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Friday, September 30, 2011

Occasional Repost

Waiting For Godot

By Tim Valentine
(Valentine Art, 2011)

We have a question for our Republican, Conservative and Tea Party ‘friends’, regarding their support for tax cuts.

For years, decades even, members and supporters of your Parties, along with others, have told those who were disadvantaged that they should pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Often this advice was given without any consideration, comprehension or experience of what it is like to be disadvantaged, and with no thought as to their perspective.

Some have managed, against tremendous odds, obstacles and disenfranchisements to lift themselves out of desperate situations and into manageable ones. These people are Americans who often are left with few other dependable options for assistance. If you dare to have a conversation with, not at, but with, someone in these groups who are not Republican like yourself, you might just gain the opportunity to learn a different perspective that might lead you towards another consideration.

We are not as you describe us to be when you’re speaking to the media or your fellow Republicans. We are not as you assume, as you ignore our opinions and experiences or when you criticize Democrats or the President. We are Americans just like you.
(Adam Nelson, 2011)

So why should the Janitor, Building Attendant or Administrative Assistant pay more in taxes in terms of the rates and percentages than the CEO, IT Director or the Delivery Driver?

Why should people who are economically identifiable as what any economist, financial professional or tax codes would consider Middle-Class, Working-Class, or Unemployed pay more in taxes? Did you know you pay taxes on Unemployment? Those entitlements are not tax free. Especially why should our fellow Poverty-Stricken Americans who are often under-employed, pay more in taxes than those  who the same economist, financial professional or tax codes would economically identify as Upper-Class and in more common terminology, Rich or Wealthy?
(Adam Nelson, 2011)
The full version of the House Republicans Plan for Jobs is 10 pages.  President Obama’s is 199 pages. How comprehensive do you suppose both plans are in comparison? Simply, which proposal is a better plan for how to create jobs? Are you purposely trying to unemploy Americans?

We ask you these questions, because what you’re doing by taking these positions in your campaigning and policy proposals contradicts the best economical interests of those who support and align themselves with your ideology and principles! Statistically the Republican Party include a high percentage of believers who are by all economic indicators Middle-Class, Working-Class, Unemployed or among the Working-Poor. You've grabbed many of the less educated and less informed.

(Adam Nelson, 2011)
Are the values of your largest and frequent financial contributors more important than those who vote for you? Do you take these positions without consideration of their actual effect they will have on the real Middle-Class, Working-Class, Unemployed or Working-Poor? Do you know your policies will in no way benefit them? Are you comfortable with only benefiting your major contributors?

Perhaps it isn’t about people for you, but the position, perception and power that is the motivation. When you have taken seriously what the American Jobs Act is outlining and proposing, it is difficult to understand why you oppose the bill. Anyone who loves and respects America would agree upon the tenants of the American Jobs Act, making it difficult to ignore the questions asking for the true reasons as to WHY you would oppose the bill. You’ve had to of proposed these same suggestions at some point in your career or at least mentioned them. Generally ya liked these things before you were agin' 'em.

We, continue to gather and wait for your response, because this isn’t about the election, but about We the People. We the People who can not continue to wait.

I’m providing a direct link to the American Jobs Act (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/reports/american-jobs-act.pdf) as reference for these questions we, the American people who are considered Middle-Class, Working-Class, Unemployed and Poverty stricken, request your response.

Tim Valentine

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dude, Where's My Camera?

What's not to love about New York City cops? They're brave and tough. They get there quickly and they take care of the city that doesn't sleep ~ keeping it safe from any possible additional terrorist attacks.

But there's a dark side to the American cop on the beat.

The Dark Side of The Men In Blue (OccupyWallSt.org, 2011)
It comes with the very nature of who applies to be a police officer in the USA. If you are the physical type, that enjoys a good ass kicking now and then, and you are searching for a career choice, it would seem that some sort of "protection services" might be the just the gig you're looking for. Unless you are planning on becoming a no-holds-bar-overseas-outside-the-justice-system-contract killer, and who wants all that travel anyway, you might find yourself attracted to joining The Force. Even the International Business News (UK) reports that, there are always a certain percentage, that come along with those who protect and serve and are compassionate, and they are the assholes, and the bigots, and the bullies.  And sometimes, they get to have their day.

But how many Rodney King's can we have? How many African Americans have needed to sit on a sidewalk next to their car for no reason? How many guards have gotten away with the slow torture of a human while doing time for a crime?

Michael Moore Late Night At Wall St (OccupyWallSt.Org, 2011)
NY Daily News has said that from 2007 to 2009 the number of officers with NYPD who received civilian complaints were up nearly 50%. Because of excessive force claims, in 2009 alone 315 of the 35,000 of officers were enrolled in a monitoring program created by the NYPD. Despite complaints of excessive force, many more incidents of go unreported because citizens are afraid. So the NYPD in Blue created a program to monitor these complaints back in 2007 and while keeping track of reports, they found that 90% of the reported cases where violent tactics were used the individual subjected to "use of force" was not even arrested. That kind of tells you everything you need to know right there. Many of those cases involved an officer drawing his weapon. In fact in four out of every five cases in which a weapon was pulled no arrest was made. In the vast majority of those cases involving a gun being drawn the officers justified that "use of force" because they suspected the individual possessed a weapon even when no weapon was actually found.

This isn't a new phenomenon, and last night Lawrence O'Donnell showed what shining a little spotlight on those who have crossed that line can do. According to all sources, the problem children where in fact the Men in White. 

Some Familiar Faces Visit To Support (OccupyWallStreet.org, 2011)
Reuters says that the Occupation Of Wall Street is evolving as a result. As of 3:00 p.m. Eastern today, they are claiming that The Occupy Wall Street movement was planning on Friday (tomorrow) an unauthorized demonstration on the streets outside the New York City police center of operations.

This evening at 8:00 PM, Senator Bernie Sanders addressed the protesters.

According to our friends over at PoliticsUSA, on Countdown With Keith Olbermann tonight, Sen. Bernie Sanders became the first US Senator to voice his support for Occupy Wall Street. (Video) Sanders said, “What I appreciate about what’s going on in New York right now is that there is a spotlight being focused on Wall Street. We desperately need that. If we are going to get out of this recession, if we’re going to create the millions of jobs we desperately need, we need real Wall Street reform"
Al Sharpton Lending His Name To Cause (OccupyWallSt.org)

We are gonna need some reform. The right thing to do now would be to get a consensus on how to word a petition and ask for Police Department Reform & Training, nationwide. You're thinking a petition takes time, it's a pain in the neck, etc.

Well, take a millisecond and check out this new link: www.whitehouse.gov/petition.

They have the coolest new feature over at The White House's website, and if you set up a petition on specific matter (really easy to do) and you pass it around to your friends (keyboard ready), and it gets 5,000 signatures, only 5,000, they promise to take the matter up.  Usually you would take months to create a petition and then run around getting 100,000 signatures before one of your Senator's assistants would answer your call.  Not anymore. You could start a petition to repeal the Citizen United decision while you are at it. Hard to complain to a true policy geek, 'cause she'll tell you exactly how to solve the problem right then and there. So ~ petitions, check, doable, check, timely, check.

Now go make a petition.  Not sure what to ask for? Google the word petition, and see what other people have asked for over time. Self educate. That's a fine trait of A Policy Geek.

You know we tend to fly south for the winter, right?  Wonk, wonk.

Lisa Lindo

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Coverage on Coverage

(OccupyWallSt.org, 2011)
It started slowly. One posting saying that no one was covering the Wall Street event. #OccupyWallStreet 

We had heard about it. Twitter people were headed down on Saturday. So there was tweeting and  blogging. Adbusters was live streaming.

Live streaming on Ad Busters

and People For Political Change were (are) streaming it.

Sunday one activist friend pointed out that only 200 people showed up on Saturday, the first day of the Wall Street protests, and so CNN came and left. That didn't seem right.

YouTube hosted The Struggle Video Network's video, and it told sort of a different type of story. This looked like a lot more people than a couple hundred to me. Sort of sounds like more than 200 too. And much more fun to notice, there just happened to be some cocktail event on a 2nd floor balcony, where pearl draped women and well healed men in black tie and champagne looked down at the people flowing by, with nothing but flowering vines pouring down to the chanting crowds on the sidewalk below. They took pictures and smiled and toasted. Such a juxtaposition of money and revolution. Classic. Must see video (35,542 views at time of posting)
(Jeff Prager, 2011)

Sunday afternoon, a real live friend (one we've met in person) tweeted that he was getting a bite to eat, taking a shower, and going back down. Later he tweeted that 300 people had set up tents to spend the night. @TedLabs

Sunday night there were more FaceBook (FB) people complaining all firebaggery that no one would cover this, whining about a protest they couldn't be bothered to show up for, boggeled by a demonstration that tries to imply that Wall Street Corporations based in the U.S. should be taken to task in any way humanly possible. This steady stream of posts showing complete confusion over something quite simple. Wall Street is a man-made construct; therefore, anything we need to do to reshape it is theoretically possible. But there were the posts saying no one's covering the protest, as they armchair it through the economic downturn.
(OccupyWallSt.org, 2011)

Policy Geeks could find 8 or 9 videos on You Tube, and we posted the clearest of quality. A snipet there, a moment here. And yet, more people on FB and in social media were saying that no one was covering the protest. Well, we were. And so was CNN, and Salon covered it as well as the Washington Post, & Huffington Post. Oh yeah, and New York 1, ABC News, and CBS and FOX news, The New York Times, International Business Times, Wall Street Journal and Forbes. Waking up Monday morning, it certainly seemed like this thing was being covered.

Unless you listen to liberals who believe in media blackouts and conspiracy theory. But a policy geek is gonna be more interested in facts. The who-what-where of the whole thing. The kid at the end of this RT video pretty much got a handle on it. 

Democracy Now does a piece. Their take? There aren't any demands or requests being laid out for Wall Street. So what's it a all about, right? It doesn't take a genius to google or look up www.OccupyWallSt.org when that's what this entire event is called, "Occupy Wall Street".

The press think it's a march, but it's an Occupation, by artists and thinkers, and they laid out their demands clearly. (You can find it in our last blog entry.) Not that, as a wonk, we are saying that we agree with their demands, or that they are practical in nature. Simply, that there is a calling, a charter, and the press is having a little trouble finding it. Perhaps the concert TOMORROW, Saturday the 24th, will bring out some faces and some coverage.  Who knows?

Gotta go. Popcorn's ready. And I've got some You Tube to catch up on.

Lisa Lindo

Monday, September 19, 2011

And then there were thousands...

(OccupyWallStreet.org, 2011)
Well, today is Monday and now we have some pretty great footage of the weekend up on You Tube.  Hundreds did show up over the weekend to Occupy Zuccotti Park now re-named Liberty Plaza, on the corner of Liberty st. and Broadway claiming Food and Democracy are free. Reports from those on the ground claim that approximately 300 spent the night in a makeshift tent city Sunday night.  Here's some fun footage from the first March Saturday:

Saturday's March

And on Sunday a small group worked as a megaphone for one man's call to join the protest on Monday:

People As Megaphone

For more direct information, you can call for information:

The number is: (877) 881-3020

For general inquiries, please email the NYC organizers at: 9.17occupywallstreet@gmail.com,
and for General Assembly news and minutes go to nycga.net.

It also appears that Anonymous is supporting the whole "camp out on wall street" concept.

(https://occupywallst.org/, 2011)
The question is, is this our Tahrir moment? There shouldn't be any molotov cocktails, but there are people, and the numbers are growing.

As a policy geek, I want to know what are they really asking for?  It is clear that large Corporations grew out of a need for The People to have goods and services delivered bundled to keep down costs of basic living, and all the fun stuff we like to buy too. The companies that grew out of our Age of Industrialization became fatly fed over the whole consolidation concept, and began to think for themselves.  They no longer wanted to just service the people, they formed their own edicts: profits before all.

Now you can count on your average Joe to put himself first when making choices, so you know he cares about A Person. And maybe his relatives or close friends. They will come first. So you can count on Joe to care about A Few People. But a Corporation, they will never put people first. It just doesn't make economic sense. They will always put profits first. And by removing regulations over these Corporations, we are encouraging that kind of behavior. The few who manage the Corporations that America hosts, use the consolidated money and power to increase their ability to make profits to the detriment of those working for them, and those absorbing their products and services. We can use tax reform and regulatory action to curb those directives, and make it more profitable for Corporations to think of people first, but that hasn't happened yet, and shows no sign of starting to happen when he look to the horizon. Decisions like Citizens United have cemented their cash lust into protocol. Sad, but true. And as long as a very few people run Corporations like money sucking machines, we are going to continue the trend we have now of the top 2% in this country owning all the wealth. Bad model for growth. Horrible plan for any country, let alone The United States, whose charter begins with We The People.

The next logical question would be, Exactly what can be done to put people first? We need a check list. E Pluribus Unum.  Out of many, one. And right now, our motto has changed to Out of Many, Profit For the Few.  This is not sustainable.

The People of The Occupy Wall Street moment have formed their list of requests as follows:
This statement is ours, and for anyone who will get behind it. Representing ourselves, we bring this call for revolution.

We want freedom for all, without regards for identity, because we are all people, and because no other reason should be needed. However, this freedom has been largely taken from the people, and slowly made to trickle down, whenever we get angry.

Money, it has been said, has taken over politics. In truth, we say, money has always been part of the capitalist political system. A system based on the existence of have and have nots, where inequality is inherent to the system, will inevitably lead to a situation where the haves find a way to rule, whether by the sword or by the dollar.

We agree that we need to see election reform. However, the election reform proposed ignores the causes which allowed such a system to happen. Some will readily blame the federal reserve, but the political system has been beholden to political machinations of the wealthy well before its founding.
We need to address the core facts: these corporations, even if they were unable to compete in the electoral arena, would still remain control of society. They would retain economic control, which would allow them to retain political control. Term limits would, again, not solve this, as many in the political class already leave politics to find themselves as part of the corporate elites.
We need to retake the freedom that has been stolen from the people, altogether.
  1. If you agree that freedom is the right to communicate, to live, to be, to go, to love, to do what you will without the impositions of others, then you might be one of us.
  2. If you agree that a person is entitled to the sweat of their brows, that being talented at management should not entitle others to act like overseers and overlords, that all workers should have the right to engage in decisions, democratically, then you might be one of us.
  3. If you agree that freedom for some is not the same as freedom for all, and that freedom for all is the only true freedom, then you might be one of us.
  4. If you agree that power is not right, that life trumps property, then you might be one of us.
  5. If you agree that state and corporation are merely two sides of the same oppressive power structure, if you realize how media distorts things to preserve it, how it pits the people against the people to remain in power, then you might be one of us.
 And so we call on people to act
  1. We call for protests to remain active in the cities. Those already there, to grow, to organize, to raise consciousnesses, for those cities where there are no protests, for protests to organize and disrupt the system.
  2. We call for workers to not only strike, but seize their workplaces collectively, and to organize them democratically. We call for students and teachers to act together, to teach democracy, not merely the teachers to the students, but the students to the teachers. To seize the classrooms and free minds together.
  3. We call for the unemployed to volunteer, to learn, to teach, to use what skills they have to support themselves as part of the revolting people as a community.
  4. We call for the organization of people's assemblies in every city, every public square, every township.
  5. We call for the seizure and use of abandoned buildings, of abandoned land, of every property seized and abandoned by speculators, for the people, for every group that will organize them.
We call for a revolution of the mind as well as the body politic.
That's where we are today. If you follow twitter, use #libertyPlaza to follow or file reports. This shows no signs of slowing down, so grab your popcorn, tune in, and turn on.

Lisa Lindo
The Policy Geek

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Wonderful Thing

I don't know if this will continue to grow or not, and I don't know exactly what the protesters want, but there is something fun happening at Ground Zero.

People are protesting Wall Street.

(Art and Struggle, 2011)
They chose this weekend to start it, with mostly everything closed, and now they are calling on all artists to come down and preform as part of the protest.  Delightful.  ;-)  This Policy Geek is all a giggle over it.  Here's the call for artists:

Call on Artists: Preform at #OccupyWallStreet

And here you can watch it going down live.  Not great coverage, but it is live coverage.


or here:

Americans For Political Change

and if you're really into it, and are curious as to how the police are reacting...

NYPD Manhattan Precincts Radio

Just love it. Artists occupying Wall Street. What a great NY type of thing to do.

Here's what I would ask for:
  • Caps on Corporate bonuses
  • Competent oversight on consumer protection via CPA, funded by Congress
  • A capital gains tax
I'll add more throughout the day as I watch live and see what they are asking for...

Lisa Lindo
The Policy Geek

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Gettin' 'Er Done

Accomplishments Thus Far Of The Obama Administration




Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Republican mine field; a legacy of ego and money.

Destroy the economy,
blame it on the next guy,
just give it to them,
complain when the auto industry is bailed out and pays its debt back with interest, immediately,
make sure the LIVES of the citizen's are not guarded with healthcare for all
by refusing to work towards any type of system that would offer healthcare for all,
growing the "poor houses" like they used to say,
by removing legislation to protect the consumer,
the GOP created the homeless by feeding citizens bogus home loans with no oversite,

The people who are registered republicans are saying they vote to continue the patriot act,
they want us to kill other people just because they get sick or were on the other side in a war, or committed crime.
Heck, they'd loan you their guns if they thought it'd help.
The people who are registered republicans think waterboarding is no big deal and helps save the day.
We have truth serum, had it for decades, but they insist on waterboarding which all studies show
NEVER gives you anything but specifically what you ask the person you tortured to say, and when you release them, the story of your goofy torture will just piss them off even more and make the world hate US even more.

(Daily Digest, 1921)
You pick a fight on earth that kills tens of thousands of humans for no reason.
Doing so spend so much on the wars,
and contractors,
and Halliburton,
and Xe,
and all the bases in the world wherever we are
handing out oil leases like catholic wafers along the way,
and now in many places 30% of everyone is living below poverty right now, in The United States!
You let your childhood friends from Saudi Arabia,
Blow us up and let them get away 'cause it just gave you a good excuse for Iraq, so you're grateful.

You spent all our money, and now you blame it on the next guy.
You spent all our surplus and then complain about the deficit.
You spent all our good will & hate foreigners
Deep down, that's kinda gotta hurt.
You hate entitlements, but love the subsidies to your farmers so food is cheaper for everyone.
You hate entitlements, until the entitled entitle themselves to pay no taxes, with offshore accounts.

You don't want to help people get jobs, better paying jobs, union jobs.  That would piss off your bosses.
Jobs are the last thing you want to vote for.
And voting you rig by making people pay for IDs,
send away for birth certificates, to where?  They are homeless.

You don't come up with one good idea except to tackle the quarterback OF YOUR OWN TEAM!!
And when he calls out plays, you block every single one.
You won't agree to pay for what has already been voted on and won, The Consumer Protection Agency.
You don't like red tape.  Or unions complaining, or voting.

And the Democratic Party lets you do every single one of those things.
They just can't seem to get together to stop any of it.

Because it was all set up as a mine field, left behind, to do constant damage until another GOP Pres hits deck.
Until then, the game starts, the ball's hiked, and the GOP always sweeps the leg.

2012 and 2016 are gonna require some heavy lifting.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Being Stretched Thin

(Busy Woman, 2011)
As a Policy Geek, you are absolutely fascinated with a wide range of things.  A vast array of media, blogs, historical facts, or policies that are coming down the pike...just a whole lot o' things that can turn a wonk's head and get her all riled up.  And you often find yourself, at least I do, thinking nationally.  So when a historical speech comes along like the one on jobs that was just on the air yesterday coming from the United States President and in front of a joint session of Congress, everyone where I was was huddled around the radio and the internet to follow the fun.  Would he be charismatic?  Would he sound like he was in charge and bringing the fight to them? What would he say about Unions and their importance?  How would regulation fit in, and oh-my-goodness what was he gonna say about pulling out on that ozone legislation Friday last?!

Mitt Romney had a particularly funny take on regulation.  As Jon Stewart points out in his late show that aired on 9/7/11, Romney suggested that every time we create an important life saving, health restoring, environment conserving regulation, we should remove an equally-big-previous regulation that was already in place and protecting U.S.citizens. That's like fixing a flat tire, only to take out the alternator in exchange.  I mean that makes no sense whatsoever!

We waited for the speech to begin. What would POTUS say? Popcorn was heating up in the background.

And so he began. In a room full of men and women who usually chatter on and on, you could hear a pin drop in his pauses. He sounded strong.  Applause started out timid and luke warm.  Then he started to begin that refrain.  "Pass this Jobs Bill."  He announced initiatives that were proposed by both the GOP and Dems.  He talked about rebuilding America, futurizing schools, creating science labs, and hiring more teachers while cutting the red tape from starting these projects quickly.  And when he talked about tax credits for hiring vets, even Eric Cantor stood up to applaud. The 6 million long term unemployed applauded too, in there homes, at the bars, in their cars, listening to the speech.
Then he said, "I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy."  From our listening point, the crowds seemed to be applauding a little louder for POTUS.  He also said, "I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety.  I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients."  And the applause was growing. Congress started cheering. "Pass This Jobs Bill Right Away!"

(Moroccan Arab Spring, East Asia Forum. 2011)
He referenced Lincoln and the foundational elements of any modern nation and economy, infrastructure. Crumbling bridges and highways, congested airports, inefficient rail and waterways will be focused on, and when he said that "we are a nation with responsibilities to ourselves and with responsibilities to one another, and members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities," again we in our coffee clutch cheered and heard people in neighboring offices do the same.

There’s always been a thread running throughout our history -- a belief that we’re all connected, and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.  And Americans — 14 million unemployed Americans — do not have the luxury to sit through the political games in Washington. As the President noted, the next election is 14 months away.
James Montgomery Flagg, 1917
(AskART, 2011) 

In this speech he worked on offering hope to millions of unemployed Americans, and economic relief and predictability for employers. These are the kinds of speeches that got the man elected.  The kind of speech they heard in Cairo, and around the world that caused a movement for equality that is still growing and flourishing. Now, the Arab Spring has us all spun around.  Is it good?  People are getting shot and martyred.  Is it better?  Are we killing too many people helping NATO patrol with drones?  Is there a right answer? If your a populist, the right answer is a negotiation, a grand bargain of what everyone thinks is right.  Let's see how this gets discussed in the next few days by the Right. I'm thinkin' Crossroads had their hatred written up at least 5 days before the speech was given, talking points for everybody, come round boys!  And the Jobs Bill hasn't even been brought before Congress yet! That fun is supposed to come next week.

The only way this Policy Geek knows how to keep on keeping on is to continue to listen, self educate, share, and stay on top of what is coming in and out of Congress and in and out of the White House.  Hope you are too.  But, if you're not, no worries.  Us Policy Geeks will chew it up for ya and pass it along.  We'll do it on Facebook and Twitter and Patch and Current, and all you have to do is tune in and turn on.  We Can Do This!!  One active citizen helping another.  Yes We Can.

Lisa Lindo
The Policy Geek