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2011 November 02 Wednesday
Occupy Wall Street Learning From Street People

Street people are teaching OWS protestors how to survive outside in cold weather.

In New York, three days after authorities confiscated their generators, hundreds of anti-Wall Street protesters struggled to stay warm and dry after the snow storm. Some got tips on how to deal with the cold weather from homeless people.

"They have the most amazing knowledge base for dealing with cold weather," protester Justin Stone-Diaz said. "So honestly, we're getting it from people with experience."

They grew up not learning how to stay warm outside in the cold weather?

OWS is a boon for the homeless. Here's this well-connected group of protestors who can set up tents in choice park locations where really lower class people (i.e. the homeless) wouldn't think to try to camp en masse. But once the protestor types set up shop the homeless can come on in and park right next to them.

In some cities the police and members of the public are losing patience with protestors. In some cities police have moved in and closed tent cities: Richmond Virginia police shut down their encampment. How long will the theater of OWS go on? Their shows give left-leaning pundits the opportunity to hold forth about inequality and declining living standards. If only this opportunity was put to constructive use. But no.

If the pundits on the Left would only drill down to root causes of declining living standards the OWS movement would serve a constructive purpose. But while the Left flirts with root causes I do not expect Leftists will shift away from class warfare and status warfare as primary concerns.

By Randall Parker    2011 November 02 09:55 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (0)
2008 October 18 Saturday
Peggy Noonan On The Infantilizing Of American Politics

First American politics became feminized and emotionalized. Now Peggy Noonan says this election is infantilizing American politics. Goo goo, gah, gah.

There is now something infantilizing about this election. Mr. Obama continued to claim he will remove wasteful spending by sitting down with the federal budget and going through it "line by line." This is absurd, and he must know it. Mr. McCain continued to vow he will "balance the budget" in the next four years. Who believes that? Does even he?

More than ever on the campaign trail, the candidates are dropping their G's. Hardworkin' families are strainin' and tryin'a get ahead. It's not only Sarah Palin but Mr. McCain, too, occasionally Mr. Obama, and, of course, George W. Bush when he darts out like the bird in a cuckoo clock to tell us we are in crisis. All of the candidates say "mom and dad": "our moms and dads who are struggling." This is Mr. Bush's former communications adviser Karen Hughes's contribution to our democratic life, that you cannot speak like an adult in politics now, that's too austere and detached, snobby. No one can say mothers and fathers, it's all now the faux down-home, patronizing—and infantilizing—moms and dads. Do politicians ever remember that in a nation obsessed with politics, our children—sorry, our kids—look to political figures for a model as to how adults sound?

They are trying to be "authentic". Aw shucks Andy. Aw shucks Gomer. Aw shucks Barney (except our Barney Frank helped create a huge financial crisis by pushing for lowered lending standards).

Peggy also takes a dim view of Sarah Palin.

But it's unclear whether she is Bushian or Reaganite. She doesn't think aloud. She just . . . says things. Her supporters accuse her critics of snobbery: Maybe she's not a big "egghead" but she has brilliant instincts and inner toughness. But what instincts? "I'm Joe Six-Pack"? She does not speak seriously but attempts to excite sensation—"palling around with terrorists." If the Ayers case is a serious issue, treat it seriously. She is not as thoughtful or persuasive as Joe the Plumber, who in an extended cable interview Thursday made a better case for the Republican ticket than the Republican ticket has made. In the past two weeks she has spent her time throwing out tinny lines to crowds she doesn't, really, understand. This is not a leader, this is a follower, and she follows what she imagines is the base, which is in fact a vast and broken-hearted thing whose pain she cannot, actually, imagine. She could reinspire and reinspirit; she chooses merely to excite. She doesn't seem to understand the implications of her own thoughts.

We will not see a Vice President Sarah Palin. This election is already over. As I said back in February 2008: Recession Assures Republican Presidential Defeat In 2008. The financial crisis of the last few months assures McCain's defeat. So while Noonan's comments about Sarah Palin are interesting they ultimately matter more for the lessons we might learn for future elections. Choose your VP wisely.

What matters? The future policies of President Obama. My fear is that Obama understands the implications of his own thoughts and wants to grow the size of government and place more government controls on the economy. The coming liberal supermajority isn't going to find any brakes in the way of their ambitions. How far will they go? Price controls on gasoline that bring back the lines? FDR-style policies that extend and deepen the recession? High taxes that cause economic stagnation?

I am especially worried about an attempt by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others on the Left to resurrect the "Fairness Doctrine" (which is anything but) to restrict speech by rightward leaning people.

The existence of the Fairness Doctrine, which was in place officially from the late 1940s through the mid-eighties, when Ronald Reagan’s FCC phased it out, made political talk radio in today’s boisterous, opinionated sense impossible—no Mark Levins, that’s for sure. And that’s what would happen if, as Democrats from Nancy Pelosi to John Kerry to Al Gore hope, the doctrine gets re-imposed. This is a missile aimed at conservative talk radio. A station that ran Levin, or Bill Bennett or Hugh Hewitt, would have to broadcast a liberal alternative—but liberals have tanked on the radio, for various reasons, including the fact that they’re so well represented elsewhere in the media. The station would most likely just say, you know what, we’re going to change formats and do sports talk or entertainment reporting—anything but politics!

But even if Democrats failed to bring back the Fairness Doctrine—and Obama claims not to support the idea, though virtually every leading Democrat, including Nancy Pelosi does—other reforms are likely: tightened media ownership regulations and an expansion of public interest duties of broadcasters, including imposing greater local accountability on them. This means forcing stations to carry more local programming, even if the public isn’t asking for it—which it isn’t. This is aimed at national syndicators who make conservative shows available across the country.

They show themselves quite willing to restrict speech, all their posturing as about supporting basic rights to the contrary. They are going to be in supermajority control of both houses of Congress. How many will they muzzle? How many US citizens will be too gah gah over Obama to care?

By Randall Parker    2008 October 18 04:15 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (6)
2007 July 02 Monday
Bush Lets Libby Escape Jail Time

The capo di tutti capi makes his move. Scooter gets off.

WASHINGTON, July 2 — President Bush spared I. Lewis Libby Jr. from prison Monday, commuting his two-and-a-half year sentence while leaving intact his conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice in the C.I.A. leak case.

There's a pattern here. Bush no longer cares about public opinion. He didn't care with his attempt to push immigration amnesty through. He again does not care with the Libby pardon and in this case Congress could not stop him. So he accomplished what he wanted to accomplish.

Mr. Bush’s action, announced hours after a panel of judges ruled that Mr. Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, could not put off serving his sentence while he appealed his conviction, came as a surprise to all but a few members of the president’s inner circle.

The New York Times seems to think that conservatives are happy about Bush's action. I'm thinking more along the line that if you want to know who the neocons and Bush sycophants are then look at who is happy. Neocons and Bush sycophants please raise your hands.

Bill Clinton waited till his final days in office to pardon financier Marc Rich. Rich's lawyer, one Lewis "Scooter" Libby, defended that pardon. Now Libby has his own pardon.

I think that the sort of work that Libby did in private practice should have disqualified him to serve as an advisor to a US vice president. That he could defend Marc Rich given what has come out about Rich's activities strikes me as information that should disqualify Libby from any important job in US federal government. The question of whether he broke the law in his job should never come up because people like him should be kept out of the White House.

Dick Cheney should be blamed for bringing in an advisor with Libby's background and for the fact that Libby was eventually convicted of federal crimes. Cheney should have brought more ethical people into government.

The Libby pardon shows once again elite disdain for popular wishes. Back in March 2007 CNN found the vast majority of the American people opposed a pardon for Libby.

Just 18 percent said they would support a pardon for Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, while 69 percent said they opposed the idea. Meanwhile, a narrow majority said they believe Cheney was part of a cover-up in the case.

The American Presidency is too powerful. Bush's presidency demonstrates how excessive power has accrued to whoever sits in the Oval Office. We need to fix this problem.

By Randall Parker    2007 July 02 11:57 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (45)
2006 May 27 Saturday
Dennis Dale On Our New 3 Branches Of Governance

The three famous divisions of American government, Executive, Congressional, and Judicial branches are no longer the three branches of ruling power in America today. Dennis Dale thinks that power is held by political, media, and corporate elites.

I will soon be done with this immigration issue; sometime after our leaders have codified into law the principle that human beings can be viewed as units of labor, subject to strict cost analysis and valued entirely thereby. They bring nothing more with them; except perhaps a deep love of the ideals we are currently rendering hollow at home and abroad.

Culture, intelligence, group thought and resentment, human nature in toto; I'm relieved to learn from my betters that these things have been rendered meaningless by globalization and the conspicuous tolerance of our mandarins. Pay no attention to the angry mobs waving foreign flags; disregard the triumphant language of racial demagogues. Don't inquire what's to become of what's left of our republic. Comfort yourself with the knowledge that you haven't entertained thoughts that the nicely dressed people on television would find gauche. And don't forget: American Idol's finale is tonight!

Our political, media, and corporate classes have become the operative three branches of governance. Like the nominal triumvirate set forth in the constitution, they have their internal rifts, and sometimes struggle for power amongst themselves. But unlike the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, (now comprising one foundation of the new order; the political element of our oligarchy), they can work together with remarkable cohesion and little overt direction. A template has been fashioned over the past generation, the result of years of pandering and demagoguery dressed up in lofty rhetoric (or not-so-lofty rhetoric), and each element knows intuitively how to behave in a remarkable variety of situations.

The liberal media, members of the US Imperial Senate, and corporate interests all are fighting for the abolition of America through a massive increase in the rate of legal immigration combined with continued illegal immigration.

Dennis takes a dim view of Imperial Senate member John McCain and I agree.

One more lesson we'll have to learn painfully: heroism doesn't necessarily make one a good leader. McCain's forced verbal dullness can only mask a man with extremely limited patience. We are not led by the wise; I'm not sure we're even led by the sane. We are led by the ambitious.

When the British Empire was on the rise ambitious Brits could make a name for themselves and also strengthen the Empire by channelling their ambitions into acts that would strengthen the empire and win them knighthoods and other honors that placed them higher in the social pecking order. Something has gone very wrong in the status competition in the United States. Today, unfortunately, the ambitious in the American Republic's political class and not a few of its capitalists find it expedient to promote policies and ideas that weaken America. We'd be a lot better off if these people found more generally beneficial outlets for their ambitions.

For an example of what I'm talking about see this National Council of La Raza ("The Race") list of "Insitutional Corporate Partners":

The Allstate Corporation
Bank of America
The Coca-Cola Company
Citigroup
Fannie Mae
Freddie Mac
Ford Motor Company
General Motors Corporation
MBNA Corporation
PepsiCo Foundation
The PMI Group, Inc.
State Farm Insurance Companies
UPS
Univision
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Yes, these corporations are funding your enemies.

By Randall Parker    2006 May 27 12:32 PM Entry Permalink | Comments (3)
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