Friday, April 12, 2013
Thursday, April 11, 2013
So it turns out that Mayor Mike Bloomberg has yet another black eye in his third term: Occupy Wall Street:
After eleven months of talking in the courts, New York City has agreed to pay Occupy Wall Street almost a quarter of a million dollars.
The lawsuit, filed on May 24, 2012, by lawyers representing OWS, claimed that 3,600 of 5,000 books in the free People's Library were destroyed during the violent raid and eviction of the protest camp in Zuccotti Park.
In addition to books, also destroyed were computers, live streaming equipment and bicycles which were owned and operated by an environmental nonprofit, Time's Up.
It’s barely a victory…after all, people were harassed and arrested and injured for the crime of protesting and assembling peacefully, and $186,000 of that is eaten up by attorneys’ fee …and yet, it’s a start.
The greater victory is this: the city actually acknowledged responsibility for the actions of its police officers. This is diametrically opposed to the usual, “Who? Him? Don’t know him. Rogue cop.”
I can sympathize with the city, but to a limited extent. The administration of a city the size of New York demands some corner-cutting somewhere, and the fact that rights were trumped is indicative of that. Safety and health have importance, too, as well as the rights of other people.
With OWS, however, we see a situation where – some sanitation issues aside – peaceful protestors were using a public space, admittedly provided by a private corporation but in exchange for zoning variances, effectively making it a public space. It was this company that demanded OWS be removed, which started the whole mess back in 2011.
The funny thing is, dispersing OWS was probably the wrong thing to do, since the movement was then forced to scatter about the city and find other ways to raise consciousness. Has it been more or less effective?
That depends on how you view it. If you look at the mass-media news feed, it’s been less effective. When it was consolidated in one location, it became a visible presence on a regular basis.
But, if the mission is to get the message out to people who can be attracted into joining and spreading the message, or even just carrying the message to people who would most benefit from it, then they’ve done some pretty amazing work under the radar. For instance, elements of OWS were among the first responders to the recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy, bringing food, water, clothing and medical assistance to the very New York Post-reading people who just a year earlier probably laughed at those hippie freaks down on Wall Street. The very working and middle class people OWS needs in order to transform the political landscape of America.
And maybe that won’t happen in our generation, but think about the kids, both who showed up to help and who benefited from the aide. Those are powerful images those folks were left with.
And after the Sandy Hook slaughter, OWS branched off into Occupy the NRA to bring facts to the people who needed to learn the truth about gun control and gun ownership in America. You can find them on Facebook, if you want to read more.
This really has turned into a people’s movement, despite what growing pains it endures. It does my heart good to know this.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
WASHINGTON – In his fifth annual budget proposal to Congress on Wednesday, President Obama once again has put forward a fiscal mix of investments in infrastructure, education and research with further deficit reduction through tax increases and spending cuts. But for the first time he has included changes to Medicare and Social Security intended to entice Republicans back to the bargaining table.
The main new element of the budget is his proposal, offered previously in private negotiations with Speaker John A. Boehner, for a new cost-of-living formula that would reduce future Social Security benefits. On the spending side, Mr. Obama wants to help states make prekindergarten available universally, paid for by higher taxes on tobacco products.
Mr. President, they don’t care. They. Don’t. Care. If you propose it, it’s bad. You could repeal taxes on everything and Republicans, Inc. would still find a way to try and paint you as a tax-and-spend liberal. You could declare war on Islam, and Republicans, Inc. would still find a way to call you a Muslim. Hell, you could resign your office today, and they’d start impeachment proceedings!
They are not going to come back to the negotiating table, not now, not ever. You need to offer a budget proposal that realistically reflects your values and then persuade what few Republican senators that you can to your argument.
You did it in the fiscal cliff negotiations and you can do that again.
And look, the deficit has already started to decline – despite the fact that if the economy tanks again, it will balloon – and you’ve already essentially achieved the Simpson-Bowles target of four trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years.
Why won’t they negotiate? It’s really simple: they were literal when they said they want to kill the government. They weren’t kidding. That wasn’t a negotiating ploy as a moment’s reflection on the past decade will show. If it hadn’t been for the economic collapse proffered by their greedy bankster buddies, they very likely would have succeeded.
They want to turn the nation into an island of little habitats, each more vile and brutal than the last. They don’t give a rat’s ass about the people living in it, except that they be just healthy enough to serve as fodder for corporate profits.
Please get your head out of your ass and start dealing with them for the traitors they are. Your daughters will thank you.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
…I wish I was an ignorant Republican, Inc-er.
I did my taxes last night. It was not pretty.
I had an instructor for Tax Accounting when I was Actorino212, and he once said something really profound.
Which is to say it would mean nothing to a Teabagger.
He said, “Never regret having a large tax bill at the end of the year. It means you made a lot of money and the IRS let you hang onto it for a few more months.”
I don’t mind paying taxes, although I cringe every April. See, I earned that money in the greatest nation on the planet. I consider it the price for furnishing this great nation with the tools and people who make it great for me to live and work in.
When I was a kid, I watched my dad struggle to put food on the table. He was a union man, and work was spotty. Some weeks we made do on a ham cooked on Sunday that lasted us until the following week. He never took a vacation, opting instead for long drives on long weekends, despite the fact that he was up at 4 to get to work by 6.
He banked all his vacation time, as well as sick time and whatever other days he could bank in the union coffers, in order to build a nest egg for his retirement. The first sick day I remember him taking was when he tore his bicep clean off his arm, trying to lift a steel beam that had fallen on one of his workers. The next one was when he had a heart attack.
As much as I disliked the man – you weren’t his son, you couldn’t know – I admired and respected his work ethic. He broke his ass in order to set up a comfortable retirement, even if it meant the family as a whole sacrificed.
He helped build schools, public schools, in an age where that meant something. An age where education was respected, and was mandatory if you wanted to get ahead in the world. In fact, all the schools I attended right up until high school had his fingerprints in the concrete. But he had a fourth grade education, and he knew we, his children, had to do better.
I suspect if he was alive today, assuming he was coherent, he’d blanch at the current environment where schools are seen as day-care until you can ship a kid to jail. Where public schools, the buildings he built, are mocked and denigrated as places of evil that teach our children all manner of Satanic beliefs like fair play, sharing, and tolerance.
Those schools were built with taxpayer money. The same bill I blanch at each April helps pay for those schools, and the roads the school buses drive on, and the police who protect those students as they walk the blocks to their schools and home again. It helps pay for the fire fighters who thrill those children when they go racing by to protect a home, maybe one of theirs. It helps pay to supply water to the school, and to take the waste, the trash and sewage, out so they can learn in a safe, clean environment.
I was terrified by my tax bill. Now, I’m furious.