Category Archives: Bill of Rights

Occupy: We are not Hippies, Drunks, Vagrants, Homeless, or Lazy

Hateful and bigoted comments appearing in the Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News comments following articles about the Occupy movement are shameful and have no place in the America I believe in.

Unfortunately, the mainstream media continually focus on the camps and the people in them who fit certain stereotypes, and they are constantly on the lookout for bad behavior by a few, arrests, and police brutality.

I have been documenting the movement in Maine since the beginning with a focus, almost exclusively, on those of us who do not camp out in public places, but come from all walks of life. Most are well-educated, working people who love the country but don’t like the scene. This movement is far bigger than the encampments. In NYC, for example, there are only a few hundred people camping out, but tens of thousands taking to the streets to demonstrate against a political and financial system that has run amok.

It is amazing how those same people who hurl vicious slurs against the people who make up the Occupy movement and are exercising their Constitutional Rights (Article I of the Bill of Rights) to peaceable assembly, freedom of speech, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,

  • don’t like the partisan gridlock in Washington and the fact that our representatives are all bought and paid for by corporations and lobbies and do not represent us (Congress’ approval rating is at 9%);
  • agree that our political system is dysfunctional and broken
  • agree that Wall St. has forced the economy to the brink of disaster;
  • they are outraged that the bailout money was used to reward their executives with million dollar bonuses;
  • they agree that hedge funds, junk bonds, derivatives, Ponzi schemes, and other financial gimmicks have cheated them out of their 501Ks and pensions;
  • they agree that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have added billions to the national debt;
  • and they are concerned that unemployment is hovering just below 10% nationally

These are the main reasons why this movement will not go away until these crimes against the American people are eliminated. On the contrary, it continues to grow exponentially every day. In fact, this movement has grown faster and spread wider than the Civil Rights Movement and the protests against the war in Vietnam. This movement will not go away until We The People take back our country and restore it based on the Constitution which guarantees life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all. The Constitution is based on the belief that true democracy is concerned for the common good and not the interests of any one person or group of persons.

Occupy Liberty Square Response

This Is What Democracy Looks Like: Huge General Assembly in Progress at Liberty Square

Posted 30 minutes ago on Nov. 15, 2011, 8:40 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement Persevere

The feeling here at Liberty Square tonight is the feeling of a movement that is rising, building, and making headway.

Following the 1am eviction of Liberty Square early this morning and a long day of legal wrangling, the park was reoccupied late this afternoon. This evening, just after 7pm, the first General Assembly at the reoccupied park began. Using our ‘people’s mic’, we declared together:

“They showed us their power. And we’re showing them ours.”

We are here because we believe a better world is possible. We are willing to endure mistreatment, if by doing so we can help re-enfranchise the 99% and reclaim our democracy from the stranglehold of Wall Street and the top one percent.

We will push back against billionaire Michael Bloomberg and any politician who wantonly tramples on proud American freedoms: freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the freedom of Americans to peaceably assemble and petition for change.

We will overcome the obstacles placed before us. We will not be deterred. We will persevere. Our message is resonating across America, and our cause is shared by millions around the world. We are the 99%, and we want to live in a world that is for all of us — not just for those who have amassed great wealth and power.

You cannot evict an idea whose time has come.

NYC Occupy Movement Response to the Raid

Occupy Wall Street

You can’t evict an idea whose time has come.

Posted on Nov. 15, 2011, 1:36 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

A massive police force is presently evicting Liberty Square, home of Occupy Wall Street for the past two months and birthplace of the 99% movement that has spread across the country and around the world

The raid started just after 1:00am. Supporters and allies are mobilizing throughout the city, presently converging at Foley Square. Supporters are also planning public actions for the coming days, including occupation actions.

You can’t evict an idea whose time has come.

Two months ago a few hundred New Yorkers set up an encampment at the doorstep of Wall Street. Since then, Occupy Wall Street has become a national and even international symbol — with similarly styled occupations popping up in cities and towns across America and around the world. A growing popular movement has significantly altered the national narrative about our economy, our democracy, and our future.

Americans are talking about the consolidation of wealth and power in our society, and the stranglehold that the top 1% have over our political system. More and more Americans are seeing the crises of our economy and our democracy as systemic problems, that require collective action to remedy. More and more Americans are identifying as part of the 99%, and saying “enough!”

This burgeoning movement is more than a protest, more than an occupation, and more than any tactic. The “us” in the movement is far broader than those who are able to participate in physical occupation. The movement is everyone who sends supplies, everyone who talks to their friends and families about the underlying issues, everyone who takes some form of action to get involved in this civic process.

This moment is nothing short of America rediscovering the strength we hold when we come together as citizens to take action to address crises that impact us all.

Such a movement cannot be evicted. Some politicians may physically remove us from public spaces — our spaces — and, physically, they may succeed. But we are engaged in a battle over ideas. Our idea is that our political structures should serve us, the people — all of us, not just those who have amassed great wealth and power. We believe that is a highly popular idea, and that is why so many people have come so quickly to identify with Occupy Wall Street and the 99% movement.

 You cannot evict an idea whose time has come.

NYC Wall Street Occupiers Evicted

Daniel Webster, in the U.S. Senate on January 26, 1830, discussing the limitations of state’s rights and the supremacy of federal law had this to say:

“It is, Sir, the people’s government, made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people. The people of the United States have declared that this Constitution shall be the supreme law.”

Early this morning, riot police and even anti-terrorist units from the NYPD forcibly arrested and evicted the Wall Street Occupiers from Liberty Plaza. Billionaire Mayor Bloomberg said they could demonstrate in the park, but no tents. He went on to say they would have to use the strength of their arguments in the future. “The strength of their arguments?”

When millions of Americans, and millions more around the world, stand in solidarity against the oppression of those who govern and rule the financial world, he has the f-ing balls to question the strength of their arguments?

Here are a few thoughts about this gross and blatant denial of our constitutional rights!

  1. The American Constitution guarantees everyone the right to free speech and to peaceably assemble.
  2. “No law shall be passed abridging the rights of the people
    peaceably to assemble …” – New York State Constitution

  3. Where’s President Obama in all of this? We send billions in weapons and aid to assist the popular uprisings in the Middle East, and insist that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria step down for killing thousands of his own citizens and denying them the right to create their own future, but right here in America the same things are happening and he does nothing?

  4. Where are President Obama and Secretary of  State Hillary Clinton opposing those who abuse the basic human rights in far-off lands, but do nothing when our rights, protected by the Constitution (which he swore to protect), are being denied.
  5. Those in power lose their right to govern when they oppress their own people or when they fail to protect them: Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo, the mayors and police commissioners around the country who are using force to disperse the Occupiers, Congress and finally, President Obama.
  6. In 1936 President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent in the national guard to protect the workers of General Motors who went on strike and had occupied several plants. He sent the guard in to protect them from the local police who were sent in to evict them and crush the union.
  7. NYPD sent in the anti-terrorist unit last night to assist with the eviction, when the real terrorists are on Wall Street and in corporate board rooms. After 9/11, the NYPD were heroes to all. What a shame  they have turned on their own citizens. Will they say they were just following orders? Will they say the Occupiers were breaking the law?

All of this is happening in other places where ruthless tyrants have been oppressing and killing their own people for years and even centuries. I can’t believe this is happening in the United States of America, the land of the free.

I posted a blog yesterday entitled, “Violence is just a ‘spark’ away.” Bloomberg, President Obama, those in Congress, those on Wall Street, and those anywhere in this country that choose to use the power of the police against their own citizens or to turn a blind eye to what is happening will discover “the strength of their argument” when millions more rise up and force them to listen.

We The People are making the argument, peacefully for now, that this is our country. The closing words of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863 is what Occupy is all about, should anyone doubt.

“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Lost Faith in My Parents’ Generation

If this is all you read on line this week, read this and pass it on.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/penn-state-my-final-loss-of-faith/2011/11/11/gIQAwmiIDN_blog.html

Posted at 06:58 PM ET, 11/11/2011

Penn State, my final loss of faith

By Thomas L. Day

I’m 31, an Iraq war veteran, a Penn State graduate, a Catholic, a native of State College, acquaintance of Jerry Sandusky’s, and a product of his Second Mile foundation.

And I have fully lost faith in the leadership of my parents’ generation.


Penn State football coach Joe Paterno arrives home Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, in State College, Pa. (Matt Rourke – AP)

(Read Day’s follow up to this post in his chat Monday with readers here. )

I was never harmed by Sandusky, but I could have been. When I was 15, my mother, then looking for a little direction for her teenage son, introduced me to the Second Mile’s Friend Fitness program. It was a program resembling Big Brother, Big Sister with a weekly exercise regimen.

Instead of Sandusky’s care, I was sent to a group of adults, many of whom were in their 20s. They took me from a C-student to the University of Chicago, where I’m a master’s student now. They took the football team’s waterboy and made a 101st Airborne Division soldier.

I was one of the lucky ones. My experience with Second Mile was a good one. I should feel fortunate, blessed even, that I was never harmed. Yet instead this week has left me deeply shaken, wondering what will come of the foundation, the university, and the community that made me into a man.

One thing I know for certain: A leader must emerge from Happy Valley to tie our community together again, and it won’t come from our parents’ generation.

They have failed us, over and over and over again.

I speak not specifically of our parents — I have two loving ones — but of the public leaders our parents’ generation has produced. With the demise of my own community’s two most revered leaders, Sandusky and Joe Paterno, I have decided to continue to respect my elders, but to politely tell them, “Out of my way.”

They have had their time to lead. Time’s up. I’m tired of waiting for them to live up to obligations.

Think of the world our parents’ generation inherited. They inherited a country of boundless economic prosperity and the highest admiration overseas, produced by the hands of their mothers and fathers. They were safe. For most, they were endowed opportunities to succeed, to prosper, and build on their parents’ work.

For those of us in our 20s and early 30s, this is not the world we are inheriting.

We looked to Washington to lead us after September 11th. I remember telling my college roommates, in a spate of emotion, that I was thinking of enlisting in the military in the days after the attacks. I expected legions of us — at the orders of our leader — to do the same. But nobody asked us. Instead we were told to go shopping.

The times following September 11th called for leadership, not reckless, gluttonous tax cuts. But our leaders then, as now, seemed more concerned with flattery. Then -House Majority Leader and now-convicted felon Tom Delay told us, “nothing is more important in the face of a war than cutting taxes.” Not exactly Churchillian stuff.

Those of us who did enlist were ordered into Iraq on the promise of being “greeted as liberators,” in the words of our then-vice president. Several thousand of us are dead from that false promise.

We looked for leadership from our churches, and were told to fight not poverty or injustice, but gay marriage. In the Catholic Church, we were told to blame the media, not the abusive priests, not the bishops, not the Vatican, for making us feel that our church has failed us in its sex abuse scandal and cover-up.

Our parents’ generation has balked at the tough decisions required to preserve our country’s sacred entitlements, leaving us to clean up the mess. They let the infrastructure built with their fathers’ hands crumble like a stale cookie. They downgraded our nation’s credit rating. They seem content to hand us a debt exceeding the size of our entire economy, rather than brave a fight against the fortunate and entrenched interests on K Street and Wall Street.

Now we are asking for jobs and are being told we aren’t good enough, to the tune of 3.3 million unemployed workers between the ages of 25 and 34.

This failure of a generation is as true in the halls of Congress as it is at Penn State.

Perhaps the most vivid illustration this week of our leaderless culture came with the riots in State College that followed Paterno’s dismissal. The display resembled Lord of the Flies. Without revered figures from the older generation to lead them, thousands of students at one of the country’s best state universities acted like children home alone.

This week the world found the very worst of human nature in my idyllic Central Pennsylvania home. I found that a man my community had anointed a teacher and nurturer of children, instead reportedly had them hiding in his basement. The anger and humiliation were more than I could bear. I can’t wait for my parents’ generation’s Joshua any longer. They’ve lost my faith.

Thomas Day is a graduate student at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

Violence is Just a “Spark” Away

http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/14/us/occupy-movement/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

With city officials reacting to the peaceful protests and occupation of public places, riot squads are sent in to dismantle camps. This is a volatile mix of anger, fear, frustration, and police brutality that will most assuredly lead to violence. Some trigger happy riot cops will kill peaceful protestors and the spark “seen round the world” will ignite.

A young person asked me today “where is it all going?” My reply was that it would not be peaceful. I lived through the 60’s and 70’s and know that when people are poor, without work and healthcare, without hope, and are angry….it doesn’t take much to trigger a violent revolution. Unfortunately, it is the only thing those in power understand.

This could all be avoided IF money was taken out of political elections. Congress, and state legislators are bought and paid for my the rich and powerful. America is no longer a democracy. That is a fact that more and more people are beginning to understand. Unfortunately, Snowe, Collins, Michaud here in Maine still don’t get it! Pelosi, Boehner, McConnell, and maybe even Obama still don’t get it. We The People are sick and tired of it and deserve and want better. This is not a Democratic or Republican Party issue…this is a matter of Democracy being undermined by the rich and powerful and our politicians losing their moral compass.

I’m afraid to say it, but the end will be revolution….and there will be violence. It is the only thing “they” will understand and THEY will provoke it!

FDR Fought Economic Injustice With the National Guard and His Economic Bill of Rights

The Occupy movement has its roots in and found its voice in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Economic Bill of Rights. Please read this and share it. It is a moral compass for the path we are on today, not only in this country but around the world.

In 1936  hundreds of men and women took over GM plants and occupied them for 45 days, and their actions beat the corporation and was the beginning of the middle class. When the local police were sent in to break the strike and force the protestors out, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent in the National Guard….not to end the strike, but to force the police to back off and to protect the protestors from violence and police brutality. Amazing contrast with what is happening today in Portland, Oregon, Oakland, CA, Denver, and other cities.

In his last state-of-the-union address to the nation, he was so ill that he could not appear before Congress to deliver it, choosing instead to deliver it by radio. When he had finished, he went before television cameras to deliver his “Economic Bill of Rights.” Here is what he proposed:

“It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.”[3] People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens.

For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world. “

FDR died before WWII ended and before his Economic Bill of Rights could be enacted. It is now up to all of us – We The People – to reclaim our rights and our country.

Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” portrays this in a magnificent way. If you haven’t seen it yet, see it. And if you have seen it, watch it again. The Occupy Movement which is growing exponentially all over the world found its voice in this documentary.