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Your Government’s Using You

December 8, 2011 Leave a comment

In the past few years, we have seen an American government swing drastically to one direction. Then the winners  mistake that election for a mandate (instead of the rejection of the neo-conservative-right that it was), ram-rod legislation through the one-party Congress, and then see their own party’s even larger rejection, in the process, losing control of Congress. It is like the American electorate has a sudden schizophrenic temperament, swinging wildly from one political ideology to another. Is the electorate like a top, wobbling one direction and another, looking for a fine balance of both parties? If people are actually looking for some “fine-line” between the parties, then why is there so much angry rhetoric and complaining when we are told a compromise is in the works, and that it will benefit everyone?

In the preceding three years, this country has seen massive amounts of capital expended for saving this industry or that company. A few trillion here, and a couple of hundred billion there – pretty soon, it is real money (or so the saying goes). All the while, this administration continually tells us Americans, that the millionaires have too much money – far more than they will ever need, and that the government would  better utilize that money. The same government who squanders billions on uncompetitive solar panel companies, run by friendly money-bundlers would use the money better than the owners of it, who will either loan it to banks (as CDs or other accounts) or spend it, thereby stimulating the economy with said purchase.

Recently, instead of merely wasting public funds, we have seen the government and politicians actually committing and supporting other illegal acts. From going to war without consulting Congress, to trading on inside information (which amounts to stealing from other stockholders who do not have the same access to information), to strongly supporting the Occupy Wall Street trespassing and violence. The Occupy Los Angeles Occupiers were reported to have had plans to use violent bombs and other weapons against the police force, but the mayor finally reacted, and police cleaned up the camps. In a twist of irony, the politicians would have us believe that using non-lethal pepper-spray is akin to slaughtering those protesters, who were warned repeatedly if they did not move, the spraying would occur. Free speech is not without responsibility, and neither is any action.

Racist!

Racist! (and other baseless dog whistles)

I believe that the continuously broadcast line by government, that Americans are being somewhat subjugated and “used” by big, bad corporations may be true in some instances (check the still growing MF Global scandal)– but the people pointing the fingers are far worse than any of their boogeymen. “It is the bankers and stock traders who are stealing – they are making tons of money, and they are holding America down while they do it”, we are fed daily. It is an everyday occurrence, and must be continually reinforced, or the sheeple may begin to question the rhetoric and think critically once again, ruining the carefully laid plans. What a perfect set-up the politicians have created, eh? Simultaneously, they: create a problem, identify and offer “solutions” to the problem, all while pointing to the creator of the problem as everyone but themselves. The politicians have even aligned themselves with various social interest groups (under the guise of “grassroots” movements and concerns for group members) to continually, reinforce the lies. Government causes the problems, government identifies the problems, but whoa – government certainly are not the ones to blame for the same problems!

This continual reinforcement of the incendiary rhetoric is not without costs. The Occupy movement has seen hundreds of protesters arrested, property has been trashed, defaced, and ruined — all because of what amounts to baseless finger-pointing. The politicians have failed at nearly every task that they are supposed to accomplish (is anyone wondering where budgets for the past 2-3 years are? They are somewhere in the black hole that is the Harry Reid-led Senate). Americans are not stupid, but when they are constantly told that something is not “fair”, and that somehow they are being forced to do more work than the Joneses – well, we cannot have that, can we? Everyone must pay their “fair share” as the code-words call for. What better way for politicians to “cash in” on a generation that grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, that is frequently referred to as the “me generation”? Of course, tell them that someone has more than they, and that they could have it so much easier if someone else could make it all even. You cannot incessantly stoke a movement with violent, unfounded rhetoric, and expect that you can also shut it down effortlessly.

The fact remains whether or not the democratic party can still control the greed- and unfairness-driven masses that they have created. In my eyes, it is very comparable to Dr. Frankenstein’s monster – once he was turned loose, he was uncontrollable. In cities where mayors finally chased away the Occupiers, the crowds vowed that they would return. So, where does the country move from here? Will the spring thaw also see the rebirth of the Occupy Movement? Will politicians see the errors of their ways?

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OWS and Religion: WWJD

November 28, 2011 2 comments

Like so many others, the Occupy Wall Street movement has captured my attention, and today, a preacher’s column drew my attention. In it, the preacher poses the question, if Jesus himself were to come upon the Occupy Wall Street movement, what would he do? How would he respond? Now, I will admit, I am tempted to make a joke or two about Jesus casting the devil out, or flipping tables, even punching in drums – but it made me consider – what might he do? Unlike the author of that article, I refuse to say, “Well, he would have…” I think the best any of us could do is merely suggest how he would approach the situation, but saying definitively that he would do this or that is near blasphemous to me.  So, here is what was going to be my response to so many of the “He would have done…” comments for the article.

Jesus

WWJD? Only he knows...

“This entire premise is unquestionably without answer, and to try to pin an answer on Christ is asinine. While we would all love to project our own beliefs onto him, and thus, claim we would be like him (or he, like us), or that he would give the OWS movement some sudden legitimacy, it is not possible. As much as we would love to say, ‘Well, of COURSE he would join with the protesters!’, there are other lessons in the Bible which, if we are being honest, may have shown him refusing to join them, and perhaps even rebuking them. (And in an ironic twist, the left is well-known for having a far higher percentage of atheists among their membership than conservatives and the right in general — it seems like some stretch for the protesters to even consider how something that many of them deny, might respond)

Forget for a moment the antisemitism shown against an older man wearing a yarmulke in NYC, would the protesters welcome Jesus, or seeing a man in poor robes, chastise him and chase him away as they did to the homeless? I maintain that Jesus would have more in common with the homeless people anyway, then he would with the people who, despite having jobs and homes (a great many of them do), decide to engage in sloth (one of seven capital sins). While sloth is not the avoidance of work altogether, it is the refusal to exert oneself or engage in hard labor. A perusal of The Beatitudes really lacks any parallels to OWS behaviors, and I figure the closest that they come to matching any of them might be “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill”. Although, the justice that they seek is of their own conception, and there is not as much support for it as some would have us believe.

I find it ironic that the movement seems willing enough to use Jesus Christ as a means of leverage, and as a sort of guilt-trip to gin up support from the religious. The OWS movement in London, given some permissions to occupy the grounds of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, responded by writing graffiti onto restored pillars, scratching messages into the doors of the church, and most disgustingly, defecating in the entrance ways and inside the historic Cathedral itself. I do not recall any of Christ’s teachings that people may desecrate synagogues or any temples, be they Roman temples or any other religions’ temples.

The movement who would host a savior would probably find themselves facing a great divide in beliefs between they and he. Exploring further, I doubt he could do much for them – possibly lending some sort of ‘star-power’ and drawing cameras? Well, no, there have already been plenty of stars (Jay-Z, Russell Simmons) to proclaim their undying support for the protesters (then getting in their limos and leaving). Perhaps Christ could provide the protesters with food and drink? Then again, substance abuse is said to be rampant, and bottomless jugs of wine are the probably the last thing that the protesters need. And unions and other sympathetic people have given money and food, so loaves probably would not be too welcomed. I suspect that the result of Christ showing up to any OWS movement would probably be disgust and a quick disavowal by the Savior. As their own fellow protesters are constantly doing to the criminals among them, and as Peter did to Christ himself , I would not be surprised to hear Christ say, ‘Who are you and what are you doing?'”

(The story of the London occupation, and particulars to the eviction sought by Church leaders, and their rationale): http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/nov/21/occupy-london-camp-eviction-bid

My Rights Are More Important Than Your Rights

November 4, 2011 Leave a comment
The United States Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights, along with the Declaration of Independence, are two of the nation's most sacred documents.

Right? I mean, we hear politicians in Washington claim that one’s rights are more important than some other, and they proceed to attempt to weigh the rights of one group over another constantly, depending (it seems) on how many votes that the bureaucrats need, and how much monetary support those with the “more important” rights can give. The special interests claim as well, that they have earned some special consideration – usually based in a perceived wrong or slight. This is all too typical, despite the fact that the Founding Fathers and the documents that they left this great country describes exactly the opposite. “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…” goes the wonderful line of the Declaration of Independence, flies into the face of the special-interest rights-givers in Washington. The claim seems to be, that somehow, these stingy-rights-givers now know better than the Creator, which people deserve certain rights, and when those rights may be invoked.

We have seen for nearly two months now, a group, first devoted to tackling the economic structure of the United States – since everybody knows it is inherently unfair, and is stacked against those just entering the job markets from college. Whatever happened to the promise they were given of six-figure salaries, generous retirement benefits (early, naturally), and four-day work weeks? Just go to college, experiment with everything you can get your hands on, and when you graduate, the world will be laid out in front of you, laid at your feet, like your own personal pearl. When this fictional Utopian world does not match the reality of graduates, there is understandable cognitive dissonance.

“Surely, there must be a way that these things can be made right!? This was not what was promised! This is unfair!” And, so, along come the politicians, always looking for the next batch of useful idiots. The politicians recycle the usual, “Yes, we understand – it is unfair what has happened to you – and darn it, if you vote for me, I am gonna do something about it for you!” And so the useful idiots, once again buying the hype, throw their support behind the over-promising, always under-delivering politician. Usually, we know how the drill goes from here – it is a sort of “rinse, lather, repeat” scenario, where the politician finds a scapegoat, and pins their own failing to deliver on promises on that poor goat. Before long, the goat is defeated in elections, and the next class of useful idiots are graduating from college, and the pearl is laid before them once again.

To bring us back from the scenario of Utopia and the new graduates’ pearls, I reiterate that the politicians have always been reluctant to even try to deliver on their promises. After all, there was always that poor scapegoat. Simply blame, excuse, and move on. Somewhere along the line though, it seems like the politicians, sensing a way both away from the goat, and a way to “lock-in” support, decided to change the dynamics of their relationship with their supporters. They seem to have found a permanent scapegoat – the so-called 1%, and other business owners, many of which(ironically enough), have been given promises by the same politicians.

Jean Quan

America's worst mayor? Oakland's Jean Quan

Rights are somehow more noble when a movement makes a semi-cogent, nearly-pertinent point, right? We are told that this group or that, simply must be given some special considerations, because they have been wronged in the past. I do not buy that explanation for a second. Even if a person supports the “Occupy your-city-here” movement, it does not give excuse the behavior of its members. Forgetting the hundreds of violent crimes against people committed at the camps (all allegedly, of course, and being handled from within) – for the mayor of one of the largest cities in the country to turn a blind eye to wanton property destruction and violence, and the further threat of violence, is unforgivable. Various stores are shown with broken windows, and road blocks are piled and set afire. The protesters left one threat that, “We came unarmed – this time.” If Oakland’s Jean Quan stoops any further to cater to the violent protesters, she will be in the midst of the riots, handing the protesters rocks and bottles to throw at her own police force and at city businesses. Think this is mere hyperbole? She has already gone as far as posting her office phone number on Twitter, and asking the protesters to call her! Here is your new set of promises, occupiers!

This is madness. While certain media personalities talk of the end of the country and ripping apart of American ideals, I am less certain.  Once these same Machiavellian politicians re-discover the power that they hold onto so tightly before the OWS movement began, and the first mayor in a city with a sizable OWS camp sends in the riot police, the rest of the mayors will follow. This first mayor will spark something that will quickly spread. I find it is amazing – for all of the politicians and mayors’ use of scapegoats, they show themselves to be little more than sheep.

Is The Fuse Already Lit?

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment
Greek police dodge Molotov cocktails

Riots in Greece continue to grow more violent.

As I reflect today, day 3X of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that is quickly become one of the places to be if you are an aspiring socialist/communist/anti-banker/anarchist/free spirit, I find myself coming to a few realizations. Seeing the Greeks, Spaniards, and Italians tangle with riot police, and toss Molotov cocktails, while their government struggles to find some way to pay their un-payable bills, I wonder if we, here in the United States, can expect to see something similar. In Europe (Greece especially), it appears as though trade unions and public sector workers are at the forefront of their riots.

So, what are we to think about the disgruntled and disgusted supporters of the movement? Various unsavory parties have recently endorsed the Occupation – The American Nazi Party and American Communist Party to name two. These movements have lengthy histories of violence and extremist ideologies. This is not to say that the OWSM is in and of itself violent, but if it is any indication of the beliefs held by the majority of the participants, I have not heard many of the participants renounce the endorsement. The usual reaction is to separate quickly those endorsements from the endorsements of others – namely the administration and Congressional leaders, like Nancy Pelosi. It seems whenever there is a negative story that surfaces about OWS supporters, the story is quickly squashed, and the person in question is painted as an outsider, who is unaffiliated with the movement. In my mind, the influx of so many disparate endorsements undermines, rather than helps, legitimate endorsers, while lending a sort of credibility to the others.

What worries me are those “legitimate” endorsements. While people see them as a sort of, “isn’t-that-nice-they-want-to-help” support by Washington, D.C., here is the thing – the movement, while starting out disorganized, and lacking a main message, has recently begun to coalesce into something that sounds more confrontational and more willing to act out in violence. But there is no proof of that, you must thinking. A recent spate of thefts of money, equipment, and other personal items, not to mention the report of a rape in Occupy Cleveland, shows the movement is changing. One convicted felon was picked up and re-arrested for illegal possession of a firearm (a folding-stock rifle) at Occupy Seattle.

Add to that, a presidential administration who has verbally supported OWS, who also has close ties to known leftist terrorists and bombers (Ayres and Dohrn), and a Department of Justice who is both, slow to act (if they act at all) and embroiled in a huge scandal. A former presidential staffer in the administration reminds us to, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” These allied interests, who masquerade as “supporters” have merely found themselves a group of useful idiots, who will allow them to try to advance their positions, while dodging blow-back. It also allows the allied politicians to attach their wants and needs to the movement, while avoiding the low approval that the public may feel for them. And it is not like less-political allies have taken over movements in cities – already, the original Occupy St. Louis movement has been pre-empted, and original organizers threatened.

It feels to me like the movement is increasingly more pre-empted by the day, but it still claims to have no leaders, and to be “organic” and grassroots. It  is one agent provocateur from some sort of confrontation that will accomplish nothing, possibly injure many innocent people, and finally lead to the end of any goodwill or political capital that the early movement may have built. As the protesters become increasingly desperate, they may begin to realize that they must increase their confrontations and confrontational style, and try to create a situation where they will be able to “prove” that those they stand in opposition to (whichever group(s) they may be) are the evil and cold-blooded groups that OWS claims.

Why The “Occupation” Will Fail

October 6, 2011 2 comments

By now, most people have gotten wind of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, and has been affected by its polarizing actions and beliefs. The protesters and their signs scream out at their collective outrage, and list their many grievances. While the movement is seen as something noble and worthwhile by some, by others, it is seen as a group of spoiled, petulant young people, intent on obtaining entitlements. Whatever the case may be, I feel as though there are enough fundamental problems with the “movement” that it lacks any chance to secure any of the real changes it seeks.

Too much diversity

Yes, there can be such a thing as too much diversity. In the case of Occupy Wall Street, signs and grievances run from: criticism of greedy, corrupt money makers, to the redistribution of wealth, to the high unemployment rate among young people, the elimination of capitalism, and finally, to the effects of lobbyists in Washington D.C.. Some media sources have even shown people dressed up in greasepaint and with torn clothing to resemble zombies. I am unsure what message that is supposed to represent – perhaps it has something to do with Halloween? To maximize their efforts, the group needs to focus on one or two main messages, and drive those home. As it is, the fractured, myriad concerns of protesters are doing more damage than any good. They must coalesce into fewer, more well defined issues to maximize their effort. As the movement appears now, it is unclear whether the protesters are anarchists (as some have claimed in the television media), socialists (as some in the television media have claimed), or just disgruntled young people, seeking a solution to the many problems the nation has run headlong into.

Pre-emption of the movement
OWS

The Occupation of Wall Street

While the original message may have started out of an on-line organizing force, in the last week, the protest crowds in New York have seen various other groups and “sympathizers” lend their support. During this spring and summer, unions saw governors and legislatures force their members to pay for more of their own benefits and retirement packages. In a well-publicized series of recall elections in Wisconsin, the unions were again rebuffed. The support for various unions may have never been lower, and along comes a popular movement of self-described disenfranchised citizens. The unions saw a golden opportunity to attach themselves to this movement and possibly earn back some support. Celebrities too, have seen fit to make appearances, and lend their support as well. These stars who “feel the pain” of the broke protesters, show up, and bring the cameras along. Suddenly, a photo op. breaks out, the stars swear that they know how the protesters feel, and the protesters are made to believe like these multi-millionaires and they have something in common. Cheap appearances for celebs threatens to undermine any messages.

The movement doesn’t have a leader

For a movement such as this, it strikes me as a disjointed group of people, in search of someone to lead them. Now, I am not talking about some fire-brand, urging the protesters to start chucking bricks through store fronts, but someone who can lead the throngs and either accept or reject support from those seeking to take over the movement. There have been a few scattered whispers that the protests are supposed to be modeled upon the Tea Party movement – which has no leaders, but is just loose nationwide groups – however, the Tea Party groups began growing and coalescing around the idea that taxes and spending were too high. There is the single issue that laid the foundation for a movement. It sounds as though many of the protesters are asking for more oversight any way — but government oversight is not what anyone needs at this point. Indeed, if people would stop and consider for a moment, government “oversight” lead to much of the current financial and economic mess the country finds itself in at the moment.