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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Obama Follows Bush In Abusing War Powers Act

The Obama administration has sent a report to Congress detailing why it doesn’t need the legislature’s approval for continued American military action in the Libya theater.  To no one’s surprise, the Teabaggers don’t like the administration’s justification.  But here’s the problem with that: the Teabaggers were silent when it came to Bush & Afghanistan and Bush & Iraq.  No declaration of war was made by the Congress in 2001 or 2003.  And before this argument gets construed to be partisan, I will gladly point out that far too few so-called Democrats challenged the Bush administration regarding their abuse of executive powers.

So more to the point, Congress (members from both parties) is complaining that they aren’t satisfied with the administration’s approach to the Libya crisis.  While I agree with the basis of their argument, it’s hypocritical for the Teabaggers especially but for most Democrats as well to decide now is the time to complain.  Now that Congress hasn’t been handed a $1.5 Trillion budget surplus; now that Congress abdicated its responsibilities with regard to Afghanistan (where we’ve been invaders/occupiers for over 10 years now); now that Congress abdicated its responsibilities with regard to Iraq (where a clearly illegal invasion and occupation has lasted over 8 years); now that Congress extended unpaid for tax cuts to the wealthiest 1% of Americans & American mega-corporations; now, Congress is saying there is no imminent national security threat and that the costs are worrisome (even though the costs of Afghanistan’s occupation are estimated to be $455 Billion and the costs of Iraq’s occupation are estimated to be $800 Billion and both represent failed states and our own country has less national security now than it did in Oct 2001).

Go cry somewhere else, Congress.  This American citizen was calling for security and financial accountability since the 9/11 attacks and was roundly ignored by both parties.  Now the Teabaggers want to end Medicare and Social Security because they couldn’t find the courage to stand up to their fellow party members during the Bush Regime?  Now the Democrats want to continue the Bush Regime’s disastrous economic policies?  Only today’s corrupted corporate media would be able to presen such nonsense as “news”, while failing to hold themselves accountable for their lack of action.

Take note, Teabaggers & CorporateDems alike: it’s far too late to pretend to be angry that you decided you wanted to be irrelevant as a part of the government.  By giving away your powers when “your guy” was in the White House, you lost any valid argument trying to claim them when “the other guy” is in the White House.

Take note, Obama administration: your actions are likely as illegal as the Bush Regime’s were.  Nothing is different just because you have a different letter after your name or just because there’s a black man in charge now.  The Constitutional Scholar is proving himself to be anything but.  I have lost nearly all of the respect I had for Obama.  This isn’t the change we voted for.  This isn’t leadership.  This is continued capitalistic cronyism and it’s as disgusting now as it was 3 years ago.

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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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Where Are The Angry Hordes Today?

With news that billions in American aid to Pakistan wasted due to lack of Pentagon planning and accounting, I’m sure we’ll hear about all those truly concerned grass-roots-types calling their Representatives and Senators and demanding that the government stop foreign aid to the nuclear country.  Right?  Right?

I mean, after all, their outrage wasn’t manufactured or focused on what a handful of corporations wanted them to be, was it?  That’s what we kept hearing from all of them – “Nobody is telling me to be out here with my Obama=Hitler sign.  I’m real and I’m angry, dammit!”.  So where are they today?  Are the phone lines in Washington jammed with thousands of angry citizens demanding to know why the Pentagon threw away $6 Billion?  Are the servers crashing from all of the traffic as people demand to know via email where their taxpayer dollars are?

Of course they’re not.  Because the outrage was manufactured.  Because the military can do whatever they damn well please with taxpayer dollars.  The righties aren’t concerned about their fellow Americans’ health.  Somehow, they’re just fine with the idea that $6 Billion of our dollars went to Pakistani economic subsidies, including fighting with India, instead of tracking down and killing terrorists.  They’re not truly angry that the government is getting involved with things … as long as the government is involved in the things they want it to be.  The tea-baggers and anti-health care reform mobs that descended on town halls this summer were as fake as can be.  Few of those people would have gotten out to the town halls if they weren’t organized by firms who specialize in such things.  The fact that the people didn’t know they were being used could be considered sad.

But I don’t waste any pity on those who don’t truly care for their fellow citizens.  They deserve to have billions of their tax dollars flittered away by their political leadership.

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T-shirts vs. Guns

Back when Bush was busy running the country into the ground, he had events around the country, kind of like what President Obama is doing today.  There are some important differences, not that the corporate media is going to get into them.  Among them:

Democrats couldn’t attend Bush events if they wore the “wrong” t-shirt.  On more than one occasion, they were removed from the area.  Sometimes, they were removed by people who didn’t have the legal authority to remove them.  More than one spent time in jail.  That’s what “free speech” amounted to in the Bush years: agree with Bush or go to jail.

Right-wing cranks are protesting near Obama events with guns on their hips.  Yes, you read the right: a civilian (not a law enforcement person), with a gun on the hip in a holster.  Are you freaking kidding me?!  Right-wing shock jocks will insist that this person had the undeniable right to exercise his 2nd amendment rights – possibly his 1st amendment rights if they strain really hard.  Um, that’s great.  What about those Democrats who didn’t show up to Bush’s events with anything but a t-shirt?  The Cons didn’t stand up for their rights, did they?  I know what would have happened if a Democratic civilian had showed up to a Bush event with a gun in a holster on their hip, and you should too: they’d have been carted off to Gitmo and withheld indefinitely.  Such is the hypocrisy of the Cons.

[Update]: Cenk Uygur sums it up quicker than I did.  Think a Muslim-American could have been anywhere near a Bush rally with a gun on his hip and a weapons permit?

Bush events were carefully screened so that the Cowardly Boy King didn’t have to face opposition to his bat-shit insane policies.  Every single event for years was screened very carefully.

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