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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thomas Friedman, "Two Peas in a Pod": Occupy Wall Street Akin to the Civil Rights Movement?

Thomas Friedman has made me angry this morning. Correction, livid.

In a New York Times op-ed entitled "Two Peas in a Pod" (, Friedman compares the India Against Corruption Movement with Occupy Wall Street. Exercising his vivid imagination, Friedman writes:

"The difference is that Indians are protesting what is illegal — a system requiring bribes at every level of governance to get anything done. And Americans are protesting what is legal — a system of Supreme Court-sanctioned bribery in the form of campaign donations that have enabled the financial-services industry to effectively buy the U.S. Congress, and both political parties, and thereby resist curbs on risk-taking."

Thanks, Tom, for explaining to us what Occupy Wall Street is all about. Needless to say, Friedman's assessment is entirely contrary to the findings of Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen, who, in an article in The Wall Street Journal (, determined:

"[T]he Occupy Wall Street movement reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people—and particularly with swing voters who are largely independent and have been trending away from the president since the debate over health-care reform.

The protesters have a distinct ideology and are bound by a deep commitment to radical left-wing policies. On Oct. 10 and 11, Arielle Alter Confino, a senior researcher at my polling firm, interviewed nearly 200 protesters in New York's Zuccotti Park. Our findings probably represent the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion.

Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn't represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda."

Friedman concludes:

"I think that repairing our respective dysfunctional democracies — so they are truly enablers for the 21st century and not inhibitors in India’s case or 'the sum of all lobbies' in America’s case — is for our generation what the independence movement in India and the civil rights movement in America were for our parents’ generation. Here’s hoping we’re as successful."

Friedman would compare OWS with the non-violent Civil Rights Movement, headed by one of my personal heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King? Consider recent activity of OWS in Oakland as reported by MSNBC (

"Police in riot gear arrested more than 80 protesters in downtown Oakland, where bands of masked protesters took over a vacant building, erected roadblocks and threw chunks of concrete and firebombs. Five people and several officers were injured."

Yes, Tom, here's hoping OWS is successful, particularly when it occupies your Maryland mansion. "Two Peas in a Pod"? Yeah, right. As long as we're talking about peas, my concluding early morning, garden-fresh vegetable response to Friedman in Yiddish:

"Du kannst nicht auf meinem rucken pishen unt mir sagen class es regen ist!"

Translation: "Don't go peeing on my back and telling me that it's raining!"

1 comment:

  1. "Police in riot gear arrested more than 80 protesters .... [f]ive people and several officers were injured."

    Jeffery - do you remenber when back in the '70's we knew what to do with pesky protesters way to go bro