Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Government - Think for yourself.

(Photograph: John Minchillo/AP)

"Following last month's police brutality in Oakland, and today's summary eviction of the Occupy Wall Street camp, American activists too are reaching the conclusion that "police protect the 1%"." - Guardian - UK

This scares me to read. Why? Because it doesn't matter if the police are or are not protecting the 1% or are provoked or not provoked. If masses of people begin to see police as not protectors, they will see them as antagonists & violence will escalate.

That cities are attacking these protests are only provoking public opinion. For every video of a protester being jabbed by a baton while locked arms with a fellow or tear-gas-canistered-in-the-head, people will become more sympathetic with #OWS. A few will not, but I see it around me in my conversations. More people are becoming sympathetic and more people are coming to understand what the group is saying.

Fewer try to refute #OWS by invalidating their arguments. Instead, they try to attack the character of a very small minority of participants. Instead, they try, by force, to physically remove the protests.

& it's happening all around the world.

Adding fuel to my own disgust is this latest bit from 60 Minutes about how various members of the United States Congress & the Senate have leveraged their inside information to make millions off of stocks while voting on related issues. How is this possibly legal? How is this possibly not a conflict of interest? (CBS, 60-minutes)

So let me get this straight: the Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision made it legal for corporations to dump millions of dollars into campaigns. Companies can legally ply government officials with stock options, campaign funding through PAC's, as well as provide inside stock trading information. These are the same people that are responsible for keeping the system balanced? Why would they balance the system that is making them rich and keeping them employed?

Add to this the way income has been distributed through the country since 1979.
The Congressional Budget Office's graph shows it best. While a few people have enjoyed huge dividends, most of Americans have seen their salaries drop (compared to inflation) and have lost equity in their homes.

Some Americans take to the streets, while most sit at home and watch. The Tea Party members shout about out-of-control spending. Occupiers shout about corporate influence in government and unbalanced taxing. These two points of view are not mutually exclusive.

Meanwhile, the deficit super committee looks as if it cannot come to a consensus on a way to cut 1.2 Trillion of debt.

It is hard to believe the United States Government has the character or ability to actually address the issues in front of it - spending, taxes, pollution, even the healthiness of school lunches. What do you think?

Before you condemn the Occupy movement, consider these questions:
  • When was the last time you received a significant pay increase?
  • How much has your salary changed in the last five years?
  • How many people has your company laid off since 2008?
  • How many people has your company hired since 2008?
  • What does your company's profits look like?
  • How much salary growth potential do you have?
  • How much work is your company out-sourcing?

  • I'm not asking you to identify with or join or "believe" in what the Occupy movement is saying, but I am asking that you think about it. Consider your own situation against the back drop of how the government is operating. Don't take for granted what various news agencies say. Do the research, look for yourself, and form your opinion. For me, there's is too much evidence of disproportionate influence from corporations in government decision making. But I'm willing to consider evidence that shows otherwise. I just haven't seen any.

    And I shall now leave you with a quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, one of the greatest Republican Presidents the country has known:

    "To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day." - Theodore Roosevelt (1912)