Occupy Wall Street: News Round-Up

image of a protester holding up a sign reading 'Lost My Job, Found an Occupation'

Here's some of what I've been reading this morning...

Paul Krugman—Panic of the Plutocrats:
It remains to be seen whether the Occupy Wall Street protests will change America's direction. Yet the protests have already elicited a remarkably hysterical reaction from Wall Street, the super-rich in general, and politicians and pundits who reliably serve the interests of the wealthiest hundredth of a percent.

...What's going on here? The answer, surely, is that Wall Street's Masters of the Universe realize, deep down, how morally indefensible their position is. They're not John Galt; they're not even Steve Jobs. They're people who got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that, far from delivering clear benefits to the American people, helped push us into a crisis whose aftereffects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens.

Yet they have paid no price. Their institutions were bailed out by taxpayers, with few strings attached. They continue to benefit from explicit and implicit federal guarantees—basically, they're still in a game of heads they win, tails taxpayers lose. And they benefit from tax loopholes that in many cases have people with multimillion-dollar incomes paying lower rates than middle-class families.

This special treatment can't bear close scrutiny—and therefore, as they see it, there must be no close scrutiny. Anyone who points out the obvious, no matter how calmly and moderately, must be demonized and driven from the stage.
Also see Echidne: "[The banksters] want the government money, the same-old lawlessness and to be left alone, too. ... The financial markets need proper regulation. That we are not getting it done tells me all I need to know who really is in power in this country."

New York Times Editors—Protesters Against Wall Street: "Extreme inequality is the hallmark of a dysfunctional economy, dominated by a financial sector that is driven as much by speculation, gouging and government backing as by productive investment. ... It is not the job of the protesters to draft legislation. That's the job of the nation's leaders, and if they had been doing it all along there might not be a need for these marches and rallies."

CNN—Arrest outside White House as lawmakers debate protests:
Politicians fought Sunday to cast the ongoing Wall Street protests in a very different light, with two GOP presidential candidates calling them "class warfare" and prominent Democrats expressing support for the protesters' message.

...[GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain] insisted the protests are "anti-American."

...Fellow GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich told CBS that he agrees with Cain that the protests are "a natural product of Obama's class warfare. ... We have had a strain of hostility to free enterprise. And frankly a strain of hostility to classic America starting in our academic institutions and spreading across this country. And I regard the Wall Street protest as a natural outcome of a bad education system, teaching them really dumb ideas."

Both Cain and Gingrich described the protests as "class warfare."

...[Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin] added that divisive rhetoric is "troubling. Sowing class envy and social unrest is not what we do in America."
(LULZ and more LULZ.)

LA TimesHerman Cain steps up attacks on Occupy Wall Street protests: "Republican presidential contender Herman Cain amplified his criticism Sunday of the growing Occupy Wall Street movement, calling the protesters 'jealous' Americans who 'play the victim card' and want to 'take somebody else's' Cadillac."

Blue Texan at FDL: "One of the best byproducts of the Occupy Wall Street protests is that they’ve made Republicans show their true colors. America is watching as they cast off the faux right-wing populism of the Teabaggers—which was always a pose—and unabashedly embrace the monied oligarchy."

Slavoj Zizek speaking at Liberty Plaza this weekend:
Let me tell you a wonderful old joke from communist times.

A guy was sent from East Germany to work in Siberia. He knew his mail would be read by censors. So he told his friends: Let's establish a code. If the letter you get from me is written in blue ink, it is true what I said. If it is written in red ink, it is false. After a month his friends get a first letter. Everything is in blue. It says, this letter: everything is wonderful here. Stores are full of good food. Movie theaters show good films from the West. Apartments are large and luxurious. The only thing you cannot buy is red ink.

This is how we live. We have all the freedoms we want. But what we are missing is red ink. The language to articulate our non-freedom. The way we are taught to speak about freedom war and terrorism and so on falsifies freedom. And this is what you are doing here: You are giving all of us red ink.

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