No astroturf here, nosireebob!


Why the Washington Establishment is Heeding Occupy Wall Street

The running critique of the Occupy Wall Street protests is that they have too many bongo drums and not enough message coherence. But that hasn’t stopped Washington’s elite–Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and President Barack Obama–from all hearing the same, singular message loud and clear.

“I think people are quite unhappy with the state of the economy and what’s happening,” Bernanke said at a Wednesday hearing on Capitol Hill. “They blame, with some justification, the problems in the financial sector for getting us into this mess, and they’re dissatisfied with the policy response here in Washington. And at some level, I can’t blame them.”

On Wednesday, the Atlantic‘s James Bennet asked Geithner if he sympathized with the protests. “I feel a lot of sympathy,” Geithner responded, “for what you might describe as a general sense among Americans [of] whether, you know, we’ve lost a sense of possibility. And whether after a pretty bad lost decade of interest income growth or fiscal responsibility or other things that like, followed by, you know, a devastating crisis, huge loss of public institutions, people do wonder whether we have the ability to do things that can help the average sense of opportunity in the country.”

On Thursday at the White House, President Obama was asked a similar question. “I think it expresses the frustrations that the American people feel that we had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across Main Street, and yet you’re still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into this problem in the first place,” Obama said.

After a follow up question, Obama went further. “You know, what I think is that the American people understand that not everybody’s been following the rules,” the President said. “That Wall Street is an example of that; that folks who are working hard every single day, getting up, going to the job, loyal to their companies, that that used to be the essence of the American dream. That’s how you got ahead, the old-fashioned way. And these days, a lot of folks who are doing the right thing aren’t rewarded and a lot of folks who aren’t doing the right thing are rewarded. And that’s going to express itself politically in 2012 and beyond until people feel like once again we’re getting back to some old- fashioned American values.”

Notice anything there? All three men, the very essence of the ruling political elite, are both embracing the basic thrust of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and, in their way, trying to channel it. They are not dismissing the crowds as a bunch of trust fund hippies and anarchists, or know-nothings deserving of disdain, as CNN’s Erin Burnett and several Fox News talking heads have done. They are saying this is a legitimate thing. That it makes sense. That it is part of what this country is right now.

There are political reasons for this embrace of populist sentiment, which is by no means limited to a few leaders in Washington. Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has climbed on board, and begun to offer unsolicited policy advice. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, praised the protesters after meeting with them outside New York’s City Hall Wednesday. The stakes are high. If the Occupy movement continues to grow, it could be a big asset in 2012 as a mobilizing force for Democrats, as Obama seemed to suggest at his press conference. Like the Tea Party was to Republicans, it would not be an arm of the Democratic party, but a popular grassroots swell shaping the debate.

But if anything, the organizers of the Occupy movement should be heartened by the latest outpouring of sympathy from establishment figures. The protesters, who can still be counted by the hundreds in most gatherings, have already shifted the national conversation. We are no longer talking about government spending and deficits. The focus is on income inequality and unpunished culpability of corporate elite for the last decade of dysfunction.

Much like the Tea Party movement, this is a testament to the American political system, which has done little to help its reputation in recent months. It is still possible for a few people, peacefully demonstrating, to get the attention of the entire country, to have their views heard and debated. Say what you will about the media elites or the entrenched powers in Washington, but they will still respond when people assemble in the streets.

A relatively small group of anonymous people with no clear issues or demands has managed in three weeks to grab Obama’s attention the way the entire progressive left has been unable to do in three years.

If you believe that I got a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the corporation that owns Zucotti Park just got a $135 million loan from the Obama DOE to open a wind farm. The company, Brookfield Asset Management, has some interesting connections to Mayor Bloomberg and the Obama administration.

But that information comes from a wingnut source so it must be all a pack of lies, just like Solyndra and Fast and Furious.

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30 Responses to No astroturf here, nosireebob!

  1. The Penguin says:

    I thought it was interesting that the protesters chose Zucotti park. It’s privately owned but open to the public. If they tried staying at a publicly owned park the cops would have chased them out weeks ago.

    • Mary says:

      It’s just stunning that the “organizers” didn’t realize they needed to provide the portable bathrooms in a private park, and encouraged the attendees to use the business potties in the area instead.

  2. HELENK says:

    what is the purpose of closing the Smithsonian? Nothing to do with Wall St

  3. imustprotest says:

    Well, it’s all about getting your subsidiaries lined up like ducks in a row.

  4. 1539days says:

    This whole thing stinks as much as the protestors. No one is being confronted. No policy is being addressed. This boils down to people congregating because they’re not happy. Guess what? No one is happy. Those 1 percenters aren’t happy, they just have money. We’ve already learned that poor people who win money can end up more miserable.

  5. Bill Clinton seems to be in sympathy with the basic message. Maybe because it’s, yanno, true? Like the Tea Party noticed when the bailouts went through? Like Hillary noticed when she called for bailing out the homeowners, not the mortgage speculators?

    [F]rom the end of the Second World War to about 1980, we had enough inequality to reward hard work and raw talent and creativity, and enough equality to build the world’s greatest middle class and allow poor people a reasonable chance to work their way into it.

    And the distribution was the bottom 90% had 65% of the income; the top 10% had 35% of the income; the top 1% had about 9% of the income.

    And those numbers have changed in the last 30 years. The 90% share has dropped from 65 to 52. The 10% share has gone from 35 to 48. The 1% share has gone from 9 to 21.

    That’s a breathtaking increase in inequality, and I don’t think it’s good for our long-term stability.

    • Mary says:

      Bill Clinton also said that he disagreed with raising any taxes right now……that it wouldn’t accomplish anything.

      • Mary says:

        Clinton prefers reforming the tax code, as in eliminating the many loopholes that allow reductions. Says you’ll get more revenue by doing so, rather than tax hikes.

        He’s right.

  6. ” All three men, the very essence of the ruling political elite, are both embracing the basic thrust of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and, in their way, trying to channel it.

    Astro-turfing? That’s Astro-squatting. The movement got some notice, so they’re trying to hijack it.

  7. myiq2xu says:

    More wingnut lies:

    Federal campaign records reveal a self-dealing relationship between a senior Democratic Connecticut congresswoman and her husband’s political consulting firm.

    In the last four congressional election cycles, the campaign committee for Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, Friends of Rosa DeLauro​, transferred $1.2 million to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which in the same period paid $1.9 million to Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research for polling and other services, according to Federal Election Commission​ (FEC) filings. Stanley B. Greenberg, founding partner of GQRR, is DeLauro’s husband of 33 years.

    • Mary says:

      I recall a time during the primaries when the “progressive” Obot Borg called any liberal blogger who analyzed Obama critically—including TC—-wingnut Republican rat fuckers.

      We all hated their namecalling then. Funny how the times change and people who discuss facts outside of the “accepted norm” are now called the same names the namecallers hated when it was them.

      TC’ers claim that WE are drinking the rat-fucking koolaid now.

      It’s so amusing watching them play games they used to hate. 🙂

  8. DeniseVB says:

    Adbusters, corporations corrupting our government ? Now we’re getting somewhere. Tea Party wants the gov to stop bailing out corps, OWS wants corps to stop giving them money. It’s a coin flip 😀

  9. yttik says:

    “But if anything, the organizers of the Occupy movement should be heartened by the latest outpouring of sympathy from establishment figures.”

    Uh, shouldn’t you be suspicious of an outpouring of sympathy from the establishment? Common sense should tell you that oppressors never celebrate your attempts to over throw them.

    “The protesters, who can still be counted by the hundreds in most gatherings, have already shifted the national conversation. We are no longer talking about government spending and deficits. The focus is on income inequality and unpunished culpability of corporate elite for the last decade of dysfunction.”

    Gee, our anger is no longer focused on the politicians who handed our tax money over to corporations and that’s a good thing? Our attention is now diverted to some other boogeyman, a metonymy we call “wall street.” So who benefits from the creation of this new boogeyman? I know, it’s a group of politicians who will now sell themselves as the answer to all our problems! Ironically the exact same group that created the problem in the first place.

      • yttik says:

        What was truly racist was MSNBC saying, “The people that he’s appealing to, the people that he needs to win over in order to win a primary, those people do not want to hear from a black man who’s aggressive, assertive, angry. They want to hear from a man who’s assimilated…”

        Not true at all. If Cain were to slug some media pundit in the nose on nat’l TV, I’d go out and caucus for him.

  10. Karma says:

    Lurker had stated earlier they had changed their site and access to the link provided. Found a way around it while waiting for the email.

    You can view the page if you use the “View by Ixquick Proxy” link.

    Hope this helps.

  11. Karma says:

    Occupy SF has been hauled away.

    Gee….I wonder what was different that would allow SFPD to pack up their protesters?

    The Occupy SF camp formed outside the Federal Reserve Bank a week ago Thursday. By Wednesday it had grown to about 50 people.

    At around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, police handed a notice to Occupy SF protesters that although the city and Police Department “celebrate and protect” free speech and the right to assemble, their encampment violated several city laws. They included a ban on having an open flame on a street or sidewalk, creating a public nuisance, disorderly conduct in lodging and serving food without a permit.

    Protesters began taking down tents and removing belongings, activists said Thursday, but also posted the police notice online. More than 100 supporters subsequently arrived at the encampment.

    At 12:45 a.m., Department of Public Works employees arrived in trucks and began removing campers’ possessions as police stood guard.

    “They took everything,” said one protester, who asked to be identified only as Leslie M. “They said if we showed an effort that we were removing our stuff and taking down our tents, it would be OK.”

  12. r u reddy says:

    Hopefully some of the OWSers take time out to read various things, especially some blogs which are following their activities. One blogpost they might read is Yves Smith’s On #Occupy Wallstreet and the danger of Elite Capture. The various elite leaderists who are expressing “sympathy” are in fact rewording that to which they are expressing “sympathy”. They hope to insert their own elite leaderist words into the OWSers’ brains and minds. Here is the link.

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