Thursday, October 27, 2011

The President's Mob vs. The Cold Winds of Autumn

With the "Occupy" protests now in their second month and already taking on Lord Of The Flies and Animal Farm aspects, questions about what exactly is being protested and why are still eliciting wide disagreement throughout the nation. Whether or not we ever figure that out, the Occupiers have suggested solutions to what they're protesting that range from abolishing money to running the Jews out of the country, the latter being a lovely addition to so many of the mass movements we've lately seen worldwide.

The days of the Occupation appear to be numbered, as residents and officials in occupied cities grow tired of the antics, noise, crime and sheer filth being generated by the new Utopians.  That and the simple fact that living outside is not so much fun in the cold rain and snow leads me to guess that most of the current phase of this movement will have passed by Thanksgiving.  Then again, who knows, maybe the Aleutian branch of Occupy will come to the rescue with helpful hints on outdoor living.

Meanwhile, the White House and Democratic establishment have been making noises of support for the movement while still keeping enough distance to make a clean break if things go wrong, like someone attending to a drunken friend who's likely going to puke all over himself.  The President and some of his fellow travelers have made a point that they understand the frustrations of the Occupied group, and have been eager in attempting to link the motives of the Occupied with those of Tea Party types, a notion I haven't heard echoed by anyone who could seriously be described as part of the Tea Party movement (Newt Gingrich and Eric Cantor don't count, if you're wondering).

It seems to me that since their massive defeat in the elections of 2010, Democrats and the left in general have been in search of something that would allow them to revive their failing political prospects.  From the attempt to silence conservatives with cries for "civility" after the Tucson massacre, to the failed mob action in Madison, to the simply ridiculous "Coffee Party," nothing has worked.  Finally, for whatever reasons, "Occupy Wall Street" has caught fire, in spite of all its contradictions and frequent ugliness.  The Democratic establishment has of course been eager to exploit this sudden appearance of political manna, while also recognizing the danger in being too closely associated with a phenomenon that has attracted more than its share of cranks and nutballs.  Revelations about direct or indirect funding from Soros-linked organizations, the involvement in unions in organizing some events, and evidence that The Organizations Formerly Known As ACORN have been involved in drumming up support and paying demonstrators show that even if the President and official Democrats aren't directly involved in planning and funding this movement, groups that have provided the President support during and since the election sure as hell are.  It seems to me that if the President had publicly expressed displeasure with what was happening the Occupy movement would have wilted away within a matter of weeks, if not days.

So assuming I'm correct that the coming of winter and eventual eviction by local governments will end this phase of the Occupy movement, where will it go?  Does it have a future?

My feeling is that things will slow down for winter and the holidays, but that once spring has arrived there will be attempts to get this all going again, especially if there is a clear winner emerging in the Republican presidential field, which would supply a very convenient and specific target for invective.  I think that if Obama's approach to the economy continues to fail, he's going to need any help he can get, including mobs on the street, with all the opportunities for distraction and polarization they provide.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mic Check! MIC CHECK!

The seemingly chaotic protest movement begun as "Occupy Wall Street" and now coming to a public park near you has met with a variety of reactions, mostly depending on what one's political and economic views are, coherent or not.  The conduct and appearance of the protestors have been a source of amusement for those who find the "demands" of the protestors to be ridiculous at best, while for many who are sympathetic, this is one of those "someone finally said it" moments.

Democrats and liberals in general have been suffering a large amount of distress over the rise of the Tea Party.  Pelosi and others at first tried to kill it by denying it existed, but once that failed the general approach to bringing the movement down has been slander and libel, mixed in with halting attempts to come up with an analogous movement from the left.  That the left feels a need for their very own special movement during the term of the most left-leaning President ever probably doesn't speak well for Obama's prospects for re-election.  In any case, with "Occupy Wall Street" leftists seem to have at last found a forum that allows them to unpack their grab bag of anger and discontent for all the world to see.

Though I think "grab bag" might be an inadequate description for the breadth of expression heard and seen from the protestors so far.  Just about every leftist and anarchist complaint since the Haymarket riot has been trotted out, seasoned with dashes of obscenity, defecation and creepiness that have come to characterize leftist demonstrations since the 1990s.  The sheer incoherence of it all has been both an attraction and a problem for the protests.  The conceit that OWS is a place where the "99 percent" can finally be heard has given rise to all sorts of complaints and demands, many of which are simply ridiculous, if not pathetic.  I have a Master's degree in (insert useless field here) and I can't find a job!  End capitalism! or Repeal all debt and mortgages!  Free college for everyone!  No property allowed! are arguments that just aren't going to gain much traction outside the coffeehouse scene, much less in the voting booths.  The lack of focus displayed in these protests so far makes me doubt we'll get from this crowd anything like the effectiveness the Tea Party movement has displayed, but that remains to be seen.

The reaction of the liberal political establishment has been a mixture of hopefulness and caution.  Democratic politicians up to and including the President have expressed their sympathies for, at the very least, the "frustrations" the protestors are expressing.  The extent to which these protests are in fact part of any liberal political strategy is something that is being hashed out in the background, with allegations being made that the originators of Occupy Wall Street somehow received funding from George Soros or that the protests are part of a broader labor union strategy for the coming election year.  That liberal politicians are hopeful this protest movement will help them in some way is clear, but I think they have been very cautious in their embrace, fearful of being closely linked with the protests if the more far-out elements begin to dominate and the whole thing gets too messy.  Mayor Bloomberg's soft touch in regard to the protesters clearly shows a fear of antagonizing the OWS crowd, but the news today that the city intends to clear the park this weekend for cleaning means to me that he's getting heat from his more natural constituency, meaning Manhattanites and ordinary New Yorkers, some of whom no doubt are invested in Wall Street.

I think the big questions at this moment about the future of these protests are: Will they survive the winter?  And will they become violent?  I think that if we do see serious violence coming out of this movement, Democrats will someday look back and wish all this had never happened.

Monday, October 3, 2011

This Was The Moment

The Age of Calamity that 52.9% of American voters signed us up for in 2008 continues to get worse, with no safely predictable end in sight.

Our President has spent the past few weeks fundraising and barnstorming for public support for his "American Jobs Act" and gigantic tax raise, slipping into whatever persona he seems to feel suits the moment.  First we had Obama, Greatest Salesman Ever doing his best to get his foot in the door, giving us the slogan I suppose he hoped millions would take up yelling from the rooftops, "Pass This Bill!"  Not having any luck with that, he then tried to shore up his political base, adopting his Obama, Greatest Badass Black Preacher Ever personality before the Congressional Black Caucus, complete with a fake southern drawl and an angry admonition to his audience to put on their "marching boots" and stop all that whining, again to a less than enthusiastic welcome from the likes of Maxine Waters, whose response was basically You talking to me, fool?

While the President has been throwing heart and soul into getting his legislation passed, the economy has continued tanking in nearly all aspects, nationally and worldwide.  The 300 point stock market drop has become an almost commonplace event.  The Federal Reserve is clearly steering through uncharted waters and has just about dissipated any faith among financial markets that it will be able to lead a solution to the mess.  Prospects for any improvement in employment numbers in the U.S. are nowhere on the horizon, and the housing markets are continuing to stagnate, or worse.  The European Union is attempting to stave off yet more disaster from the bankruptcy of a growing number of its members, and for their efforts its leaders received a stern lecture on financial management from our own President Thrifty, which went down about as well as a nice drink of motor oil. There are even growing cries from economic soothsayers of signs of impending collapse in China, which can't possibly be good, unless you happen to be a fan of food riots and other such chaos.

Elsewhere, the administration that is doing its best to kill our domestic oil and coal industries has just decided to give another billion dollars to "green energy" firms, merely days after the corporate officers of the failed solar panel firm Solyndra pleaded the fifth before a Congressional committee.  That Solyndra seems to have become a criminal enterprise somewhere along the way hasn't kept the administration from pouring more taxpayer money down the green rathole, but what the hell, it's only government money, there's always more where that came from.  Just ask Warren Buffet.

Yes, there's more...

The Fast & Furious fiasco is continuing on its logical path, with more guns showing up in both on American and Mexican soil, and more deaths in which the ATF-sponsored weapons were involved coming to light. Whether or not the investigative trail in this scandal will finally point to the upper reaches of the White House is an open question.  I wonder myself if there will be enough time to get to the bottom of the barrel in this affair before the voters boot Obama and his crew out of office.  How much effect it will have on the election itself is another important question, I think.

Is there more?  Well, why not?

We've seen evidence during the Obama administration that the President and many of his supporters have a bit of a problem with all the trouble the democratic process is causing them in their quest to bring us kicking and screaming to that beautiful place they know is best for us.  We have the President's remark that it would be easier to be president of China; his confession before La Raza that he's tempted to "do things on my own;" his use of "Czars" as a way of avoiding Congressional oversight.  In just the past two weeks or so we've seen a Democrat governor propose the suspension of Congressional elections, and Obama's former budget director publish an article in the New Republic calling for "less democracy" and a diminution of Congressional influence in governing the country.  This paired with the increased threats of violence from unions and the left is causing some to consider what would normally be dismissed as paranoid-type thoughts:  is it possible that the Administration wants there to be a crisis of civil disorder, which would give the President an opportunity to declare an emergency and stop next year's election?

I can't say that I've ever seriously entertained such an idea about any president in my lifetime, and I doubt that there's any such thing in the cards at this point, but that's because I have trouble believing even this president would be willing to commit such a crime against his own people.  But who knows?  The President cut his teeth on Alinskyite, "ends justify the means" political morality, and I think it's an open question as to how far his administration and the left are willing to go before they admit defeat and give up power.

Of course, the President could put all these fears to rest anytime, if he would just resign...