Monday, November 28, 2011

When All That's Left Is The Wishbone

We're doing, Monday, folks. How are we all feeling after this post-gluttonous, post-family, post shopping-binge holiday? Is there anything more American than that holiday? I mean, it's everything American- food, football, capitalism, violence, and family...oh and the right to free speech as seen with the unrelenting Occupy Wall Street protest movement. When the movement first got started I found myself (who just a few years back was joining protests, talking with veterans, with political activists, and regular citizens about my country and its direction and even shot a documentary called Dear America) questioning what the "ask" of the protesters was? And also, how long would this last? It was as if I did not want to get my hopes up about another protest filled with hope only to see that spirit get crushed by the powers that be. But, here we are, November 28th and the movement has not only picked up steam but has become contagious around the globe: London, Rome, Paris, USA. Despite violence as seen with the brutal pepper-spraying of students peacefully protesting at UC Davis, the outbreak of violence at Occupy Oakland where Iraq Vet, peaceful activist, and member of IVAW, Scott Olsen, suffered critical head trauma,  the NYPD violent raid of Zuccotti Park,  the movement remains strong, undeterred, and perhaps more united in spite of the continual crack downs. But, after reading this article by The Guardian which suggests the reason for the violent crack down comes from an effort born out of a possible federal militarized police force (which is illegal in the USA), a possible crack down ordered by The Department of Homeland Security which can only come from the tippy-top. Why, you may ask, would the men on top organize such a violent display of brute force? Because one of the main "asks" from the Occupy movement is to get the money out of politics, but more specifically as quoted in The Guardian's article: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investorsIn short, members of Congress want the spotlight on their profiteering off of them, the protests to be beaten into submission much like the rest of this country has been by predatory lending, the effects of war in the loss of lives, the effects on our home front and in our pocket, and the outsourcing of jobs. Where once we could proudly claim the title THE UNITED we are no longer a country that looks out for her own. The very people we put in power to protect us are feeding off us. Congress is a business, and the Occupy movement threatens to take that away. What would Congress look like if we were able to bust people like Newt Gingrich for taking millions in "consulting fees" from private corporations like Freddie Mac, which, I mean c'mon, is just back-door lobbying? What would the political and financial landscape look like if people like Martha Stewart were no longer allowed to sell stocks and make millions off of non-public insider trading information?  Granted, Martha served her time, but does anyone really believe for a second that her loosey-goose prison time corrected the larger problem? What if a former shopkeeper with good ethics, and understanding of justice, and a true believer in freedom FOR all could run again for president?

The turkey is all eaten, Black Friday mania is over, and your family has hopefully gone home. But OWS is still out there, and despite what the press would have you believe, is unified in what they want from the proverbial wishbone this year. Just to recap, here, straight from the leaderless horse's mouth:

Below copied from the Forum of

Occupy Demands

1: Campaign Finance Reform: Campaigns will be 100% funded by the $3 Presidential Campaign Fund. This will no longer be optional on returns and $3 will be taken from everyone in lieu of having the choice to pay that $3 in taxes. No more dinner events where people pay thousands of dollars per plate of food to donate. This will take the candidates out of the pockets of those more fortunate and put it back in the hands of the American people.

2A: 3 Term Limit for Congress: This needs to be done to keep fresh ideas flowing, as well as to prevent a pack mentality and life-long political enemies that evolve and begin to erode the political process. This is most evident over the past few years where almost no bills of any importance can pass through congress without the opposing side attaching the names of the most disliked members of congress with the bill as a way to prevent it from passing. Term one for all current members would start in the 2012 election cycle.

2B: Terms served determines percentage of benefits for Congress. This is self-explanatory, but as with any job, the longer you work the more benefits you generally received. We propose members of Congress who serve three full terms receive full benefits. 75% for two term members and 50% for a single term.

3A: No more bonuses for Management in pseudo government business such as Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac. Any agency that would cause the American tax payer to be held liable for its failure should not be permitted to pay bonuses to executives for taking risks to boost their numbers.

3B: Break-up any company that is deemed to be “too large to fail”. Any private business entity has the risk of failing in a capitalistic system, but when they become so large that they would take down the entire economy if they fail, they have to be split. If there is no risk of going under and failing due to the belief they will be bailed out, then they can do unsafe things to reap rewards in the good times without having to worry about the consequences in bad.

4: No more trading of commodity futures by investors. This has been written off as non-consequential, but the fact remains, when people can change markets without the intention of actually purchasing that commodity it raises the prices of food, heating and other fuels for everyone. Commodity investing should not be allowed unless the person making the purchase is deemed to be able to take the delivery they purchase.

These are our demands – We will be heard

In short, say it with me: GET THE MONEY OUT OF POLITICS.

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