You can’t pepper spray an idea.

Awesome. That’s the word, right? This is SO profound. If only we knew what the idea was. Protest camping?? Is THAT the idea. Awesome.


You can’t pepper spray an idea.

Awesome. That’s the word, right? This is SO profound. If only we knew what the idea was. Protest camping?? Is THAT the idea. Awesome.

The First Amendment does not protect behavior that threatens health and safety.

Last week, the New York City Police Department’s First Precinct issued the latest crime statistics. Typical offenses in the financial district and Tribeca usually are limited to minor matters such as hawking fake Rolexes and operating unlicensed food carts. This time there was a big increase in violent crimes. “Almost all of these crimes were in and around Zuccotti Park,” commanding officer Edward Winski reported, adding wryly: “Many of these were assaults against police officers.”

From Oakland, Calif., to Portland, Ore., to New York, the Occupy Wall Street movement has worn out the patience of even the most liberal cities. The protesters were shocked when politicians stopped excusing their unlawful behavior by referring to their First Amendment rights and instead forcibly removed their tent cities as threats to health and safety.

The protesters never-ending endgame is a reminder that under the First Amendment, speech may be subject to time, place and manner restrictions that do not include the concept of “occupation.”

The global movement began in New York’s Zuccotti Park, which Mayor Mike Bloomberg finally cleared out last week after nearly two months of a tent city even the police feared to enter. By the end, it featured rapes, drug use and public health dangers. It took 150 Sanitation Department workers hours to clear the mess, finding everything from used hypodermic needles to buckets of human waste. “These were some of the worst smells I’ve ever experienced,” a veteran garbageman told the New York Post.

Local residents and businessmen had grown weary of the health and safety violations, drum circles late into the night, and trashing of shops and restaurants. A group called Downtown Community Coalition was formed by unlikely community organizers, including local parents, health professionals, small-business owners and this columnist.

European Pressphoto Agency

New York City police arrest an Occupy Wall Street protester on Friday.

One lesson of Occupy Wall Street is that if local authorities permit campouts, people will camp out. This permissive approach created a false impression of the strength of the movement. The crowds dispersed once the authorities applied typical time, place and manner rules.

Occupy Wall Street is suing to bring their tents and sleeping bags back to the park, but in Clark v. Community for Creative Non-Violence (1984), the Supreme Court held that the National Park Service could enforce its rules against sleeping in tents at Washington’s Lafayette park and National Mall, even for a symbolic protest about homelessness. The tents in Zuccotti Park were shelter, not symbolic speech. As First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams told Reuters, it’s a “real stretch to maintain that sleeping in a designated area itself is anything more than what it appears to be.”

Indeed, the park that protesters selected offers fewer speech rights than public parks. Zuccotti Park is one of 500 “privately owned public spaces” in New York, created when planning regulators allowed a taller building in exchange for maintaining a park. It must be open 24 hours a day, unlike public parks that have curfews, but subject to specific rules ensuring “passive recreation” and the “enjoyment of the general public.”

The owner, Brookfield Properties, expressly prohibits tents, tarps and sleeping in the park—rules ignored by the protesters. It also has a history of denying use of the park for political activities, which is within its rights. Last year the city and Brookfield Properties denied a request by a group to use the park to protest against the planned new mosque near the World Trade Center. A content-neutral approach, the cornerstone of First Amendment jurisprudence, should also have kept Occupy Wall Street out.

In a 2002 case, the federal appeals court in New York turned down a union seeking to protest in the publicly owned plaza outside Lincoln Center. Among the judges making the ruling was Sonia Sotomayor, appointed to the Supreme Court by President Obama. Courts will apply a time, place and manner standard even more restrictive of speech in a privately owned park like Zuccotti than in a public park like the Lincoln Center plaza.

The mostly young Occupy Wall Street protesters seemed genuinely shocked when Mayor Bloomberg ordered their tents removed. This probably fueled their violent and abusive reaction.

Their false expectations were set by politicians who should have known better. Shortly after the protests began, their “general assembly” debated whether to risk bringing in tents. New York politicians and the liberal community board representing Lower Manhattan issued statements suggesting that First Amendment rights were absolute, emboldening protesters into thinking they could take over the park indefinitely.

Protesters are free to demonstrate peacefully in Zuccotti Park, provided they follow its regulations. If they have to rely on unlawful campouts and disrupting neighborhoods instead of using speech, their message must not be very persuasive. They might occupy that sobering thought as they consider their future.

By L. GORDON CROVITZ from today’s Wall Street Journal

(Source: The Wall Street Journal)

"I was there to take down the names of people who were arrested… As I’m standing there, some African-American woman goes up to a police officer and says, ‘I need to get in. My daughter’s there. I want to know if she’s OK.’ And he said, ‘Move on, lady.’ And they kept pushing with their sticks, pushing back. And she was crying. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he throws her to the ground and starts hitting her in the head,” says Smith. “I walk over, and I say, ‘Look, cuff her if she’s done something, but you don’t need to do that.’ And he said, ‘Lady, do you want to get arrested?’ And I said, ‘Do you see my hat? I’m here as a legal observer.’ He said, ‘You want to get arrested?’ And he pushed me up against the wall."

Retired New York Supreme Court Judge Karen Smith, working as a legal observer after the raids on Zucotti Park this Tuesday, via Paramilitary Policing of Occupy Wall Street: Excessive Use of Force amidst the New Military Urbanism. (via lukehackney)

Cops are not hired for their sensitivity, nor are they coached on the nuances of when to allow citizens to disobey their instructions, particularly in crowd situations. In other words, if you’re at a mob scene, don’t fk with the cops. You might get hurt. Police over-reaction in no way legitimates the mob’s cause or purpose, unless of course, as in the Civil Rights movement, the protest is to violate unjust laws and right a specific wrong. OWS doesn’t qualify.

(Source: seriouslyamerica)


I went to private schools, learned programming, and made a lot of money as an owner of a software company. I look like a self made man, but…
My company would not have been possible without the internet (which grew out of DARPAnet), the interstates my employees used to get to work, the public schools that gave me an educated workforce, the courts that allowed me to enforce contracts with clients, the government agencies that allowed me to know my food and water and medicines were safe, the postal service…
So, while I’ve been a big success, I owe a lot to the government. More importantly I want my kids to have the same kind of opportunities that I had. So, I am the 99%

No, it sounds like you are the 1%. Membership in the 99% requires some kind of failure, massive debt, economic distress, lack of confidence, chronic fear of the future or plain bad luck. As a 1% who apparently feels guilty about his success, your responsibility now is to sign over most of your assets to the government — the only mechanism you can trust to re-distribute the value of your success to others less qualified, less energetic, less intelligent, less talented, less ambitious or just plain unlucky. It’s only fair, and it’s your right as an American to use your wealth as you see fit. Just don’t impose your pitiful self-righteousness on the rest of us who worked our asses off to build some personal wealth. Most of us had nothing to do with Wall Street, BTW. And we’ve already paid with our tax dollars for DARPA, the famous interstates, NASA and the countless other public contributions to our opportunities. And we’ve repaid many times over through the millions of dollars of payroll and taxes we generated through our enterprises. So screw your useless guilt. When the government learns to do its business as efficiently as most private businesses do theirs, we can talk about raising taxes, but not before.

  1. Camera: Photo Booth


Also, this:

The “Occupy” movement, whether displaying itself on Wall Street or in the streets of Oakland (which has, with unspeakable cowardice, embraced it) is anything but an exercise of our blessed First Amendment. “Occupy” is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness.

(Oakland “embraced” the protesters? How do you hug somebody with tear gas?)

Sort of puts 300 in a whole new light.

Sounds a bit extreme, but this “movement” lacks substance and seems more like “protest camping” grasping for relevance.

"We have a society in which money is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few people, and in which that concentration of income and wealth threatens to make us a democracy in name only."

Paul Krugman (via azspot)

Why not just execute the rich, take their money and hand it out in equal portions to the “99%?” Really, these people are good at creating wealth. Raising taxes won’t help that much, considering all the important needs that are going unattended to in our society. These wealthy people (let’s label them “greedy,” so that we can signal our moral superiority to them) just find a way to avoid the taxes, and they’ll keep making money that the 99% ought to have. Better just to remove them from “the planet.” No more unfair competition for wealth. Plus, it will make room at the top, allowing others to move into positions of power in business and government, which would also improve fairness. To avoid drawing it all out, we could handle it very efficiently. Pass a law against having wealth in excess of a certain amount. Make it a capital offense. Seize all investment records and have the IRS identify the people marked for execution. Arrest all of the offenders in one day. Try them the next. Execute them immediately. There’d be some protest, but it would all blow over once the checks started coming out. I’d say we could solve our wealth discrepancy problem in the blink of an eye. Plus we’d have the right to monitor everyone’s financial activity so that as soon as somebody started getting a little too successful, we could issue a warning, seize some assets and, in a generation or two, train this whole wealth-creating reflex out of the culture. Imagine that! Would that be a great country, or what?

Conservatives have figured out their moral basis and you see it on Wall Street: It includes: The primacy of self-interest. Individual responsibility, but not social responsibility. Hierarchical authority based on wealth or other forms of power. A moral hierarchy of who is “deserving,” defined by success. And the highest principle is the primacy of this moral system itself, which goes beyond Wall Street and the economy to other arenas: family life, social life, religion, foreign policy, and especially government. Conservative “democracy” is seen as a system of governance and elections that fits this model.

Though OWS concerns go well beyond financial issues, your target is right: the application of these principles in Wall Street is central, since that is where the money comes from for elections, for media, and for right-wing policy-making institutions of all sorts on all issues.

The alternative view of democracy is progressive: Democracy starts with citizens caring about one another and acting responsibly on that sense of care, taking responsibility both for oneself and for one’s family, community, country, people in general, and the planet. The role of government is to protect and empower all citizens equally via The Public: public infrastructure, laws and enforcement, health, education, scientific research, protection, public lands, transportation, resources, art and culture, trade policies, safety nets, and on and on. Nobody makes it one their own. If you got wealthy, you depended on The Public, and you have a responsibility to contribute significantly to The Public so that others can benefit in the future. Moreover, the wealthy depend on those who work, and who deserve a fair return for their contribution to our national life. Corporations exist to make life better for most people. Their reason for existing is as public as it is private.

This should be read repeatedly, especially the “Progressive’ (Liberal) take on society and government, although the distortion of the Conservative viewpoint is also important to understand. This assertion that the wealthy have contributed nothing, but have somehow extracted their wealth from society in a zero sum game, that they are essentially leeches on the body of society is a destructive notion only Marx could love. Further, the idea that government, where only the pure of heart and motive toil on behalf of the deserving public so ruthlessly plundered by the wealthy, has a responsibility to balance the scales by taking from the rich to sustain all aspects of society is laughable if not wholly Orwellian. If this is OWS’s vision for America, prepare for poverty and tyranny on a grand scale. Once the vampiric rich have fled to wiser, friendlier lands, we will learn the truths of Capitalism in the most painful way possible, through its absence. But our sorry state will then be nearly impossible to reverse. These kids don’t know the rich, and these academics care. 


On behalf of our union, the General Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World sends our support and solidarity to the occupation of Wall Street, those determined to hold accountable our oppressors.

This occupation on Wall Street calls into question the very foundation in which the capitalist system is based, and its relentless desire to place profit over and above all else.

When 1% of the ruling class holds the wealth created by the other 99%, it is clear that the watchwords found in our union’s preamble, “the working class and the employing class have nothing in common”, ring true more than ever? The IWW does not follow a business union model. We believe that the working class and the employing class have nothing in common and we don’t foster illusions to the contrary.

Throughout the world, from Egypt to Greece, from China to Madison, Wisconsin, working class people are starting to rise up. The IWW welcomes this. We see the occupation of Wall Street as another step - no matter how large or small - in this process.


IWW Endorses Occupy Wall Street.” (via evanfleischer)

The Wobblies have always been crackpots, but easily the most interesting of the radical factions back in the early decades of the 20th Century. My dad remembered being thrown from a moving train by a group of Wobblies who insisted he either join or leave their boxcar immediately. This was somewhere in Montana about 1923. Today’s Wobblies are new to the game, and pretty much a tiny curiosity, riding on the historical, but long since past identity of the IWW (One Big Union).

(Source: evanfleischer)

Occupy Wall Street has a point about student debt—sort of.

For hard-working American families struggling to make ends meet, the student protesters at Occupy Wall Street must seem like cast members of a reality show designed to make them look shallow and self-indulgent. The irony is that these students and recent grads have a point about their college debt. It’s just not the point they are making.

Here, for example, is a typical entry on the blog “We Are the 99 Percent.” A woman is holding up a handwritten note that reads: “I am a college graduate. I am also unemployed. I was lead [sic] to believe that college would insure me a job. I now have $40,000 worth of student debt.”


John Kline on the National Labor Relations Board’s strike against Boeing and the increase in the student loan default rate.

The headlines tell us that, as a nation, we now owe more in college loans than we do on our credit cards. Notwithstanding the stock horror stories about the kid who leaves campus owing hundreds of thousands, however, the average college debt load is about the price of a new Toyota Prius—$28,100 for those with a degree from a four-year private school, $22,000 for those from public schools.

Even so, these figures don’t touch the most important question: Are students getting fair value in return?

Anne Neal has been trying to help families answer that question for years. As president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, she believes students should leave college with a broad base of knowledge that will allow them “to compete successfully in our globalized economy and to make sense of the modern world.” By that ACTA means universities should require a core curriculum with substantive courses in composition, literature, American history, economics, math, science and foreign language.

"The fundamental problem here is not debt but a broken educational system that no longer insists on excellence," Ms. Neal says. "College tuitions have risen more than 440% over the last 25 years—and for what? The students who say that college has not prepared them for the real world are largely right."

At WhatWillTheyLearn.com, students can click onto ACTA’s recent survey of more than 1,000 American four-year institutions—and find out how their colleges and universities rate. Two findings jump out. First, the more costly the college, the less likely it will require a demanding core curriculum. Second, public institutions generally do better here than private ones—and historically black colleges such as Morehouse and service academies such as West Point amount to what ACTA calls “hidden gems.”

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crovitz1101crovitz1101Getty Images/Stock Illustration Source

Alas, much of the debate over the value of a college degree breaks down one of two ways. Either people pit the liberal arts against the sciences—”Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists?” asks Florida Gov. Rick Scott—or they plump for degrees that are thought to be more practical (e.g., business). Both are probably mistakes.

If the young people now entering our work force are going to change jobs as often as we think, the key to getting ahead will not be having one particular skill but having the ability to learn new skills. In this regard, the problem is not so much the liberal arts as the fluff that too often passes for it. In other words, though Gov. Scott is right to demand better measures of what Florida citizens are getting for their tax dollars, he’d probably be better off focusing on excellence and transparency than on suggesting specific courses of study.

As for the “practical” majors, New York University’s Richard Arum and the University of Virginia’s Josipa Roksa tell us they might not be as useful as once thought. In a recent work called “Academically Adrift,” these authors tracked the progress of more than 2,300 undergraduates at two dozen U.S. universities. They found that more than a third of seniors leave campus having shown no improvement in critical thinking, analytical reasoning, or written communications over four years. Worse, the majors and programs often thought most practical—education, business and communications—prove to be the least productive.

So yes, the student protesters with their iPads and iPhones may come across badly to other Americans. Yes too, even those who leave school thousands of dollars in debt will—on average—find their degrees a good investment, given the healthy lifetime earnings premium that a bachelor’s degree still commands.

Still, when it comes to what our colleges and universities are charging them for their degrees, they have a point. Too many have paid much and been taught little. They’ve been ripped off—but not by the banks or the fat cats or any of the other stock villains so unwelcome these days in Zuccotti Park.

"If these students and grads understood the real issues with their college debt," says Ms. Neal, "they would change their focus from Occupy Wall Street to Occupy the Ivory Tower."

by William McGurn From today’s Wall Street Journal


I am 34 years old.  I spent 5 years getting a dual-major in college, and only three years working in the field of my degree.  I spent another two years underemployed, and occasionally unemployed, working jobs I didn’t like while I tried to find something new.  I had many setbacks, and made the necessary sacrifices.  I never had to choose between buying food and paying rent, even when I was making just over minimum wage, because I was frugal and lived within my means.  Though frustrated, I kept trying and after a lot of hard work am running a modestly successful small business. I have good individual health coverage that costs only $5 per day.  I employ three people, and sometimes pay them more than I am able to pay myself.  While I am nowhere near where I thought I would be at this age, I don’t blame anyone, or think it’s the government’s job to get me there.  I am the 99%

Bravo, man. You ARE the 99%. How refreshing!

I have known this guy for 30 years. He’s 56 now. I hired him 25 years ago, but fired him after a couple of years because he just didn’t work very hard to add value to our enterprise. When I let him go, I explained that to him. He had a degree from small state school, but it was all his, with no student loans attached (most of us did it that way back in the old days). He went to work as a “travel director” in the group travel business. He worked for low pay, living about 60% of the year on the road with travel groups (usually corporate meetings and incentive award trips), but saving his money as best he could. He got good at running these groups, at buying the various pieces of the trips — group hotel rooms, restaurant meals, travel services on site at key destinations around the world. His clients loved him and became loyal to him. He became a senior employee within his company. About ten years ago he and a few other senior employees of the company bought out the founder. The company has grown to over $100 million in annual revenue, in spite of the recession (and in spite of our nitwit President’s bashing of corporate meetings in resort locations). As an owner, he has participated in the profits and built his personal net worth to $13 million. He and his colleagues are ready to sell the company and turn their efforts into more personal wealth. A company like that ought to sell for at least 1 times annual revenue, so this friend of mine will likely end up seeing his personal net worth exceed $30 million. 

Do we resent him from starting with nothing — even lacking an appropriate work ethic — but working his way into $30 million? Do we lump him in with the bankers and government officials who fleeced the country in the subprime loan mess? Do we punish him with special tax rates, just because he was more successful than the 99%, most of whom have similar opportunities, although they may be blind to them at the moment? 

This is not Steve Jobs. This is not Frank Raines (former CEO of Fannie Mae, possibly the person most to blame for our recent economic catastrophe). This is not The Koch Brothers. This is a 99 percenter who became a 1 percenter, not through high tech, high finance or big business. This is an ordinary guy with ordinary talents who worked hard and took some risks in a mundane kind of business, now reaping the financial rewards. How are we better off labeling him the “1%” and accusing him of not paying his fair share?


From the Albuquerque Journal, October 22, 2011

Recently you published an opinion from Sherry Wenz regarding the Occupy Wall Street protests. She said she thought the demonstrators were demonstrating because rich people were rich. She could not be more wrong.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters…

All of this is disconnected from reality. It’s an impressionistic rendering of a simplistic view of the problems and the solutions. These kids should read “Reckless Endangerment” if they want to get a clue about what went wrong. Then they ought to check out Paul Ryan’s recent speech, “The American Idea,” at the Heritage Foundation. Real leadership is needed before the government gets to reach deeper into the one percent’s pocket.


My family makes over $250,000 a year and we want to pay our fair share. We know it’s wrong to have such drastic economic inequality in the richest country in the world, and we want everyone to have access to the same opportunities that have allowed us to live so well. Education, health care, and a fair wage are fundamental rights, not whims of the free market. We want a fair progressive tax system because we know those who can afford to help those in need should do so.
We are the compassionate 1%, and we want to help.

Why wait for the government? What keeps you from writing a big check to The Salvation Army or establishing a scholarship for some needy kid? Some of us one percenters don’t think the government is a very good custodian of the public welfare. We’re happy to act privately, directly and anonymously. Act on your generosity now. If you invite the government to take more of your money, you’re just a sap. A good hearted sap, maybe, but a sap nonetheless.


My family makes over $250,000 a year and we want to pay our fair share. We know it’s wrong to have such drastic economic inequality in the richest country in the world, and we want everyone to have access to the same opportunities that have allowed us to live so well. Education, health care, and a fair wage are fundamental rights, not whims of the free market. We want a fair progressive tax system because we know those who can afford to help those in need should do so.

We are the compassionate 1%, and we want to help.

Why wait for the government? What keeps you from writing a big check to The Salvation Army or establishing a scholarship for some needy kid? Some of us one percenters don’t think the government is a very good custodian of the public welfare. We’re happy to act privately, directly and anonymously. Act on your generosity now. If you invite the government to take more of your money, you’re just a sap. A good hearted sap, maybe, but a sap nonetheless.

While Obama readies an ugly campaign, Paul Ryan gives a serious account of what ails America.

People are increasingly fearing the divisions within, even the potential coming apart of, our country. Rich/poor, black/white, young/old, red/blue: The things that divide us are not new, yet there’s a sense now that the glue that held us together for more than two centuries has thinned and cracked with age. That it was allowed to thin and crack, that the modern era wore it out.

What was the glue? A love of country based on a shared knowledge of how and why it began; a broad feeling among our citizens that there was something providential in our beginnings; a gratitude that left us with a sense that we should comport ourselves in a way unlike the other nations of the world, that more was expected of us, and not unjustly— 
"To whom much is given much is expected"; a general understanding that we were something new in history, a nation founded on ideals and aspirations—liberty, equality—and not mere grunting tribal wants. We were from Europe but would not be European: No formal class structure here, no limits, from the time you touched ground all roads would lead forward. You would be treated not as your father was but as you deserved. That’s from "The Killer Angels," a historical novel about the Civil War fought to right a wrong the Founders didn’t right. We did in time, and at great cost. What a country.

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noonan1029noonan1029Martin Kozlowski

But there is a broad fear out there that we are coming apart, or rather living through the moment we’ll look back on as the beginning of the Great Coming Apart. Economic crisis, cultural stresses: “Half the country isn’t speaking to the other half,” a moderate Democrat said the other day. She was referring to liberals of her acquaintance who know little of the South and who don’t wish to know of it, who write it off as apart from them, maybe beneath them.

To add to the unease, in New York at least, there’s a lot of cognitive dissonance. If you are a New Yorker, chances are pretty high you hate what the great investment firms did the past 15 years or so to upend the economy. Yet you feel on some level like you have to be protective of them, because Wall Street pays the bills of the City of New York. Wall Street tax receipts and Wall Street business—restaurants, stores—keep the city afloat. So you want them up and operating and vital, you don’t want them to leave—that would only make things worse for people in trouble, people just getting by, and young people starting out. You know you have to preserve them just when you’d most like to deck them.


Where is the president in all this? He doesn’t seem to be as worried about his country’s continuance as his own. He’s out campaigning and talking of our problems, but he seems oddly oblivious to or detached from America’s deeper fears. And so he feels free to exploit divisions. It’s all the rich versus the rest, and there are a lot more of the latter.

Twenty twelve won’t be “as sexy” as 2008, he said this week. It will be all brute force. Which will only add to the feeling of unease.

Occupy Wall Street makes an economic critique that echoes the president’s, though more bluntly: the rich are bad, down with the elites. It’s all ad hoc, more poetry slam than platform. Too bad it’s not serious in its substance.

There’s a lot to rebel against, to want to throw off. If they want to make a serious economic and political critique, they should make the one Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner make in “Reckless Endangerment”: that real elites in Washington rigged the system for themselves and their friends, became rich and powerful, caused the great cratering, and then “slipped quietly from the scene.”

It is a blow-by-blow recounting of how politicians—Democrats and Republicans—passed the laws that encouraged the banks to make the loans that would never be repaid, and that would result in your lost job. Specifically it is the story of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage insurers, and how their politically connected CEOs, especially Fannie’s Franklin Raines and James Johnson, took actions that tanked the American economy and walked away rich. It began in the early 1990s, in the Clinton administration, and continued under the Bush administration, with the help of an entrenched Congress that wanted only two things: to receive campaign contributions and to be re-elected.

The story is a scandal, and the book should be the bible of Occupy Wall Street. But they seem as incapable of seeing government as part of the problem as Republicans seem of seeing business as part of the problem.

Which gets us to Rep. Paul Ryan. Mr. Ryan receives much praise, but I don’t think his role in the current moment has been fully recognized. He is doing something unique in national politics. He thinks. He studies. He reads. Then he comes forward to speak, calmly and at some length, about what he believes to be true. He defines a problem and offers solutions, often providing the intellectual and philosophical rationale behind them. Conservatives naturally like him—they agree with him—but liberals and journalists inclined to disagree with him take him seriously and treat him with respect.

This week he spoke on “The American Idea” at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. He scored the president as too small for the moment, as “petty” in his arguments and avoidant of the decisions entailed in leadership. At times like this, he said, “the temptation to exploit fear and envy returns.” Politicians divide in order to “evade responsibility for their failures” and to advance their interests.

The president, he said, has made a shift in his appeal to the electorate. “Instead of appealing to the hope and optimism that were hallmarks of his first campaign, he has launched his second campaign by preying on the emotions of fear, envy and resentment.”

But Republicans, in their desire to defend free economic activity, shouldn’t be snookered by unthinking fealty to big business. They should never defend—they should actively oppose—the kind of economic activity that has contributed so heavily to the crisis. Here Mr. Ryan slammed “corporate welfare and crony capitalism.”

"Why have we extended an endless supply of taxpayer credit to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, instead of demanding that their government guarantee be wound down and their taxpayer subsidies ended?" Why are tax dollars being wasted on bankrupt, politically connected solar energy firms like Solyndra? "Why is Washington wasting your money on entrenched agribusiness?"

Rather than raise taxes on individuals, we should “lower the amount of government spending the wealthy now receive.” The “true sources of inequity in this country,” he continued, are “corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless.” The real class warfare that threatens us is “a class of bureaucrats and connected crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society.”

If more Republicans thought—and spoke—like this, the party would flourish. People would be less fearful for the future. And Mr. Obama wouldn’t be seeing his numbers go up.

By Peggy Noonan in today’s Wall Street Journal

I need to resist the temptation to read them. So many are so lame. And some are very sad. This so-called movement seems to be a technologically facilitated whine-fest, with the occasional inane radical viewpoint. Mainly it’s people complaining about their own bad decisions or bad luck or disappointment that the world isn’t performing for them at the moment as they always hoped and expected it would. In some cases — the most ridiculous — it’s people complaining that they fear that things won’t work out for them, although they’re doing ok at the moment. I mean, what society has ever guaranteed that all its citizens would be happy, satisfied and free from fear or worry? Nuts. I need to stop reading anything about this temporary socio-political aberration.