texshelters

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Myths, Misinformation and Falsehoods about the Occupy Movement

In Current Events, Economics, Occupy Movement on December 4, 2011 at 22:53

 

1. The Occupy Movement blames everything on Wall Street. This is false for many reasons. First, there are many culprits in the economic crisis and corporate takeover of government, including the government itself. We understand that. Wall Street is a symbol of excess and corporate dominance of our daily lives, not the only cause. Wall Street is a good rallying point, but if journalists and talking heads would look beyond the surface, they would find more. How about looking at the signs online and stay in your warm offices and you will see signs at Occupy Rallies and elsewhere about many issues.

2. “They have no agenda.”  Josh Barro, a “research scholar” at the right-wing think tank the Manhattan Institute has derided Occupy Wall Street (obviously doing little “research”) for not having an agenda.

But as I wrote in a response to this nonsense in his National Review article,

“You talk to one representative and now you are an expert? Have you been to an encampment or event? There are several clear goals that the Occupy Groups have, and if you had bothered to do research and looked at the various declarations of these groups (online, so you don’t even have to visit a camp to learn) you would find goals such as:

Protect homes from unlawful foreclosures
Repeal Citizens United
Single payer health care
Forgive and reduce student debt obligations
Make college more affordable for families
End foreign wars and bring our troops home
Reinvest in education and infrastructure
End indefinite detentions
Repeal the patriot act
End corporate personhood
and so on.

Perhaps the reason you don’t know of these goals is that you are too lazy to look them up and main stream reporters such as yourself refuse to report on them.

If you want to refute what I say, why not have me debate you and your ignorance.”

Perhaps I am being unfair to him and should forgive his inability to understand a movement that doesn’t fit into his “liberal versus conservative paradigm”, a leaderless movement full of capable people, and a movement that has many goals and objectives but isn’t as narrowly focused as Republican Senators are on bringing down Obama and nothing else.

3. They are all unemployed hippies who are aimless but at the same time violent anarchists, and other demographic falsehoods. The population of the Occupy encampments changes from day to day and city to city. I have seen different surveys of the group, but the highest unemployment stat on the movement I have seen is 30%. We are employed, part time workers, unemployed, retired, homeless, rental unit owners, entrepreneurs, students, vets, and so on.

The actual number of hippies in the movement is quite low, and what’s wrong with hippies anyway? Do hippies make right-wingers uncomfortable or jealous that these reporters and pundits chose a life defending the 1% while hippies are free of such nonsense and don’t have to lie and misrepresent facts for living? I know it’s hard for people in the media to understand that there is not one type of person involved with the Occupy movement, and it makes the movement hard to stereotype. But they keep trying.

4. The Occupy Movement is disorganized. This is false. With few resources and no corporate or political party backing, Occupiers have daily and weekly general assembly meetings. We have declarations, clean camps, feed people, make the media contacts available to us (somehow, the Today Show hasn’t called Occupy Tucson), and so forth. We have no central committee, and I know that is hard to understand for inflexible minds reporting news for the 1%.

Yes, we don’t fit the standard non-profit organization, or the Tea Party (paid for by Koch), but if you go to the camps and talk to the organizers, there is a lot of organization for an underfunded, non-aligned, independent organization. People say we are disorganized because they don’t understand our organization and want to marginalize us.

5.   Occupy Movements caused their own troubles and the violence. Little of the violence was instigated by the protesters, and at least in LA, much of the violence has occurred to Occupiers after they were in custody. To blame movement activists for being violent when they are attacked is like blaming a rape victim, something Republicans and many others have done. Don’t buy it when someone tells you that being hit by batons, or being pepper sprayed or being hit by rubber bullets is the fault of the occupiers. If the police would let us occupy or surrender in peace, there would be little to no violence.

6. We’re Anti-captilist.  Not true. While that may be true for a few, we are all against the rigged system. We are against a system that gives more tax cuts and affords tax loopholes to billionaires and millionaires and increases fees on the lower classes. We are against a system that passes laws to deregulate industries and gives corporate welfare in free rent, under-market prices for mining rights, military projects we don’t need to help contractors profit off of our tax dollars while they target cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, education and other social programs that help the vast majority of the people. We are against the selling off of valuable assets that only benefit the 1% such as the Rosemont Copper mine in Arizona and we are against the selling of our education system for profit while damaging that system.

Many of us own business, promote local enterprises and are for responsible capitalism that doesn’t damage the environment.

Can we ever really understand a movement that is in process, or ever? Only by being at an Occupy rally or meeting can you have the remotest understanding that you will never understand the full implications and people in the movement. We must work for the benefit of 99% forever, whatever the falsehoods told about the Occupy Movement.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

 

 


It’s time to Focus on helping People and not the Liberal Versus Conservative Divide

In Current Events, Economics, Occupy Movement on December 2, 2011 at 23:03

From downwithtyranny.blogspot.com

In the United States, we have divided the political landscape into liberal versus conservative for too long. These terms only serve to divide us and stereotype each other and this infighting only benefits the ruling classes.

Fox News commentators and Republican politicians have painted liberals as unAmerican, lazy, anti-work, pro-terrorist and made many other false claims about this group they call “liberal”. There are also the bumper stickers that highlight this stereotype, “Annoy a liberal: work hard, succeed and be happy.” Do liberals really want others to be unhappy? Who are these liberals? I am still looking for them.

A better question than is someone liberal or conservative is to ask, “Is this person, policy or politician pro-corporate or pro-human.” What do I mean by pro-corporate or pro-human? Let’s take a look.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have clearly benefitted corporations more than the American people. Corporations who make military hardware, supply the troops, and commodify oil have benefitted from the war. The wars have also damaged our economy, greatly increased our debt, damaged our credibility in the world and sacrificed thousands of U.S. soldiers for corporate profit. Soldiers lives are traded for corporate profit.

How about the Troubled Asset Relief Fund, or TARP. That saved the economy from collapsing and thus, helped all Americans, didn’t it? Well, no. TARP was a $700 billion dollar bailout for major lending and banking institutions in America. The idea was that the recipients of this money would free up lines of credit for businesses and individuals and this would jump start the economy. In truth, those banks loaned less after TARP and increased bonuses they paid themselves. The TARP money didn’t trickle down at all and only helped the major players at the major lenders. Now we learn that banks were loaned $7.7 trillion in federal dollars at .01% interest. They then turned around and loaned money at 3% to the government who had loaned it to them to make over $13 billion in profit. How does that help the people?

How about those corporate tax loopholes and rates? Those cuts lead to job creation, and thus benefits the people, right? Wrong. We have had 12 years of the Bush/Republican tax cuts and official unemployment is still around 9%, much higher than when those tax cuts were enacted. Clearly, only corporations benefit from those tax cuts and loopholes, and they have not turned that extra cash into jobs.

What about cutting regulations, that leads to jobs, right? In fact, deregulation of the banking industry was a major cause of the banking collapse and thus recession of 2008. The idea that allowing companies to pollute more, or ignore health and safety laws, or other forms of deregulation leads to more jobs, is ludicrous. Are you telling me that the deregulation of the off shore oil platforms that helped cause the BP oil disaster  lead to jobs.  Really? Obviously, deregulation of industry helps corporations and hurts citizens.

What about the Affordable Health Care for America Act? Doesn’t that help people? Perhaps. It clearly captures more customers for insurance companies with the individual mandate while doing little to address overall costs in the system. It does help more Americans get insurance by eliminating most of the “pre-existing condition” barriers to health care. The law does provide some help to low income people and also tax credits for small businesses to buy insurance.

In the long run, this law is less cost affective than a single payer plan where corporate profits are taken out and it’s managed either by a private or public agency. There is some benefit to some of the public, but corporate interests are still protected at long term budget expense with this health plan.

Even our attempt to regulate the environment with cap and trade is a compromise that doesn’t really address the fundamental problem of global warming.  Cap and trade  is an attempt to get those that pollute to pay for that benefit and those that don’t pollute to get credits. Companies will game the system, buy and trade the carbon credits and eventually it will do nothing to reduce long term emissions. If we want to reduce carbon emissions we need to set limits and create technology to reduce those emissions while investing in and installing cleaner energy plants. We should not allow corporations to buy their way out of pollution with cap and trade laws. Ultimately this type of regulation would do nothing for the people and the planet.

Why was it possible to end don’t ask don’t tell and allow gays in the military? Doesn’t that benefit the people? It is because allowing gays in the military doesn’t ultimately hurt the corporate bottom line and the ban wasn’t useful anymore as a divisive issue to distract the public from our economic crisis. It also props up the progressive credibility of their man, Obama. “See, Obama supported ending don’t ask don’t tell, so he’s not corporate.” It does allow more Americans to join the military, so perhaps that helps some, and it does end discrimination which is always a good thing.

If you are to be an informed citizen, you must drop the conservative and liberal dichotomy that the corporate and political elite promote to keep us separate. We must all look at politicians and decide for ourselves whether their actions and policies benefit the most people and will help the weakest members of society or if they are only there to benefit the 1%. If you are part of the 99%, you must support those politicians and policies that help the 99%, not those that benefit only corporations and the 1%.

Peace,
Tex Shelters

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