mastreacheval

FINDING HUMANITY: THE PHILOSOPHY OF AN OCCUPIED PLANET

Freedom is near. The birth of the Occupy movement was both miraculous and inevitable. In the chaos of a crumbling empire, you and I found each other and discovered, to our surprise, that we were not alone in our understanding. What had always been my suffering and my awakening was now ours and we knew this immediately, implicitly. We slept in the rain and our voices rang together through the corridors of our city. Nothing had ever meant so much.

I say Occupy was inevitable because annihilation has never been the destiny of this country nor of this planet. The protestors in Tahrir Square, on Wall Street, and in front of St. Paul’s cathedral were the natural and inspired ascent of humanity’s survival instinct. However, despite our numbers and our dedication, the threats of economic collapse and environmental destruction continue to haunt the horizon. Criminality in government persists.  We stood up and spoke out but our mission is incomplete.

In the following pages, I’m going to attempt answers for two questions: how is Occupy different and how can it succeed?I am going to present a doctrine, but my aim is not to indoctrinate. Philosophy, seeking the Truth, is what led me to Occupy and this philosophy is my contribution. This is the truth about Occupy, as I see it. I present it for your consideration in the hope that you find in it something of value, something that will serve you. Though, my belief is that the application of these ideas could harness the Love and camaraderie of Occupy toward something magnificent. I should also add that regardless of the effect of my words, I am certain that with the united strength of an Occupied planet, we will avert extinction and discover Utopia

I

            It did not take long for the media’s denial of Occupy to be replaced by confusion. This confusion is encapsulated in the question, “What is your message and what are your demands?” We all had different answers to these questions. Elements of the corporate-controlled media treated this fact as a flaw and attempted to convince the public that this new crop of protestors were naïve and disorganized hippies. This spin hardly slowed us down, though the question became a meme among the public and within the movement. This is worth noting. The fact that the question resonates with people means there is something to it – it is not merely the concoction of the corporate media. I think a better formulation of that question is, “How is Occupy different?” Everyone senses that there is something new here and they are right.

Occupy is different because it represents the united opposition to tyranny in all its forms. All possible progressive goals – gender equality, racial equality, income equality – are united in Occupy. It is a banner that all activists can share. What unifies PETA is the shared conviction for the welfare of animals. What unifies Occupy is a shared conviction for the toppling of a tyrannical system in its entirety. This is why Occupy is different: it seeks to remove the root of injustice, rather than address isolated instances of injustice. Revolutions throughout history have brought down tyrants – but never tyranny itself.

However, with our current mindset, this ultimate revolution we seek is impossible. The truth is that tyranny is a concept and you cannot defeat a concept with action, you must defeat it with thought. You cannot move past a concept until you change your mind.

Tyranny is vanquished by the thought of Humanity. If we realize our Humanity, tyranny disappears. This begs the question, “What does it mean to be human?”

Human beings are physical and metaphysical, matter and mind. We have bodies we can see and thoughts we cannot. We have physical needs such as food, shelter, and medicine. We also have metaphysical needs like love, a sense of self, community, and education, to name but a few. Now, everyone understands that our system of government is not meeting the physical needs of the people. And this is an absurd understatement. Physical Tyranny exists anywhere humans are forced to fight for survival and anywhere they are destroyed. We see deprivation and destruction everywhere. We blame this on the individual tyrants – the corporate executive and the corrupt politician. It is true that individual humans are responsible for their actions. However, the single tyrant is not responsible for the whole of tyranny. What we fail to realize is that the many individuals who maintain and profit from this system of injustice, all of them, suffer with us under a tyranny greater than their own and more destructive than any war they may seek to wage. Humanity, 100% of it, is plagued by Metaphysical Tyranny.

Far surpassing the brutality and wide-sweeping vision of any human tyrant is the Metaphysical Tyrant: Doubt. Doubt is “the state of uncertainty with regard to the truth or reality of anything,” (Oxford English Dictionary). The media landscape is so convoluted and our educational institutions so dysfunctional, that Doubt exists at the center of our lives. It occupies the place in our consciousness meant for Truth. Instead of filtering our experience through our understanding of Truth, thereby gaining knowledge, we filter experience through Doubt, and gain only facts and uncertainty. Furthermore, when you have doubt concerning a metaphysical need, then it is impossible that that need is being met. To meet a metaphysical need is to know that it is met. When we fall in Love and suddenly a void within us is filled with light, we have moved from Doubt as to the reality of Love to certainty. When that Love comes into Doubt, we suffer. In our state of Metaphysical Tyranny, Doubt reigns supreme over our most important thoughts. Even when we glimpse our life’s purpose, our true Love, or our God, Doubt shuts are eyes and turns us away.

When your Humanity is in Doubt, when you do not identify as a human but solely as a man, woman, dictator, or anything else, then you are capable of inhumane, even horrific, action. If the police officer, as he raises his night stick to strike a protestor, were to be freed of Doubt and suddenly, fully appreciate the Truth that he and the protestor are both Human, the protestor would be unharmed. Similarly, if Barack Obama were to preface all of his action with full consciousness of his Humanity, he might be a very different president. But most importantly, if each of us were to remember, at all times, that we are Human, then ruthless competition would give way to joyful cooperation. We know this from Occupy.

Metaphysical Tyranny (Doubt) is the necessary condition for Physical Tyranny (Institutionalized Inequality). Confusion of fundamental truths is the cause for the chaos in our politics, in our economics, and in our personal lives. The tyrannical individuals who own and operate the control system understand this. A brief investigation of the Think Tank network of the elite will show you how Humanity’s Doubt has been systematically reinforced for decades in order to stave off Revolution. However, organizations like the Tavistock Institute, the Rand Corporation, and the Rockefeller Foundation did not invent metaphysical Doubt, they merely exploit it. It is absolutely essential to remember that flawed thinking is our only enemy – we have no enemies among our fellow Humans. Rahm Emmanuel is a human, and if he identified as a human, rather than as a king, he would not engage in oppression. We are all equally guilty of falling prey to Doubt.

Knowing the nature of Doubt is the key to Occupy’s success. An old paradigm is falling and a new one is emerging. Occupy is on the cusp of this emergence. For Occupy to be truly effective, Occupiers need to let go of the language of the old paradigm. And that language is duality. Us vs. Them. With a message of dualism (99% vs. 1%), our energy and our usefulness are cut in half. The concept of 99% contains all that is good in Occupy. The concept of the 1% contains all that is old in Occupy, that which must change. We are loving towards the 99% and hateful towards the 1%. We chant, “Feed the Poor, Tax the Rich,” and the implication is that we don’t care whether the rich are fed. You might say, “They can feed themselves.” And this is true, except this is also exactly what they say about you.

Occupy does not need to incite anger against the criminal factions of our society, that is accomplished by the crimes themselves. The anger in Occupy, which is both natural and useful, could be channeled into a campaign for independent audits of our elected and non-elected government officials, as well as an audit of all variety of financial institutions. This could then become the campaign for the indictment of criminals. When we paint with such a wide brush, decent humans in the business, financial, and government sectors are potentially alienated and thus remain silent. This is a tremendous loss, for these are the very people who must carry out essential reform.

A new paradigm requires a new language. And in place of duality, we have unity. We are united as a race of Humans. I’d like to complete the definition of Human: Humans are creatures of the Earth with bodies and minds. Our bodies have needs, our minds have needs, and the Earth has needs. To be Human is to fully appreciate this. To be humane or to exhibit humanity means to champion the equal satisfaction of the needs of all humans and the planet on which we live.

What is our message? What are our demands? We are all human beings living on one planet, and our needs and the needs of the planet must be met.

Furthermore, we can elaborate our needs as both physical and metaphysical. Here I would propose a new metaphysical need: freedom. Freedom from indoctrination, so that we may prevent the return of crippling Doubt and assure that each human being is free to pursue happiness in health of body and mind. This message of Humanity is unified and positive. It completely disregards the hopelessly confused current political discourse of our time. In our thoughts and our actions, we can champion Humanity, the Earth, and all life on Earth. Never before has a revolutionary movement included all living beings among its ranks.

Our efforts up until this point have gotten the world’s attention. We currently live in a wasteland, a Desert of Doubt. If Occupy becomes a fountain of the Truth of our shared Humanity, our possibilities are limitless. We can make this a reality by holding onto that connection we made last fall – that Occupiers around the world continue to make – when we discovered each other’s Humanity and thus discovered a new world. Because that’s how it feels when you know Humanity – that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

-Chicago Occupier

March 6, 2012



mochente

Yesterday, a group affiliated with Occupy Wall Street submitted an astounding comment letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Point by point, it methodically challenges the arguments of finance industry lobbyists who want to water down last year’s historic Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms. The lobbyists have been using the law’s official public comment period to try to kneecap the reforms, and given how arcane financial regulation can be, they might get away with it. But Occupy the SEC is fighting fire with fire, and in so doing, defying stereotypes of the Occupy movement. Its letter explains:

Occupy the SEC is a group of concerned citizens, activists, and professionals with decades of collective experience working at many of the largest financial firms in the industry. Together we make up a vast array of specialists, including traders, quantitative analysts, compliance officers, and technology and risk analysts.

The letter, which has been in the works for months, passionately defends the Volcker Rule, a provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms meant to prohibit consumer banks from engaging in risky and speculative “proprietary” trading. That barrier had collapsed in the 1990s with the gradual watering down, and eventual repeal, of the Glass-Steagall Act. Occupy the SEC explains why this became a problem:

Proprietary trading by large-scale banks was a principal cause of the recent financial crisis, and, if left unchecked, it has the potential to cause even worse crises in the future. In the words of a banking insider, Michael Madden, a former Lehman Brothers executive: “Proprietary trading played a big role in manufacturing the CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) and other instruments that were at the heart of the financial crisis… if firms weren’t able to buy up the parts of these deals that wouldn’t sell…the game would have stopped a lot sooner.”

What makes Occupy the SEC so unique and inspiring is the way that it straddles the two worlds. On the one hand, it’s authentically grassroots, forged in Zuccotti Park’s crucible of discontent. As such, it is transparent, open to anyone, and accountable to everyone. On the other hand, it includes financial insiders with the education and regulatory vocabulary to challenge high-powered lobbyists at their own game. That’s a powerful combination that the SEC can’t easily ignore. From the letter:

The United States aspires to democracy, but no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. Accordingly, Occupy the SEC is delighted to participate in the public comment process…

For more on how Occupy the SEC came to be, read my story on its umbrella organization, the Alternative Banking Group.

No offense, but I think the problem is actually your failure to understand what it is we are fighting for. We are not fighting for laziness to be subsidized. We are fighting to have more justice, ethics, empathy and logic applied in defining what “hard work” and “paying your way and building a career” really mean. For example, can anyone truly justify low pay for teachers? Contribution to society is not just by measure of profit. THIS is why people are protesting, to beg for society to take just a few moments of their time to re-evaluate their views on what is deemed a worthy contribution to society. Educating our children so that they can become contributing members of society (not just as workers and laborers, but as visionaries, as fully developed humans with an understanding of self and other, awareness and empathy) is a vital contribution, but because it fails to bring in immediate profit, it is often over-looked, under-appreciated, and under-valued. Similarly, we do not value physical labor in this country. Everyone can agree that physical labor is an unpleasant thing to be forced to endure, yet millions must endure such due to lack of access, choice or faculty. Should someone who does not have the same level of intelligence or access to education or financial liberty be deemed unworthy for their vital contributions to society? Should one have to fear feeding one’s family after a day of hard labor? THESE are the issues we are trying to bring to the table. We are not asking to subsidize laziness, we are asking to fill in the cracks left unfilled in a purely profit-driven capitalistic/ corporate-fascist society. We are asking for corporate influence (i.e. billions of dollars in lobbying and campaign financing) to be taken OUT of our government and for regulations to be in place against concentrations of corporate power that allows for them to have so much undue influence on government. It really isn’t that complicated. If people continue to fail to understand what it is we stand for, it is not due to the Occupy Movement lacking definitive purpose or reason, but from people’s inability or unwillingness to understand.
*Reposted to be rebloggable at mamaatheist's request. 

No offense, but I think the problem is actually your failure to understand what it is we are fighting for. We are not fighting for laziness to be subsidized. We are fighting to have more justice, ethics, empathy and logic applied in defining what “hard work” and “paying your way and building a career” really mean. For example, can anyone truly justify low pay for teachers? Contribution to society is not just by measure of profit. THIS is why people are protesting, to beg for society to take just a few moments of their time to re-evaluate their views on what is deemed a worthy contribution to society. Educating our children so that they can become contributing members of society (not just as workers and laborers, but as visionaries, as fully developed humans with an understanding of self and other, awareness and empathy) is a vital contribution, but because it fails to bring in immediate profit, it is often over-looked, under-appreciated, and under-valued. Similarly, we do not value physical labor in this country. Everyone can agree that physical labor is an unpleasant thing to be forced to endure, yet millions must endure such due to lack of access, choice or faculty. Should someone who does not have the same level of intelligence or access to education or financial liberty be deemed unworthy for their vital contributions to society? Should one have to fear feeding one’s family after a day of hard labor? THESE are the issues we are trying to bring to the table. We are not asking to subsidize laziness, we are asking to fill in the cracks left unfilled in a purely profit-driven capitalistic/ corporate-fascist society. We are asking for corporate influence (i.e. billions of dollars in lobbying and campaign financing) to be taken OUT of our government and for regulations to be in place against concentrations of corporate power that allows for them to have so much undue influence on government. It really isn’t that complicated. If people continue to fail to understand what it is we stand for, it is not due to the Occupy Movement lacking definitive purpose or reason, but from people’s inability or unwillingness to understand.

*Reposted to be rebloggable at mamaatheist's request. 

My Guantánamo Nightmare

ON Wednesday, America’s detention camp at Guantánamo Bay will have been open for 10 years. For seven of them, I was held there without explanation or charge. During that time my daughters grew up without me. They were toddlers when I was imprisoned, and were never allowed to visit or speak to me by phone. Most of their letters were returned as “undeliverable,” and the few that I received were so thoroughly and thoughtlessly censored that their messages of love and support were lost.

Some American politicians say that people at Guantánamo are terrorists, but I have never been a terrorist. Had I been brought before a court when I was seized, my children’s lives would not have been torn apart, and my family would not have been thrown into poverty. It was only after the United States Supreme Court ordered the government to defend its actions before a federal judge that I was finally able to clear my name and be with them again.

I left Algeria in 1990 to work abroad. In 1997 my family and I moved to Bosnia and Herzegovina at the request of my employer, the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates. I served in the Sarajevo office as director of humanitarian aid for children who had lost relatives to violence during the Balkan conflicts. In 1998, I became a Bosnian citizen. We had a good life, but all of that changed after 9/11.

When I arrived at work on the morning of Oct. 19, 2001, an intelligence officer was waiting for me. He asked me to accompany him to answer questions. I did so, voluntarily — but afterward I was told that I could not go home. The United States had demanded that local authorities arrest me and five other men. News reports at the time said the United States believed that I was plotting to blow up its embassy in Sarajevo. I had never — for a second — considered this.

The fact that the United States had made a mistake was clear from the beginning. Bosnia’s highest court investigated the American claim, found that there was no evidence against me and ordered my release. But instead, the moment I was released American agents seized me and the five others. We were tied up like animals and flown to Guantánamo, the American naval base in Cuba. I arrived on Jan. 20, 2002.

I still had faith in American justice. I believed my captors would quickly realize their mistake and let me go. But when I would not give the interrogators the answers they wanted — how could I, when I had done nothing wrong? — they became more and more brutal. I was kept awake for many days straight. I was forced to remain in painful positions for hours at a time. These are things I do not want to write about; I want only to forget.

I went on a hunger strike for two years because no one would tell me why I was being imprisoned. Twice each day my captors would shove a tube up my nose, down my throat and into my stomach so they could pour food into me. It was excruciating, but I was innocent and so I kept up my protest.

In 2008, my demand for a fair legal process went all the way to America’s highest court. In a decision that bears my name, the Supreme Court declared that “the laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.” It ruled that prisoners like me, no matter how serious the accusations, have a right to a day in court. The Supreme Court recognized a basic truth: the government makes mistakes. And the court said that because “the consequence of error may be detention of persons for the duration of hostilities that may last a generation or more, this is a risk too significant to ignore.”

Five months later, Judge Richard J. Leon, of the Federal District Court in Washington, reviewed all of the reasons offered to justify my imprisonment, including secret information I never saw or heard. The government abandoned its claim of an embassy bomb plot just before the judge could hear it. After the hearing, he ordered the government to free me and four other men who had been arrested in Bosnia.

I will never forget sitting with the four other men in a squalid room at Guantánamo, listening over a fuzzy speaker as Judge Leon read his decision in a Washington courtroom. He implored the government not to appeal his ruling, because “seven years of waiting for our legal system to give them an answer to a question so important is, in my judgment, more than plenty.” I was freed, at last, on May 15, 2009.

Today, I live in Provence with my wife and children. France has given us a home, and a new start. I have experienced the pleasure of reacquainting myself with my daughters and, in August 2010, the joy of welcoming a new son, Yousef. I am learning to drive, attending vocational training and rebuilding my life. I hope to work again serving others, but so far the fact that I spent seven and a half years as a Guantánamo prisoner has meant that only a few human rights organizations have seriously considered hiring me. I do not like to think of Guantánamo. The memories are filled with pain. But I share my story because 171 men remain there. Among them is Belkacem Bensayah, who was seized in Bosnia and sent to Guantánamo with me.

About 90 prisoners have been cleared for transfer out of Guantánamo. Some of them are from countries like Syria or China — where they would face torture if sent home — or Yemen, which the United States considers unstable. And so they sit as captives, with no end in sight — not because they are dangerous, not because they attacked America, but because the stigma of Guantánamo means they have no place to go, and America will not give a home to even one of them.

I’m told that my Supreme Court case is now read in law schools. Perhaps one day that will give me satisfaction, but so long as Guantánamo stays open and innocent men remain there, my thoughts will be with those left behind in that place of suffering and injustice.

Lakhdar Boumediene was the lead plaintiff in Boumediene v. Bush. He was in military custody at Guantánamo Bay from 2002 to 2009. This essay was translated by Felice Bezri from the Arabic.

Progressive former-mayor Rocky Anderson enters presidential race under a new Justice Party. Thoughts??

Disclaimer: I am not posting this in support of Rocky Anderson, the Justice Party, or Democracy Now!, etc. I am simply posting it because I find it newsworthy. Please form your own opinions and feel free to voice those opinions below.

Vowing to fight the influence of money over politics, Anderson kicked off his campaign Monday.

A new political party has entered the fray as an alternative to Democrats and Republicans ahead of the 2012 elections. On Monday, the Justice Party formally kicked off its formation with an event in Washington, D.C. Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson will run for president on the Justice Party ticket. Rocky Anderson has been known as one of the most progressive mayors of any major U.S. city in recent years. During his two mayoral terms from 2000 to 2008, Anderson was an outspoken champion of LGBT rights, environmental sustainability and the antiwar movement in opposition to the war in Iraq.

Vowing to fight the influence of money over politics, Anderson kicked off his campaign Monday with a pledge to limit individual donations to $100 a person. He and the Justice Party say they hope to build a grassroots movement heading into the November 2012 elections.

AMY GOODMAN: Why have you launched this party and a presidential bid?

ROCKY ANDERSON: We launched the Justice Party because the entire system is so corrupt. It’s so diseased. We know that the public interest is not being served by anyone in the system right now, particularly the two dominant parties who have sustained this corrupt system and who are sustained by it.

AMY GOODMAN: Third party, what does that mean now? How exactly will you run for president?

Read More

citizen-earth

Adam Carolla: I just heard today that, in California – before the economy fell apart – I think it was the top 1% of taxpayers paid for 50% of the taxes that came in here, in California. That’s 1% paying for 50%. Not good enough? Not good enough? I understand some people have more than others. That’s always gonna be there. Even…Y’know, we started off, this evening, talking about the auto show and about how the crazy competition just led to these crazy crazy cars. And I know, sometimes, it goes astray but, for the most part, it’s the best system we have. And, trying to get the top 1% to pay for the top…bottom 55% – or to pay-in 55% – that’s not the angle that’s used. The angle’s: worrying about what the fuck the other 50% are doing, not what the top – who is already paying *way* more than their fair share – is doing.

My response: The Occupy Movement is not about getting the top 1% to pay more in taxes. It is about ending government corruption and restoring political power to the people. But, since Mr. Carolla brought this up, it should be noted that top 1% of wage earners in the US pay 38% of federal income taxes. I don’t see how this could be controversial, considering that they earn much more than the average worker. CEO pay in the US, for example, is on average 475 times higher than the average salary.  It is important to note that these statistics only apply to wage earners. The wealthiest .1% of Americans largely increase their wealth through capital gains rather than wages - earning over 50% of all capital gains income in the US - and they only pay 15% tax on this money. This gives the .1% a 25% share in total national income, the largest income disparity of any industrialized nation.

Adam Carolla: There’s something that’s come up in this country, that didn’t used to exist, which is: envy. And it’s a big issue. And it *was* understood, back in the day, and we are empowering…we now are now dealing with the first wave of participation trophy – “my own fecal matter doesn’t stink”, “empowered”, “I feel so fucking good about myself”, “everybody’s a winner, there’s no losers” – we’re dealing with the first wave of those fucking assholes. 

[Read More]

It’s All a Game of Musical Chairs…If We Let It Be

Our society is like a game of musical chairs. We don’t have enough chairs for everyone, but we have enough for everyone to design a workable rotation in which everyone will have an adequate time to sit. 

 There seems to be two principal divides:

Those who believe that life is a battle, about winning, competitively fighting for the top, survival of the fittest. A system built on such principles encourages ruthlessness, it benefits those who break rules and cut corners, it rewards those willing to take risks (to themselves and others). This system does not value equality, sharing, sustainability or compassion. Compassion is a weakness that will only allow those less compassionate to trample over you. This system promotes an animalistic need to survive and conquer. Those who can’t own* and conquer - suffer. (*Own - to take sole possession of something, to remove it from circulation. It doesn’t matter if resources on this planet are limited or that we only use the majority of the items in our possession a couple times a month. We make the decision that our comfort and convenience is more important than the welfare of others and, so as not to feel guilty for that selfishness, we call THEM lazy and entitled for asking for some assistance in this survival of the fittest. We inherently make a decision that we are more fit and, thus, more deserving of survival than those who are failing in this system.)

Then there are those who believe that life is not about winning, not about competing, but rather about co-existing, harmonizing and working in cooperation. Sometimes that involves sacrifice and inconvenience. But in the long run, since the majority of people will not win this game, a little inconvenience is a small price to pay, don’t you think?

Using the metaphor of musical chairs, those in the latter camp would work together to design a rational system in which each person had a fair share of time to sit. Each being fairly rested, we would work in cooperation to build more chairs (because they were needed, not because they were profitable).


Unfortunately, even if 99% of people follow this cooperative agreement, all it takes is 1% of assholes to completely shift the focus and balance of the system. All it takes is 1% to decide they want their own chair.  And so they take a chair, because they are smart, strong, influential, manipulative, powerful enough to take and keep it. The rest continue to function, each taking less time on the chairs, working harder, standing longer.  But those 1% of assholes aren’t satisfied with having their own needs met at the expense of others, they also want the power that comes with having what others want or need. So they slowly take more chairs. Almost imperceptively at first and by the time everyone realizes  they’ve lost a lot of chairs, those assholes have amassed enough “power” to blatantly start stealing them. We’ve passively allowed it to pass, so like a child with parents who fail to discipline, they push further and further, take more and more. 

Now everyone is exhausted only having a few minutes to sit, some feel too weary to fight the theft and believe that if they cooperate, appease the assholes in power, they will take pity and at least not steal the paltry chairs still remaining. Others start getting bitter and more aggressive with each other. We start fighting each other for time on the chairs as desperation grows. The harmony begins to break down and we lose any unity we might have had to take back what is the People’s from the assholes, who are sitting atop a pile of unused chairs. 

They grin at us and decide to strike up a “bargain”. If we serve them, work towards their aims and desires, they will let us use a chair. How magnanimous. We become reliant. We begin to forget there could be another way, a way where we self-regulate and share. We allow these assholes to control our supply and demand, control what we get when we get it. They dangle promises of weekends of relaxation, obtainable American dreams and retirements in front of us as we slave away to use the very chairs we built. 

Until we finally began to notice that this really sucked and we stood up, against all the fear and internal conflicts, and demanded to be heard. Our voices must be unified to be powerful enough to break down the fortress of chairs these assholes have built. We’re all already standing; they’ve stolen our chairs. So I ask you to stand with us in solidarity. Join us in demanding justice and accountability, adherence to the rules we all once agreed upon, and for the return of our fucking chairs. 

Rich Class fighting 99%, winning big-time

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, “there is class warfare, all right,” declared Warren Buffett. “But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Yes, the Rich Class is at war with you, with the 99%, a war against America. This class war actually started a generation ago, in 1981 when Ronald Reagan became president. Since then, the Rich Class has been winners. Big-time. And the 99% are the losers. Real big-time.

I am going to keep reminding you over and over of this Rich Class declaration of war and how they’re defeating America.

Why more reminders? Because, except for Buffett, the vast majority of the Rich Class really are engaged in a massive cover-up, a widespread conspiracy that includes the Super Rich, Forbes 400 billionaires, Wall Street bank CEOs, all their high-paid Washington lobbyists, all the Congressional puppets they keep in office by spending hundreds of millions on campaign payola and all the conservative presidential candidates praying the same Rich Class dogma.

Yes, Rich Class has been fighting a 30-year war to rule America

They’re fighting you, winning big-time, and you’re the loser. It’s just one generation since conservatives put Reagan in office: In those three short decades the income and wealth of the top 1% has tripled while the income of the bottom 99% of all Americans has stagnated or dropped.

Yes, they are at war with you, fighting to gain absolute power over America … and they will never stop their brutal attacks.

Buffett didn’t admit to this Declaration of Class War on America till five years ago. It happened in Omaha, Neb., in Buffett’s “unpretentious offices” back in 2006 during a New York Times interview with Ben Stein, a former Nixon speech writer. Here’s Ben describing the declaration of war:

”Buffett compiled a data sheet of the men and women who work in his office. He had each of them make a fraction; the numerator was how much they paid in federal income tax and in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and the denominator was their taxable income. The people in his office were mostly secretaries and clerks, though not all.

”It turned out that Mr. Buffett, with immense income from dividends and capital gains, paid far, far less as a fraction of his income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in his office. Further, in conversation it came up that Mr. Buffett doesn’t use any tax planning at all.

“He just pays as the Internal Revenue Code requires. ‘How can this be fair?’ he asked of how little he pays relative to his employees. ‘How can this be right?’ Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare.”

And to that comment by Stein, Buffett made his famous declaration of war: “There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

In spite of that unequivocal declaration, Buffett’s Rich Class buddies still want you to believe that it’s the Occupiers, the lazy unemployed, the 99%, someone else, anyone other than their Rich Class that’s fomenting class warfare.

So you need occasional reminders, because the “Rich Class” has been spending mega-bucks for decades to shift responsibility. Fortunately today, folks like the Occupiers aren’t buying the con job. Here’s a few:

Rich Class warriors: puppet-politicians in GOP-controlled Congress

We know the GOP is the Party of the Rich Class. But the Dems are co-conspirators fighting the class war as pawns of the wealthy. No wonder the Occupy Wall Street crowd focuses on the inequality gap between America’s top 1% and the 99% who’ve seen no income growth since the Reaganomics ideology took over American politics. Many are like House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, clones of Ayn Rand’s narcissistic cult of selfish capitalism.

Listen, both parties are singing in harmony: “Yes, there’s class warfare. And yes, it’s our duty to fight for the richest class of capitalists who are making this war. We must help them win, get richer, squeeze more and more out of all Americans.”

Rich Class warriors: Federal Reserve-Wall Street bankers conspiracy

Yes, there are five banks in America that control about 90% of all the deposits … they control over 90% of America’s trading in the $650 trillion global derivatives casino … they control the Federal Reserve through directors and governors … their campaign payola and lobbyists virtually control the presidency, the Senate and Congress … they siphon huge bonuses from depositors, shareholders and pensioners alike:

“So yes, there is a class warfare running our banking system, every day. And yes, the CEOs in our rich class are leading that class war, and winning big. But more in never enough, so we want new ways to skim off profits, because we are invincible, too big and too greedy to fail.”

Rich Class warriors: Pentagon’s Perpetual War-Mongering Machine

The rich class loves war (war profiteering is a big business). Of course they often have to brainwash the 99% with fears like the mushroom-cloud lies Bush-Cheney used to get America into the $3 trillion Iraq War. Americans have a powerful love-hate relationship with war. Why else would we spend almost half our federal budget, several hundred billion dollars, on war every year?

“Yes, there’s class warfare, all right,” the former vice president might say as a one-time defense contractor CEO and oilman who continued profiting in office. He’d obviously admit: “Yes, we’re in a class war, and it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we proud that we kept winning that war while we was in office.”

Rich Class fighting to turn America back into Reagan’s ol’ Wild West

The list goes on: The Rich Class wants to time-travel America back to a lawless Old Wild West, back to a free-market Reaganomics anarchy where the top 1% trickle down leftovers to the 99% using this kind of self-destructive programs:

  • Privatize: Turn Social Security over to Wall Street bankers to run Main Street’s retirements into the dirt (worse than they did in 2008), a $20 trillion blunder that’s guaranteed to trigger total bankruptcy of the America economy.

  • Vouchers: Turn our educational and health-care systems into a voucher system so that private companies owned by the Rich Class can siphon off even bigger profits from every little trickle-down bone the wealthy toss to parents, the sick and elderly.

  • Regulations: They’ll also turn over environmental, drugs, food, banking and all other regulatory agencies back to be controlled by the very company executives they’re supposed to be regulating, just like Bush and Cheney did for eight years.

  • Tax-Free: Extend Bush tax cuts to Rich Class, eliminate estate taxes and give Corporate America another tax–free holiday to return huge foreign profits so they can deposit those profits direct into pockets of the Rich Class.

But, of course, there’s nothing new here. We just forget so easily, because it’s so bad. Which is why we’ll be reminding you often that the Rich Class has been fighting this war against you for 30 years, since Reagan.

And they’re so greedy they cannot stop fighting. So they will likely keep attacking the 99% for another decade, till the 2020 presidential elections, or more likely, till a catastrophic collapse of the economy coming soon.

Yes, folks, America really is under attack daily. We are fighting on the defense in an historic class warfare. Yes, the Rich Class really did start this war. And yes, they really are winning, big-time. And yes, they are addicted to winning at all costs, to get richer and richer just for the sake of getting richer and richer.

They have no conscience about the collateral damage done to the rest of Americans. They’ve lost their moral compass. In short, they will fight this war to the death, yours, theirs, even the death of America. Bet on it: Because more is never enough for America’s morally bankrupt Rich Class.

occupythegalaxy
wow…
obviously not everyone in those fields is so, but this has a very valid point. Just two personal examples. 
1. My friend went to the doctor because she was having anxiety. Without much of an examination, the doctor prescribed her Lexapro. She took that for a year. In that year, she went from A’s to C’s, she became increasingly apathetic.  About 6 months in, she made a second visit to the doctor, expressing her concern, the doctor doubled her dosage. After two months on the higher dosage, for the first time in her life she contemplated suicide. She and all of her friends were becoming increasingly concerned and so she weaned herself off of the drugs without the doctor’s consultation. Upon a third visit to the same facility, different doctor, she noticed that all over the doctor’s office were pens, pencils, cups, mugs, and various other “consumerist freebees” with the moniker “Lexapro” all over them. Think the doctor was being paid a few kickbacks for prescribing Lexapro? Think when that doctor prescribed that to my friend she had my friend’s health in best interest? 
2. I got a ticket for not wearing a seat belt. To clarify, I was at a gas station pulling away from the pump, still on gas station property. I put on my seat belt as I was waiting to turn onto the street. The moment I turned onto the street, a cop performed a u-turn and pulled me over and gave me a ticket. Unlike most citizens, I had a legal education and various state laws explaining that it was only illegal to not wear a seatbelt on state highways. There was specific case law that ruled out private property, parking lots, etc. The gas station parking lot fell under this exception. At no time was I on a state roadway without a seat belt fastened. I came to my court date fully prepared with case law. To reiterate something many forget - you are innocent until proven guilty. It is the state’s job to prove you are guilty beyond shadow of doubt. The judge was annoyed by my preparation, very dismissive and interrupted me. My case was one of many being ushered in and out with the ILLUSION of DUE PROCESS. The policeman claimed that even if I had it buckled, it wasn’t properly buckled. The judge ruled in favor of the police officer. It was rather disillusioning. 

wow…

obviously not everyone in those fields is so, but this has a very valid point. Just two personal examples. 

1. My friend went to the doctor because she was having anxiety. Without much of an examination, the doctor prescribed her Lexapro. She took that for a year. In that year, she went from A’s to C’s, she became increasingly apathetic.  About 6 months in, she made a second visit to the doctor, expressing her concern, the doctor doubled her dosage. After two months on the higher dosage, for the first time in her life she contemplated suicide. She and all of her friends were becoming increasingly concerned and so she weaned herself off of the drugs without the doctor’s consultation. Upon a third visit to the same facility, different doctor, she noticed that all over the doctor’s office were pens, pencils, cups, mugs, and various other “consumerist freebees” with the moniker “Lexapro” all over them. Think the doctor was being paid a few kickbacks for prescribing Lexapro? Think when that doctor prescribed that to my friend she had my friend’s health in best interest? 

2. I got a ticket for not wearing a seat belt. To clarify, I was at a gas station pulling away from the pump, still on gas station property. I put on my seat belt as I was waiting to turn onto the street. The moment I turned onto the street, a cop performed a u-turn and pulled me over and gave me a ticket. Unlike most citizens, I had a legal education and various state laws explaining that it was only illegal to not wear a seatbelt on state highways. There was specific case law that ruled out private property, parking lots, etc. The gas station parking lot fell under this exception. At no time was I on a state roadway without a seat belt fastened. I came to my court date fully prepared with case law. To reiterate something many forget - you are innocent until proven guilty. It is the state’s job to prove you are guilty beyond shadow of doubt. The judge was annoyed by my preparation, very dismissive and interrupted me. My case was one of many being ushered in and out with the ILLUSION of DUE PROCESS. The policeman claimed that even if I had it buckled, it wasn’t properly buckled. The judge ruled in favor of the police officer. It was rather disillusioning. 

kateinva asked:

Who decides what the ‘rich’s’ fair share is? My dad and stepmother have a combined income that puts them in the politically accepted definition of ‘rich’. Except they aren’t. They’re upper middle class and certainly not suffering, but they are still have a budget they have to live within. They've both worked for the federal govt for over 30 years. My father is now retired. How much is 'fair' to tax them? 40% 50% 75%? Who is divinely appointed to make that decision?

There is a bigger picture point you are missing. It isn’t divinely appointed, it is human system decided.  The current system isn’t just the way of life. It is a system we developed and now follow even past the point of broken corruption. We have an unfair and imbalanced system right now. We have the power to repair or change that system. It is not some personal attack on your family or in any way meant to diminish the achievements of your family. Your family worked hard and lived the believed American Dream. I’m very happy for them. The system worked…for them. But just as we can look back upon times of slavery or as recent as the 60’s, the system is not always a good system for ALL. Slavery was a GREAT capitalist/economic system. Very cheap, reproducible labor? Oh we still do it under a different name and by paying a nominal amount and now we keep it MOSTLY out of our own borders so we don’t have to see our shame. And the 50’s - so very prosperous and happy, when women were enslaved as caregivers and housecleaners and people were (open/shameless) racists. 
If you think about it, these are NOT JUST social issues or about civil rights. These were serious effects on the economy. Free labor. HUGE. Free caregiving/house managing HUGE, because it opened up men to pursue more and more and more. But somewhere along the way we realized there were certain truths that bared self evidence - women were people too, all races are human race, and as such they all had value. And if we stop to use that great big brain of ours, we can see that sharing and equality and cooperation is the most conducive to social living and harmony. 
We’re not after your family. We are talking about a system that we have power over to change not serving a majority of its people! If a government does not support its people, then why would the people stay in allegiance to it? That system either must change, or the people will regroup and form their own new system. 
Furthermore, much of this is symbolic. 99%, riches, etc. it is symbolic. People are not angry at your family for fairly benefiting from the system. People are angry at those in power of the system and abusing the system and cheating the people. We’re mad because that is one example of how our government no longer functions to serve and protect the people - the fundamental aspect of our supposed government. 

And lastly, your family represents one of the points many occupiers support - socialism. People may be surprised to learn that much of the agencies are run quite socialist style. Job protections, set grades, a slow, trudging bureaucratic machine- a machine that paid well and more importantly, predictably and stably, they receive federal protections against work place injury, the receive ample vacation that they earn more of over time, and best of all- reliable retirement. My parents are TERRIFIED of what they will do when their bodies break and they can no longer work full time. I certainly can’t afford to take care of them.
What your family has managed to achieve in that semi-social microcosm of federal employment, is a perfect example of what many people would love to see happen nationwide with everyone. And your parents are probably far better off than many people would even dream of having and would be fine with less. 
But I hope you and others can agree that it becomes a little absurd when one small group of humans are so desperate to suck $1M more dollars out of the system in bonus money that they might spend on frivolous things at the cost of hundreds of people making just that much less such that suddenly it is hard to afford gas or make the rent that month. 
I hope you can also draw the comparison to white men who worked very hard being told they now had to share their professions with black people. You think that change didn’t “take away” from a few white people? Did those specific white people “deserve” to not achieve their dreams? No, but did that black guy not deserve to achieve his dream? What right does anyone have to decide that certain people should be held down and left uneducated, desperate, scared to voice their opinion for fear of losing what little they hold dear. 
I give you an example, ironically, I also work in service to the federal government. I and my fellow contractor employees draft million dollar grants to Native American tribes and fish runs and energy efficiency measures and research and development. I’m used for equally complicated and skilled knowledge as federal employees I work alongside, but I make pennies in comparison. I do not have any benefits. I do not have health insurance and I work for the federal government, full time, drafting multi-million dollar (“socialist”) grants. Today, I was in a meeting. Interestingly discussing WIG (Wildly Important Goal - something many are arguing Occupiers should be more mindful of). It flared into an all out protest war between all of the federal employees and the manager. Guess who felt they must sit silent in the room? Guess who didn’t feel like they had any safety or leverage to speak up? Us contractors. Why? Because we were all scared that if we stood up and show any discontent, we would be quickly dealt with and lose a position we are far more desperate to keep than most. 
This is a problem. The three contractors who were silent were equally if not quite a bit more educated than federal employees. We are all bright and hard working. Why is our voice any less useful? It isn’t, but the system is broken and keeps thousands of people silent. 
So I ask you, what right do the people who take advantage of a broken system have to decide that they “deserve” millions of dollars, even at the cost of the livelihoods and voices of millions of PEOPLE (who either weren’t smart, lucky, or self-serving enough to take advantage of said system)?

Occupy Portland will be marching Saturday!

We are joining forces with the “10 Years in Afghanistan: End the Wars – Bring our $$ Home” Actions being planned by Peace and Justice Works. The action is planned for Saturday, Oct. 15th. At 12:30PM we will assemble at Shemansky Park, located at the South Park Blocks on Salmon, to join the rally with P.J.W.

Time:
12:30PM Assemble at Shemansky Park (South Park Blocks at Salmon)
1:30PM March
2:30PM Forum at First Unitarian Church (SW 12th and Main)

Why?
War and militarism are both deep causes and recurring symptoms of the corrupt system of domination Occupy Portland is opposing. A feeder march will make use of O.P’s occupation site capacity as a staging ground for creative actions directed at various aspects of the corrupt system of domination. The organizers of the Saturday anti-war action have explicitly defined it in terms that connect to OP’s issues.

Event Demands

  • Self Determination for the Middle East
  • End Militarism
  • Money for Jobs and Health Care
  • Protect Human and Civil Rights

March route details will be posted soon.

http://occupypdx.org/