Random Observations on Occupy Wall Street

Today I asked an ethnic Chinese who frequently watches and reads the Chinese news if she has ever heard of the Occupy Wall Street protests. She said yes – it’s all over the Chinese news. Then I asked her if she has ever heard of the Tea Party protests. She said no – never heard of them.

Interesting that the Chinese news media is happy to report on protests against bankers and the wealthy, yet avoids protests against the profligacy of the U.S. government. Wouldn’t the Chinese government want the Chinese people to know about the $15 trillion U.S. debt and associated fiscal woes? It would drive home how irresponsible the U.S. government is. I would think the Chinese would want to play that up to the maximum extent possible, and therefore plaster the media with news of the Tea Party protests. Yet for some reason, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Meanwhile, watching news reports of the OWS protests is fascinating. It reminds me of the Star Wars bar scene. True, it’s almost all white people. But of those white people, it is a motley crew indeed. One of my favorite scenes is the Atlanta group that went through such great extents not to give one protester an advantage over another, that the resulting rules and behaviors were otherworldly. They conducted weird deliberations for 10 minutes on whether to allow leftwing Congressman John Lewis to speak to them, and finally decided not to let him speak, because apparently he’s no more special than anyone else and therefore shouldn’t be granted any special speaking privileges. The audience had to repeat everything that the main facilitator said, so that everyone can participate. And rather than clapping which could drown out voices of the least-vocal among them, all were required to make hand signals whenever they wanted to show their approval. Here’s the clip.

And then of course there’s the some 31 percent of OWS protesters who would accept violence to get their way, like this guy at the Los Angeles protest. To be sure, a small minority of Tea Party protesters probably would accept violence as well, but probably far less than 31 percent. I was filled with revulsion when I saw a report awhile back about a radio show host named Joyce Kaufman at a Tea Party rally somewhere who said if ballots don’t work, then use bullets.

Of course it’s also revolting when actress/comedian Rosanne Barr says with a serious face, on Russia Today TV, that bankers who don’t do what she wants literally should be guillotined and others sent into reeducation concentration camps. At first you’d have thought she was deadpanning or doing parody, but usually when one deadpans one gives some sort of hint that one is deadpanning. But she never did, that I saw. And when I did a Google search as to whether she ever subsequently wanted clarify that she was just joking, I came up with nothing.

Scary stuff. After all, genocide and reeducation camps are what the Weather Underground spoke of when they were active in the 1960s and 1970s. Rosanne Barr probably has a lot of like-minded company these days.

Here’s something that’s priceless: Rosanne Barr wants to put a $100 million limit on how much wealth anyone can have. She actually said “wage”, as in yearly earnings, but she probably meant net worth. Reportedly, her net worth is valued at $80 million. So I guess she picked $100 million in order to give herself a $20 million buffer in case her own net worth should ever fluctuate upward.

 

Notable & Quotable

Patrick Lencioni, writing in Personal Excellence:

“…First, socialism just doesn’t work—at least not for long. Most people won’t keep working hard for the greater good if they don’t receive the fruits of that work. The free-loader effect is the tendency of people to do less work when they realize they won’t see more in return. Over time, socialist societies experience decreasing productivity, risk-taking, and innovation, along with increasing tax rates, government programs, and expectations. When the economy falters, those expectations can’t be met.

Unfortunately, by the time people realize this, it is often too late for them to try a different approach, since there are more people who expect benefits from the government than there are people who pay for them. And thus begins a descent to economic and motivational malaise. Ironically, the people who socialism is supposed to help—the poor—only grows because they are joined by more people who drop out of the shrinking middle class…”

Global Warming Alarmists’ True Motive?

The most outrageous story of the week: the cheers, applause, and ovations that Hugo Chavez received at the Copenhagen climate change conference, during his capitalism-bashing speech. On the surface it shows that global warming alarmists are ultimately motivated by a desire to overthrow or impede capitalism. In my mind it’s a huge blow to the global warming movement; is it possible that the movement is nothing more than a disguised attempt to squelch capitalism?

I say “on the surface,” because before reaching such a conclusion I’d have to find out the composition of the audience, and whether the cheers and applause came from all of the audience or just a vocal minority. If it was a general audience composed of the participating countries’ main delegates, and if most of them applauded, then we have reason to worry.

If on the other hand the audience was mainly composed of a minority of delegates from countries in Africa and other third world locales where radical leftism is par for the course, then there’s less reason to worry.

Unfortunately, the news report gave no indication of the composition of the audience. If you have any information on that, please contact me.