Where Occupy Goes Next and other short notes

With winter coming and mayors prepared to unleash the police as ruthlessly as they can get away with, debate has turned to where the Occupy movement goes next.

Partly this is about constructing an agenda. (Michael Moore’s seems fairly typical.) But Glenn Greenwald writes:

I disagree with the prevailing wisdom that OWS should begin formulating specific legislative demands and working to elect specific candidates. I have no doubt that many OWS protesters will ultimately vote and even work for certain candidates — and that makes sense — but the U.S. desperately needs a citizen movement devoted to working outside of political and legal institutions and that is designed to be a place of dissent against it.

while Julian Sanchez disagrees:

protest, however vital as a consciousness raising tool, can only be a preparation for the more humdrum enterprise of convincing your neighbors with sustained arguments (or being convinced yourself), electing candidates, and all the rest. To imagine protest not as prologue to politics, but as a substitute for it, suggests a denial of the reality of pluralism, and an unwillingness to find out what democracy actually looks like.

Some Democratic politicians would like Occupy to raise enthusiasm for them the way that the Tea Party has for the Republicans, but movement activists are wary of being co-opted. Van Jones is recruiting (presumably Democratic) candidates “to run under this 99% banner“, provoking Occupy DC’s Kevin Zeese to write “Van Jones Can’t Occupy Us“.

Cenk Uygur has announced Wolf-PAC as a vehicle for pushing not candidates but issues like a constitutional amendment against corporate involvement in politics.

Mitt Romney’s first ad of this cycle quotes President Obama as saying: “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”

The problem: Obama was quoting a John McCain aide in 2008, not talking about his own 2012 campaign.

A Rick Perry ad quotes Obama as saying, “We’ve been a little bit lazy I think over the last couple of decades.” Perry replies: “That’s what our president thinks is wrong with America? That Americans have gotten lazy?”

And Romney piles on: “[Obama] said that Americans are lazy. I don’t think that describes Americans.”

The problem: Again, context. The fuller Obama quote makes it clear what he means: Previous administrations have been lazy about trying to attract overseas investment in the U.S., and he’s trying to correct that in his administration.

Well, if that’s how the game is played now, let’s play it. ThinkProgress assembles a collection of Mitt Romney “quotes”.

This speaks for itself:

And this (the world’s lightest material) is just cool:

Does it seem to you that conservatives have the advantage in the scurrilous-viral-email department? They do.

The U.C. Davis pepper-spraying cop has become an iconic image. A whole tumblr is devoted to photo-shopping him into all the other iconic images.

I’m becoming a fan of Noah Smith’s economic blog Noahpinion. This article raises an interesting thought: What if the values conservatives claim to love (hard work, individual responsibility, etc.) are promoted better by a liberal welfare state than by a conservative dog-eat-dog utopia?

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  • Matthew Platte  On November 28, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    The so-called best metaphor focuses way too much on normal, everyday people who borrowed money to purchase houses and not nearly enough on the relatively few people who made great personal financial gain by arranging that lending. Often lending to the builders of as well as buyers of a property.

    Perhaps the graph at this location http://suddendebt.blogspot.com/2011/11/debt-of-financial-sector.html and the bold, italic phrase “one third of all debt outstanding” points to a more central target for one’s scorn.

    Frankly, I’m surprised and disappointed at your linking to a “best metaphor” that is such a contemptible piece of blame-the-victim, Limbaughesque tea-baggery. Buying a home as evidence of alcoholism? Reaching for the American Dream emblematic of an unemployed substance abuser? *me, slowly shaking head in wonderment*

    • weeklysift  On November 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      You know, now that I read it again you might be right. My first reading was that the customers simply do what people will do when you offer them something they want on easy terms, and the craziness was in the marketing and packaging. But I think your reading is more accurate.

    • weeklysift  On November 28, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      Thinking about it a few minutes longer, I’ve decided to remove that link. Normally, I hate to change something after I put it up, because it looks like I’m trying to cover up a mistake. But here’s my comment admitting a mistake, and leaving the link up probably does more harm than good. Thanks for correcting me.

  • Kim Cooper  On November 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    On the subject of people getting mortgages they “couldn’t afford” being to blame for this: One thing I haven’t heard anyone say is that for many many years, if you applied for a mortgage and you couldn’t afford that house, the bank would say, in effect, “You can’t afford that house so we won’t give you that loan.” Since, as long as anyone could remember, the bank took responsibility for deciding what you could afford, and never gave us any notice that they had stopped doing that, it’s not surprising that people assumed that if the bank would make the mortgage it must be okay. Add to that, of course, that the banks promised you could refinance before the interest jumped up, and then didn’t let you, and that the interest jumped up to an unreasonable figure in many cases, the whole thing was pretty tricky.


  • By Mildly Revolutionary « The Weekly Sift on November 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    […] Where Occupy Goes Next and other short notes. Should Occupy Wall Street support a legislative agenda and candidates to carry it out, or would that just corrupt and co-opt the movement? Plus: The pepper-spraying cop becomes iconic. The world’s lightest material. Do conservative policies promote conservative values? And Mitt Romney gets a taste of his own medicine. […]

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