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What part of “land of opportunity” don’t you understand?

Sometimes I wonder if Matt Taibbi is the only political pundit not just with any brains, but with any common sense.

First, go read his blog post “OWS’s Beef: Wall Street Isn’t Winning – It’s Cheating“. Go ahead. It’s short and should be required reading. I’ll wait for you here…

OK, you’re back.

How blind do you have to be to not realize that the game has been severely tilted in the direction of our new monied aristocracy, the banks? Is it the insane bonuses paid to bankers while everyone else suffers in the bad economy? Is it “too big to fail” and huge bailouts done with little or no oversight? Or is it politicians (in both parties) falling over themselves to genuflect to the banks?

And these banks are so incompetent that even with all the free money they are being given by the government, the bailouts, and other benefits and bonuses, they still can’t manage to keep our economy on an even keel, or even their own banks from failing (or needing huge bailouts to remain afloat). So we are rewarding incompetence!

The problem isn’t capitalism, the problem is that we don’t have enough capitalism. We have (national) socialism for the banks. This isn’t class warfare or envy directed at people who made money, this is justice: the desire to punish people who stole money — billions of dollars — from you and me. If this is warfare against a class, it is against the class of crooks and swindlers, living high off their ill-gotten gains.

As Taibbi says “People aren’t jealous and they don’t want privileges. They just want a level playing field, and they want Wall Street to give up its cheat codes.” America became a great country because it was the land of opportunity, where anyone with a little talent and a willingness to take risks and work hard could make it. People immigrated here (often at great effort and risk) in order to leave their decadent and corrupt homelands, where they did not have that opportunity. And now it is our country that has become corrupt.

Once people realize that success is no longer determined by good ideas and hard work, then all hell will (and should) break out. OWS is just the beginning.

UPDATE: Another must-read article about this.



  1. ThatGuy wrote:

    “Is Politicians…” should be “Are politicians…”

    Excellent read though, both here and the Taibbi piece.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    fixed. Thanks.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink
  3. David Freeman wrote:

    Great post! I’ll be at Occupy Boston for a couple days next week and this helped me settle on the sign I’ll carry. It says:
    I’’m NOT opposed to capitalism or profit
    I’’m opposed to FRAUD and GREED

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  4. Jeff wrote:

    This stuff really bothers me because it shows you just how big a problem we have. It’s disheartening to think of what will have to be done to fix it, and what we’ll have to go through to come out on the other side.

    My biggest fear is that this system will continue, that the banks will somehow get another pass for their bad decisions, and the American People who are most vulnerable will be stuck with the bill…again. I have no confidence in the government to take control of this crisis, mostly because they can’t see past their own power struggles to see that it’s the banks that started them fighting in the first place.

    Does anyone have suggestions for how we can fix this, who is in a position that is willing to do something, and what the end result would be?

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink
  5. Hassan wrote:

    In free market, government should stay out of business, and business should stay out of government.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  6. Jeff wrote:

    That’s all well and good in theory, and would be great if that’s the way it worked, but I think that human nature gets in the way of any ideal, Capitalist or otherwise. The more wealth that trickles to the top, the more the wealthy seek to use that money to get more. Taking over portions of government is a natural result of that.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Permalink
  7. WiseFather wrote:

    There’s been a lot of talk about “class warfare,” but I think the ubiquitous class structure labels (lower, middle, upper) are losing their usefulness (especially considering the incredible shrinking middle class) for helping us understand our economic differences and conflicts. I suggest we try these class categories: Dependent, Working, Rich, Crazy Rich. Right now the Crazy Rich are causing a lot of damage to our economy. I explain further at

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
  8. Dan wrote:

    “you have to have balls like church bells to trot out a propaganda line that says the protesters are just jealous of their hard-earned money.” My favorite line from the article. I’m sharing that and this on Facebook.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  9. ebdoug wrote:

    David Freeman: wish I could be there with all the demonstrators.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Permalink
  10. Arthanyel wrote:

    I have been fighting on blogs for three days about OWS, trying to debunk the conservative rhetoric that they are all commies, hippies, want handouts, etc.

    An interesting and very long document from Occupy Wall Street. You’ll have to read it when you have a good long while. Self titled:


    A Declaration of INTERDEPENDENCE, born of necessity, from and for the collective conscience of the “99%” to and for the oligarchic “1%” of the United States of America.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink
  11. Arthanyel wrote:

    They’re doing everything Gandhi said. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink
  12. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Art: I think the libertarians at OWS were very surprised to learn they were all radical commie leftists.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Permalink
  13. Arthanyel wrote:

    1032 – It doesn’t take long to find the facts that disprove conservative rhetoric, but since they repeat their lies non-stop and at full volume, it takes repetition to get the indepedents to see the truth. You can’t get the wingnuts to see the truth even after you provide multiple non-partisan references that debunk them.

    As one example of a source for OWS not being “unemployed commie hippies check this out:

    You know wingnuts believe that man’s contriobution to global warming is a liberal myth – well, I had three on Tuesday that said global warming isn’t happening AT ALL, just after the Koch Brotehrs funded study by a leading skeptic came to the conclusion that man IS responsible for it. After providing backup from over 11,000 individual scientitsts, 57 national organizations, 750 peer reviewed papers and their own debunking study that proived it was real, they still said “it’s a liberal myth, and all of these people are in on it”.

    Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink
  14. Arthanyel wrote:

    IK – here is a really well done video that explains what OWS is protesting, with the intro a clip from Elizabeth Warren:

    Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink
  15. Fred Wickham wrote:

    Americans seem to get their sufficient dose of fairness watching sports. Seriously. An intense feeling of righteousness suffuses millions of fans simply because an umpire makes a bad call. We have put our best judges on the basketball courts, hockey rinks and the fields of various ball games. They are paid well, but not as well as the athletes they confer judgment upon. Yet they are not cowed by the rich players because the public can see the workings of the game. This kind of transparency should be what we’re shooting for in the world of our own pocketbooks. When the banker throws a spitball there’s nobody there to throw him out of the game.

    Friday, October 28, 2011 at 2:23 am | Permalink
  16. Joe Motor wrote:

    Thanks, Arthaltel, “the New Common Sense” is being embraced by many in and outside of the Occupy movement. This is a MUST read for anyone that cares about this country.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink