Copyright 2011 by John T. Reed

I was not going to comment on this story because:

1. giving publicity to publicity seekers makes you co-conspirator of them

2. Fox has covered it pretty well.

I generally do not comment unless the media has been incorrect or incomplete. However, I have gotten requests to comment on Occupy Wall Street so okay.

Paymasters of the publicity stuntmen

Terrorism is a publicity stunt. I wrote an article about that.

Terrorists want to be paid in the form of publicity, not money, for their stunts, like 9/11.

Those who “pay” them—the New York Times, Fox News, NBC—by giving them publicity are complicit.

It used to be that when some jerk ran out onto a stage or athletic field in front of a crowd, the TV cameras would show his antics. Then they decided to stop doing that because it was encouraging and rewarding such stunts.

Well done, TV. But they cannot bring temselves to see that terror and other less damaging publicity stunts are the same thing and deserve the same treatment. Sometimes it seems that half the stuff on O’Reilly is some publicity stunt by PETA or Code Pink or some such that wasapparently concocted for the sole purpose of getting one of O’Reilly’s “culture war” time slots. O’Reilly purports to be outraged by the stunt in question, but he’s giving them air time isn’t he? And air time was all they wanted wasn’t it? Q.E.D.

When something bad happens, the media people put on their actor sad face and lament the “tragedy” and their “hearts go out” and all that bullshit. The truth is the news media love to get attention, are addicted to it, and their particular way of getting it is to stand between various publicity stunts/natural disasters and the camera so you have to look at them to see the looky-lou event behind them.

They say the events in question are terrible and all that, but the fact is such events attract atention, like car acidents, and attention is what the news media people want.

Occupy Wall Street is a publicity stunt. In particular, is is a cheap publicity stunt like a streaker on a Major League Baseball field. The media put it on TV and radio and in print because it is more interesting and gets better ratings than the alternative stories of the day.

But by giving Occupy Wall Street, typically only a hundred to a few hundred demonstrators, massive air time, makes the movement look far larger and more consequential than it is.

Occupy Wall Street should be ignored by the media. Had it been, it would have lasted a day or two and blown away like the Fall leaves.

Clear theme

One mistake the media has made about Occupy Wall Street is that it has no coherent message. They then “prove” that by smirking through a half dozen or so clips of answers to the question “What do you want?”

There is a clear message if you simply step back and soft focus on it. They have a Nazi-Jew-type hatred of, and willingness to scapegoat, the superrich.

The protestors could not pass a simple ten-question quiz on the causes of the subprime crisis. But they have memorized Democrat talking points that it was all caused by Republicans, namely George W. Bush, deregulating and thereby letting their friends on Wall Street walk off with hundreds of millions and no jail time or restitution.

I posted a brief comment on my facebook page about it and got two comments, apparently from far more informed people than the Occupy Wall Street crowd:

AIG grabbed taxpayer money

stealing trillions with absolute impunity

Unlike the Occupy Wall Street people and even higher life forms like these two commenters, I read almost every book about the subprime crisis and watched two of the movies about it. Briefly,…


AIG was regulated by the New York State insuance commission. They were utterly incompetent. Georege W. Bush had nothing to do with that regulation, nor could he. Insurance is state not federal. One division of AIG, AIG FS, in London, sold a zillion credit default swaps (insurance against default) on subprime mortgages. It sold them too cheap. When the subprime mortgage-backed bonds started defaulting, AIG FS, which had not hedged the CDS’s it sold, could not pay. The entities that bought the CDSs from AIG were mostly U.S. and developed nation banks. The U.S. did not bail out AIG. They bailed out the banks, and indirectly the taxpayers in the banks’ countries, through AIG.

According to an LA Times story, the U.S. government’s AIG assistance will turn out to be a breakeven proposition for the U.S. taxpayers. AIG was illiquid, not insolvent. In oter words, they had the net worth to pay off the amounts they owed on the CDSs, but not in cash or other liquid assets. They needed to liquidate less liquid assets, which takes time if you do not do it at fire sale prices, to come up with the money. And so they did selling off subsidiaries and raising capital in the stock market. The U.S. government in effect made AIG a bridge loan so they could liquidate assets in an orderly fashion thereby avoiding the fire sale prices that would have wiped out much of AIG’s inherent ability to repay the bridge loan.

When I pointed this out to the commenter, he switched to a nit pick about AIG not paying the interest or opportunity cost of the U.S. help to them. I expect the U.S. will get every dime they are owed. And the U.S. owned stock in AIG, not a loan to them, so their is no interest due. Anyway, when all was said and done, AIG did not grab taxpayer money. They discovered they had a big problem involving many U.S. and foreign banks and informed the U.S. and foreign financial authorities as they are required to do. The government did what it did and it appears ultimately, there was no harm, no foul to taxpayers.

‘Stealing trillions with absolute impunity’

A trillion is a lot of money. No one got a trillion. Suggesting that Wall Street did that individually or even in the aggregate is nothing but a manifestation of corner tavern, bar stool bloviating that is typical in Occupy Wall Street and liberal media.

The biggest winner on Wall Street was John Paulson. He and his hedge fund made a biggest ever in financial history profit of $20 billion by betting that subprime loans would default. The bet was placed mainly by buying the above-mentioned CDSs that were sold by AIG and other large Wall Street firms. You can read about Paulson in the books The Big Short and The Greatest Trade Ever.

Did trillions disappear? Well, it was a two-step process. First, all the villains in the subprime crises inflated home values in the U.S. and in a number of Western European countries. The villains included:

• Congress and various White Houses going back to Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s


• local appraisers around the U.S.

• local mortgage and real estate brokers around the U.S.

• Wall Street banks and investment banks

• bond-rating agencies (Moody’s which was mostly owned by Warren Buffettt, S&P, and Fitch)

• sleazy, subprime home buyer/borrowers

• incompetent, lazy regulators (SEC, OTS, OCC, OFHEO, FDIC, Fed, state real estate and insurance commissioners)

• lobbyists most notably the derivative traders association which got any and all regulation of derivatives absolutely prohibited by Bill Clinton

So the trillions that disappeared were only trillions that were not real to begin with. They were trillions in the form of phony inflated home equity caused by ridiculously low lending standards and dishonest appraisals and bond ratings.

Which of the above villains got the trillions?

None of them. The trillions of bubble equity that “disapppeared” (after being conjured out of thin air to begin with) went into the pockets of ordinary citizens who sold their homes in the 2000 to 2006 period. They, in turn, spent it on other things thereby creating a general boom time in the economy as a whole.

“You’re welcome,” the villains might say.

The notion that trillions were stolen comes from the one-sided notion that the public gets to keep 100% of the fake equity created by Wall Street/Main Street dishonesty, but the Wall Street/Main Street crooks who created it are the criminals of the century if they profit from the inflation or bursting of the bubble.

President John F. Kennedy complained the the Soviet Union’s negotiationg position was “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.”

Those complaining about Wall Street “stealing trillions” are saying when Wall Street creates a huge bubble in home values that the home owners did absolutely nothing to earn and did not deverve, the home owners are absolutely entitled to keep every penny of it. And when the bubble bursts, as they all do, the bursting constitutes theft by Wall Street. [All the non-Wall Street villains on the above list are innocent using the sort of Nazi-Jew logic (Jews can do no right; non-Jews can do no wrong.) in spite of the fact that the local real estate and mortgage brokers, as a group, probably made more illicit profits than Wall Street did as a group.]

To understand the big picture proportions and impunity issues, see my article about stealing on commission.

The 1%

The 1% are to 2011 America what the Jews were to 1933 Germany. Objects of shameless open hatred by the politicians and public and scapegoats for all that ails the nation. As with 1930s German Jews, the 1% also are already being punished under color of law with “progressive” tax rate not to mention threatened still higher sur charges and other laws. The punishment levied against the German Jews was similar but not identical.

It is not clear whether the 1% refers to net worth or income. There is a big difference, but the Occupy Wall Street crowd are oblivious to such details. They would probably say “both” or “either” if pressed.

There is a list of the names of the top 400 wealthy people (net worth) in Forbes every year. I believe most of the peple in that list—Oprah, Sam Walton, Steve Jobs, David Geffen, and so on, were born poor or middle class. Many, like George Soros are refugees (from the Nazis in his case). Relatively few fit the aristocratic heir image portrayed in old Three Stooges movies. The 1% are talented hustlers.

Some, like Warren Buffet, profited big time and illictly from the subprime crisis. He owned the largest stake in Moody’s, one of the dishonest bond raters that said garbage subprime mortgage-backed bonds were AAA. But most of the Forbes 400 had nothing to do with subprime mortgages.

The basic idea of the left and Occupy Wall Street is that the 1% caused all our problems by misbehaving and that simply taking more or all of their excessive earnings/net worth would fix all of our problems.

Not even close.

Am I in the 1%? Actually, I am like most people in the 1%. I am self-employed and my wife and I are in the top 1% when my business has a good year. Most years we are not. That is also true of most people in the top 1%. The top 1% is 1% x 310 million Americans = 3,100,000 people. Some, like Warren Buffett, are up there every year. Most only visit the top 1%, like going on an expensive vacation, from time to time. Unlike Dickensian England in 1848, class is not a permanent condition in America. Indeed, in America, the current top 1% are the former bottom 10% or 20%.

I grew up as one of three sons of a mean drunk dad who could not hold a job and a high-school graduate mom who worked as a secretary to pay the bills. My mom told me once we had always been eligible for food stamps after they were invented, but she never got them because she would have been embarrassed to use them.

That is the story of America. The demonstrators would prefer they were living in Dickensian London, assuming they would get the role of santily victim Bob Cratchit and being able to self-righteously denounce Ebenezzer Scrooge, fictional characters, as opposed to today’s reality where the top 1% is mostly former Bob Cratchits and there is no real-world counterpart of Ebeneezer Scrooge.

if you took 100% of the income of the rich, it would pay for only 141 days of government budget

I love economist Walter E. Williams. He says that if you confiscated 100% of the income of those earning more than $250,000 per year, you would only collect $1.4 trillion. That’s enough to run the federal government for 141 days.

The worse news is that you could only do that once. The high-income people would immediately leave the country or shift into other, less taxed ways of earning their income. Or if you just taxed income, they would stop making it and live off their net worth. They’re rich remember. They don’t need no stinking income.

But—interesting mathematical fact, after the Occupy Wall Street eat the 1%, to quote one of their favorite posters, they would not go hungry. Why not? Because after you eat the top 1%, another 1% becomes the top one percent.

A famous quote from 1930s Nazi Germany said,

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

You may not be in the top 1% now, but as the Occupy Wall Street crowd eats there way through the top 1%’s, they will eventually get to you.

Appeasement was another word from the 1930s. Giving Hitler what he wants in return for a promise that he won’t want you. One definition of appeasement is,

Appeasement is like feeding the crocodile in hopes that it will eat you last.

In order to have democracy, you must have minority rights. And minority, really, is a mathematical term, not a racial one. Our minority rights are in the Bill of Rights. one is the last 12 words of the Fifth Amendment:

nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation

Taking the income or wealth of the rich, because the majority rules and, by definition, they always outnumber the 1%, is theft. It is prohibited by the Fifth Amendment but seems to be contradicted by the XVI Amendment which allows an income tax.

47% now pay no income tax. Why should the 51% stop eating the rich at the top 1%? Why not eat the top 49%? And, in fact, that is precisely where this is going and we are not far from it when 47% of U.S. residents are already totally exempt from paying federal taxes.

Taken over

Occupy Wall Street is disorganized. Disorganized movements get taken over by organized movements. Green Peace was co-founded by Patrick Moore. He recently quit, saying it had been taken over by leftists. It was supposed to be about the enivornment. I and others have often commentned that the green movement is the red movement in disguise and that the envorinomentalists are watermelons: green on the outside but red on the inside.

Occupy Wall Street seems to be getting taken over by unions who have a specific agenda that does not match the views of all the CWS demonstrators. For example, they support Obama. Many OWS do not.

Occupy Wall Street is often characterized as the left’s Tea Party. But It must be noted that the Tea Party was never taken over by anyone, not even the Republican Party.

Different motives

The motives and backgrounds of the OWS demonstrators seems to vary widely. I count at least the following:

• modern flower children looking for the social enjoyment of a 1960s “be in”

• 1960s anti-war folks who miss the old “be in”s and who rush out to demonstrate whenever they think the old “revolution” has returned

• guys who figure they might get laid

• nut jobs

• attention addicts—sort of left wing Willie Lohmans who believe that “attention must be paid” to them

• homeless looking for free food and someone to talk to other than themselves

• thieves looking to steal from overly trusting non-street people who are suddenly living on the street

• anarchists who just enjoyed being anti-social and vandalizing and assaulting people

• Tea Party envy Democrats

Much of what goes on an these demonstrations is anarchists trying to bait police into overreaction. Indeed, Oakland tried to clear their City Hall Plaza, hurt an Iraq vet in the process, and the mayor has since been apologizing and let the demonstrators back to where they were evicted.

Watching liberals have to enforce the law against their political paisanos is comical. The demonstators are calling the cops pigs, refusing to move, attracting rats, defecating on the plaza, etc., yet the liberal mayor is apologizing for the police using too much force.

1968 Democrat convention

Many Democrats worry this could do to the Democrats in 2012 what the anti-war riots at the 1968 Democrat convention did to them that year.

Maybe. Mobs are full of themselves. Everywhere they turn, people who argree with them are yelling. But on the other side of the TV cameras that are pointed at them are hundreds of millions of Americans—what Nixon called the Silent Majority. They are turned off by the antics and posters of the above listed groups.

Democrats who embrace or express sympathy for the OWS people are grasping at straws. The OWS guys may or may not start rioting. If they do, the public will punish the Democrats for that at the polls as they did in 1968.

By the way, the anti-war guys who lost at the 1968 Democrat convention, won afterwards by getting the party rules changed so the bosses had less power. The result of that? The 1972 Democrat nominee was anti-war Senator George McGovern who lost every state but Massachusetts and DC. The OWS movement currently has no where near the numbers that the 1960s anti-war movement did, but the nostalgic 60-something hippies of the 60s are back hanging out with OWS hoping for an encore.

Do the OWS folks have a point?

Yes. Corporate governance in the U.S. is an outrage. It should be reformed. CEOs and top execs should not be allowed to run their companies into the ground and walk away with hundreds of millions in bonuses and golden parachutes and such. Do the OWS guys understand corporate governance reform?

Ha! They can’t even spell it. They have no clue. But they do have a vague sense that there is something wrong with corporate CEOs presiding over disaster and walking away not only scot free but enormously enriched. And they are correct.

They also sense that something is wrong with government when it regulates the mortgage and Wall Street industries with tens of thousands of regulators in a dozen agencies and the suprime crisis still happens. And they are right about that, too.

In fact, the Tea Party and the OWS guys actually share a number of valid complaints.

The problem is both are childlike. Neither is willing to do their homework to diagnose the problem and prescribe appropriate remedies. Instead, they just throw tantrums and echo the words of the demagogues who have seized control of Capitol Hill and the White House.

What’s the solution? See my various articles at and

But, you know what? No one currently in Congress or the White House or Republican candidates is going to do the right thing. The federal government is going to collapse, because of our skyrocketing debt-to-GDP ratio, and harm the economy greatly in the process, and some unknown political force will seize control as a result. Current political “leaders” refuse to do anything to stop it because each party thinks they will inherit total power by successfully blaming the other party for the disaster. And who can argue? It worked for the Democrats in 1933 and ever since, even though the New Deal turned a no-big deal recession into a 10-year Great Depression.

John T. Reed

Here i an email I got about this article:

It is worse than that. They are stage-managing what goes on in front of the TV camera.

I have an acquaintance who hs participated in most of the "Get out of Iraq & Afghanistan" protests around the Bay Area ever since her retired 5 years ago.

He says everybody just stands around chatting until the TV cameras show up. The reporters then announce they are taking a few whole-crowd shots from various perspectives. Everybody starts yelling and waving signs AFTER the camera has moved into place. The so-called "reporters" then set up an "interview area" and stage manage the background protestors. A series of "interviewees" line up to go into the interview area. Each interviewee protester competes with the other for the most visually interesting "spontaneous interview". Between the 30-second interviewers, the protestors and the camera crew comment of the performance. "That one will be on the news tonight"..."Let's see who can top that"...."Let's shoot that "spontaneous interview" again...a truck rumbled by and messed up the sound"

Back when the Libyan fighting was just starting out and in the news every day, I saw TV reporter Lindsay Hilsum of British ITV News do a segment on "The challenge of reporting in Libya".

She was standing on a Libyan road, and the rebels around her asked what her filing time was, and then they poured gasoline on and lit-up a burning military truck in the background.

Lindsay then repositioned her camera crew so that the buring truck was NOT in the background, and when she started talking into the camera, the rebels then streamed by her on both sides, crouched down, firing their weapons, stirring up dust, yelling "allah akbar" and creating the visual that Lindsay was in the middle of a rebel charge against the enemy !

She closed by saying that there is nothing she can do about this, and all the TV crews in Libya just accept it. She, however, was the only one to point this out to her viewers. The other crews were happy to let the "fakeness" stand.

This is a Joseph Goebbel's dream of "self-generating propaganda images".

"Reporting what is", at least in TV reporting, is becoming very rare. EVERYTHING is morphing into a sort of stage-managed reality-TV news. I suspect that TV news viewers do not realize that how much of what they are looking at as "news" is actually "performance art" on both sides of the camera.

But again, maybe most viewers don't care. They just want to be entertained by their "news" and have their existing opinions reinforced over and over again. They don't care about "objectivity" and "context setting".

Or they gravitate to the PBS Newshour like I do. The PBS Newshour has lots of problems, but I do notice that they make an effort to avoid stage-managing events for their cameras.

Vince Boston

I appreciate informed, well-thought-out constructive criticism and suggestions. If there are any errors or omissions in my facts or logic, please tell me about them. If you are correct, I will fix the item in question. If you wish, I will give you credit. Where appropriate, I will apologize for the error. To date, I have been surprised at how few such corrections I have had to make.