Conservative-Libertarian Republican goes Van Jones with 99% on "Tax Day"
The rash of of raucus, confrontational and sometimes violent "Occupy" events last year were just starting to recede in the rearview mirror of American life. Nothing but a bad dream-- seemingly. But, then the drumbeat of Obama and allies' excuses, blame, seemed to settle on - the rich, who it seemed, were not paying their "fair share" - of what?
Taxes. With a capital "T," which rhymes with fee, and affects me. Even though the "1%" pay the lion's share already, it's never enough. When times are good, the government, run by the left, spends much more. When times are bad, they spend even more! It seems that they want to "help people," with YOUR money. They feel they have a right to take it from you and spend it where they see fit. Never mind that it is unconstitutional, uneconomical, inefficient. We are even told it's "what Jesus would do." Never mind that Jesus did it voluntarily
So, last Saturday, they were baaaaaack! Suddenly, there were notices everywhere of new, improved "Occupy" (with the Wall St. part left out) training, for "The 99%." V 2.0, I called it. The 2.1 was for the local leader's well-thought out variations observed. Having missed most of the last round, I felt a civic responsibility to be re-educated, to at least learn why I had strayed so far from the path that "our" government, media and "elite" seemed set upon.
I was interested in going to one of the thousands of training sessions held almost anywhere out of the sun last Saturday, but instead had to go to a militia exercise, or an Obama exorcism-- can't remember which. Fortunately, some of our people went and one wrote this excellent report, now sent far and wide (See: Notes from an Occupy Wall Street Training ).
Scene from Occupy Oakland, 2011
But, I lucked out on Sunday, when I learned of another Occupy meeting on Tuesday, at a time when most normal people are working. When I checked the address on the map, it turned out to be a Bank of America branch. The web site confirmed it- this was no training session-- we would OCCUPY! At the appointed hour, I drove by and saw virtually nobody. I parked a discreet distance away, where my Tea Party, anti-Agenda 21 and anti-Obama bumper stickers weren't so obvious.
Usually at Tea Parties, scads of people are early, sometimes VERY early. But when I walked over 10 minutes later, there was still no one in evidence in front of the bank, where we were supposed to meet. I spied about 6-8 people not far from the ATM's, but out of range of the nervous-looking security guard. He needn't have worried, because the 2.0 version is kinder and gentler, so far. I saw no signs of hammers, sickles, billy clubs or Molotov cocktails- not even one.
We had a brief rally to lament the "huge profits" of the big banks and the pitiful taxes they pay- "less than their secretaries," as if secretaries paid billions in taxes. I briefly tried to point out that the numbers were misleading, since bank assets are no longer written down to "mark to market," but are instead often carried at book value, in violation of every good accounting and business rule. Ergo, the profits were illusory and even those were merely buoyed by unheard of loan point spreads, from artificially manipulating interest rates, a temporary gift from Ben Bernanke, TurboTax Timmy Geither and those wonderful NWO folk. You would have thought I had two heads, the way some people looked at me. At least we were able to agree that at least some of the problem might be laid at the feet of the Federal Reserve, but all the signs dissed "the banks" and "the 1%," so they had to follow the script.
That was supposed to get our adrenalin up to motivate us to sing-- yes, sing- the chants, which we now provide the source code for:
Can't make stuff like this up. I learned back in college that the soul of a culture may be divined via its music and poetry, so take it for what it's worth. Even the 99 percenters had trouble chanting these with a straight face. This is Oxnard/Port Heuneme-- not Oakland or East St. Louis. Even the worst sections in town are nicer than where I lived while going to college in Brooklyn, NY.
Written like children's nursery rhymes, these are the gentle invective of the class warfare they (whoever "they" are-- Soros, Obama, Schumer, Rockefeller, Couric?) wish to incite. This is either really clever or insane- the class warfare is being financed-- by the 1%???
We practiced the songs/chants for awhile, getting ready to take our act on the road.
The page heading reminded me that it was "Tax Day" and this was their version of the Tax Day Tea Party. Talk about culture shock. Thousands of Tea Partiers celebrated it Sunday by complaining about oppressive taxes. "The 99%" were complaining that taxes were too low- but only for "the 1%. The leaders of this "movement" really have their class warfare down pat. The sheeple still believe the taxes will only be increased for the 1%. Later, of course, the need to raise others' taxes will be "discovered," and more of us will have to pay our "fair share." Plans underway already reveal the awful truth. ObamaCare will raise taxes and also insurance rates, while cutting the quality of care for millions.
It was determined last week that Obama's secretary does in fact pay higher taxes than Obama. there is no evidence that "Obama," or whoever he actually is, has offered to make up the difference. Ah, the irony and hypocrisy of it all. By the way, Conservatives give much more to charity than Liberals, Progressives, Commies, or whatever they now are called.
Before walking out front to demonstrate, we first picked up signs thoughtfully laid out for us. This was a good assortment of handmade and printed signs, not at all like the "Astroturf" stuff they used last year. These folks have learned from the Tea Party, although they couldn't compete with our good stuff. One of my friends there remarked that it had much of the ambience of a Tea Party. I picked up the most innocuous sign possible, in case caught on camera and published in the Ventura County Star, or Daily Worker-- not sure which would be worse.
I briefly talked to the leader, apologizing for missing the Saturday brainwashing, er, training ( not telling her why I missed it) and asking about the M.O. Is this confrontational or non confrontational? Non-violent, right? She stated that the new M.O is fairly non-confrontational, unless that is called for, whatever that might be. She said there was debate about whether to go into the bank, but the non-confrontational faction won out, maintaining that their exterior presence would make a strong statement without alienating people. Bravo-- they learned what the Tea Party instinctively knew on day one. How many were killed or injured to learn that simple truism? How and under what conditions would they escalate? Would it vary by leader and region?
By the way, I was non-confrontational with them, although anyone with half a brain knew I didn't talk much like a Progressive, even though I was complaining about stuff from Romney to revolutionaries, big banks to big politicians. They may not have known that I don't like Romney either, but for mostly different reasons.
I talked to quite a few people, They were very open and mostly loved to talk about politics. I was asked what I thought about Brown's tax plan. Don't want to pay more. Some were from out of the area, having car-pooled in. No buses in sight. NO SEIU shirts or anything like that.
Most were at least as politically sophisticated as our tea partiers, with the same knowledge variations as we have, but with a definitely diffrent worldview, on the average, tending toward a big brother approach. They tended to be very ignorant financially and investment wise-- at least the ones I talked to.
We had interesting discussions about so-called oil and business "subsidies," which turned out to be ordinary deductions for legitimate expenses and depletion. I explained the impact on the balance sheet and flow through to the income statement and why I thought it was reasonable, No one could really come up with a good argument, so they attacked on accelerated depletion, which I conceded provided a significant temporary tax advantage and was actually embraced by Liberals and Conservatives alike, to "stimulate " (aha!) capital investment and hiring.
In the meantime, we were carrying signs on Victoria Ave. A few cars honked, but nothing like at a Tea Party. By this time, we had accumulated about 40 people, respectable, but no doorbuster. Passersby on foot didn't seem to get what was up. Street noise made the chants inaudible, so they tapered off and people chatted, mostly about the main topics. All of the signs and rhetoric focused on taxes and finance-- NONE on any social issues. NOTHING at all about Obamacare that I saw or heard. On message.
For the most part, the people seemed pretty nice, like you might meet at the store, if not in your neighborhood. Mostly older white, some Latino folks.
Their militancy about "The Rich" being responsible for supporting them was predominant. This seems like an article of faith issue. We discussed multi-trillion dollar deficits. I pointed out that all corporate profits combined wouldn't be enough to erase them, at current levels, and if we took them, then any incentive to grow, even do business, would be vaporized. Darn, business/financial education should be mandatory. It would reduce some of the conflicts we are having. Of course there is a huge amount of accumulated wealth that some want to tap, via a "wealth tax," which has not yet entered the "Occupy" conciousness/repertoire, at this level. New way to "spread the wealth."
Several people there had spent extensive time in Europe and we all agreed, that although there is a perception here that European taxes are much higher, they really are not, except in Scandinavia, and people get a lot more for what they pay. Some blamed that on our high defense spending, which has some truth.
It occurred to me that they weren't really addressing the destruction of the dollar being accomplished by seemingly unlimited borrowing, money-printing (QE). bailouts ($16 trillion and counting), etc. Nor, the large de facto inflation, being covered up by financial manipulations and misleading statistics Try THESE instead. Try THESE for a more accurate reading of U.S. govt. financial position). But then again, hardly any of the political spectrum is addressing that, except Ron Paul and some Misian economists. Hopefully, the Romney machine will have the good sense to pick up on some of that.
You can download this