Occupy Wall Street — Wonder why they are protesting?

Are you wondering what the Occupy Wall Street protesters are protesting?   Here’s an example:  A corporate board of directors decides to give the CEO a salary increase from $15 million last year to $21 million this year when the company has had a 7% decline in revenues (that’s a corporate LOSS) and cut close to 3,000 employees in their “trimming” of expenses (yes, these “trimmed” people are now eligible for taxpayer funded unemployment benefits), there is a huge morality problem.  I’m not just making this up for the sake of writing words, see this Oct. 3, 2011 Washington Post article.

In case you were reading it too fast, here’s the simple version:

  • CEO making $15 million/year (what was your annual salary last year?).
  • Corporate revenues decline by 7% (Company is losing money).
  • Cuts expenses by dumping almost 3,000 employees (3000 people had jobs, now don’t).
  • Board gives CEO $6 million MORE for what?  Losing money and making 3000 people unemployed!  CEO now making $21 million/year.

This graphic on the Amgen/peer CEO salary comparison goes with the article in the Washington Post.

10/3/11 Washington Post

So what does one CEO have to do with the Occupy Wall Street protests?  It is just one example of many, many, many showing the disparity between ordinary Americans (the 99%) and the rich and powerful (the 1%).  I don’t think the protesters are actually protesting the CEO making a lot of money, it’s the underlying rationale for how he ends up with a $6 million raise while 3000 people lose their jobs, their livelihoods and possibly homes, etc. and then are told that it’s their own fault (see Cain, Herman:  “If You Don’t Have a Job and You’re Not Rich, Blame Yourself!”);  I think the protesters feel that they are not being heard (see Utah redistricting); I think the protesters feel that our government is no longer of, by and for the people, but rather bought and paid for by big bucks from big business.

There has been very little corporate media coverage of the OCCUPY WALL STREET protests, much less coverage than of the early “Tea Party” gatherings (think maybe the word “corporate” has anything to do with it?).  The limited coverage there has been could be called primarily the “dissing” of the protest–distant, disparaging, disdainful.  Maybe it’s not news that people are sick and tired of politicians making policy that WE THE PEOPLE have to live with that continues to diminish the “least among us” and erodes the middle class while fattening the top end.  History lesson here:  EVERY civilization, culture or government that has done this either through policy or practice has fallen.  Everyone should know that pride fueled by greed will bring a society down.  In Utah we have a dominant Mormon culture and hear often referrals to the “pride cycle” so it should look very familiar. One particular movie also comes to mind, Metropolis, the 1927 silent film.  Check it out–  Sign of the times.

Finally, to answer the question of “Why they are protesting,” I am inserting a comment that I read on the Salt Lake Tribune website this morning (10/7/11) by commenter reunitedstatesofamerica.  I can’t say it better.

I would just like to say that it is the democracy of this nation that is in question.

The point is that many of the corporations/special interest groups are buying specific actions from (some of) those people we vote for.  Hence, what “vote”, “say”…democracy do we really have?

Instead of seeing losers that should get a job, I see big money that bought the laws to ship our jobs out of this country, and enjoy tax breaks too.  Instead of seeing losers that should go home, I see a mortgage industry controlled by big money that bought the laws to sell our mortgage debt plus interest, claim it as profit to soar their stock prices and issue a whole hechovalota bonuses.  The same big money, I might add, that reinvented the retirement system into stock market styled plans, thus having millions of people purchase stock in their falsely inflated trading companies.  Those bailed out’s fell behind in their mortgage sale loan payments – because people couldn’t pay their mortgage payment –  because their job got shipped out to a 4 year old girl overseas making $3 a year (sorry for the sarcasm).

I am sitting pretty with a house, cars, retirement, and a job with benefits.  I go to work every workday on time and do a great job.  I pay my bills on time, save and plan on paying for my own dang retirement.   If they ship out my job and blow my retirement with a shady deal, I will be jobless and homeless with…absolutely no law, no representative changing this risk because of this special interest favor-tism.

1.   I CAN’T VOTE FOR SOMEONE THAT WON’T ALLOW MY JOB TO BE SHIPPED OUT BECAUSE BIG MONEY BUYS THEIR VOTE/ACTION.

2.  IF THE BANK MAKES A BOO BOO AND LOSES MY RETIREMENT INVESTMENT/PENSION, WHILE PAYING COUNTLESS CEO’s MILLIONS PER YEAR…I CAN’T STOP THEM BECAUSE THEY BUY THE LAWS TO PROTECT THEM, NOT ME.

I live in the United States of America.

Ya’ll my friends, are the exact same as all those left jobless, homeless, pensionless….because if it happens to you, what are you going to do about it?

To the comfortable looking down upon the protesters, wake up tomorrow and pretend you got laid off because your job was shipped overseas, pretend your retirement disappeared because of fraudulent bankers.  Then call your mortgage company, explain this to them and see if you have a law or representative to protect you.  While you are begging them to not take your house over a measely $4000, turn on the news and listen to the latest round of bonuses to the millionaires that defrauded you out of your job and retirement.

If it happens to you, what are you gonna do about it?

I’m going to revisit this movement as it progresses as I happen to believe it’s about time!  Stay tuned.

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Open Letter to Utah Senators and Representatives, and All Members of the U.S. Congress

Open Letter to Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee (Senators from Utah), Jason Chaffetz (Representative of my district in Utah), Rob Bishop and Jim Matheson (representatives of other House districts in Utah), and all other members of Congress:

I am a middle class American and refuse to stand quietly by and let you destroy this country. The budget debate you have been playing at has gone beyond the point of reason. I join with many, many others in saying that you must stop this irresponsibility. It doesn’t matter which political party you have attached to your name, you are supposedly a representative of the citizens and supposedly put country first. You should be ashamed of the partisan debate that has brought us to the economic brink of default and made “democracy” the laughingstock of the world. No one observing the current debacle would want to have anything to do with our form of government, they must view us as in a downward spiral to nowhere, and they are right.

Many of you (all of the Utahns) claim that this is the result of unchecked spending, budget deficits, etc. (something that almost all of you have been a part of for many years), and that you are now going to be the ones to put a stop to it. Rather than stopping it though, you are opening the trapdoor for the middle and lower classes in this country to fall through. Not one of you has offered a reasonable, balanced approach that includes everyone in this country — and by that I include individuals (rich, poor and everyone in between), small businesses and big corporations. You refuse to consider any kind of tax increase — including closing tax loopholes that benefit large corporations or ending oil and gas subsidies on corporations that just posted multi-billion dollar profits — or even to let the Bush era tax cuts expire. Most of what has been proposed falls on the back of those least able to make adjustments — elderly, poor, lower and middle class, and the environment. Where were your budget concerns in the pre-war debate regarding funding of two wars? Did you express any reservations regarding how those wars were going to be funded? I’ll answer for you because I remember even if you don’t: No, you did not express any concerns, in fact, those of you who were in Washington at that time were in FULL support of the wars as well as the tax cuts. You completely disregarded the voices of warning saying that it could not be done and our nation remain economically sound. You were in a full press forward, following the administration’s advice to increase spending (two wars) and decrease revenues (tax cuts). That, sirs, is why we have a budget crisis; that is why we have a deficit rather than a budget surplus — and you were in full support.

Since you played such an important role in the making of our current deficit, you need to get busy, bury your partisan pom poms, and work out a viable compromise — not a compromise like you think you have agreed upon, not one that requires a constitutional amendment, but a real, viable compromise. A compromise that cuts spending but also increases revenues. The subsidies must go and tax cuts for those with incomes over $200,000 must go. You know that 90-95% of Americans do not fall into that category so unless you are going to be elected by the other 5% you’d better pay attention here!

Now a few personal notes to each of the legislators from Utah:

Mike Lee, your constitutional amendment needs to hit the bottom of the bin. This country had a budget surplus when George W. Bush started his first term and that was without your constitutional amendment. We didn’t need it then, we don’t need it now. You profess to believe that the Constitution of the United States is divinely inspired, so stop trying to mess with it. You are not the one to “save” it from the proverbial “thread” any more than Mr. Hatch.

Orrin Hatch, it’s time for you to retire. You came from Pennsylvania thirty years ago campaigning on term limits and you are still here. It’s time to do something other than petty squabbling with Jason Chaffetz.

Mr. Chaffetz, stop acting like Mr. Hatch. Also, I don’t want to hear you say again that you haven’t heard any disagreement with your budget/deficit position from your constituents. You have and you know it.

Rob Bishop, it’s time to realize that God didn’t say “suck the earth dry and then pave whatever’s left” when he referred to replenishing the Earth.  The dust you are made of will return to the earth but your soul will return to God, and He will require an accounting. That will not be in dollars earned for the oil and gas lobby.

Jim Matheson, I think it would be better if you just switched parties. You vote as a Republican most of the time so you might as well be honest about it.

Now a general note to all serving (yes, serving) in the House/Senate/Administration:

It is time to stop this ridiculous posturing and get some work done. If you went to school in this country you had to take U.S. history and/or civics courses. You should know that governing means compromise. Our country has 300 million people in it — no one will ever get everything they want! I won’t, you won’t, no one will. That is because if I get what I want, someone else gets stepped on. If someone else gets everything they want, the ‘wants’ of another someone else will be squashed. That is why we must compromise. EVERYONE must do their part, the poor, the middle class, the wealthy and the corporations. When you serve only one sector — even if it’s the one that provides bucketloads of campaign cash — you are hurting all others. You cannot do that as an elected official and still claim to be “principled.” You must look at the greater good for the majority. It is time to remember the other 95% of the American population. Unless I am mistaken, they are the ones who will be at the polls in the next election.

Sincerely,

Utah American

Mike Lee vs United States of America

Mr. Lee, Republican senator from Utah, won his 2010 primary election against former Senator Robert Bennett and then, because this is Utah, won in November because Utah is, for all intents and purposes a one-party state. In that primary, it was a tea partier against an experienced conservative. Tea Party won.

Now, after extolling the divine inspiration that resulted in the Constitution of the United States in order to get elected, now Mr. Lee says that we need to amend that very Constitution, that the Founding Fathers who practically walked and talked with God as they sweltered in that constitutional summer, beating out compromise after compromise, didn’t get it right. Mr. Lee needs to “fix” things.

The argument I hear from Lee and others advocating constitutional amendment on the budget is that, “Well, how could they (Founding Fathers) know we’d end up with a several trillion dollar budget! If they had known, they would have written it in.” Now, THAT’s an argument I understand. I’ve used it several times myself! Only I’ve used it in conversations about guns (“If they had known how easy it would be for crazy people, or even otherwise normal people, to get automatic weapons they would have made a law against them.”). So, Tea partiers, constitution amenders, Mr. Lee: I feel your pain. HOWEVER! That doesn’t mean we should give in to your extortion regarding the federal budget.

YOU, Mr. Lee, should be charged and prosecuted for extortion of the citizens of the United States. You are trying to hold this entire country hostage while you write your constitutional amendment that will devastate this country’s economy and spill over into the world as a whole. You remember that world, don’t you? The one God created (and all in it)?

Just So You Know….

Here’s another “blogthing.com” especially for this campaign climate. My results for the incredibly simplified quiz are listed here but I’ll bet you have already figured out my conservative/liberal leanings. For newcomers, however, now you can see straightaway whether reading anything here will satisfy your ideological desires. Since it seems more and more to be the case that people only read what they agree with, blogs for example, maybe every magazine, newspaper or blog should have “Liberal” or “Conservative” as part of their title just to save us time — the “Screaming Liberal New York Times,” for example, or the “Coldly Conservative Wall Street Journal.”

Anyway, all sarcasm aside, take the little 2-minute quiz, just click on the link (How Liberal or Conservative are You?) at the bottom of the box — and be HONEST for heaven’s sake!


Laelyn’s Political Profile:


Overall: 30% Conservative, 70% Liberal

Social Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

What is it Really? Separation of Church and State, or Separation of Church and Taxes.

Apparently there is a loose coalition of churches that feel that because the government is not being run the way they think it should that they don’t have to obey the laws any longer. One church leader, Rev. Ron Johnson Jr. told his flock that voting for Obama would be the equivalent of “severe moral schizophrenia.” For more details, read “33 Pastors Flout Tax Law With Political Sermons.”

I’m not sure if they realize the full implications of getting their way, challenging the 1954 tax law that specifies that non-profit, tax-exempt organizations, which includes churches, may not “participate in, or intervene in . . . any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.” Just think — now our churches will pay taxes on what we give them and we, the members of those righteous flocks, will lose the deduction for charitable donations to that church because, well, those churches will no longer be tax-exempt.

There is a positive side, however. ALL who work for one of these organizations, be it a church itself or an organization that is owned by the church (e.g. church-owned university) will be free to speak our political minds. No longer restricted by the “no political campaigning” restrictions imposed by the tax law, a dean at a church-owned university or a Bishop or someone like the above Rev. Johnson can now become politically involved and become an advocate for a political persuasion. Just think! We can begin having political lobbying by all sorts of religious organizations: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan, etc. You weren’t assuming, were you Rev. Johnson, that only evangelical Christians will take advantage of this newfound opportunity to speak openly? Are you positive, Rev. Johnson, that leaders of all churches agree with the 33 of you? Do you really believe that everyone has the same political opinion as you? Or do you think that perhaps there are just as many or more who think that Senator Obama is the answer to prayer for our nation?

I think most religions, Christian or not, teach their believers to help and support each other, have tolerance and compassion for all, leave the ninety and nine to search for the one. I personally believe that I am responsible for my actions, that I am should love others as myself, that my beliefs are my own and that I can be as conservative as I want in my own actions, my own personal standards, but that I do NOT have the right to impose my standards on anyone else. I also believe that goes for everyone else, too.