“Occupy Wall Street” Movement

Wisconsin Recall Petitions On Governor Scott Walker: A Sign Of True Democracy!

The movement to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who forced through cutbacks in state funding of education, and declared war on state government workers and labor rights last year in his first year in office, has led to more than one million people signing petitions for his recall, almost double the number needed to set up a recall election.

Never before have so many people in any state signed petitions for a recall vote for anyone, and only two governors in the history of the United States have been successfully recalled, but this threat to Scott Walker is real!

If the signatures are proved legitimate, at least half of them, then an election will be held in late spring or early summer, with recalls of the Lieutenant Governor and several Republican State Senators also in play.

This is a great moment of democracy, and shows that the Republicans are in danger, not only in Wisconsin, but other states that have “Bully Governors”, who have run rampant over taxpayers and workers. It is an assault on the Tea Party Movement as well, and on the power of the Koch brothers and other wealthy right wingers who think their money and the Citizens United decision of the Supreme Court two years ago will be able to destroy democracy in America.

The Occupy Wall Street Movement and progressives all over the nation will fight to restore decency and humanity to politics, and the Republican Party will suffer in state after state, as well as nationally, as the people rise up against the injustices perpetrated on the middle class and the poor.

This is a moment of great triumph, but the battle has only begun, and must come in Florida with Rick Scott, Ohio with John Kasich, Michigan with Rick Snyder, and Maine with Paul LePage, and some other states as well!

The Sober Reality: Half Of America Is Poor, Or “Near Poor”!

The US Census Bureau has revealed that the economic conditions of the American people are far worse than ever recognized before now.

Along with 49 million below the poverty line, there are now 97 million Americans who have low income, defined as a family of four earning under $45,000 , due to loss of a job or a pay cut.

So that means HALF of the country is poor, or “near poor”!

This is serious business, a crisis of massive proportions, and the top one percent sit by and do not give a damn, and the corporations keep on holding onto money, enriching themselves and their stockholders, and claim they cannot hire people after they have been balled out by the government, or have lobbied for preferential treatment!

The country is becoming more plutocratic by the day, and it is dangerous for capitalism that this is going on, as it can turn average Americans against the whole concept of capitalism, as long as only a small percentage can benefit from it!

Under the circumstances, it is quite amazing that there are not more people out in the streets, involved in the “Occupy Wall Street’ movement!

It is also worrisome that as time goes on, and conditions become worse, that we might see mass violence on the part of desperate Americans, who will see no alternative.

The idea of mass demonstrations and demands for change is not being felt only in the Arab world, in Greece and Italy, and in the Russian Federation. It is becoming an issue of fairness and equity being felt in a country that considers itself democratic in nature, and yet allows the uninhibited acquisition of wealth on the back of millions of Americans who just want an equal opportunity for the “American Dream”!

Newt Gingrich: The Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde Of American Politics

Newt Gingrich displayed intelligence, thought, and some good ideas in last night’s Republican National Security Debate on CNN, and over the years, he has been judged as being an “ideas” man who made some major contributions to our intellectual and political discourse. He showed real common sense and compassion about illegal immigrants who have been here for many years and contributed positively to America, a view which will anger many Tea Party conservatives, and probably kill his chances for the GOP Presidential nomination.

But just the few days before the debate, Gingrich displayed the mean, nasty, ugly, divisive side of his personality–suggesting child labor return, and telling Americans involved in the “Occupy Wall Street” Movement to take a bath and get a job, rather than protest the unfairness of our economic and political system.

Gingrich has also been particularly nasty and disrespectful toward President Obama, adopting the “Birther” ideas for a long time, and generally, saying wild, reckless things about many issues surrounding the President.

And of course, his ethics in government when Speaker of the House of Representatives, and his scandalous private life, with three marriages and two divorces, and multiple examples of adultery, also make him look positively evil to many observers.

What seems apparent is that Newt Gingrich has multiple sides to his personality, which makes it easy to compare him to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

The question is IF somehow Gingrich became President, what kind of behavior and personality traits would show up on a daily basis. The fear is that he would be dangerous in office, because his behavior would be so unpredictable!

Newt Gingrich, The Hypocrite: The Nerve To Condemn “Occupy Wall Street” As People Who “Need To Bathe And Get A Job”

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, and front runner for the GOP nomination in many polls, has often said he regrets actions and statements he has made in his past.

Well known for his lack of ethics and no morals at all, Gingrich claimed by becoming a Catholic that he had reformed, and that has turned out to be a lie!

Gingrich, now that he is surging in the polls, is showing his ugly, hypocritical side again and again, reminding us that a “leopard does not change its spots!”

He says liberals, progressives and the left have lost their “moral compass”, an ironic thing for a man to say who has been an adulterer multiple times, and has been shown to have been involved in ethical violations in the House of Representatives leadership, and to have lied incessantly!

He also, as stated earlier in another entry, suggests that young children who are poor should clean their schools, in place of janitors, advocating a return to child labor.

And he has the nerve to state that the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrators in New York City and elsewhere “need a bath and to get a job”, as if these people are not facing the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression, and the fact that there are not anywhere near enough jobs with millions of layoffs since 2008!

This man sounds like Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL, but even more hardhearted and nasty and mean and vindictive!

The nerve of Newt Gingrich who has lived off the public dole as a government employee for so long, and then as a lobbyist and propagandist ever since, to condemn principled people who are being labeled as “losers” by the privileged and those fortunate enough not to face the horrors of long term unemployment!

Even if one is NOT religious, one should never forget the saying” “There but for the grace of God go I!”

The Collapse Of The Middle Class: Threat To American Stability

Growing income inequality is turning many middle class neighborhoods into slums or ghettos, as poverty spreads rapidly, accelerated by the Great Recession, which began in 2008.

A Stanford University study demonstrates this reality: In 2007, only 44 percent of families lived in middle class neighborhoods, down from 65 percent in 1970. And one third of families lived in neighborhoods of affluence or poverty, up from just 15 percent in 1970.

The affluent are being segregated from the declining middle class, and becoming less willing to support broad based schools, parks, and public transportation projects that benefit the general public. Fourteen percent of families now live in affluent neighborhoods, compared to seven percent in 1970.

The effects of the growth of poverty is that children from poverty backgrounds have less access to quality education and support networks to encourage accomplishment and work goals.

This reality is showing up in educational accomplishments, as the standardized test scores now show a gap of 40 percent, a bigger gap than four decades ago. And college completion of children from high income families is more than half the population, up about one third from twenty years ago, and less than ten percent among low income families, up from five percent.

As everyone should know, education is the bridge to success and social mobility, so this Stanford study is extremely troubling for the long run of social stability in America.

This is one of the major reasons for the Occupy Wall Street movement, as it is manifesting itself, not only in New York City but all across the nation.

George McGovern’s New Book: Promoting Liberal Values Forty Years After His Presidential Candidacy!

Former Senator and 1972 Democratic Presidential nominee George McGovern is coming to the Miami Book Fair International to promote his book, WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A DEMOCRAT.

Now 89 years old, already the second longest surviving major party presidential nominee who lost the election, only surpassed by former Republican nominee and Governor Alf Landon in the 1936 Presidential election (who survived 51 years after his defeat), McGovern wishes to emphasize the importance of government in our lives at a time when many Republicans refer to government as a great evil in our lives!

Proud to call himself a liberal, he is critical of those who promote fear, and mourns the loss of bipartisanship in Washington DC, which used to see much cooperation across the aisle in the US Senate and US House of Representatives. He is supportive of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and critical of the Tea Party Movement.

On December 2, as part of the CONTENDERS series on Friday nights from 8-10 pm Eastern time, the life and career of George McGovern will be examined on C Span. Everyone should tune in and admire and appreciate the greatness of this man who lost, but added dignity and principle to the political process that is American democracy!

A Triumph For The “Occupy Wall Street” Movement: Bank Of America Cancels $5 Debit Card Fee

People have speculated that the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, which has spread all over the nation and overseas, was an exercise in futility, but now those involved in drawing attention to the greed and selfishness of the top one percent, particularly in the form of banks and other financial firms, have won a major victory!

Bank of America had announced a plan for a $5 monthly debit fee on its customers, which had caused an outrage and plans for millions of Americans, in theory, to withdraw their accounts from BOA and other big banks, including Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Citibank. The other banks had announced that they would not charge a similar fee, and now Bank of America has announced it is giving up the idea of a monthly fee.

This shows that the American people, if they organize, can have an effect, and this must be just the beginning, with the campaign for greater regulation and higher taxation of wealth the ultimate goal, and the insistence that politicians must side with the 99 percent, not the one percent which have become outrageously dominant and wealthy at the expense of the rest of the American population!

So this is a moment to applaud, but not the time to rest on laurels!

The Growing Inequity Of Wealth In America: Unconscionable!

The Congressional Budget Office confirmed this week what has been well known for quite some time: America has seen a concentration of wealth in the past thirty years as never before in American history.

Income for the top one percent increased 275 percent, while the top 20 percent went up 65 percent. At the same time, the 20th percentile to the 80th percentile went up about 40 percent, and the lowest fifth 18 percent.

The top one percent of income earners control as much of the nation’s total income as they had on the eve of the Great Depression. They had 23.94 percent of the national income in 1929 and 23.5 percent in 2007.

When one looks at the top one tenth of one percent, the richest of the rich, they controlled 2.8 percent of national income in 1913, when the income tax amendment was put into the Constitution. In 2007, the top one tenth of one percent earned 6 percent of national income.

One major difference today is that the wealthiest usually have it from being financial and corporate executives, while in earlier times, they were mostly living off inherited wealth.

These figures cry out on why the “Occupy Wall Street” movement resonates among many Americans, and calls for some kind of action to tax the wealthy more to help resolve the budget crisis and deal with the many social and economic problems we face today in 2011.

The Lunatic Audiences At GOP Debates: A Total Disgrace!

What kind of country are we that we can have lunatic audiences cheering on crazy, nasty, cruel comments on issues involving capital punishment, gays in the military, lack of health care insurance, illegal immigration, and American citizens involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement?

It is shocking that people would cheer the number of people executed under Texas Governor Rick Perry!

It is unbelievable that people would boo a gay soldier who has served our country!

It is dismaying that people would call for letting a person without health insurance, who is seriously ill, to just die!

It is outrageous that people would applaud the idea of an electrified fence to keep illegal immigrants out of the country!

It is disgraceful that an audience would applaud that if people are unemployed or poor in a time of the Great Recession, the worst conditions since the Great Depression, that it is their own fault, and to condemn the marches and demonstrations of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has spread throughout the nation and overseas!

Have some Americans lost our common humanity, our rationality, our morality, in the name of self centered egotism, that all that matters is our own selfish interests, and to hell with basic common decency? We should mourn the deterioration in civility as a danger sign of the decline of our whole civilization!

The “Occupy” Movement Nationally: In The Best American Political Tradition!

As the “Occupy Wall Street” and other “Occupy” movements throughout the United States take hold, we see and hear bitter denunciations by the Tea Party Movement in the most wretched and venal manner!

This Tea Party Movement, which brought guns to gatherings, spit on members of Congress, and used racist language against President Barack Obama, and has no concern about the future of millions of middle class and poor families, has the gall and nerve to set out to destroy the reputation of ordinary citizens, who are having their homes taken away from them, their jobs lost, their children’s college education debts soar beyond ability to pay, their health care being denied, and their pensions being decimated, and seem to think this should be reacted to in silence, while the top one percent control 40 percent of the income, and continue through Wall Street to victimize America daily with their greed and selfishness!

The “Occupy” movement is in the best tradition of other reform movements, including the abolitionist crusade against slavery; the populist movement against the rich and powerful a century ago; the labor union movement; the civil rights movement after World War II; the woman’s rights movement in the 1960s and after; the anti Vietnam war movement in the 1960s and 1970s; and the gay rights movement since 1969.

Without public participation in the form of protest movements, nothing can be done to overcome injustice and unfairness! All those involved in protest movements will be bitterly attacked, but the answer is to deflect the criticism, and focus on the job at hand, and it does not look as if the “Occupy” movement is going away anytime soon!