Recently someone presented the idea that the Occupy / 99% movement was somehow anti-military. Although the movement contains members with diverse views, the central concept of the Occupy / 99% movement supports the men and women of the military as they are part of the growing populous movement. This is on top of ridiculous rumors which insist that members of Congress and their families do not have to repay Student Loans that Congress can retire on full pay after just one term, and other unfounded accusations to heighten the differences between the ruling and serving class.
Make no mistake; there are clear differences between the ruling and serving classes. There really is a 99% and a 1%; however the exaggerated claims detract from the facts of the matter. To explain, we will compare and contrast factual information about serving in the U.S. Military and ruling in the U.S. Congress. As a result, they distract from the core message behind the Occupy Movement. In abstract, that core message is that a democracy should be beholding to the people it serves rather than the greed of a select few.
The average Wall Street bonus is predicted to be down by 30% this year. (1) Bankers threaten to sue or walk. When union employees are asked to take a pay cut to keep their employer afloat in these hard financial times, the unions have made concessions. Although loosing wages and benefits is not something a person looks forward to, sometimes it is necessary to keep a business running and jobs available. Although blue collar (and no collar) workers (99%) have been willing to make concessions, when it comes time for the white collars (1%) to do their part, they threaten to either sue or take their toys and leave. I think we can all agree the theme song here is Hit the Road Jack.
“Jeffries Group have threatened to walk away from the firm if bonuses aren’t on par with the Street.” – Business Insider (1)
The United States Department of State maintains a list of designated “Foreign Terrorist Organizations” (1). Advocating or otherwise promoting any organization on that list is illegal in the United States. This is why Jubair Ahmad was arrested for “providing material support” to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) after uploading a video to YouTube. We cannot tell you what was in that video because it has been removed from Youtube. But we can tell you that the FBI’s sworn affidavit (2) seems to indicate the video was a collection of images which detail abuses at the U.S. detention camp Abu Ghraib, images of vehicles being attacked by road side bombs, and Muslim prayer segments. Jubair Ahmad, a legal immigrant to the United States, pled guilty (3).
Javed Iqbal, who has lived in New York for 26 years, was arrested for making the Al Manar TV channel available to customers of his satellite TV Company HDTV Ltd. The US Treasury declared Al Manar a terrorist organization claiming it participated it “supported Hezbollah’s fund-raising and recruitment activities.” (4) Both Al Manar and Hezbollah are on the list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (1), so although Javed Iqbal said he did not support Al Manal via personal ideology; offering that TV station in a package for his satellite TV Company amounted to material support. Iqbal pointed to the fact that his company also sold Christian and adult programming. He was sentenced to almost six years in prison.
If I told you that U.S. president Obama can and will arrest, detain, and even execute U.S. citizens without “indictment of a Grand Jury”, you would probably think I am a conspiracy theory nut case. If I told you that there is nothing the courts can do about it, you’d probably think I were speaking about some secret government plot. The scariest part of this tail is that I am not speaking about a secret government conspiracy at all. Despite the constitutional safeguards against such conduct, the executive branch of the U.S. government is not only doing these things right out in the open, it is passing laws which make such actions superficially legal.
Earlier, we warned our readers that martial law was about to be effectively imposed in the United States (See: Martial Law Declared in the United States). If the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) were passed, that U.S. citizens could be arrested anywhere in the world (including within the United States) and held indefinitely without a trial. We pointed out that if NDAA were made law, that the right of right to habeas corpus was suspended.
Last night, the Constitution of the United States of America was figuratively shredded, tossed to the ground, and urinated on by the City of New York. While Americans were distracted by the festivities of New Year’s Eve, police did not bother with their previous façade of enforcing park rules and city code. When citizens of the United States of America assembled in a public park, police ordered them to leave with no explanation. When they used the sidewalk to leave, police demanded the sidewalk was also closed. When they left the area, they learned that to their group additional parts of the city were now closed. When credentialed agents of the press tried to document the event, the police shoved the press aside.
“One officer used two hands to repeatedly shove backwards a credentialed news photographer who was preparing to document an arrest.” – New York Times (1)
I am a citizen of the United States of America. On my mother’s side of the family, each man that we can count served his country in the military. Her brother served. Her father served. Her grandfather served. My father was the first in his line that was eligible for US military service. As the child of a German immigrant, serving took a bit of creative genealogy as at the time the U.S. was at war with Germany. My father even lied about his age to be eligible to defend the country of his birth. My service was not during war time, but I too served. None in my family were drafted. None in my family were career military. Each served because he loved the country of his birth. That family tradition will end with my children. Although I served my country, I cannot in good conscious ask my children to do the same because doing so requires first swearing an oath to God which amounts to a flat lie.
“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” – From the US Army (1)
Just two days after Christmas, Sears Holdings Corporation has announced that it will be closing between 100 and 120 stores, liquidating inventory, and restructuring. Instead of an increase in sales this holiday season, Sears Holdings Corporation has reported that the final quarter has shown a decrease in sales. Kmart is down 4.4% and Sears is down by 6% during the final quarter. (1) With that announcement, Sears Holding Corporation’s stock fell almost 30% today and that price continued to head downward as the market closed. Speaking on the announcement by Sears Holding Corporation, Newsday calls the holiday season “disastrous” (2) Best Buy offers a similar explanation to their decreased profit margin. Earlier in December, shares in Best Buy dropped 15% after the results of Black Friday sales became public knowledge. The explanation is that they drastically lowered prices to attract consumers. So while sales volume increased, the profit margin decreased.(3) Although Wal-Mart, Maces, and a few others seem to have come out of this holiday season with the approval of Wall Street (4) it is still too early to know if strategies to increase sales volume cut into profits at those retailers as well.
Meanwhile, Washington continues to tell us that the bailout worked, the economy is back on its feet, and it is just a matter of time before we see prosperity again. With unemployment at almost 10%, college educated people being counted as employed even though they are flipping burgers, and foreclosures forcing more and more people to become homeless; we are forced to wonder whose prosperity Washington is talking about.
Chances are you have heard or read that the Occupy and 99% movement believes there is an international inequity in wealth. What most people do not seem to understand is that the core principle of the Occupy / 99% movement does not consider the inequality in wealth itself to be wrong. The inequality that is wrong is the political power. Instead of being firmly seated with the people (the 99%), it is wielded mostly by the wealthy (the 1%). The main grievance the Occupy / 99% movement is not about wealth, it is about power. While inequity in wealth might seem to be the core complaint of the movement, the protest is really about returning democracy to what has become a plutocracy.
“Plutocracy is rule by the wealthy or power provided by wealth.” (1)
The eviction of Occupy Berkeley, California left many people wondering who exactly runs the city of Berkeley. There, city council members had no idea the eviction was planned nor could those council members reach anyone in city government for an explanation. Even representatives from the district in which Occupy Berkley established its encampment were in the dark concerning the eviction. (See Occupy Berkeley Eviction). Earlier in the year we saw an even more dramatic example of how we do not know who runs our cities.
Who is in charge of the city of Nashville? Our first thought is that the mayor of Nashville is. Why then did State Troopers, who we assume report to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, raid Occupy Nashville back in October? If the mayor and city of Nashville were behind the raid, why are they not named in the ACLU lawsuit (2)? If the county were involved, why did the county refuse to ratify the State Trooper’s decision to arrest the protesters? The county decision effectively made it impossible for State Troopers to put protesters in the county jail. After that court decision, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam ordered all charges dropped against the protesters. Later, a Federal Court would decide that the limitations placed on protesters were unconstitutional.
The first grievance raised by Occupy Wall Street was that our representative democracy represents big banks (the 1%) rather than the people (the 99%). The December 21st eviction of Occupy Berkeley tells an entirely different story. There, the elected representatives of the people aren’t necessarily doing the bidding of the one percent. Instead, they are simply ignored. As such, the will of the people that those elected officials represent is simply ignored.
On Tuesday December 20, 2011, Occupy Berkeley received its walking papers. Those papers were handed to Occupy Berkeley spokesperson Larry Silver. The papers cited the 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM curfew in the park. According to The Daily Californian, the city of Berkeley previously choose to overlook the park’s curfew and allow Occupy Berkley protesters to camp at Martin Luther King Park in Downtown Berkeley (1). Living in a representative democracy rather than a direct democracy, we assume that when someone says a city made a decision that it was duly elected representatives who made that decision.