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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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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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