The occupy movements have hit the country by storm, there is no doubt about that. Not only has the movement literally sprouted from New York to Los Angeles, but there is even Occupy in other countries. I have spent a good amount of time at the Occupy Long Beach site, so I have a pretty good feeling of just how many people support, and who is part of this very small 99%.
About 60 people come and go at Occupy Long Beach. Granted, Lincoln Park is not known for its large fields of grass and ample space. It seems almost like a cultivated group of people that feel comfortable here. "A lot of these people seem like they don't have much else to do, even if they weren't here," said Amber S., a local resident who was walking her dog near the park.
Occupy Long Beach does not seem to be very organized and when someone offered unity between a lot of the Occupy movements, everyone rejected it. The protesters did not seem too happy about the way that the LBPD treated them on their first night so some decided to do some civil disobedience. A grand total of 4 people decided to stay in their tents afther LBPD made it clear the park was closed and they would get arrested. Two people, including Louis (above), simply got citations and were released after a few minutes. The other two got taken away, one of which was taken for resisting arrest. The crowd chanted ther names as the police escoted the detainees to some near-by vans and the "We love you!" was heard throughout the mass. Funny it seems that a couple kids in their early 20s, a man in his 60s and a 17 year old are the ones getting in legal trouble but suddenly the crowd is all for following the law.
The Occupy Wall Street, with its "bail us out" message, is one that many can get behind. Occupy Long Beach is a bit unclear with their message. I understand that everyone is there for their own reasons, but without a unifying cause, you get little support. It is a great idea with poor execution.
Have you passed by the Occupy Long Beach site? If so, what have you seen? What do you REALLY think about OLB?
You do have a good idea here...but I do not think it is an either/or situation in this case either. A multi-faceted approach is needed for such a complex problem.
I would agree except that the occupy movement doesn't have any clear platform. Other groups have clear, concise, prioritization goals. Lower taxes, smaller government, and less government interference in the private sector - including drafting laws that punish small business as a result of K Street Lobbying and influence.
Preface: Please don't accuse me of working for the banks or Koch, or anybody. I am not trying to undermine anything. Here's my take on bank transfer day and why it is going to hurt your group.
That being said. I am a firm supporter of consumerism and believe that Americans have the right, in a free-market, capitalist society, to take their business from any company they don't want to do business with, and to conduct business with any company they prefer to conduct business with.
How are you working towards this Sybil? Come down to a meeting and share your wisdom.
I have found that most of the time I try to talk to the "occupy" crowd, online, I am attacked at a personal level, accused of working for the Koch brothers, accused of being paid to "troll," have been called stupid, ignorant, uneducated, and much more. I appreciate you speaking to me as a human being.
The occupy movement and I have very different fundamental values and beliefs.
I am a capitalist. I believe in the principals on which America was founded.
I am not rich. I am a college graduate. I have a degree in business finance. I am not ignorant to how banks, investment houses, and Wall Street work. I am not employed. I am a homeowner. I am hanging on by my fingertips.
I don't want to punish or shut down the banks. I want our elected representatives to stop accepting bribes or to be prosecuted for accepting them. I want the politicians to get out of the bankers' beds.
I want Congress and the President (whoever that is at the time) to stop wasting billions upon trillions of our tax dollars on useless BS, payback for political support, pet "projects," and foreign aid. I don't care what a shrimp does when put on a treadmill, but I care very much about how American seniors can afford to survive after Congress gets done raping the Social Security fund. If they spent our money wisely and prudently, we would have more than enough to support this nation, protect and defend our borders, fund Social Security and Medicare, provide for the truly needy, and provide the best education on the planet.
I don't want to end corporation person-hood. I understand the need for corporate person-hood. Without it there would be zero protection for shareholders and grandma would be held financially liable for the debts of the corporation just because she owned stock in that corporation. I want the politicians to get out of the corporations' beds
I don't want to shut down the stock market or close down Wall Street. Both serve a valid purpose. I want our elected representatives and the SEC to do what we pay them to do and prosecute illegal acts.
I don't want socialized health care. I want less government interference in my healthcare. I want to be able to deal with my doctor and have decisions made by my doctor in my best interest. I want to be able to shop rates and prices for medical services. I want to be able to shop for insurance from companies in other states that have better rates. I want government to get out of bed with the insurance companies - not to take down the insurance companies.
I don't want to join or support a union. Most are as corrupt as the government. We have laws that protect workers. IMO, unions have outlived their purpose. I am capable of negotiating my own employment contract and any the terms of my benefit package. I don't want to be a party to strikes and punitive measures against my employer over a 3% pay raise or an additional $100 annual contribution toward health insurance.
I don't want a guaranteed living wage. I want to be paid based on my knowledge, experience, performance, and usefulness.
I don't want preferential hiring. I want to be hired because I have proven to be the best candidate.
I don't want my student loans forgiven. I want the universities to properly mange their budgets in order to keep tuition affordable. CSULB raised fees at the same time they were building a new parking structure, considering a new workout gym, and remodeling the student center. I want my government to spending American tax dollars on educating the illegal masses. I am not a racist. I am a law abiding citizen and believe it is unconscionable to incentivise illegal entry into this country.
What good is a high speed rail when nobody can find a job? Prioritize! How does a shovel ready job benefit college educated women, unemployed 40 somethings, hair dressers, store clerks, art history majors, et al? What good is a new bridge when people are losing their cars to repossession?
This is the 21st century, programs from the 1920's are not going to work.
Sybil, you don't understand the issue of corporate personhood that we're referring to. As a former business owner, I know that shareholders are not responsible for corporate debt (and never were before the Citizens United decision) unless they personally guarantee a loan or contract. If they sign a contract as a shareholder, they are not responsible.
I do understand the corporate personhood issue. It existed long before Citizens United decision. It was the underlying basis for that decision. The U.S. Supreme Court did not, in the Citizens United decision, suddenly declare corporations to be persons. All they did was declare that one of the limitations on corporate speech could not be justified in light of the U.S. Constitution (First Amendment).
As a matter of Constitutional law, the majority’s argument was simply that the First Amendment applies to speech per se, not to the speech of men or humans or persons or anything else. Just speech.
Imagine 100 like-minded people band together to speak on electoral politics. Now further imagine that they decide to incorporate. Under McCain-Finegold, that corporation is not allowed to print or broadcast any statements about electoral politics.
If those 100 people held a rally — a form of social organization designed to amplify individual voices — and at that rally chanted slogans for or against a particular candidate, that would be perfectly legal. But having formed a corporation they are now banned from speaking (except separately, as individuals).
This is the issue that was addressed in Citizens United. The Court was correct in protecting the rights of the sharelholders as being equal to any other gorup of persons with regard to free speech protections.
If corporations were not in some sense persons, they could not sign contracts and own property or do any of the other things that makes them useful to us.
The piece of legislation that the U.S. Supreme Court declared, in part, unconstitutional — the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 — itself treats corporations as persons, since it imposes criminal sanctions on certain kinds of corporate behavior.
Lol. You seem confused. During one moment, you regurgitate many of the Koch bros. talking points. And in another, you come off as one of Ron Paul's minions. I don't get it. You're for 'small government," but then, you want Medicare and Social Security. Which one is it? Your whole thesis is a contradiction.
Wow! you just figured out that I am capable of independent thought. I study the issues, the Constitution, the arguments and proposals, the pros and cons, and follow the money. I had never heard of the Koch Brothers until accused of working for them, and I can't stand Ron Paul.
Social Security and Medicare were never meant to become a huge bureaucratic monstrosity. It was a very simple proposal. Pay into it now and collect later. The problem was that at its inception, nobody had yet paid into it. It was a pay it forward proposition. It was supposed to be a sort of trust fund. Congress granted themselves authority to borrow against those funds. Unfortunately, they never actually put any money back.
Long story short - what should be a fairly self -supporting fund after earning compounded-interest for 78 years, is nothing but a stack of useless, special-Issue, bonds that are not traded in the capital markets, where investors could infuse them with cash value. In reality, they are merely IOUs that obligate tomorrow's Congresses to finance the Treasury's future Social Security checks by raising taxes, approving increased federal borrowing or cutting retirement benefits.
The key reason those special-issue bonds have no value is that the money that should be behind them - the excess payroll taxes not spent on today's retirees - instead gets spent by Congress on everything from farm subsidies to national parks to armored Humvees.
If not for the uncontrollable spending habits of Congress, there would be be sufficient funds in Social Security to be a self-supporting program. In other words, the problems faced by current day Social Security are a result of a bloated government.
For example, a 68 year old who has contributed $250,000 into Social Security over the course of 48 years, will receive about $100,000 in Social Security benefits if he/she lives to 75, which leaves $100k left in the system. Do you have any idea how much money Social Security should have if it had not been used as a cookie jar? Instead, it's on pay as we go life-support.
As for social welfare, it is a humane society that cares for those who cannot care for themselves. The disabled, infirm, blind, etc... One must however distinguish between those not able and those not willing to care for themselves.
Congress needs to uphold their fiduciary duty to the American taxpayers. The Constitution bestows upon them the authority to tax and spend, but it does not give them free reign to squander the money. Congress continuously violates its fiduciary duty. One example is loans to foreign countries. Another is foreign aid. One would figure, "well at least we can make a profit from the interest on the loans..." except Congress and the president(s) from both parties have a bad habit of forgiving those loans.
If you consider the fact that the government will seize an American taxpayers home for as little as $1000 in back taxes, the knowledge that that same government forgives foreign debt in the billions is very disturbing. (Foreign Loan Forgiveness (Click here)
The bottom line is that the government has gotten to damn big for its britches, wastes our money unnecessarily, and needs to be reigned back in. The ills of this country are a result of a government that long ago ceased to abide by Constitutional restraints. We don't elect banks, bankers, finance brokers or corporations. We elect politicians who then kowtow to all of the above, for the purpose of gaining power, wealth, prestige, and status via perpetual reelection.
Everything you said in your last paragraph is exactly the reason why masses of people are choosing to camp and sleep outside around this country. So, if you also recognize that as a problem, why are you having so many difficulties with the OWS movement? I don't get it. And Social Security and Medicare aren't bureaucratic monstrosities. Tune out the right wing noise machine. These programs are both solvent, and though they have flaws, are hallmarks of a civilized society that doesn't throw its sick and elderly to the wolves. The only problem with them is that we have two right wing corporate parties in power looking to dismantle the social safety net which prevents our elderly and disabled from having to beg on the streets for food and medicine. These programs along with Medicare need to be expanded. These programs weren't won at the ballot and they won't be preserved at the ballot. Mass social movements like OWS will be the only way they're preserved. Everything else you wrote is Koch Brother-Libertarian claptrap. Expand your reading and research.
Well, I just got back from Lincoln Park. I tried to talk with a woman named, "Sunrise," who was manning the information booth. She yelled louder and talked faster and when that didn't make me agree with her, she told me that I was "Harassing her, and that she was going to call the police."
Ordinarily, I would have called them for her and waited patiently; after all, my right to free speech is also protected by the First Amendment. But, I had my mother with me, she's a senior citizen, and I would not put her through the extra stress of dealing with the police with "Sunrise" screaming in the background. I'm not sure if she was trying to intimidate me or if she truly believes that the only freedoms that are meant to be protected are hers and those she agrees with. You can't say I didn't try. It's impossible to talk to somebody who only wants to argue or call you a liar.
I tool about 50 blankets and sleeping bags to the homeless as well as as much food as I could muster up. within minutes one of the "occupy group" very quietly picked up a full case of Top Ramen and 1/2 dozen cans of tuna. The homeless told him to stop and he ignored them and kept walking. I took that food for the homeless. And, at least the homeless divide the case - no one person took any cases or full packages.
And why take the entire case of Top Ramen? Why not the bread or the day old pastries? They can't cook in the park. Lincoln Park is what's called a "day spot." Since sleeping in the park is against the law, the homeless have encampments where they sleep and can boil water, keep their dogs, etc... Those are called "night spots," "camps," and even "home." Everything that required hot water was intended for the homeless to take to their camp. the coffee, hot chocolate, and Top Ramen were for night time and a hot beverage for the cold mornings.
Now, I know I am going to be called a liar. That's fine. Sunrise stated that OLB would have put the food at their table to be "shared by all." That food was not donated to be "shared by all." it was donated to the homeless. to the people who can't go home when their tired. to the people who can't go home when they need a bath. Apparently, Sunrise had difficulty with this concept. She accused me of wanting to be the "only one playing God." Guess what, sharing food does not elevate one to the status of God. Sunrise may feel Godlike when she and her fellow OLB's pick and choose what to share and with whom to share it. i was just trying to make up for the donations that OLB has been confiscating in the name of fairness.
I had a similar experience. I agree with everything you said here. When I went down there, no one had any damn idea what they were talking about. I asked someone and said maybe you guys should have a leader or someone who can coordinate things, the response I got was "No, then that would be a dictatorship." I almost laughed.
And then someone told me that if it was for the OLB people, the homeless people wouldn't even have a place to chill at such as Lincoln Park. But, little did that person know, I work at City Hall, and the homeless people are there ALL the time. The person I was speaking to made it seem like they were saving the damn day.
I also spoke to this guy:
He basically wanted to have a debate or even try to have a civil conversation with the people there. He was trying to figure out what were they were for. The feed back he got was, and I quote, "It's people like you, who are messing up the system." and someone even said something along the lines of "just because you're white, you don't have to worry about everyday problems."
He's actually a property owner in Long Beach and he was homeless and made something of himself.
Sybil, it sucks that someone took your case of Ramen, I give this OLB another month...