Tuesday, October 25, 2011

OWS: Smear, smear , smear

From the Confluence, an excellent report on the "OWS is anti-Semitic" smear...
The occupiers aren’t really into irrational hatred. But Fox News knows how to excite an audience. Hire a few. They don’t have to be ignorant anti-semitic bigots. They just need to play one on TV. Tell them to hang out by the information table. Better yet, send some really bizarre types with tattooed faces. Make them look menacing. Oh and while you’re at it, make little old ladies in NY City feel like the protestors are taking away the cops who keep them from being mugged on the street and killed in their beds.

How do I know conservative operatives are paying weirdos to show up at Occupy events? I don’t but I would if I were trying to discredit my enemy. The occupy events are open to the public, any public. You can walk right in there and set up shop and say whatever offensive thing you want even if it had nothing to do with economic injustice or the 99%. Are you kidding me? It’s the perfect rat-f%^&ing opportunity. I’d like to see them deny it. Over and over and over again.
Too many big names are pushing this smear. An entire organization devoted to this one smear popped up overnight. Breitbart is involved -- heavily. Of course it's a ratfucking operation.

Fortunately, even the Washington Post's Richard Cohen ain't buyin' this one...
This was my second visit to the Occupy Wall Street site and the second time my keen reporter’s eye has failed to detect even a hint of the anti-Semitism that had been trumpeted by certain right-wing Web sites and bloggers, most prominently Bill Kristol. He is a founder of the Emergency Committee for Israel, which has been running cable TV ads alleging a virtual hate rally at the Occupy Wall Street site and calling on President Obama and other important Democrats to denounce what is — as it happens — not happening there. The commercial ran on Fox News the very day I was at the site.
Kristol’s cri de wolf (a French term of my own invention) was taken up by Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post’s conservative blogger, who noted the Kristol group’s “eye-popping ad.” Citing an article from Israel Today that linked a single statement by someone named Patricia McAllister in Los Angeles with some vitriol on the American Nazi Party’s Web site and a reference to the editor of Adbusters, she fashioned a veritable pogrom out of pretty close to thin air and demanded, “Where is the outrage?” I have a better question: Where are the anti-Semites?
The bad guys are also using OWS as an opportunity to smear Elizabeth Warren. This tactic is particularly clever, since some lefties got angry at Warren for previously offering only tepid endorsement of OWS. (Allegedly.) You know the trick: Study, study the enemy and always look for an opportunity to create or expand divisions. From The Hill:
Elizabeth Warren said the Occupy Wall Street protests that have spread across the country are built on her ideas.

"I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do," the Massachusetts Senate candidate told The Daily Beast. "I support what they do."
Naturally, the right-wing bloggers are making much of this.
Maybe she meant to goad hordes of kids into Zuccotti Park with her now-notorious spiel. ”Nobody got rich in this country on his own — nobody!"
"Notorious"? Can one now become notorious in this country for saying that the sky is blue?

Here, Frank Rich and Adam Moss spew their views of how the OWS thing will end.
The Zuccotti Park encampment is frail and may well not last longer, as you say, but in a way, it's already achieved its purpose. And I, like you, walked over to the 9/11 memorial. It — and the whole ground zero site — seemed desolate and a bit eerie next to all the OWS activity so nearby, with only a few tourists venturing over from Zuccotti Park. And yes, there is a larger point. This was the week that Obama announced our final withdrawal from our endless, costly, self-destructive war in Iraq, but his "mission accomplished" barely registered among Americans. 9/11 and the wars it spawned are history. The class war is now.
Nope. They're related. The most obvious linkage is this: 9/11 made the ghastly Iraq war possible. That war is responsible for much of our deficit. If we weren't so deeply in debt, a jobs-creation bill would be easier to get through Congress.
But the tea party became a true force in American politics when we all saw their electoral consequences in the 2010 election. In your essay, you say, convincingly, that the class war won’t resolve in 2012 — the opponents will likely be two candidates of the elite facing off. But short of resolution, how do you imagine the “class war” will play out electorally? Is it ultimately to the benefit of Democrats or Republicans — or do all incumbents just get washed away, regardless of party?
If anti-incumbent fever were the likely result, then Fox News would not be smearing OWS. Alas, too many people on the left have locked themselves into the stance that Democrats have cooties, and that any involvement in electoral politics constitutes co-optation.

That's a profoundly wrong attitude, although I can understand why many liberals feel that way, given the manifest failures of Barack Obama. (Warned ya! Toldja so!)

Like it or not, electoral politics is how one attains power in a democracy. If OWS is to be an anti-democratic movement, count me out. If power is not the goal, then the protesters and their online supporters are just masturbating in public.

The solution is not to shun the Democrat party -- and yes, I know all about their rotten leadership. The solution is to take it over. A takeover is how you solve the problem of rotten leadership.

Frank Rich also has a column which is worth reading:
What’s as intriguing as Occupy Wall Street itself is that once again our Establishment, left, right, and center, did not see the wave coming or understand what it meant as it broke. Maybe it’s just human nature and the power of denial, or maybe it’s a stubborn strain of all-­American optimism, but at each aftershock since the fall of Lehman Brothers, those at the top have preferred not to see what they didn’t want to see.
This ties in with the central thesis of Barbara Ehrenreich's book Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America. Was the Wall Street mess was created by people who were not deliberately venal but wedded to impossibly rosy views of the consequences? The thought is appalling, but probably accurate -- at least to a large degree. I've seen this sort of thing happen on a smaller scale, in various workplaces.

Optimism kills, dudes and dudettes. Be thou like unto me: The glass is not half-full. The glass is not half-empty. Presume that any belief that the glass has a measurable amount of water in it must be based on an optical illusion. The glass may have, at most, just a few drops left in it and those drops are quickly evaporating and there is no other water anywhere in the world and so we are all going to die die die in horrifying pain and agony and then we are going to wake up in Hell because there is no heaven just HELL HELL HELL and everything you ever strove for or believed in has always been utterly pointless because we're all going to HELL.

That's the proper attitude, boys and girls!


prowlerzee said...

I'm here in Boston, Joseph and even on the front lines have no clue what to make of the use of Elizabeth Warren as a football in the tepid arms-length vs claiming inspiration for Occupy movement camps. I did run into an Alan Khazei (for Senate) crew and they said he'd been to the camp, not as a candidate but just to listen, and I have to admit, over two campaigns where I've been committed to voting for the women on principle of representation, I've liked him. I personally wish either he or Warren would challenge Zero in a primary run to benefit the national discourse alone.

As for the ridiculous charges of anti-Semitism, here at Occupy Boston there has been a visible Jewish contingent, and one of the poets organizing our Occupoetry series is Jewish, and we have two prominent Jewish women poets featuring and nary a hiss of discord over any of this here.

I admire your fairness despite your deep-seated disagreements with this uprising. It far exceeds the appalling pettiness I've witnessed elsewhere. And that is putting it mildly.

Joseph Cannon said...

I don't know if it is proper to call my disagreements deep-seated.

Look. The youngsters are diving headlong into this thing, convinced that their tactics have never been tried before, convinced that they are on the side of the angels, convinced that they are going to change the world.

And I am the grumpy middle-aged guy who has been around the block a few times, snarling at those kids: "Idiots! You may mean well, but you're going about this all wrong!"

The kids are doing their job. I am doing my job.

I just don't see a PROBLEM here!

Anonymous said...

I live in New York. I have seen plenty of Jewish OWS-ers. They came up to 96st to protest Israel actions in Gaza. I watched an old Jewish man asking them where where the protesters when Auschwitz was happening. I walked up to gently suggest that if there had been enough protesters before in Germany, there might not have been an Auschwitz. He didnt take it well, but hey.


Anonymous said...

The unfortunate thing is that OWS is not more anti-Semitic. Jews do run Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve, and the mass media, and our foreign policy, among much else. It's pretty easy to check on this kind of thing. Until we face up to the reality that the Jewish ethnic mafia runs everything in America, the situation is going to keep getting worse.

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking about this post for a little bit. Its not that optimism kills. Its that it postpones thought and analysis. Optimism is like faith. Properly applied it is an amazing thing. But it doesnt replace reason, or analysis or logic. It complements it. If you forget reason, and instead just mutter "things will work out somehow" - as my Bostonian wife tends to - then you are just stopping your eyes and ears and crossing your fingers. In my experience things dont work themselves out. If they did there would be no point trying to achieve anything.

The penalty for "stupid optimism" may well prove to be poverty, war, famine and pestilence. But worst of all, all of it could have been avoided.