A Matter of Viewpoint

Day 20 Occupy Wall Street October 5 2011 Shank...

Occupy Wall Street, Day 20, by david_shankbone via Flickr

The Joplin Globe editorial page this morning presented a remarkable contrast of opinion regarding the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. The Globe printed a previous blog post by liberal blogger R. Duane Graham, a post in which he evaluated Republicans’ reactions. Herman Cain called the protesters “un-American” and “anti-capitalist”, and implied that the demonstrations were probably part of Obama’s re-election strategy. He also mentioned Rep. Eric Cantor’s concern about violence from the “mobs”. Significantly, his column was titled (by the Globe), “Unfocused protest . . . “, appropriate because the demonstrations appear to have no single objective or leadership, but rather are spontaneous.

In contrast to Graham’s column there was one by political columnist and former Fox News host, Rachel Marsden. She had nothing but contempt for the OWS crowd and chose to compare their “whining” as a plea for government to do for them what she feels they should do for themselves, that is, stop causing trouble and be self-sufficient, like, well, like she was.

Marsden says she has a consulting business which offered jobs to some of her “whining” friends, only to have them spurn the offer. The details are a little vague. She presents herself as an exemplar of the conduct the demonstrators should emulate, having started out living in a cramped NYC apartment with three others and sharing bathroom facilities. She now extolls her own success in running her own consulting business.

I see truth in both of these contrasting views. The OWS crowd is indeed unfocused and leaderless, and the GOP is virtually unanimous in blaming them for their own failures. Many young people today, raised in a permissive culture, have indeed fled back to their parents’ or grandparents’ homes rather than toughing it out on their own. On the other hand, some in the crowd have been out of work for more than a year and are now being spurned for a job exactly for that reason. It’s easy for me to imagine how I would feel if I were in that situation and read Marsden’s column. Her picture is on her column – she is a remarkably pretty woman. I would be asking myself, what right does she have to condemn us when she started out before the Great Recession, when she was obviously, and unlike most people, born both intelligent and good looking? Who paid for her education? Who paid for her healthcare and upbringing? Does she really think she did it all on her own?

Graham, to his credit, did offer an historical perspective to the problem by recalling a student uprising in the mid-1930’s during the Great Depression, an uprising in which demonstrators questioned capitalism and embraced isolationism as national policy. But I would like to submit a further example. The Bonus Army event also occurred during the Great Depression and it bears similarities. With unemployment probably double what it is now, some 43,000 marchers, including 17,000 WW I out-of-work veterans and their families descended on Washington, D.C. in 1932 to plead for advance payment of promised “bonuses”, otherwise scheduled to be paid in 1945. They were peaceful but stubborn, encamping in a ramshackle “Hooverville” near the Capital that proved an embarrassment to the Hoover administration.

There is a good Wikipedia page about the incident, so I won’t go too much into the details, but will provide a summary.  The administration sent the U.S. Army in to evict the demonstrators. Armed troops, supported by six tanks, rousted the rag-tag lot of them and burned their Hooverville shacks to the ground. The effects are described by Wikipedia this way:

After the cavalry charged, the infantry, with fixed bayonets and adamsite gas, an arsenical vomiting agent, entered the camps, evicting veterans, families, and camp followers. The veterans fled across the Anacostia River to their largest camp and President Hoover ordered the assault stopped. However Gen. MacArthur, feeling the Bonus March was a Communist attempt to overthrow the U.S. government, ignored the President and ordered a new attack. Fifty-five veterans were injured and 135 arrested.[9] A veteran’s wife miscarried. When 12-week-old Bernard Myers died in the hospital after being caught in the tear gas attack, a government investigation reported he died of enteritis, while a hospital spokesman said the tear gas “didn’t do it any good.”

How is the Bonus Army event similar to the OWS demonstrations?

Shacks, put up by the Bonus Army on the Anacos...

Bonus Army shacks burn, via Wikipedia

  • It occurred because of discontent with hard economic conditions and intractable high unemployment.
  • It involved peaceful but determined demonstrators.
  • It involved a mix of complainants, less than half being veterans.
  • It was viewed with fear and contempt by a conservative political administration which questioned their patriotism.
  • An atmosphere of political paranoia about marchers’ motives, with particular mention of communism.
  • The two political parties had very different opinions about the nature of the demonstrators and how to deal with them.

What was the resolution of the Bonus Army problem? In short, the incident proved a serious public-relations blow to Herbert Hoover’s re-election chances and he was soundly defeated by FDR. Interestingly, FDR also opposed paying the bonuses early, but he did send wife Eleanor to pay a sympathetic visit to their secondary camp and offered work in the Civilian Conservation Corps. A Democrat Congress ended up paying the bonuses early after all, in 1936, by over-riding an FDR veto.

I think history can raise complex questions about apparently simple serious problems, and I think this is one of them. What do you think?

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About Jim Wheeler

U. S. Naval Academy, BS, Engineering, 1959; Naval line officer and submariner, 1959 -1981, Commander, USN; The George Washington U., MSA, Management Eng.; Aerospace Engineer, 1981-1999; Resident Gadfly, 1999 - present. Political affiliation: Independent, tending progressive as the GOP recedes from its Eisenhower roots.
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16 Responses to A Matter of Viewpoint

  1. John Erickson says:

    I agree that the OWS “forces” need to have some sort of agenda, even if it would be just a list of overall interests (raise the tax on high-income individuals, limit Wall Street bonuses, etc.). But I have both read and seen far less vitriolic campaigning out of them then I have in the past from the Tea Party. (I will grant that a significant section of the Tea Party are avid pro-gun supporters, while OWS supporters tend to come from more liberal and thus anti-gun constituents.) The only truly “violent” act I’ve heard or seen was some protesters did stray onto the grounds of the National Air and Space Museum, but left without violence or damage- otherwise their rhetoric seems mostly limited to economic points. In contrast, I’ve both heard and read reports from various Tea Party gatherings where guns have been brandished and language has contained violent phrases. The NYPD has also been rather heavy-handed in their dealings with the OWS groups, raising the possibility of repeats of the recent London riots.
    I would like to see some form of leadership for the OWS crowds, some “point group” which could present a list of coherent demands or points of protest. I would also call for patience from the NYPD. I realise business must go on, and people need to move around Manhattan, and for that, I’d also like to see the OWS limit their interference with people trying to get to their jobs. A little friendliness and calm will go a long way towards turning these protests into something productive, rather than just more partisan politics.

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    • Jim Wheeler says:

      @ John,

      As I told Pied Type tonight on the same subject,

      I’m thinking this is just the tip of the iceberg. Just wait until unemployment benefits stop, and the full withholding taxes are restored, and the economy goes down several more notches at the same time. All that starts January 1, 2012. “Fasten your seat belt”, as Bette Davis said (almost) in a movie. “It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

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  2. PiedType says:

    The Bonus March provides a little more perspective on movements like OWS, and it’s not at all reassuring to read that the government initiated the violence back then. (Thanks for bringing that to my attention.) The GOP may not be so far off in referring to “mobs” when there are no apparent leaders, no one assuming leadership, and so many different groups (and motives) in play. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the New York winter will cool off the situation.

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  3. ansonburlingame says:

    Jim,

    As you know (because I provided a CC to you) I gave Duane a private, email critique of his column. In that email I congratulated Carol as well for posting the Masden column on the same page. Both were reactions to the OWS protests. One can be very “American-like” in arguing for or against a protest. I say no more publicly on Duane’s column at least for now though of course I disagreed with it fairly strongly.

    Now let’s turn to the Globe editorial which you mentioned. The Globe took on Cain for saying the protestors were UnAmerican. I disagree with such a comment by Cain taken ONE WAY but agree with it from another perspective. I think I know what Cain was trying to say, but for sure the sound bit “came out” wrong.

    No protest, at least legal ones, are UnAmerican or anti-American. A protest is a matter of free speech which is as American as you can get.

    BUT, what is said (or written on signs or done “in the streets”) BY or IN a protest can in fact be very anti or un-American. For example, it is very “American” to support capitalism and oppose socialism or communism. When protestors go to the extreme of calling for the abolishment of capitalism then such calls to me are “unAmerican” at least to some degree.

    Duane does not call for abolishing capitalism. He just wants to give it some “lifesaving treatment”. It is very “American” to say such a thing for sure. BUT when his suggested “treatment” tends toward socialist-like solutions then I can be very “American” in opposing such solutions. And I don’t have to call him a “socialist” in my remarks to make my point as well. Thus we can have a good debate on market driven or government driven solutions to problems we both agree exist.

    Now try to promote some market driven solutions to OWS. Look what I get called just in the EC blogs when I do so, not from Duane, but…..

    I believe the problems seen by OWS are real problems and solutions are needed. Thus we are both American if you will in expressing our concerns for those problems, loudly but legally.

    But I reserve the right to also say that the solutions proposed by OWS or even you and Duane are NOT traditional American solutions. Of cousre that is my reaction to your repeated calls for single pay HC. A government monopoly is NOT a typical American style approach to resolving a big problem. We normally try market solutions. Government “price fixing” is in fact usually “unAmerican” but such price fixing is typically a socialist or communist solution, at least in my view.

    You are not UnAmerican to propose solutions. BUT, your solutions may well be “not typical American solutions” as well, in my view. So, no, I don”t call YOU unAmerican, but I reserve the right to call your proposal unAmerican-like.

    I also suggest that I have the “right” to call you a GD communist just like OWS or you can call me a dumb, stupid, arrogant and very greedy capitalist. We can call each other names all we like. That is “American” in allowing such name calling (but NOT firebombing). I don’t LIKE such name calling and try to stay away for such extremes but again the right to use such names is “American” and Cain believes that as well I suspecdt.

    So do you and Duane and I all seem to agree on that simple point. It is “American” to say almost anything. But what you say may in the views of some be UnAmerican as well. But in this case taht simple point needs to be repeated it seems.

    Anson

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    • Jim Wheeler says:

      @ Anson,

      On my first reading of your comment I felt that you were questioning my patriotism, so I let it simmer for a while and now that I have cooled down, I have read it again and I’m still not sure. Perhaps this was the nugget of it, when you said,

      You are not UnAmerican to propose solutions. BUT, your solutions may well be “not typical American solutions” as well, in my view. So, no, I don”t call YOU unAmerican, but I reserve the right to call your proposal unAmerican-like.

      I also suggest that I have the “right” to call you a GD communist just like OWS or you can call me a dumb, stupid, arrogant and very greedy capitalist. We can call each other names all we like.

      You must know by now that I have over the past year and a half done what I could to avoid name-calling and other non-reasoning methods of disagreement, so I am disappointed that you want to assert your “right” to use such terminology. Nevertheless, that is what I increasingly see in your and Geoff’s comments, and if that continues to be the case, I will do what I can to avoid it. I will approve comments on my posts if I believe they have material worthy of discussion, but not if they are primarily mere baiting and name-calling. This is not because I don’t wish to defend my views but because I believe it to be counterproductive. I admit that I have in the past used terms like “Don Quixote” for you, but I did so believing they would be taken as light-hearted ribbing. I will refrain from anything like that in the future because it is apparent that our arguments have gotten too serious for such things.

      Now, about the American and un-American issue. If you wish to call my reluctant choice of a single-payer healthcare system “un-American”, then do you choose to apply that adjective equally to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? Because, you see, those are no less socialized as programs than would be a single-payer system, or some hybrid version of such. America has more than a toe in such waters, we have both feet.

      I find it interesting that you seem to think (from the quote above) that OWS has a communist identity. That’s the same thing Herbert Hoover and Douglas MacArthur thought about the Bonus Army.

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  4. Jim Wheeler says:

    For readers of this post, I post this notice of an editing addition. Thanks to Mr. Don Ray of Joplin, writing in today’s Globe as a guest columnist, I have added one bullet item to the list of how the OWS demonstrations are similar to the Bonus Army’s:

    An atmosphere of political paranoia about marchers’ motives, with particular mention of communism.

    Mr. Ray’s full column is at this link:

    http://www.joplinglobe.com/editorial/x744032475/Don-Ray-guest-columnist-Leftists-may-have-just-begun-to-stir-up-trouble

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  5. ansonburlingame says:

    Jim,

    Ignore me, bann me, do as you choose. But to suggest that I was attacking you patriotism is so naive and defensive I am simply astounded. I was NOT attacking your patriotims and you should damn well know that.

    But I have been arguing over single pay HC with you for a long time and it is NOT a TYPICAL American response to a tough problem, in my view. It is a European response or a Canadian response. That does not make you unpatriotic to propose such a solution. Do so all you like.

    But i, for one do not like that proposal and do not consider it is the best intersts of America. Now something that is not in the best interests of America is “un” or not “American-like”

    I also know full well that you and the EC do not want to abolish capitalism. But some jerks on OWS are doing exactly that, calling for the abolishment of capitalism in signs and speech. That to me is unAmerican as a solution to a big problem.

    34% of the OWS crowd was recently polled to say that America is not better than Al Qaeda. THAT is an unAmerican view as well, in my very humble opinion state emphtically.

    I also note that you have not commented on my honest attempt to UNDERSTAND the motivations of the OWS crowd (not yet a mob) in FEAR, posted yesterday. I am sure you might take offense at such attempts, not satire, to understand what the hell those people are trying to say but not saying with much clarity. I can make a very long list of what they oppose but have little idea what they propose to achieve that is POStIVE for the country.

    They seem to be so angry (or high) that they are incoherent, at least to me. I did however get one point in a clip last night when some speaker was calling for a Reign of Terror akin to what happened in the French Revolution. Now how AMERICAN is that suggestion. And for all the crap I have been seeing in the crowd on TV, not just Fox TV, then I continue to believe that I want no part of the America that they seem to want to have.

    Anson

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    • Jim Wheeler says:

      I am glad to hear you think that making un-American proposals, as you define them, does not make me un-American, although that frankly sounds like double-think to me. But I will take you at your word that you can actually think that way.

      You are expressing a great deal of righteous indignation in your comments about the OWS groups. You said,

      34% of the OWS crowd was recently polled to say that America is not better than Al Qaeda.

      Please pardon me if I am doubtful about that, but if it’s true, I would appreciate a reference (preferably one other than Fox News).

      As for some of the outlandish signs, I don’t doubt for a minute that there are many that are nonsensical or even un-American. I see OWS as a public expression of political and economic frustration by a crowd that has yet to find focus and leadership, nothing more and nothing less. If you are determined to be incensed by whatever sign you might see and attribute that to the entire group, as if they had focus, then I recommend the link below so you can refresh your memory about the behavior of another grass-roots movement. Take a look and then tell me if most of those signs truly represent the Tea Party. (You may consider this my answer to your Fear post.)

      PS- If the long link below doesn’t work for some reason, simply google “tea party rallies signs”.

      http://www.google.com/search?q=tea+party+rallies+signs&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=VF2XTv3UA-L7sQLvqamzBA&ved=0CDgQsAQ&biw=1329&bih=918#q=tea+party+rallies+signs&hl=en&client=safari&sa=X&rls=en&tbm=isch&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=96bb95d7beed320b&biw=917&bih=918

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  6. ansonburlingame says:

    Jim,

    Once upon a time Duane and I wound up at a local Tea Party rally at the same time. I blogged on my views and he did so as well. We of course saw the protest from two different perspectives and used signs, actions, etc. to make our individual points for our personal summaries of the nature and tone of the protest. That is very American-like, to see the same thing and come away with different political impressions or even convictions.

    One man attended armed with with a sidearm in clear view, nothing else other than simply wearing a sidearm or pistol in a holster. I asked him why he did so. He said merely to express his support for the 2nd Amerndment and the right to bear arms.

    One sign was racist and called Obama a Nazi. I pointed out the sign to John Putnam, the organizer of the rally/protest and he asked the sign carrier to move his sign to a more distant parking lot or take it down. The carrier refused to do so. End of argument but Duane of course used the sign in his blog. He missed the guy carrying the handgun. But he did get a quick video interview of Ozark Billy and published that as well, as an example of…….?

    The racist, Nazi calling sign was carried by an American, a white, redneck type Amerincan. The gun totter was also carried by a white American but one whose tone and conduct was polite and non-confrontational, at least as non-confrontational as simply carrying a legal side arm might be in a public event.

    However, I would suggest, at least from my point of view, that the sentiments expressed in the sign did not represent typical American views today and thus the expression or message portrayed by the sign was UnAmerican as was carrying a handgun to a public protest UnAmerican-like in general today. It is no longer the wild west though some may wish it was today.

    As for the statistics, it was REPORTED (on Fox, but by Gretchen first and subsequently by O’Reilly the following night) as an “independent” survey from a questionaire circulated to 100 individual protestors, supposedly at random, by some unknown “surveyor or pollster”. Biased survey, maybe. But the results were reported clearly on a “News” network. Frankly, the results are not surprising to me given the nature and tone in that crowd. And I know for sure you would have to look very hard to find such a survey result in a Tea Party rally.

    Could you find 34 out of 100 people at a Tea Party rally expressing crazy views, decidedly UnAmerican to some, crazy views? Sure you could and some signs to back them up as well. Duane did it here in Joplin to some degree as shown above and he was accruate in what he “reported”.

    It is the “taking a step back” from the details within any protest that is my point. What is the “basic” messge of essentially any Tea Party rally or protest as opposed to the “basic” message of a single OWS rally or protest. You and Duane will come away with one “basic” summary and Duane expressed it in his column.

    I could write a rebuttal column but chose to respond in a private email instead. No sense having “battling columns” in the Globe between Duane and me. We do so in blogs all the time and Carol usually does a good job, as she did earlier with Duane’s column in publishing counter arguments in the Globe. Read Sowell’s column today in the Globe and “supter” all you like.

    Then read Lyon’s column on the same page and watch me “supter” as well.

    That again is very American to read opposing views and supter all we like, politely or impolitely being beside the point as long as the “suptering” is legal.

    Anson

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    • Jim Wheeler says:

      In my opinion, Anson, a poll by an anonymous person of 100 people is worthless. And for a national news organization to report its results as meaningful should tell you a lot about that organization’s lack of probity.

      BTW, I believe you are making the same mistake that Geoff did by accusing me of supporting the views of individuals or groups in the OWS movement. What I support is their right to demonstrate and speak out within existing laws, and what I recognize is a general discontent with politics and the economy that is motivating these thousands of people who have yet to find leadership and focus. What I do not see is any evidence of some Communist or anarchist plot in it all, nor any intent for violence on the part of the majority. But as I told Pied, unless the current political gridlock in Congress eases, economic conditions are likely to worsen greatly starting next January and we may indeed start to see acts of violence.

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  7. Jim,
    The 34% IS true, sorry if that bursts the bubble of feel good surrounding the OWS.
    How many arrests at OWS events vs the Tea Party?
    How many private properties encroached upon by the OWS vs the Tea Party?
    How many anti-Semite hate speech recordings coming from the Tea Party?
    How much trash and filth of the OWS vs the Tea Party picking up after themselves?
    How many videos of ANYONE from a Tea Party rally, defecating on a police car?
    How many issues of public sex and drug use at a Tea Party rally?
    How many issues of the crowd actually doing a “count down” before charging the police line at a Tea Party.
    How many paid protesters brought in by the Working Families Party and unions at Tea Party rallies?

    Which group stays within the laws, does not occupy private property, and works through the political process to advance it’s goals? (November, 2010 ring any bells?)

    The rules of political correctness may not allow identifying the OWS bunch for what they are but the First Amendment most certainly does.

    Protesting and addressing the government is most certainly American as it gets, but Anson is absolutely correct in his analysis. Ignoring the rule of law and espousing socialism for the United States is anything BUT American. In fact, the majority in this country call it down right UN-American.

    Now feel free to ban or censor as you wish. But before you do one last question:
    Which activity below is American and un-American?
    Allowing a complete unfettered free flow of information and commentary without regard to personal bias or banning and filtering commentary so as to allow only that which is deemed “appropriate”.
    You might want to read the comment thread over at Anson’s http://ansonburlingame.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/cain-will-not-be-our-president/#comment-2603

    While you and Dwain may feel in your own minds you are the arbiters of civility and truth, the facts are there are many in this country who feel differently.

    And agree or disagree with me, Anson, Nonny or others, the one thing you shall never see on CaldwellsCorner.com is censorship.

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    I hope by the time you and Dwain are done deeming just what is and what isn’t “acceptable” to you, there is still someone left to speak out for you.

    Like

    • Jim Wheeler says:

      I really don’t like trading insults and belittling comments, but for the benefit of other readers I will respond this time in order to make my reasoning clear.

      The only thing I find offensive in your comment here, Geoff, is your deliberate misspelling of Duane Graham’s name, a consistent practice you use to express your personal disdain for someone who has opinions different from yours. In your other commentary you consistently sink to the level of schoolyard banter, and in my opinion has about as much value as such. Given the level of such rhetoric I can not imagine you “speaking out” for any liberal, much less Duane Graham whom you belittle in childish terms at every opportunity. In my opinion this kind of behavior is inappropriate even in high school, much less in forums for adult conversations. However, I know there are many blogs that consist primarily of mud-slinging gibes against opponents and feel-good schmoozing among like minds. I don’t see the value in it.

      Speaking of Anson, I am subscribed to his posts and have read the one you mention. I would say that over time he and I have agreed probably more than disagreed, despite contentious wrangling over details and small points. Until recently anyway. Even now, as you can see by his comments on this post, he is able to take a sensible position and argue without personal denigration. You on the other hand are simply setting up straw man arguments. For example, censorship. So far, I haven’t yet banned or censored anyone in my blog, except for one that was primarily profanity and obscenity. WordPress affords the ability to do that for good reason and I accordingly expressed my intent to do it for comments that have a low ratio of substance to mud-slinging. My tolerance for that is pretty high, but perhaps someone will achieve it.

      Another straw man argument you set up is your list of outrageous conduct you cite for the OWS movement, all in the context that I must be a supporter of OWS. But so far, the OWS has no focused objectives or leadership, so how could I? Now I do support the right of people to express their right to assemble and speak out, just as Anson does in his comment. I do not condone the breaking of laws regarding sanitation and public order, although your comment implies that I do. Anson recognizes that excesses, at least in terms of rhetoric, have likely occurred at both kinds of rallies, but that doesn’t mean that all participants should be painted with the same brush. Yet you imply just that. If you look at the pictures I linked of Tea Party signs you will see many excesses there also, yet you choose to see the Tea Party as all virtue.

      You accuse me of being on a pedestal for trying to take moderate positions. You even called me “the worst of the worst” for doing so. Apparently your disdain of people who don’t agree with you is so intense that you can’t imagine compromise in any form. In that, I believe your attitude reflects the Congressional gridlock that is threatening confidence in our form of government, both at home and abroad. Your own pedestal is higher than mine, Geoff. Your view comes across as “my way or the highway”. However, my reading of U.S. history is that political compromise has been a primary strength of our form of government.

      You berate me at length in your comment for censorship as though I were some kind of subversive, as though I were against the First Amendment. Yet, if you look through my blogs over the last year and a half you will see that I’m a strong supporter of the Constitution and the bill of rights. You have in the past questioned my character and my leadership abilities, even though you don’t know me personally, and you have done this without revealing your own military past, whatever that might be. I find that contemptuous.

      People who extol their own patriotism, who wrap themselves in the flag at every opportunity, who place themselves on the highest levels of values, who exhibit no hint of humility, often have feet of clay in my experience. One example that comes to mind was Nixon’s VP, Spiro Agnew. But, maybe I’m wrong to apply that to you. Maybe you are the exemplar of political wisdom and wholesome virtue your rhetoric implies.

      Go ahead, comment all you like on my posts, but I do choose to make a special rule just for you. Knock off the childish personal attacks on people like misspelling Duane Graham’s name.

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  8. ansonburlingame says:

    Jim,

    I leave the disagreements between you and Geoff to you and Geoff. I do watch however to see if screening, censorship, banning or other attempts to silence political discourse come to fruition, either wary.

    As you well know I am usually the “odd (very odd to some) man out” on Duane’s blog. That is fine with me and I can take the name calling, etc that comes with such postions. Sometimes, “over there” I will also respond in kind as well, “over there” or in my own blog.

    Nonny, an articulate writer recently referred to “them” (in a comment on my blog) as “mind numbing hacks” or something like that. For sure I will not censor or screen such a view. In fact such expression is far more polite that some of the names that I have been called and I don’t expect Duane to screen or ban them either.

    As for OWS, NO ONE that I know of has suggested “banning” such a protest, rally or even mob, depending on how anyone wants to define such “events’. OWS has all the American, even “God given” rights possible to protest, legally all they like.

    But anyone as well can agree of disagree with the details of what they say or do, defacate on a car or otherwise. I also assume such is illegal in NYC, but so what, I suppose unless it turns into a really “shitty” protest, rally or mob, exact definition not withstanding.

    As George Will said with great humor and clarity in today’s Globe, let’r rip in NYC, keep it legal and THEN, LET’S VOTE!!!! Wonder how that vote will turn out???? He, just as I have now tried to do, drew some interesting parallels between “leftist” demonstartion in the 60’s to political outcomes nationally for the following 20 years or so, like 4 out of 5 such outcome that were “anti-demostrations” against the “leftists” (or whatever other term you choose to call them back then or today.

    anson

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    • Jim Wheeler says:

      Anson,

      My concern with Geoff is not the occasional profane or scatological utterance, but the personal, belittling deprecation and name-calling that he routinely employs. I feel that behavior makes differences of opinion personal and gets in the way of reasoned discourse, and I personally find it disgusting. And of course if two parties are at extremes of opinion on something before even beginning a conversation, then I see no reason to begin it, and calling your correspondent a “mind numbing hack” would probably indicate to me that such is the case, depending on the context of course. To elaborate, when one party clearly expresses a generalized contempt for the other person or a known position of the other person’s, such as “all you conservatives” or “all you liberals”, then I feel the comment may be unworthy of posting. Again, I consider it a matter of judgement, depending on whether any knowledge, references or facts are raised that have some potential beyond mud-slinging. I would like to point out that I haven’t unapproved anyone yet that wasn’t pure spam. But maybe I’m evolving – I’m still relatively new to blogging.

      I am still subscribed to your blog and noted your latest post. I assure you it’s nothing personal, but I decided not to comment on it for several reasons. One, it appears to be a broad paean to capitalism over socialism or communism, so in a sense it seemed like a scattershot of straw man arguments to me. Secondly, you and I have traded enough views about economics over the last year and a half to know each other’s positions pretty well already. If I see something in one of your posts that I think I can contribute some understanding to, I’ill comment.

      As for OWS, I don’t see them as a movement analogous to the Tea Party, I see them as a symptom, a symptom of frustration with the present historic gulf between rich and poor, coupled with anger over unemployment, excessive Wall Street risk-taking and the mortgage debacle. And speaking of the latter, I personally am still puzzled why most executives who have been convicted of felony behavior in that haven’t seemed to have been ordered to pay restitution.

      A movement needs focus and leadership, IMO. The Tea Party coalesced into a movement after a similar unorganized start, as you can see by the sign pictures I sent you, but I’m not convinced its present focus and leadership represents the true sentiments of those who elected them. I’m thinking the electorate that did that just might have been motivated by a similar discontent over debt, but did not intend for the elected to go to Congress and damage the creditworthiness of the U.S. government and cripple its ability to recover from the GR that began in 2007. I guess we will have to wait a year and a half to find that out. Whether OWS will evolve like the Tea Party did is still an unknown for sure, but if no action is takes to extend unemployment benefits and the withholding cuts at the end of the year, which is what seems likely, then I would expect that to reinforce motivations for the OWS phenomenon to continue.

      Like

    • Jim Wheeler says:

      Anson,

      My concern with Geoff is not the occasional profane or scatological utterance, but the personal, belittling deprecation and name-calling that he routinely employs. I feel that behavior makes differences of opinion personal and gets in the way of reasoned discourse, and I personally find it disgusting. And of course if two parties are at extremes of opinion on something before even beginning a conversation, then I see no reason to begin it, and calling your correspondent a “mind numbing hack” would probably indicate to me that such is the case, depending on the context of course. To elaborate, when one party clearly expresses a generalized contempt for the other person or a known position of the other person’s, such as “all you conservatives” or “all you liberals”, then I feel the comment may be unworthy of posting. Again, I consider it a matter of judgement, depending on whether any knowledge, references or facts are raised that have some potential beyond mud-slinging. I would like to point out that I haven’t unapproved anyone yet that wasn’t pure spam. But maybe I’m evolving – I’m still relatively new to blogging.

      I am still subscribed to your blog and noted your latest post. I assure you it’s nothing personal, but I decided not to comment on it for several reasons. One, it appears to be a broad paean to capitalism over socialism or communism, so in a sense it seemed like a scattershot of straw man arguments to me. Secondly, you and I have traded enough views about economics over the last year and a half to know each other’s positions pretty well already. If I see something in one of your posts that I think I can contribute some understanding to, I’ill comment.

      As for OWS, I don’t see them as a movement analogous to the Tea Party, I see them as a symptom, a symptom of frustration with the present historic gulf between rich and poor, coupled with anger over unemployment, excessive Wall Street risk-taking and the mortgage debacle. And speaking of the latter, I personally am still puzzled why most executives who have been convicted of felony behavior in that haven’t seemed to have been ordered to pay restitution.

      A movement needs focus and leadership, IMO. The Tea Party coalesced into a movement after a similar unorganized start, as you can see by the sign pictures I sent you, but I’m not convinced its present focus and leadership represents the true sentiments of those who elected them. I’m thinking the electorate that did that just might have been motivated by a similar discontent over debt, but did not intend for the elected to go to Congress and damage the creditworthiness of the U.S. government and cripple its ability to recover from the GR that began in 2007. I guess we will have to wait a year and a half to find that out. Whether OWS will evolve like the Tea Party did is still an unknown for sure, but if no action is takes to extend unemployment benefits and the withholding cuts at the end of the year, which is what seems likely, then I would expect that to reinforce motivations for the OWS phenomenon to continue.

      Like

  9. ansonburlingame says:

    Looks like you posted the same thing twice so I assume you are REALLY serious!. That is a joke!

    Yep OWS is a symptom of a problem that I agree exists, rich are getting richer by means that do not benefit ALL Americans as I said in the blog to which you refer as a “scattershot” or yet again a straw man. I disagree, It is yet again to try to write about what I see as fundamental, recurring (using history as a guide) issues, but you are free to your own view of such attempts. I do take that approach from time to time and you usually don’t like what I write when I do so, usually using the staw man observation. Fine.

    But being angry of symtoms of problems (a headache) does little good. You need solutions (asprin) to resolve the problems. So poorly dressed (or naked/semi-naked) running around with “bones in their noses” do not impress me or give me pause to consider their political motives or solutions either.

    I also only laughed when Tea Party guys dressed as…….?

    It is what is behind the protest and whether it either fits with my current political sentiments OR gives me pause to consider changing my political sentiments that is important at least to me. And for sure OWS fails miserably in that last attempt for this conservative. They should do better if they want to influence me and many other Americans I suspect.

    That is why Dems did so poorly in Presidential elections for at least 25 years after 1965, at least in my view. A lot of good Americans just thought of Dems as “damned hippies” without giving it much more thought. They as well “took it to the bank” that Reagan would never be such a President.

    Now Obama has even more to overcome in my view given OwS today. The economy is bad enough without being called a “hippie” as well. I for one will never call Obama a hippie, but you can bet others will now do so. You can take that to the bank in my view and I will laugh when they do as well when Duane responds to such name calling.

    Some times we must all see the humor is some of our crazy politics today.

    Anson

    S

    Like

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