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Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012

2012
By Kathleen Wallace Peine
Dissident Voice
December 29th, 2011

It is with a morbid curiosity that we face the upcoming New Year.
Not because of a cartoonish version of prophecy.

No, it’s a visceral knowing that many wrong and untenable creations are still alive and they threaten every thread in the fabric of what we know. And it’s inevitable to reflect when a New Year is looming.

I never quite understood why New Year’s didn’t fall on the very
first day after the winter solstice.

The days lengthen at that moment, hope beckons, but with our calender there is that lag, and during this lag week that we find ourselves in now, there is time to consider what awaits.

It’s not to say that it is an entirely terrible thing that much of this seems ready to topple. We’ve been complacent and ugly in the protection of our way of life.

Even if we don’t make the cruel decisions, much comfort is derived at the expense of others. A mounting debt, not of the fiscal kind, swirls on our horizon.

Oddly our way of life really doesn’t seem to make us anything but medicated, fat and plastic. And then shocked into a stunned puddle as it is inevitably stripped away, one by one — lay-off or medical bill — chose your middle class poison.

Deeply felt emotions are difficult to mine these days unless they are rage or crippling depression.

Flirting notions of change could lead to a world more of our making or an explosion of all that we find stifling and unholy. Collective hearts beat in unison, but we mistake the sound as being ours alone.

I’m scared and I know others are too, even if shaded by a ridiculous attempt at immortality via consumerism, our version of mummification.

Encase yourself in purchased crap, live forever. Canopic jars encase us while alive. But they were purchased at Pottery Barn 1/2 off!

In this year we have seen previously inconceivable issues like the indefinite detention of Americans being considered and soon likely implemented.

The last pretense of a government for the people was dissolved.

They no longer even feel the need to maintain the fairy tale notions.

It’s quite clear now.

A nation striving towards a linear future, one of growth and enlightenment is now fully evident as shadow and lie.

Those paying attention knew this prior, of course.

Exponential growth is not possible, and there is no linear movement of humanity as our descent into unhappiness and continuous strife prove.

We are not a nation that looks to the sky, we look down to our
wallets. We allowed them to tell us that things like income or
credit scores measured our true worth in these last decades.

We wasted time listening to people like this, and some planned
careers to fulfill artificial ideals of success. This will ultimately
prove to be as valuable as how many hearts the Aztecs carved
out on a particular day so long ago.

And now, those that fall to the side are thought to be weak, thought to be lacking, when really they just scare everyone….that unguarded moment of compassion allows our collective roots to be felt.

It’s but a blink of the eye. We are here, but they distract us from that fact and keep us in line, raging tickers flood our minds with nonsense.

We don’t voice love to each other even when we feel it as strongly
as a knife.

Some may say that it has always been so. That humans will always fall to the base of their nature and we are the culmination of this imperfect death impulse.

The sleepwalk to doom is the easier path.

But when asked “What was the first sign of civilization?” Margaret Mead answered “A healed human leg bone.” So where was the profit in that?

From these healers we find our ancestors. Cooperation without which we probably wouldn’t be here. There are still healers in our nature, but they have been hiding.

We feel a need to be punished and the new year looks poised to
do just that.

A clown show of politicians, ready to be popped out of the Mattel
box will bleed us as they smile this coming year.

Whether it will be the fraudulent hope in place or a new fraud
matter little.

The reality is such that they will continue to pull against humanity and the veil is certainly not lifted for most.

The Occupy movement is a luscious and beautiful spark, but it’s
not evident yet if it has the power to unravel so many years of
propaganda, so many years of greed.

This nation started with a premise – that of individual enrichment and worked backwards with philosophies to support that.

It’s a tall order to dismantle a framework of bones such as that.
But it’s not to say it’s impossible.

Truth and beauty have a power of their own, and this leaves me wondering. What is possible?

Our mere existence is improbable. We are facing the end of an Empire, the end of easily obtainable resources to power it all.

Though we aren’t there yet, I suspect those in power are
anticipating the upcoming difficulty in obtaining valuables
like fresh water and fossil fuels and they are trying to
solidify a feudal world before the fact.

It’s likely we will know by the end of 2012 if they are going to easily obtain this goal they seek. How easy will we make it for them?

With fear, love and solidarity I wish you the best of 2012.

Because like a stand of Aspens, we all hold the same fate – our roots locked in embrace during our shared moments of this short life.

Let us be brave and kind through this New Year, whatever it may bring.


Kathleen Wallace Peine welcomes reader response. She can be reached at: kathypeine@gmail.com

http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/12/2012/

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Occupy vs. Nihilism

All or Nothing at All

By Michael Meade, D.H.L.
Information Clearing House
Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Occupy movement may be an instinctive response, not just to the greatest disparity of wealth and power in the history of America, but also to the emptying out of institutions and loss of meaning at all levels of life.

An underlying instinct to inhabit life more fully may be arising and taking root in different places for different reasons.

The message of Occupy may be "all over the place" because the
underlying message is about "place," about reclaiming and more
fully inhabiting public places, about being more present to the
critical issues in each place, and about taking one's own place in
life more fully.

A movement whose time has come keeps moving and keeps
changing; it morphs and alters itself because it represents
underlying changes that are only beginning to surface.

Although national in scope, each new occupation takes up local issues and takes on local style.

As the movement moves it stirs a wide range of issues and injustices waiting just under the skin of the country; that is what "grass roots" means.

Seeds are carried on the winds of change, take root in all kinds
of places, and sprout up everywhere at once.

Campuses and courthouses, parks and banks become places of intentional occupation as an instinctive, embodied response to the hollowing out of local as well as national institutions takes shape.

When Occupy appears on campuses the stunning emptiness and increasing meaninglessness of "higher education" as well as its outrageous cost is being highlighted.

When campus police appear as storm troopers ready to punish students for being more present and more engaged in their own education, the emptiness of the institutions themselves is being depicted.

University means a place of universal learning, not a staging ground for mindless careers or a franchise site for the blind continuance of the "business of education."

When mini-Occupy sites appear at individual houses threatened
with foreclosure and neighbors set aside typical disagreements
in order to protect each other's homes, the roots of community
are trying to resurface.

Genuine grass roots movements can cross typical "party lines" and dissolve class distinctions as the deep-rooted connections between people and the underlying dreams of the country rise up from below.

The difference and distance between those who inhabit the land
and those who rule the nation become revealed.

For, it is not simply that government has gotten too big, but that
it has become so empty of meaning and devoid of the values that
sustain common humanity.

Occupy can be an instinctive, collective response to the loss of meaning and spread of nihilism throughout the culture.

The Latin word nihil means "nothing at all;" absence as opposed to
a presence, emptiness instead of abundance, a lack of substance
rather than something substantial.

Nihilism refers to various "doctrines of negation" that tend to be reductionist, narrow-minded, and rejecting.

The spread of nihilism is one way of understanding what is currently happening where reductionist ideas, single-issue politics, and fixed ideologies make politics, public discourse, and public institutions increasingly empty of substance and lacking in meaning.

It is not just that the "do nothing" Congress appears to be a replica
of the old "know nothing party," but that it also represents an
underlying negation of life, an unconscious nihilistic movement that
threatens to drain meaning and justice from collective life.

It is not simply that the debates between "those who would be king"
lack genuine substance, but that the candidates aspire to so little
and reject so much.

It is not just that those who desire to lead seem so ready to reduce
elected office to simplistic tax pledges and the dull repetition of
ideas that lack both substance and imagination.

It is that they do it so willfully, so blindly, and with a bravado that surpasses egotism and seems intended to elevate narcissism to religious heights.

The bankrupting of the system allows those who are most empty of substance to rise to the top most readily. When winning is the only goal, everyone loses.

When Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich appear as ego-twins
trumpeting "big ideas" that are empty of true meaning, lacking in
genuine intention, and devoid of actual political value, something
is being said about the emptiness of both business and politics.

Something is being said about the loss of statesmanship and
absence of genuine ideas of governance, about the hopeless
collapse of the complexities of life into the most common
forms of commerce and self aggrandizement.

In the end, economics alone can never solve the problems of economics.

The desire to punish the poor, blame the disadvantaged, and force children into hard labor arises from willful ignorance as well as blind arrogance.

Notions of putting "poor kids" to work because they lack inner values
is not just regressive and possibly racist; it is not simply ignorant
and unfeeling; it is also another form of the doctrines of negation
that attack the meaning of individual lives.

Such hollow ideas may serve the narcissistic needs and short term
interests of a few, but what begins as simple negation can end in
nihilistic disaster as those with hollow ideas and hardened avoid the
real work of reviving the heart of culture and tending to the soul of
the country.

Nihilism also raises its reckless head in the coarse and dehumanizing
idea that a corporation can be a person.

No matter how many people "sell their souls to the corporation," the corporation can never become a person.

The idea of elevating a common business form to human status does not just distort reality, it also diminishes humanity.

Like any abstract entity, a corporation can readily dehumanize people because it has no soul and no real interest in individual life.

Such doctrines of negation are not "big ideas" as much as clever manipulations that occur when real ideas are absent.

The issue is not just financial corruption on a wide scale, but also that people have "bought a bill of goods" that have no long-term backing and have forgotten the common good.

The great crises and great movements of the world do not take place outside the human soul, but within the souls of those moved by the unseen forces of change.

At issue in all genuine movements is the suffering of the individual human soul and it is soul that is missing when no one can imagine ways out of the practical dilemmas of life.

The hidden meaning of Occupy may involve an instinctive response
to the threat of nihilism and the rise of emptiness; it may be a
collective attempt to find the heart and soul of America again.

Not "occupy" as a single-minded political statement, but the soulful
sense of occupying life in ways that return meaning and justice,
truth and beauty to the lives of individuals and communities, to
institutions and practices that are after all intended to serve the
people.

Occupy may be an instinctive vehicle for making life in its diverse and surprising forms more valuable and meaningful again.

The soul of a movement cannot be simply identified or be easily codified. Yet, soul is what brings people together and shapes new ways of being when the old ways have become mere rote or have hardened into fixed and unmovable attitudes.

Soul is what gives any movement depth, what gives any action meaning, what gives each life substance, authenticity, and genuine meaning.

The underlying notion of Occupy may be an inspiration to begin to occupy something, anything more fully before the spread of nihilistic attitudes and heartless policies leech all meaning from the land.

Occupy an idea, live with it, sleep with it, inhabit it until it becomes a kind of "gnosis," or genuine knowing.

Occupy a place because you love it or because it needs loving attention or simply because you need a place to be.

Find something that feels and smells authentic and occupy it fully in order to bring back life's natural state of diversity and abundance.

In the midst of all the change, confusion, and chaos, occupy your
own soul; for without soulful presence even momentous events can
become hollow and be reduced to political in-fighting and the seeds
of change can fail to take root.


Michael Meade, D.H.L., is a renowned storyteller, author and scholar of mythology, anthropology and psychology. - Founder, Mosaic Multicultural Foundation

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30074.htm

Friday, December 23, 2011

You Are The Battlefield

You Are The Battlefield

By Zen Gardner
Before It's News.com
December 23, 2011

There's no looking for crowd validation. There's no waiting for outside redemption.

There's no collective bargaining to rely on. The awakening is you.

Only you.

That's what all this ruckus is about. The battle for your spirit and soul.

And that's the boat each of us is in. There is nothing more important in this life for you, or me, than waking up. Once that's straightened out the rest will follow.

How we perceive the world around us creates and reinforces the world around us.

Once we become conscious and aware that this existing matrix
we're witnessing is an arbitrary creation manipulated by power-
crazed puppeteers, however you perceive them, that is when the
change happens.

And the Universe will tell you what to do from there. That's what
to respond to. Nothing else. That's your job. That's my job. Don't
shirk it when it happens.

Enjoy Your Earthly Suit, But Rediscover Who You Truly Are

Like me, you are sitting inside, or somewhat near anyway,
the body you chose to be in. We're looking through and
freely operating these amazing biological machines on a
fabulous planet.

And, "Wow, there appears to be a whole lot of other beings like
me walking around! Where am I? What am I here for? And what
am I supposed to do?"

I know, jumped off the deep end there, but that's exactly our predicament. And what immediately sets in once we arrive?

As young children we have this abandon as we experience
this incredible place and all its feelings, sights and sounds.

We screech with delight, sing made up songs, swing our
arms around wildly, and run in place. We just express!

Then what happens?

We start to conform to what we're seeing, as well as what we're
being told.

We become more regimented and are herded into classrooms
and categories.

We start feeling social pressures and are then handed this
fundamental doctrine of insecurity where fear and scarcity
become our main drivers.

Your purpose in life now is to "fit in and get a job" so you
won't run out of money or food.

Your internal, conscious response? "This is strange. Everything's
a problem here. Sure didn't feel that way when I arrived."

The Illusory Attachment Trap

The main trick of the illusory world around us is to make us think
we're somehow attached to it, and therefore dependent, and that
we need to conform to this world we're viewing.

We tend to judge by the standards we're exposed to, and act accordingly.

We base our lives and actions around these perceived behavior patterns, which in turn gradually dull the voice of conscious awareness.

You might have noticed how blind people, such as entertainers
Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, gesticulate totally freely, rocking
their heads while singing or talking, and have wildly free facial
expressions, almost as if they're handicapped.

Obviously they're not. But it strikes you. They're free from
visual conformity. They don't know how everyone else acts.

They're free to physically express their emotions without having
to conform to the suppressed, fearful conformist nature of our
hung up society.

They don't know you don't rock back and forth, shake your head
and smile so broad your face almost cracks. How liberating!

And that principle can be applied across the board.

We judge so much by how we think it will measure up to the world around us rather than just express what we're thinking and feeling openly.

Whether with close friends and family, our peer group, or the message we pick up in public or from the media, we're being programmed.

Programmed to not respond to obvious needs, but to strange,
shallow self-serving impulses. Just like everyone else.

You can say that's just natural, but it's not. It's induced behavior
from a manipulated and self-regulating created collective.

Natural for the matrix, but not for a conscious human being, especially when the crowd is clearly going the wrong way.

But who's looking when you're sleep walking.

The Cost of Vicarious Living and Beyond

In the end most humans end up living a vicarious life, acting out the projection they think they're supposed to live up to. That's bondage.

The yardstick is acceptance rather than truth or conscience.

This is heavily reinforced through education, the media and the
existing paradigm they've succeeded in creating. It appears to be
the only option out there...but only to the unawakened.

But there's a price to pay.

Everything. Waking up costs everything.

So what? What are you saving up for? Aren't you paying that price anyway even if you're not waking up?

Life always costs everything.

You'll leave here eventually, like me, and the cost will be your life.

How did you spend it?

Consciously, or trying to conform, and using that to hide behind
to justify living as a comfortable, selfish, lazy brain donor to
the system you're too afraid to buck?

That's the battlefield. You. Me. It goes no further.

What we see playing out in the world is a bunch of you's and me's
deciding if they'll live consciously and truly respond to that still,
small voice within them, or not.

The sad reality is almost every one of them has been duped into
being fixated on what all the other "me's" are doing in order to
keep up with the projected reality.

It's like a school of fish feverishly clinging together in response
to a perceived predator.

The only thing is, for conscious, spiritual reality there is no predator.

That's the secret. We are eternal consciousness having an experience.

The way to solve these problems is to re-create the perceived
reality through conscious awareness and conscious actions.

When You Get the Call, Take It!

We, individually, have to change first.

We have to commit to consciousness, get free of entanglements
and live a conscious life.

The rest has little meaning until we get out of the matrix ourselves.

If each of us would get that message the phony world structure would crumble in a minute.

Every soldier would drop his weapon and go home.

Every politician would wake up as if out of a dream and go be with his family.

Every policeman would lay down his gun, take off his uniform, and
go help someone in need, smiling and greeting people on his way.

It's you. It's me. Your personal world and experience is the only one you'll ever know. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Just let consciousness be your guide.

But act on it.

And don't fret too much about what it is you're supposed to do. You'll know it when you see it.

It comes in the form of little things, little decisions, the rest follows.

Learn to listen to that voice and act accordingly and it gets louder and louder.

Just walk away from what you know to be wrong, and do what you know to be right.

It's not that hard once you start. And again, once you get your boat
in motion, the rudder will take effect.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Lao Tzu

...Now go for it. I can't wait to hear about it!

Love, Zen

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1539/287/NL/You_Are_The_Battle
field.html

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Money Power World Rule

Money Power World Rule

By Stephen Lendman
Media With Conscience
December 21, 2011

The late Georgetown University historian Carroll Quigley said in
his book titled, "Tragedy and Hope:"

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim,
nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in
private hands able to dominate the political system of each country
and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be
controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world
acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent
private meetings and conferences."

By controlling democratic and despotic governments as well as others
in between they've moved closer to absolute global control of money,
credit and debt to dominate economies, politics, commerce, and
imperial adventurism.

As a result, they've benefitted handsomely at the expense of nations and popular interests.

Josiah Stamp, former Director of the Bank of England said:

"Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin. The bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money, and with the flick of the pen they will create enough deposits to buy it back again."

"However, take it away from them, and all the great fortunes like
mine will disappear and they ought to disappear, for this would be
a happier and better world to live in. But, if you wish to remain
the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let
them continue to create money."

Aesop said "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones
to public office."

Bankers with money power are the most pernicious of all.

Ellen Brown's must-read book titled, "Web of Debt" discussed private
banking, how it usurped money creation power, and how we can get
it back.

She explained what growing numbers know about the malignant
effects of its destructive power. Everyone should understand that
the Fed isn't federal. It's a private banking cartel owned by its major
bank members in 12 Fed districts. New York has controlling power
through its majority interest.

As a result, the Fed rules globally with the European Central Bank,
Bank of England, and Bank of Japan. They're the world's dominant
central banks along with the Bank for International Settlements -
the central bank for central bankers, or unaccountable banking
boss of bosses.

In America, except for coins, banks create money called Federal
Reserve notes, in violation of the Constitution under Article I,
Section 8 that gives Congress sole power "To coin (create) money
(and) regulate the value thereof....;"

Coins and paper money comprise less than 3 percent of America's money supply. The rest is in computer entries for loans.

Banks create money that didn't previously exist. Around 30% of it is for their private accounts - for speculation and other non-productive purposes.

A 1960s Chicago Fed booklet called Modern Money Mechanics explained how through "fractional reserve" banking, saying:

"(Banks) do not really pay out loans from the money they receive
as deposits. If they did this, no additional money would be created.

What they do when they make loans is to accept promissory notes
in exchange for credits to the borrowers' transaction accounts."

Money is created by "building up" deposits in the form of
loans. They, in turn, become more deposits, not the reverse.

The system goes back centuries based on the idea that
paper receipts can be issued and loaned out repeatedly.

Under the gold standard, enough had to be held in reserve so depositors had access to their money.

Today it's run the presses, anything goes, and print it like
confetti, even if currency debasement's risked.

Fractional reserve banking literally creates money out of thin
air. It's then used to create multiples more.

Unlike previous times, today's major banks are "giant betting machine(s)."

Traditional banking is a lost art, at least at the mega-bank level. Most, or at least many, community ones operate responsibly.

Run recklessly, banking giants use multi-trillions for high-risk casino-type operations, through devices like derivatives and securitization scams.

Since Andrew Jackson's presidency (1829 - 1837), the federal debt
hasn't been paid off, only interest to bankers and other owners of
US obligations.

The 16th Amendment let Congress levy an income tax so bankers could be paid interest on federal debt.

If America controlled its own money, it would be interest-free,
and taxing people to pay it wouldn't be necessary.

Early colonists did it. So did Lincoln. Why not now by returning
money power to public hands where it belongs. Onerous taxes
would be minimized or eliminated.

Money for productive growth could be created inflation-free. Prosperity could be sustained. Full employment and social justice would be possible.

Imagine that America.

Imagine the entire world that way, instead of one plagued booms, busts, inflation, deflation, instability, crisis, and perhaps the greatest ever Depression today bankers caused for their own self-interest to achieve greater consolidation, wealth and power.

In September 2010, a trader named Alessio Rastani on BBC
said "governments don't rule the world. Goldman Sachs rules
the world." As a result, “(t)he savings of millions of people
are going to vanish."

Warning viewers to prepare, he said the "economic crisis is like
a cancer. If you just wait and wait thinking this will go away, just
like a cancer it's going to grow and it's going to be too late."

He added that most traders "don't really care about having a fixed
economy, having a fixed situation. Our job is to make money from"
whatever goes on, up or down, good or bad. "Personally, I've been
dreaming of this moment for three years. I go to bed every night
and I dream of another recession."

"When the market crashes....if you know what to do, if you have
the right plan set up, you can make a lot of money from this."

In 1929, rampant fraud caused the crash.

In summer 2007, market scholar/analyst Jeremy Grantham warned of a "slow-motion train wreck" caused by "the first truly global bubble."

Market manipulated speculation caused it. Money power in private hands gamed the system destructively.

Supposedly, the Fed was established to stabilize the economy, smooth out the business cycle, maintain healthy sustainable growth, create price stability, control inflation, and work for the betterment of everyone.

The 1978 Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act (called the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act) was enacted to fulfill the mandate of the Employment Act of 1946 by pursuing "maximum employment, production, purchasing power," price stability, and balanced trade cooperatively with private enterprise.

It also required the Fed to pursue monetary policy for long-term
sustainable growth with minimum inflation and stable prices.
Specific goals included maximum unemployment of no more than
3% for persons aged 20 or over, not more than 4% for those aged
16 or over, and inflation not exceeding 4%.

In fact, a 1988 target of zero inflation was set. The law let
Congress revise goals over time, but its purpose was to achieve
sustainable, full employment low inflationary growth with Fed
governors providing responsible monetary policy to help.

Instead, before and after Humphrey-Hawkins, they've been
economic crashes, multiple recessions, instability, high
inflation, soaring unemployment, the Great Depression, and
today's Greatest Depression expected to persist for years
and leave incalculable human wreckage behind.

Fed policy also caused soaring consumer debt, record budget
and current account deficits, an unprecedented national debt
at exceeding 118% of GDP rising exponentially, high levels of
personal bankruptcies and mortgage loan defaults, America's
manufacturing base offshored abroad, a secular declining
economy, an unprecedented wealth disparity, over one third
of US households impoverished, eroding social services, and a
nation pursuing unbridled militarism helped by Fed complicity
funding it.

A Final Comment

Clearly, money power in private hands failed.

It's wrecking the country, devastating the American dream,
impoverishing millions, destroying jobs, contaminating the
environment, and funding America's military machine that's
ravaging the world one country at a time, and threatening
humanity with extinction.

Job one should be stopping this monster from doing more harm, returning money power to public hands, using it responsibly to restore what decades of Fed policy destroyed, and hope it's not already too late.

OWS and global protesters must grasp this as top goal to achieve others for long-denied social justice currently being lost entirely because corrupt politicians plan it with bankers.


Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for
Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be
reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/15643-money-power-world-
rule.html

Sunday, December 18, 2011

If You Are Not Outraged, You Are Not Paying Attention

5 Major Ways Corporate Elites Are Degrading America

By Jim Hightower
Alter Net
December 18, 2011

"We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more
perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility,
provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare,
and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our
Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the
United States of America."

What a paragraph!

This sparse, 52-word opening of our Constitution did not merely launch a fledgling nation--but a bold experiment in democratic idealism.

The rest of the document consists of details, but this carefully considered Preamble set forth our nation's purpose.

It declares to all the world that the BIG goal of America--its very
reason for existing--is to create a society that embraces and
fosters such egalitarian values as justice, tranquility, common
effort, the welfare of all, and liberty.

As Benjamin Franklin put it at the time, "America's destiny is not power, but light."

The light is our historic commitment to the common good, shared prosperity, and a government of, by, and for the People.

Whatever happened to that audacious reach, that grand vision,
that proud progressive purpose?

We know, of course, that our nation has never attained the fullness
of this ideal, but over the decades, generation after generation has
at least strived to get closer to it--and made impressive progress.

But today, some 224 years after the penning of the Preamble,
America's corporate-financial-political establishment is fleeing
the light, insisting that it's no longer possible or even desirable
to pursue those democratic ideals that make our country important
and make it work.

What's happened is that, from Wall Street to Washington, we have
too many five-watt bulbs sitting in 100-watt sockets.

As a result of their dimness, America's uniting and constructive
ethic of "We're all in this together" and "Together we can" is
being supplanted by a shriveled, dispiriting ethic that exalts
plutocratic selfishness and scorns the public interest as intrusive,
wasteful, ideologically impure, and morally ruinous.

They're pushing us toward a forbidding Kochian jungle in which there
is no "we"--money rules, everyone's on their own, and such matters
as justice, general welfare, tranquility, and posterity are none of
society's damned business.

The Nation of No-Can-Do

In recent years, acolytes of the far right have contrived yet another litmus test of ideological purity to divide "real Americans" (themselves) from those who obviously hate America (all who do not agree with them). "American exceptionalism," they call it.

America has most certainly been exceptional in many ways, thanks
to the pluck and democratic determination of grassroots folks.

But that's not glorious enough for these extreme nationalists, who insist that ours is a God-ordained exceptionalism.

They preach that ours is both a Christian nation and one bathed in the blood of free enterprise, thus God has blessed us with a moral superiority that lifts the USofA ever-sparkling above all nations that ever existed.

Never mind that our national morality has a few conspicuous hickies on it (ask a Native American, for example), the believers believe... and that makes it true.

They're also demanding that others believe --or be branded un-American.

To get right with the rightists, such current seekers of the presidency as Mitt, Newt, Rick, the other Rick, and Michele have bowed to the exceptionalists and are blissfully spreading this new gospel through their campaign speeches and websites.

Really, friends, how credible is America's claim to exceptionalism with those six carrying the flag?

The cruelest irony is that America's genuine exceptionalism (our historic striving for a more egalitarian society) is under relentless assault by the political army of the hokey exceptionalists.

These are the holy crusaders of the plutocratic, autocratic, theocratic, and kleptocratic right--an army that includes the laissez-fairyland Koch brothers; the Boehner-Cantor-Ryan triumvirate in the US House; off-the-wall senators like Jim DeMint and Jim Inhofe; the gaggle of goofy governors wreaking havoc in Arizona, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin, and elsewhere; Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, and other slash-and-burn political operatives; corporate front groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Cato Institute; and such ceaseless propaganda pushers as Rupert Murdoch's line-up of Fox TV yakkers.

Far from fostering exceptionalism, these heavily financed forces
are rumbling throughout the country to crush the union movement,
eliminate wage protections, privatize everything from schools to
Social Security, kill poverty programs, un-regulate Wall Street,
repeal environmental rules, suppress voter turnout, stack the
courts, corporatize elections, and de-legitimize the democratic
values expressed by the founders in the Preamble. They are
dynamiting the underpinnings of the middle class and taking
away the public tools that ordinary people must have to do the
extraordinary things that truly make America great.

So here we are, the wealthiest nation on earth with massive needs and an industrious population eager to get working on those needs, yet our leaders throw up their hands and say: "No can do."

The "leaders" have given up on greatness because there's no greatness in them.

Most of those at the top of the corporate and political establishment (excuse the redundancy there) are so narcissistic that they no longer see beyond their own good fortunes, equating America's progress, well-being, and greatness to the size of their portfolios.

The fact that they could invent phrases like "jobless recovery," "too big to fail," and "the new normal" reveals their spiritual constipation and self-absorption.

They've even fabricated a pious ethic of "austerity" to cloak their shameful abandonment of America's common good.

Using the ongoing economic collapse, which was caused by them--their Wall Street recklessness, profligate tax giveaways to the super-rich, unbridled corporate greed, and the multitrillion dollar wars put on the national credit card--the people in charge now lecture sternly that America (i.e., you and I) must cut back.

Candidate Romney spelled it out: "I think it's time for programs that we like but that we simply can't afford, to be stopped... and I'm going to do that," listing the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities , PBS and NPR, and Amtrak.

These are abstemious times, we're told, so workaday people must lower their expectation of having a middle-class existence.

And, they scold, stop looking for either corporations or governments to do anything to lift people up or rally the nation to achieve any sort of grand national goals.

In twisted language that would cause even George Orwell to gasp in disbelief, they tell us that America's corporate and political leaders must be big enough to be small--and bold enough to see that the only way forward is to go backwards.

Apparently the Powers That Be expected to be applauded for imposing this pursed-lip politics of retrenchment.

Instead, people are dismayed and disgusted by such a desiccated
vision of our nation's possibilities, and there's a rising grassroots
fury at the moneyed and political elites who're creating The
Incredibly Shrinking America:

Middle Class

In a nation that once prided itself on trying to build a more
egalitarian society, America's wealthiest people have steadily
been siphoning more and more money out of the middle class.

In October, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued
a report on changes during the past 30 years in the share of our
nation's income going to the rich.

The top one percent enjoyed a stunning 275 percent increase in
their take.

These privileged few more than doubled the slice of America's income pie that they consume, going from eight percent of the whole to 17 percent.

They got that super-sized slice from us--the middle class and
the poor, who saw our slices drastically diminish in this period.

At the very tip of our country's income pyramid, where
multimillionaire CEOs and Wall Street chieftains live,
the shift was especially huge.

This exclusive zip code is the domain of the richest one one-hundredth of the one-percenters--fewer than 15,000 households.

They now gobble up six percent of all US income--the biggest piece ever consumed by America's mega-rich.

Jobs

Unemployment has never been so high for so long after a recession formally ended as we're presently experiencing.

Especially damaging (both to individual families and to our country)
is long-term unemployment--a record--4.4 million out-of-work
Americans today have been jobless for a year or more.

Corporate executives (now euphemistically referred to as "job creators" by GOP politicos) are sitting on $2 trillion in cash.

But rather than investing that in the actual creation of, you know, jobs, corporations are in Washington lobbying for new, multibillion dollar tax subsidies as the price for even beginning to think about hiring people.

Hundreds of corporations are openly saying that even when they do
have some jobs to fill, they will not take applications from people
who've been out of work for more than six months (the cold
assumption is that such unfortunates would have fallen too far
behind in skills and contacts to be valuable).

At the same time, workers are being told that in the new corporate order they must expect long periods of joblessness. Meanwhile, congressional Republicans are demanding major cuts in both job training and unemployment programs.

Wages

Nationwide, for every job opening these days, there are five
applicants vying for it (however, jobseekers report a much
tougher reality, with openings typically drawing 50 or more
applicants for each position).

With so many unemployed and underemployed Americans,
workers are having to take any pay level they can get,
allowing top executives to jack up profits (and executive
paychecks) by paying low wages.

Indeed, in a July report on major US corporations, a JPMorgan
Chase analyst found that about 75 percent of recent increases
in profit margins (now at the highest levels since the 1960s)
come from knocking down worker pay and benefits.

Harold Meyerson, the excellent editor-at-large for American
Prospect,reports that "because labor is cheap and workers
have no rights," the US "is becoming the new China."

European corporate giants are moving jobs to the USA because our
political leaders allow them to pay much less and abuse workers,
which they're not allowed to do in Germany, Scandinavia, etc.
"Slumming in America," Meyerson writes, "is fast becoming a
business model for some of Europe's leading companies."

Education

Even robber barons of the 19th century recognized that public access to education was in America's best interest, as well as their own. No more.

From corporatists, right-wing ideologues, and even from many
Democratic officeholders, the loudest political cries today are
for slashing school budgets, eliminating classes and programs,
busting the middle-class pay and benefits of teachers, outlawing
collective bargaining, jamming more kids into each class, cutting
school taxes, and... what the hell, just privatize the whole shebang.

As one exasperated school official told the New York Times, "Every year we say: 'What can we cut?' We're starting to eviscerate education."

Of course, what's really being eviscerated is opportunity for children, along with upward mobility, potential genius, an informed citizenry, and "domestic Tranquility."

Can they even spell s-t-u-p-i-d?

Among the worst offenders are not the know-nothings, but high-tech honchos. They whine endlessly that public schools must do a better job of developing skilled workers for their industry.

Yet, when they open or expand corporate operations in a community, their first demand is to be exempted from paying taxes to the local school district.

Community

Last month, Stanford University issued a "map of prosperity," based on family income in the various neighborhoods of America's 117 largest urban areas.

It confirms the middle-class decline, with nearly a 20-point drop
since 1970 in the percentage of our people living middle-class
lives (down from 65 percent to only 44 percent today).

The significance is not merely the increase in the number of people
who've fallen into poverty (up by over 13 million in just the past
decade), but that the widening separation between the rich and
the rest of us is producing a two-tiered society with a shrinking
sense of shared community.

The wealthy (including nearly all lawmakers and governors) literally do not live with us, instead flocking together into pockets of affluence.

Rising inequality is creating an isolation of the prosperous, who have no real interaction with the middle class and poor and no identity with our wants and needs.

Thus, when economic and social policies are considered in our
national and state capitals, the likes of Wall Street, Big Oil,
and the super-rich are taken care of immediately.

Millions of jobless Americans, on the other hand, are told to wait for
pie in the sky when they die; the minimum wage is allowed to wither
to a sub-poverty level, with less buying power today than at any time
since 1956; budgets for public libraries and parks are axed, shutting
people out and forcing closures; Head Start, food stamps, and other
effective anti-poverty programs are on the chopping block, even as
the need for them soars; and even such a screaming need as good
health care for all is treated as too much for our society to attempt,
much less achieve.

Let's Do Something Big

Is there no hope, then? Of course there is.

There's hope in the great majority of Americans who oppose
what the present crop of pathetic leaders are doing and who
support doing what those feckless leaders are failing to do.

There's hope in the thousands of extraordinary (dare we say exceptional?) local actions that ordinary people are taking--from building green economies to voting overwhelmingly that a corporation is not a person, as 75 percent of Missoula, Montana voters did last month.

There's hope in the ongoing Wisconsin rebellion that has already defeated two thuggish state senators and is now going after the imperious Gov. Scott Walker.

There's hope in the 61 percent grassroots victory in Ohio on
November 8 to throw out the repressive anti-labor law that
the ego-bloated, Koch-fueled Gov. John Kasich tried to hang
around the people's neck.

There's hope in the Occupy protest that is so big and so deeply felt
by so many angry/hopeful people that even such forces of autocracy
as Mayor Mike Bloomberg cannot make it go away.

And there's hope in still more uprisings that are coming--coming
from such corners as frustrated jobseekers; tens of thousands of
misused war veterans returning from the Mideast to mistreatment
at home; hundreds of thousands of homeowners being mercilessly
foreclosed on by bailed-out bankers; and others who're simply fed
up with the corporados and political flim-flammers who're knocking
ordinary Americans down and holding America back.

You've probably seen this bumpersticker: "If you're not outraged,
you're not paying attention."

I sense that a critical mass of people is now paying attention.

I also find that the thing we Americans have the most of is the
very thing our failed leaders have the least of: bigness of spirit.

Shouldn't we repair and extend our nation's crumbling school
buildings, bridges, water systems, and other parts of the
essential infrastructure?

"Yes!" shout an overwhelming majority of Americans (a 2009 poll
even found that 74 percent of Republicans are willing to swallow a
tax hike to get going on this).

How about a moon-shot style, 10-year national effort to free
America from dirty fuels by converting to energy conservation
and renewable power sources?

"Let's do it!" say the people.

High-speed rail connecting our cities?

"Yes we can!"

Reclaim our democracy by banning corporate money from our elections?

"Sign us up," say 84 percent of Americans who support a constitutional amendment to do it.

While it can be disheartening to see the smallness of those in
power, don't let it get you down, for they want us to become so
disheartened that we give up.

Better that we turn their failure into our inspiration for more agitation.

After all, they're the ones who're wrong--wrong about the can-do
power of the people they pretend to lead, wrong about the depth
of this nation's historic commitment to egalitarianism and the
common good, wrong about what they think they can get away with.

Our task is to confront them again and again, shoving back until
we shove them out.

Confront them in the coming election--demand from every candidate
for every office why their idea of what Americans can do is so small.

Confront them in the workplace, the media, the pocketbook, the
schools, the shareholder meetings, the public forums, the streets...
everywhere.


Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public
speaker, and author of the new book, "Swim Against the Current:
Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow." He publishes the
monthly "Hightower Lowdown," co-edited by Phillip Frazer.

http://www.alternet.org/occupywallst/153437/If_You_Are_No
t_Outraged%2C_You_Are_Not_Paying_Attention%3A_5_Major_
Ways_Corporate_Elites_Are_Degrading_America/?page=entire

Friday, December 16, 2011

Occupy the Constitution

Get Money Out of Politics!

By David DeGraw
Occupy Wall Street News.org
Friday, December 16, 2011

One of the most popular 99% Movement and Occupy Wall Street issues is getting money out of politics.

In a country where the candidate who spends the most money on
their campaign wins the election 94% of the time, it is blatantly
obvious that our electoral process is dominated by the richest
global financial interests.

By saturating the campaign finance and lobbying system with
an endless supply of cash, Wall Street has rigged the political
and economic system against hard working Americans.

In unprecedented fashion, they have consolidated wealth into
the hands of one-tenth of one percent of the population, at the
expense and suffering of the American people.

If you’re wondering why we have the most severe inequality of
wealth in American history; if you’re wondering why we currently
have an all-time record number of Americans living in poverty,
while we have all-time record profits and bonuses on Wall Street,
it is primarily the result the richest members of society being
able to manipulate and control the legislative process through a
system of legalized political bribery.

For us to take the first crucial step in solving the many problems we currently face, we have to create an amendment to the Constitution to get money out of politics.

Thankfully, there is huge momentum building on this front. Here’s a brief summation of the newly proposed amendments, courtesy of the Get Money Out campaign.

Hopefully, with your leadership, one of these amendments, or
elements of a few of them, will soon become the 28th amendment
to the US Constitution:

1) Rep. Ted Deutch – OCCUPIED Amendment (or Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy)

Introduced by Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), the amendment
reverses Citizen’s United by stating that corporations are not
people under the Constitution, and that corporations are barred
from making election-related expenditures.

It authorizes Congress and the states to regulate all election
contributions and expenditures, and reaffirms Congress’ right
to regulate corporations.

2) Sen. Bernie Sanders – Saving American Democracy Amendment

Senator Bernie Sanders introduced an amendment in the Senate
that mirrors the OCCUPIED amendment in the House.

Introducing this “companion bill” in the Senate allows both houses
of Congress to begin debate on the same bill without having to wait
for the other to pass it. Learn more. Read the amendment.

3) Cenk Uygur, Wolf PAC – Wolf PAC Amendment

Wolf PAC, a group started by progressive TV and radio host Cenk Uygur, reverses corporate personhood and prohibits corporations from giving to any politician.

The amendment also sets a cap of $100 on all political donations and it establishes a public system to fund political campaigns. Read the amendment.

4) Senator Tom Udall – Udall Amendment

Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) along with eight other Democratic Senators proposed an amendment that gives Congress the power to regulate all money spent on campaigns and outside political groups such as Super PACs.

It allows states to regulate state elections in the same manner. It would clear the way for Congress to pass reform legislation that would limit spending and would withstand a challenge in the Supreme Court. Read the amendment.

5) Rep. Jim McGovern and Free Speech for People – The People’s Right’s Amendment

Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) introduced the amendment with the support of Free Speech for People, a non-profit group that aims to end corporate personhood.

The amendment states that people or persons as used in the
Constitution does not include corporations and that corporations
are subject to regulation by the people through their elected
representatives. Read the amendment.

6) Public Citizen – Democracy is for People Amendment

Pursued by the non-profit group Public Citizen, the amendment
would reverse the Citizen’s Uniteddecision and permit Congress
to regulate political spending by corporations.

The amendment has not been drafted into specific language, but
is based on a set of core principles. Read those principles and get
more information.

7) Russell Simmons – Simmons Amendment

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons announced support for
an amendment in a speech to Occupy Boston protesters.

The amendment establishes public funding of political campaigns
and prohibits any political contributions from any source. It gives
Congress the authority to design and enforce the public funding
system. Read the full text of the amendment.

8) Rep. Donna Edwards – Edwards Amendment

Introduced by Representative Donna Edwards (D-Md.), the
amendment would overturn the Citizen’s United Supreme
Court ruling by allowing Congress to regulate political
spending by corporations.

9) Rep. Kurt Schrader – Schrader Amendment

Introduced by Representative Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), the
amendment authorizes Congress and the states to regulate
the contribution of all funds to candidates and the expenditure
of funds to influence elections. Read the amendment.

10) Rep. Marcy Kaptur – Kaptur Amendment

Introduced by Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), the
amendment authorizes Congress and the states to set limits on
the contributions that may be accepted by and the expenditures
that may be made in support or in opposition to candidates
running for public office.

11) Move to Amend – Move to Amend

A group opposed to corporate personhood, Move to Amend, has
proposed an amendment that would overturn Citizen’s United by
affirming that corporations are not people and can be regulated,
and that money is not speech and can be regulated.

12) Get Money Out – Get Money Out Amendment

The amendment was proposed by the Get Money Out organization, which was started by MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan, and became a part of United Republic in late 2011.

The amendment prohibits corporations from making political
donations and affirms that political donations are not speech,
which allows Congress to regulate them. It also makes election
day a federal holiday.

13) Lawrence Lessig – Lessig Amendment

Lawrence Lessig, Harvard professor and founder of Rootstrikers, which joined forces with United Republic in late 2011, introduced an amendment that prohibits corporations from contributing money to any candidate, limits campaign contributions to $100, and gives Congress the power to regulate outside campaign spending.

It also establishes Election Day as a national holiday.

So that’s the team so far. Join us at GetMoneyOut.com.

Tell your friends. Let the world know.

David DeGraw is the editor of AmpedStatus.com. His long-awaited book, The Road Through 2012, will finally be released on September 28th. He can be emailed at David@AmpedStatus.com

http://owsnews.org/occupy-the-constitution-get-money-out-of-politics/

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Economics 101

Occupy Wall Street Economics 101

By J. D. Suss
Disinformation.com
December 14, 2011

Economics 101 teaches that the quantity of a product or service is determined by the demand, which is reflected by its price and is a function of its quality.

The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Movement might be deconstructed using this same analysis:

The number and size of Occupations worldwide can be determined
by the demand, reflected by the price we pay for sympathizing and
participating—a direct result of discerning the quality of the values
it promotes.

The individual making such a discernment wants an assurance of
its quality before committing to the OWS Movement.

He or she does not want to be bamboozled by some phony color revolution sponsored by a hidden power elite, or a false flag operation carried out by its governmental minions.

An individual requires a solid basis upon which to make a reasoned choice that this Movement is in his or her best interests.

If the masses can be steered into demanding what the World Order has been cooking up for at least a hundred years or more—a one-world, socialist dictatorship—then they are simply silly putty in the NWO hands. (Witness the so-called “Arab Spring.”)

G.K. Chesterton has written that “The Christian ideal has not
been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and
left untried.” What’s Wrong with the World, p. 48 (1910).

If we transpose “capitalism” (or even “democracy”) in place of
“Christianity” we grasp a certain truth that has been eluding the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators and many (if not most) of their sympathizers.

Has capitalism really ever been given a fair shake—or has it been undermined almost from the start?

Capitalism is a system that allows any man or woman to produce a product or service, which is then vetted by a free market of buyers which determines how much buyers are willing to pay for that product or service.

It puts the freedom to choose in the hands of the People—the
freedom of sellers to produce and sell, and buyers to inspect
and buy, viz., the freedom of both to possess and use money
to do as they see fit.

But subverted capitalism is not capitalism at all. The most
insidious example of subverted capitalism is corporate
“capitalism,” also termed crony, predatory, or crisis
“capitalism.”

Corporate “capitalism” is not capitalism at all. What is it then?

The modern corporation aggregates large amounts of capital
in order to make a profit for a shareholder class that expects
maximum income.

To operate, it forms a semi-monopolistic structure. Its purpose is
to dominate a market in order to dictate price by limiting quality
according to its own profit-based analysis – buyers be damned!

This is not capitalism it is a corporate command economy, viz., private socialism.

It is public socialism to the extent that government is involved,
and this unholy alliance can be referred to as a “corpocracy.”

A corpocracy is a mixture of private and public socialism, i.e.,
some monolithic WE decides what products and services are
allowed into the market, their price, quality, and quantity.

In order to fund the banksters, the governmental part of the
monolithic WE taxes your income on the “dollars” from your
private labor. These “dollars” are currently called “federal
reserve notes” and are used to pay the interest on the money
the government borrows from the Federal Reserve.

A note is a promise to pay. “Promises to pay” are in fact debt
instruments. They are absolutely not true dollars as contemplated
in the U.S. Constitution. All of this nonsense is capitalism turned
on its head.

Probably one of the few times we enjoyed real capitalism in this
country was in the 1840s, when Pres. Andrew Jackson terminated
the central bank (what he termed “a den of vipers”). That period
was one of incredible growth and plenty for all.

But, predictably, it was subverted by the unscrupulous interests
of modern corporatism.

Libertarians would have us believe that business can have free
reign over all; that government should not interfere whatsoever
in the affairs of the individual, including the business sector.

And this is essentially what we have had in commerce, beginning
with the dismantling of the regulatory function of government in the
Reagan years and that culminated in the repeal of the Glass-Steagall
Act in 1999.

All of this deregulation allowed banks to run amok, leading to the current meltdown.

Ralph Nader has pointed out two weaknesses of libertarianism: consumer protection and labor unions do not figure into its ideal system—and where does environmental protection enter into the calculus?

Government needs to ensure that the individual retains his or her ability to compete in the marketplace.

The regulatory role of all three branches of government is to preserve the rule of law; viz., a rule of law that secures individual liberty by protecting individuals from the depredations of corporate dominance of the marketplace (and from any and all crony government alliances).

In commerce, the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities
and Exchange Commission probably have the lion’s share of the
executive regulatory roles.

Let them be what they were instituted to be: watchdogs for the People.

I judge a healthy economic climate by the number of individual enterprises and mom-and-pops businesses I see as I walk down the streets of any town, not by the number of corporate, cookie-cutter franchises that litter the urban-suburban sprawl in the U.S.

If the modern corporation cannot be put back into its cage by relegating it to what traditional corporate entities once were, then they must be closely scrutinized under the law to protect the People from its Goliath-like influences in commerce and in politics.

Free legislatures from the overwhelming influence of the monied (read “corpocracy”) class!

Let the courts actually be the arbiters of fairness and justice for individuals, instead of enforcers for the corpocracy’s values-vacuum-laws!

And while we’re at it, free the press from oppressive control by
the forces of corpocracy!

Ideally, capitalism can only operate within the free flow of
information, with real investigative reporting, instead of
mind control by presstitutes!

Chesterton’s Christianity, like true capitalism, might be given
a fair chance.

True capitalism is closer to the precepts of individual freedom
than is socialism—by a long shot.

Thus, regaining true capitalism should be a professed value of
the OWS Movement.

And while we’re at it, OWSers (and all the forces of corpocracy)
—be sure to remember to give peace a chance!


Jonathan D. Suss is a cultural mutant multi-career virtuoso (blues piano player and singer, woodworker, poet/writer, one-time military officer, lawyer, English professor, and Ph.D. in Humanties and he can be contacted at theo4b@gmail.com

http://www.disinfo.com/2011/12/occupywallstreet-economics/

Monday, December 12, 2011

Occupy Ourselves

With Peace in Our Hearts and Power in Our Hands

By Randall Amster
New Clear Vision
December 12, 2001

In just a few short months we have reached a point of near
saturation in which the modifier “Occupy” has been applied
to almost every sphere of our beleaguered political economy.

Not every such application has been equally useful, but for the
most part the intended meaning of the word has come through
in the sense of prying open the inner sanctum of the dominant
order, contesting its authoritarian workings, and agitating for
new processes based on the burgeoning tenets of egalitarianism
and sustainability.

The incisive cultural gaze spawned by #occupy has been cast
toward every sacred shibboleth of modern society, and the
ripples are palpable.

Yet in the process there has been more external consternation
than internal reflection.

The machinations of the 1 percent are what have largely brought us to the brink of social and ecological demise, so the primary thinking goes.

The ruling class has consolidated their power, skewed the benefits toward themselves, passed the burdens onto the rest of us, and continually demonstrated the illegitimacy and inherent tyranny of their reign every time force has been used on peaceful demonstrators.

They have done this and are still doing it, and we must confront
their wanton ways with diligence and imagination.

There are key truths and critical insights to be found in this
narrative, and its teachings have served to galvanize interest
and mobilize people around the world.

Still, there is a piece of the puzzle missing, one that is harder to
own up to and that blurs the lines of culpability in a manner that is
inconvenient for the impetus to organize against entrenched power.

When we begin to peel back the layers, however, it becomes
apparent that they did not take power so much as we gave it to
them — and it has largely been our complicity with the forces of
our own oppression that has led us here.

This in no way absolves those who would pervert that power for
personal gain, nor does it excuse the outright blackmail-type
pressures that have been brought to bear upon many of us to
accede.

But we cannot and must not pass the buck altogether, since to do
so both flies in the face of reality and further delivers our power
back over to those who would manipulate and abuse it.

In fact, the realization that we are equally to blame possesses the
corollary virtue of suggesting that we can also put things right and
fix the mess we have made of our social structures and the habitat
itself.

So here we are: we have occupied the symbolic spaces, the tangible ones, and the subtle ones.

Now it is time to Occupy Ourselves, to decolonize our minds and restore our capacity to act from a place of autonomy and collective willpower.

We can refuse to comply with oppressive forces, forswear allegiance to their mandates, forgo reliance on their wares, unplug our lifelines to their conveyances, reject their medicalizations and distractions, discontinue our support for their adventurist campaigns, fail to contribute to their bailouts and schemes, ignore their technocratic designs on mind control, cease making demands on their apparatchiks, and avert our gaze from their spectacles.

Yes, we can.

Instead of protesting against abominable wars, let us also stop paying for them.

Rather than complaining about corporations, usurious banks, and the indentured servitude of the student loan system, we can desist from paying into their coffers.

Beyond pointing the finger at bought-off politicos, there is the option of refraining from participation in their sham elections.

If we do not like business as usual, let us skip the charade of fighting city hall and occupy it as shelter instead.

This is the essential core of the embedded symbolism in the
protest encampments, and it follows in a long line of nonviolent
civil disobedience from Jesus Christ and Henry David Thoreau to
Dorothy Day and Mohandas Gandhi.

It is an active principle, and the locus of its engagement is everywhere.

The key is not to bear this weight of noncompliance alone, but to do so in concert and in numbers sufficient to undermine the system’s capacity to continue in its present form.

We recognize that the boundaries of the law do not map directly to the dictates of morality, and that much of the legal architecture in our midst is specifically designed to protect wealth and preserve inequality.

Still, we also see that laws and norms in some instances can reflect the societal wisdom of the ages, and thus we do not transgress them out of self-indulgence but rather as our solemn duty as agents of promoting a just, equitable, and sustainable world.

Indeed, as Gandhi urged, noncooperation is merely a first step.

The ensuing (and more challenging) phase of sustained resistance
is the cultivation of constructive alternatives with which we can
wholeheartedly cooperate and lend support.

For too long we have had our survival pitted against our values, being coerced to participate in oppression and degradation as a condition of mere existence.

We have been carefully cultivated to embrace the consensus reality plied by plutocrats, at best maintaining a schizophrenic false consciousness and at worst being consumed by the beast’s ravages.

Lacking genuine meaning in our lives, we opt for artificial
replacements on sale literally everywhere. We have looked
into the void, recoiled in horror, and drowned our sorrows
in commercial palliatives.

Now is the time to commit ourselves to finding other methods
of coping, ones that challenge authority and reclaim autonomy.

This does not mean that we become absolutists or Luddites, but
instead that we get to choose which accoutrements of modernity
are compatible with the good society and which are little more
than artifacts of control despite their market-tested packaging.

We can trade technologies for tools, fast food for slower sustenance, corporatocracy for consensus.

The next paradigm is already here, having been incubated for
decades within the shell of the old, carefully obscured by the
vicissitudes of popular culture and crass commercialism; notice
how when people begin to approach its realization, they are
often met with sheer force to push them back into blithe torpor.

But the veil is now lifting — and consciousness once raised has
a way of finding daylight.

Occupy camps can be destroyed from coast to coast, but the
essential illumination of protest and its eternal promise remains.

This is the time to come back twice as strong, working harder and
smarter, demonstrating our resiliency as a crucial factor of social
and ecological survival.

We will hang together, so that we do not have to hang alone.

In the end, we come to realize that there is only us as we confront the true oppressor that lies within ourselves and our own complicity.

In this, we find that all oppressions are interlinked, internalized,
interposed, and interdependent. The struggle to surmount them
lies just as much within us as it does with the robber barons in
their lairs.

We can do this, and we must.

I do not believe that the power has ever actually left us, but more
so that we have had our attention pulled toward false idols and
their machinations as the source of influence and authority.

Today, we see the seeds of the better society growing up through
the cracks in the hegemonic facade everywhere, sprouting forth
with renewed vigor after an imposed dormancy.

We will not be the consumers of this world, but its co-creators;
we will not be witnesses to its destruction, but participants in
its resurrection.

Now, with peace in our hearts and power in our hands, the time
to reclaim both ourselves and our world is upon us.

This is our generational task, our shared responsibility, and our
best hope for salvation.

Let us meet it willingly, together.


Randall Amster, J.D., Ph.D., is the Graduate Chair of Humanities
at Prescott College. He serves as Executive Director of the Peace
& Justice Studies Association and as Contributing Editor for New
Clear Vision.

http://www.newclearvision.com/2011/12/06/occupy-ourselves/

Friday, December 9, 2011

By Imbeciles Who Really Mean It

Lost Verities and Dirty Hippies

By Phil Rockstroh
Information Clearing House
Friday, December 09, 2011

Regardless of the dissembling of corporate state propagandists,
free market capitalism has always been a government subsidized,
bubble-inflating, swindlers' game, in which, psychopathic
personalities (not “job creators” but con job perpetrators) thrive.

By the exploitation of the many, a ruthless few have amassed large amounts of capital by which they dominate mainstream narratives and compromise elected and governmental officials, thereby gaming the system for their benefit.

Historically, the system has proven so demeaning to the majority
of the population that the elite, from time to time, have, as a
last resort, due to fear of a popular uprising, introduced a bit of
socialism into the system, allowing a modicum of swag to funnel
downward, and, as a result, the ranks of the middle class have
been expanded.

For a time, the bourgeoisie are bamboozled by the sales pitch
that one day they will be affluent enough to be freed from the
taxing obligations of a dismal, debt-beholden existence, when,
in fact, they sowed their fate (like those swindled by opening
their bank accounts after receiving email from parties claiming
to be momentarily cash-strapped Nigerian royalty) by their own
greed i.e. by their self-imprisonment within their own narrow,
self-serving view of existence.

These stultifying circumstances will level an atmosphere of restiveness and nebulous rage.

In general, the middle class can be counted on to detest the poor
blaming those born devoid of societal advantage and political
influence for the impoverished circumstances that were in place
long before the happenstance of their birth.

Moreover, in a bit of noxious casuistry, as despicable as it
is delusional, all too many members of the middle class have
been induced by grift artists, employed by the ruling elite,
to blame their own declining social status and attendant
beleaguered existence on the poor.

"Be thine own palace, or the world's thy jail." --John Donne

This has proven to be an effective, time-tested grift: Because as long as the animus of the middle class remains fixated on the poor, the criminal cartels known as the economic elite can continue to ply their trade.

Of course, in reality, by their greed and complicity, what the middle class has gained is this: trustee status in the capitalist workhouse.

Although, there is no need to fret: The run of neoliberal capitalism
is about over.

Don't mourn: This late stage, rapacious, mutant economic strain
has leveled destruction on community and the planet itself as
well as the hearts and souls of too many of those imprisoned
within its paradigm.

At this point, the situation comes down to this: paradigm shift or perish. The hour is amenable to reevaluate, reorganize and re-occupy. Doing so will prove helpful in withstanding false narratives.

Apropos: As of late, in my hours spent at Liberty Park, I've
been witness to increasing numbers of tourists wandering in
and repeating derisive, rightwing distortions regarding the
OWS movement and its participants.

For example, they are a collection of whiny college students who
want taxpayers to be responsible for picking up the tab for their
student loans because they are too lazy and spoiled to work off
their debt.

These tales are variations of the old canards involving welfare
queens, mouths gleaming with taxpayer financed gold teeth,
arriving at grocery stores lounging behind the steering wheels
of late model Cadillacs, and proceeding to purchase steaks and
fifths of gin with food stamps.

Ronald Reagan spoke of this mythical figure often, affording her
near supernatural powers:

She, through indolence, guile and a welfare state-bestowed sense
of limitless entitlement, was the near singular cause of the nation's
economic woes; her very existence, not only depleted the U.S.
Treasury of dollars, but drained the U.S. free enterprise system
of vitality and the very will to compete. She was a succubus who
arrived in the socialist haunted night to feed on and zap the very
virility of capitalism.

Because of the wealth inequities inherent to capitalism, in order
to prevent social unrest, the system is reliant on creating false
narratives that foster misplaced and displaced class resentment.

These tales are very potent, because they serve as palliatives for
the enervating states of shame inflicted on the population at large
by their enslavement to the free market.

Accordingly, because the vast majority of the populace are deemed
"losers", due to how the system is rigged, techniques must be
created and maintained to displace the rage, borne of a sense of
powerlessness, that grips the system's exploited underlings.

OWS is beginning to change the narrative…align it with reality--and that is an alarming development for the 1%; hence, the retooled, amped up propaganda campaign we're seeing signs of at present.

This is the reality the 1% endeavor to obscure: Capitalism is a
pyramid scheme; by its very structure, only a few will ever receive
its bounty…that is wrung out of the exhausted hides of the vast
majority.

Fact is, capitalism, the neoliberal variety or otherwise, has never worked as promised; its innate structure ensures exploitation and inequity.

Therefore, time and time again, adding aspects of socialism (e.g., New Deal era programs and reforms) have saved capitalism from itself.

But, after a time, the plutocrats regroup and begin anew to launch a big money-financed, slow motion coup d’├ętat of government (e.g., the Reagan Revolution).

A vast disparity of wealth within a nation will all but ensure this societal trajectory. But that isn't going to happen, this time.

The planet cannot endure the assaults wrought by a system that requires exponential growth to be maintained.

The run of capitalism is nearly over. A more sustainable economic system, based on horizontal rule, is being developed, globally (e.g., the Icelandic model).

The vertical structure inherent to capitalism brings about the self-perpetuating reign of an insular elite who choose to go the route of empire and, by doing so, overreach and bring themselves down, but only after much unnecessary suffering, exploitation and death--the calling card and ground level criteria of imperium.

Yet, often within a declining empire, even as the quality of life
grows increasingly degraded for the majority of the populace,
questioning sacrosanct beliefs, such as, the myth that capitalism
promotes societal progress and personal advancement, by means of
the possibility of upward class migration, proves to be a difficult
endeavor for many.

The reason: Even given the degraded nature of life as lived under late capitalism, the act of taking stock of one's situation--beginning to question how one arrived at one's present station in life--will engender anxiety, anger and regret.

Apropos to the shame based Calvinism of the capitalist state: If
I was duped in a rigged game, what does that say about me?

The narrative of capitalism insists that if I work hard, applying savvy and diligence, at fulfilling my aspirations then I would, at some point, arrive in the rarified realm of life's winners.

But if success proves elusive, then my flawed character must be the problem--not the dishonest economic setup--and miasmic shame descends upon me.

Yet I can count on rightwing media to provide the type of provisional solace proffered by demagogues i.e., imparting the reason that folks like me can't get ahead is because scheming socialists have hijacked my parcel of the American Dream and delivered it to the undeserving thereby transforming my shame into displaced outrage.

And that must be the case; otherwise, it would behoove me to make the painful admission that I have been conned…have co-signed the crimes committed against me.

Worse, I would be compelled to question all my verities and beliefs--all the convictions I clutch, regarding, not only the notions that I possess about myself and the methods I’ve adopted in approaching life, but also, the social structure that influenced my character.

Imagine: If you had to re-imagine your life. Imagine, how the act would unnerve your loved ones, threaten friendships, even endanger your livelihood.

What an unnerving task that would prove to be…an ordeal certain to deliver heart-shaking anxiety, devastating regret and nettling dread directly into the besieged sanctuary of what is suppose to be the inviolable precincts of my comfort zone.

“At any street corner the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face.” --Albert Camus

Accordingly, I might turn to Fox News and other well-rewarded,
professional dissemblers of the political right, imploring them
to dissolve my doubts and dread.

To escort and ensconce my troubled form back into my comfort zone
by telling me the problem is not the iron boot of the corporate state
upon my neck; rather, my oppression stems from the barefoot hippie
lefties of OWS "who need a bath and a job"; it is their odious
presence in our lives that has subdued my happy capitalist destiny
by the pernicious act of laying down an effluvia (more demobilizing
than pepper spray) of patchouli musk and has caused capitalism
itself to weaken into an enervated swoon.

Yes, this has to be the case: The cause of my oppression.

Those America-hating Occupy Wall Street hippies are actually the hidden hand that controls the global order and who possess a craven desire to smelt down the gleaming steel of the humming engines of U.S. capitalism into creepy, Burning Man statuary, who want to hold 24/7 Nuremberg-style rallies in the form of annoying drum circles.

In reality, it is those dirty hippies who are actually "The Man."

Withal, hippies crashed the global economy and pinned the blame
on the selfless souls who ply their benign trade on Wall Street.

Now, you know why conservatives harbor such animus towards hippies.

Don't claim that Fox News et al--those selfless souls--who only desire to protect the glories of the present order, and who only have your best interest in mind, didn't try to warn you.

"I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." --Mark Twain


Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in
New York City. He may be contacted at: phil@philrockstroh.com

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29915.htm

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Where Were You When They Crucified My Lord?

Where Were You When They Crucified My Lord?

Chris Hedges gave an abbreviated version of this talk Saturday morning in Liberty Square in New York City as part of an appeal to Trinity Church to turn over to the Occupy Wall Street movement an empty lot, known as Duarte Square, that the church owns at Canal Street and 6th Avenue.

Occupy Wall Street protesters, following the call, began a hunger
strike at the gates of the church-owned property. Three of the
demonstrators were arrested Sunday on charges of trespassing,
and three others took their places.

By Chris Hedges
Truthdig.com
December 07, 2011

The Occupy movement is the force that will revitalize traditional Christianity in the United States or signal its moral, social and political irrelevance.

The mainstream church, battered by declining numbers and a failure to defiantly condemn the crimes and cruelty of the corporate state, as well as a refusal to vigorously attack the charlatans of the Christian right, whose misuse of the Gospel to champion unfettered capitalism, bigotry and imperialism is heretical, has become a marginal force in the life of most Americans, especially the young.

Outside the doors of churches, many of which have trouble filling
a quarter of the pews on Sundays, struggles a movement, driven
largely by young men and women, which has as its unofficial credo
the Beatitudes:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall
be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons and daughters of God.

Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake, for
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

It was the church in Latin America, especially in Central America
and Augusto Pinochet’s Chile, which provided the physical space,
moral support and direction for the opposition to dictatorship.

It was the church in East Germany that organized the peaceful opposition marches in Leipzig that would bring down the communist regime in that country.

It was the church in Czechoslovakia, and its 90-year-old cardinal,
that blessed and defended the Velvet Revolution.

It was the church, and especially the African-American church,
that made possible the civil rights movements.

And it is the church, especially Trinity Church in New York City
with its open park space at Canal and 6th, which can make manifest
its commitment to the Gospel and nonviolent social change by
permitting the Occupy movement to use this empty space, just
as churches in other cities that hold unused physical space have
a moral imperative to turn them over to Occupy movements.

If this nonviolent movement fails, it will eventually be replaced
by one that will employ violence.

And if it fails it will fail in part because good men and women, especially those in the church, did nothing.

Where is the church now? Where are the clergy?

Why do so many church doors remain shut?

Why do so many churches refuse to carry out the central mandate
of the Christian Gospel and lift up the cross?

Some day they are going to have to answer the question:

“Where were you when they crucified my Lord?”

Let me tell you on this first Sunday in Advent, when we celebrate hope, when we remember in the church how Mary and Joseph left Nazareth for Bethlehem, why I am in Liberty Square.

I am here because I have tried, however imperfectly, to live
by the radical message of the Gospel.

I am here because I know that it is not what we say or profess
but what we do.

I am here because I have seen in my many years overseas as a foreign correspondent that great men and women of moral probity arise in all cultures and all religions to fight the oppressor on behalf of the oppressed.

I am here because I have seen that it is possible to be a Jew, a
Buddhist, a Muslim, a Christian, a Hindu or an atheist and carry
the cross.

The words are different but the self-sacrifice and thirst for justice are the same.

And these men and women, who may not profess what I profess or believe what I believe, are my brothers and sisters.

And I stand with them honoring and respecting our differences and finding hope and strength and love in our common commitment.

At times like these I hear the voices of the saints who went before us.

The suffragist Susan B. Anthony, who announced that resistance
to tyranny is obedience to God, and the suffragist Elizabeth Cady
Stanton, who said, “The moment we begin to fear the opinions of
others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives
of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light
and life no longer flow into our souls.”

Or Henry David Thoreau, who told us we should be men and women first and subjects afterward, that we should cultivate a respect not for the law but for what is right.

And Frederick Douglass, who warned us:

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

And the great 19th century populist Mary Elizabeth Lease, who thundered:

“Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of
the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of
Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common
people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master.”

And Gen. Smedley Butler, who said that after 33 years and four
months in the Marine Corps he had come to understand that he had
been nothing more than a gangster for capitalism, making Mexico
safe for American oil interests, making Haiti and Cuba safe for
banks and pacifying the Dominican Republic for sugar companies.

War, he said, is a racket in which newly dominated countries are exploited by the financial elites and Wall Street while the citizens foot the bill and sacrifice their young men and women on the battlefield for corporate greed.

Or Eugene V. Debs, the socialist presidential candidate, who in 1912
pulled almost a million votes, or 6 percent, and who was sent to
prison by Woodrow Wilson for opposing the First World War, and
who told the world:

“While there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”

And Rabbi Abraham Heschel, who when he was criticized for walking with Martin Luther King on the Sabbath in Selma answered: “I pray with my feet” and who quoted Samuel Johnson, who said: “The opposite of good is not evil. The opposite of good is indifference.”

And Rosa Parks, who defied the segregated bus system and said
“the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

And Philip Berrigan, who said: “If enough Christians follow the Gospel, they can bring any state to its knees.”

And the poet Langston Hughes, who wrote:

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?


Chris Hedges spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent
in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has
worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio,
The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/where_were_you_when_
they_crucified_my_movement_20111205/

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Silent Partners

With support among police quietly growing,
can Occupy cross over the thin blue line?

By Chris Faraone
The Boston Phoenix
December 03, 2011

As Occupy camps from coast to coast face evictions — and in many cases have already been pushed out of parks and plazas like so much human trash — it's clear that the institutional response to the movement is escalating dangerously.

Likewise, relations between police and activists seem to be deteriorating, as non-violent protesters continue to be arrested almost daily.

But as tensions build between Occupiers and Big Brother, what's also true is that individual officers are increasingly concerned about their role in combating Occupy.

Even in cities where the overall police response has been barbaric, there's a growing sense that cops who've been charged with breaking camps are unnerved by such orders.

Earlier this week, Los Angeles authorities avoided a riot by working with protesters, and even thanking them publicly for demonstrating their right to free speech.

On a smaller scale, last month in Oregon an officer was seen sobbing in his combat gear while raiding a Portland encampment.

In October, Albany police — along with state troopers — refused to arrest protesters despite pressure from the city's mayor and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

At least one Occupier believes that such sentiments are not anomalous.

Calling himself Danny — he wouldn't reveal his true identity — he created a movement-within-a-movement, Occupy Police (OcPo), designed to be an outlet for officers of all ranks, everywhere, to speak openly about Occupy.

"We think solidarity with police is needed," says Danny in the only interview he's granted to date.

As he launches Operation SHIELD — an OcPo initiative calling for civilians, ex-police, and ex-military to physically step in between protesters and cops in the event of future confrontations - Danny's goal is to bridge this most glaring divide among so-called 99 percenters. He continues:

"There are a lot of active cops right now who can't speak, can't get involved, and have no place in this protest . . . but they sympathize with the direction of the movement and its political standpoints that the system is screwed up, and that this is about bad government. They also believe that it's not good for this to turn into a street war between police and protesters."

UNHAPPY OFF THE RECORD

Danny started OcPo in mid-October, after a series of intense talks with buddies on the Boston force about the eviction of Occupiers from the Rose Kennedy Greenway on Columbus Day.

"My friends who are cops did not like what happened," he says.

"They have to do their job — and they can't act out about it openly
but they're unhappy off the record with what's going on, and they're
not happy with having to arrest non-violent protesters."

By early November, Ocpo had thousands of connections on Facebook and Twitter, and what Danny described as an outpouring of moral support and gratitude from police.

While any cop who supports OcPo understandably can't say so in public (or to the Phoenix), the platform has allowed at least one officer to express himself.

Fred Shavies of Oakland PD was accused by activists of attempting
to covertly infiltrate the Occupy in his city.

"I totally agree with Occupy Wall Street," Shavies says in a video on the OcPo Web site. "I identify with the 99 percent, but I also have a job to do."

Danny says OcPo's mission is to give men and women like Shavies "a place to speak, and to create peace and solidarity between the two groups so they can combine and make real political change."

For proof that those ideas have gained traction, he points to one of the Occupy movement's defining moments: the November 17 arrest of former Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis.

Retired for eight years and living in the Catskills, on November 14
after weeks of reading about people who were standing up to
corporate entities that he too deplores — Lewis became inspired
to join forces with OWS protesters.

The arrest of Lewis, on the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, hit the press like a billy club.

Though more than 300 were bagged by NYPD on the same day, the images of him being cuffed in full police uniform — and news of his being subsequently slapped with charges including disorderly conduct — put Lewis front and center.

With the world watching, he showed compassion for fellow men
and women of the law.

"Corporate America is using police departments as hired thugs," Lewis told MSNBC.

"I was trying to portray the message that they should not become mercenaries — not that they already were. . . . Cops are just as human as everyone else."

'A HUGE STATEMENT'

With more and more examples of police benevolence to counter the tragedies that have unfolded in their clashes with Occupiers, Danny's latest push is to bring OcPo off the Web and onto the front lines.

With Operation SHIELD, he's collaborating with the similarly themed Occupy Marine Corps (OMC) to recruit "an organized and very transparent group of men and -women who will have the guts to step up in between the protesters and the police and create a gridlock."

Logistics are still being drawn up, but Danny believes that
his growing networks can support such interrupter actions.

According to Todd Gitlin, an author, Columbia professor, and
veteran activist who has closely watched social movements —
including Occupy Wall Street — over the past several decades,
Operation SHIELD is a historically unique concept.

But while "police were the hardest nut to crack in the late '60s
and '70s," Gitlin says the impact of servicemen and women
speaking out against wars has always been powerful.

"Whenever somebody acts out of the character imputed to them,
it's a huge statement," he says.

"What it did for the morale of the [anti-war] movement was assure
people that they were not wholly isolated, and that theirs is not just
a matter of piety or moral righteousness — that it was a reasonable
position that reasonable people could sign up for."

Recent examples all across the country have so far proven that
such phenomena endure.

When police raided Occupy Boston, the prevalent emerging image was that of a member of the group Veterans for Peace being arrested while his American flag was trampled.

In Oakland, outrage ensued following reports that Iraq War
veteran Scott Olsen was assaulted with a can of tear gas.

In building Operation SHIELD, Danny has connected with all of
these emblematic entities, including Marine Corps Sergeant
Shamar Thomas.

A hulking presence, Thomas, who has been deployed to Iraq more than a dozen times, famously blocked NYPD from arresting protesters during a march into Times Square on October 15.

In the moment, Shamar expressed what could be considered
the rallying sentiment behind OcPo and Operation SHIELD.

"It is not honorable to attack unarmed civilians who carry
no weapons, who have no intent or ability to harm you," the
veteran told more than 30 police officers — and subsequently
the whole world, as video of his declaration went viral hours later.

"It is not honorable to suppress the right to freedom of speech
and freedom of association. You carry your badges and your guns
and your authority because you are charged with protecting the
innocent. We are the innocent. You are working for the criminals."

Chris Faraone can be reached at cfaraone@phx.com

http://thephoenix.com/Boston/news/130681-with-support-
among-police-quietly-growing-can-occ/?page=1#TOPCONTENT