Occupy Wall St.

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Postby KathyRose » October 14th, 2011, 1:59 pm

Roy Janik wrote:1) Government has been completely cowed by corporate interests, and 2) it would nice if the government served the people first. If Occupy Wall Street has a demand, it's that the people in charge do something about that. The protestors don't HAVE to have the answers. That's supposed to be the government's job.

Precisely. It's our elected government officials who control the tax codes, laws and regulations that have allowed the "1%" to run wild.

Ethics, morality and cultural values cannot be legislated, but they can certainly guide the legislation.
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Postby Lants » October 14th, 2011, 2:19 pm

SamM wrote:how can anything be accomplished without a goal or plan of action?


I really liked what Devin Faraci had to say on the matter (yes, he's a film critic/ blogger, but he's jiggled his fair share of homemade signs):

Devin Faraci wrote:People criticize Occupy Wall Street for having broad complaints or, more commonly, for ‘not having a plan.’ Quick: what was the plan advocated by the protesters in the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr delivered his famed ‘I Have A Dream’ speech? That march was to support civil and economic rights for African Americans, but there was no specific law they were backing.

The same is true of Occupy Wall Street. The idea here is to battle the pernicious influence of corporations in politics; the protesters are alarmed that 1% of the people in this country control the wealth and thus have all the political power. They’re also alarmed that people who recklessly crashed our economy are not only running around free, but allowed to battle regulations that would stop them from doing it again.

The way that protest works is like this: the people register their anger in a way that the political structure cannot ignore; ideally the political structure responds by creating legislation or regulations that assuage the protesters. The 1963 March on Washington was a huge part of why the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act were passed in 1964 and 1965.
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Postby Justin D. » October 14th, 2011, 2:38 pm

I'm thankful for this thread and a few other things I've seen around the internet lately, because they help clear up some confusion I have over this whole Occupy movement. Specifically, Lance's post above this one with the quote from Devin Faraci puts things nicely into perspective.

This is something I said a few days ago in response to the Occupy movement:
The Occupy Austin event is happening around the corner from my office, and I passed a tall white guy with long dreads holding a sign that said, "All you need is love". I also saw a woman with a sign that said, "The only important currency is made out of love." I wanted to punch both of their signs. They're making the things I believe in look stupid by association.

I think the problem isn't just that those kind of people are being spotlighted by most news outlets, politicians, and pundits, but that there are too many of them out there with that mentality. I don't need the government or corporations to love me and me feeling love for others isn't going to fix anything.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » October 14th, 2011, 3:36 pm

Justin D. wrote:I don't need the government or corporations to love me and me feeling love for others isn't going to fix anything.


you'd be surprised...
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Postby Justin D. » October 14th, 2011, 4:04 pm

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:
Justin D. wrote:I don't need the government or corporations to love me and me feeling love for others isn't going to fix anything.


you'd be surprised...


Nah, I don't think I would. Love doesn't put food on my table or pay for my medical bills. Also, love and morals aren't the same. I don't want corporations and the government to love me. I just want them to do what's right.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » October 14th, 2011, 4:19 pm

Justin D. wrote:
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:
Justin D. wrote:I don't need the government or corporations to love me and me feeling love for others isn't going to fix anything.


you'd be surprised...


Nah, I don't think I would. Love doesn't put food on my table or pay for my medical bills. Also, love and morals. I don't want corporation and the government to love me. I just want them to do what's right.


i think having a greater spirit of love (read as "charity" if that makes it more palatable...or "compassion" or "concern") in their/your/our hearts, instead of viewing individuals as faceless statistics or society as a mass organism free of distinction or variation would LEAD to more doing what's "right." hard to care more about profits over people when you're operating from a place of love for all mankind. yeah, it's high minded idealistic rhetoric with very little practical application and you're going to get further convincing corporations how taking care of people/the environment is better for their bottom line and politicians how serving individuals over corporate interests is going to get them reelected...but just because it's high minded idealistic rhetoric doesn't mean it's wrong. ;)
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Postby kbadr » October 14th, 2011, 5:57 pm

How about I distribute signs that say "Stop being so greedy, you fucks"?

You work your life away and what do they give?
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Postby Roy Janik » October 14th, 2011, 5:58 pm

hard to care more about profits over people when you're operating from a place of love for all mankind.


Totally agree. And actually, this is what I feel is at the heart of the problem with corporations.

As I type this out, it sounds crazy. Sorry I'm not more articulate....

The whole concept of corporations as people ( legally, they're afforded some of the same rights that natural people were granted in the Constitution ), while troubling, is still a useful metaphor.

I think once you have a publicly traded corporation, it basically becomes an entity beyond any individual's control. Sure, there are people at the top at any given time, but ultimately it's a creature that lumbers on in its own way, made up of the men and women that invest in it, or work for it.

But if you look at its DNA, what motivates it... it's pure profit. Its reason for living is to make as much money as possible for its investors. And it'll use whatever means it can to maximize that potential, and circumvent anything that gets in its way. And if the CEO offends it, it'll pluck them out, and replace them with one that does a better job.

Google got ridiculed for putting "Don't be Evil" in their corporate charter. Ultimately, it was probably naive, but I appreciate the effort. They were trying to stamp something in their company's DNA, so that its one driving passion wasn't profit.

Basically, I've come to see corporations as golems, or wind up toys, or simple computer programs. They're not good, they're not evil. They're just doing what they were programmed to do before they got the spark of life shocked into them.

So maybe working harder to inject a little love into them at the outset isn't the worst idea.

To quote Jon Stewart:

"I know the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people," Stewart said. "But what I didn't realize is that those people are assholes."
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Postby kbadr » October 14th, 2011, 6:38 pm

Roy Janik wrote:But if you look at its DNA, what motivates it... it's pure profit. Its reason for living is to make as much money as possible for its investors.


Exactly. Capitalism. I think faulting companies for that is naive and silly. All I'd like to see is them pay their fair share in taxes. Make money, yes. Please, make all the money to fill your black heart with joy. But pay your fair share of taxes. Give them tax incentives to create jobs in the US, if you want (but really, that will just even out the profits lost by not employing cheaper foreign labor...but whatever)

But, the very real practical problem is, how can you remove the tax loopholes that are allowing the greedy assholes (corporations) to have more profit. Would we have to slowly scale the taxes up to being "fair" over a period of 10 or 20 years, to make it even a remote possibility?

What politician would risk their careers and say that their greedy corporate backers should get less money?

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Postby mpbrockman » October 14th, 2011, 7:27 pm

I've been out of the country so much that I'm still playing catch-up on this.

Nevertheless:

1) It seems to be p*ssing a whole bunch of people off that I like seeing p*ssed off.

2) It's giving people angry with the status quo someplace else to go than to the Teabaggers (who, interestingly enough, initially began with a lot of the same ideas before they got hijacked/bought - anybody else notice this?).

3) The idea continually harped on that they need a focused message and spokespeople is, for the moment, simply not true. The issues (corporate controlled government, corporate controlled media, aggressive foreclosure practices, concentration of wealth, lack of jobs, the fact that corps and banks are sitting on trillions that could be used to alleviate a number of problems etc.) are interconnected but too big and nebulous to be reduced to a bullet point, or even a series of bullet points, just yet. That there are an enormous (and growing) number of people in the streets expressing discontent is enough. Give this grassroots movement some time to coalesce.

4) Related to the above. I am heartened by many of the "man-on-the-street" interviews I've seen. Sure, the "Make love, not money" crowd is present (with flowers, drum circles and other nonsense that give FOX a chance to paint the crowds as a bunch of traitorous hippies), but the majority of the people seem to be intelligent, articulate folk with a variety of legitimate grievances.

I suspect this will be fun to watch. My biggest fear (and the greatest irony), would be if a bunch of overzealous - and might I add, unionized(!) - policemen end up starting a riot.
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Postby zyrain » October 15th, 2011, 2:22 am

I see lots of noise, and no one really focusing on the real thing that would change things.

We live in a democratic state. The 1% only have 1% of the vote. Through, effectively, cleaver brainwashing, they've managed to convince about 40% of the people to vote FOR them and their policies.

The other 60% of the people, completely don't agree.

So, why did we end up where we are? The 60% DON'T VOTE.

With Obama, the democrats got democrats to actually vote, and they won, by a good margin. However, Congress is elected every 2 years, not 4.

In 2010, 81% of registered republicans voted, and only 56% of registered democrats. Also, there are far more unregistered democrats than republicans.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » October 15th, 2011, 11:38 am

zyrain wrote:I see lots of noise, and no one really focusing on the real thing that would change things.

We live in a democratic state. The 1% only have 1% of the vote. Through, effectively, cleaver brainwashing, they've managed to convince about 40% of the people to vote FOR them and their policies.

The other 60% of the people, completely don't agree.

So, why did we end up where we are? The 60% DON'T VOTE.

With Obama, the democrats got democrats to actually vote, and they won, by a good margin. However, Congress is elected every 2 years, not 4.

In 2010, 81% of registered republicans voted, and only 56% of registered democrats. Also, there are far more unregistered democrats than republicans.


i think at least part of that is giving people a candidate and a party they can believe in. Obama won because people believed in him and his message...and they got enthused about the Democratic Party again for the first time in a long time, and put them back in power. and they squandered it. i think Obama's done a good job as President, but the Democratic Party failed him and the people who voted for them by not DOING anything and focusing on playing politics, personal infighting and splitting between either petty vendettas against the GOP or still kowtowing to their every whim (learned behaviors are hard to break. :p). which allowed the Tea Party to galvanize on the right while the left got disillusioned because no one was DOING anything and it just seemed like more politics as usual. it's hard to get your ass down to the polling place motivated by "well, he's got a D after his name instead of an R. so i guess..." and i think it's a lot of that same dissatisfaction and frustration that's now motivating this Occupy movement. we want candidates we can believe in who can actually affect the changes we need them to instead of being corporate backed puppets. voting for someone just because he's not the other guy is no longer an effective campaign strategy. ;)
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Postby B. Tribe » October 17th, 2011, 10:41 am

Victoria Jackson looks like an idiot. LULZ will be had as well as forehead slapping. Then this idiot in blue glasses shows up near the end and it almost as stupid as Victoria, but regular glasses guy gets things back on track.

http://perezhilton.com/2011-10-14-victoria-jackson-occupy-wall-street-questions-answers-interview-video#.TpxaY3JEVxA
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Postby mpbrockman » October 17th, 2011, 11:30 am

B. Tribe wrote:Victoria Jackson
IS
an idiot.
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Postby York99 » October 17th, 2011, 11:33 am

kbadr wrote:
Roy Janik wrote:But if you look at its DNA, what motivates it... it's pure profit. Its reason for living is to make as much money as possible for its investors.


Exactly. Capitalism. I think faulting companies for that is naive and silly. All I'd like to see is them pay their fair share in taxes. Make money, yes. Please, make all the money to fill your black heart with joy. But pay your fair share of taxes. Give them tax incentives to create jobs in the US, if you want (but really, that will just even out the profits lost by not employing cheaper foreign labor...but whatever)

But, the very real practical problem is, how can you remove the tax loopholes that are allowing the greedy assholes (corporations) to have more profit. Would we have to slowly scale the taxes up to being "fair" over a period of 10 or 20 years, to make it even a remote possibility?

What politician would risk their careers and say that their greedy corporate backers should get less money?


Unfortunately it's a lot more complex than this. In response to Roy's statement, it's not just that corporations will get rid of execs if they aren't maximizing profits, the law is set up so that those execs are required to maximize profits. If they do something not profitable, the shareholders can sue that exec.

As for having corps pay their share of taxes, the problem is globalization. If GE has to start paying taxes, they'll just move their headquarters to Zug, Switzerland where they can get a cheaper tax rate. Workers in the US want a certain standard of living, so companies uproot their factories and move them to China or to Mexico. Because of the law I mentioned in the first paragraph, the law pretty much requires them to do so.

So this isn't just a problem with our laws, it's an Earth problem. We can control some of it by doing some things like putting tariffs on goods coming from countries with low worker standards or with low corporate tax rates. But what needs to happen is for Chinese and Mexican and Indian workers to demand higher standards. Level the playing field from the bottom up.
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