Category Archives: Occupy Wall Street

The Axis of Evil: Congress, Corporations, Wall St Bankers

In the latest edition of our Occupy Maine TV Show I commented on Occupy Maine after the end of the encampment which came on February 10th, 2011. Many angry, hateful and anonymous cowards called Occupiers a variety of disparaging names. For them, the eviction of the encampment in Lincoln Park will be a victory.

But, they are in for a surprise. Occupy was never about encampments. Rather it is a new and radically different form of protest. Different from  singles issue group that advocate for causes that range from the environment, social services, health care, and a variety of groups wanting to end the wars.

I refer to the illicit union between Congress, Corporations, and Wall St. Bankers – bound together by big money as the Axis of Evil. By that I mean it is the root cause of all of our social, environmental, educational, and societal problems. We, The People, are no longer represented by our government and our rights and freedoms have been taken away and stolen for decades.

This segment of the show graphically demonstrates the disparity of wealth between the 1% and the 99%, and how the very rich and corporations are not and have not been paying their fair share for fifty years….thanks to Congress.

Here’s that segment:

Sen. Bernie Sander’s (I Vermont) Amazing Speech

I just watched this most incredible speech by Vermont’s Independent Senator, Bernie Sanders. Quite frankly, I’ve never seen or heard anything like it. He is publicly chastising Congress for it’s assault on the middle class.

If anyone is wondering what the Occupy Movement is all about,  watch this speech which I believe ranks right up there with the greatest in American History.

http://youtu.be/Tq1zpHF0J04

Portland, Maine – “We Should Continue to Go the Extra Mile”

Newly elected Mayor, Michael Brennan, in his first city council meeting said, “The issues here are deep enough…that we should continue to go the extra mile” in keeping the dialogue open between the city and Occupy Maine.

Mayor Brennan also said, “We are not interested in being Oakland. We are not interested in being New York. We are interested in respecting the citizens in this city who are trying to articulate legitimate concerns about our economic situation.”

While the city council voted 8-1 to deny Occupy Maine a permit to occupy Lincoln Park 24/7 for the next six months, all expressed their belief in the rights of free speech, peaceable assembly, and agreed with many or most of the concerns of the movement.

Unlike other cities and the University of California Davis that have unleashed police in riot gear to forcibly evict Occupy protestors from public places, the City of Portland, Maine is exercising patience and tolerance of the Occupy Maine encampment in Lincoln Park. The council could have ended the Occupy Maine encampment immediately.

Councilor John Anton summed up the dilemma between the right of free speech and peaceable assembly and the city’s obligation to enforce local ordinances when he said, “I believe we do our best work as a council when we are challenged out of our comfort zone. That’s what you are doing and I’m willing to take that challenge.

That is precisely what the Occupy Movement is all about: moving people out of their comfort zones by the encampment, the protests, and yes…civil disobedience. Councilor David Marshall broke ranks with his fellow councilors by casting the only “yes” vote in favor of granting Occupy Maine a permit. In doing so, he said, “I respect the opinions of my colleagues in wanting to uphold the ordinances of the city, but I’m going to uphold the right to peacefully assemble.”

And that is the question that will eventually be settled in the courts: does the United States Constitution trump local ordinances?

And so, for now, the City of Portland, Maine will continue to work with Occupy Maine to find a solution and to go the extra mile. In doing so, Maine has become a model for the rest of the nation.

Occupy Maine Moving Forward

On December 7, 2011, the Portland, Maine City Council will hold an open hearing on the future of the camp at Lincoln Park. The City deserves praise for not resorting to violence and threats in dealing with the people who have been camping in the park for two months. It seems that the city and the Portland police have respected the right of protestors to exercise free speech and have exercised understanding and patience while much of the rest of the country has resorted to violence and brutality on innocent citizens.

However, I believe the city has legitimate concerns about health and safety issues at the camp such as the danger of fire. Smoking and the use of propane heaters in proximity to  bails of hay and straw surrounding tents is a tragedy waiting to happen. Concerns about cleanliness in the preparation of food is also another legitimate public health concern.

Serious discussion about the future of the encampment has been ongoing for two weeks and many of the occupiers are resigned to being evicted. Before it comes to that, it would be best if the occupiers would leave on their own and seek a compromise with the city to allow the dome, library, and an information tent in Lincoln Park as a focal point for the protest and a visible symbol of the movement.

Unfortunately, all of the attention by the media has been on the camps and violence while the core messages of corporate greed, political corruption, and the crimes committed by Wall St. and the banks have been ignored.

The fact that occupiers of the camp are mostly homeless people says more about the city’s homeless policy than it does about the Occupy movement. Most of the 99% live at home; we work, raise families and pay our bills. The park should be available as a focal point for the exercise of freedom of speech and public discourse on the state of the union.

Not everyone is talking about the camp. Here’s what some of Maine’s 99% had to say on Sunday in a strategy sessions looking to the future of the movement.

Flash of Genius – One Man’s Fight Against The Corporation

Last night, we watched a wonderful  docudrama based on the true story of a man who fought one of the world’s largest corporations….and won.  Flash of Genius tells the story of inventor Robert Kearns, who developed the modern intermittent windshield wiper. Kearns submitted the invention to each of the big three auto companies, each of which stole his invention. Kearns spent several decades fighting the Ford Motor Company and eventually was awarded over 30 million dollars in damages. (Actually the court scene in the movie portrayed Ford, but in reality he defended himself against Chrysler and won. The Ford trial was conducted by his attorneys and ended with a big settlement, but no verdict that Ford willfully stole his patent. Check out Wikipedia for the facts. A little artistic/Hollywood license)

Flash of Genius shows how large corporations will stop at nothing to make a profit and how one man who stood fast on his principles and beliefs brought Ford and Chrysler to their knees. This true story should inspire those of us who believe that we can change the corporate, political and financial systems that have forced our economy to the brink.

Occupy is a global movement against corporate greed and corrupt financial and political systems which support and protect them at the expense of the common good. We, the 99%, can and will win this battle because we now are controlling the conversation and we have more votes than the 1%. Democracy is coming to the USA!

Check out Wikipedia for the facts and details of the case and the life of Robert Kearns.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Kearns

The Wall Street Protest’s Channel

This compilation is an good example of what really creative people can do. It is awesome. Martin Luther King and Barack Obama, brutal police crackdowns on our own people, an angry white student and an angry African American lending their voices in protest to what is wrong in this country.

Calling All Churches, Synagogues and Mosques

In yesterday’s blog about violence being a good thing, I expressed my surprise that the churches of America have been conspicuously absent from the Occupy Movement.

Today, I am calling on all churches, synagogues and mosques to file out of their pews and into the streets armed with their holy scriptures and join the Occupy Movement against social injustice, economic inequality, and the violation of our Constitutional Rights.

It is time to take their sermons into our public places now or risk becoming irrelevant in the greatest conservation this country has had in a generation. This goes way beyond gay rights, contraception, divorce and remarriage, Catholic vs Protestant vs Jew vs Muslim. Occupy is a fundamental expression of everything all Americans hold sacred: true democracy, freedom of expression, the freedom to peaceable assembly, the freedom to place our common grievances before the Government.

Church leaders have been condemning the violent persecution and oppression of peoples in far-off lands at the hands of brutal dictators. But, where are they when our own children attending universities are brutally attacked, beaten and sprayed with chemicals? Where are they when senior citizens are dragged off and arrested? Where are they when members of their own denominations are beaten on the streets of NY, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, Oakland, and Chicago?

Where is the outrage coming from the pulpits of America at the crimes of Wall Street and the banks that have forced their own into poverty, foreclosures, and unemployment? Where is the outrage at a government that has become the pawns  of corporate American?

Today, I call on every church, synagogue and mosque, not to open their doors to those camping out, but to get out there in the streets and public places and join in the demand for a better country, for social justice, for economic equality, and for a government that represents all of the people.

Police Attacks on Demonstrators is Actually a Good Thing!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmJmmnMkuEM&w=640&h=360]

This video shot at UC Davis during a peacefull Occupy Movement protest, captures a campus policeman  mercilessly pepper-spraying seated, non-threatening UC Davis students who were … protesting police brutality.

How is this, and dozens of other examples of police beating and spraying peaceful demonstrators a good thing some might ask? Well, contrary to what the “authorities” and the police might think, this only adds fuel to the fire and is the best recruiting tool we have.

As Americans we are outraged at a corrupt political and economic system that serves the interests of the few and not the common good. But until now, until Occupy Wall St., we were without a voice. We are outraged to see riot police and anti-terrorist units from NYC to Seattle mercilessly beating and spraying peaceful Americans who are exercising their Constitutional Right to peaceable assembly, the exercise of free speech, and the right to express our grievances to the Government. (The Bill of Rights)

As Americans we have to wonder about the hypocrisy when our President and Secretary of State condemn the very same acts of brutality and violence we have witnessed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya,  and Syria to name just a few, at the hands of oppressive dictatorships. So, I ask, why have President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton remained silent when our own mayors and governors are unleashing such brutality on our own people?

Police brutality and violence on our own people is a good thing because this will only cause students from Maine to California to stand in solidarity with each other and all of us who are protesting injustice and inequality in America. Just yesterday,  students at Casco Bay High School in Portland, Maine formed an Occupy support group and published a Facebook page. This will hopefully encourage other high schools to form their own groups.

And maybe churches of all denominations will realize that they need to be involved in this movement. I find it ironic that  churches which have traditionally been at the center of social justice and human rights issues have been mysteriously silent and invisible. It is time for them to convert their holy book messages and sermons into action and take to the streets. The churches in America have the infrastructure to educate, lead, and mobilize millions of Americans who have been standing on the sidelines.

When our churches and educational campuses show up en masse, this movement, which has been spreading like wildfire, will explode in every corner of America from border to border and from sea to shinning sea!

Dr. Martin Luther King showed us that non-violent protests can and will overcome injustice and inequality, and the willingness to be beaten and to die for a just cause can inspire a nation and change the order of the world.

(To see more videos of police brutality on Occupy demonstrators, go to Youtube.com and type Police Brutality into the search bar.)