Occupy Reality

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Sound familiar?  It’s Article 1 of the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Hmm. Says there that people can get together and complain about stuff without getting shot with beanbags and rubber bullets and tear gas. Yes, the ‘establishment’ always tries to justify anti-protest violence as provoked by violent protesters. But they really should have learned from the Rodney King beating that people are watching and recording these incidents now. And telling their friends. And posting the photos and videos.

I am struggling today. Recent events have caused me to do a lot of soul-searching. You see, my intention has been to share information for free on my blog and at the same time try to make money from my website.

I am ashamed to admit that I would like the 1% of humanity that is rich to be my friends. I would like their money to rub off on me; I do not despise money, nor do I dislike anyone simply because they have more money than me. That would be a lot of emotional work for me, since a lot of people have more money than me, not just the rich folks.

The smaller part of me does not want to be politically active or involved. I am a scientist trying to become a capitalist. That part of me does not want to make waves. It wants to be a cheerful patriotic american, ignore tyranny and oppression, and just concentrate on making some money.

But the better part of me is rising on a tide of disgust.

I am seeing people getting manhandled and arrested merely because they pointed a videocamera (even reporters??) at a policeman while he was using force on unarmed peaceful protesters. Unbelievable Deja Vu: didn’t they learn anything in the 60s? Mistreating the defenseless ALLWAYS brings in sympathy for them and their causes.

Okay, I understand that you policemen never planned to beat up protesters like your fathers and grandfathers did. I believe that you cops are human beings who usually do NOT enjoy hurting other human beings and ignoring their rights. But you have jobs and orders, and I understand that. Bad enough to have to be following an order that makes you do things you are not especially proud of; I can see why you do not want that Kodak moment captured for posterity to remind you later. But you cops have a choice, too. You can choose to exercise the same self-restraint that these unarmed soccer moms and Iraq war vets are showing as you arrest them as ordered. You don’t have to beat them up too. You don’t have to shoot.

I am seeing Citigroup, which apparently sold securities they figured would go bust to their customers for almost $300 million — and then ’shorted’ the same securities (i.e., bet that they would drop in price by selling them short on the market) to make even more money off the same people they just swindled. Citigroup, I cannot find words for that kind of greed. Didn’t the bailout give you enough bonuses and raises – raises you didn’t deserve for crashing the economy?

I am reading reports that in the last 25 years the income of the poor grew by 18%, the middle class by 40%….and the rich by over 250%. Can anyone justify this morally to me? The 1% who already have more money than they may ever need are ALSO getting richer faster than the rest of us who actually NEED more money! Kudos to billionaire Warren Buffet for standing up and demanding to be taxed more. He knows that he has more than he needs, and he wants the excess to help people. He is man enough to know it is wrong that his employees are taxed at a higher rate than he is. I can only hope that others follow his example. He doesn’t just give away money to charities. He wants to give his fair share to America. And we know America needs it.

There are some rays of hope.

I see that when when they took away the fuel for the OWS generators, people have stepped up and provided pedal-powered generators so that they can keep their laptops alive to keep getting the word out. Proper.

In at least one city, police arrested people for defying a curfew and the judge told the police they didn’t have the right to do that! Outstanding.

In cities across the country and even in other countries people are feeling the call to stand up and be counted. They see what is happening as clearly as we do.

If memory serves, the last time we had anything like this it managed to shorten an unpopular war and remove an unpopular president. Unfortunately, the structures and institutions of the military-industrial complex were left largely untouched by the aftermath of the 60s. I hope we do a better job of it this time.

We are spending too much, true. The budget needs cuts from time to time to prune the inevitable growths that get wedged into bills by special interests. If we let the financial cancer continue, we will never be able to pay for it all, even if we tax the rich more than we do now.

But we are also taxing too little — also true. The persistent reduction of tax rates for the wealthy has been going on too long.  After all, when former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein, (a man never known for any liberal leanings) says “tax the rich”, then you know that things have gotten serious. Not making this up! Watch it again. Yes, he says we need the money for a bigger army, not to help the poor. But anyway he still says it: tax the rich.

We’re listening to you, Ben. I hope you are listening to us.

–MRK

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One Response to “Occupy Reality”

  1. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the good work.

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