completely with mass-produced signs, who then set up trying to block the port. He was pretty sure the bus company was Galactic, which is amusing, because this company offers “party” buses. I wonder if the Galactic people knew what party they were hosting.
What’s peculiar is that I read the SF Chronicle’s account of this morning’s strike, and the Chronicle makes no mention of the buses, instead describing the protesters as walking to the site from BART:
Carrying signs saying “Shutdown Wall St. on the Waterfront” about 200 protesters marched the three blocks from the West Oakland BART Station to the port entrances before sunrise today.
Okay, this is seriously NSFW, since Carolla is exceeded only by Jon Stewart when it comes to F-bombs (except without the little “beeps” that let people pretend Stewart isn’t really swearing). If you can, though, ignore Carolla’s language and listen to it when you get the chance. Adam Carolla applies — gasp! — logic to America’s economic situation and the OWSers.
Interestingly, he talks about envy, which has always existed. What’s different, and what Carolla nails, is that in Obama’s “hope-filled” America, people couple envy with dependence. Rather than using their envy to power their own engines, they use it to whine and beg. That’s so not the American way.
Anyway, watch it and see what you think:
Fact: The Tea Party, when it held three protests in the City of Richmond, applied for permits, and paid $10,000 for permits, potties, police, etc.
Fact: The OWS protesters in Richmond simply plunked themselves down, paying nothing (and, I’m guessing, incurring significantly greater police and janitorial charges than did the Tea Party crowd).
Fact: When the Tea Party learned that it had been damaged by disparate treatment from a civic government, it applied to the City of Richmond for a full refund.
Fact: You need to send this story around to as many people as you can. The City of Richmond needs to be exposed for this abuse of power and, I hope, horribly embarrassed.
And here’s something that’s not a fact, but that is just my opinion: The City of Richmond’s behavior perfectly illustrates one of the reasons I’ve embraced conservativism. I am deeply suspicious of consolidating too much power in any one entity. The City of Richmond is just one city, yet even that modicum of power has corrupted it. Imagine this kind of thing playing out on a grand, national scale. No human is sea-green incorruptible, and most humans, when given power, can get dangerously giddy, with a further subset getting malevolently destructive.
Bruce Bawer, American expat extraordinaire, posted an especially insightful post over this weekend, in which he notes that the peculiarly American assumption that all people want to be free just may be a tad naive.
He cites Jewish writer Tuvia Tenenbom’s (“I Sleep in Hitler’s Room”) observation, upon traversing the former East Germany, that most of the people Tenenbom encountered longed for the “good times” living under the East German dictatorship. In the Middle East, we see peoples offered the light of freedom only to turn further toward the darkness. As Bawer points out, we should know that not all people want to be free: after all, the masses that marched in support of the Nazis and Communists hardly marched for the cause of freedom. Read it all…Bawer makes excellent points in support of his thesis.
We, as a nation, have existed on the premise that all people (like our forefathers) want to be free. This (false?) premise has driven much of American foreign policy. It may also blind us to what is really going on in our own country with regard to the Liberal/Left, the Democrat party and the OWS movement.
I believe that I can understand the pull of serfdom for many people. Just think of all of the difficult life decisions that are taken away from the individual serf: as wards of the state, they don’t have to worry about where they will get their food (of course, they can forget about shopping at Whole Foods as well), whether they will meet their financial needs (albeit at a subsistence level), understanding politics, moral values, education, finding a job…etc. It is, in other words, regression to the mind of a child. They can simply exist for the moment of the day: no responsibilities but, also, no hope. Like vegetables, if you think about it.
So, what do you think? Is what is happening today a defining struggle between those of us that want to be free and those that seek a return to childhood? Is it as simple as this? Because, if it is, then we really are witnessing the final death struggle of the American Republic.
The OWS people have made much of their pathetic status compared to the “wealthy 1%.” As I’ve mentioned before, this is a completely spurious argument, because it makes the 99% sound like a single homogenous lump all similarly situated to medieval serfs. Nothing could be further from the truth. In America, that 99% is a continuum, with subtle gradations from percentage to percentage.
The one thing America doesn’t have is a true bottom 1%. Yes, we have some homeless people, but they are not an economic block. Most are there because of brain damage, either organically or chemically caused.
This video shows what the real 1% looks like. It follows two young people in rural India with cleft lips and cleft palettes. The poverty is overwhelming and almost incomprehensible — yet there is hope, and love, and gratitude. It is an incredibly uplifting video. As you watch it, please consider something the OWSers don’t know or would prefer to forget: to the extent these damaged children in the bottom 1% in the back of nowhere are being offered normalcy and hope, it is the top 1% in America (plus the “evil” corporations), that provides the money that makes hope happen:
If this video doesn’t show, you can watch it here.
From Zombie, who comments on the gaggle of giggling girls who gleefully relive their pepper spray experience,
From Castra Praetoria, who’s been pepper sprayed a few times himself (but all in the line of duty),
From James Taranto, who notes that a lack of actual aggression doesn’t mean that the protesters weren’t engaging in the type of activity that calls for police crowd control of the physical variety.
I can’t remember if I wrote it here, but I know that, in lunches with Don Quixote, I’ve discussed the parallels between the OWS protests and the Chicago convention in 1968. Rather than gather my slightly fragmented thoughts, I’ll just pass the baton to Bruce Kesler, who ably discusses the issue.
UPDATE: Charles Martel’s reminiscences about Chicago in 1968 were too good to hide in the comments section:
I was in Chicago during the 1968 convention. I was part of a Los Angeles-based group called Monitor Training School. We went around LA in 1967 and 68 training protest marchers how to avoid or resist violent confrontations with the cops and provocateurs like the Students for a Democratic Society.
(One of my betes noires was a USC student named Mike Klonsky, a rabid violence freak whose m.o. was to try to pry his way into a group of peace marchers and instigate an angry response from the police. Our tactic was to surround him and the four or five lapdogs that were always trailing him and seal them off from the rest of the marchers. If his name rings a bell, Klonsky is still rabid and is one of Bill Ayers’s closest friends.)
Anyway, I drove with two friends to Chicago to teach people what we’d been teaching in Los Angeles. We held daily sessions in Lincoln Park, on the city’s north shore, where we vied with some guy who was teaching people how to form a giant conga-like line where they supposedly would swish their way around the cops, all the while proclaiming “Wa-shoi! Wa-shoi!”
I digress: The comparison between the two events has one or two significant differences. While the scene in Lincoln Park had its share of derelicts and grungy hangers-on, drawn by the prospect of dope and the free nooky that Abbie Hoffman kept pimping, the majority of demonstrators were well-fed, well-educated college kids out to experiment with rebellion. If the rebellion failed—the election of Dick Nixon says that it did—there was always graduate school or Daddy’s bribe of a nepotistic office job once Junior or Missy came to their senses. The economy was not on the skids like it is now, and the higher education bubble was still a pipe dream.
Fast forward 43 years: The job prospects for the OWS people are pretty dismal, both because of the economy in general and the demonstrators’ own remarkable lack of higher-order thinking skills in particular. Yes, many of the Chicago ’68 kids were ditzes, but they still operated with far more cognitive functionality than their descendants.
In any case, almost everybody at the park had a place to sleep or stay while they were in Chicago. Some hopped the train to head up to Evanston or some other suburb, while others drifted back to nearby college dorms or crashed with friends and relatives. The Yippies tried to confront the cops over sleeping overnight in the park, but the Chicago cops were not like the weenies in present-day Oakland or Los Angeles. They were perfectly happy to apply billy clubs and drop tear gas canisters with abandon. The Yippies wisely quit contending the issue after one teary, bloody night.
If the Democrats decide to set loose the hounds of OWS on the GOP convention in Tampa, it will backfire even more royally than Chicago 1968. Some of the more cynical and manipulative leaders at Chicago (I remember sitting in an office somewhere in downtown Chicago with some of the best minds of the New Left, fascinated by intelligence that had been seduced by the pursuit and prospect of total power) knew that a reaction to the demonstrations very likely would result in Nixon winning the presidency. To their Marxist minds, however, that simply meant that the “contradictions would be heightened,” leading to oppression, leading to a revolt by the awakened masses.
Our current Marxists, who are far more febrile and syphilitic than their 1960s forebears, probably think that history is now finally on their side. No more need to heighten contradictions when you can go in for the kill. OWS-type clamors in Tampa will cause such a police overreaction and such an awakening that they will sweep Obama back into power. But what will really happen is the same thing that happened after Chicago: Voters, disgusted by what they see, will vote for a Republican.
Throw in one other consideration: In Chicago, I ran across two demonstrators who were armed. One was a crazy girl from Berkeley, named Gail, who packed a small pistol (we later persuaded her to leave it where she was sleeping and never carry it on the streets) and a black guy who was a street tough hanging around for dope and sex. These days, as the petulance escalates, there will more armed thugs among the demonstrators. Gangbangers, union members and anarchists all have access to good weapons and the motive to want to see pig blood flow. If/when that happens, they will create a firestorm that they cannot control.
When my son was very little, he always asked me, “Are lions bad?” What he really meant to ask is “Are lions evil?” I always explained to him that lions aren’t bad, because they don’t make moral decisions. They are animals, acting according to instinct. Evil means understanding right or wrong.
I’m beginning to think that, when people choose Leftism, they are making a moral decision that is evil. However, once having sold their souls, they revert to a feral state that no longer bears any relationship to rational human behavior or morality. That theory would explain the occupiers’ entirely voluntary decision to reside in a place like this:
As the weather turns, the protesters in Zuccotti Park, the nexus of the Occupy Wall Street protests in Lower Manhattan, have been forced to confront a simple truth: packing themselves like sardines inside a public plaza, where cigarettes are shared and a good night’s sleep remains elusive, may not be conducive to good health.
Dr. Philip M. Tierno Jr., the director of clinical microbiology and immunology at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the conditions could leave park-dwellers susceptible to respiratory viruses; norovirus, the so-called winter vomiting virus, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea and which could quickly overwhelm the limited bathroom facilities in the area; and tuberculosis, which is more common in indigent populations and can be spread by coughing.
Even some camping in the park have grown concerned in recent weeks with the living quarters. Damp laundry and cardboard signs, left in the rain, have provided fertile ground for mold. Some protesters urinate in bottles, or occasionally a water-cooler jug, to avoid the lines at public restrooms. Food, from orange peels to scrambled eggs, is often discarded outside tents.
Demonstrators do maintain a medical tent, filled mostly with over-the-counter medications and alternative treatments, like herbal remedies. Some have spotted shamans walking the premises, Mr. Carey said, though licensed doctors and nurses often take volunteer shifts in the tent as well. Some strap flashlights to their heads, like workers in a mine shaft, because the site becomes so dark at night. (The tent has no electricity.)
Although condoms are often available on-site, Dr. Tierno said the protest’s evolution to private tents, from sleeping out in the open, had raised the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. The site’s pounding drum circles, he added, could lead to hearing damage. He compared conditions at Zuccotti Park to those in a hajj — the pilgrimage to Mecca, in which whole groups of people have come down with respiratory infections in a short time — and those experienced by the flower children of the 1960s, when, he said, communal living situations created problems with sanitation and sexually transmitted diseases.
This is as pithy a summary as any I’ve seen about the antisemitism permeating Occupy Wall Street, and binding together the Left, the Islamists, and the White Supremacists:
(If the video isn’t showing up, watch here.)
By the way, why is no one commenting on the fact that the so-called 99% are not a monolithic block, but range from the 1% crazy guy eating food out of a garbage can, all the way up to the 98% gal who was raised in poverty, but worked her way up to splendid financial independence?
This whole 99% versus 1% thing is insanely stupid. The American reality is that we don’t live in the Middle Ages, we don’t live in a totalitarian dictatorship such as North Korea or Cuba, we don’t live in pre-Revolutionary France, or in any other time or place where the vast majority of citizens are or were a monolithic block of nasty, brutish and short lives, rules over by a few vastly wealthy despots.
Yes, there are some vastly wealthy people in America, although the ones such as Bill Gates and Larry Ellison are singularly disinterested in political power, instead just wanting toys (Ellison) or to save the lives of Third World children (Gates). Mostly, America represents a rare economic continuum. There is no 99%. Instead, in America, we have the 1%, 2%, 3%, 4%, 5% . . . 50%, 51%, 52%, 53% . . . 87%, 88%, 89%, with the vast majority living in the middle of the percentage bell curve, a bell curve that has nothing to do with either Wall Street wealth or Zuccotti homelessness or even spoiled brat student loans.
Hat tip: Ed Driscoll
You and I have long known that the Occupy movement is destructive, not constructive. The MSM, however, was very excited, largely because they too knew it was destructive. Their problem was that they assumed it would destroy “Wall Street.”
By the way, there’s an amorphous concept if ever I heard one. While many businesses have headquarters in New York, and the stock exchange is located there, and there is, of course, a street named “Wall Street,” the fact remains that American business isn’t magically confined to this one street. American business is a dynamic enterprise with ownership and control spread through America and even the world. The Progressive focus on “Wall Street,” as if it’s spring 1929 all over again, is just more evidence, if we need it, that the Progressive movement is hopelessly locked in the past.
But back to the businesses that the Occupy movement is successfully destroying. It must be serious if the San Francisco Chronicle, cheerleader to all Leftists, writes a front page story about the way in which Occupy is destroying, not evil “Wall Street” people, but little Mom and Pop businesses instead:
Kevin Best and Misty Rasche remember when they had waiting lists for a Friday reservation at their bistro in the historic Old Oakland business district.
That was in 2007, before the recession hit and a series of angry protests that would come to define downtown Oakland.
Most recently, business at their B Restaurant & Bar has been harmed further since Occupy Oakland tents went up at City Hall on Oct. 10. Best and Rasche worry that the collateral damage from the protest may be the final blow for their restaurant.
“If we go two more months like this,” Best said, “it’s a wrap.”
The damage done by a small element of Occupy Oakland could have long-lasting effects on a downtown already struggling to overcome a bad reputation for business.
“Many, many Oakland residents … feel that this is disrupting every effort this city has made to have economic development,” said Councilwoman Pat Kernighan. “This has set us back 15 years.”
In the week before Wednesday’s general strike, three businesses pulled out of downtown lease negotiations, including one with 100 employees and another needing 35,000 square feet of space, said Joe Haraburda, president and CEO of Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
At the same time, the tents and civil unrest have pushed some restaurant receipts down 50 to 60 percent, he said.
Read the rest here. I have nothing to add.
Thoughts during a busy day:
Idle thought 1: I want to have Mewt Gingney for my candidate. Newt Gingrich is a completely principled conservative with, in his past at least, an unprincipled private life. Mitt Romney is an unprincipled conservative with, from the past to the present, what appears to be a completely principled private life. Separately, each is an imperfect candidate. Combined into one super Republican . . . well, wow! If I have to pick one, though, I’d go for Newt, since I’m voting for president, not husband.
Idle thought 2: My mother is not well, and I was at her bedside entertaining her. In keeping with my belief that laughter is the best medicine, I read to her two of my favorite funny posts (here and here), both of which happen to be written by military types. It occurred to me that, while many in our military have extremely well-developed senses of humor, the same cannot be said for the Occupy crowd. Have any of them said anything funny? (Intentionally funny, I mean, not insanely stupid that makes one feel as guilty as if one laughed at a mentally disabled person for an inadvertent joke.)
Idle thought 3: People often try to figure out what it is about the West that made it zoom ahead of all other cultures. I’d like to suggest a trigger for the economic and intellectual explosion: banking. Being able to transport money easily and, even more importantly, being able to rent it, unleashed enormous creative, exploratory and commercial energy. It’s rather striking, isn’t it, that the Occupy movement is directed at destroying banks. In other words, the attack really isn’t against just banks. The attack is at the core of Western intellectual energy and civilization.
I’ll be the first to admit that banks are royal pains in the butt (I’m still sweating from the effort I had to make to assemble the 200 pages of documents I needed to apply for a re-fi), but I’m more inclined to blame controlling Democrat legislation for this insanity than the banks themselves. Banks should be policed for fraud and corruption, but otherwise, they — and we — function best in an open market.
Idle thought 4: I wasn’t in a rush to judgment regarding the Cain sexual harassment allegations, since such claims were a dime a dozen in the 1990s. As the story develops, though, two thoughts occur: if he did it, better we know now than later; and regardless of whether or not he did it, his and his team’s response to the story is appalling, which should concern us regarding his readiness for any upcoming fight directly against Obama. I like Cain, personally, but I have strong doubts about whether he’s ready for prime time. I’d rather see his flame burn out now than in October 2012.
Anything you guys would like to add to my list of idle thoughts?
I’ve got sex on my mind today. It’s not because I’ve suddenly morphed into a 13 year old boy. It’s because there are a lot of headlines today about sex, which also made me think about missing sex headlines and false sex headlines.
First, of course, the Herman Cain sex headlines: Back in the 1990s, two women accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment when he was working at the National Restaurant Association, and the NRA subsequently settled the claims for five figure amounts. I have several thoughts on this subject. First, this story is not the same as the Anita Hill charges against Clarence Thomas. Hill did not make her charges contemporaneously. Instead, she emerged out of nowhere at just the right time for Democrats to conduct a high tech lynching against a high profile black conservative. In this case, the charges were made at a time when Cain was just another executive. The report is therefore more credible than Hill’s claims.
Peculiarly enough, though, at least from my lawyerly point of view, the fact that the charges date back to 1990 makes the charges less, rather than more, damning in my eyes. Why? Because the 1990s were a wonderful time for plaintiffs’ attorneys bringing sexual harassment charges. Why? Because the Ninth Circuit had just handed down a decision vastly expanding the definition of workplace sexual harassment.* Suddenly, the claim made each lawsuit akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Your female client didn’t get promoted? Sexual harassment. Your female client got fired? Sexual harassment. Your female client found the office “uncomfortable”? Sexual harassment. Your female client was caught embezzling? Sexual harassment.
Panicked executives (and their insurance companies) settled left and right. Some of the claims involved genuine sexual harassers, but these legitimate claims were lost in the flurry of easy-money lawsuits. Executives, their corporations and their insurance companies were simply loath to start rolling in the litigation mud. The lawsuits (and I defended a few) were absolutely awful. The executives were accused of heinous misdeeds, their every action was scrutinized, the corporation had to bear the burden of having every employee and every piece of paper in the corporation scrutinized, and the suits often morphed into class actions, which invariably primarily benefit the attorneys. Valid claims (and I know there were valid claims) got lost in a sea of what amounted to legal blackmail. So did Cain harass two employees? Who knows. The accusations are meaningless, as are the settlements.
The charges against Herman Cain got me thinking about the sex claims the major media is ignoring. That would be the assaults that seem to be part and parcel of the Occupy movement. So far, only the New York Post seems to be paying attention, both to the stories and to the cover-up. Here’s just one example from a rash of similar stories:
A sex fiend barged into a woman’s tent and sexually assaulted her at around 6 a.m., said protesters, who chased him from the park.
“Pervert! Pervert! Get the f–k out!” said vigilante Occupiers, who never bothered to call the cops.
“They were shining flashlights in his face and yelling at him to leave,” said a woman who called herself Leslie, but refused to give her real name.
She said that weeks earlier another woman was raped.
“We don’t tell anyone,” she said. “We handle it internally. I said too much already.”
You would think that a story that’s all about sex would be front page, top of the news stuff, but it’s not. The media knows its place, and its place does not include bad-mouthing the movement its president fomented.
My mentioning the president here isn’t a random, drive-by attack against Obama. I was thinking of another series of alleged sexual attacks that took place when another president was in office. As you may recall, when Hurricane Katrina struck, we were told that, within a mere three days of the disaster, New Orleans’ citizens weren’t just raping and murdering each other, they were eating each other too. The MSM couldn’t get enough of reports about sexual assaults on Bush’s watch. (Never mind that the City was officially under the aegis of Democrat Mayor Ray Nagin). As far as I know, very few of those claims were true, and the cannibalism one was definitely a canard.
Sex sells, but as far as the media is concerned, it’s a product they want to market only when it can blacken Republican eyes.
*I’m pulling a complete blank right now on the standard the Ninth Circuit created, but when/if I remember, I’ll update the post to add that information.
UPDATE: Rick, at Brutally Honest, remembers another sexual harassment charge that the media conveniently ignored.
UPDATE II: Indigo Red figured it out:
Would the case you are blanking on, Book, be Ellison v. Brady (924 F.2d 872 (9th Cir. 1991) in which the 9th Circuit decided that it doesn’t matter if the alleged harasser intended to be harassing or complimentary rejecting the “reasonable person’ standard used by the trial court instead opting for a “reasonable woman” argument in which the alleged victim perceived the conduct severe and pervasive enough to change the work environment so as to create an offensive environment from which sexual harassment can be found?
What the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protestors don’t realize (yet) is that they have been suckered into becoming the agents of their own enslavement.
Orwell had it so right in defining the Left because he was a man of the Left. The term “Orwellian” now refers to the Left’s use of terms to mean the direct opposite of the intention of an idea or act (“war is peace”, for example). Orwell also noted the need for the State to invent enemies as a means of deflecting attention away from its own actions. It’s all about deflection away from true agendas.
Let me explain. Granted that the OWS movement is defined by many grievances, one underlying theme of the OWS protests is the onerous debt assumed by students. I have sympathy for this because, as many commentators have already pointed out, these students were sold a bill of goods. The idea was that, whether qualified or motivated or not, kids could simply participate in the university experience, supported with “generous” (i.e., taxpayer-funded) government aid, and exit with a paper degree and guaranteed, high-paying job bereft of drudgery. This is the siren song that led to the inevitable crash upon the rocks of debt slavery.
Universities, those bastions of entitlement, have made out like bandits, taking the students money in exchange for worthless promises and worthless degrees. The government financed this process using “free” taxpayers’ monies and, in the end, developed a class of dependents that will spend the rest of their lives working their way out of indentured servitude at the behest their government masters (the Golden Rule is those that own the gold, rule!). For, as these students are slowly realizing, government debt and dependency is forever…there is no escaping their obligations.
It used to be that students could tap loans from private lending institutions that assumed the risk of a student borrower’s success or failure. If the student went bankrupt, the bank suffered. That is how capitalism and free markets should work. Not so with Liberal government. When the Obama administration took over these lending services, it took away failure as an option. Today, neither students nor their parents can escape their student debt obligations and the total student debt outstanding has been estimated to approach $1.0 trillion.
Many of these OWS students are now answerable to their government masters for the foreseeable future and during their most formative years… a period when they should be free to work toward satisfying careers, saving to purchase their own homes, preparing to raise families and, eventually, achieving financial independence. Instead, as long as the government holds their debt, it can now dictate how these students will lead their lives in service to their government’s regime goals (as in, “we will forgive x-amount of your debt if you “agree” to work in only certain prescribed professions or government-approved public works programs under certain given conditions dictated by us, your master) Or, let’s try the Chicago Way: “as long as we hold your debt, you will only believe certain things, work for certain causes, and vote in certain ways” . Their indentured servitude has taken away their freedom to think, to act and to build their own futures. Even more sadly, for many of these students, their expensive college educations amounted to little more than indoctrination whereby to accept these circumstances as a good thing: witness the large number whose goal in life is simply to work for “non-profits”.
The especially egregious aspect of this is that it is poorer students that have so been hooked into government dependency. But then, that has pretty much been par for the course for Liberal government, hasn’t it? Government did this before, with poor blacks and the War on Poverty. Government programs enslave the poor through indentured dependency. Rich or talented kids don’t have to worry about this: they have parents, scholarships or trust funds to ensure that they never become indentured government debt pawns. The especially pathetic part of these events is that these indebted students and graduates have been led to believe, through Orwellian deflection, that the agents of their servitude are banks, conservatism, political and economic liberty, and capitalism – the very agents that could yet free them – rather than the government and academia that shackled them.
I suspect that, deep down in their hearts, many of the OWS protestors are slowly coming to realize their predicament. They’ve been had. Eventually, I expect, they will come to learn the truth about their servitude. I hope that they will still have the strength to resist.
I think that it is safe to say that slavery, not democracy, has been a defining condition for the great majority of human history. This may not be a point stressed in the Orwellian halls of academia that groomed this new government slave class at these students’ own expense, but it is a historical truism, none the less. It would truly be sad if what we are observing at the various OWS rallies around the country and world is simply an age-old historical evil reasserting itself in modern drag. What we are now seeing as the product of the college experience is the emergence of two classes: a wealthy, highly educated ruling class and a subservient, dependent, servant class that got suckered into paying the Liberal/Left ruling class to deprive it of intellectual and economic choices under the Orwellian guise of “freedom”. The Liberal/Left has done a bang-up job of severely crippling a generation of our children. I would be hard-pressed to conceive of a more gross corruption of the American ideal.
I hope that I am wrong. What do you think?