Occupy Wall Street: Separating Fact from Media

ann coulter

Ann Coulter

Newspaper columnist Ann Coulter, spreading the lies of the extreme right wing, called the Occupy Wall Street protestors, “tattooed, body-pierced, sunken-chested 19-year-olds getting in fights with the police for fun.”

She claimed the protestors, now in the thousands in New York, are “directionless losers [who] pose for cameras while uttering random liberal clichés lacking any reason or coherence.” (Several hundred thousand of these “directionless losers” are expected to attend rallies in more than 650 cities, October 15.)

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), House majority leader, called the protest nothing more than “growing mobs,” completely oblivious to his myriad statements that he supports “mobs” when they are from the Tea Party.

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, tacking as far right as possible to avoid anyone thinking he was once a moderate, called the protest “dangerous.”

Republican presidential contender Herman Cain, in a moment that demonstrated how out of touch he is with the economic reality of the five-year recession, argued, “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks; if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself!”

Glenn Beck, too irrational even for Fox News, which terminated him less than two years after it tried to make him a TV superstar, told his radio audience, the protestors “will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you.”

Lauren Ellis of Mother Jones, at one time a cutting edge magazine for social justice, believed that the protestors have a “lack of focus.” Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, wrote, “A protest without an objective is like a party or a picnic of the unemployed and the indolent. Unless you have an objective, what are you doing out there?”

First, let’s see just who these protestors really are. And then, let’s see what they stand for, since the mainstream media, of which Fox News is an entrenched part, don’t seem to be getting the message from the people.

The protestors rightly say they are part of the 99 percent; the other one percent have 42 percent of the nation’s wealth, the top 20 percent have more than 85 percent of the nation’s wealth, the highest accumulation since 1928, the year before the Great Depression. Even the most oblivious recognize the protestors as a large cross-section of America. They are students and teachers; housewives, plumbers, and physicians; combat veterans from every war from World War II to the present. They are young, middle-aged, and elderly. They are high school dropouts and Ph.D.s. They are from all religions and no religion, and a broad spectrum of political views.

occupy wall street executeSupport has come from senior politicians with very different philosophies. Vice President Joe Biden believes the protests are because “In the minds of the vast majority of the American–the middle class is being screwed.” Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), unlike a vast majority of Republican politicians, stated, “If they were demonstrating peacefully, and making a point, and arguing our case, and drawing attention to the Fed—I would say, ‘good!’”

Second, like all protests, there are different opinions within the ranks. But, there is a core of beliefs. The protestors are fed up with corporate greed that has a base of corporate welfare and special tax benefits for the rich. They support the trade union movement, Medicare and Social Security, affordable health care for all citizens, and programs to assist the unemployed, disenfranchised, and underclass. A nation that cannot take care of the least among us doesn’t deserve to be called the best of us.

They’re mad that the home mortgage crisis, begun when greed overcame ethics and was then magnified by the failure of regulatory agencies and the Congress to provide adequate oversight, robbed all of America of its financial security. During the first half of this year alone, banks and lending agencies have sent notices to more than 1.2 million homeowners whose loans and mortgages are in default status, according to RealtyTrak. Of course, less regulation is just what conservatives want—after all, their mantra has become, “no government in our lives.”

walter braschThe protestors are mad that the wealthiest corporations pay little or no taxes. They point to the Bank of America, part of the mortgage crisis problem, which earned a $4.4 billion profit last year, but received a $1.9 billion tax refund on top of a bailout of about $1 trillion. They look at ExxonMobil, which earned more than $19 billion profit in 2009, paid no taxes and received a $156 million federal rebate. Its profit for the first half of 2011 is about $ 21.3 billion.

They rightfully note that it is slimy when General Electric, whose CEO is a close Obama advisor, earned a $26 billion profit during the past five years, but still received a $4.1 billion refund.

They’re mad that the federal government has given the oil industry more than $4 billion in subsidy, although the industry earned more than $1 trillion in profits the past decade.

They’re mad that Goldman Sachs, after receiving a $10 billion government bailout, and a $2.7 billion profit in the first quarter of 2011, shipped about 1,000 jobs overseas. During the past decade, corporations, which have paid little or no federal taxes, have outsourced at least 2.4 million jobs and are hoarding trillions which could be used to spur job growth and the economy.

They’re mad that corporations that took federal bailout money gave seven-figure bonuses to their executives.

They’re mad that the U.S., of all industrialized countries, has the highest ratio of executive pay to that of the average worker. The U.S. average is about 300 to 475 times that of the average worker. In Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, and England, the average CEO earns between 10 and 20 times what the average worker earns, and no one in those countries believes the CEOs are underpaid.

walter braschThey’re mad that 47 percent of all persons who earned at least $250,000 last year, including about 1,500 millionaires, paid no taxes, according to Newsmax. If you’re a Republican member of Congress, that’s perfectly acceptable. They’re the ones who thought President Obama was launching class warfare against the rich by trying to restore the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans. They succeeded in blocking tax reform and a jobs bill, but failed to understand the simple reality—if there is class warfare, it is being waged by the elite greedy and their Congressional lackeys.

Herman Cain, Fox TV pundit Sean Hannity, and others from the extreme right wing said the protestors are un-American, apparently for protesting corporate greed. The Occupy Wall Street protestors aren’t un-American; those who defend the destruction of the middle class by defending greed, and unethical and illegal behavior, are.

Walter Brasch

Walter Brasch is an award-winning syndicated columnist, and the author of 17 books. His latest book is Before the First Snow, a social issues mystery set in rural Pennsylvania.


  1. Ray Bishop says

    I am a Vietnam Combat Veteran and I totally support the 99% protestors who are sick and tired of the very wealthy who control the country and who have tipped the balance by their greed under the Bush Administration to rip off the working people of America.
    Since when does being in the care of the VA have to do with trashing a persons property?
    Obviously this writer must be one of those very few elitist millionaires who have such a good life they want it to continue as it is. Otherwise he or she has no imagination for what we could have under a sensible system of equality and financial rewards for hard work as opposed to rewards for an accumulation of wealth.

  2. hwood007 says

    I suggest the writer interview the teacher, the doctor, and the combat vet, and then print their own words. As a combat vet, I can not believe one would trash private property unless he/she was in the care of the VA. Saying there are those types of people is different from printing their words and names. If they are so sure of their opinions, they will have no fear of their names being used.

    My thoughts are these;
    I tend to judge folks by their actions, not by what they say they will do but by what they actually do.

    If I were to visit some recent protest sites, those that had tea party members and those that had occupy groups, I could tell who had been there just by the appearance of the protest site.

    The tea party sites would actually look better and cleaner than when the tea party arrived. Those people have an opinion of self worth and would not want to be judged to be such a person who would trash another person’s property. Even though they protested a cause, everyone they came in contact with would be treated with full respect.

    The occupy folks sites would look worse than when they arrived and would be in need of a detailed clean-up. The individual members of occupy groups do not have the same individual view of self worth as do the tea party groups so they will leave the clean-up to others. This will happen and has already happened all over the world. When they become organized and have some leadership, perhaps then the sites will be cleaner but not as clean as tea party sites. They do not respect others as they protest.

    This can not be denied as the truth as it has already happened at multiple sites, on several contents, as I have written.

    Are those among the occupy group that act like the tea party group, yes, but those who are not provide the opinions for the whole group.

    • says

      Yes, the people at the Ocucpy rallies are a true cross-section. And, most are not unwashed unclean hippie-types who leave damage and destruction. The couple of hundred who were at the park did in fact clean up the park. I doubt ANY group of 200 is “totally clean.” And, in contrast to the reader, I have seen TP rallies that did leave some trash. Of course, many of the rallies had such small attendance there wasn’t much to clean up. But, yes, there were combat veterans at NYC, DC, and other places. Your defense of the TP doesn’t ring true, nor does your attac k upon the Occupy movement.

    • says

      Have you BEEN to an Occupy Site? I have.
      At the end of the day of protest, about a dozen of us patrolled the park with trash sacks. I picked up anything I found that didn’t belong there – mostly cigarette butts. At the end of my patrol, I had filled one corner of a kitchen-sized trash bag.

      That evening, after we had adjourned to the park where we sleep at night, a gentleman approached me with a food container he had found that had been left behind by someone. He asked if it was mine. I said, “No,” and he took it to the rubbish.

      WE are the people you are trashing. WE are the people you claim are dirty and have no self-respect.
      I am here to tell you that you have obviously not visited a site and that you are parroting propaganda fed to you by the people who have their feet on YOUR neck.

      As I read on another site this morning, “The Powers that Be are destroying us – and we are too busy insulting each other to notice.”
      Guess what? They like it that way. Why play into their hands?

    • Jack says

      Ann Coulter and others, including hwood007 who posted here, are trying to divide and conquer the resistance. The OWS and TP people actually have a lot in common – they both perceive they’re being cheated. I talk to a lot of Tea Party people, and they’re not the stupid racists they’re made out to be. Most of them are hard working Americans who see their efforts being sucked away by welfare on both sides of the economic spectrum: corporate greed with Obama’s bailouts of the super rich, and the deliberately impoverished (or the dishonest cheaters) who are stealing resources away from those who truly need our help.

      As soon as the Tea Party folks realize that they have common goals with this movement to take back our government from its corporate masters, many of them will join us. The question is, will we be smart enough to include them in our efforts. Because they do have valid concerns, the most important of which is the liberal welfare mentality. On our side, we need to reassess our social programs and reign in their rampant abuse. Giving welfare (Section 8, HEAP payments, food stamps and cash) to those who would choose to make their lives better if we didn’t make it so easy for them to suck off society is EXACTLY what caused hard working Americans to vote for Reagan, Nixon and the Bushes. And today, that kind of foolish welfare mentality is what drives independents and working Americans into the hands of the GOP. Business owners and workers look around and see their neighbors living off the public, having more and more babies that we all have to pay for, and yet somehow managing to have plenty of cash for cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. The few people who really need our help are outweighed by the millions who scam the system. How long do we think we can keep supporting intergenerational welfare? It’s simply unsustainable, and it destroys our political clout when we’re so naïve we don’t realize we’re being suckered.

      Is the left wing willing to reassess our give-away, freebie, no accountability welfare mentality? If so, then we’ll be able to create a strong movement that truly supports the middle class over the super rich by pulling in millions of mainstream Americans that agree with our goals, minus the naïve social programs we’ve created. If we can’t give up our easily abused welfare programs, and if we’re not willing to admit that we’re being scammed by many, if not most, people utilizing our social welfare programs, then this country is sunk. Because we can’t fight the billionaires who own our government unless we consolidate the real 99% of us who span the political spectrum from left to right, most of whom are somewhere in the middle.

      BTW, I didn’t see an “sunken-chested 19-year-olds” at the rally. If I did, I wouldn’t have made fun of them. Ann Coulter is just a mean person with an agenda to disempower those who want her to pay her fair share of taxes.


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