Category Archives: Occupy Wall Street

Millennials Gave Obama Victory on Their Way to Unseat Baby Boomers


When Americans talk of freedom, we speak of democracy and capitalism.  Yet, our concept of freedom is distorted, for democracy and capitalism are really just a means to an end. We use these ideas as best we can to find the freedoms that are given by God, but that are both desired and hindered by mankind. All people want the same freedoms really, to raise their families in peace, to have the opportunity to pursue a living with their talents, and to be able to assemble with others to share ideas or to worship. America’s ideals have been the world’s standard for pursuing these freedoms in the 20th century.


When the test of freedom seemed momentarily broken in our latest economic crisis, a wave of young freedom lovers took to the stage in the Middle East, Europe and America. The Middle East was most dramatic as they fought their way out of a dire future, yet Europe and America’s youth made their voices heard as well. The young voice is an emerging force rebelling against economic and social structures from which they must now begin their income generating years.


The Occupy Movement was a modern Constitutional Convention, even if that comparison makes one scoff. The dissimilarities of wealth, race, education, and economic drivers do not disqualify either historical group’s attempts at a better life. Those that travelled to Zuccotti Park convened against what they saw happening in America, the monetary implosion, credit evaporation, foreclosure epidemic and the like and the exacerbating effects that would stifle their futures.

We tended to dismiss the Occupiers as they chose briefly not to follow the normal paths toward economic security that we had found successful in earlier times. It was easy for most to be at first curious and then increasingly frustrated by these “oddballs” in Zuccotti Park. Yet our views did not deter their attempt to peacefully find a way around the dystopian path they saw for their generation.


On the downside, as they sought a way forward, they left a little crap in Zuccotti. On the upside, an entire nation of young people, 99ers, and others engaged in civil governance, attempting to sort through a broken historical paradigm to decipher what made it unworkable for them. Our frustrations did not deter this grand opportunity to have an entire generation bubble up their vision of economic participation. Yet, it was temporarily trampled by a few batons, pepper spray, gas canisters, concussion grenades, horses, barricades, riot gear and shields, rubber bullets, hand cuffs, German shepherds, police vehicles, holding cells, civil courts, public administrations, media outlets, investment banking funds and political leaders.

Nonetheless, the catalysts that drove our youth into Zuccotti have not diminished.  The lack of investment in America, the baby boomers clogging the remaining jobs pipeline, a polarized government run amok on deficit spending that will not repair our social security, and Medicare programs, out of control school costs that have saddled the youth with life long debts, a lack of credit to start their own businesses, no real governmental plans to aid trade imbalances or domestic growth, and growing corporatism among other factors has led to disillusionment from college grads to high school drop outs that still impedes their future.

While there may have been too many symptomatic issues to quickly understand root causes and solutions before being removed from the park, occupiers remain under the surface a socially interconnected, eclectic group that showed up as a voting bloc in 2012. These folks sense desperation with the status quo, are socially connected and, and still want an outcome they can rally around. In the scheme of things, the OWS movement has just begun its first round of a long boxing match.


In the beginning of a fight, opponents mix it up, jabbing and dodging, in attempts to find each other’s weaknesses. Only then, will they plan and implement their strategy for a knock out.  OWS was a first round. Sure they got their heads beat with batons and their eyes a little bit burnt with pepper spray, but they learned a lot about how the alpha male baby boomer deals with the millennial that will help them succeed in coming rounds. And at the end of round one, Millennials ran to the side of Obama and pushed his agenda forward, a sort of Pyrrhic victory for the time being as they lick their subservient, quietly waiting and assessing, wounds.  At some point, baby boomers will be supplanted, our policies will be replaced, and the hand fluttering variety of capitalistic democracy begun with OWS will have found its way.


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Filed under American Governance, Occupy Wall Street, Social Media Democracy, social trajectory, Uncategorized

Democracy is Foiled Again

In the pre-dawn of reaction to what will inevitably be enforced austerity, the voice of the occupiers was easily drowned out by a few batons. In its stead, 2012 will be a year of uneasy impatience on the part of the American people. Neither party has thus found necessary the urgency to step into the political arena with any real choice. Both parties have been convinced by their benefactors that their chances for winning or maintaining political power are acceptable if they simply put forth status quo policies.

Neither party feels the need to buck their financial backers with bold choices for middle class America’s future. Instead, the Rupublicans, hoping to hand the 1% tax savings and regulatory loopholes, are content with feeding on the margins of “don’t vote for the party that continues to give you 8.2 percent unemployment”. The Democrats, recognizing that those same financial backers are this year telling them to be content with holding onto a majority of the seats they still enjoy, will not rile America’s elite and instead will rely on “women’s bodies will somehow be ripped from them and young ladies will be forced to turn once again to back alleys if America doesn’t give us four more years of tepid economic execution.

2008 was a breakout year of the youngest voting bloc. Sensing the gloom of their financial future, they voted for change. 2010 was a backlash toward the newest generation by the baby boomers pushing back that government costs and services must instead be cut. Both looked to each other for concessions instead of requiring the silent financial majority to participate in the discussion. 2012 is a year in which the 1% has instructed a bloated Fed to find the perfect balance before the storm with further stimulus.

Slight uptick in housing and jobs has confused Americans into unnerved complacency. Both parties speak of patriotism and promise a better tomorrow. Like Charlie Brown, the American public will once again hope that Lucy will not pick up the football to let us fall on our backs dejected.

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Filed under American Governance, American Politics, Occupy Wall Street, Uncategorized

Tea Partiers and Occupiers Should Take Up the Banner Together to Form a New Party

Despondency and Angst is peaking in America. Multiple movements are mounting opposition to what seems to be Congressional inaction toward the will of the people. Rhetoric is flying in attempts to find or divert fault for America’s ongoing and increasingly unstable financial crisis. Occupy Wall Streeters are organizing in opposition to international banks for their having extracted America’s wealth to China and having bank rolled a transfer of jobs and intellectual capital that would otherwise prosper the United States. A growing majority of Americans are sympathizing with the Occupiers, believing that banks and multinational businesses have corrupted Congress to pass legislation supporting their global aims at the expense of America’s future.

Americans are resigned that bankers and multinational businesses cannot be cajoled to protect our sovereignty over profits. It seems for many that America’s last bastion of hope lies in purging Congress of crony capitalism that weakens its resolve to place America’s interest above special interests. Tea Partiers suggest that if America reverts to strict constitutionalism that we might divert Congress from institutional corruption toward fiscal discipline. However, before concluding that our two-party Congress holds the solutions to America’s crisis, we should review whether there is a historical precedence to place our faith in its salvation.

Congress’s constitutional origin has been under miserable attack. As Roman legislators failed their countrymen, our Congress has taken up their fallen banner in succumbing to modern temptations. Congress fed off the world by deflating our dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and debt funded the selfish altruism of our baby boomer’s Great Society and obsession for military dominance with reckless abandon. Congress also vainly fell prey to Big Business’s courting to go along with legislation that greased the gold rush to China’s 1.3 billion consumer market. In so doing, they gave an inside lane for our elite to prosper from globalization at the expense of collapsing our Middle Class. Strengthening Congress’s will against these temptations seems a lynchpin for correcting America’s troubles, yet Congress has proven that it cannot protect Americans even from being devoured by our own.

An emerging theory is that by reverting to an earlier constitutional construct in history, we might be able to eliminate the power of big business and banking to influence Congress and to minimize Congress’s incentive to indebt America. If that were possible, America could return Congress to its historical role and we could regain America’s Constitutional Republic. Yet, if we look back to an earlier period in America’s history, Congress acted much the same as it has today. In 1811 and the fifty years leading up to the Civil War, business and banking dominated Congress under wildly differing circumstances. Their influence yielded the crippling morals of slavery and a devastating war between the states. If Congress was manipulated 200 years ago to such tragic ends, perhaps reverting to nostalgic fixes to mitigate Congress’s modern ills would end just as tragically.

In 1811, America had grown under the financial eye of the First National Bank and political support of Congress, whose strategy was to build America’s industry under the protection of tariffs to compete with the more highly developed commerce of Europe. By 1811, 87 percent of America’s exports were the South’s cotton and tobacco. The majority of these agricultural products were either processed in New England or transferred to England by American ships out of New York and Boston. This balance of banking, Northern industry, Southern agriculture, and shipping depended on slave labor to supply cotton to England, who employed 20 percent of her labor pool making cloth from America’s cotton. Yet, slavery was a growing abomination among many in America, and this shift in public opinion created a dangerous threat to America’s export engine that Congress counted on to bring back gold and foreign goods to America.

Earlier, in 1803, France’s Napoleon sold the Louisiana Territory to America for $15 million dollars to fund his planned invasion of England. Enraged, England retaliated by instigating insurgence of American’s indigenous natives against settlers, by impressing 10,000 Americans off of American ships to fight on English ships, by pirating American ships for the war effort, and by barring American ships from other ports. As a result, America’s slave supported, export industry was severely damaged and her economy was threatened.

Of the two paths, appeasement and war, America’s Federalist Party supported appeasing sanctions, a strategy that only further harmed America’s export industry. The Democrats favored War and in 1810 elected War Hawks to Congress to push for what became the War of 1812. Senators Calhoun (SC), representing the South’s cotton industry, Clay (KY) representing Kentucky’s tobacco industry, and Webster (MA), representing New England’s shipping industry, were the leaders of the war effort. While they suggested publicly that war must be initiated to salvage America’s honor, these members of Congress were much more interested in salvaging America’s business interests, and certainly were less concerned with the dishonor of slavery.

Nervous about the growing antislavery sentiment and the First National Bank’s growing financial power that could upset the balance of states’ power regarding slavery, the Democrats fought and won the congressional battle not to renew the bank’s charter in 1811. Steven Girard, the richest man in America, a shipping magnate who was the largest shareholder of the First National bank, was also a war hawk. When America needed money to continue the war, he lent her his entire fortune. He doubled his wealth during the war and was rewarded as the largest shareholder in the newly formed Second National Bank in 1816. Shortly after the war under his guidance, the Second National Bank focused its efforts once again on rebuilding the agricultural-industrial-shipping-slave dominated economic engine of America. Banking’s interest in 1816 was not in correcting social injustice but in continuing it.

From the Missouri Compromise of 1820 through the 1854 Nebraska-Kansas Act, Congress maintained on behalf of business the balance of power between slave owning states and non-slave owning states, ignoring the North’s increasing condemnation of slavery. This growing antislavery sentiment threatened to destroy the wealth creating engine that banks, factory owners, plantation owners and the shipping industry had built. Any imbalance of state power could have destroyed the export economy, yet the 1820 compromise kept an uneasy denial in place for 34 years.

Antislavery legislation would have impacted the South much more greatly than the North because its entire economy was slave driven. From America’s founding, the North had placed its financial capital into industrial assets while the South had placed the majority of its capital into land and slaves. By 1854, 3 percent of the population of the South owned 90 percent of the land and 20 percent of the population owned 98 percent of the slaves. The economic prosperity of the South’s gentry was too ingrained in slavery to turn from it without devastating the economic and social structure of the South and that fact was reflected in its political defensiveness.

The North’s growing prosperity was also buoyed by low cost, albeit consensual, workers. A steady influx of immigrant indentured servants filled New England’s factories before heading into the Western territories to start new lives as settlers. Senator Douglas (IL) pressed to build a transcontinental railroad that would send these immigrants out from Chicago into the territories, and that would bring immense riches back to the business leaders of his state. In 1854, needing to add the area of Nebraska and Kansas to America’s territories to support the railroad, Senator Douglas pushed to keep the balance of power between slave and non-slave states by increasing the geography of slave territory beyond America’s uneasy compromise of 1820. This reversal of America’s slavery containment policy was the last straw among abolitionists. With the rallying cry to end slavery, they broke from the Whig Party to form the Republican Party.

The 1854 act inflamed the passions of Americans who had grown increasingly intolerant of slavery. All of the Southern Democrats voted for the 1854 act. 44 of 91 Northern Democrats joined them in defying the will of the majority of their states’ constituents, even if their votes did support the business interests of their state elites. At the end of 1854 elections, Northern Democrats had been reduced from 91 to 25 congressman and only 7 of the 44 that had voted for the 1854 Act kept their seats. The Republican Party, founded on principle of human dignity, finally broke with the established business/political balance between the two main political parties. This break tipped the uneasy balance of power and thrust America into Civil War.

From the signing of the Constitution in 1787 until the elections of 1860, American politicians and businesses had attempted to avoid the growing moral voice of America. Had they listened, a new political party would not have formed to coalesce those without a political voice. Could the Whigs and Democrats in Congress have managed the growing animosity toward slavery while still meeting the needs of America’s businesses? In that same vein, could the Republicans and Democrats today give America’s Middle Class its needed political voice while still giving our industries the greatest chance to succeed in international business?

Until the dramatic political shift that led to the battles of the Civil War, Congress was unwilling to find common ground with abolitionists. In the wake of their indifference, a new party rose on the shoulders of the disenfranchised and charged America into a bloody resolution of its greatest crisis. History may prove once again that Congress has an institutional indifference to the will of the American people. Rather than a nostalgic turn to find a congressional balance from our past, Americans must now be willing to take up the banner of those courageous abolitionists and forge a new path forward that places the will of America first.

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Filed under American Governance, American Politics, Economic Crisis, Jobs, Multinational Corporations, Occupy Wall Street

Is Congress Punch Drunk?

In 2010, two Democrat Congressmen walk into a bar. One quips to the other, “This unemployment situation is getting pretty bad, how we should focus on it.” The other sternly replies, “I don’t know about you, but I for one am going to make sure they have health care when they finally get a job!”

Punch line: Tea Party

In 2011, two Republican campaign strategists walk into a bar. One says to the other “Hey what kind of slogan can we have for the unemployment situation.” The other one says, “How about – Hey you lazy bum, go get a job!”

Punch line: Occupy Wall Street

Yesterday, two Republican senators walked into a bar. One said to the other, “I am concerned that our free trade legislation created extended high unemployment that has hurt our ability to make good on our pledge to reduce the deficit. What do we do?” “I know”, the other one chirps, “Let’s introduce legislation to significantly shorten the term of unemployment compensation!”

Punch Line: Are you kidding me? These aren’t jokes!

Congress’s obtuse politicians should spend a little less time in bars and a lot more time helping to get Lady Liberty back on her feet.

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Filed under American Politics, Job Voucher Plan, Jobs, Occupy Wall Street

Without a Bold Jobs Plan, the Democrats will Lose in 2012

The latest polls predict that the Republicans will maintain a lead in the House and may obtain a filibuster proof majority in the Senate in the 2012 election. With the White House, the Republicans could cause sweeping reforms through Romney’s plan or what is sure to be a new Gingrich “Contract with America”. It will amount to a complete victory of the Republican strategy that has played out since the election of the 112th Congress.

The American people know that Republicans have been stalling. We do not think they put the interests of Middle America first. However, we also intuitively know that a continuation of this political stalemate will not improve our lot and that the Democrats seem impotent to stop it. At some point, staying put by the wreckage on the mountain becomes deadlier than attempting to climb down the icy path to safety. America is ready to risk a change in 2012.

If no major policy changes are introduced by either party, the Republicans will win. As a result, America will get regulation “reforms”, budget cuts in discretionary spending and entitlements, lower taxes and tax holidays on international profits, and more “free trade”. We will likely experience an initial downturn in GDP and higher unemployment, a furthering divide between the wealthy and poor, lesser services, and increased austerity, followed by gradual job growth and recovery as longer term Republican measures begin to affect the U.S. economy.

The outlook is not bright but America will endure the pain because we fear the status quo more than change. We hope the pain endured as a result of a vote for Republicans will be followed by the possibility of gain. Republicans know this and have no interest in any compromises that will change their strategy unless cornered by opposition political spin. This provides a perplexing and difficult strategy ahead for the Democratic Party.

To win in 2012, the Democrats have only three choices. Their first is the continued dangerous path of one upsmanship to see who can make the other look like a worse cretin in the eyes of the American public to eke out a slim majority. The second is to co-opt the Occupy Wall Street movement in an early 2012 grass roots political campaign that emphasizes the 99 percent. This strategy relies on a hoped for uprising that will result in what the Democrat elites might consider as an unruly Tea-Party-like caucus for the progressive leadership to attempt to corral within the Democratic Party after the elections.

The third path is to ignite the fifty million workers that were marginalized by the 2008 crisis through a bold turn-around strategy. A viable plan initiated early in 2012 including a direct jobs program, a housing debt to equity program that keeps people in their homes, and a rapid recovery of business and personal credit through credit amnesty, will engender the voters to the Democratic Party whether or not it is enacted by the 112th Congress. A bold plan that co-opts the Republican Party philosophy by offsetting its cost with elimination of long term unemployment compensation and by creating jobs within the private, domestic sector, will not only embolden the electorate but will create vote yielding indignation if the Republican Party refuses to participate.

2012 will be an election year unlike any since the Great Depression. Either the Republicans will win through attrition of America’s will, or one bold party will present a viable, rapid, 15 million direct jobs plan to cause the independents and the other party’s faithful to shift their votes in droves. 2012 can be won and residual victories over the next two to four years should be expected for the party that moves first. The lamb and the lion will lay down together in the party that welcomes them with jobs in 2012.

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Filed under American Governance, American Politics, Full Employment, Job Voucher Plan, Jobs, Occupy Wall Street

How will America be Protected from Our Developing Police State Subculture?

A danger exists in America that cultural shifts occurring below the surface of our daily lives can take away our freedoms without our knowing that these shifts exist or without our even having the chance to defend against them. I have argued that global capitalism is a subculture that has severed jobs and that has lowered America’s expected future economic growth. Recent events have demonstrated that Homeland Security initiatives could also have already restricted America’s freedoms more than we even know without our knowledge. Seemingly rogue incidents of excessive force by a few officers in disparate police forces across America could be early indications of an unseen sea change of police powers that has restructured America since 9/11.

9/11 warned America that our way of life could be forever stolen by a terrorist nuclear detonation in our nation’s capital or financial center. Because such an event could debilitate the future of hundreds of millions of people not only in America but around the world, it necessarily called for the accelerating escalation of detection, surveillance, deterrence and reactionary capabilities to minimize the chances that any such cataclysmic threat could ever occur. As a result, America has spent billions in new technology, systems, personnel, training, integration, and interoperability on local, state, and federal police and intelligence communities to increase the capability of the United States to stop terrorist acts before they occur.

The activities taken under the umbrella of Homeland Security to interweave our domestic defense community have tested our nation’s perspective of constitutional freedoms and their appropriate restrictions in the name of security. In attempting to balance freedom and security over the past ten years, our nation has created a security subculture. Many Americans were shocked recently to see the public face of that subculture’s rationale demonstrated by police forces in response to Occupy Wall Street’s peaceful exercise of democracy. Did Occupy Wall Street expose the camel’s nose under the tent of too great a removal of America’s Constitutional freedoms as we are becoming inculcated to new security measures deemed necessary by those in authority?

A gradual acceptance of perpetual defense against terrorism can itself create authoritarian tyranny. America is not immune to such gradual changes occurring underneath the view of our consciousness. As an example, while the Moral Majority amassed public power in the 1980s, underneath the surface, America became less attached to its views. Ultimately, America reacted in a way unexpected by the Moral Majority showing that a subculture had grown below the political surface. If this social subculture ultimately was exposed by an unexpected and unrelated fluke event, then perhaps well ahead of any definitive proof that an undercurrent of a building police state could be happening now without America’s knowledge or consent, Occupy Wall Street could also be a fluke event that exposed America’s growing tolerance of excessive police actions. This point is just a cautionary tale of the potential of abuse if America is not diligent in our pursuit of freedom.

My last post highlighted America’s potential to miss the subtleties of change, by comparing the unnoticed but real effect on our nation of the last ten years of structural police enforcement integration with the structural social changes that occurred during the 1980s and 1990s that went unnoticed by some in political movements of the time. Specifically, I compared the potential for police state changes in the 2000s with the changes in tolerance of sexual behavior that went unnoticed by the socially conservative political movement of the previous two decades.

I came of age in the time of the rise of the evangelical Christians as a political force. In 1976, Jimmy Carter, a self professed evangelical, was elected president. In that same year, Jerry Falwell introduced the idea of actively mixing religion and politics. Encouraged by Jesse Helms to rally the “Silent Majority” of millions of televangelist TV viewers to become active in the political arena, Falwell founded his political organization “Moral Majority” in 1979. The idea of organizing this evangelical group of millions of Americans into a political force was at the time a fairly radical sea change in harnessing the strength of coalitions in America.

Under the leadership of Falwell and Helms, the Moral Majority coalesced into a political force, influencing politics throughout the 1980s. It brought a sizable voting minority in the United States, perhaps 25%, that viewed “Religious Right” issues as the critical factor in their choices of political candidates, to the firm support of the Republican Party. Historians point to the Moral Majority’s influence in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, his subsequent reelection, and a revision of the Republican Party’s platform on issues such as school prayer and abortion, leading some to believe that the Republican Party would have a sizable majority for decades to come.

Yet even as its influence grew, the Moral Majority did not recognize that its political strength was ultimately eroding during the 1980s because of several factors including the rise and subsequent fall of Televangelism. The concentration of wealth and power that television had afforded ministries played out in the highly publicized fall from grace of such powerhouses as Jimmy Bakker in 1987 for his alleged rape of his secretary Jessica Hahn, and Jimmy Swaggart for his tryst with a prostitute in 1988. The fall of the Moral Majority was heightened by Pat Robertson’s bid for President, which subsequently deteriorated the power of his broadcast ministry, and Reverend Falwell’s power struggles as he disavowed Pat’s bid for President, supporting George Bush instead, and Falwell’s seedy grab of power from Jimmy Baker’s organization in 1989.

By 1992, the Moral Majority’s influence on moral and ethical issues had clearly divided the country along conservative and progressive social lines. Yet thirteen years after the opening of China to Western businesses and banks, China was beginning to impact the economy of America leading the 1992 Clinton campaign to emphasize “It’s the economy stupid” and Ross Perot’s third party to vigorously oppose NAFTA. Perot pulled enough conservatives away from the Republican Party, by some estimates, to give President Clinton the win. Clinton’s subsequent support of liberal policies following his election however, continued to galvanize those supporting the Moral Majority’s philosophies against him.

In 1994, Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey, who later would be instrumental in the founding of the Tea Party, created the “Contract with America” six weeks before the election to win over the electorate to the Republican majority. The Contract stayed clear of social issues raised by the Moral Majority, instead emphasizing economic issues supported by the majority of most Americans such as a balanced budget, the line item veto, a moratorium on regulations, welfare reform, term limits, social security and tort reform. The Republican Congress handily won the election based on the public’s vote for economic reforms.

Because the Republican Party de-emphasized the relative importance of social issues in the campaign, the subculture of social shifting at the time went unnoticed. The election, however, set the stage for the appointment of Kenneth Starr to continue the Clinton Whitewater investigation, ultimately leading to Clinton’s Impeachment.

The political buildup before Clinton’s impeachment trial fed the Moral Majority’s frenzy of disapproval of Clinton’s ethical authority to lead America. The coalition believed that the American people were solidly in favor of punishing Clinton’s behavior through censure or ultimately removal from office. When the charges ultimately came down to perjury and obstruction of justice by Clinton’s self testimony in his sexual harassment trial, the public sided with the President and let the air out of the Moral Majority’s perceived leadership on this issue.

The Moral Majority had not recognized that an undercurrent of change had occurred, that many Americans perceived the economy as a more important issue, and that Clinton’s moral failings did not rise to the level of removal from office. The hypocrisy of the Republican Party members tasked with leading the impeachment proceedings also highlighted the public’s shift away from judgmentalism. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich made the plea that it wasn’t hypocritical of him to lead impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton in the 1990’s, even though he was having an extramarital affair at the time, because the impeachment case was “not about personal behavior.” Yet the public disagreed with Gingrich’s argument regarding Clinton’s lying in front of a judge about his sex acts.

For those holding to moral ethics regarding Clinton’s moral failings, Billy Graham, a registered Democrat, who was voted the most revered man in America at the time, and who had stayed above the televangelist fray refusing to join the Moral Majority saying, “I’m for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice and evangelists …have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left”, took the steam out of the moral pursuit when he said, “If [President Clinton] is guilty, I would forgive him and love him just the same because he’s a remarkable man. He’s had a lot of temptations thrown his way and a lot of pressure on him.” Later in the interview, Graham added, “I know the frailty of human nature and I know how hard it is — especially [for a] strong, vigorous young man like he is. He has such a tremendous personality that I think the ladies just go wild over him.”

With what many viewed as Billy Graham’s shocking appeasement completed, the nation shifted its focus away from Bill Clinton’s dalliances only to be thrust into focusing on our nation’s survival three years later. The public has argued that during the past ten years since 9/11, we have given up freedoms to gain the security enabled by such tactics as placing troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, enhanced interrogation, increasing invasion of privacy such as wire taps, TSA, and surveillance of private records. Yet these changes occurred under the surface in the subculture of security. America has talked about these increasing losses of freedom but we have not noticed them on the surface until Occupy Wall Street, as a fluke, drew them out from their clandestine cover.

Now that our security subculture has been exposed, barely breaking the surface of America’s collective consciousness, many Americans have denied seeing the changes for what they may actually be, suggesting that these rogue elements of abuse are either a result of a lack of political leadership regarding the Occupy movement, or a lack of training regarding policing of such movements. If, in actuality, these rogue incidents are just the surface of a much deeper, ingrained police state subculture that has developed to protect America from our enemies, both foreign and domestic, how do we ensure that America will indeed be protected from what now seems to be an undercurrent of our own developing police state subculture?

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Filed under American Governance, American Politics, Bureaucracy, Emergency Response, National Security, Occupy Wall Street

S. 1867 is to Occupy Wall Street as Monica Lewinsky was to President Clinton’s Impeachment

In Clinton’s impeachment that culminated from four years of Ken Starr’s investigation, we saw the overreach of our government involving federal investigators, the U.S. Congress, and an impeachment committee that pursued Bill Clinton’s definition of the word “is”. After years of attempts to hang the President on such matters as Whitewater and the death of Vince Foster, his impeachment rested on the President’s perjury about two fellatio protagonists and his attempt to not tell the American people about his sexual proclivities.

This massive use of state power to expose the President’s sex acts was seen by the American people as abusive in the end. Yet, I for one, had been lulled by the moral majority in the years leading up to President Clinton’s impeachment into a false reality that America had not slipped morally to the point where it was common place for young ladies to perform such acts as came to be known through Clinton’s trial as “non-sex”. I mistakenly believed that America was experiencing a thousand points of light even though an epidemic of “non-sex” Herpes cases were occurring amongst our young people at the same time of Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

It took the extraordinary spectacle of his impeachment to expose the social atmosphere of our nation. Not only were the nature of our President’s physical characteristics and sexual exploits embarrassingly exposed but so was the trend of our nation’s sexual culture. And shockingly, Larry Flint, Hustler Publisher, exposed the hypocrisy of sexual improprieties of Republicans that participated in his impeachment. Larry claimed to have exposing evidence of a dozen such cases. For instance, Bob Barr, who had run his congressional campaign on family values, was exposed for his cheating and abortion. Flint also uncovered Gingrich’s affair with Callista Bisek.

This whimsical, topsy turvy, and simultaneously extravagant spectacle of government excess turned over a slimy stone exposing the slithering underbelly of hypocrisy in Washington and the mirrored behavior of our populace they represented. We had projected through our government representation our expectations in Washington and then felt the sting of judgmentalism as their spectacle shined a light on our trending culture.

Now we once again have been exposed in New York, Oakland and elsewhere as the roots of excessive governmental overreach have broken the surface of our collective consciousness. We watched in horror as our police power struck down peaceful, sitting, interlocking arms of protest with overreaching sprays of pepper into their yet idealized faces. This act perhaps marked the beginnings of a shift in understanding of our culture’s police trend and of its mirrored excesses in Washington.

Our response to 9/11 was to let the pendulum of justice swing wildly toward the restriction of liberty in the name of security. Left unchecked, our police powers have grown like weeds underneath the tarp of Homeland Security into an intertwining local, State and Federal complex supported by our Congress that is entangling our society in a future of perpetual terroristic defensive war. Occupy Wall Street is the fluky exposure of this societal trend just as Linda Tripp’s secret audio tapes of Monica Lewinsky crying about being moved by Clintonites away from the White House to protect the President became the fluky exposure of our nation’s sexual social trends in the 1990s.

Occupy Wall Street just happened to shock America into the notion that our nation has become much more of a police state than we ever imagined. S. 1867, the bill that allows American citizens that are suspected as terrorists to be locked up indefinitely without trial is just another data point in the now emerging reality of our acceptance of such servitude.


Filed under American Governance, American Politics, National Security, Occupy Wall Street, social trajectory

Police Restraint Will Mitigate Future Violence

In the greater realm of civil defense, homeland security, terror response, community and business continuity, and government continuity, the agencies of Homeland Security, Emergency Management, and Emergency Response have a role to play in government response to civil unrest. Certainly in mass riots that have occurred in Europe as a response to announced austerity programs, similar agencies have been involved internationally in heightened government alert.

The level of unrest to which Europe may eventually rise is yet unknown, but will emerge as the Euro Zone continues to unravel. While no-one expects countries in Europe to experience anything like what occurred in Northern Africa during the Arab Spring, Europe is nonetheless preparing for much worse events than have occurred thus far.

With this in mind, what is the size of the potential threat of civil unrest in America and what can be done through standard emergency management procedures of mitigation and preparation to reduce the likelihood of such unrest, and to prepare for adequate and proper response in the event that unrest occurs? The answer lies in determining what is the engine of unrest, how long will it persist, what outlets citizens will have for expressing their will, and what capabilities Americans will have to exercise their right of assembly in their democracy. My contention is that the answer also lies in the interplay of how authorities respond to these potential threats to civility.

As opposed to the Tea Party, in which demonstrations were more focused and directed toward political ends, this Occupy Wall Street movement seems to have deliberately steered from organized politics which it sees as part of the problem, and has instead has attempted to develop a ground swell of crowd democracy. As a result, sit-in contemporaneous councils of discussion are occurring to self discover over time the movement’s consensus of thought. This free form democracy has been seen as Anarchist or Marxist by some and thus a potential threat to civilized democracy.

America is being inundated with media that sensationalizes this less disciplined, less organized, and seemingly less responsible way of thinking. Certainly, it irritates hard working Americans to see what appear to be Anarchists disrupting traffic, shutting down businesses, harming commerce, damaging public and private property, defecating and urinating in public and the like. And just as it concerns the average citizen, it can also dislodge sensibilities of those responsible for managing crowd response.

However, when authoritative response becomes, or is perceived as becoming excessive, it feeds into the unrest. Responses such as these on the following links are now feeding into the Occupy Wall Street movement and are having the opposite effect of their intent. Rather than quelling the immediate throngs of crowds, they are feeding not only into the short term swells but are turning many otherwise passive citizens into supporters of Occupy Wall Street and potential participants in later demonstrations and clashes that could turn riotous or even deadly.

Oakland flash grenade
Police shoot demonstrator in face
Unprovoked a cameraman is shot
Bloody Occupy demonstrator
Police massive pepper spray abuse
Police brutality of students
Female protesters penned and maced
Oakland Protest war zone
Police give protester concussion
Police runs over protester
Police crackdown of veterans
Marine rants against Police brutality

In response to witnessing the initial “inappropriate” government actions, I felt it important to lay out an easily digestible context for why civil disobedience is now occurring:

My post is intended to mitigate the inundation of media hype and to place a human face on Occupy Wall Street. The movement no doubt has elements of Marxism and Anarchism within its ranks that some would find disconcerting. However, the more important and much more voluminous face of Occupy Wall Street is a disenfranchised America that has lost its voice and is attempting to find it through peaceful assembly.

With a deeper understanding of the nature of those that will increasingly fill the ranks of Occupy Wall Street, perhaps leaders in positions to determine the proper response to demonstrations will be able to redirect their forces from using tactics that appear to have overreached, and to begin to use less agitating responses that could mitigate their potential of igniting a chain of human events that might exponentially erupt into later riots and destruction as the crisis in America peaks.

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Filed under Occupy Wall Street, Social Media Democracy, social trajectory

I Just Want My American Dream Back – A conversation from 1981 to 2011 (revised)

Factory worker (1981): Ever since the Walmart moved into town, management has been pressuring labor to take pay cuts. Half the work force has been laid off. Thank goodness for low cost goods from Walmart to make up for my lower wages but I still need more money to make ends meet.

Savings and loans banker (1985): Hey, home values have been rising and new laws allow us to lend out up to 100 percent of the value of your home. Sounds risky? I know it does but not to you. If we have troubles, the FSLIC will protect your deposits now up to $100,000 so you might as well get started on your American dream.

Stock broker (1995): I hear the bankers that absorbed the savings and loans from the crash of its bubble are offering not only no money down loans, but now you don’t even have to prove your income and they have some pretty decent rates on home refinancing. With this new internet sensation, the stock market is on fire. Why don’t you just refinance your home and use part to make up for lost wages, but put some into this raging market and you will get ahead.

Factory worker (1999): But the market is up 300 percent when corporate earnings are only up 40 percent. I understand that you think the new fangled start-ups are going to sky rocket, but why are traditional brick and mortar businesses selling at such high price to earnings ratios?

Real Estate Broker (2001): So the Stock broker talked you into taking a home equity loan to get into the stock market? I am sorry you lost so much of your life’s savings. But perhaps you can make it back in the housing boom. I can show you houses that may seem beyond your reach but they are investment gold mines, trust me. Their prices are going up at 20% a year. In the mean time, just grab a few of the credit card offers being mailed to you each week to get by while you are recovering your retirement savings in your new home investment.

Factory worker (2003): Seems logical but housing prices no longer make sense. It used to be with a 20 percent down payment, rental rates would cover the remaining principle, interest, taxes and insurance but they no longer cover the loan amounts. My income hasn’t gone up and will not cover such a high mortgage.

Mortgage broker (2005): It’s a new economy. We no longer require rents to cover mortgages because equity is rising at 20% per year. And you can qualify for whatever size home you want. I will tell you what income you must claim to me and I can get you an introductory low rate on a no income verification loan. In fact, unlike the ’90s, you can get pretty low interest rates for the first 2 to 5 years of the loan, and I can even qualify you with credit scores as low as 600. You don’t even have to show that you have cash reserves. Criminy, you don’t even have to be self employed anymore. This surely can help you reach up to participate big in this boom, and you truly need to participate big with all you’ve been through. In the meantime, use your multiple, no income verification credit cards to get by until you flip your house investment in a couple years for a profit.

Real estate broker (2006): Oooooh, umm, yeah, after a couple years you want to sell now. After you bought, the market slowed a bit and I really can’t sell your home for more than you paid for it. In fact, there are three brand new homes on the street that have never been lived in and they are on the market for 10 percent less than you paid. If you want to discount your home 15%, perhaps we can entice buyers to buy yours instead of the new homes that have been on the market for more than six months.

Factory worker (2007): I can’t afford to take a 15 percent hit on my home so I will have to keep it on the market awhile and max out my credit cards to make ends meet in the mean time.

Banker (2008): I am sorry to inform you but when you maxed out your credit cards, they triggered the universal clause and your interest rates are now going to be raised from their original 10 percent up to 32 percent.

Factory worker (2008.5): Now what can I do. I cannot sell my home, I have maxed out my home equity line, and my credit cards. I have no more credit because as I pay off my cards, the banks cancel them. My introductory home loan interest rate has expired and my home loan has risen 50%. The local government, hurting for more taxes, is considering raising the mil rate. I am going to have to delay some consumer purchases and not make others. And because I have to survive, I may have to miss a few credit card or home mortgage payments.

Banker (2009): When you missed payments on your credit card, we did lower your credit rating to protect other creditors from your misfortune, and we did demand immediate repayment of your balance on your credit cards. I know it exacerbated your inability to pay us back on your home loan. But a result, I am afraid we will have to initiate foreclosure.

Factory worker (2009.5): I keep lowering my price trying to sell this house but it has now been on the market for over a year. To make matters much worse, my employer just told me that because most other Americans have lost credit, home values, or jobs, they have been unable to buy our company’s products. As a result, I was told that I am being laid off to join 20 million others. And in my hour of misfortune, my real estate broker has informed me that my house value is now worth 40 % less than I paid for it.

Foreclosure lawyer (2010): Let me understand this better, so the banker said he would work with you to comply with government assistance programs, but after asking you four times to send in your paperwork to determine if you qualified, he “misplaced” it each time until the bank finally filed bankruptcy proceedings. I have filed in court on your behalf to delay the inevitable, but because your state is a recourse state, the bank will ultimately take your house, sell it at a fire sale price, and afterward the banker will come after you for the difference, forcing you to file for bankruptcy and to lose your life’s savings.

Bankruptcy lawyer (2010.5): Unfortunately the bank took your house and your credit cards and the court took your newer car, your savings, and your “excess” belongings. I understand that Chinese factories are building the widgets you used to make, you haven’t been able to find a job for over two years and have been turned down in countless interviews. Your savings are gone, your credit is ruined, and your self esteem is crushed. Congress has left you without unemployment compensation, yet is about to pass trade agreements that will leave even more Americans unemployed. Congress will not cut expenses so unfortunately their failure to do their job means even more Americans will lose theirs and America’s interest rates will go up costing Americans even more in higher interest payments that will be passed through to consumers in higher prices. But on the brighter side, I was able to ensure that even though you have nothing, your debts have been discharged.

Occupy Wall Streeter (2011): I know police officers are bloodying us with batons and spraying us with pepper spray, that they are waking us in the middle of the night to take our generators and our tents, that they are throwing tear gas in the middle of our peaceful demonstrations, and arresting us for acting on our right to assemble, but we are voicing our urgent need for change in Zucotti Park. Before you lose all hope, join us.

Employed Middle American (2011): Is this park thing the right thing for the factory worker to do? I dunno. My unemployed college graduate son is down at the park and I am watching every brutal act of policeman on my baby. I am holding Wall Street and Congress responsible for this senseless brutality and I will remember at the polls. But I didn’t demonstrate during Vietnam Nam. Instead, I went to war. And the factory worker is no hippie.

Our leaders tell me that they are doing what they can for America, but they can’t pass a budget even when the world tells them our credit rating will suffer. They can however pass a law that makes pizza a vegetable when big business wants a greasy snack to be called healthy, but they can’t compromise to help America back to work!

Factory worker (2011): I have decided to go down to the park. Be patient with me. I know there are instigators down there but I want a better America and need to do something more. I don’t have the answers to what the banks and Congress should do to fix what they have done but I am going to ask questions. Support my right to assemble with others to debate the potential answers in a democratic way.

If America’s unemployment rate rose to 15 percent, would you lose your job? Some economists are warning of 50 percent unemployment if drastic changes aren’t made. I don’t know whose predictions are right, but please wish me well in doing my part to reverse our fate now. I just want my American dream back.


Filed under American Governance, American Media, American Politics, Economic Crisis, Jobs, Occupy Wall Street