General Question

rOs's avatar

Does Fluther care about the Occupy Movement?

Asked by rOs (3492 points ) October 7th, 2011

There’s something happening here. . . . . .

This isn’t exactly underground anymore, so where’s Fluther?

As a non-partisan human rights movement, I figured you fine Jellies would be all over it. This is history in the making- care to contribute?

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254 Answers

MrItty's avatar

It’s hard to call something a “movement” when they haven’t decided what they actually want. All they seem to agree upon is that life sucks and they’re unhappy about it.

rOs's avatar

That’s what some well-compensated journalists said, yes. It’s asinine the way they hide this stuff:

Declaration of the Occupation of New York

jerv's avatar

Many of us care, but I think that discussing it here would lead to an epic flame war.

thorninmud's avatar

Taken as a protest against the undue influence of money in our democracy, I’m completely sympathetic.

Qingu's avatar

I think I’m going to go tomorrow, though I am disappointed by the vagueness and lack of pragmatism on display from what I’ve seen (which is part of why I want to go…)

rOs's avatar

@jerv I understand that people might not want to get involved as it all feels so unpredictable. Unfortunately, apathy only removes you from the solution. We have a choice to let the ship run it’s course, or we can end this Plutocracy now. If you’re a history buff, you already know it’s not about if it can be done, it’s about when.

For you Tweeters – a list of Twitter Accounts to find the protest in your area. Wallstreet was just the beginning.

Despite what the bought-and-payed-for media has said, these protests are lawful, peaceful, an completely justified. This is a call to end Corporate-sponsored Government. Until that happens, there can not be any guarantee that things will change for the middle and low class. We are the 99%. We are fed up with the 1%, who control public policy and over 40% of the nation’s wealth.

This organized criminal class has engineered, and profited from, the ups and downs of the American Economy. While we struggle to pay our bills and put our children through college, these “VIP’s” are often over seas, attending fancy banquets and receiving applause from foreign investors. They amass wealth and power, playing their war games and cementing us all in a false reality of fear. Far from the hungry cries of the poor and suffering; what should be considered monstrous, is called “good business”.

Money buys publicity, and publicity wins elections. Greed been poisoning politics since the beginning. Things are different now- information is just a ‘click’ away. Once we are presented with the facts, there isn’t much up for debate. Through Social Media, people are finally educating themselves and reaching out to each other, dissolving party lines, and peacefully Occupying America in order to show solidarity against these Selfish Frauds.

This situation is very complex, and misinformation is the #1 tool of the Oppressors. Recently, more articles like the ones below, have been offering support and proper coverage for the protests. Even so, we have to remain skeptical. Question Everything.

We must show Solidarity and exhibit the qualities we demand from our leaders. We must live and breath activism. We must fight against the mechanisms in language and pop culture that have been reinforcing the hate that’s used to divide us.

One humanity, one goal – People over Profit.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@rOs This same type of protest has been going on in each city captiol with each Governor that has declared a war on state unions. Madison, WI was occupied for quite sometime. So far, it hasn’t moved anything.

rOs's avatar

Here’s Democracy Now on the subject. Good footage included

rOs's avatar

@SpatzieLover Yes, exactly. That was near the beginning, and information has been spreading like wildfire since. It’s only a matter of time until this happens.

The really interesting thing about this movement is all of the different ways people have come to it. Social media has given a voice to the People. Without the physical and metaphorical space between us – We are finally finding eachother :)

Radical Statement: I care about you.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@rOs I’ll be interested in seeing how this plays out during the election. I’m also interested in finding out if any of the recall elections (like the one for Scott Walker) goes anywhere.

Qingu's avatar

@rOs I agree that apathy goes nowhere. But my biggest problem with Occupy Wall Street is that, unless it’s going to be coupled to a political movement like the Tea Party, it’s nothing more than a colorful expression of apathy.

A bunch of people shouting about how they don’t like Wall Street or politicians caving to Wall Street… so what? What now? The movement needs to articulate specific policy proposals and it needs to throw its weight and pressure to transform the Democratic party. The reason the Democratic party is what it is today is because it hasn’t found votes from these people, so it’s moved to the “center” and pro-business stances. A pressure movement could easily counterbalance that well.

rOs's avatar

@Qingu NON-Partisan. The 60’s protesters moved in with the Democratic Party. How’d that work out again?

jerv's avatar

@rOs It isn’t apathy if you decide against turning a peaceful place like Fluther into a warzone by keeping it elsewhere.

rOs's avatar

If Fluther isn’t for these type of conversations, maybe I should go to Yahoo answers? It’s only a “warzone” if people are getting angry. Are you angry @jerv?

Qingu's avatar

@rOs, what is the point if it’s non-partisan? What, and how, do they expect to change if not through the political process?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m with @jerv – I’ve been pretty involved with OWS and am tired to explaining to angry privileged people why it’s important. I’m tired of talking to people whose jobs are safe for now that people from OWS should just ‘get off their asses and go find a job’ – that kind of cliche mythology…I’m over it. And there’s a lot of that on Fluther, too…I don’t need to get into it.

rOs's avatar

We are so ‘left/right’ divided, that the concept of ‘right/wrong’ is nearly lost on the masses.

If the wealth wasn’t so unevenly divided, we might be able to use the current process. As it is, money talks. Rich getting richer. Poor getting poorer. (that’s not just a cliche, it’s a reality)

I’m not trying to start an argument on Fluther, I just feel inclined to share what I know for those who haven’t been paying attention. I understand that this is a peaceful place, and I only mean well :)

silverfly's avatar

I care very much about the movement and I do think it’s about damn time people spoke out. I just hope blame is being put on government and not just the corporations. Certainly there’s much to be said for government’s involvement in corporate activity. I would hate for the movement to look for answers from their political party of choice. It’s kind of a three-ring circus: Government, Corporations, and the Federal Reserve. Central banking doesn’t work – it has never worked. When you debase and inflate a money supply, you get short term gains and the elimination of the middle class and ultimately a currency collapse. That’s just history, and I hope the demonstrators are placing an emphasis here.

rOs's avatar

About the government officials- I believe some have a carrot on a string leading them, and some maybe have a gun to their back as well.

If you follow the money, you find the real policy makers. You can burn the marionette, but the puppeteer can always make another. Either way – we need to make some noise to expedite much needed change.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@rOs Most of them have been bought by billionaires.

jerv's avatar

@rOs No. ”FUCKING PISSED THE HELL OFF!” is a bit closer, and I have been that way for over a quarter of a century. I saw this inequality coming before Reagan even hit his second term, and I want even old enough to get into middle school yet.

But what really gets me are the shit-for-brains fuck nuggets who complain that the rich are not rich enough, that everybody who isn’t rich is lazy/worthless, etcetera, and they call me un-American for wanting what is best for our nation instead of what is best for our elite.

Qingu's avatar

@rOs I think there’s only a few conservatives on Fluther who would actually disagree with your views on income inequality. For my part I totally agree with you.

I’m just not sure what policy solution you are advocating, or how you practically hope to get there.

That said, raising awareness can be important and maybe now is not the time for infighting for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

rOs's avatar

@jerv @Qingu Great points. Pardon my candor, I’ve just been feeling the levy breaking and I’m excited :)

Jaxk's avatar

It would help if they knew what they wanted. Currently it just seems to be a wide swath of complaints from every possible corner. Some may be legitimate some are definitely not. Do they want the overthrow of our government? Or maybe just elimination of capitalism? Take down the rich? Eliminate corporations?

It’s hard to agree (or disagree) when you don’t know what point they’re trying to make. So far it just seems to be a lot of grumbling. Maybe I agree with that, I’ve been doing a lot of grumbling myself. I’m just not ready to pitch a tent to do it.

jerv's avatar

@rOs I had a feeling that this would go down within my lifetime, and I am honestly disappointed that it has taken this long. But that is what happens when more people care about Dancing With the Stars than about what is going on in the really real world.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I agree; the lack of cohesiveness and direction is a problem, and one that the people who got us in this mess don’t have.

rOs's avatar

Instead of criticizing them -maybe offer them help? We owe it to the youth for getting the ball rolling. Maybe it’s up to older, more experienced professionals to make sure it hits the mark. We need brains to accompany the idealism. We can do it together.

Jaxk's avatar

@rOs

As I understand it, the unions are getting involved as is George Soros and Moveon .org. I’m sure they will bring with them the focus you seem to desire. You’ve got a lot of grumbling youths, now some good liberal focus to make it the attack arm of the Democratic party. I don’t know if it will work but hey, give it a shot.

silverfly's avatar

I hope this doesn’t turn into socialism. I’m not in favor of the idea of evenly spreading the money through law.

jerv's avatar

@rOs Will Rogers once said, “l am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” That is still true today, so that should tell you what a challenge it is to organize large groups.

Of course, he also said, “Chaotic action is preferable to orderly inaction.”.

Qingu's avatar

@silverfly, I don’t think anyone here is advocating “evenly” spreading the money.

But surely there is some middle ground between full-scale socialism and the top 10% of Americans controlling virtually 100% of the country’s productive wealth?

The finance industry used to account for 4% of GDP… since the 80’s it’s doubled to 8%. Before the 80’s finance used to account for (iirc) 17% of corporate profits… now it accounts for over 40%.

Do you honestly think the finance industry has more than doubled its profits and its weight in the American economy because it has fairly provided more and better services to paying consumers since the 80’s in a free market?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Yes, Fluther cares. In the short time the protests have been going there have been four questions about it.
1
2
3
4

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Here is a statement directly from Occupy Wall Street read by Keith Olbermann. They do have a reason for the protests.

JTSTs2003's avatar

Wow I suck. I read the news everyday, yet I have NO idea what this is??? (I’m not into politics tho…if that’s what this regards…)

Yetanotheruser's avatar

The “occupation” movement is reminiscent to me of the “Civil Rights/Anti-War” movement(s) of the 60’s and 70’s, and also of the “Labor” movement of the early 20th century. What came of these movements? Hmmm…(in no particular order) 40-hour work week; miminum wage laws; safety in the work place; environmental protection laws; and the list goes on. Movements start small, and if it is a true grass-roots movement (unlike the Tea Party) it will attract, as it already has, politicians and institutions to jump on the bandwagon and give the movement political relevance.

As the old saying goes, something’s got to give. How long can we in the US survive as a country and as a society with the 85% of the wealth in the hands of 15% of the population,
according to this well-known sociologist. Of the 15% that control the 85%, the top 1% (of the total) control 34.6% of the total wealth.

CWOTUS's avatar

I can understand @Qingu wanting to go tomorrow, since he probably has a job that he’s working at today. We could wish the same for about 99% of the protesters.

I laughed at the idea of this as a “human rights” movement, though.

rOs's avatar

@silverfly—As @Quingu said—- We could set things right without compromising the American Dream. Even if the misery of the poor isn’t an institutional problem, can we really continue to justify luxurious lifestyles for a few, while many people are living from paycheck to paycheck?

I say we continue to award ambition and hardwork, but make sure every child has a shot at success; regardless of the mistakes made by their parents.

@Hawaii_Jake Thanks :) I didn’t mean to imply that I felt unlurved.

@JTSTs2003 You don’t suck, you just didn’t know that they were keeping news from you. Nobody can blame you for that. It’s their fault for caving in to investors, and when they did mention it they didn’t even give real coverage. This didn’t make it to the TV, but someone found it on the cutting room floor at FOX. Lack of coverage is just as bad, if not worse than censorship. At least people are starting to get perceptive enough to spot through the BS.

rOs's avatar

@CWOTUS I lol’d at your laugh. What have you heard? Did you read the provided links?

This movement seeks to accomplish more than just orderly change. It see’s clearly the flaws in the current system- a dying beast only sustained by the blood of hard-working, underpaid workers. They can only tell us to stop complaining and ‘tighten our belts’ for so long before we all realize what’s really happening here. It’s an information war.

The corporate media sells misinformation, leading us to do ignorant things like take it easy on the super-rich*. When in fact things are getting worse, they are desperately trying to sell the lie that things can change through the current process – which simply continues to line the pockets of politicians, and their benefactors

Definition of HUMAN RIGHTS: rights (as freedom from unlawful imprisonment, torture, and execution) regarded as belonging fundamentally to all persons. Check, Check, aaaand Check. While greed and corruption rule, there will always be international business entities who are financing war – it’s very profitable. We seek to end this warmongering.

*People don’t always choose greed- awesome.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t think that the impact of this is going to be any kinds of policy changes. The impact should be about urgency. There is, unfortunately, very little consensus about what to do about the economy. I heard a major economist on the radio this morning urging the Fed to increase inflation, so that people would have an urge to spend now, rather than waiting until later when their money was worth less. Of course there are equally prestigious economists urging the opposite.

When I was reading the declaration from the OWS, half of what they said seemed like Libertarianism and half seemed like socialism. In any case what they have is a list of standard grievances and random finger-pointing at various targets in order to place the blame for these grievances. There is no consensus on any solutions.

The best thing I think this can be is to show politicians that people have had it. They’ve got to start doing something serious (like compromise), or the next set of demonstrations will be more disruptive.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to help either. These politicians can not compromise on shit.

The main thing this means to me, though, is that the problem is confidence. No one has any confidence in the political or economic system. Every group is mistrusted—government, big business, and the electorate. The problem is purely a lack of confidence. If we can change our attitude nationally, we can start the economy rolling again.

I’m not sure these protests can provide the juice necessary to change things, but I don’t think they can hurt.

bkcunningham's avatar

@rOs, besides being dishonest in his editorial about his income taxes, most of which are from dividends, why doesn’t Buffett just pay what he thinks he should pay?

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, please cite where in his editorial he was being dishonest?

“But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains.”

WestRiverrat's avatar

They are hiring people to show up and protest capitalism.

That kind of makes a fallacy out of it being a grass roots movement, doesn’t it?

Qingu's avatar

Great, reputable source, WestRiverrat.

CWOTUS's avatar

Oy, @WestRiverrat… exploitation in the name of human rights! The mind reels.

SpatzieLover's avatar

“They” said the same thing about Madison. “They” were full of it. Citizens were protesting.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@SpatzieLover the guy that hired the mexicans to protest admitted that he did it. Are you saying he doesn’t know what he is talking about?

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qinqu, “Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.”

Buffett includes federal income taxes in with that he calls “payroll taxes.” Payroll taxes or FICA (the Federal Income Contributions Act), are the percentage employees and employers pay on wages with a limit to fund social security and Medicare.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, what are you talking about?

He said “federal tax bill,” noting that this figure included both fed. income tax and payroll taxes.

Are you saying that payroll taxes are not actually taxes that people pay to the federal government?

SpatzieLover's avatar

@WestRiverrat I’m saying I haven’t seen one reliable source for that yet. Anyone citing that refers to the “The Daily Caller” as the source.

rOs's avatar

@WestRiverrat Many people have tried to hijack the movement as their own, but it is a LEADERLESS movement. It may have been the same people who hired scripted ‘loyal riders’ in San Francisco during the BART protests. Either way, it’s real and it’s happening. I don’t think a movement like this could afford to hire tens of thousands of people :)

@bkcunningham Buffet can stuffet. I was just providing supporting evidence that the conversation is actually happening.

All I really care to establish, is that we need to stop relying on the corrupt system to fix corruption.

bkcunningham's avatar

There is a cap on the percentage of FICA taxes. He mentions only his FICA and income tax. He doesn’t mention the corporate income tax.

Qingu's avatar

Why does it matter that there’s a cap? That’s sort of the point—wealthy people pay very little in payroll tax.

Why would he mention corporate income tax?

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@WestRiverrat The fact that one person has hired others to protest does not imply that others are or are not protesting for hire.

Oh, by the way, are you sure they are Mexicans?

WestRiverrat's avatar

@Yetanotheruser that is what they claimed they were to the reporter that interviewed them.

Qingu's avatar

Hold on. Why are we believing the Daily Caller story to begin with? It’s a friggin’ rag.

@WestRiverrat, do you have any independent confirmation of this or is it just a “report” based on an interview from your right-wing rag?

bkcunningham's avatar

Shouldn’t we use the corporate income taxes in the taxes rich people pay?

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Qingu I searched…the Daily Crapper is the only source cited on all of the Net

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, I have literally no idea why we would. Please explain?

bkcunningham's avatar

They are paying taxes. Why wouldn’t they be counted in the taxes “rich” people pay when demonstrating tax burdens? I don’t know how to make it simplier than that. Sorry.

Qingu's avatar

Did Buffet include his corp’s profits in his stated income?

bkcunningham's avatar

I’m leaving out a word in my writing that is in my mind, but not being typed. They are paying taxes on their dividends.

rOs's avatar

IMF Advisor 10.5.11 – Impending Crash Something tells me that waiting around seems like a terrible idea.

Huffington Post 10.7.11 – Baby Boomer’s Method to Occupy Wall Street This is a movement for everyone.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, are you saying that Buffett left out the capital gains taxes he paid… but included capital gains in his total income?

Edit: because this does not appear to be the case. According to this delightful Fox article.

To wit: Buffett does not pay himself a millionaire’s salary. He earns most of his income in capital gains. Capital gains are taxed at an extremely low rate (15%). Hence, Buffett pays a very low tax rate.

Though I am literally dumbfounded over where the deception is here. I was under the impression that this was entirely Buffet’s point… since he explicitly said he wants to raise the cap gains tax that he’s benefitting from.

Nullo's avatar

So… it’s basically a left-wing Tea Party analogue. Watch, nobody’s gonna try to malign them. I mean, they’re even using some of the same buzzwords!
/bitterness

jerv's avatar

@Nullo Funny you should say that since the very qualities they share with the Tea Party are the same ones Fox News praises when Conservatives demonstrate them, but demonize others for.

Double standards suck, so either praise both, or condemn both; to do otherwise is hypocritical.

Qingu's avatar

My problem with the Tea Party has always been the content of its ideas, not the fact that it was an expressly partisan political movement.

Though I did always get annoyed with people who tried to pretend that the Tea Party weren’t Republicans.

Nullo's avatar

@jerv I know! I wish these media folks would realize that.

thorninmud's avatar

Jon Stewart did a brilliant piece about media coverage of OWL and the Tea Party.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu, where in that Fox story you linked does it say corporate tax rates are 15 percent?

Qingu's avatar

Capital gains tax rates —i.e. what Buffet is taxed on the dividends he makes. Not corporate tax rates.

I thought this is what you meant to say instead of “corporate.” Are you actually intending to talk about corporate tax rates?

bkcunningham's avatar

No, I’m sorry. Capital gains. Not corporate.

Qingu's avatar

The highest cpaital gains tax rate is 15%, bk.

This was Buffett’s point. Rich people often make most of their money in stocks and other investments. The income from those investments—capital gains—is only taxed right now at 15% tops. That’s very low compared to ordinary income and payroll. It’s how Buffett gets away with his ~17% overall tax rate.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@Qingu My problem with the Tea Party is the source of their bankroll.

Qingu's avatar

Surely that’s not your only problem with them?

bkcunningham's avatar

Have you ever read one thing and your mind computes it as another, @Qingu. Sorry. (That is what running on too little sleep does to me.)

rOs's avatar

Not the teabaggers. This is the general message I’ve picked up by getting my news straight from the people actually on the street. If you don’t believe me, follow my twitter @rOslacy. I retweet tons of information straight from the SOURCE, instead of sloppy, paid-for journalists. Either people on this site are so well-trained that they don’t fact-check at all, or there are people who are being payed to direct the conversation. Frankly, it’s upsetting how quick we are to misinform others based on very little evidence.

http://occupywallst.org/forum/would-you-like-some-tea-no-thanks-ows-drinks-coffe/

silverfly's avatar

So, would you say this is like tea party versus occupy? edit I smell a WWF match.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, it’s cool. Just as long as this means you won’t go around saying Buffett’s editorial is dishonest anymore.

rOs's avatar

** I’m not naive enough to think I have it completely right – I keep myself accountable and skeptical. We all should.

rOs's avatar

@bkcunningham +10 internetz for supreme example of maturity :)

YARNLADY's avatar

I just wish someone would find a way to actually turn their random nonsense into some positive action.

A local news station interviewed several people at a demonstration last night.

Reporter “What are you here for”
Demonstrator “I’m not going to take it anymore”
Reporter “What are you trying to accomplish”
Demonstrator “Go away and leave me alone”
Other Demonstrators “Yeah, get out of here, you don’t belong”
Reporter “What is your message”
Demonstrators – lots of shouting and yelling, a bunch of pushing, some rock throwing – at the reporter.

LostInParadise's avatar

I am glad to see the demonstrations, but I don’t want to get my hopes up that anything will come of this. I will be watching with interest.

flo's avatar

@YARNLADY Did the local station only show that kind of exhange? Did they give the impression that that is representative of the majority of the crowd? Is this a Tea Friendly kind of station?

rOs's avatar

@YARNLADY would you provide a vid or article to back that up? As said the protests are in their infancy- but they are growing smarter and more organized every day. There is no doubt there will be paid actors and uneducated protesters on many televised news programs. Misinformation and smear campaigns are what ‘they’ do best.

Nullo's avatar

@rOs Not quite @YARNLADY‘s post, but in the same vein. (CBS video segment w/ blog post.)

Funny how people weren’t so magnanimous with the Tea Party.

Response moderated (Spam)
mattbrowne's avatar

Very, very promising. I’m really hopeful. Banks were invented to serve the real economy and the people. Not to generate insane million dollar bonuses for people who are well off and already have everything they need.

Nullo's avatar

Found this (NBC, I think, via Youtube), and this where they try to occupy the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. It looks to me like the protest is getting off-message.
I found the crap that they’re chanting to be incredibly annoying. I’d have gassed them just for not shutting up. Aren’t these people disturbing the peace?
Yes, the whole world is watching you make a nuisance of yourself.

bkcunningham's avatar

Please, please, please don’t break anything.

Nullo's avatar

Ah! Found the NBC part of it!

YARNLADY's avatar

@flo There were several follow up broadcasts regarding the demonstration, and it was nearly all in the same vein. The people there had absolutely no idea why there were there or what they hoped to accomplish.
@rOs The evidence is on our local TV news, and in our local newspaper, if you have access to those broadcasts and newspaper.

jerv's avatar

While there are many who say that the Occupy movement is aimless and not very unified, Forbes magazine feels differently

Nullo's avatar

@jerv The main criticism has pertained to their lack of cohesive message. That impromptu survey records their beliefs. The Forbes op-ed guy had to take an active role in getting that information, wading in there and asking questions. Since protests are about voicing a message, it would seem that the protesters are lacking on their end of the communication equation.

I think you’ve been given a red herring.

LostInParadise's avatar

There may not yet be specific demands, but the message is pretty clear: interests of the poor and middle classes, the 99%, are being ignored. Those who stormed the Bastille to start the French Revolution did not have any specific demands either.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo Are you refuting my assertion that Forbes has a different opinion? I have to go with @LostInParadise and say that those who don’t get the message despite their lack of a unified voice are idiots.

bkcunningham's avatar

Why would people push past guards at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in DC and try to get into the building with protest signs? How does that demonstrate you have an interest in the poor and middle class?

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham It’s a public place that is funded and administered by the government. Seems like a decent place to protest to me, especially if you want a little media coverage (more than you’d get in the streets or at a park).

Somehow, I get the feeling that a general, “We’re mad as Hell, and we’re not going to take it any more!” is too deep a concept for some people to grasp; too profound :/

Nullo's avatar

@jerv No, I’m refuting Forbes’ claim that the information that they got via polls qualify as a protest message. If you have to go fishing for information at a protest, which is theoretically all about communicating, then something is wrong. I’m saying that the guy writing the article isn’t actually addressing the criticism. Everybody has beliefs and affiliations, but unless they actually impact something (either through dialog or action) it’s just demographics.
I grok the protester’s sentiment; indeed, it’s the same wordless cry of anger and frustration that you get from the early Tea Party, about similar things, even. Left and Right have both concluded that the pinch is too much. They seek different avenues of relief, but the causes are closely related. But sentiment isn’t message. More people need to realize that before they run out and organize.

I must say that I’m pleased to see that the TP is better behaved than the Occupiers. I just wish that more people would realize that when they start insulting the TP again.

jerv's avatar

@Nullo Comparing something that is already established to something that is relatively newly formed is a bit incongruous. The Tea Party has been around for a couple of years; the Occupy movement for less than a month.

Also bear in mind that this isn’t a traditional protest any more than your car is a horse-drawn carriage. If you don’t quite get what that means, tell me this; who runs the internet? I’m not talking about the service providers; I am talking about the Internet itself. Who is it’s spokesperson? What we have here is something kind of like but rather different from movements of the past. This is the 21st-century, and we do things differently here.

Now to compound the issue; when it comes to focus, if there are many things wrong all across the board, where do you start? In that, the TP has it easy since many of the things they stand for are mutually agreed on; both Republicans and Democrats think we spend too much, that there is too much government in the wrong places and not enough in others, and they merely differ on the details. (Republicans want government out of the boardrooms and in the bedrooms, Democrats want to return to the half-century we had before deregulation when we had no bank failures, steady growth, equitable distribution of wealth—(enough to at least keep poverty and homelessness rates down) and don’t care about your ethnicity or sexual orientation. Different sides of the same coin, really.)—

Where the Occupiers have it harder is that while the TP wants to accelerate us in the direction we are heading, anyways, the Occupiers want to reverse it and roll things back a few decades ASAP. Next time you are driving, try throwing your car into reverse and flooring the gas pedal; I think you’ll see how reversing is harder than accelerating.

As for better behaved… I think that people that have merely seen their portfolio/retirement plan shrivel are a bit less angry than people who have lost their homes and jobs then had people like the TP turn around and blame them. Or maybe I just don’t think that making up facts, condoning bigotry—(while not universal, they are largely anti-immigrant and anti-gay, plus their Islamophobia is breathtaking), and perpetuating/exacerbating some of our economic problems are exactly “good” behavior. There are bad apples on both sides of the fence here, and I would rather deal with trespassers with megaphones than the sort of bad I see on the TP side.—

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

I’m not sure how to interpret your post. We’ve been massively expanding government, creating massive regulatory burden and expanding entitlements for more than 200 years. Now these guys want even more and you call that reversing course. Huh? They want someone else to pay for the health care, pay off their loans, give them free Internet, and I assume free cell phones. What else do you want for free as long as somebody else has to pay for it. They want jobs but not jobs at the bottom, they want to start at the top. Heaven for bid they should start at the bottom and have to work thier way up. I guess that the change they want. And once they gotten someone else to pay for all their free stuff, they want to limit how much those paying the bills, can earn. Yeah, this sounds like a deserving mob. They only want they think they’re entitled to. I understand why you support them.

flo's avatar

If the media outlets who only chose to present the part their employer wants them to don’t qualify as professional, credible sources. They can also not be competent enough to be thourough enough to find the part that shows the other side. Journalists, Media Outlets, in name only.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Likewise. See, I don’t know how to interpret your post either, unless you actually meant it as an attack. I don’t think you did though. But it gives a little insight into how some people value economics more than human lives, and how your side of the fence strongly desires a return to the days of serfdom.

Let us start with massive regulatory burden…. actually, we removed quite a few (like Glass-Steagall) over the years and that has led us to where we are today. I will grant that we compensated by over-regulating things that we shouldn’t, but you seem to be of the opinion that any regulation is bad.

Many of these people would be perfectly happy to pay off their loans if they were employed and the banks were fair, but the banks foreclose on homes they don’t even own so that they can afford to give record bonuses to their CEOs, and employers aren’t employing; they too prefer record profits over sustainability.

I can see how you support that. I am sure you would fire people too if it meant more money in your pocket. And I can see how you support predatory lending since it does make the books look good.

Free internet and cell-phones… given that we live in an industrialized nation, those are pretty much required now. I know I wouldn’t have the job I have now if I had to wait until I got home to check my messages. See, employers nowadays have a long list of applicants, and if you don’t answer IMMEDIATELY, they cross your name off the list and move on; no job for you. I think you are still stuck a couple of decades in the past. Besides, how can the homeless/transient have a landline?

Healthcare? I don’t know if you know this, but an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Would you spend $120 now to save yourself $50,000+ two years down the road? Wait, no, you wouldn’t because that would be Socialism. Better to waste the money and drive healthcare costs for all of us up than to do that. Or better yet, let them die. The poor don’t deserve to live.

As for the jobs at the bottom, I think you have that wrong. They want obs that can actually support them. Now, 15–20 hours a week at $9/hr or less won’t do that, but you don’t care. Its their own damn fault that they don’t have high-paying jobs. Let us ignore for a moment all of the people with college degrees that they went into debt for under the delusion that it would get them something better than working the fryolator part-time at McDonalds. People who try to better themselves and fail are no better than those who just sit at home spending their welfare checks on crack.

Funny you should talk about entitlement since you seem to have a screwy idea of the relationship between work, risk, and reward. First off, you just accused everybody who isn’t earning big bucks a bunch of lazy fuckers no matter how hard they work while some guy who makes a few mouse-clicks deserves every penny he gets for all he has done.
Second, investors may gamble with large amounts of money, but many of them won’t wind up on the street if their gamble doesn’t pay off. Sure, Donald Trump lost a lot of money at times, but when was he sleeping on a park bench eating out of the trash? Does that mean that survival is worthless?
Third, how many of these people ever did anything on their own? Sure, leadership is essential, and good leadership should be rewarded, but what about the hard work of all of the people who put those ideas into action? Are you telling me that that sort of thing is now far more valuable than it was before? Or are you telling me that shareholder value is more important than paying your workers enough to live self-sufficiently instead of requiring taxpayers to subsidize their food and rent?

As for limiting how much those paying the bills can earn, I think you fail at failing for not noticing that the more people can’t support themselves, the bigger the bills get and the fewer people can actually pay them. So tell, me, are you in favor of turning us into India, or are you merely blind?

*****

Somewhere, there is a middle ground. But what you wrote there is the sort of thing that makes people not want to even think about finding it. You call anybody who doesn’t support what led us to where we are a bunch of parasites, overlook the fact that the corporations are a de facto government, and give every impression of caring more about dollars than lives.

BTW, if I am wrong about you or others of your viewpoint not caring about humanity then you all may want to work on choosing your words more carefully, and maybe soften a few of your positions as well. Otherwise, you will continue to some across as having less empathy than a certifiable sociopath, and it’s hard to take people suffering from severe mental disorders seriously.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk What do you think of this? Yes, it is partisan, but so is nearly every word you type. The best way to find truth is to look at both sides and figure out where the middle is. Now, for a moment, step away from where your comfort zone and see if a little perspective can help get you a little closer to the really real world.

Hell, I’ll even give you an excerpt;

“You want to roll your eyes and make snide remarks about “dumb college kids” and “socialists”? Go ahead but you’re be missing the point. Because it is the small business owner who’s really been wronged here, not the fringe elements you mockingly dismiss. The business owner whose losses are not socialized like yours, the business owner without the government in his pocket, the business owner who is forced to play by the rules that you have paid to have written. He’s not a hippie, he’s not a Marxist…but he’s waking up, dummy.”

It may actually be in your best interest to agree with me a little more. Despite all the arguing we do, I like you well enough that I don’t want to see you cut your own throat.

@rOs Now do you see what I was talking about near the beginning of this thread?

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

Wow, I have to admit if I had your outlook on the country, I would slit my throat. You really think these guys are representing Small Businesses? You think that because GE paid no taxes, you should raise the rate. That will certainly help small business. You think that by raising the capital requirement for banks, it will free up lending. Do you even have a clue how this works. You think by creating more regulation you will help small business. But small business bears 90% of the cost burden from regulation. Agreeing with would in fact be cutting my throat.

In the 90s they called it the ‘Me Generation’. This is taking it to a whole new level. These guys want the protest to be like the one in Greece and there’s no doubt they’re pushing in that direction. While the European socialist model is crumbling like the Walls of Jericho, these guys are pushing for us to do the same thing. While we’re racking up debt so fast we’ll never recover, these guys are pushing for the government to pay for everything. Where do they get the idea that if you can eliminate the rich, you somehow eliminate the poor? These guys are supposed to be college students, what the hell did they learn in college? It certainly wasn’t personal responsibility. I’m all for fixing the system but just handing out more free stuff, isn’t the answer.

And not that you seem receptive to anything, but using an article titled “This is Why They Hate You and Want You to Die”, isn’t the way to get support. To be honest, neither is blaming everyone else for all your problems. But then if you don’t blame everyone else, you’d have to take some personal responsibility. An idea even more objectionable than not having a free cell phone.

LostInParadise's avatar

@Jaxk , One point of clarification. The European socialist model is not crumbling. The problem for the most part is with southern European nations. The socialism of Germany and the Scandinavian is working just fine, thank you. Finland, for example, regularly comes out near the top on international school tests, and it does this by doing the exact opposite of what we do – little standardized testing, light homework, high teacher salaries and strong teacher unions.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I’m not doing anything more extreme than you are. Look in the mirror sometime and you will see that you and I are a lot alike. That includes being stubborn, dismissive, and occasionally a little reactive.

But by keeping things as they are, you support the big guys being given money they didn’t rightfully earn and giving them welfare checks, passing all of the costs onto the little guy, and creating an unsustainable system that leads to the same endgame as Communism.

As for the free cellphone thing, I think you still don’t get it, so let me bring you up to date. See, a few years ago, things changed. These days, if you want to get a job, you need a way for employers to get in touch with you instantly, and enough places only take applications online that internet access is required rip even find a job. What you are saying is that the poor should be unable to get a job, and I cannot agree, nor can I help but question your sanity.

jerv's avatar

Furthermore, I don’t think you quite understand where I am coming from. I would love to see businesses act ethically enough that no government regulation is required. I would also like to see people be self-sufficient and not cause increases in government spending because they don’t earn enough to live. I would like to see all those who want jobs to get one that allows them to live on their own; that would make it easier to weed out the deadbeats. I would like large companies to pay taxes to ease the burden on small business, especially since small businesses are the ones making jobs.

By arguing with me, you are basically saying that corruption doesn’t exist, you want bigger government budgets, and that you want the little guy to pay for it all. You would rather buy a mansion for a CEO than feed a thousand starving people, and you think that the only ones not working right now are lazy people who don’t even deserve to be treated as humans. Lastly, you portray people like me as freeloading Fascist Communists for opposing Oligarchy and elitism.

Again, tell me where I am wrong, and then change your tune so that people don’t get the wrong impression.

Qingu's avatar

So, apparently a conservative journalist working “undercover” helped instigate the Smithsonian incident:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/conservative-journalist-says-he-infiltrated-escalated-dc-museum-protest/2011/10/09/gIQAIKxCYL_blog.html#excerpt

Classy.

rOs's avatar

Dylan Ratagin steps up. This is the simple, debate-ending, truth.

bkcunningham's avatar

Thanks, @Qingu. I wondered what that was all about.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, well, I’m sure there are some liberals who are indeed crazy and confrontational… when I hunt out with the protests this weekend there were definitely some creepy anarchist-y folks (and also a bunch of friggin’ Ron Paul supporters, ugh).

But srsrsrly, what an amazing scumbag. It’s one thing to infiltrate your opposition’s movement, it’s another thing to actively instigate a violent confrontation as you’re posing.

jerv's avatar

@Qingu Welcome to 21st-century politics.

Qingu's avatar

Eh. I don’t think this kind of mob infiltration/instigation is anything new. It’s just surprising how overt the Heritage writer was in his scummery.

jerv's avatar

@Qingu I agree that this had happened for a long time, but these days it’s considered heroic to be a sneaky rat-bastard. That is what’s new. Hell, you don’t even have to be sneaky these days; just be a rat-bastard!

bkcunningham's avatar

It isn’t like he “infiltrated” to actually get an inside story or to delve into the hearts and minds of the protesters or do an investigative piece. If it is true, he tried to make the story and manipulate the story. That isn’t journalism.

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham No, but that is the closest thing we have these days. However, that is a while separate issue.

flo's avatar

@rOs that last clip you posted is breathtaking.

@bkcunningham You only care about what is illegal, never mind if it is wrong, right?
permalink from another OP.

bkcunningham's avatar

@flo, I have no idea what you are talking about. Sorry. Would you explain what you mean, please?

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

I seem to be engaged in the most ridiculous argument I’ve had the misfortune to be a part of. I brought up the cellphones so I can’t blame anyone but my self. In my defense, I only brought it up because it was so absurd that I didn’t expect to see anyone defending it. To think that one of the primary reasons that people would occupy Wall Street would be to protest not having free cells phones, and camp out for weeks, can’t be real. That someone would say these guys are so poor, that they don’t even have cell phones. And that government should supply free cell phones so these guys can organize their protests. That we would compare the poverty in the middle east that spurred those protests to our lack of having free cell phones.

This is like a comedic episode of the twilight zone. Or something Mel Brooks might do to mock the French revolution.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk What the requirements are to live in a particular society depend on what society we are talking about. Now, if we were in 1980’s America then cellphones would still be a luxury item, but the argument could, would, and has been made that basic landline telephones are a necessity. If we were in some remote part of Kenya, all you would really need are the very basics of food, shelter, and some medical care. You are correct that poverty here means something different than it does in other parts of the world, but most of those places don’t have nearly the per capita wealth or degree of inequality that we do here either, so it’s not directly comparable. Well, except for the fact that we have millions of homeless and/or starving people here too.

Therein is the basis of that argument; we live in a society where the lack of instant communications is a severe disadvantage. Now, is it absurd to give people the tools they need to be able to get a job? I don’t think so. That is also why I have no problem using taxpayer money to give a guy a pair of steel-toed boots so he can get a warehouse or construction job that he would otherwise not be able to get. So tell me, would you be willing to spend $30 on a cheap pre-paid phone and some airtime if it helped get someone off of unemployment, or would you rather definitely pay $1,000/month or more for a longer period instead?

As usual though, you are just looking at the dollar signs and not their meaning or implications. You are also overlooking the actual reason that they are there, and it has nothing to do with cellphones. It has more to do with people being deprived of what they need to be able to survive in America solely because a few people at the top want more money than they already have and don’t care how they get it. That is like a comedic episode of the Twilight Zone or a Mel Brooks spoof… except that it is reality.

So tell me, do you support inequality to the extent that it hurts tens/hundreds of millions? Do you have a proposal to painlessly alter our society to lessen our needs as a culture? When I say “painlessly”, I mean “Can you do it without creating a society that is more two-tiered than what we have now?” I don’t like giving handouts either, and I definitely don’t want to give people stuff they don’t deserve, but you seem to be saying that they don’t even deserve a fighting chance; you don’t feel that they are entitled to be part of our society.

I would like to see if there even is a middle ground here, but reading your posts and those of many other Conservatives makes me think that the only chance we have of that is to split our nation in two with a barren DMZ between the sections and calling that DMZ “The Middle Ground” :(

wilma's avatar

@jerv I don’t know where you live, but the standard of living must be much higher where you are than where I am.
I know lots of people (adults) that don’t have cell phones. They might have jobs, they have families and they may or may not be poor.
I just asked my husband if he would/could hire someone if they didn’t have a cell phone. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “yes I do it all the time.” I asked him how he would get in touch with them. He said ” either they leave me a number where I can leave a message for them, or they find a phone to use and call the office for a message that I leave for them. We would make those arrangements when they apply for the job.”

Where I live transportation is the more serious obstacle to getting a job. There is no public transportation other than school buses.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, I think technologies often evolve from “luxury item” to “required commodity.” Plumbing and electricity are the best examples; in hot climates today in America you “need” air conditioning.

I don’t know if we’re at that point with mobile phones, computers and the Internet. But we’re getting there. And a case can be made that unemployed people really do need a cell phone—how else are they going to get a job? Employers need a number to call, and a prepaid cell phone is cheaper than installing a land line (and probably much more feasible for the large subset of unemployed folks who are couch-surfing or otherwise unrooted).

Also, speaking of poverty in the middle east and Africa—cell phones have been one of the most important ways for such people to dig themselves out of poverty. There’s a reason mobile phones often top out lists of “best modern inventions.”

@wilma, maybe your husband is an exception? Most employers would look down on a potential hire who had no easy way to get in contact. Plus, many employers already discriminate against unemployed people; lacking a phone number is a scarlet letter. Your anecdote doesn’t really speak to the broader issue here.

jerv's avatar

@wilma That is how it was in NH when I left three years ago, but living in the city (Seattle) is totally different. And considering what percentage of our population lives in major cities, it’s not much of a stretch to say that America is two different countries. Hell, I got in a bit of an argument here recently when I refuted their assertion that $30k was enough for a starter home; in NH you can’t find one for under $90k, and here we are talking closer to $180k. In the South and Midwest, you can live fairly well on $15k/yr, but in Boston that won’t even pay your rent let alone utilities and food.

So you aren’t exactly wrong, but you are only right about your part of America. And too many people think that our entire country is like where they live; an assumption that I find naive at best.

bkcunningham's avatar

In America, we do have government programs, both state and federal, that give cell phones to people who fall into a certain income bracket. I know the cellphone thing was only a part of the above discussion, but am I missing something with the cell phone part of the issue?

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham I think it’s that some people haven’t fully realized that 2011 isn’t 1981, and they don’t realize that a landline phone isn’t always sufficient, depending on where you are. Pulling back a little and looking at the bigger picture, I think that they might not realize what sort of differences there are in our society, both based on location and time period.

If you told me twenty years ago that the internet would be so big and that we would all need computers (or at least access to public ones), I would have laughed. Nowadays, many employers only take applications online; no walk-ins. And until I moved to Seattle, I also felt cellphones were optional, but the only reason I even have a job right now is because I answered when they called; something I would not have been able to do with a landline. Then again, this is the first time I had to compete with thousands of people for a job instead of just a few dozen. With that sort of competition, employers can be as unreasonable as they want and still fill positions.

bkcunningham's avatar

The programs give cell phones, @jerv.

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham Yes, because they are seen as a fairly basic necessity. That, and they are now cheaper than landlines, which they also give out.

I think you missed my point though, so give me a little bit to think of how to rephrase it.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

I’m not aware of any program that gives out free landlines. But just to sum up here. You’ve suggested free cellphones and free steel toed boots. @Qingu suggested Air conditioning. @wilma ‘s point about transportation is valid (I would consider it the most valid). And of course I’m assuming that’s on top of unemployment, welfare. food stamps, subsidized housing, etc. It’s sounding very much like an entitlement society to me. Especially when you say they’re entitled to these things.

Maybe if we discuss supplying them with free deodorant, we could get some consensus here.

CWOTUS's avatar

@Jaxk

Shame on you for forgetting about child care and health insurance. And of course, education, which is considered “a right” these days… by that crowd.

Jaxk's avatar

@CWOTUS

Point well taken. I am ashamed that I limited thier demands to such a fugal list.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, I think we should live in a “entitlement society,” as you call it. There should be a basic minimum living standard that society helps all of its members achieve. And this living standard should ideally be somewhat better than an unemployed person living in sub-Saharan Africa.

I also think we already do live in a different sort of “entitlement society.” Wealthy people and conservatives feel they are entitled to 100% of their income, as if they earn their income in a vacuum through sheer force of will, hard work and ingenuity, completely apart from society and less fortunate people, apart from the government that supplies them with infrastructure and enforces property rights, etc.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I feel A/C is a luxury for most Americans, but most people don’t live where it actually gets hot enough to endanger human life. I hear stories of poor/homeless people freezing to death, but any human who physically can’t handle 100 degrees probably qualities for other aid; most of the people I hear about dying during a heat wave are elderly. Deodorant is also a bit of a luxury, but a bar of soap and a shower to use it in are pretty much required to get/keep a job.

I get the feeling that you, like many, don’t get the difference between a hand up and a handout. Am I right? You have to draw the line somewhere, but you seem to draw the line at the right to merely exist while I draw it at the minimum necessary to survive and be able to become a productive member of society. I also have the naive belief that having more people able to get/keep a job, the lower our poverty rate will be, the smaller our government can be since they won’t have to subsidize nearly as many people or have so many employees and agencies to administer those programs, and that we might actually come close to the ideals set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as opposed to becoming like China.

As for education… look at all of the jobs that require a degree. Many won’t even look at high school dropouts. Now, if you can change things so that your ability to get a job are based more on your skill/knowledge than how much schooling tove had, I would agree with you there, but education level is the only way employers have to judge competence unless they want to spend more time/money screening applicants.

jerv's avatar

@CWOTUS So, you are in favor of keeping people out of the workforce, consider reproduction and health to be privilege s reserved for the rich, and want to return to the days when only royalty and clergy were literate, eh?

This is 2011, not 1411. Feudalism is dead.

CWOTUS's avatar

@jerv

You keep presenting these false dichotomies, as if my “not wanting to provide” someone else’s sustenance means that I want to deny it to them. The former is true, the latter is not. The latter does not follow from the former.

jerv's avatar

@CWOTUS The end result is the same. If they can’t get it themselves then either it is given to them or denied to them.

Qingu's avatar

@CWOTUS, part of the problem is that there is little profit incentive to provide cheap education for 100% of a country’s people, or to provide health care insurance for sick people.

If you are saying the government should not provide these things, you are in effect saying that poor people should not have them. Because there are no examples anywhere of such things existing universally through private businesses alone.

jerv's avatar

@Qingu However, there are places where the government provides a basic level and those who can afford it can get better.

rOs's avatar

Who/whatever the solution is, it won’t matter as long as money can influence the election and the elected. We have to prosecute the criminals in power; which will probably require a specially appointed, independent legal team. Naturally, we have to be careful to not remove this cancer too fast – or it will bring it’s whole host down with it.

At this point, I’ve shared almost every piece of evidence I’ve found, with as many people as possible. I’ve encountered friction from people who spew the nonsense gleaned from bought-media, and from people who simply don’t think it pertains to them. The worst is defending a completely fictional ‘truth’, while ignoring or simply denying the credibility of any opposing evidence.

We’re so protective and loyal to certain people, ideas, and most often to our own ego/success, that we refuse to see any common ground. We refuse to challenge exceptionalism as long as we’re still the “exception”. It’s hard to condemn, because most of us seem to have been raised that way. We fear the risk of being cast out or judged to be different, so we keep our mouth shut – believing it to be the wise thing to do. (which is why you may have heard the problem referred to as “control by fear”)

It’s shameful, just look at all the ways we lie to ourselves and others to justify harmful practices. It’s acceptable- we pass it on to our kids without any consideration to the impact this cultural decision is having on the world. The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. We don’t care for each other – by design. The unchecked capitalism has made us forget our humanity, seeking profit with little regard to people is the status quo.

The fact is, we’re all part of one of the biggest Ponzi Schemes ever orchestrated. It needs to be publicly acknowledged and addressed, soon.. They tried to warn us about the housing bubble, and we all know what happened there – are we just going to wait for this bigger bubble to pop, too? It’s time we all break free of the prison called consumerism, and put the voice of the People back into Politics. We can get back to routine and progress later; when everyone is ensured food, shelter, and education.

This is a relevant, re-framed, re-post. The attached article is the star of the show.

Qingu's avatar

@jerv, yes, that’s the model that most liberals advocate.

Qingu's avatar

@rOs, I think it’s naive to expect that money won’t influence politics one day. Money is power, ipso facto. Politics is the wielding of power in a democracy. We can try to limit how money influences politics, and we can try to spread money (i.e. power) around more fairly. Right now, however, we’re losing those battles… and it’s almost uniformly thanks to Republicans (and Republican-appointed SCOTUS judges).

jerv's avatar

What I find odd is that these people complain that they don’t want government infringing on their “right” to be rich, but they have no problems with those who actually hold power denying the right to live self-sufficiently to the masses.

It’s not that they hate regulation and control; it’s that they want unelected people doing the controlling. They conveniently overlook the fact that the big companies and the rich are a de facto government.

rOs's avatar

If you watched that indisputably epic vid I posted, you’d know that both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for the “tens of billions of dollars being extracted from America [into the pockets of the bankers and corps]”.

It takes two to tango – All of this partisanship is distracting from the real issue. “Abandon the bought-congress” and let our politicians operate honestly without fear of being ‘blacklisted’ and smeared by the corporate media for disagreeing with %1-endorsed policies. We can blame the other guy all day long, but I think it’s becoming more obvious to people that ‘left/right politics’ are a joke. They distract from the people who are really at the helm.

Qingu's avatar

@jerv, it’s also why the myth of “pulling yourself up by your own bootstrap” is so central to conservative ideology.

It helps such people convince themselves that they’re not abusing their power because, if those have-not folks wanted that stuff, they’d just work hard, educate themselves, and compete in the free market to get it.

Sort of like how Col. Qaddafi always insists that he’s not actually the dictator of Libya, he’s actually just an honorary figure like the Queen of England and that the Libyan people are actually in control of Libya. He just neglects to point out that he and his family hold the lion’s share of the wealth and political connections in Libya and the Libyan people who control Libya do so by their proximity to his power base.

Qingu's avatar

@rOs, sorry, but no.

There are some Democrats who deserve blame.

Almost all Republicans deserve blame. In fact, the things you are complaining about are absolutely central to Republican ideology. Meanwhile many Democrats have campaigned and fought for the very ideas that you’re talking about here.

It’s not a joke, and it’s sad that people like yourself are more interested in railing against “the politicians” than considering nuances and supporting politicians who are on your side.

I guess it’s always more fun to paint yourself as “fighting the system/the man” but in reality that system is going to exist no matter what, and you’re simply ceding control of that system to people who are willing to participate in the democratic process, as messy and corrupt as it might be.

jerv's avatar

^ This.

CWOTUS's avatar

Okay, you’ve all convinced me. You’re right, and I’ve been wrong all along. Health care, food, education, cell phones, child care, clean air and water, of course, adequate clothing and shoes, air conditioning and/or heat where needed, indoor plumbing and safe neighborhoods are all human rights. Everyone should be guaranteed those things. (Oh, and a decent retirement from a good job paying a ‘living wage’, too. Can’t forget that.)

But you guys are all pikers. If these things are human rights, then why stop at the borders of the United States? They’re human rights, after all. Everyone in the world should have these things. Tomorrow.

Since we agree that human rights are universal, then these don’t stop at this planet, either. God help any sentient human-like creatures we find elsewhere, because they’re going to get our human rights, too good and hard, as Mencken would have said.

wilma's avatar

@jerv, …it’s not much of a stretch to say that America is two different countries.

In the South and Midwest, you can live fairly well on $15k/yr, but in Boston that won’t even pay your rent let alone utilities and food.

So you aren’t exactly wrong, but you are only right about your part of America. And too many people__think that our entire country is like where they live; an assumption that I find naive at best.

Exactly, so all that South and Midwest and all that big space in-between the big cities is not like where you live or where they live. Basic needs can be very different depending on various factors. I know that all of America is not like where I live, but apparently some folks think that if you aren’t in an urban area, you don’t count. I might be wrong but I believe that there are people in urban areas that are just as ignorant about rural places as the reverse. In a country this big, you can’t always solve problems with one kind of fix, yet that is often what is proposed.

jerv's avatar

@CWOTUS If a society is rich enough to make it happen like ours is, yes. Now don’t get me wrong; just compensation is also a right. That means that a person who works should be able to at least feed themselves while somebody who works five times as hard does not deserve one thousand times the compensation as happens now.

As for not stopping at the US borders, we don’t, but needs elsewhere are not always as great as they are here either, nor is the inequality. What other wealthy, industrialized nation treats it’s people as badly as we do anyways? Rising tides should lift all boats, not just luxury yachts.

You also have to bear in mind that costs here are higher. Compare rents in the US to, say, Kenya. Last time I was in Mombasa, damn near everything was cheaper. We also have higher demands for employment; many places don’t require reliable transportation as a condition of employment the way we do here; that makes living here cost more too. And many jobs require an education level that many don’t have, so unless we educate more people, many positions can’t be filled while there are not enough jobs that have lower requirements to employ all of those who couldn’t afford a degree. That leads to high unemployment and thus more government (and taxpayer) expense.

We make our own pain.

Qingu's avatar

@CWOTUS everyone in the world should have those things, I agree. And I think we should earnestly work towards making that a reality. This is why, for example, I strongly support (and am encouraged by) better labor laws in China.

I should also note that I strongly believe that government is incapable of producing a lot of this stuff. A centrally-run electronics government producer would not work at all. Market competition is primarily responsible for the huge developments in electronics tech (and the fact that it’s gotten cheap and universally available). But the infrastructure that lots of these devices run on? You need government for that.

But anyway, I’m not really sure what point you’re trying to make with your sarcasm. (I’m assuming you’re sarcastic). Are you trying to say that such things, while moral, are practically infeasible to offer to everyone?

CWOTUS's avatar

@jerv & @Qingu

You’re backpedaling. I said “rights”; now you’re equivocating to “needs” and “should have”.

I’m not sarcastic in the least when I agree that people have needs and that they should have access to these things – and the right to earn them. But they aren’t “rights” when they have to be produced and provided by others.

jerv's avatar

@CWOTUS You have a right to things you need, like food, shelter, and a basic level of medical care. If you cannot get those things yourself through no fault of your own, those basics are to be provided to you in order to at least have an existence worthy of human dignity.

You also have the right to work in order to get more than that minimum, and the right to be compensated fairly for said work. As for education, that is where we differ from much of the world; as stated previously, here education is closely tied to ability to work. However, looking at it from a financial perspective, think of it as an investment.

As for the argument that it isn’t a right if something must be given to you, that runs into a few problems, but I don’t have the time to really get into that right now beyond saying that you are basically saying that the rich don’t have a right to all of their money, and that you seem to condone an almost solipsistic attitude towards humanity.

Qingu's avatar

@CWOTUS, I think that’s quibbling. The right to vote, in the southern US before (and during) the civil rights movement, had to “be provided by others”—the federal government had to come in and enforce blacks’ right to vote. Voting itself is a service that costs money and requires physical goods (ballots, machines, physical voting booths, etc) to provide as well.

rOs's avatar

@Qingu I think you misunderstand me. For example, I was very excited to hear that Obama had voiced his approval of the protests today.

As for “painting myself as fighting the system/the man”; my ‘internet voice’ is an exaggeration of myself – I have consistently maintained that my opinions are possibly flawed (just like everyone else). I have also continued to insist that people consider the information I have posted – letting their own skepticism guide them toward a better understanding of any subject. If my chosen articles are incorrect, however – I will gladly admit my mistake.

The goal is that we stop wasting time talking, and realize that protests are what catalyzed the changes in the 60’s. We need to have an open, honest, and pragmatic dialogue about the shady dealings of the Organized Criminal Class (they finance wars and engineer economic crashes for profit), and their influence on American Citizens (Propaganda permeates most of our entertainment and news); with or without our Politicians. They have to decide where their loyalties lie – People or Profit?

Until then, my objective will be to avoid distracting conversation, focus on the real issues, and hopefully increase awareness about global trends. Without public awareness of the way our money is used, and they way our country (and really the world) is ran, there can be no hope for change. As long as the money is concentrated in the hands of the oppressors (also known as corporations), they will only seek to humor and placate us while continuing their callous profiteering. I’ve heard tell that Big Business’s are the “lifeblood” of our Economy. I have implied that this mechanized Greed is a cancer in our society. Well, if there isn’t some cooperation or acknowledgement of misdeeds by these criminals – we might just need a blood transfusion.

Obvious Statement to criminals like the Koch Brothers – Funding illegal wars, rigging elections, blocking votes, blackmailing employees, selling discord through misinformation, etc are all on notice. Read – Extensive List of Crimes. These guys are just one example of what I’m talking about – and they do this because they can get away with it. Come on people, wake up. We have a voice, but it won’t be heard without help.

jerv's avatar

@rOs What you want isn’t political change; it’s a societal change. There are a lot of people like @Jaxk and @CWOTUS who fervently support our current way of doing things, and they vote too. The downside to living someplace where you and I can voice our opinions and have a say in government is that they have the same voice and equal say.

So long as there are plenty of people like them around (and there are plenty of them), change is unlikely. That is a sad fact of life.

That said, the Tea Party started out as a similar group; a vocal minority of pissed-off people who managed to get some degree of power and change things, so there is hope.

flo's avatar

@bkcunningham did you click on the link I posted? it is your own statement. “All I’m asking, @flo, is this, is it wrong or illegal?”

Qingu's avatar

@rOs, fair enough. I think we’re in substantive agreement. I just think we need to be careful. You brought up the 60’s, well, the protest movement fizzled, those people did not vote reliably, and shortly thereafter conservatives largely took over the political process and rule it to this day. And to this day hippie liberals and activist types do not vote reliably.

Conservatives win not just because they cater to powerful moneyed interests but also because their voters have a cultlike mentality and can get in line and obey the group leaders. Trying to get liberals to vote for the lesser of two evils is like herding cats, especially youth.

Like I said earlier, I’m all for raising awareness, and I don’t want to sully this movement with infighting. But I also think this movement needs to be grounded in political reality, and be fully prepared to act politically to achieve our goals. That could take the form of a pressure movement to force Dems more leftward (like the Tea Party on the right), or a GOTV organization—ideally both. But if it’s just people protesting “elites” and lumping both parties together into that category, nothing will happen. It’s just going to end up being a bunch of hippies protesting vaguely against the man, and then the Republicans and their Tea Partiers who vote will continue to make gains.

jerv's avatar

@Qingu True that! I know Liberals who are so anti-system that they adamantly refuse to get a drivers license, claiming that it they are a totalitarian Statist plot. Do you think those people will register to vote? Do you think you can get people like that to do anything involving any real degree of coordination?

It’s a good thing for Occupy Seattle that Mayor McGinn is sympathetic enough to retroactively issue permits since that crowd seems more intent on fighting the system and rebelling than in actually changing things. And historically, that anti-system sentiment goes so far that the instant that the movement gets any sort of organization, the leaders are seen as fascist sell-out traitors.

On the other side of the fence, we have people who are used to subverting their personal desires and free will for a cause, and who have no problem marching in lock-step. As the Romans proved centuries ago to Boadicea, organization trumps heart, and that is how a group like the Tea Party can easily do things that Occupy cannot; organization.

wundayatta's avatar

@CWOTUS I’m not sure what your idea of “rights” is.

In my opinion, the term “rights” is really a set of social aspirations. That is, we, as a society, want to make sure everyone has the things we call “rights.” We may wish that other societies tried to guarantee the same rights, but that is not our direct responsibility, especially if one of the rights we wish societies to have is the right to decide, on their own, how their society should be run.

I believe we should aspire to guarantee everyone access to a minimum level of health care. Also a minimum standard of living. I think that our society, as a whole, benefits from this. I believe we all benefit from the right to life and liberty and the right to vote, as well.

None of these things are possible unless just about everyone agrees that they should be rights. Until then, they are not rights, except as an aspirational thing. It’s a right if we, as a society, put our might and muscle behind it. Until then, it is not a right. It is only a wish.

I think that in reality, that is what the term means. However, people use the term rhetorically as if the right already existed; as if it somehow exists without any human agency involved. This is properly understood, I believe, as a rhetorical technique. A right is not real until we actually guarantee it. Up until then, it is merely an aspiration.

CWOTUS's avatar

@wundayatta

The Wikipedia definition is better than anything I could come up with on my own without a whole lot more time than I want to spend in coming up with another one right now:

Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory. Rights are of essential importance in such disciplines as law and ethics, especially theories of justice and deontology.

Rights are often considered fundamental to civilization, being regarded as established pillars of society and culture, and the history of social conflicts can be found in the history of each right and its development. The connection between rights and struggle cannot be overstated — rights are not as much granted or endowed as they are fought for and claimed, and the essence of struggles past and ancient are encoded in the spirit of current concepts of rights and their modern formulations.

You have a right to eat, certainly, but you don’t have a right to demand food from my table. You have a right to work, but you don’t have a right to demand that I provide you “a job”. You have a right to speak your mind, but you don’t have a right to demand that I listen.

Surely you know me well enough by now to know that I want people to live, and live well and happily – as long as their happiness is dependent upon their own work and families, and they aren’t looting from others “just because they can afford it”. Of course our society – any society – would benefit from having productive, well-fed and healthy citizens.

I don’t know how you can assert that “none of these things are possible unless just about everyone agrees that they should be rights”. There’s no basis for that statement other than your assertion. Even in most of Europe, where your assertion might meet with more universal agreement, that’s not the case. It’s still just an aspiration.

In my view, “rights” are not manufactured and produced by others and awarded as commodities. That’s a perversion of the word. Even @Qingu‘s claim that “the right to vote” for black people in the US South had to be “provided by others” is false. The right to vote obviously has to be a function of a democratic government. That doesn’t have to be “provided” by government, simply “not withheld”.

I’m still half blown away by being labeled ‘solipsistic’.

wundayatta's avatar

@CWOTUS I don’t see a difference between we, a people, providing ourselves a “right” and using the mechanism of our government to provide ourselves a right. Other than that I see nothing in your post that I can disagree with.

Alas.

;-)

Qingu's avatar

@CWOTUS, what is a right if you cannot practically exercise it?

If I am a black person living in Jim Crow South, and I cannot actually vote because the white people running the polling stations abuse me, does my “right” actually exist?

The question is academic; the fact of the matter is that rights are meaningless unless they are enforced by government. And “provided” is, to me, just another way of thinking about “enforced.”

rOs's avatar

@CWOTUS No one wants to take food from your table, nor do they necessarily care if you listen. Once again, I call attention to these simple facts. Unless you’re netting over $1b a year, avoiding taxation, generating interest off the public’s money, and/or blackmailing a policy maker with financial threats; you’re not really the problem. Blind devotion to any ideology is regressive – Instead of seeing the protests as a call for “hand outs”, why not see them as an investment opportunity? With more people becoming educated in politics, it’s likely that we’re going to see some really exciting ideas emerge.

Why take the side of the richest of the rich, like the above-mentioned Koch Brothers, despite obvious crimes against humanity? Conflict of interest with your job? The fact is, there is more than enough money to improve our educational system – We can eliminate the need for frivolousness welfare spending if we all make the collective choice to raise a more self-sufficient society.

rOs's avatar

*Wishful thinking that the mega-rich will suddenly become compassionate aside…

@Qingu @jerv You’re points are well-taken. Upon further consideration, I’d be more than happy to support a political process. However, the protesters won’t back a candidate unless they’re completely convinced that he/she is legit.

I saw this great clip from RT with Bill Maher. Florida Congressman, Alan Grayson, cuts to the core of some vital issues. I was very impressed by his candor. I really mean it, this clip is Epic.

jerv's avatar

@CWOTUS Ethical… social convention… well, I suppose that if you only care about your own clique and don’t give a rats ass about the rest of society, you can continue to ignore those things. However, that lack of concern for humanity is why I used the word solipsistic. You basically have three choices; a hand up, a handout, or be a third world country. Of those, I prefer a hand up.

Qingu's avatar

@rOs, the protesters had better back Obama against whatever troglydote the Republicans nominate.

Response moderated
rOs's avatar

Damn just listen to this kid go… wow

Jaxk's avatar

You need to decide if you want everyone to earn a good living or give them a good living. If you do the latter, you won’t get the former.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I would like to see people given a living and a chance to earn a good living. I don’t want people starving, homeless, or unable to get a job that they would be able and willing to do if they had a chance. However, I don’t want to give them too much either; I will give you government cheese, but you have to buy your own Brie, if you catch my drift.

What gets me it’s that the lack of giving winds up costing us taxpayers more in the long run, so I regard those that want to cut certain programs as penny-wise but pound foolish. It takes money to save money, and I would think that those who complain about finances all the time would know that.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, I don’t want to give anyone a “good” living. I want to give everyone a minimally acceptable standard of living along with the chance to earn a good living if they work and study hard.

(what jerv said)

bkcunningham's avatar

@rOs, was there something particular on the Warren Mosler site you wanted us to read or was your question, what do we think of the site and Mosler? I couldn’t find a specific article called, “fixing the economy” on the site.

flo's avatar

@bkcunningham I don’t see the article either but could it be referring to what is illegal and what is unethical, and that we should do neither? Do not misappropriate tax payers money. See our conversation above.

bkcunningham's avatar

lol, @flo. If you are trying to make change, be prepared to get arrested if you do something illegal. Even if you are positive, by your standards, you are doing the ethical thing, be prepared to pay the consequences if you break the current laws on the books.

flo's avatar

@bkcunningham don’t misappropriate tax payers money, for religion or anything else.

bkcunningham's avatar

If I do, @flo, you make sure to prosecute me under the letter of the law.

flo's avatar

@bkcunningham Okay. There was nothing in my postings anywhere that indicated that people should not be prepared to “pay the consequences if you break the current laws on the books.” right?

bkcunningham's avatar

To be honest, @flo, it was so many posts ago; I can’t remember. But I will take your word on what you said. :) Edit: It was also on another thread if I remember that much correctly.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv & @Qingu

All good in theory. The problem is that when you supply a minimum standard of living some will take that and contribute nothing. The question becomes how many you think will game the system and how many you think is tolerable. I suspect we have differing opinions on both of these.

About 10% of our population has a substance abuse problem. A good portion of them either won’t work or can’t work. By proving free food, shelter, etc., etc., are we making the problem better or worse? It sounds very sympathetic to provide all these things, but it’s not really that simple. And that’s not even getting into the cost.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Funny! See, as I recall, when Florida started testing welfare recipients, only 2% failed the drug test… one-fifth the rate of the general population.

But, for the moment, I will accept your number merely to avoid a long tangent. My take is that if you want to hurt 90% in order to avoid paying for 10%, you care about money so much more than people that, if I didn’t know you better, I would think that you have no soul. Now let us extend that logic; some corporate execs are corrupt, so lets prosecute them all. Many businesses fail within the first year, so never invest in a startup, not even your own.

Don’t get me wrong, gaming the system is an issue. What you don’t get is that rich people also game the system, and that is what Occupy is trying to end. Meanwhile, you take issue with giving people basic necessities because a small fraction of them are rotten apples, yet you have no problem giving other groups billions even though no smaller percentage of them are rotten, and quite a few are committing fraud on a far grander scale than your typical welfare queen.

I abhor double standards.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, yes, some people will take advantage of society without contributing anything back to it. I’m not sure what you believe should be done about such people, or more pressingly, their children. Let them die? Let their kids go uneducated?

Something I’ve always respected about conservative ideology is its concern about incentives. And I agree that society should not incentivize “cheaters.” But I don’t think providing a minimum amount of welfare is much incentive. More importantly, you’re simply not offering a solution to this problem. Such people do not actually “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps” with a very few rare exceptions. Without a safety net they have basically no way to improve themselves should they so choose, and their kids are fucked for life.

If you want to say that society should not take care of losers and cheaters, you need to explain exactly what you think will happen to them if society does not, and why you think that situation is preferable.

As far as costs, every other Western country can afford it.

jerv's avatar

Put another way, work has incentives. I like beer. I like having a smartphone. I like my 32” flatscreen that I use as a monitor for my computer when I don’t feel like using my laptop. I couldn’t get those things when I was unemployed; every penny the government gave me went to household expenses. Now that I work, I can have those luxuries.

If luxuries are not an incentive them why do rich people seek more money than they already have?

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu, I’m curious how and what programs you would want to change and/or add to the system of federal and state aid we offer people now.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

I find it interesting that this thread is about the OWS which offers no ideas but only complains about the current problems. But that aside, I think Newt has a great suggestion that anyone accepting a hand up must go through some training to become productive. Job training of some sort. I kind of like that idea since it provides a way forward for those in need but also provides a limit on how long they can expect to receive that help.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham, public education and child care. (I’m wary of just throwing money at public education system because that hasn’t seemed to work. Some schools really are underfunded of course, and part of the problem is the local tax structure that pays for schooling. I honestly don’t know how to fix it, and whatever fix isn’t going to be easy. But at the same time, other countries with public schools do a lot better than we do at educating their kids. I’d also like to see more funding for college. State schools used to be virtually free. That said, I’m honestly not sure what the future is for college education to begin with. So I’ll fully admit I don’t have many concrete ideas over how to improve and implement the education “safety net,” I just think it’s something our government should commit itself to tackling.)

I’d like to see the government pay for day care for parents who need it.

I’d like to see an infrastructure bank that automatically activates during recessions. (Basically a set of pre-approved “shovel ready” projects that the government maintains at the ready so if (and only if) we’re in high unemployment it can quickly hire workers to do the projects.)

I’d like to see the government provide single-payer health care. Unfortunately this is a political pipe dream in the near future. But it works. Lacking this, I’m glad “Obamacare” at least subsidizes health care for more Americans than Medicaid alone and has concrete ways to reign in costs.

Those are the big ones off the top of my head. On top of welfare and UI. And I want to stress that I would not support, like, outlawing private education or private insurance—they can exist side by side.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, I actually think that’s a good idea. I’d totally support semi-mandatory job training for welfare and even UI.

I think OWS is sort of a mirror image of the Tea Party. They’re loosely organized around opposition to a vaguely defined enemy, and they’re pretty self-aggrandizing too. I do think OWS’ complaints are more based in reality and I think their ideology is more grounded in empathy, however. So I support them.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

I may not have a soul but I’ve got a brain. The Florida law requires the recipient to turn in the results. 22% of those that took the test didn’t turn in the results. You don’t have to be a member of MENSA to figure out why.

bkcunningham's avatar

TANF does offer job training opportunities and other skills trainings to recepients.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, I don’t want to turn this into a legalization discussion—and I don’t think unemployed people should be wasting their money on any drugs (including alcohol)—but I wonder how many of those people were smoking marijuana. Abuse is one thing, but I wouldn’t deny benefits to a casual pot smoker anymore than I’d deny benefits to an unemployed person who occasionally has a beer.

In any case, it’s not like you can buy either weed or beer with food stamps.

bkcunningham's avatar

Just off the top of my head, @Qinqu, so I know there are more: Head Start, Early Start, Dependent Care Tax Credits, Parents in Schools Programs, 21st Century Community Learning Centers (or something like that, I can’t remember the exact name), Title XX Block Grants, USDA monies for daycare providers for who care for low income children….

Qingu's avatar

You know, I started writing my response to you without actually reading your original post closely. :)

I realize a lot of what I’m suggesting is not new or “change,” I for some reason thought you were asking about my general stance/goals on entitlements.

And like I said, I’m not sure how to best change public education funding. It’s not working right, but changing it is like squeezing a balloon.

Jaxk's avatar

@Qingu

I have no doubt there were a lot that failed as a result of MJ. Nonetheless, if you want to move ahead, how hard is it to give it up til you’re back on your feet. I feel the same way about alcohol. If it is that tough to give up for a while, then you’re using it too much. I’m not unsympathetic to MJ users. I’m not ready to legalize it but I wouldn’t lose any sleep if it were legal either. The problem is how do you tell who is the casual user and who is habitual.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I don’t know where you got that number, though I found a few that said that only 96% passed while 2% declined. Then again, I can see how you might confuse a 2 and a 22; I need new glasses myself :D

Also, while I may seem to be all about helping people out, the truth is that I am a bit more limited in scope than you may think. I want to help those who want to help themselves; those who are willing to be productive members of society but can’t be through no fault of their own. I have what I have because I am willing to make a few sacrifices, and I expect those that are unemployed to do the same; to contribute in their own way. Just because I am more altruistic than you seem to be, that doesn’t mean I am a fan of waste, fraud, and abuse, nor that I like to waste money the way you seem to think.

@Qingu When it comes to public education, it’s not how much money you spend, but how it is spent. Right now, it is spent on teaching to a test, and trying to get people out 13 years after they go in regardless of their actual level of academic knowledge. When I went to school years ago, it was spent preparing kids for either life or for college. Higher education has it’s own issues that make it almost a scam, but getting into that would be a long digression. I think that there is plenty that could be done to improve schools without increased funding though; we did a lot better twenty years ago.

Qingu's avatar

@Jaxk, I dunno. It wouldn’t be a problem for me, but I’m lucky to have a moderate personality. Some people like drinking. If you were unemployed, and you had to swear off drinking to collect UI, how would that make you feel?

@jerv, I’m not unsympathetic to that idea. The obsession with testing is a huge problem with NCLB. But how do you enforce standards? Whatever they are? “Preparing kids for life and college” strikes me as a hopelessly vague goal/standard. To what extent do you cede authority to locals who too often don’t know a thing about education? It’s one of those things where I’m open to a lot of ideas for changing the system… I just don’t want to stop funding the system, like conservatives who want to abolish the DoE.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Qingu, one of your statements made me think about the role of the ED. I’m not looking for an argument, just a brief discussion on the pros and cons of this cabinet level agency. What say you?

jerv's avatar

@Qingu There is the trick, but I am tired and not up for that discussion.

Qingu's avatar

I see the DoE’s role to ensure a miminum standard of education (and access to education which is just as important in some cases) in public schools.

But I am very open to the idea that different students should have different standards. So more accurately I guess I’d see them as ensuring a “set of standards” universally.

bkcunningham's avatar

From the USED’s website: ...the Department does not
establish schools and colleges;
develop curricula;
set requirements for enrollment and graduation;
determine state education standards; or
develop or implement testing to measure whether states are meeting their education standards.*
These are responsibilities handled by the various states and districts as well as by public and private organizations of all kinds, not by the U.S. Department of Education.

* Since 1969, the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics has conducted the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). It is the only nationally representative and continuing assessment of what American students know and can do in major academic subjects and provides a wealth of data about the condition of education in the U.S. NAEP is not the same as testing done by each state to measure how well its students meet the state’s academic standards; however, a large discrepancy between children’s proficiency on a state’s test and their performance on NAEP may suggest the state needs to take a closer look at its standards and assessments and consider making improvements.

Qingu's avatar

@bkcunningham NCLB wades into curricula standards and I would support a federally mandated curriculum standard as long as it was intelligently done.

This is because I believe that kids in Texas where a local school board has determined that schools need to teach how a Mesopotamian god used magic to mold animals out of clay deserves equal opportunity to become a biologist as a kid in Massachussetts where science is taught.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Wrong. If many sources cite a 96/2/2 breakdown and very few (in this case, one) cite the numbers you quoted, then either the weight of the evidence works against you or there is still confusion. I am giving the benefit of a doubt and looking for more corroboration, preferably from sources that don’t insist that Obama is a Muslim or that Perry is the antichrist. Regardless, it isn’t cut-and-dried.

In the meantime, how many of those people who refuse are drug-negative and merely feel that testing is an unconstitutional invasion or are otherwise just refusing on general principle? And are those who do use drugs less human and thus less deserving of basic survival? And please don’t pull the “not on my dime” argument unless you truly do care more about money than people; if nothing else, I don’t want to support them either but my compassion towards humanity outweighs my attachment to any desire to save money.. not that the cost of testing isn’t almost enough to negate the savings in FL.

Jaxk's avatar

@jerv

This is the New York Times for god’s sake. Not exactly a bastion of conservative thought. Believe whatever you like. You’ve obviously got your mind made up. Try the Huffington Post they usually come up with some bizarre ways to manipulate data.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk You underestimate my skepticism. As for the Huff, I regard it as a good place to get alternative views and a laugh, but I don’t take them seriously either, at least not without corroboration.

As for manipulating data, I know Conservatives are pros at that, and I suspect Liberals are good at it too but I have too many other reasons to question their credibility to bother seeing how wrong their figures are.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@jerv Anyone in the game for any length of time can manipulate data

I think a lot of Republicans in Congress are scared by the “P” word, and have received credible threats that if they do not vote the party line they will be “primaried”, put up against another candidate who will have plenty of First Amendment (as in “Citizens United”) financial support.

jerv's avatar

@Yetanotheruser Exactly! Nobody has a monopoly on that.

choreplay's avatar

@rOs Yes, I care. This thread was very informative, had to wade through a lot but the basic interest of the movement are what I thought they were and very important to overwhelming issues that need to be addressed.
.
To sum up what I learned, this quote from the Forbes article does it well: “The main themes were stopping corporate greed especially special interests impact on the political process, economic inequality and joblessness, an unjust government.”
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I think the confusion comes from the impact of all the corruption and how it is rampant in so many different aspects of our lives. From ridiculous medical cost, to corporations like the gas companies, communication companies and banks getting away with criminal activity that is behind their uncheck gouging of America. I will set up an additional fluther question to give voice to all our personal experiences with these monsters. Stay tuned.
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I would be categorized as a conservative Christian republican and I AM pleased and excited about the movement and think it will continue to snow ball. I am sick of the partisanship that gums up the whole process and I may not affiliate with any political party in the future.
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The thing I am disappointed about though is this side or that side trying to claim it as there own. I am a little humored by the signs that we are the 99% but we’re not the tea party and we’re not the right. Isn’t that math off a little, lol. My point is we are all affected and we are all on board, 99% of us is the accurate part of those statements. There is too much common ground in this mess for this movement to belong to any one side. Given the breadth of all this there is plenty of room for partisan debate of how it happened or how to fix it, but I will and hope that all involved refrain from being partisan. I think we can all find common ground and common solutions for the egregious parts of this mess.

choreplay's avatar

Here is my new question. How close to home is the Occupy Wall Street Movement to you?

flo's avatar

Is there anything that says the movement has to be only about the political system/economy?

YARNLADY's avatar

@flo No one really knows what it is. The name seems to imply people who are disgruntled with the current economic policies.

rOs's avatar

@YARNLADY Are you intentionally ignoring my posts?

Confined to our homes and offices; some happy with the status quo; some still convinced that our political party has our best interests in mind; most of us unaware of the rising tide… The protesters call to us, “We shall reclaim our humanity when we denounce exceptionalism”. Protests are the spark, Social Media is the tinder, and Public Opinion will be the fuel.

It’s been called a global revolution against Crony Capitalism, a demand for a fair tax system, a call for basic human rights. Etc, etc… The list of wrongs against the 99% (that’s us, btw) is far to long to be addressed with one simple message – hence my dedication to dissemination. The protests themselves are nothing more than a catalyst for what is really needed – an awakening of public consciousness. We need to snap out of our media fueled, selfish consumer lifestyles, and pragmatically address the suffering world – together. More than ever, we need all thinking people contributing to the conversation. It’s not going to get better or go away if we remain skeptic or apathetic, nor is it going to go away if we keep attacking each other. True Democracy requires Participation!

Until we can all agree about what is actually happening, there can be no “justice for all”.

If I can’t convince you, maybe Lemony Snicket can?

rOs's avatar

Consider the following. For optional vinyl selection, click here :)

Q u o t e R e v o l u t i o n—

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” ~ John F. Kennedy

“Common sense is not so common.” ~ Voltaire

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you – pull your beard, flick your face – to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor. ~ John Lennon

Why Anti-OWS Speech Scares Me

must watch ===>>Pulizer Prize-Winning Chris Hedges in Times Square, October 15, 2011

(edit ^prior post, second paragraph^ – **too*)

Qingu's avatar

What I don’t get about the backlash is this characterization of OWS folks as iPad owners who hypocritcally hate corporations but love Apple products.

I mean I’m sure there are some hipsters among OWS. I own Apple products myself. But the unemployed hippies at the protests? You think they have iPads? I thought the primary consumers of iPads were like middle aged housewives and grandparents who don’t know how to click a mouse?

YARNLADY's avatar

@rOs OK to put it another way; everyone knows what it is, and everyone thinks their opinion is the right one.

flo's avatar

@YARNLADY I mean does it have to remain that way?

-There is entertainment that glamorizes/excuses bullying like South Park etc.

-Raising awareness about the virus that has “60 minutes” doing practically a free ad for South Park.

-“Toddlers and Tiarra” (effectively peddling ones’s own children, winking at pediophiles, and practicing child labor)

YARNLADY's avatar

@flo It’s a easy as herding cats.

choreplay's avatar

@YARNLADY do you not think my post here sums it up?
or
My personal experience here give examples of how lopsided things are getting?

rOs's avatar

Mounting Evidence:

Straight from my hometown KC – William Black on Democracy Now!
*Highly Recommended – Comprehensive piece from a credible source. (This guy has received death threats for saying this stuff, so it must be good!)

From the Senator’s Office in VT – Bernie Sanders: GAO Finds Serious Conflicts at the Fed

flo's avatar

@rOs great posts!

rOs's avatar

Court Hearings!

Fed Reserve Rep Lying about 3 Trillion Missing Tax Dollars

Bernanke – Trying to Hide His Horns

WHY DOES NOBODY TALK ABOUT THIS STUFF?? Why doesn’t the President address these concerns?

rOs's avatar

Progress! Article V Convention for Proposing Amendments

1:45 – Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig
7:20 – Founder and National Coordinator for Tea Party Patriots (I’m surprised to agree with him)

choreplay's avatar

@rOs this isn’t about one side or the other, this about the egregious bull that is going on in Washington, and we all need to stand together to put a stop to it.

@flo all you did was reference my post. What was your point?

jerv's avatar

If anyone cares, Oakland has teargas, beatings, sound cannons, and police in riot gear right now (~8:10PM 10/25/11)

Also here

rOs's avatar

@choreplay I didn’t intend to imply otherwise. We need to seriously consider Article V as a solution. We – the 99% – all need to come together to make it work.

@jerv Yeah, they shot rubber bullets too… it’s shameful, isn’t it? Democracy NOW will be covering it later. This is what we get for asking our government to end corruption?

choreplay's avatar

@rOs absolutely,

But what are the core reforms that are needed that most Americans will agree upon

1) Set spending limits of campaigns with no private contributions
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2) Balanced budget (there will be a price to pay for this, as many people and entities supported by the government will have to stand on their own or fail/live in abject poverty). It will suck in the short run but ensure the continuance of our great nation.
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3) Isolation of Social Security with only enough change to perpetuate it. Everything that the government owes to Social Security is due for repayment immediately.
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4) Flat Income Tax for all
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Line item veto
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Separation of church corporations and state, but seriously, eliminate any influence private business has on government.
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What else is on the table?
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How about no new loans/aid/charity to foreign countries, especially the ones that are hostile to us. This is complicated though, if we are too isolationist it will come back to bite us in the arss.
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What about the electoral college
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How about more than just congressional oversight for the Federal Reserve. I’m not even sure where to start with regard to the Federal Reserve lets just say major rethinking. Obligation to protect the general public with priority over the private banks.
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I understand that we need to care for those that can’t care for themselves but if this becomes an entitlement free for all, we’re screwed. My fear is that the general public will want more entitlement like free cell phones, really!?
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Also if changes encroach on civil liberties it won’t be palatable to the general public.
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I think the winning formula is to minimize and simplify. Pick the most core critical issues that all/most political spectrums agree on and change those.

jerv's avatar

@choreplay Flat Tax is only palatable to those who would profit from it and those who suck at math, so I think it a stretch to say that most Americans would support that.And Line Item Veto would have the practical effect of giving Legislative power to the Executive branch.

Too much simplification may look good in theory, but it is more likely to bite us in the ass.

choreplay's avatar

@jerv, what would be on your top agenda to reform if we had a constitutional convention. I really believe there is so much here that is supported by such a wide range of the American people. What needs to be fixed?

flo's avatar

No concentration of media outlets.

jerv's avatar

@choreplay Here are my top things;

1) Money out of politics – Corporations may be people too, but each person should have equal access to our government. Government is supposed to be of the people, for the people, and by the people; let us get back to that.

2) Financial sustainability – This one has a few parts to it.

2a) A balanced budget is ideal because you can’t spend more than you earn forever. Sadly, given the clusterfuck we are in right now, we have to spend some now in order to avoid spending far more down the road.

2b) Take care of those Americans that cannot take care of themselves. Not all of the unemployed are the sort of people many Conservatives make them out to be. There is this delusion that giving money to the rich to invest will create jobs and allow the poor to either become self-sufficient or prove that they are worthless while giving money to the poor is Socialism that unduly penalizes success. Those people also seem to feel that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is utter bullshit.
As recent history has shown, giving money to the rich only allows the rich to get more money for themselves and forces the government to take care of the poor, of which there are many more since only the rich are seeing their income rise while more and more people are out of work and thus forced to suck from Uncle Sam’s teat.
Basically, get rid of Supply-side economics. It was discredited back when it was called “Horse and sparrow”, and it has been proven to be unsustainable at best. Put all the money at the top and those at the bottom have nothing to spend. Since a healthy economy depends on money moving around, this leads to an unhealthy economy.

2c) Our tax code needs serious work, but a flat tax is not the answer. There are plenty of dodges available to the top earners and big corporations that are not available to the little guys, resulting in small businesses (the ones who do most of the employing) getting raped on tax day while multi-billion-dollar entities pay zero.
Why should the little guy subsidize the rich? Close those loopholes!

3) Abolish the Electoral College – A straight popular vote would be unwieldy, but how about if we go by Congressional district? Though the numbers have changed since then, I recall that in the 1984 election, it was theoretically possible to win with 50%+1 vote in 13 states even if your opponent received 100% in the other 37.
Going by district would mean that if you wanted Florida’s 29 votes, you would need to win 29 races instead of one. It would mean that a candidate could no longer win by just hitting a few key cities, but would have to appeal to all Americans in order to win a seat in the Oval Office.

4) Return to the US Constitution – The Fourth Amendment no longer applies to roughly two-thirds of Americans. The First Amendment has taken more blows than can be counted (and the Protect IP act may be another doozy), and much of the rest has been either neutralized, marginalized, or just plain ignored. The only one that seems to get any play any more is the Tenth Amendment, and even then, only when it is convenient.
That has to stop. Our forefathers wrote a decent document detailing what sort of nation they wanted, and it’s nothing like what we have.

rOs's avatar

As if anyone needed anymore proofThe One Percent, a documentary by Jamie Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune. He sheds light on the greed addiction that allows a small number of wealthy families to hoard wealth, while the middle/lower classes are left to drown. He shows how fear and ego manifest into the disease we call “selfishness”.

Wrise Up!!!

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

November 1, 2011 @1916 EDT

Up to the minute boots on the ground Twitter:
http://twitter.com/#!/search/OWS
and
http://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23OWS

CSPAN OWS Video:
http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN2/

Harvard Students Support OWS: Walkout planned for economics class taught by desciple of Milton Friedman (The Nation). http://www.thenation.com/blog/164311/harvard-students-walk-out-mankiw

Democracy Now:
http://www.democracynow.org/2011/11/1/headlines#4

Reddit: OWS not about redistribution of wealth… It is about the redistribution of power back into the hands of the people…

rojo's avatar

I have read all the above and STILL do not know whether Fluther cares about the Occupy movement or not.

rojo's avatar

Sorry about the double strike. It is late and the beer is flowing.

jerv's avatar

Care to share?

rojo's avatar

I would be happy to. Just don’t know how to get a pale ale to you.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Another Jelly had this posted elsewhere…I’m sharing this here as I think it’s BRILLANT.

You can OWS from anywhere in America by doing this with your bank/credit card junk mail.

choreplay's avatar

@SpatzieLover I’ve been using those envelops for years. cut up the ap and send it back.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@choreplay Well, I’d never though of it. Marvelous idea! Maybe if enough people do it they’d get the message? I dunno.

wilma's avatar

@SpatzieLover and @choreplay I have also been doing that for years. I always send back all the junk that they send me.

EverRose11's avatar

“Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it…It really is worth fighting for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk everything, you risk even more.” – Erica Jong

flo's avatar

Edit to add: No concentration of ownership of media outlets.

likipie's avatar

Kitchen sink? Anyway, the Occupy Movement brings up a great point: most average Americans don’t know (or don’t want to know) what’s really going on with these big banks. There is a HUGE FREAKING PROBLEM here and we are either too ignorant to notice or refuse to realize what’s happening. They’re pretty much screwing us, taking the money and running with it. Granted they’re not leaving with the money but you get my point. It’s ridiculous how much these people are being payed (and to do what???) when us middle/lower class men are literally scrounging for money under our couch cushions. We cannot possibly end corruption in these large corporations by going to the government (which is corrupted too!) individually. We have to force these changes to happen with numbers. We have to convince our neighbors and our friends to join the movement and after we get the majority of the people in our country to run with us then the government has no choice but to change what’s happening behind closed doors. Either they make some changes or America will join the few remaining countries that believe in communism. We are the 99%. Let’s get 99% of the US population to join in our fight for economic equality and get on with the change.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@likipie
Great answer and solution, however, you need to get one thing straight: As long as our elections are financed the way they are, as long as we have the system of bribery we call lobbying and as long as the heavy cross-polination of Wall Street and the Treasury continues, the government isn’t just corrupt, it is the employee of the banks. Your elected officials, in both parties, work for the people who finance their elections. Undrestand it and change it.

likipie's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus I can honestly say I have never thought of it that way.

wundayatta's avatar

Seems to me that if you ever voted Republican, then you are responsible for putting these campaign finance rules into place. The parties are not all the same.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@wundayatta Ha. Both so-called parties vote for wars that empty the treasury into corporate pockets and have no benifit to the general population, they both overwhelmingly vote for civil rights reduction (in the case of the first Patriot Act, they did so admittedly without reading the bill), they both take the side of the corporation over the welfare of the citizen who actually vote them into office, they both work for the people who pay for their elections and are abetted by the FEC. On the important issues, they are the same. In order to give the illusion of democracy, they appear to be different parties, but this is just opera buffa to keep us divided and distracted from the truth which is that this democracy was stolen long ago.

wundayatta's avatar

If it was stolen, and we can’t imagine a difference, does it matter?

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

It always matters when democracy is removed, be it by war, a court, or the insidious subversion of a constitution. In the case of the latter in the US, corporations have slowly become more powerful than the government and have been assisted by the complacency of the citizen. Democracy is all the common citzen has to affect change in one’s government. If taken away, as in the case of the United States, all you have left is a corporatocracy—a government by the corporation and for the corporation.

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