Saturday, October 8, 2011


The corporate media have no idea what to do with the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations happening all over the country. They now call it the Tea Party of the left. They at first dismissed them as hippies trying to re-live the "be-ins" of the sixties. When that didn't work, they ignored the hundreds, and then thousands, gathered in lower Manhattan. Now, they criticize it as a ragtag movement without a message. It lacks cohesiveness. The regressive Hanbaugh wing of punditry attack their patriotism and the criticism reached its tipping point when Ann Coulter accused them of channeling Nazis.

In a recent piece, I asked if working Americans were willing to fight back against the class war that has been going on since at least 1980? 1% of Americans control almost 25% of the nation's wealth while the median income for American families has crumbled back to levels not seen since 1996. Perhaps the "Occupy Wall Street" protests could be the spark necessary for average, gum-chewing Americans to find their voice and demand a bigger piece of the economic pie.

The corporate media loved the tea partiers. Their message brought joy to front offices from Faux to CBS. The regressive partiers screamed for less government, less regulations, more corporate freedom and un-regulated capitalism. As AT&T tries to swallow up Verizon and monopolize cellular fewer media companies own more and more Facebook and Google eliminate privacy and insurance companies want to put electronic spies on our cars to watch us drive, the last thing any of them want is government regulators looking into their business practices. But, what do they do with angry Americans who want their voices heard? Voices calling attention to an economic system weighted to benefit the few at the expense of the many? What do commentators and anchors do about Americans who want to rein in corporations, end their domination of the political process and demand a change? CNBC and Faux Business Channel are apoplectic about this turn of events and what it could represent.

It is fascinating to see the intellectual bankruptcy of the media class as they confront this little, minor, dirt-poor and badly organized movement. They try to relate it to the Tea Party, but know how disingenuous they are. The Tea Partier's call for smaller government, less federal spending, rolling back environmental and financial regulations, is a call to return to the Gilded Age at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is regressive by definition. It harkens back to a time when the gap between the rich and poor was of Grand Canyon-like proportions. They long for a time when white men ruled with impunity. The "Occupy Wall Street" crowd demands jobs. It rails against the shrinking middle class, corporate bailouts, rapacious banks and the continued erosion of the American dream. It is no surprise folks like the Koch brothers, Bush brothers, Bass brothers and the Mellons and Scaifes have opened their wallets to fund the Tea Party. It is also predictable the OWS is run on a shoestring, and a frayed one at that.

The latest criticism is those wishing to occupy Wall Street have no message, no theme...they are just anarchists with no hook or tent pole for supporters to rally around. Though I doubt they need my help, perhaps a few possible poles seem ready for a very big tent.

Push Congress to pass the President's jobs bill. Put Americans to work refurbishing schools and public buildings, building roads and bridges and manufacturing a transportation system. End the Bush tax cuts and impose a 5% surtax on the richest 1% of Americans. Modify all home mortgages held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so principals are reduced and they represent no more than 25% of a family's monthly gross income. Stop any new trade agreements from passing. NAFTA has been a failure and GATT is a disaster. Even supporters of these new pacts admit they will help agriculture but cost jobs in the tech sector, textile industry and manufacturing.

More specifics?...Strengthen, rather than water down, financial regulations. If necessary, break up banks that are too big to fail. As corporate America sits on over $2 trillion in cash, and refuses to hire new workers, and since so much of that money is held overseas, tax it. For every American they hire they get a rebate. Make it easier for American workers to organize. It is no accident America's prosperous middle class rose at the same time union membership was at its highest levels. Get out of Afghanistan and Iraq now. Tell our NATO and other allies to put up...increase their defense budgets...or shut up because we are not going to do all the heavy lifting from now on. Make a college education free. Let middle class families send every child to college and without the burden of oppressive debt or massive borrowing.

Right now, it's a rigged game. Money is the mother's milk of politics and 1% of Americans own all the cows. The corporations and the rich will never surrender their power and unless politicians fear average Americans more than they want campaign cash, nothing will ever change. It isn't a coincidence one year after the passage of the Dodd/Frank financial reform bill only 45 out of 400 regulations have been written and those are watered down pabulum. It isn't luck when 3 trade agreements are set to move through Congress, bills that will cost Americans more jobs, but a jobs bill is dead on arrival. It isn't fate when corporations report record profits and the rich get richer while the middle class shrinks and an entire decade of income progress has been lost.

The Tea Party stands for regressing and returning to a time when robber barons and captains of industry stomped across the land. The nascent "Occupy Wall Street" movement could represent progressing towards the goal of a growing middle class and an economic system where there is the possibility of moving up and improving one's standard of living. The Tea Party has deep pockets. The OWS have no pockets at the moment.

As you watch and listen to the corporate media, see which side gets validation and which side is ridiculed and dismissed. If you stay on the sidelines of this war it will go exactly as it has for the last 30 years and many of you will end up as collateral damage. Right now, at least, someone is fighting back.