This is what grassroots looks like

The thing that makes the Tea Party so execrable, so foul and unpalatable and disingenuous, is that it was built by FOX News using FOX News money and directed by FOX News executives. It started as astroturf, as a simulacrum of grassroots, and after it reached a critical mass of people duped into believing they were fighting for lower taxes for everybody, the movement picked up steam.

Once it reached that point, the rebranding of the Party of the Rich, the nuttier end of the Republicans, was complete. Then, suddenly, fighting for lower taxes for the richest of the rich became populist and popular amongst the poorest of the poor, and all the attendant evisceration of rights and protections and social programs that comes with it was successfully camouflaged behind the Tea Party’s populist rhetoric. Convincing people to vote against their best interests isn’t easy, but it is when you have a wholly misinformed electorate.

So it heartens me to see that the Occupy Wall Street movement is, in fact, grassroots in the truest sense. Real people, the 99%ers who are really affected by the destruction of the social framework that helps keep money flowing throughout the US economy, are taking to Wall Street to protest the fact that the top 1% of the country owns most of the wealth. The simple fact is that Wall Street pretty much drives this disparity by keeping politicians in its pockets. And meanwhile, the media has blacked it out, so every inch taken by the Occupy Wall Street movement has been taken in direct opposition of the media machine.

The lower and middle class, the true drivers of the economy, have never had a smaller slice of the pie. And the rich have never been richer. Income disparity has never been greater, and with greater income disparity, comes greater misery and economic stagnation. One would think that if the rich want to stay rich and to keep making profits, the simplest way to cure the economic downturn is to fix that disparity. So why is the media ignoring this movement?

For the same reason FOX coopted CNBC’s Rick Santelli’s fiscal rant where he suggested making a new tea party in Chicago, and Cavuto and Beck funded the first Tea Party rallies to the point where they would self-sustain. The media is complicit in the current economic state. They don’t want income disparity to change — they benefit materially from keeping the current financial hegemony in place. But only in the proximate. And they don’t even realize that their overarching greed is what’s causing the very economic downturn we’re seeing, which will destroy their long-term returns utterly.

This is what grassroots looks like

10 thoughts on “This is what grassroots looks like

  1. 1

    First, let me introduce myself. I’ve been a Pharyngula regular for several years now. Professionally I’m an economist with a graduate degree and years of experience in the field.

    Here’s part of something I wrote over a year ago in a Pharyngula thread.

    Recently the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Goldman Sachs with securities fraud for creating and selling “a mortgage investment that was secretly intended to fail”–and then betting against its own customers. JPMorgan Chase which happily took taxpayer money in 2008 reported $3.3 billion in profits for the first quarter of 2010, a jump of 55% over the previous quarter. The bank set aside $9.3 billion in what’s called “compensation and benefits” for its employees in 2009.

    Even when they lose, they win. When JPMorgan Chase swallowed $880 million in losses, its management still managed to walk away with up to $10 million in compensation. JPMorgan’s bankers did just fine, despite having placed a ticking time bomb on their own bank’s balance sheet. Meanwhile, Robert Rubin, who helped create the world that led to the 2008 financial meltdown as Treasury Secretary under Clinton, took a top position at Citibank and made more than $100 million before it tanked on his watch. As economist Dean Baker put it, “In the fall of 2008, when Citigroup was saved from bankruptcy with a taxpayer bailout, Rubin quietly slipped out the back door (with his money), resigning from his position at Citigroup.” Only recently Rubin made the headlines for offering the least apologetic notpology imaginable for taking the American people to the cleaners.

  2. 2

    1 comment! How dissapointing! (not the qaulity(thanks to’Tis Himself), the quantity).
    I would have thought that this subject would be ripe for skeptical discussion, seperating fact from propaganda…but apathy reigns apparently. Is this not a suitable topic for discussion?


  3. 3

    Paul: I hope you’re not talking about separating fact from propaganda on my post proper. I do welcome you to demonstrate anything you’d like to try to say is propaganda about what I said, if so, though.

  4. 4

    Tis: I agree, the “too big to fail” meme essentially meant that people could use the banks as a means to grift the public of money in such a way that the government would be forced to cover their losses. In essence, the fraudsters who perpetrated this con have gotten away with directly stealing from the taxpaying public. And therefore, efforts to bring them to justice should be redoubled.

    Meanwhile, is the populist rhetoric of the Tea Party aimed at the grifters like Robert Rubin? No, it’s aimed at the government for propping up the institutions that would have scuttled their economic stabilisation plans before they begun.

  5. 5

    And they don’t even realize that their overarching greed is what’s causing the very economic downturn we’re seeing

    Are you kidding? Your sentence just before this one contains the reason why nothing is about to change:

    They don’t want income disparity to change — they benefit materially from keeping the current financial hegemony in place.

    The politicians we have in place are merely the political version of the Wall Street traders that are destroying the economy in order to shave off a living.

    Ayn Rand was wrong – parasites aren’t people who rely on taxing “the producers” to assist them, the real parasites are the ones who use shady banking and/or accounting practices to skim money off of the marketplace and into their own pockets. They don’t make anything of value, they just increase the prices of everything in order to make enough to retire by the age of 35.

  6. 6

    Oh, but Sinned, they only materially benefit until the crashing economy bursts their bubble too. If they were to be slightly less greedy in the proximate, they could make much more money long-term. That’s what they don’t realize.

    Hmm. Should I put that in the body?

  7. 7

    Sorry Jason, I meant nothing of the sort! On re-reading my post I realise it’s quite an ambiguous and inarticulate brain fart, so let me clarify.

    I can’t thank you enough for bringing this issue up, I feel passionately about it, please keep it up. I was merely expressing (badly) my disappointment with the lack of response your post was getting. I watched the livestream of the OWS march across Brooklyn Bridge and I was fucking outraged by what I witnessed; peaceful protesters being kettled and picked off one by one by the cops including little girls!

    I hope more of your colleagues at FTB keep attention on this issue from a skeptical and rational viewpoint because unfortunately there is a lot of nonsense out there on the fringes of the OWS movement and others that is distracting from the main issue of the behaviour of the banks and the morphing of democracy into democra$y. I’m talking about the Illuminati nonsense, the 911 conspiracy ‘truthers’, FEMA camps, and the ‘its all a Jewish conspiracy’ type fuckwits.

    So please keep the issue alive, we need more skeptics involved.
    Hope that clarifies. Keep up the good work.

  8. 8

    It’s the way Wall Street works these days, Jason: raid the company for incredible bonuses, and walk away when the company starts to fail with your $40M and five luxury houses. The mega-rich have created a parallel society where they barely even have to spend time in the street with the unwashed masses. They have their own limos, their own planes, their own gated communities, their own islands in paradise.

    If you can snap up 9/10ths of the pizza and lock yourself in your room before the rest of the party can even snag a single piece, why should you worry about sharing? You’re not going hungry, and you can slide a piece or two to the weightlifter to keep people away from your door.

    What do these people care if the world economy tanks for twenty years after they’ve taken enough to live the high life for the next fifty years?

  9. 10

    When I was in school for my MBA I got into several arguments with one of my professors when I said that once a company is established it should be concerned with its long term health. A decision that would help the company in the next couple of quarters but potentially bankrupt the company a few years later should be avoided. He looked at me like I was some kind of crazy man. He felt that anything further in the future than about a year is too far forward to worry about.

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