Demonstrations, Riots & Wars

Posted: Oct 21, 2011 11:47 AM

As I have told you before, I watch CNBC in the morning because I know about as much about politics as most of the guests on the morning cable news programs who talk about politics, but I know nearly nothing about finance so I watch the guests on CNBC who talk about finance.

Last Friday I was listening to CNBC on my Sirius radio as I drove to Ohio and heard Jim Cramer talking about the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Even though he made a very large pile of money as a trader and investor, he said that in his youth he was pretty far to the left of his colleagues.

When he was asked whether, if he were in his early 20s today, he would be camping out with the demonstrators, he paused and said he probably would.

But, that's not what caught my ear. He went on to say (and this is a pretty close approximation, but not guaranteed to be a direct quote:

There were real villains in [the Wall Street collapse of 2008]. I wish the people camping out on Wall Street were demonstrating against the people who did bad; not the people who did well.

There are demonstrations going on just about everywhere. In Athens, Greece this morning pending a vote of the Parliament on a new round of austerity measures (which passed by ten votes - 154-144) 70,000 Greeks demonstrated outside.

The demonstration turned violent when the Anarchists decided to do battle against the Communists. I know that sounds like a scene from "The Big Labowski:"

Donny: Are these the Nazis, Walter?

Walter Sobchak: No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of …

Nihilists! I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

But, it's what was going on in Athens yesterday.

All these demonstrations are about the people who are (or claim to be) the "have nots" wanting to "have more" by taking it from those whom they believe "have too much."

My guess is, where you fall depends on whether you're standing in the unemployment line, or riding on the gravy train.

It is not just Anarchists v Communists; or Occupy Wall Streeters v Wall Streeters. It is nation v nation.

The United States is still the largest economy in the world. We are the Earth's richest country. Some other countries begrudge us that, but because we also own the world's biggest military (including everything from mess kits to aircraft carriers) the "have not" countries have no good way to take anything - much less everything - we have.

That may not be the case amoung the Europeans. The two big economies are the French and the Germans who have, as you know if you have watched any more than 37 seconds of the Military Channel, not always gotten along.

It seems that the Northern Europeans are growing wearing of bailing out the Southern Europeans which include Greece, Italy, and Spain.

Greece, Italy and Spain are among the "have nots" in this version of current economic mini-series; France and Germany are the "haves." Switzerland, although not a member of the EU and does not use the Euro as its official currency, is also one of the "haves" because … just because.

One person with a sign is a protest. A crowd of protestors is a demonstration. A crowd of demonstrators turned violent is a riot. A massive riot turned inward is a rebellion. A successful rebellion is a revolution. A nationwide revolution turned outward is ... a war.

Stay tuned.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Reuters look at the Greek demonstrations yesterday and a link to the "Big Labowski." Also a Mullfoto from the Delta Sky Club at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport and a Catchy Caption of the Day.