Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

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Analysis of Occupy Groups Plain Wrong

I’ve heard a lot and read a little about the Occupy Wall Street groups that obviously started in New York City but have quickly spread to metropolitan areas across the U.S. since September.  A couple of things I read today warrant a small piece of my attention away from more homework than I know what to do about.

First up: Paul West’s “Is Occupy Wall Street a Tea Party for Democrats?“, which can be marked up as another sad example of crappy journalism in today’s corporate media dominated world.

Distinctions are drawn by liberals between the origins of the anti-Wall Street drive, which they say is more spontaneous and authentic than a Tea Party movement boosted into existence by Fox News, a favored news source for conservatives. Another difference: Tea Party followers were focused on one issue — cutting government spending — while Occupy Wall Street is amorphous in its aims.

Beyond that, there are broad similarities. Both movements are decentralized and nonhierarchical, driven largely by an alienated and outraged citizenry that favors the same two-word phrase: fed up.

It’s painful when these journalists parrots cannot distinguish between corporate astroturf groups (Tebaggers – they haven’t formally formed a party like the Greens) and organic groups (Occupy Wall Street).

It’s even more painful when their messages are purposefully misscharacterized.  Where were the Teabaggers when the Bush Regime was spending Trillions of taxpayer dollars and blowing up the debt and the deficit?  They were cheering the Regime on, saying spending wasn’t fast enough.  Why did they choose 2009 to start wailing about the spending they used to support?  Because there is a Black Man in the White House.  I call shenanigans.

The Teabaggers’ assault on the political scene in 2009 was orchestrated and paid for by the same ultra-wealthy entities that Occupy Wall Street is protesting.  It was anything but decentralized and non-hierarchical.  What happened when reporters tried talking to the Teabaggers at the beginning?  Amorphous and ridiculous commentary was offered.  The organizers quickly picked up on this and ensured their well-trained communications liaisons were the only ones talking to the corporate media.  There is no way that any disparate group of individuals getting together are well organized when they first form.  Occupy Wall Streeters prove that; the Teabaggers also prove that.

The Teabaggers are mostly right-wing extremists who should feel alienated – all extremists should.  The Occupy Wall Streeters are a much more diverse group who have rightful grievances against a government that is increasingly under corporate dominance.

Next up: an extremist extraordinaire, Jon Caldara, who offered up this nonsense that a different parrot dutifully made into “news”: “‘They wish (for) European-style socialism,’ he said.  ‘It’s not corporate welfare they hate.  They hate that it’s not all going to their causes.  When they want to end all corporate welfare, I’ll douse myself with patchouli oil and join them.'”

Always available for jack-assery, aren’t you Jon?  When the wealthiest 1% control over 50% of the wealth; when real take home income hasn’t changed for the bottom 99% since 1979 while it’s 240% higher for the 1%; when U.S. and foreign banks are loaned Trillions of dollars while millions of Americans lose their hard-earned jobs and homes, people in the 99% are eventually going to show how upset they are.  It has nothing to do with Jon’s obsession with European socialism.

When Jon and other “free-marketeers” stop free-loading off of the socialist infrastructure this country and its citizens built and operate for them on a daily basis (roads, water, air, police, fire, radio, on and on and on), then they should be quoted in the media.  The ridiculousness of quoting somebody who willfully refuses to live up to his own ideals is pathetic.

Keep going, Occupy Wall Street!


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Tea Party Continues To Show It Doesn’t Truly Care About Government Waste

Or more importantly, climate change.

I read a piece over at Climate Progress entitled, “Ohio Tea Party survey to candidates: “The regulation of Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere should be left to God and not government and I oppose all measures of Cap and Trade as well as the teaching of global warming theory in our schools.”

It was somewhat unsurprising to read that Ohio Teabaggers are sending out emails to candidates’ campaigns asking that they respond to 15 questions so the Teabaggers can judge their worthiness of support.  All of them are batty to one degree or another.  One of the questions reads:

2. The regulation of Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere should be left to God and not government and I oppose all measures of Cap and Trade as well as the teaching of global warming theory in our schools.

and asks for “respondents to give one of the following answers: A = Agree; D = Disagree; U = Undecided; A* = Pro-life with exceptions of Rape or Incest, * = Added comments; NR = No Response”.

This question fails on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to begin or end.  “God” isn’t emitting carbon dioxide into the Earth’s climate system at levels unseen for millenia, people are.  Therefore, citing “God” as the responsible authority to regulate atmospheric CO2 is silly.  Opposing teaching of global warming in schools because they think it’s “only a theory” is similarly absurd.  Why don’t they also demand that gravity be withheld from school curricula, since it’s also “only a theory”.

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Colorado News Stories: Connecting Some Dots

Today was another day in which a number of news articles caught my eye.  They warrant additional context, especially the connections between some of them.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has been working behind the scenes to talk with what the corporate media likes to term “centrist”/”moderate” Democratic Senators regarding health care.  He will continue to try to convince CorporateDems to vote to allow debate on the Senate health bill.  What’s the center position between corporatist lackeys and principled public servants anyway?  Another very popular Washington buzzterm came into play: Salazar is involved because he was involved in several bipartisan agreements while a Senator.  He was at the forefront of what I term the Gaggle of Gangs in the Senate – joining with other “centrists” to keep the filibuster around but ensure Democrats wouldn’t use it while in the minority.  Which is part of the reason why Salazar is being sent back to work on his former colleagues: the Cons are threatening to filibuster the health bill (though Democrats won’t actually force them to carry one out) and -gasp- Democrats might join them.  That’s the answer to “How did that bipartisanship end up working out”.  Whatever happened to the Cons’ “Upper-down-vote!” they couldn’t get enough of?  One person of concern is Sen. Lieberman, the man who campaigned for Sen. John McCain in last year’s presidential election and is doing everything he can to keep himself in the news this year.  Salazar was “mentored” by Lieberman when he joined the Senate, so I’m sure Lieberman can be convinced to play nice – aren’t you?  Oh, and after watering down the bill with nonsense to appease “centrist” Republicans, where are their votes to move to debate?  MIA?  Why did we negotiate with them exactly?  They’re not going to vote for the final bill.

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Bill in Portland Maine’s Excellent Question

Dear Conservative Free-Market Capitalism Muckety Mucks,

Why haven’t you fixed the economy yet?

It’s a shame it took a serial snarkist to ask the most pertinent question of this whole Great Recession.  Want more?

I’m asking because conservatives in fancy suits keep telling me—okay, screaming at me—about how fundamentally sound their ideas are, and how the private sector, not the government, is our best and greatest hope for making the economy leap back to life…

We’ve been in a recession since December of 2007. Why aren’t things all better yet for ordinary Americans? You were so awesome at making the mess, but cleaning up the pile of poopies you left on the nation’s living room rug seems to be proving a bit more, um, problematic. Why?

You’ve got an army of giant, throbbing brains in your right-wing think tanks working day and night. The Heritage Foundation has never been wrong…just ask ’em! And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce never misses an opportunity to proclaim their infallibility in multimillion-dollar ad campaigns. So…why are we still in Sucksville?

And don’t try and hide behind the fact that there’s a Democrat in the White House. He’s been shoveling money into your coffers faster than Sarah Palin shoveling bullshit through Twitter.

Fix the damn economy on Main Street already, you Ayn Rand-worshipping free-market capitalist wizards. Show us how it’s done. Be the heroes we’ve been holding out for. I’ll check back on your progress in 30 days. I expect Americans to be squatting over solid gold commodes by then. That’s how much I believe in you.

They can’t, of course, because their version of the mythical “Free Market” isn’t designed to help the little person.  It’s always been designed to make the rich filthy rich.  It’s always been designed to screw the little person over.  But they’re damn fine questions.  And I know Billy will check back in 30 days.  🙂