The Daily Show and Power to the PEOPLE!

Have you read Lawrence Lessig’s book, Republic Lost?  I haven’t either, yet.  This book, however, has jumped to the top of my “must read” list.  Many of us have been blogging, talking, tumbling, etc. about the OWS (Occupy Wall Street) Movement and what it means. It sounds to me, as he talks about with Jon Stewart in the interviews below, like he has nailed it in the book.  If you have read the book, please comment below and let me know what you think.

The first segment is what was televised on The Daily Show Dec. 13, 2011; the second is the continuation of that interview, online only.  To get directly to the interviews, click on the black bars.

What is going on:  Lawrence Lessig Extended Interview Pt. 1  (06:06)

The Solution:  Lawrence Lessig Extended Interview Pt. 2 (07:25)

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Am I Mad? YES!

Someone who will remain nameless posted a criticism of the Occupy Movement and those who support on that social networking site that cannot be named.  It made me stinking MAD!

Thinking People everywhere should question the American Occupy Movement, especially if they agree with the sentiments expressed by the protesters. Most of the occupiers are no doubt part of the American 99%. However on a global basis when you consider humanity as a whole, most of them are in the top 1%, or at least will be once they get into their work life.

Yes, they want the top 1% in America to shift wealth and income downward to them. But, no, they are not willing to shift their wealth, income, and privilege down to the truly needy in the third world.

They are asking of others what they are unwilling to do themselves.

Mr. FB poster, don’t you even begin to try and make this the common person’s problem!  Your post definitely shows in which category you fall, 99 or 1%, because you are trying to make me feel guilty for wanting to have a roof over my head, a job, and food on the table.  Are you suggesting that we should go without?  Will that cure the poverty problems of the world?  Your post, SIR, shows how lazy you are, how unwilling you are to upset your status quo.  Ours has already been upset by the financial greed of the corporate machine and the power drunkenness of our politicians.

The Occupy Movement is about making CHANGE! Do you ever ask why the banana farmers or diamond miners in So Africa or people in oil-exploited countries are so very poor while the leaders of many of those countries are corrupt and rich? What about the Corporations (most of them with U.S. roots) that are in those countries who keep the leaders in place so that there are no regulations, no labor laws, no environmental protections for the exploited workers? What about those Corporations, oil, agriculture, mineral extractions, etc. that keep the poor exactly where they are?   What about Chevron in the Amazon?  What about the garment workers in Saipan? What about banana farmers in the Philippines?

The Occupy Movement is about making Corporations responsible not only for how they treat us, but also about how they treat the poor of the world. It is about breaking the connection between Corporate money and buying of policy not only here but all around the world.  The Occupy Movement is about changing the SYSTEM!  If you are not willing to find out and accept what is really going on, here’s what you can do:

Selling Yourself to the Highest Corporate Bidder? There’s another name for that….

Bought by the "stars," paid for by the 99%.

Politicians have prostituted themselves to remain in power.  They (and we) might want to think that the payments are merely donations, given from the goodness of their corporate hearts*.  A corporation (or individual) has millions and millions of dollars just sitting around doing nothing.  Not paying a mortgage, not buying food, not paying the utilities to keep the lights and heat on, not buying school clothes for the kids or putting gas in the car in case we have a job and need to get to work, no, those millions and millions of bucks are just sitting there making baby millions of bucks.  For writing simplicity, I’m going to call the Corporation/Individual entity “SHI” (that’s for “she,” “he,” “it”)**, it’s just easier for me to write and for you to read (as long as you know what I mean!).

When a citizen (member of the 99%) donates to a political candidate it is usually a small amount, <$50***, so if it is noticed at all they just get a smile and a nod and are quickly forgotten.

SHI on the other hand can afford to give big bucks to a campaign (remember those millions and millions of bucks?) and can now do so anonymously so no one knows who SHI is (“This political message has been brought to you by the U.S. Supreme Court and Friends”).  It is the donations with lots of decimal points, not just the one or two that most of us can give, BIG bucks that politicians and their handlers notice and remember.  When a politician gets a donation with, say,  5 or 6 decimal points (examples:  $10,000-$900,000), I’ll just bet there’s an “oooohh, goody!” moment.  Then they’ll say something like “Oh how sweet,” “It’s lovely!” “Just what I wanted,” “You didn’t need to”, and on and on (you know what I mean).

The point is: the politician remembers that donation.  The little ones from the rest of us?  Well, I think you can figure out what they think of those.

That’s why a corporation donates to a politician.  SHI can can send a Christmas card just to say Remember me?  It’s very simple, most of us are aware that this has been going on for a very long time.  We, citizens of what we consider to be the greatest country in the world****, are soon forgotten. Whenever someone in congress (or the President) gets a crazy idea to do something for the citizens or for the good of the country as a whole (silly idea, I know) SHI can just call up or send a sweet note to friend politician — remember me?  They’re trying to____ (enter whatever word you think is appropriate — e.g. regulate, stop, restrict, etc.) me; honey,I don’t like that; I won’t be able to give you any more if you don’t stop Them.

Now SHI has refined the process to where it doesn’t even have to cost a donation!  They can simply threaten to withhold or, horrid thought, give it to the political opponent!  Now SHI gets the goodies for free!

I may be writing tongue-in-cheek, but this is serious.  I am serious.  Occupy Wall Street is serious.  This is OUR problem.   Our politicians do not have the will to stop prostituting the themselves and our government.  Therefore, as long as they live in our house, they abide by our rules.  We must lock the doors and not let them out at night (so to speak).  Anyone have any ideas on how to do this?

My ideas:  We might have a chance at cleaning things up (i.e. vote incumbents out) if we vote for candidates who will write new laws:

  1. campaign finance laws that restrict corporate giving
  2. term limits for ALL (say, 12 years max. combined Senate, House, President).

What?  SHI has a heart?  Then Corporations ARE people, my friend!

**  aka the Whore(s) of Babylon — actually I think this descriptor fits both sides of this shady relationship.

*** Why so small? Because it has to be what’s left over after we pay for everything in para. 1.

**** Ever wonder what people in those other countries say about where they live?  (I’m so proud to live in the second greatest country in the world.) — yes, I’m borrowing this from Stephen Colbert….

Occupy Wall Street: Stop the Affair!

The Seducer

The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement is about stopping the affair between corporate interest and our government.  Let me say right in the beginning that it isn’t “Government” itself that is at fault here, as Government is like the roof and walls within which we all live.  The fault lies with the elected representatives in Washington, the politicians, that do the governing.   OWS tells us that those representatives have been having a metaphorically adulterous relationship and it MUST come to an end.

While we have been faithfully building our homes, families and communities, the politicians serving in government have been having an illicit fling with Corporate Interest, receiving the massage of campaign finance donations in return for gifts of legislated tax breaks and corporate subsidies at the expense of the 99%.   The problem ahead for these guilty partners is that OWS is breaking the sad news to the citizens of this country, much like a betrayed spouse, what is and has been going on.  We’ve been told before but didn’t really want to believe either that it was true or that it was as harmful as it is.  Now armed with the truth, we must demand accountability and a return to faithfulness.  Elected representatives are responsible for government’s pledge, much as a marriage covenant, to honor and obey the citizen, but instead have been having the equivalent of a liaison based on mutual infatuation and self-gratification with corporate interest.

To those who say “but we know these representatives, they wouldn’t do anything to hurt us, they love us” I say, STOP!    Too many times our representative attends to his/her governing business distractedly fingering a little memento in the pocket with a caressing voice in the back of their mind softly saying, “just something to help you think of me….”      We can and must have representatives who remember and honor their pledge to their constituents. We must have representatives who will be morally responsible, who have the integrity to stay away from the promises of  glittering gifts waiting behind the curtains. We are the 99%.  We elected them and will hold them accountable.

Can we stop this?  Yes!   We now stand in the living rooms of cities all around the country and say, This Must Stop!  We make our decision to either keep or divorce the unfaithful representatives in the elections.  Our government must listen because DIVORCE is an option!

To our Representatives, Senators and President:  Remember us?  We are the citizens of this country.  We elected you. We demand you keep faith with us and honor your congressional oath.  Sign pledges to this or make promises to that on your own time, not ours.  If you will not do so, WE WILL REPLACE YOU.  WE ARE THE 99%!

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.

Values.

I’m not titling this post “family values” because that term has been misused by many to further political aspirations which have masked the true aspiration — power. E.J. Dionne writes an op-ed in Oct. 7 Washington Post talking specifically about not only the misuse of the phrase by so-called conservatives but also the avoidance of the phrase by liberals even though, as he says, “In my experience, there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between my morally conservative friends and neighbors and me [a liberal] in our attitudes toward the obligations of parenthood.”

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to me all values are family values. My religious beliefs center around the family. Our faith teaches that families can be eternal in nature and that what we do here prepares us for an eternal life after this mortality. We also believe that the eternal family extends to all people, that we are all brothers and sisters in God’s eternal family. Therefore, all values are “family” values.

I cannot support the Republican Party’s adoption of the term as their own when I see the Democrat’s espousement of values just as strongly in the policies they propose and support. The Republican claim to ownership of the term is especially abhorrent to me when I see the recent hypocrisy of House leadership (Hastert) handling of the Foley-page episode.

How will voters react when they realize the truth of this whole sordid mess? Will they continue to blindly support the party who touts themselves as the “family values” party, albeit in word only? Or, hopefully, voters, the citizens of this nation, will return to the values themselves, not simply the words, and vote for people, for individuals who should be able to articulate how they will put real values into policy. We have a host of incumbents up for reelection who have a voting history to examine. How have they voted in the past? Does that vote reflect what the citizens truly desire? If not, why vote for them again? Incumbents are the easiest of all to study. Their voting record and their supporting connections, either verbal or financial, are there showing us how they really feel and what their true concerns are tied to.

My plea to the voters is to PLEASE study this out in your own minds. Do not follow or be led blindly. Act for yourself and for what you believe.

So Who’s Surprised?

Libby’s disclosure to prosecutors that President Bush authorized the leak of CIA information through Dick Cheney comes as no surprise. Libby is too intelligent to do something like this on his own. The legal expert cited in the Washington Post article says that the President has the right to do this, essentially declassifying the information. In that case, how does the case against Libby stand? If the Pres. “declassifies” by authorizing the release, then the release was not illegal. It seems that the charges of perjury and obstruction could still stand, however. If there was nothing illegal, the president cannot be held accountable either, right? It seems, with my lack of deep understanding, that our hope for any presidential accountability rests with congress, an unlikely censure, or maybe something will happen in the Senate Judiciary Committee — especially if Conyers is put in charge!