Daily Deadline: Fanatics & Foreclosures

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JONATHAN COHN OCTOBER 18, 2011

Daily Deadline: Fanatics & Foreclosures

[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir]

Anarchy is all fun and games, I suppose, until you need to get something done – like, say, condemn the handful of anti-Semites in your midst. That’s the message Michelle Goldberg sends in a new piece she’s just written for Tablet. And she's not simply concerned about the people waving signs that say “Hitler’s Bankers” and “Jews control Wall Street.” She's also concerned about the other fringe characters, at least some of whom are effectively trying to hijack the demonstrations to advance their own causes.

Based on what I've read, and what I would hope, the vast majority of demonstrators want nothing to do with these people and many (no small number of them Jewish, for what it’s worth) have spoken out against what these anti-semites are saying. But the demonstrators as a group have no formal way to repudiate or reject the fringe. As a result, the extremists keep getting media attention, threatening to tarnish the entire movement.

“The leaderless, diffuse nature of the movement, in some ways its greatest strength, also makes it hard to police bigots, bullies, and cranks,” Michelle writes. “This isn’t just about Jews—Occupy Wall Street’s ability to find some measure of unity and discipline amid a commitment to anarchy will determine whether it is able to grow beyond demonstrating widespread disaffection with the status quo.”

Elsewhere:

Mitt's new slogan: More foreclosures! See what Romney just said in Nevada. Via the Huffington Post

What could be more fair than flipping a coin? Playing blackjack at a casino, it turns out 

Back on the farm: Deportations of undocumented immigrants is depriving many farms of their low-cost workforce. But the Wall Street Journal reports that some farms have found an alternative: prison labor. According to the article, programs in states like Arizona, Georgia, Hawai’i and Idaho make prisoners available to farms, under certain conditions. (Inmates must get prevailing wages, some states require that inmates give part of their earnings to victims of their crimes, etc.) As the article notes, prison labor has a dark history in this country. But the farmers say they can’t find enough workers – and the work may be helping some prisoners ease into life after incarceration. 

CLASS Notes: More on the long-term insurance program, from Igor Volsky and Sarah Kliff.

Newt’s hypocrisy, worse than you thought. Alec MacGillis has the story.

Or maybe it's the whole sign of the devil thing: Jon Huntsman argues that Herman Cain's 999 plan is a bad idea because it could never make it through Congress.

Reader comment of the day: From "ironyroad," about Romney's decision to name Robert Bork as an adviser on judicial issues:

I heard that Rick Perry is considering countering this move by promising to bring back Lee Atwater from the Great Beyond and make him his chief of staff.

Video Dedication of the Day: While I have farms and foreclosures on the brain, here's John Mellencamp.

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posted in: jonathan cohn, politics, wall street journal, darius tahir, hitler, matthew o'brien, michelle goldberg

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