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Harris v Quinn Is Going To Be A Shitty SCOTUS Decision I Welcome

So unions and many democrats are freaking out about today’s impending Harris v Quinn decision from the Supreme Court. Let me give you a little bit of detail about the case before I get to my point. This case is about public sector unions, which ultimately means it will be about all unions. The plaintiff, Pamela Harris has a son who needs ongoing medical care, which she provides for him. In order for her to be able to do this, she receives Medicaid funds and is therefore considered a home health care worker, employed by the state of Illinois. At some point, home health care workers voted to unionize so they’re represented by SEIU Healthcare Illinois-Indiana. Since the majority of them voted to unionize, they are all members of the union and must therefore pay union dues. Back in 1977, the Supreme Court issued a decision on union dues (I’m not going to do a deep dive into this case, but it’s Abood v Detroit Board of Education is you want to look it up). The court basically said that all public workers who are represented by the union must pay the fees associated with bargaining for them minus the cost of political activity.

So this twit shill Harris sued because she doesn’t want to pay her fair share. Why do I call her a twit? Before the union, wages in IL for a state employed home health care worker was $7.00 per hour. The union negotiated that salary up to $11.65 per hour now, with a scheduled increase to $13.00 per hour in December. Calling her a twit is clearly more flattering than she deserves, but I digress.

So now the court is basically going to redecide union dues. Remember, this was already decided so we’re looking at a major act of judicial activism here. Anyway the unions are freaking out because if the court decides that the twit doesn’t have to pay her fair share, they’re basically only get dues from their members on a voluntary basis. Unions represent both members and nonmembers so if people are allowed to opt out of paying their dues, they basically get all of the work that a union does to negotiate their wages for free. This is referred to as freeloading. I refer to it as twittery because if the union falls apart, the twit’s wages start to go back down immediately. Nonetheless, people are stupid and short sided and significant percentage of them will choose to get something for nothing, until it all falls apart and they’re left with nothing.

Unions are freaking out because this could effectively end unions. Democrats are freaking out because unions are the still biggest known (remember, our elections are mostly funded in the dark now) contributors to the democratic party.

I’m not freaking out. Not because I think the decision will be the right one, and not because I don’t think this will end unions. It will likely be the wrong decision and if it is, it will end unions. I’m not freaking out because when history repeats, the results always come out the way they did the first time around. Since a large percentage of humans are dullards who aren’t interested in history, (cause what could history possibly have to do with them?) we repeat history over and over again. Most people don’t realize that they have weekends off because of unions. They don’t realize that without unions, they would be working fourteen hour days side by side with their kids. Some dipshits believe they’re above exploitation because they’re "educated". Never mind the fact that the libertarian Paypal founder (Peter Thiel) and douchebag is trying to build a slave labor barge full of dirt cheap foreign software developers far enough off the coast of San Francisco, that he’s not subject to compliance with US labor laws. But that’s not going to affect "educated" people cause, free market!

Things are definitely going to go to shit for workers if unions disappear. But they’re slowly going to shit now as unions are shrinking. Disappearing them is just going to bring us to the end game of worker misery a little faster. So here’s how it’s going to go; unions disappear, workers’ already flat wages start to drop precipitously, democrats turn to corporations for money.

Democrats will definitely get that money. They’re getting it now. They’ve been getting it in ever increasing amounts since Bill Clinton put up the "for rent" sign at democratic national headquarters. That’s why it’s been harder and harder to tell democrats apart from republicans over the past couple of decades. Once the democratic party becomes 100% reliant on corporations to fund them (as republicans have been for four decades), their constituency will shrink dramatically to include only; GE, Verizon, Goldman Sachs, Lockheed Martin, Monsanto, and Pfizer. Notice how you’re conspicuously missing from that list? That’s because your only lobbyist, unions will be gone. Unions are your lobbyist whether you belong to one or not. Study after study shows that wages go up across the board in places where unions are strong.

Once they’re dismantled, you go back to being completely powerless. There will be no need for libertarian douchebag billionaires to invest in building slave barges because software developers in San Francisco city limits can look forward to being treated to the same conditions that a Bangladeshi garment workers enjoy now, but with a view of the Golden Gate bridge.

So why am I not worried about this decision going wrong? Because history repeats in the same way over and over again. We the people have been slowly losing our power and our voices since about 1980. It’s clear which way the pendulum of history is headed. We have about the same level of income inequality that we had in the 1920s. Thanks to the Supreme Court and decisions like McCutcheon v FEC and Citizen’s United, the government serves corporations almost exclusively (as they did in the 1920s). We are slowly digressing back to a time when conditions for the average American were miserable. I say we should speed that process up.

Americans are increasingly becoming aware that something is horribly wrong in America. This is why we’re seeing both parties fracture into different factions. Republicans have their teabaggers and their libertarians pushing up against the corporatists. Democrats have their Clinton, Booker corporatists vs the Warren, Grayson, Sanders populists. Right now, we’re at the stage of "horribly wrong" where people can be manipulated to act against their own self interest. Libertarians are clinging on to their unicorns harder than ever, and teabaggers have been duped into becoming foot soldiers for the Koch brothers. Democrats are actually excited about the possibility of Hillary Clinton saving the day, despite the quarter million dollar speaking fees she’s getting from Goldman Sachs.

This shitty decision from the Supreme Court is going to wake up the liberals. More and more of us have moved away from the democratic party and vehemently supported "socialist" candidates like Bill de Blasio and Elizabeth Warren. More and more of us are organizing to amend the constitution, whether it’s with Move To Amend, Wolf PAC, or Rootstrikers.

If you’ve been following me, you know that my opinion is that a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics is the only remedy we have left for our ailing government. I don’t know how many Elizabeth Warrens we can afford to support when our wages are going down. Remember that 94% of the time, the congressional candidate with the most money wins. Warren and de Blasio (I know he’s a mayor, but it’s not different) were the candidates with the most money. They weren’t the exceptions to the money statistic, they were the rule. The only amazing thing is that Warren managed to raise enough money from us, to defeat her bank backed opponent (de Blasio was a slightly different scenario that I won’t go into).

More liberals need to wake up and get to the conclusion I came to. The support I’m seeing for Hillary tells me that we still have a way to go on the path to "the awakening". Why do I focus on liberals? Because liberals always have been, and always will be the only ones who affect change. It doesn’t matter where in the world, or what period of history you look at, change is always brought about by liberals. Conservatives, by definition conserve. They don’t like change and they don’t rock the boat. The devil they know is just fine because "that’s just how it is". If conservatives had their way, the United States would be part of the UK. That’s just a fact. Liberals always have been, and always will be the activists. 

The evisceration of unions is going to remove the thin veil that the democratic party still wears. Remember Obama bailed out Wall Street, appointed a Monsanto executive to a high level position at the FDA, and failed to put on his picketing shoes to help labor in Wisconsin. But that’s all okay for some democrats, cause he gave us the Affordable Care Act. Don’t get me wrong, I’m marginally satisfied with the ACA as a stop gap, but I want more. I want food that isn’t going to poison me, water that isn’t flammable, and a bank that doesn’t have its hand in my pocket at all times. As long as money determines our elections, we’re not going to get any better than Obama, and as long as democrats throw us some crumbs every decade or so, liberals aren’t going to wake up to that fact. I’m very clear on the reality that I’m never going to get these things as long as money is the primary driver and motivator for our political system.

I need more liberals to wake the fuck up and join me, because we are our only hope. Because I know that things need to get shitty enough to activate the activists, I’m okay with this incredibly shitty decision from the Supreme Court. We’re already on the road to shitty so let’s get there already so that we can turn this sinking ship around.                     

 


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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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Powerless

It’s a state of being that I simply don’t believe in. I fundamentally believe that the only circumstance under which a person is powerless, is one that is self imposed. Once you accept the notion that you’re powerless, you’re fucked.

As I’m watching the Occupy Wall Street movement evolve, my belief that powerless doesn’t exist is being reaffirmed. This is a group of people that weren’t deterred by the fact that the main stream media ignored them. They weren’t deterred by the abhorrent, and sometimes brutal treatment they received from the police. They weren’t deterred when the media finally decided to pay attention, only to diminish and deride. They weren’t deterred when people claimed not to understand why they’re pissed. They just kept doing what they were doing, with little regard for what the world around them was saying.

And their determination spread around the world like wildfire. People are joining the movement in droves in cities all around the world. They decided they weren’t powerless, and the world had no choice but to believe them.

We, as a country are in pretty hopeless times.

We have corporations whose imperative lies in exploiting the American worker as much as they can in order to increase their bottom line in order to sell their goods to other countries. I say other countries, because our corporations are acutely aware of the fact that Americans are running out of money. That’s why they’re not hiring. They would hire up to increase production if there was a market for their goods. They’re not not hiring because they’re “uncertain” about whether or not their taxes are going up. And frankly, you would have to have undergone at least two lobotomies in order to believe that horseshit. They’re not hiring because there’s no one to buy their shit. We’re all spending what we have at the Apple Store. There’s nothing left to spend anywhere else!

We’re in hopeless times because we no longer have a government that serves the people. They’re too preoccupied fellating their corporate masters, and there’s nothing they won’t say or do in order to get that corporate cash. And there’s very little daylight between the two parties anymore, at least not when it comes to protecting and preserving the middle class.

We have a supreme court that is hell bent on giving corporations supreme power over the people. The supreme court is where the corporations are looking for some serious deep throat action. Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, and Clarence Thomas have never, ever, not once in their miserable lives ever stood up for a person that works for a living.

We’re fucked because on that rare occasion that we actually elect a good person to office, it takes them roughly ten minutes from the time they’re sworn in to realize that they have to raise $35,000 a day to keep their seat. If you know nothing about two candidates running against each other for a seat, other than how much money they raised, you can predict the winner 94% of the time if you assume that the candidate with the biggest war chest will be the winner. That is fucking disgusting, but it’s the system of governance we’ve been reduced to. It doesn’t matter who you vote for; your candidate is a whore, because the system turns them into a whore.

It’s all pretty fucking grim. Regular readers of this blog know that I’m the opposite of a partisan hack. I’ve probably used more words to describe how democrats, and specifically Obama have failed America, than I have detailing republican corruption. I do that because republicans have clearly been tools of corporate America for decades. Any thinking person can see that. But it’s democrats, our last bastion of hope, that are no longer any hope at all. Obama isn’t going to do s fucking meaningful thing to save our economy or our middle class.

At this point, you’re probably wondering how it’s possible for me not to feel powerless, while being completely cognizant of the fact that corporations, politicians, and even the courts are all determined to fuck the middle class. My sunny optimism is still alive and kicking because we still have one (yes, just the one) option available to us. It’s not an option that’s as easy to exercise as going to vote. This option entails getting the majority of Americans on the same page, which is why the ongoing theme in this blog, is to leave your partisan delusions behind.

Most people don’t realize this, but congress isn’t the only mechanism by which a constitutional amendment can be created. Both Dylan Ratigan and Cenk Uygur have started to organize a movement to call for a constitutional convention. Here’s Cenk describing what he’s doing;

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg0O3OyWi5Y[/youtube]

I know that this sounds like a long shot, but it’s the only option that we have to reclaim our democracy. I truly believe that there’s no other solution.

Occupy Wall Street is a fucking brilliant lead-in to taking the next step. It’s helping people to focus in on who the real enemy actually is, rather than bickering over partisan sideshows. Up until now, our problem has been that we’ve been too busy demonizing the other party, to really focus in on the real problem. I’m not saying that there isn’t a long way to go before a constitutional convention can happen. I’m saying that we don’t have any other options. If we don’t believe that we can make this happen, then we render ourselves powerless. That’s when we’re fucked.

If you can donate time or money to the cause, please do it! Right now, Cenk is more focused on creating the organization and gathering volunteers but funding the operation will be necessary. Here’s the link to sign up to get involved;

http://www.wolf-pac.com/

If you can’t find the time or the money to get involved, then you can help to focus the conversation. Stop with the liberal versus conservative debates. They’re not getting us anywhere. Focus on the one issue that any rational American can agree on. Once we take care of this problem, we can have real debates on how to govern.

And look, most of the issues that divide us all get solved by extricating corporate money from our political system.

You want smaller government? Great! The lion’s share of pork in our federal budget is there because special interests have paid to put it there.

You want to end the wars? Awesome! We have a better shot at ending them when they should end, if defense industry lobbyists aren’t paying to keep them going.

Do you fucking hate unions? No problem! They won’t be able to influence our elections either.

Want to end Monsanto’s domination over the world’s food supply? Done!

Wanna legalize pot? Imagine how much easier it will be to do that, without pharmaceutical lobbyists putting up a road block.

Think that climate change is a hoax? Great! You’ll be more confident in the scientific findings when all of that pesky special interest money stops polluting (so to speak) it.

Are you in favor of capitalism and the American dream? So are we! But capitalism isn’t what we have right now. I’ve been making an argument lately that seems to be resonating with people that think they’re against Occupy Wall Street. I’ve started to explain how box stores have come to dominate the retail industry in America. Most people don’t realize how this all works. When Walmart or Home depot decide that they want to open a store in your community, they get the cost of building that store paid for in tax payer dollars by buying the local politicians. And once the store is built, they strike a deal in which they get to keep the sales taxes they collect for a specified period of time. How the fuck are you supposed to compete with that, if you want to open up a store of your own? The advantage that these companies have, by being to strike a better deal with suppliers because of the volume that they can commit to buying isn’t enough for them. They need to make sure that they crush any possibility of competition. That’s not fucking capitalism, and no one can make an argument that is is. Do you see my point?

No one can argue with this if you stop framing the argument on partisan terms. Change the way you speak to your friends, frenemies, whackadoodle Rush Limbaugh loving in-laws, and whoever else you talk politics or world affairs with. And if you have people that you only talk to about celebrity gossip, talk to them about this issue too.

Get involved in any way you can. We need to believe that we’re not powerless anymore! Please forward the Wolf-Pac link to your friends, frenemies, etc. 

http://www.wolf-pac.com/


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Guide To Spotting A Grassroots Movement

It’s funny, the most striking thing to me about Occupy Wall Street is the thing that nobody really seems to be talking about much. It’s the thing that makes it abundantly clear that Occupy Wall Street is a genuine, people powered movement, and it’s the thing that makes Occupy Wall Street more obviously credible than the tea party movement was. What is it? It’s the fact that the vast majority of people in the movement voted for Obama. They voted for Obama and yet, they’re taking action because they feel that Obama hasn’t. They’re doing something that most people are simply incapable of doing; railing against their own political party in order to do what they feel is in the best interest of the country.

Contrast that to the tea party. They sat on their fucking hands until the guy they were vehemently opposed to from the beginning, got elected president. Protesting against the guy you always hated gives you an inherent inauthenticity.

Now protesting in order to force the guy that you voted for to deliver on his promises, that’s what patriotism looks like. It’s putting your country ahead of the political team you’re on. And it’s a sign of an authentic movement. Wearing a tri-cornered hat isn’t patriotism. It’s fucking Halloween.

Regular readers of this blog are aware of how I feel about blind dedication to a party; it’s stupid, and you will fuck yourself and everyone else when you put your party before your own self interest. We collectively need to start looking more critically at what our politicians do on a case by case basis, rather than sticking by them because they’re in “the right” party.

How different would our current situation be today, if conservatives had stuck to their conservative principles during the Bush presidency? Would we have an intelligence community authoritatively monitoring us without warrants or probable cause? Would we have massive deficits if they had stood up and screamed every time the words “emergency supplemental” were introduced by the administration and the republican congress? Okay, we probably still would have gone to war, but there are some issues in which I believe would have turned out differently if conservatives had been conservative when their president was running the country.

I believe that liberals and conservatives are inherently different on the issue of blind loyalty. I believe that conservatives, by their nature, “conserve”. They are more accepting of the status quo, regardless of how shitty the status quo is. And I believe that they viscerally prefer less nuance in their decision making process. They like for things to be clear cut, allowing them to make black and white choices. I think that liberals are all about the nuance, maybe too much sometimes. I think that liberals are more prone to bucking the system. Any system. Liberals are, by definition, more liberal in how they process information. By liberal, I mean generous. Liberals are more generous with their critical thinking and more open to looking deeper into issues, and more open to changing their opinions as new information is presented. Not all liberals are like that, but I feel very comfortable in saying that more people that call themselves liberals are capable of it, than those who call themselves conservatives.

Participants of the Occupy Wall Street movement are, in my estimation, the most liberal with their thoughtfulness. They voted for someone that they believed would change the system. When he didn’t deliver, they realized they were wrong and did something about it. Admitting you were wrong is one of the hardest thing for most people to do. The occupiers have done that. They deserve to be praised for that. And that act of admitting they were wrong tells you that this is an authentic movement.

Instead of being praised, they’re being ridiculed and dismissed by the main stream media. By contrast, the tea party were given the benefit of the doubt, and mostly praised right from the beginning. They were praised for being a “grassroots movement” Fox News actively promoted the tea party, which should have been the first sign of inauthenticity. Not just because it was Fox, but because having a massive media conglomerate behind something these days, means that it’s not a movement for the people.

Don’t be fooled by the positive coverage that some of the MSNBC hosts are giving Occupy Wall Street. Here’s how things at MSNBC work; the network has very little control over anything their hosts say. That’s generally written into their contracts. They can “encourage” the hosts to go in a certain direction, but they can’t tell them what to say. If they become too problematic in what they say, they eventually get fired like Phil Donahue did. He had the highest rated show on MSNBC and still got fired for being against the Iraq war, when it wasn’t fashionable to do so. I know that Maddow isn’t giving Occupy Wall Street a ton of coverage. I can’t speak to how much the other hosts are talking about it, because I don’t watch it much. Here’s Cenk Uygur revealing his experiences with MSNBC;

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrKKkGl3TnY[/youtube]

 

The next sign of the inauthenticity of the tea party was all of that bussing people into rallies crap. What kind of fucking moron gets on a bus that will take them hundreds of miles to a rally for free, and doesn’t ask, “Who paid for this bus?”. And to add to the irony, they took advantage of that free bus ride to protest the notion that someone might get healthcare for free. If you’re against people getting free shit, you might want to consider paying your own way, you fucking hypocritical asshats. They were the opposite of a grassroots movement. That should have been obvious to anyone with two braincells to rub together.

Occupy Wall Street, on the other hand, has been turning down big donations. They’re not falling into the same trap that the teabaggers fell into. When the unions decided to join the movement, it was decided at a general assembly meeting, that they would allow the unions to participate with the caveat that the unions would not be allowed to speak for the movement. They’re being much smarter about not being co-opted than the teapublicans ever were.

In terms of main street media coverage, we’re living in opposite land. They’re taking every cheap shot they can to discredit this movement from claiming that George Soros is funding them, to claiming that they’re in that park to have sex and do drugs (is that supposed to be a deterrent?). They’ve been called every name in the book. The main stream media is actively working to break up this movement. And since we all know that the mainstream media is owned by giant corporate entities, their disdain for this movement should tell you that it’s probably a movement that is fighting for you.

This movement is the real deal. You can tell that they’re the real deal because it took them a while to come up with a message. You can tell it’s the real deal because there are still a lot of people holding up signs advocating for things that are off message. You can tell it’s real because many police forces across the country are doing everything they can to break them up. You can tell it’s real because people in the movement have the conviction to camp out and literally occupy.

To summarize, a fake grassroots movement includes;

-Corporate media backing

-Asshats getting on free busses to stop people from getting life saving health care

-Fuckwads trying to take down a president they always hated

A real grassroots movement includes;

-People smelling bad because they’ve got the conviction of living in a fucking park indefinitely

-Corporate media ridicule

-A message that comes together over time as momentum grows

-NO corporate donations

I hope this helps to clear up any confusion that anyone may have had.

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Musings Of An Occupation

So I made it down to Wall Street to join the occupation on Saturday, and I’d like to share my impressions of what I saw.

The first thing that I noticed is that there was no main stream media presence present. I saw a local ABC affiliate there, a well as NY1, also a local network. At this point, I’m going to take a moment to comment on the main stream media’s coverage of Occupy Wall Street. If they’re covering it at all, they’re covering it for the purpose of deriding, dismissing, and diminishing it.

Check out this article published in that bastion of liberalism, The New York Times. I’m having a hard time deciding on where to begin pointing out how big of an asshat Andrew Ross Sorkin is, but I’m feeling particularly bitchy today, so let’s give it a shot. Let’s start with the reason why Sorkin covered the protest at all; he went to go check it out when he was told to, by a CEO of a Wall Street bank. Let me get this straight; your job is to cover events as they pertain to Wall Street and you ignored a nearly three week long protest on Wall Street until you were ordered to do so, by someone that was the subject of the protest? ASSHAT! And when you did finally go down there, you went for the purpose of determining if the subjects of the protest had to worry about their safety? ASSHAT! Talk about being disconnected with average Americans and their concerns! Let me tip you off to something that you may not be aware of, Andrew. When hundreds of people gather anywhere to make a statement, they’re representative of hundreds of thousands, or possibly millions. If someone has an opinion, any opinion, there are other people out there that share that opinion. Whether those opinions are shared by 1% or 99% of a society is something that you, as a reporter should investigate. But to assume that those opinions are contained within the number of people in that protest is asinine, you fucking douchebag. There are several other digs at the protesters in the story, buy you can easily spot those on your own, so I’m going to move on.

To be fair, I have some criticism of the coverage from the left. Randi Rhodes spent two weeks diminishing the protesters because they’re not focused enough for her. How about instead of slamming this movement, you work to help them focus their message since they’re actually doing something? Oh, and stop referring to them as kids. A person in their 20s isn’t a child. I love you Citizen Radio, but your disdain for people that show up wearing expensive clothes is just stupid. I purposefully showed up carrying a very large Chanel bag. My patent leather designer bag is shiny, but it hasn’t blinded me to what’s going on in this country. I am fully cognizant of how lucky I am to be in the financial position that I’m in. I’m the opposite of an asshole for advocating that everyone have the opportunities that I’ve had. I made the calculation to not look poor at the protest in order to demonstrate that everyone has a horse in this race. Showing disdain for supporters that obviously aren’t poor is dickish and counterproductive because it demonstrates a kind of anti-capitalism that most people simply don’t share. Some of us are very much for capitalism. We’re just fighting for the kind of fair capitalism that puts more people on a level playing field. I’m not against rich people. And I’m definitely not against people getting rich. I’m fighting so that more people can get rich. What are you fighting for, Citizen Radioites? 

This video clip from the Young Turks talks about some asshattiness from Erin Burnett;

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1x4ly3Gr3kw[/youtube]

Ben pretty thoroughly espoused my thoughts on her comments, but I want to add one thing. If Erin Burnett genuinely can’t figure out what Occupy Wall Street is all about, she seriously needs to reconsider her career in the information dissemination business. Perhaps professional trade show booth bitch might be a career more in line with her talents?

I wasn’t able to make it down to the protest for the first three weeks that they were going on, although I was following them closely. I get updates and photographs from the protests from 400 people all around the world on my G+ stream, so I felt like I had a pretty good grip on the situation. Over and over again, the main stream media has criticized the protesters for lacking focus. Before I actually went down to the protest, I was of the opinion that this criticism was unfounded and mostly out there as a way to dismiss the protesters. That opinion changed after I actually saw what was happening for myself. There is an obvious lack of focus going on in Zuccotti Park. I saw signs advocating the legalization of marijuana. I saw signs and petitions to stop fracking. I saw anti-war signs. I saw people with a myriad of different agendas down there. While I agree with most of the causes being espoused, I can see that the diversity of thought down there is muddling the message. That lack of clarity is, in my opinion, the biggest liability of this protest.

Let me describe Zuccotti Park for those of you that don’t know the area. It’s not really a park as much as a very small public square. It’s a whole block, but blocks downtown are very small. They’re not at all what you think of as a city block in New York. You can walk the length of the block in about 50 paces, and the width in 20 paces. To get into the park, you have to walk down a small set of 3 steps, so it’s somewhat enclosed. If that park were filled to maximum capacity, it would hold maybe 400 people. The park is physically located about 3 blocks south of Wall Street, and 3 blocks east of The World Trade Center. Several blocks east of that is Battery Park, where you can take ferries to The Statue Of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Staten Island.

It’s a high traffic area for tourists since they have to walk past that park to get to a lot of the attractions in lower Manhattan. I tell you all of this because I saw hundreds of tourists stopping to see what was going on in that park. With the wide swath of messages being espoused in that park, I’m not sure that many of those passers-by walked away with an understanding of what it’s all about. The fact that I had a better grip on the message before I went down to the protest, than I did after I saw it for myself is a huge problem. To  the “free hugs” people, I want to say, I love you but you need to FOCUS.

In my opinion, the single most important issue that needs to be addressed in America, is the corrosive effect that money has had on our politics. No other issue can be addressed until we get the money completely out of the system. Wall Street is the quintessential symbol of that corruptive force. The fact that the protesters chose Wall Street as the location for this movement tells me that they get it. They just need to focus their message so that the disengaged masses also get it. Until they do that, they’re missing an opportunity to educate and recruit more people into the cause.

Dylan Ratigan is laser focused on the money issue. I agree with him on almost nothing, but he’s dead on correct when he talks about the money being the root of all of our problems. He’s been down to Zuccotti Park, and he seems to be getting increasingly more interested in what’s going on down there. I hope that he can help to focus the troops.  

That criticism aside, let me tell you what else I saw. I saw an incredibly diverse group of people that included every race that you can think of. The ages of the protesters ranged from teenagers to the elderly. I saw whole families with small children there. There were protest signs written in Arabic. There was a table dedicated to Hispanic outreach. They have a media center. Yes, an actual media center. There’s an information desk. They have several tables filled with food for anyone to eat. They don’t care if you’re homeless or just passing by for a free meal. The assumption is that if you’re taking the food, you’re in need so no one is going to stop you. How disgustingly fucking socialist! To summarize, they’ve created a self sufficient community.

I’m going to keep going down there as often as possible to watch the evolution of this protest. I believe that they’re off to a good start. If you’re not in the area and want to help, here’s a link with resources. Winter is coming, so I’m guessing that they will need winter clothes, blankets, and propane heaters.

Here are a few pictures I took while I was down there:

They were out of the English version when I was there

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