Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Democrats Try Wary Embrace of Protests

For the past weeks I have been following the Occupy Wall Street Protest. I am surprised it has not come sooner.

Many issues take of my interest not because they are necessarily important, but because of what they reveal about government processes. Lately my fascination has been with the links between media and government, how they operate together to provide the public with information and how people edit what is going on in order to get the proper response.

As I read about Democrat's support, and the Republican's criticism of the protest I was reminded of the Kennedy/Romney speeches: how both tried to respond in the least offensive way possible.

I was actually surprised by Democrat's support of the protest because i thought the party would be too scared to support an extreme, one that has been compared the the Tea Party in that it sways moderates away from the origin party because of it's extremity.

And just to be clear, i don't think the main purpose of the protest is 'extreme', its just that the drumming, nudity, and other crazy protesting stories have lead to people having that impression.

The Occupy Wall Street Protest is about nothing extreme. It is about citizen's frustration with how the financial crisis and institutions are handled by the government; they aren't handled and the protests want them to be.

The financial crisis happened due to the abuse of securitization. American's had to pay for the bail out with their tax money.

Securitization is the turning of a debt into a bond and selling it to an investor. Wall Street sold low quality CDOs (collateral debt obligations, mortgage backed securities, mortgage debts belonging to people who could not repay them because banks began to get greedy and approving everyone) which it then paid rating agencies such as AIG to rate and higher than they actually were. They then bet against the very transactions that were made. This is called 'shorting' or derivatives.

The whole alchemy conundrum went bust and the guilty firms were bailed out. The last time this happened in the 1980s, hundreds went to jail. What they did was not illegal which is the problem. There were no regulations prohibiting these loopholes because so many laws had been passed in administration that allowed for this sort of business to take place. This is what the protest is about.

Obama stands in support of the protesters. The Democratic Congressional Committee is circulating a petition that seeks 100,000 signatures supporting the protesters.

The Center for American progress "credits the protest with tapping into pent up anger over a political system that it says reward the rich over the working class - a populist theme now being emphasized by the white house and the party."

Some people in the party however, find it uneasy that it is getting support. They find that showing support for such an 'eclectic mix of protesters' is pushing the image of the Democratic Party further to the left.

Democrat Matt Bennett, president of Third Way, said the the protest should be more centered so that moderates will not be turned off it leaning to the left's agenda

Others say that is drawing more clear differences between the two parties, differences that are crucial in this upcoming election. Also to make note - Much of the Democratic Campaign financing comes from Wall Street, that is again why i was surprised to hear their support.

Lastly, Herman Cain criticized the Occupy Wall Street protesters for being jealous of successful capitalists.

I don't know if the protesters are jealous, or just not predatorial enough to screw weak people out of their money.

And lastly, with the financial crisis thing, I thought of a metaphor that kind of makes sense of what happened during it.

People used to kill by hand, and with guns and bombs we make it not only easier, but more impersonal, we don't ever have to look our enemy in the eye. Can the evolution of how we do business be compared to that? We used to look at the person, and sell them our best product, everything was done in person. Now it is digitized and our only interest is to see the numbers go up and we can't care if we screw people over because we don't even see them.

Just fruit for thought...

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