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Naomi Wolf Versus Joshua Holland: Was There a Coordinated Federal Crackdown on Occupy Wall Street?

Naomi Wolf responds to Joshua Holland's criticisms of her piece alleging a coordinated federal crackdown on Occupy Wall Street.

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I saw firsthand, day after day, how, for a president or a vice president or members of their senior staff or campaign staff, every idea about policy, governing or even messaging is filtered through this decision-making tree:

1) How does it poll? 
2) How do the polls play out geographically?  
3) What does this do for individual, high net-worth donors?  
4) What does this do for this candidate's special interests?  
But always, No 5 is part of every decision: 
5) How does this proposed idea, policy, decision or message affect the interlocking network around the leader that is made up of individual congresspeople's own electoral needs; their own individual, high net-worth donor networks; their own special interest networks; their own financially-benefiting, revolving-door, former aides' networks; and their own, or their relatives' own, future work as lobbyists? (A distant, final "6" in the decision-making equation is some faint, remembered, youthfully idealistic impulse to good governance, or to actual problem-solving, which can be called upon if issues one through five have been addressed). Every decision, whether or not it is made in the formal organisational chart that my critics are pointing to, is filtered through a calculus of future reprisals, or future alliance-related benefits, from other members of Congress, both inside and outside the leader's own political party. Calculations of how individual congresspeople around the leader in question would react to any given decision or even phrase in a speech, were constant, inexorable and a continually shifting form of chess. If money were not part of the equation, there would be nothing wrong with this consideration on the part of every leader of how individual congresspeople will react to a decision. The chess of influence on the Hill is how our system was originally set up to work. The corrupting element is the money now involved.

Can I offer formal documentation that this is how business is also done in relation to congressional decision-making about DHS, and then about DHS's own decision-making? Um –  duh!– no. Obviously, I have no such documentation of this role of congressional self-interest. These favors and calculations are not generally put in writing; nor are they presented to journalists in press releases. But is it crazy to address this role of influence and expectation on those on the DHS subcommittee, or for that matter on any subcommittee? As anyone who has actually worked on the Hill knows, it would be crazy  not to.

I wrote in the Guardian piece that a possible congressional motivator for cracking down on OWS is that when the people of OWS get their hands on the books, a great deal of fraud is likely to be exposed. Some critics called this wild speculation. One of the issues that came up often in my informal survey of OWS is the goal of auditing the Federal Reserve.  An audit has revealed  $16tn in unaccountable disbursements . Another point to consider in terms of the potential threat posed to Congress by OWS demands about Glass-Steagall is that ten  of the 12 members of the congressional supercommittee had voted to repeal that legislation  (for Senate,  see here ; for House of Representatives,  see here ).

Are these facts themselves evidence that Congress may be motivated by benefitting from a crackdown against the potential financial transparency demanded by OWS? No. Do they bear additional investigation? Assuredly.

Because of a miscommunication on my part in the editing process, there are, indeed, two errors in my posted Guardian piece: "kale derivatives", ridiculously enough, was a typo: it should have read "fake derivatives". And I wrote that the Committee to Protect Journalists had issued a FOIA requests. This is incorrect.  It was the National Lawyers' Guild, among others . I have corrected accordingly.

 
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