Tag Archives: occupy

Left Behind

Peter Beinart presents an objective and thorough analysis of America’s millennial left.  It’s refreshing to read something this precise.  He takes the time to define “old politics” in both Republican and Democratic terms, and to defend his designation of a “new generation.”  Finally, he uses survey results to show what the new generation thinks.

Obviously, the new left is bad news for Republicans, but Beinart also has some surprises for Democrats.  The leading candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, is at risk of being “old left.”  Sen. Elizabeth Warren seems younger in this sense – younger, even, than young Republicans like Paul Ryan.  We are reminded of Jeremiah on identity politics.

Right-wing populism generally requires rousing white, Christian, straight, native-born Americans against Americans who are not all those things.

The Republican party, Beinart says, has grown dependent on the xenophobia of a shrinking demographic group.  The left wing of the Republican party – if there is such a thing – is represented by Libertarians like Rand Paul.  He is against foreign wars and the Federal Reserve, and strictly in favor of individual rights.  Unfortunately for Sen. Paul, he is also white, Christian, straight, and male.

No one will mourn the passing of “social conservatives,” but we are a little concerned about the young generation’s lurch toward socialism.  The Republicans have not made a case for free enterprise, and so that task may fall to Mrs. Clinton.

What do you tell a young person with no prospects, a useless diploma, and college debt?  They say the system is broken.  Jeremiah would like to say that the system is broken because it is not actually a free enterprise system.  The housing bubble, the student loan bubble, and the jobless recovery are all due to government intervention.  What is broken is the big lie of socialism, that government can take care of you.

How do you tell that to the new left?  You can’t.  That kind of knowledge only comes from experience.  God help them.

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End the IRS

By now, you know that the IRS has been targeting certain groups for harassment.  You know that the IRS can read your email, and you have seen IRS chief Steve Miller testify to Congress that this is all just fine by him.  In fairness to Mr. Miller, he did allow the IRS was guilty of “poor service.”

IRS Howitzer

This is like having the government aim an eight inch howitzer at your yoga studio.  The question is not, why don’t they like yoga?  The question is, why does the government have a weapon like this in the first place?

If you run a small business – that is, if you are one of the rare people actually providing jobs in this wretched economy – you know what the IRS can do to you.  The IRS can put you out of business instantly, take everything you own, and throw you in jail.

Contrary to your constitutional protections, you are presumed guilty unless proved innocent.  Meanwhile, they impound your house and freeze your bank account.  Good luck defending yourself in court.  You don’t even have clean clothes to wear.  Oh, and the IRS has their own special court.

Many of the non-economic reasons people expatriate are due to tax enforcement policies and a culture of fear encouraged by the IRS.

It’s like a little piece of Nazi Germany went through the time machine and came out in America.  Phil Hodgen, who runs a law practice for Americans looking to flee the country, specifically mentions the “jackboot approach to enforcement” by the IRS.  Phil’s blog is one horror story after another.

So, we have well meaning Paulites and Occupy kids calling for an end to the Federal Reserve, while a much larger menace stalks the country.  Yes, Uncle Sam needs the money, but – we are pretty sure taxes can be collected without the Gestapo.

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Cui Culpa?

Last year, Judge Jed Rakoff rejected a plea bargain agreed by the SEC and Citigroup.  His opinion is that justice is not served by a settlement with no verdict.  On first reading, you might assume Judge Rakoff feels the settlement is unfair to Citigroup.  So many agencies have the power to prosecute banks, it is easy to imagine that some of these cases are just shakedowns.

On the other hand, if Citigroup is guilty, they will have calculated the settlement to be outweighed by their illicit profits.  With a plea bargain, we will never know the truth.  That’s the principle the judge is standing on, but –we can glean some clues from reading the amicus briefs.

Jeremiah grudgingly gives credit to Occupy Wall Street for a narrow brief arguing simply that Judge Rakoff acted within his authority.  Nice job, kids.  Amici Curiae said basically the same thing:

Settlements do not serve the public interest because they neither inform the public of the truth of the allegations nor deter future violations.

The Business Roundtable was reduced to “time honored practice” of not admitting guilt.  On points, then, we award this round to the left.  Now, let’s have the contestants back for a real trial.

See also: Occupy Congress

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Victim Mentality

One year ago, the occupation of Wall Street was in full swing.  Jeremiah engaged the movement, constructively, on this and other blog sites.  His theme was “stop blaming” the banks, the Fed, immigrants, and the military industrial complex.  Jeremiah encouraged the movement to develop an agenda, leadership, and political influence – much as the Tea Party had done, the year before.

This is not only a political struggle.  For these young adults, it is also a spiritual struggle.  The power of positive thinking dates back, at least to the eponymous book by Norman Vincent Peale.  His message has been taken up, in various forms, by many disciples.  Some authors attribute this power to a supernatural force, whether Dr. Peale’s Christianity or Rhonda Byrne’s “law of attraction.”

Jeremiah subscribes to the practical, non-mystical, version of this theory.  In his own experience, he has seen many instances where attitude alone was the principal determinant of success.  There is a logical explanation, of course, but sometimes this “power” is so subtle that it’s easy to see why authors invoke the supernatural.  Jeremiah’s personal favorite is Jim Rohn.  He starts this video with a discussion of blame and personal responsibility.

This is why Jeremiah was so worried about the OWS kids initiating a cycle of blame and helplessness, and why he encouraged them to start a movement – any movement – that would include adult responsibility.  Life’s setbacks are temporary, but there are always people ready to exploit a temporary weakness.  They will tell you that you can’t help yourself, that you are a victim, and – the moment you start to believe it – they will be right.

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Sharp Dressed Man

Independents, minorities, and occupy-wall-streeters have a mental image of what is corrupt in Washington.  The iconic corrupt politician is a fat, sneering, pale doughy white man.

Newt Gingrich is a serial adulterer who made a mint selling influence to the very mortgage bankers who have lately tanked our economy. There is absolutely no chance of Mr. Gingrich defeating Pres. Obama in the general election.

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Stop Blaming the Fed

Here’s an interesting point of agreement between the Tea Party and the Occupy movement – both sides want to end the Fed.  The left hates banks and the right hates government intervention, but neither side can present a realistic alternative.  Returning to the gold standard is a fantasy.  As long as we have a fiat currency, we need a central bank to manage it.  England has one, and so do China and Europe.

The Fed’s only job is to manage the money supply, with attention to exchange rates, inflation, and unemployment.  That’s difficult enough.  History will show that Chairman Bernanke averted a depression through correct application of quantitative easing.  Now he is forcing banks to lend, and reducing mortgage rates.  This is good monetary policy.  The problems have come from fiscal policy, for which Congress is responsible.

The movement’s main concern is that moneyed interests have corrupted our leaders in Washington.  That seems like a pretty good argument for keeping the Fed independent, and free from political interference.

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Demagogue This!

Demagogue is a good old word, going all the way back to classical Greek politics.  A demagogue is someone who appeals to the ignorance of a mob, and stokes their prejudice with easy answers.  Adolf Hitler was an ace demagogue, as was Julius Caesar.  In America, demagoguery has grown into an art form, and the word has become a verb – as in, “this is no time to demagogue.”

When Al Sharpton shows up, you know you are being demagogued.  It is then time to look around and see if you are part of an ignorant mob.  Regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement, only Herman Cain has had the fortitude to call bullshit.

Even President Obama has kowtowed, “Oh, I understand their frustration.”  The man whose policies contributed most to the economic dislocation of millions, Obama is only too glad to see young people marching against something – anything – but himself.

Leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it.

A true leader does not follow Naisbitt’s quip about finding a parade.  The President of the United States should not be seen climbing onto a bandwagon.  If the movement has credible aims, as did the civil rights movement, then that should lead to political action.  If not, the President must condemn it, and send them home.

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