World Affairs Brief, October 14, 2011

Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.

Source: Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief

No street demonstrations or riots are truly spontaneous. People engaging in or near the boundaries of civil disobedience have to be lured or goaded into challenging the state by others with an agenda. The Occupy Wall Street (see also OWS) movement started out with left-wing and pro-labor elements that were fresh off their street demonstrations in Wisconsin where they severely hampered government services for a while. They are calling the shots again, but this time the movement has become an eclectic mix of Tea Party demonstrators, social misfits, homeless people and rich kids out to test the limits of free love and trashing the parks and streets in the process. The big question now is: will this OWS movement lead to greater social unrest and demonstrations?

As Aaron Klein of [article] said, “In the wake of Britain’s riots, a group of American radicals are planning a ‘Day of Rage’ targeting Wall Street and U.S. capitalism. The upcoming protests, replete with a planned tent city in downtown Manhattan, is closely tied to the founders of ACORN (official website) [see also Wikipedia]and leaders of major U.S. unions, including the Service Employees International Union [see Wikipedia], or SEIU. There are indications the protesters are training to incite violence, resist arrest and disrupt the legal system.” [ ACORN-see also Judicial Watch: “The
Rebranding of Acorn”]

The protest aims to take root nationwide, and it has, but I think it’s more than just the Leftist/Union radicals. I think there is big globalist money and influence behind the Leftist cadres. George Soros (official website) [see also Discover
] immediately comes to mind.

The New American [article] points to the evidence: “Billionaire financier George Soros’ fingerprints, for example, have been all over the anti-Wall Street campaign from the very beginning. And this week, the infamous hedge-fund boss publicly announced his sympathy for the protesters and their complaints about bailouts — despite the fact that he lobbied for even greater unconstitutional handouts to bankers in 2009.

“‘Actually I can understand their sentiment, frankly,’ he told reporters while announcing a large donation to the United Nations. ‘I can sympathize with their grievances.’ But Soros’ support for the protesters goes far beyond his tepid public statements. In fact, the original call to ‘Occupy Wall Street’ came from the magazine AdBusters, an ‘anti-consumerist’ publication financed by, among other sources, the Soros-funded Tides Foundation.

“Other Soros-backed outfits promoting big government — some with myriad ties to the Obama administration — are also publicly driving the occupation campaign., for instance, has received millions of dollars from the billionaire banker. And now, the group is urging its supporters to join the Occupy Wall Street movement as well.”

This organizational muscle is working. There have been anti-Wall Street protests in every major city in America as well as all of the major capitols of Europe. Sadly, people on the Left lump all capitalism and free markets into the crony capitalism that they see today, which isn’t part of the true free market. At the root of all these incestuous relations between big corporations and government is the lure of government contracts. The more closely a corporation has insider relationships in government the easier it is to secure lucrative, and often “no-bid” contracts.

The financial excesses of the big banks are inextricably connected to the fiat money powers of the Federal Reserve. That’s what OWS should be targeting—the elimination of the Fed. It’s that latter motive that is drawing the Tea Party and constitutional Right into the protests.

Unfortunately, the best anyone on the Right seems to come up with as a replacement for the FED is allowing Congress to control the currency—including fiat money, thinking that this is in line with the constitution. It is, as long as it is gold and silver redeemable currency—not fiat money.

I’m not optimistic that fiat money controlled by Congress would be any different than how the FED operates now—with the exception that its bailouts of insiders would be only a little harder to hide. Just as Congress always ends up approving some insider from Goldman Sachs to head the US Treasury, it would probably do the same if it were running the show. Congressional oversight of government secret operations is a sham. It would be the same for money creation.

There are three major components to the OWS movement, currently: 1) dedicated anti-capitalists—assorted Leftists, union activists, socialists and even Communists, 2) Tea Party activists who are fed up with the destruction of the dollar, bailouts of Wall Street and the evils of the Federal Reserve, and 3) a large group of social misfits and miscreants that leave the parks filled with trash, sleep together in public, and generally act as if this is one big Woodstock festival.

The constitutional Right has found common cause with the principled Left (yes, there is such a thing) over the defense of civil liberties, attacking the FED and staying out of foreign wars. Sadly, the Tea Party has been co-opted to relish more foreign intervention. Rod Rojas writing at Lew had a great explanation of the flawed thinking of the principled Left and how to answer their flawed demands.

“I have to say that I share most — if not all — the goals of the honest Left, which would be embodied in a constantly rising standard of living for the lowest economic classes. I often find myself watching Democracy Now for its antiwar, free-speech, and anti-death-penalty stances. But the big problem with the honest Left is their absolute and obstinate refusal to learn the most basic economic principles.

“The Occupy Wall Street movement is no different, and it is a real pity that all this energy and frustration can’t be put to use toward achieving their goal. Many demands are being made, but sadly, if these were ever implemented, they would make problems worse by lowering the standard of living for all — especially for the poor! I will proceed to address some of the demands in plain English, hoping to reach out to them.

“Raise the Minimum Wage to $20. If this were a solution, why not raise the legal minimum to $50 an hour, or maybe to $1,000 an hour? If this were a real solution, why not go to a poor country and legislate a minimum wage of $1,000 an hour and let the wealth flow!

“Hong Kong, which enjoys one of the highest standards of living with almost no unemployment, didn’t have a minimum-wage law until 2010, and it was passed because of pressure from the Communist government in Beijing. Switzerland has a very similar story of creating amazing wealth with low unemployment for its population without a minimum wage until very recently.

“With the minimum wage you are creating an obstacle for hiring people if their labor doesn’t produce more than the minimum wage. For example, if a teenager without experience produces only $5 an hour, the employer will not hire him at $20 per hour, because it would represent a loss of $15 per hour. The employer will instead not hire at all, hire a more experienced and productive person, or purchase a labor-saving machine. Every single time a minimum-wage law is passed, or the minimum-wage rate is raised, unemployment figures rise, and they rise mostly among the most vulnerable in society.

“Free College Education. What do you mean by ‘free’? Are the costs going to magically go away? Perhaps what they mean is that they want somebody else to pay for their education. They protest against the plundering on the part of bankers, which is a correct stance, but instead of advocating for honesty across the board, they just want to plunder themselves.

“Guaranteed living-wage income, regardless of employment. Everybody would like to do something fun and get paid for it, but reality is different. If you are a poet or literature graduate and are not getting paid enough, it means that people are not interested enough in what you are doing, or that there are too many other people trying to do what you are doing. If you are not being paid enough you are not in a field that serves and meets the needs of your fellow citizens. Your low pay is a signal; pay attention to it.

“Ending free trade. If you want a high standard of living, you need free trade. Import restrictions may seem like common sense, but all they do is create economic distress. This is why economic sanctions are put in place against enemy regimes: these sanctions are meant to hurt them, not benefit them. Why would you want to impose economic sanctions upon yourselves?

“Immediate across-the-board debt forgiveness for all; Outlaw all credit-reporting agencies. These two demands, if passed into law, would be rewarding debtors and punishing savers, rewarding risk takers at the expense of prudent people. Need I say more? Of course, the corrupted system by which the banks create credit out of thin air, creating bubbles in the economy, has to end.

“One trillion dollars in infrastructure spending. If this were the solution, why not do 2 trillion? Why not 100 trillion? Why don’t poor countries just spend more? Economics is pretty much like most other sciences: 2+2=4 here in North America, just as 2+2=4 in Siberia or Argentina. Keeping this in mind, when you and your family are broke, do you spend more? Does spending create more wealth for you as an individual? The answer to those questions is of course a resounding no.” Great primer on Austrian economics!

The riots and violence predicted by Aaron Klein and others on the Right have not yet materialized, but the mechanism is there, waiting for the right spark. If riots do begin to happen, watch for the presence of muscular activists in black ski masks that start the mayhem. These are always government agent provocateurs. Some at the anti-Globalist protestors were photographed still wearing their police-issue combat boots.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) took umbrage at Obama’s threat that unless Congress takes action on a jobs program, “the American people will run them out of town.” Hatch rightly said that he thought the comment was inflammatory and created politically unstable situation just when Congress is being forced to reduce spending and therefore cut back on government programs that many people have become dependent upon.

The Daily Caller pointed out the hypocrisy of Obama engaging in class warfare against the rich while taking huge donations from Wall Street insiders: “Despite his rhetorical attacks on Wall Street, a study by the Sunlight Foundation’s Influence Project shows that President Barack Obama has received more money from Wall Street than any other politician over the past 20 years, including former President George W. Bush.”

If or when violence erupts, the Tea Party participants will make a quick exit to separate themselves from the riots—if they are fortunate enough not to get caught in some pre-planned police drag net. That will leave the dedicated Leftists and malcontents to wreak havoc.

My analysis is that this movement is recruiting the fodder for much bigger protests and riots that will break out in November when Congress will surely be deadlocked on spending cuts. Once the automatic cuts take effect, they could trigger the predicted unrest. I am firmly convinced that there is no political will to make anything but token cuts. No one can survive politically by voting for substantial cuts in anything. If they do, or if government shuts down and benefits are cut off, we will have a great deal of social unrest.

Even so, I’m in favor of automatic cuts, crude as they are, and a refusal to raise the debt ceiling ever again. That’s the only way spending will be capped. But that too won’t happen for long.

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Copyright Joel Skousen


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