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The Emperor Has No Clothes

Everyone that is familiar with Occupy Wall Street seems to have an opinion on what they need to do next. Not surprisingly, I have a few thoughts myself. But let me back up for a minute and reflect on my observations of what #ows has done so far.

Everyone agrees that #ows has succeeded in changing our national conversation. Before #ows, we had to endure daily conversations and maneuvering over debt reduction. An issue that exactly no one in America gives a shit about. We didn’t give a shit about the debt when George W Bush was exploding it, and we don’t give a shit about it now. Occupy moved the conversation back to what we do give a shit about; jobs. Actually, the conversation went far beyond jobs. Until #ows came along, I would have been downright orgasmic if we were merely talking about jobs. No, #ows took it s step further and got America talking about income inequality and the growing chasm between the rich and the middle class, let alone the poor.

That accomplishment alone was nothing short of a fucking miracle. But that wasn’t all they did. They inspired millions of people all  around the world to take to the streets and join them. How they did this is the key to my thoughts on the future of the movement. I was having a conversation with a fairly brilliant friend of mine (you know who you are) last week, who pointed out that #ows are the 3 year old in the room, pointing out that the emperor has no clothes. They didn’t craft a list of demands, make the movement even remotely political, or appoint a leader. They remained purposefully ambiguous. This, in my opinion was fucking genius. If you’re reading this blog you most definitely can’t relate to this, but most people hate politics. They hate the lies and the liars, don’t understand policy, or simply don’t have the time to invest in figuring out what’s going on. I believe that by remaining apolitical, they’ve succeeded in appealing to a much broader segment of the public than they otherwise would have. Let me pause for a moment to acknowledge the fact that I’ve made a complete reversal on this point. I originally believed that it was essential that they coalesce around a single message. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Advocating for a constitutional amendment to end corporate personhood, for example, would have severely limited the appeal of the movement. It would have limited the appeal to people that understand the issue, and understand how big of a factor that issue plays in the corruption of our government. It would have limited the appeal to liberals and independents, since republicans are reflexively pro-corporation. This (among many others) was the big mistake the teabaggers made, even before they were co-opted and Koched up. They were anti-Obama, which meant that right off the bat, 50% of Americans were opposed to whatever they were up to. It would have limited the appeal, and put the protestors in the position of having to educate people on the issue. No, it was much smarter to camp out and merely point out the fact that the emperor has no clothes, because most Americans can plainly see it.

Camping out was also a really important component of their strategy. It showed their commitment, but it also highlighted how dire the situation is. It drew far more attention than daily protests would have, and it served to recruit more people into the movement than marches would have.

Now that the encampments are being violently torn down all across the country, everyone has some advice to offer the movement. Let me throw in another observation here, I am not among those that believe that these occupiers don’t have a fucking clue what they’re doing. Not because I’m a sunny optimist, but because of what I’ve observed so far.

They have outsmarted my billionaire mayor at every single fucking turn. Emperor Bloomberg tried to break up the camps early on, with a unilateral decision that didn’t include a discussion with the corporation that sort of owns the park. It turned out that the owners of the park weren’t opposed to the occupiers. Oopsie, Mikey. You should have checked on that first, rather than assuming that you’re the king of New York City. When tearing down the camp didn’t work, he and his lapdog Commissioner Kelly decided that they would create the most hostile environment they could. That spectacularly backfired when daily video of NYPD brutality spread around the world like wildfire. Then they tried mass arrests which led most Americans to ask, “how could 700 people have acted in a way that merits being arrested, in a single day? Are the NYPD trying to muzzle free speech?”. When that caused worldwide outrage, they decided to try and destroy the movement from within by sending the city’s homeless, drunk, drug addled, and mentally unstable down to live with the protestors. While that created a cultural clash in the camp, the protestors managed to overcome that too, forcing Bloomberg to up the ante. His next move was to have the camps’ generators seized on the eve of a big (and rather ugly) storm, claiming that they were a fire hazard. What did the protestors do? They brought in some bicycle powered generators.

The final move by Bloomberg was to violently tear down the camp once and for all, claiming that conditions were “unsafe” and that there was violence and drug abuse happening in the camp.  This is something we’d been hearing from mayors all across the country. It was an angle that actually got some traction among supporters of the movement. I watched the “unsafe” mantra ripple among my social networking circles. This was the angle that I found most insulting to my intelligence. Let me get this straight; there are rapists and drug dealers in the camp that are making it dangerous for everyone else, so you have to shut it down? Are you fucking kidding me? Your inability to keep the peace means that the movement needs to be dismantled? I believe that the job of law enforcement is the same within the occupy camps, as it in society at large. Their job is to identify, arrest, and make a case against criminal elements in society. This job isn’t any different within the #ows camp. Claiming that they can’t do that job without decimating free speech is total fucking bullshit. 50% of all drivers on the road in most major cities are legally drunk between the hours of 10pm and 3am on weekends. We could virtually eliminate all drunk driving deaths in America by imposing a curfew barring anyone from being on the road from 10pm to 6am on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Does that seem like a reasonable solution to anyone? Why would anyone buy into this bullshit excuse on the police’s part for why the protests need to be shut down? Whats their goddamned incentive to keep make sure the occupations are safe?

Anyway, back to Occupy’s response to Bloomberg’s latest move. Five hours after the raid began, attorneys for the movement slapped an injunction on Bloomberg preventing him from blocking the occupiers’ access to the park.

This group has their shit together. Anybody who doesn’t realize that, just isn’t paying attention.

Moving forward, I don’t believe the encampments are crucial to the movement any longer. I feel as if it’s time to spread out among the community and broaden the base. Most people that are of the opinion that Occupy needs a clear message now, I believe, overestimate its current reach. We live in a bubble, and I don’t think that there are as many of us as most people think there are. I think that the focus needs to be on raising awareness. They need to organize marches all across the city.

I believe that espousing an agenda is the most effective way to limit Occupy’s reach. They need to keep pointing at the naked emperor. No matter which agenda they adopt, they immediately reduce their pool of potential recruits by 50%. I’m not convinced that they’re anywhere near the point of needing to create a solution. We need to get the percentage of Americans that are involved in the movement up into the double digits before even thinking about putting forth a policy paper.

I don’t believe that they should appoint a leader. Doing so would just give the opposition a target to focus in on. So far, the attacks on the occupiers have been blatantly lame attempts at deriding them. Putting forward a single person will only serve to focus those attacks and muddy the conversation.

All of that said, I believe that the occupiers have a plan for the future. I don’t believe they intended to stay camped out forever because that just wouldn’t be consistent with what I’ve seen from them so far. They needed to have their camps violently torn down. They needed for the world to see the militarization of America’s police forces all across the country. Most people wouldn’t have believed it if they hadn’t seen it. Some still don’t. I don’t believe that they were caught off guard by these raids, and I don’t believe they need my, or anyone else’s advice because I haven’t seen them fuck up yet.

I mostly offer up my advice because I wouldn’t be living up to my pseudonym if I didn’t. But I have faith in the movement that helped to give me hope. Not the bullshitty Obama, corporate owned, kind of hope. But actual hope. The kind of hope that comes with Americans coming together, rather than screaming at each other across partisan divides.

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Disposable People

You know that I’m a political junkie. I’m intellectually curious about several other topics as well. Technology is a big interest of mine. Among the topics that I don’t give two shits about, is sports. I don’t get the obsession with it. Sports seem as trivial as reality shows to me.

Yet, I spent this weekend enraged over a story that, on its face, appears to be a sports story. I’m referring to the Penn State, raping of (probably) dozens of little boys story. This story is so fucking vile, that no political maneuvering by any slimy and corrupt politician, has ever made me more ill.

Here are the broad strokes for anyone not following it. Nine years ago, Mike McQueary, an assistant football coach at Penn State, walked into the locker room at Penn State and witnessed another assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky RAPING a 10 year old boy. Not fondling, not groping, but RAPING. Upon making this discovery, did he pry Sandusky off of the poor boy? NO! Did he call the police? NO! He left, allowing the rape to continue, even though both Sandusky and the victim had seen him. Before I continue with the events as they occurred, I want you to think about something. I want you to think about the horror that 10 year old boy was suffering at that moment. I want you to think about the hopefulness that he must have felt when he saw another adult enter the room. The hope that this person was going to stop the brutal anal rape that he was enduring. And then think about how he must have felt when that “hope” evaporated and he realized that no one was going to help him. So fucking tragic. Okay, back to the events that ensued. This gutless piece of shit calls not the police, but his father, to tell him what he had seen. Does the father instruct McQueary to call the police? NO! This family obviously suffers from moral bankruptcy issues. The father tells the son to report what he saw to the head coach of the Penn State football team, Joe Paterno. WTF? The head coach? Does Joe Paterno call the police after hearing of the horrific RAPE of a child? NO! This vile, piece of shit, asshat, who has four kids and a litter of grandchildren, doesn’t do a goddamned thing. How feckless and self serving does a parent of four children have to be to allow the RAPE of a child to go unreported? He decided to keep the incident “in house” at Penn.

Why am I writing about this? Because it’s a perfect representation of what Occupy Wall Street is shining a light on. This isn’t just a story about a pedophile and the soulless peices of shit that did nothing to stop him. This is a story about how people of privilege shit all over the poor (and therefore the powerless) in order to preserve their wealth and power. 

This fucking monster Sandusky, made sure that he preyed on poor kids from broken homes. In fact, he started a foundation for children in need. Their mission statement reads, “The Second Mile is a nonprofit organization serving the youth of Pennsylvania. At The Second Mile, we are committed to helping young people achieve their potential as individuals and as community members and providing education and support for their parents and youth service professionals.” Apparently, Sandusky wanted to make sure that some of these kids achieved their potential by locating his penis, and forcing it on them.

He wasn’t preying on privileged kids. He never raped the child of a Penn State administrator. No, he carefully chose his victims among a class that he deemed to be powerless. And he correctly assumed that his position of power would shield him from paying for his crimes. The Jerry Sandusky is a pedophile allegations didn’t start in 2002. They date back to at least 1995, which is why he abruptly retired from the Penn State coaching team in 1999. People at Penn State have been covering up for a RAPIST for nearly two decades. Why?

It’s about the money, Lebowski. Nobody wanted to tarnish the very lucrative Penn State football machine. And no one gave a shit if a few dozen poor kids got raped in order to keep the money machine flowing. They were just collateral damage, completely disposable in the pursuit of all of that beloved cash. I can’t tell you how fucking disgusted I am with this whole thing.

This situation is emblematic of the problems in America. We have a growing class of people that have to deal with a shrinking field of opportunities. 43% of working Americans earn so little, that their tax liability is completely wiped out by the standard deductions that we all take. There is something fundamentally wrong here. Our wages are shrinking and our poor population is growing. With less means, comes less power. And over and over again, we’re being told to just shut up and take it. New unjustifiable bank fees? Suck it up and pay! Health insurance premiums doubling and tripling on you? Suck it up and pay! Can’t find a job after months of looking? You’re obviously just lazy. Wanna go to college to better yourself? Suck on this;

 

It’s getting harder and harder to stay in the middle class every year, and it doesn’t matter how hard you try. The opportunities are being systematically taken away from us at the hands of an obnoxious 1% that believe we’re powerless, and that we’re just going to suck it up and take it.

And the entitlement that the elite feel is growing exponentially, relative to our shrinking opportunities. Whether it’s about RAPING poor children, or using tax payer dollars to pay out exorbitant bonuses, the ruling class feel entitled to take anything they want. And up until now, their sense of entitlement has been bolstered by the fact that we’ve been sitting back and taking their shit. We pay more, we work more, and we accept that having less is just the way it is.

No more. It’s time for this to end. It’s not okay to RAPE children, and it’s not okay to rape the middle class. That’s why I fully support Occupy Wall Street.

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