I was excited to see the new Tea Party’s birth. Watching the corruption of our government become more and more brazen, it was only a matter of time before counter-movements began to spread. Both the Tea Party and the #Occupy movements were born of this impulse. The original patriots of the Tea Party movement formed in opposition to the bank bailouts. I think it became apparent rather quickly, however, that their admirable movement had been co-opted into another arm of the Republican machine. I don’t say this to cast aspersions though, as I do want to keep this post exploring our common ground rather than emphasizing our differences. The #Occupy/99% movement is actively resisting attempts to co-opt its message by the Democratic party and other left-leaning organizations, so let’s keep exploring our similarities.
Here then, is the 15-point “non-negotiable core beliefs” which I found on teaparty.org:
I was at our local #occupy protests on Saturday for what organizers were calling a “Global day of action”. This week marks one month since #occupywallstreet began their occupation in New York City, and have proven to be an inspiration to people around the globe.
Omaha is not exactly known as a hotbed of radical activism or sentiment. Protests here regularly turn out a half-dozen or so committed activists, but rarely much more than that. My wife and I decided that the time had come for us to express our discontent with the existing socio-political environment here, and so we headed out to #OccupyOmaha on Saturday morning. Expecting low numbers, we were surprised when we could see people streaming towards the meeting site from blocks away.
Charles Ponzi was born 129 years ago today, so I guess that makes it Ponzi Day today. The man for whom the pyramid scheme was named though, was a chump. Today’s schemers have been many times more successful. By the time Ponzi’s scheme peaked in 1920, Wikipedia notes that “he had made $420,000 ($4.59 million in 2008 terms).” See what I mean? $4 and half million isn’t even enough for today’s ponzi artists to get out of bed.
For example, let’s look at the currently best-known ponzi artist, Bernie Madoff. The amount missing from Madoff clients’ accounts was nearly $65 billion, although that includes fabricated money– actual losses total about $18 billion. Even at $18 billion though, that’s still almost 4,000 times the ponzi scheme than Ponzi himself. Madoff made headlines again this week, saying that “It’s unbelievable, Goldman … no one has any criminal convictions. The whole new regulatory reform is a joke. The whole government is a Ponzi scheme.” And who better to know Ponzi schemes than the man who bested Ponzi?
Members of Congress are supposed to assert independence regarding their deliberations and actions, but it has long been clear that campaign cash corrupts this entire process.
In the video below, Lawrence Lessig succinctly makes the case that corporate contributions have made a farce out of Congress. Truly, how can Senator Scott Brown (featured in the video) take a position opposing a bill when he doesn’t even know why? Rather than considering the merits of the financial reform legislation with an open mind, Scott Brown is giving the terms of the bill no consideration. Instead of understanding the bill, then weighing the pros and cons, he is merely granting the wishes of his biggest contributors, who happen to be big corporations. This is political malpractice, and We the People deserve far better than this. This is the equivalent of turning on your kitchen faucet and hoping for clear water, but seeing only raw sewage come out. The “Congress” we have is not a functioning Congress. Because it is devoid of the critical deliberative function that should serve as it’s heart and soul, it is a charade and it should be the highest priority of this country to Fix Congress.
The solution Lawrence Lessig proposes is to enact a law called the Fair Elections Now Act, which will allow publicly-funded elections. One such bill is currently pending in Congress: the Fair Elections Now Act. You can read the full text of the Senate version of the bill here.
If you click on the “Take Action” page, you can encourage additional sponsors for this desperately needed legislation. There are many co-sponsors to both the Senate and House versions of the bill, but there is a long way to go. It would only take you five or ten minutes to review the bill, and make a few calls to voice your support to your representatives.
Dylan Ratigan put on a “Family Fued Show” to illustrate the three major failures of the pending financial services legislation. Seems like this bill is not for any meaningful reform. It’s only a dog and pony show.
Robert Reich has noticed how the democratic base is demoralized. Who is to blame?
A growing portion of the public, fed by the right, blames our problems on “big government.” Much of the reason for the Democrats’ astonishing reluctance to place blame where it belongs rests with big business’s and Wall Street’s generous flows of campaign donations to Democrats, coupled with their implicit promise of high-paying jobs once Democratic officials retire from government. This is the rot at the center of the system. And unless or until it’s remedied, it will be difficult for the President to achieve any “change you can believe in.
And if you are looking for America by the numbers, you’ll find the sad up to date statistics right here, in this Alternet post by David DeGraw.