“you can’t fool all the people all the time” B. Marley

A friend was reflecting on the New Year and asked the question “where does the Occupy movement go from here”? If you ask around a lot of people believe that the Occupy movement has died. A lot of people believe the movement accomplished nothing and was just a temper tantrum thrown by a bunch of nobodies without any direction or purpose screaming “MIC CHECK”. I would disagree with that assessment.

The Occupy movement showed the world that we will not tolerate being misled and the demand for truth, justice, and human dignity will never go away. Some of the encampments may have physically been removed but the ideas created and discussed in them were affirmed and shared with millions of people around the world. To me those ideas are the Occupy movement and those ideas occupy us all.

The times and perspective have changed but in my opinion the message of Occupy is a familiar one. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Deep down we all know right from wrong no matter how much denial we consume. We all have our aspirations and our dreams. We all love someone whether it is our self or someone else. We all are shackled to the narrative that money is happiness so I should be prepared to do anything to get it. I believe the truth is that tragedy, suffering, and abuse don’t suck less just because it doesn’t happen to you or someone you care about and you make a profit.

By no means do I believe money isn’t important or a good thing. In my opinion it shouldn’t buy elections or be the sole purpose of our existence but earning a living and paying for the things you need and want is everyone’s right and responsibility. I didn’t quit my job nor give all my possessions away after the Occupy movement opened my eyes to the gross disparity of wealth distribution in this country. Success is a wonderful thing and I hope that everybody pursues their dreams and reaps the benefits of their hard work.

Sadly the pursuit of profit can go become too great and can leave us distracted and out of balance. We don’t pay attention to our loved ones or our community as much as we could. Some of us can’t afford to pay attention to anything because of having to work so many hours a week just to pay for the necessities of life. Everyone understands that life isn’t fair and sometimes you get the short end of the stick. Tragically building disadvantage into the fabric of our society, denying the obvious flaws in our society, perverting the truth about the obvious flaws in our society, and suppressing the mechanism designed to give everyone equal influence on our society is highly profitable.

We have let our leaders take us to war and keep us at war for over a decade while spending money we supposedly don’t have, we accept treating the only planet we live on as a garbage dump, we accept subsidizing the most profitable oil companies with tax payer money when they haven’t updated their spill response technology in 40 years, we accept stagnant income for longer work weeks and higher productivity demands, we accept our schools being ranked 27th in math and science, we accept crumbling infrastructure, we accept mass shootings with semiautomatic rifles and high capacity magazines, we accept paying more for healthcare than single payer systems to get worst results, and we accept paying politicians over 100K a year to say they can’t or shouldn’t do anything other than cut taxes or go to war for profit.

Where do we go from here? Since your reading this I think we are where we need to be. Demand the truth from and for yourself and follow the logic.

Now is the time! Early Voting Is Here!!!

Despite the best efforts of our elected officials to purge voter rolls, suppress voter registration, and generally make it harder to vote, we have the opportunity to vote for the next 11 days. I know a lot of people think that voting and elections don’t matter. That is only true when we get so oblivious about the world around us that we don’t even care when our leaders lie to us. Critical thinking, logic, and integrity are in short supply in the world. They have been replaced with the single desire of instant self gratification at any cost. I believe this is our biggest problem and there is nothing exceptional about lying, cheating, and stealing to generate wealth. If we can’t be honest with ourselves how can we address the many serious problems facing us? I beg you to get informed with facts, stay informed with facts, and get out and vote your conscious whatever that may mean. It is time for us to think for ourselves and follow our convictions to their conclusions to demand solutions to the chronic issues that have plagued us for decades.

If you decided not to vote or feel so hopeless about society and humanity our leaders will continue to mislead us, take away our rights, and run our livelihoods into the ground. Isn’t your life, future potential, the lives of your loved ones worth the effort to get informed and make a rational informed decision? We can continue to pretend we don’t have to address our real problems or our problems will destroy everything we’ve built and have worked so hard for. It is time for us to grow up and think about more than instant self gratification. We must begin to demand more from ourselves, our society, and our government.

It is hard to know what to believe today. Opinion is submitted as fact and there are no consequences for having bad ideas or lying. I refuse to keep doing the same thing and expect different results. I refuse to accept purposeful ignorance. I refuse to pretend that elected officials don’t matter and that we can’t change things because we don’t have a political action committee.

So let us take our country and government back from the corporations who want to make profit at any cost and will do anything to mold legislation so they can hurt people on purpose to make money. Let us take our country back from politicians who will not explain their specific plans if elected. Let us take our country back from hypocrites who say they want personal freedom but want to enslave woman to their personal beliefs about reproductive rights. Let us take our country back from hypocrites who cry about the deficit while fighting tooth and nail for more tax cuts, military spending, and war. So let us take our country back from those who think it’s exceptional to make people suffer for profit, or will say anything to gain political office, or just don’t have any integrity or character. Let us take our country back from those who believe the world owes us everything simply because we’re American and that we don’t have to work for anything or earn the respect of others.

There is so much wrong in the world. It is very easy to want to give up. But all that has to happen for the most irrational, unscrupulous, misinformed, angry, and afraid people to run the world is for the rest of us to sit by and watch our life be stolen from us then be bought and sold in front of our eyes. Don’t be a sheep. Find your beliefs, share your beliefs, and make a difference!

Our Cause Endures

On September 17th 2012 the people of Orlando will converge on a location to be announced to observe the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. We as an all inclusive community must stand together to put an end to the undue corporate influence on our Government and elections and attain equal representation for the low, middle, working and minority classes. We believe that facts matter and that our problems need to be addressed in a serious and thoughtful way that serves all people despite their net worth. The cameras may be pointed in another direction and the topic of conversation may have changed but the idea and passion behind and within Occupy Wall Street will never die. Our struggle will continue until all our voices are heard and the will of the people is done.

 

Believe That!

We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around not only these United States but the world as we unite to demand equal representation regardless of personal net worth. Every American citizen and human being is important and we believe the every human being has the right to the basic needs of life in the 21st century. We have the capacity to provide the bare essentials and it is the responsibility and role of our government to provide education, infrastructure, healthcare, and security for the common good and productivity of all of our citizens not just those who are wealthy enough to purchase politicians or legislation.

A healthy, educated, and productive population is our goal and it has become clear those in power do not want the 99% to become or remain engaged, informed, and constructive. Our thoughts and ideas are as diverse as the individuals that are a part of the occupation but the common ground for all of us is the need to separate the control of corporations and our democracy so Congress can accomplish more than reaffirming that “In God We Trust” is our country’s motto. These are extremely challenging times and the people of this country are demanding that the people in office get a grip on the facts and reality and get to work on reasonable common sense solutions that benefit our entire population not just “Job Creators”. Despite the raids, brutality, being dismissed as “tree hugging hippies playing their drums”, rule manipulation by elected officials, and voter suppression efforts; the people informed, united, and dedicated to peaceful and non violent social progress will never be defeated.

Have we no soul or have we sold it to the highest bidder to maximize quarterly earnings?

The influence of money on our democratic process has become a direct threat to the stability of our country. Corporations are using their financial power to purchase legislation and legislators to help them increase their profits without regard to the impact it may have on the American public. There is a fundamental disconnect between the exposure of risk to the American public and the number of people that share in a corporation’s profit. It is reasonable for a corporation to have the ability to enter into a contract, participate in court cases, and sale their goods and services around the world to make a profit; but is it reasonable for a corporation to influence lawmakers to remove regulations so they may engage in practices that put the safety of the American public whom may have no relationship with the corporation, thus no profit share, at risk?

The needs of the American people aren’t being met because people are making a profit off of the suffering of their fellow citizens. Some have decided to hurt people on purpose to make money and they have no shame. They have adopted the attitude that if it isn’t them that are being hurt then there is no moral consequence or responsibility. How else can you explain financial advisors telling clients to invest in collateralized debt objects that they not only know are worthless but are buying insurance against the failure of the investment for profit because they’re certain the investment is worthless. This is an example of a common practice used by financial services professionals leading to the economic mess we are still trying to recover from. The major banks did this on purpose, wrecked the global economy, received 787 billion dollars in taxpayer money, and made billions in profit in the process. From the meltdown in 2008 to now these corporations have wielded their influence to obstruct regulation, hide from accountability, and perpetuate the myth that corporations are people and should be able to operate above the law in the pursuit of profit.

Corporations leverage their personhood by hiding behind constitutional rights intended for human beings. Some argue that the problem is that individual persons don’t have the financial resources of corporations and those resources used by a corporate person can disproportionately influence elections and regulations. Corporations use their finances and personhood to influence voters, obscure the truth from voters, and get people elected who will pass favorable legislation on their behalf with complete disregard for the American public and in some cases in direct opposition to the well being of the American public. An example of this would be the misinformation put forth about health care reform. Insurance companies did everything they could to leverage their personhood to control the narrative as legislation was being drafted. The United States pays more than any other country on healthcare for subpar results and corporations were very effective at making extending healthcare and helping our fellow citizens into an attack on the very fabric of American society. One has to wonder what has happened to us to perceive helping a fellow American as something not to do. Politicians have deliberately made cuts to healthcare for our most vulnerable to fund tax breaks for our most profitable. These corporations make money denying coverage to customers who have paid premiums and need the services purchased in a situation that could be the difference between life and death.

Corporate personhood has been critical in the abuse and exploitation of collective resources for private profit. When you examine some of the statements made about the Environmental Protection Agency and how the agency is such a regulatory burden on corporations you have to wonder if clean food, air, and water are worth sacrificing profit for. Limiting the discussion to just protecting food, water, and air one can see multiple examples of corporations using personhood to gain advantage in weakening regulations and dodging accountability when energy exploration has caused devastating damage. The Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill, the Lake Michigan coal ash spill, the Deepwater Horizion oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and water contamination from hydraulic fracturing in multiple states in America are all examples of corporate influence sacrificing public health for private profit.

Corporate personhood has powerful control of both political parties. What is the benefit for society if corporations can anonymously contribute unlimited amounts to political campaigns? Our goal is not to limit free speech but to separate corporation and state. Could our elections reflect the will of the people if rules were put in place that only private individuals could contribute to state and federal campaigns with a monthly limit? Would our democracy fall apart if corporations couldn’t contribute to political campaigns? Our goal is to limit the role of corporations to doing business and making a profit within the rule of law not running our government so they can profit from the suffering of our citizens. Corporations are waging a campaign to suppress voter turnout in elections so they can continue their efforts to put profit over people and retain personhood. We must begin the work to create and share ideas about this issue so we can support candidates that will deny corporate funds and the drafting of legislation to end corporate personhood.

The question before us is if we as a country will decide that profits at any cost are more important than the collective welfare of our citizens. Are there no limits to what corporations can do to maximize profits? Should corporations be able to lie to their customers to make sales? Should corporations be able to manipulate tax policy so they end up not only not paying taxes but receiving refunds from the IRS? America used to stand for something more than making profits at any cost. Our focus used to be to do the right thing at any cost. Now our focus has become profit at any cost.