As more Americans begin to raise their Constitutionally protected speech in protest of the class warfare waged against them, all manner of freepers and wingers mount a heightened and extreme reaction. Perhaps none is so over-the-top (and despicable) as the ranting of Glenn Beck. By telling his minions the slanderous fiction that “They will come for you and they will drag you in the streets and kill you,” Beck clearly tries to incite his minions to violent reaction against fictitious threat.
Fortunately, progressive pundits are rebutting the mischaracterizations. Rachel Maddow is rightfully outraged by the media and wrong-wing mis-characterization of the protestors. Jon Stewart has been at his best as he has skewered the hysterical reaction by the hard-“right” to Occupy Wall Street (OWS). Perhaps not coincidentally, the show’s next-day reruns on Comedy Central throughout the day have disappeared. Is this Sumner Redstone’s revenge? (You either have to watch at 11 PM or DVR it.) Paul Krugman begin his recent column as follows:
“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. And this reaction tells you something important – namely, that the extremists threatening American values are what F.D.R. called “economic royalists,” not the people camping in Zuccotti Park.
Beck may be one of the most extreme rants, but he is hardly alone. Eric Can’t-or calls OWS a mob. Even a cursory investigation shows that statement to be false. Peter King has slung some inflammatory bull around himself. And everywhere at the cable station, which outright advertised and stoked the “armed and dangerous” TeaPublicans, talking heads and “reporters” mock, excoriate and suggest to their viewers strong reaction against OWS. The very Foxes who still pump up the inaptly named corporate-funded Tea Party have called OWS participants every name in the book. Already infiltrators have admitted that they have incited problems, as did the assistant editor of the American Spectator, famed for its extensive efforts to get Bill Clinton for something or other. Andrew Brietbart is on the scene and at the ready to roll with more of his carefully edited productions. The most benign of the criticisms suggest erroneously that the OWS protesters do not know what they stand for. But even that is a way to dismiss the protesters out of hand. The OWS critics would have viewers believe that there is neither justificaiton nor support for the protests.
OWS ought to (and does) have a following, given that the banks appropriated roughly $50,000 for every man woman and child in the country. Their enablers in TeaPublicans in Congress and wrong-wing pols have continued to savage the poor and middle class. They keep pitching schemes, reflecting the latest flavor of the week, for example, 9-9-9, to rob of Social Security (eliminating the payroll tax does that) and force the 99% to pay more taxes while the rich pay less. The schemers deny that we need to care when some of our fellow citizens are hurting because of either the Wall Street-induced economy or natural disasters. Did they think we would not react to that?
Dean Baker says it best:
Nowhere is this better seen than on Wall Street, which is chock full of multimillionaires and billionaires who got to the top by taking advantage of items like “too big to fail insurance” for their banks, gambling with government insured deposits, ripping off state and local governments on pension management fees and, of course, the trillion dollars in bailouts bucks given at interest rates that were way below market levels. These people know the role of government very well, even if they pretend this is all about a free market.
Just take one example of the despicable actions of Wall St. In the newest (October) issue of the AARPP Bulletin (p. 7) is an example of 70-year old couple being foreclosed upon because she paid their mortgage payment “too early.” The payment was due on Jan 1, 2011 and her payment was postmarked Dec 23, 2010. At this point you are probably asking, “Are you kidding me?” I wish I were. Bank of America told her the foreclosure could not be stopped, even though the couple was not in arrears at all, much less in default. Had their congressperson not intervened, the homeowners would have been evicted from her home. But members of congress aren’t numerous enough to rescue everyone who has been falsely accused of non-payment and foreclosed upon.
Nor would many congresspersons have sympathy for those who lost their homes due to layoffs and downsizing. Most of them won’t even support a law banning the discrimination against those who have lost their jobs, but have a solid employment history, experience, and qualifications for work. After thirty years of downsizings, corporations are cutting excellent workers too. And yet, currently few employers will hire those who actually need a job, preferring instead to raid other employers of their personnel.
The suggestion that we have no right to, or should not, respond is beneath contempt. After all, as Russ Feingold said today, the crimes by Wall St against the people are mounting up. The list of grievances is mind boggling. As Feingold has said, the movement is going to grow and make the Tea Party look like–a tea party.