Endings can be good or bad things.  If you’re watching a Michael Bay movie, it could be a good thing. If you’re enjoying the spectacle of GOP candidates blowing each other up, it could be a bad thing. In life, all things change…except petrified wood and the minds of Tea Baggers (technically synonyms).

Economically, America has been on autopilot for decades, the flight path locked in by the wealthiest Americans and we have all been taken for a ride. Even Democrats have been on board, sometimes handing out complimentary beverages, pillows and blankets to offer some comfort while the flight takes us closer to crashing into the side of a mountain. There have been attempts by Congresses and Presidents to grab the wheel and fight with it to alter our course and they have nudged us a bit to the left at times but never far enough to avoid the disaster we have been approaching. In 2012, either we change course in a big way or we crash, one way or another it’s the end of America as we know it today.

Thanks to the Mayans, we now have the year 2012. In the run up to 2012, we have seen the wealthiest given greater power over our country and democracy through the Citizens United decision, the manufacture of the Tea Party  and winning control of The House in 2010. Now we have seen the uprising of a real populist grass roots movement opposing plutocratic control and oppression in the form of Occupy Wall Street which continues to grow in influence and numbers.

While President Obama has been campaigning for a jobs bill and addressing economic inequity, the Republicans have been continuing their campaign to smother any attempts to revive the economy while pushing for the wealthiest to receive an even greater transfer of wealth from the majority. The choice in 2012 between voting for Republicans and Democrats will be crystal clear and stark.

One thing that Occupy Wall Street has clearly accomplished is tearing a hole in the Corporate Mainstream Media’s blindfold over the eyes of Americans. While Americans have been losing their jobs and income, their homes, their savings and futures, the MSM has been convincing the public to disregard the man behind the curtain and just stare fearfully at the ghostly and threatening facade of The National Debt!

What this convenient slight of hand did, naturally relying on pressing the fear button in the public that America will be destroyed if we don’t cut all the safety nets and social programs for the majority (which just by coincidence assures that more tax breaks for the wealthy can be afforded), is distract even President Obama and Dems in Congress from pursuing policies that actually helped the unemployed and the economy. This has been a devious slight of hand, the wealthy seeing an opportunity to exploit the current desperation in Americans, have been promising that glittering jobs will trickle down all over Americans in a Golden Shower if only they were given more money and allowed to pollute and steal freely, without those horrible regulations!

Hmm…I don’t seem to remember how oil companies  not being able to foul our air and water led to the economic crash of 2008 which is what we’re trying to reverse. Nor, at a time when tax rates on the wealthy are the lowest in decades (for those who even pay taxes…unlike Exxon, B of A, GE, etc.) do I remember taxes as being the cause for our economic crash. These weasels never let a disaster they caused go unexploited so they have re-packaged their continuing class warfare as a present to the American People, we give them more of our shrinking wealth and they “promise” it will make us better off. Logical? Sure, they’re sitting on $2 trillion they’re not using to create jobs but give them $4 trillion to sit on and then just watch what happens!

This has been a bait and switch, conceived by the top 1% and their GOP/Fox News machine, aided and abetted by the rest of the coincidentally corporate-owned MSM.

So, in this current insanity, while people struggle in a horrible economy, the solutions being sought, even now by Congress’s Super Committee, is to help those who are at the end of their rope by cutting away at their safety net under them. Really? Right now the priority is cutting Medicare and Social Security? That’s what the most pressing economic issue is for most Americans?

The intentional disconnect between politicians in DC and the American People has reached a zenith, hence the catalytic nature of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Not all or necessarily even a majority of Americans have awakened from their mass media induced slumber but many have and they are not going back to sleep. The hope is that by 2012, the silent majority will no longer be silent about making a big course correction in this nation.

With economic inequity at its greatest point in our recent history, we are indeed at a precipice. Based on which party wins power in 2012, America will change one way or the other from what we have come to know it to be. If a Republican such as Mitt Romney beomes president with the GOP controlling one or more houses of Congress, the wealthy’s class war will deliver it’s final coup de grâce and push the American people in so deep a hole they may never be able to climb back out of it. If President Obama wins re-election but the GOP continues to control The House or could continue to use the filibuster to block bills in the Senate, the growing gap between the 1% and the 99% will simply continue and also solidify the descent of the majority. If Obama and the Dems wrest power from the Repubs and limit the use of the filibuster, there would at least be an opportunity for steering this nation away from destruction.

This is not hyperbole, just simple math. 70% of the American economy is consumer driven. The strategy of the top 1% is to continue outsourcing jobs which keeps American unemployment high and wages down. This is the new normal for them and giving them more tax money won’t change this reality. Their tax and budget policy is to essentially fractionalize and eliminate the taxes they pay while raising the taxes the 99% pay so as to reap that from them in the form of subsidies, tax credits, government contracts, etc. The net result of this corporate policy is to depress the incomes  and wealth of the 99% in order to fatten their own income and wealth. In the end, this results in a financially impoverished 99% who plainly have less to spend which makes the economy and joblessness worse, lowering income and spending further.

Eventually, this downward spiral of economics collapses in on itself. When consumer spending drops past a certain point, the economic damage becomes a vicious circle, the decline in spending brings a decline in jobs which brings further declines in spending and so on until we hit bottom. Just as the wealthy had no concern about what happened in the long run when they squeezed trillions out of the economy through the Wall Street housing bubble fraud, they show no concern about ultimately destroying the necessary consumer pillar of capitalism if it means they can stuff their pockets today. Who are the true anti-capitalists and anti-Americans?

One way or another, America as we know it will end in 2012. We will be living in an America where a wealthy class is cemented into power and economic dominance over the majority or it will be an America where the majority rallies to retake their nation and democracy back.

Sometimes the end of something means the beginning of something else. Other times, the end is simply the end. We can only hope that in 2012, the American People decisively choose a path for an America whose best days lie ahead of it and isn’t just a painful reminder of what it once was.

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foodchain
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foodchain

AdLib, I agree, we are at a crossroads. I too believe that some serious consideration beyond politics as usual must occur. Like the childrens’ games, the dots are all there to connect to easily make a clear picture, but will enough people connect those dots? Three areas that I find disturbing and dangerous are: the MSM; rural rule; and corporate and foreign influence in our politics.

The major destructive influence in this country, in my opinion, is MSM: They are erasing the dots; they are putting heavy emphasis on false and/or ambiguous dots; they are falsely changing the path of the picture that events are drawing. Of all the events that are disturbing and dangerous, nothing is as disturbing and dangerous as our MSM. If they reported nothing, the American people would be better informed. If we watched nothing but “Dance with the Stars” or read nothing, we would be better informed. If we had only word of mouth about war, about jobs, about assistance, we would be better informed. If the biggest danger to our Democracy is an uninformed electorate, MSM is hastening our road to ruin.

The second trend which is disturbing and dangerous is what I think of as “Rural Rule”. (This is not a statement about rural people or values as much as this is yet another way for the GOP to play on fear and divisiveness with these constituents much as they have with the Nixon strategy in the South.) This is a manipulation using redistricting to secure Representatives and the 2 Senators per state to displace the majority rule. Majority rule is being abrogated by cleverness. The Tea Party, while some are not rural, fit the look-backwards-for-security model. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw.

States with low population wield enormous influence over the majority—Ben Nelson, Charles Grassley, Max Baucus in Montana, have made farm subsidies OK but inner city assistance a dole and a drain. We, as an entire country are held hostage by a vocal, self-serving, generally prejudiced, poorly informed minority.

Corporate and foreign influence I leave to those who really have the spikes for that discussion, but we all know that it is happening. The effects of Citizens United couldn’t endanger the Founding Fathers concerns of foreign influence more if they posted banners saying they want to be the King of the United States and there will be a Church of ——. (I’ve long thought the GOP prefer to be kings and king makers without the disadvantage of elections; just put a George up there and tell him what to do.) Even the thought that Americans believe that US conglomerates or banks care about America makes me ache. Major CEOs are citizens of opportunity rather than main street. Their friends are Saudi Kings, princes from Dubai, the elite in every major economy, anyone, anywhere who could help them make money. US jobs mean nothing unless there is an advantage. Capitalism is a global venture, not an American one.

Winston Churchillsaid “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing after they have tried everything else.” What he failed to say is “…except for politicians.” That is why we are witnessing OWS and in a more pathetic way, the Tea Party.

In a paradox, let me conclude with:
Most Americans want the wealthy to have tax increases. Most Americans believe that stimulus in wrong. Most Americans do not understand that taxes are revenues; they are instead punishments. Most Americans understand that more jobs come from expansion. Most Americans believe we must pull the belt tighter. Too many American believe one thing and think another. AdLIb, how they vote will indeed set the future of this country.

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Chernynkaya
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Food–fabulous comment and you nailed it. I have so much to say about rural rule in particular, but have to do chores. Just want you to know that was an outstanding comment!

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foodchain
Member
foodchain

Cher, I was too busy last night to join and missed this afternoon’s spirited discussion. It takes time–dammit–to string thoughts together when responding to this group. I am off to carve pumpkins! 😉 And thank you.

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KQµårk 死神
Member

Spot on and well said.

Great point about the media. They really promote the delusions many Americans live in these days, especially the right wing hate machine.

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KQµårk 死神
Member

It’s not the end of America it’s a new normal that we should be adjusting to better.

The fact is the fundamentals of the global economy after Communism fell always posed huge problems for the US. Most of the western powers in Europe and even Japan since the 90’s have gone through this economic change.

The US had unprecedented prosperity because after WWII we were the only major western power that was not obliterated. We had abundant natural resources including oil until the 70’s and the cost of American goods were cheaper than those produced by Europe. Our population was growing at a brisk pace while Europe’s was declining.

Our manufacturing base has steadily increased output but because of automation and labor intensive jobs moving over seas those production gains have not resulted in employment gains. Face it no matter what side you are on about taxes, regulations, health care etc… the US just can’t compete in labor intensive industries when American workers are making 10X + what workers make in China, India, Mexico etc… This is the biggest reason wages have been flat for workers because unlike management workers wages are based on the cost of manufacturing and not based on profits. I know that’s effed up but that’s the way it is in capitalism, workers wages are expenses.

http://mercatus.org/publication/us-manufacturing-output-vs-jobs-1975

Decline is in the eye of the beholder. For example most of Europe because of it’s political paralysis is declining faster than the US.

[img]http://www.tradingeconomics.com/charts/euro-area-gdp-growth-rate.png[/img]

[img]http://www.tradingeconomics.com/charts/united-states-gdp-growth-rate.png[/img]

Of course the reality is the 1% knows this truth and that’s why they are piling up their nuts. Our system should be much more fair but it’s never been fair we are just under bigger economic pressures now. America is set up to be a divisive country because about every system we have is based on competing with one another not joining together in common cause. Maybe when China does take the #1 spot in GDP Americans will find them the new enemy but until them Americans better get use to the new normal.

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KillgoreTrout
Member

I think the “decline,” most people are concerned about is political decline. Our political system is definitely broken. One party of our two party system has blatantly and without shame gone completely over to the side of the most wealthy Americans. They don’t even pretend anymore to care about the average American. We are bearing witness to the worst congress I have ever seen in my 58 years. A majority in the House that sees the middle class as a threat to a plutocracy in the making. These people want a plutocracy and just don’t give a damn about the majority of Americans. To me, this is the real decline people are referring to.

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Chernynkaya
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KT–yes, that’s what I thought too. I agree with all the KT said but I think it sort of misses the point. Given that what he said is so true, we especially need political leadership that is both smart and dedicated to helping the American people first, above Party. The economic inequality we see is not merely the result of uncontrollable market forces acting independently. It’s how we’ve responded (or didn’t) to those forces. We may have no control over globalization, or manufacturing–those issues are probably natural progressions of the market. But that’s NOT what the Occupy movement is about anyway, nor what people around the world are angry about. We are angry at the injustices in the system that make the game unfair–the laws the rules are drastically tilted towards the top and there is no way we get equal justice or equal opportunity. It’s not the facts of capitalism we are furious about, it’s that this is anything BUT a free market.

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KillgoreTrout
Member

Exactly cher. The people in OWS and in parts of the world aren’t protesting against capitalism, but are protesting against unregulated capitalism. I’ve said many times that unregulated capitalism is jungle law, survival of the fittest (most wealthy). It is bestial and subhuman.

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foodchain
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foodchain

KT, I more recently am thinking that plutocracy is the innate desire of the wealthy to be what royalty once was. Special exclusive playground with everyone else a serving class, some higher than others. We are regressing to our baser instincts. It’s like declining but more tawdry.

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KillgoreTrout
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I think the plutocrats and “we the people,” are living examples of Nietzsche’s theory of mankind being split into two basic groups, the wolves and the sheep. I am sure that many plutocrats see themselves as wolves and are proud of it. Nietzsche believed that many people weren’t happy with just mere existence, but felt a powerful need to dominate as well.
I hesitate to refer to “we the people,” as sheep, but the way things are set up, the wolves are in control of our law making. And if the laws favor the wolves, then what choice do the people have to stop being sheep. I’d say OWS is a good start, but I am skeptical about our political process, namely Citizens United. We should not stand for such a blatant attack on our democratic system. If we do, then indeed we are sheep.

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KQµårk 死神
Member

I go back to the common enemy theme. If the US does not have a common enemy we always seem to implode. Like AD said we have seen worse times in this country’s history and probably have had worse congresses even.

The political decline is a direct result of polarization on the right and left while middle America is the victim. I don’t see either side wanting to reconcile for America’s benefit any time soon. We had a chance to do that with president Obama but we blew it.

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KillgoreTrout
Member

KQ, who is the “common enemy?”

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KQµårk 死神
Member

That’s the point we don’t have one now.

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foodchain
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foodchain

KT
“We have met the enemy… and he is us”

From the foreword to The Pogo Papers, Copyright 1952-53

“The publishers of this book, phrenologists of note, have laid hands upon the author’s head and report the following vibrations:

Herein can be found that rare native tree, the Presidential Timber, struck down in mid-sprout by the jawbone of a politician. Pogo returns to the swamp from a couple of political conventions to find his unfinished business being rapidly finished, once and for all, by rough and ready hands…….

…..There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand. Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us.
Forward!

I couldn’t copy the link or the illustration, but what a good reminder. Your line led me to it.

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KillgoreTrout
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FC, I think that is a pretty good analogy to the current situations we find ourselves in. We keep voting in these rich assholes and wonder why things don’t change for the better.

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ADONAI
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Good stuff KQ.

I don’ think China will ever overtake us though. They have their own economic problems coming up down the road. They are no more immune to it than we are.

“A new normal” is a good way to put it but I think of it as a “temporary normal”.

Would you agree that great world changing developments in technology can quickly shift the fortunes of not just a country but the world?

That’s what I see in the future. That is where my optimism comes from. I think we will create the means out of this “mess”. Whether it’s advancements in energy, medicine, infrastructure, robotics, computing or some combination of them.

When China stumbles, we will push forward. We have the mechanisms in pace to do it. I don’t think the neo-cons will win. I don’t think they will deprive of us of what we need to succeed.

I think, again, they will be a footnote on the wrong side of history like every other person of group who dared to stand in the way of progress.

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KQµårk 死神
Member

I’m an American patriot but not a nationalist which frees me to be a citizen of the planet. So if China does take over the lead in GDP or even things like space exploration it does not matter to me that much.

You are right China is heading towards economic problems but if their currency was valued the way it should be they almost match our GDP now.

Sure if there was a real game changer in energy technology and the US was the country to discover it that would change our economic trajectory dramatically. I just don’t know if that game changer is out there or not. Most likely technology will increase incrementally and no solution will not have some kind of down side.

In general I agree with you though. We will be fine and better than most.

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agrippa
Member
agrippa

That is a good explanation for what has gone on. Well put.

Real income stopped growing about 1968/1970. Europe and Japan had caught up.
The end of the Cold War was a revolution; it went round the world. It marked the final end to colonialism and forced China to join the world economic system. Eventually, we came to a global economy, and labor intensive industries went to those countries.

This is a ‘new normal’.

The idea that just about every system that we is based upon competition is apt. Co operation in the USA is difficult.

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Khirad
Member

I wish I could add to that but sadly, I do agree with you. It’s a new phase. We’re readjusting painfully to a post-Industrial order, I think.

Some are exploiting this and piling up their nuts. Others are trying to make the landing softer, but your overall point remains the same – we need to expect, on some level, a “new normal.”

I saw that we received more average rainfall here in September than in any record since the early teens of the 20th century. Of course, they readjusted what the average rainfall was last year, but that seemed forgotten already.

And so it will be on the macro-economic level. We’ll have to find ourselves more content with less and lower our expectations.

That’s not to say people shouldn’t be able to learn a living wage and have access to healthcare and a social safety net, but it does mean that things will not go back to the way they were, either.

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KQµårk 死神
Member

Americans had lost all perception of what a need is and what is a want. I think one of the good consequences of the new normal is that Americans will reexamine what we value because valuing money and possessions over family, understanding and civic responsibility just makes things worse.

Our way of life was never sustainable. Facts like the US owning 40% of the cars on the globe has lead us to be the most wasteful, polluting and parasitic country on the planet.

Like you I’m not saying that Americans should have to struggle this much and I’ll add we should have a much better safety net.

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funksands
Member

Ad, I don’t disagree with what you’ve said. The GOP historically when they have the Presidency spend like drunken sailors. Why would 2012 be any different? Is it because they feel like they can finally abandon the “Two Santa Claus” strategy?

From a social program standpoint, I think a GOP Congress and a Dem President is more dangerous.

A Dem Congress and GOP President has historically not been a disaster.

The GOP in control of all three branches? I can think of plenty of foreign policy blunders, but not all-out assaults on the social safety net.

Great article though. Thanks.

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Emerald1943
Member

Hi funk! “The GOP in control of all three branches”?? Did you really think about that? I cannot imagine anything WORSE for America in light of the problems that we face and the lack of any plans by the republicans to do anything about them. They have been, since its inception, determined to abolish Social Security. Medicare and Medicaid would immediately be on the chopping block if they were to regain total power. Millions of people would be sentenced to a life of poverty and untreated illnesses. I can’t think of anything worse for us! And this is just the tip of the iceberg!

I guess I just don’t understand your thinking.

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funksands
Member

Em, that would certainly be horrible. We saw how that turned out with more moderate Republicans 2000-2006. I was simply looking back in the past about how these issues were seemingly addressed by the GOP when they controlled different branches of govt.

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Emerald1943
Member

Good morning funk!

Okay…cool. I’m happy to know that you’re not advocating that! We would have to “treat you very badly” like Bernanke in Texas! 🙂

Thanks for the historical perspective!

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Chernynkaya
Member

Funk, very good points. I do think the R’s have spent when they have been in power, but don’t you think that’s why Grover Norquist gained such influence–as a response to, and a check on, that? And of course the deficit hawks have never been as hysterical. But the thing is, whenever they DO spend the more important issue is what they spend on: primarily the military.

I am surprised that you think they would not shred the safety net though–they’ve said they would and so have all the candidates. They have written concrete plans to destroy Medicare/ Medicaid and have spoken for privatizing SS. Is it that you think they won’t because of push-back from voters? I’m puzzled why you say that.

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funksands
Member

Yes, that’s exactly why I say that. My anecdotal memory seems to recall that the GOP tends to be pretty agnostic about the social safety net when in the White House, (with GW’s 2005 aborted SS privitization bus tour being the exception). When the Dem is in the White House they go absolutely crazy about how social programs are bankrupting us.

They don’t care about spending or deficits, so I think when they are in power, they tend to back off on these issues.

Now 2010 on a state level certainly proved this theory of mine wrong. It does not take a stretch of the imagination to see those actions moving up into the federal level if they control all of the levers of power.

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Chernynkaya
Member

I think I get what you’re saying. I have had similar thoughts but mine go like this:

The Repubs have become radicalized by the Obama presidency. And I mean to the point of sedition. They get this way somewhat with any Dem president, but this one particularly drove them insane–and race is in there for sure. And not only the R pols but the base too has become extreme so they can get away with more than ever. All the usual diplomacy is torn away and any pretense of Congressional congeniality is gone. Obama Derangement Syndrome is not just a sarcastic phrase– it’s quite real.

It’s occurred to me that had Obama not won–if it had been McCain–we wouldn’t be nearly as polarized. Yes, we would be miserable with his bad policies, but the Congress would function, because Dems never fight, and because the Repubs wouldn’t have become extreme and treasonous. I am not saying things would be better–just the opposite. But the hatred and obstruction would be alleviated and the Derangement would be gone.

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funksands
Member

Cher, I think both our thoughts are circling around the same drain.

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funksands
Member

Ad, the zombie analogy is really really good. I remember conversations like this about Gingrich and his crew when they were in charge for a brief time.

They weren’t nearly as extreme as this group, and look what they got a Blue Dog Dem to do to the social safety net.

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Chernynkaya
Member

AdLib, I so appreciate your posts, and this is one of you finest. I have been feeling the truth of what you write in this piece ever since Obama took office and that realization–that we are at an irreversible crossroads–has only grown stronger. If we do not reverse our trajectory, the America we imagine it to be truly is finished. In fact it may be too late, but I don’t think so. We are at a crucial tipping point though, and the next election will be decisive if the Republicans win. In four years of Republican rule, they will have stacked the court for generations, and done so much damage to the media, the internet, and education that whatever remains of the Left will be impotent. These are not my fevered fears–this is what they openly admit to in any number of manifestos churned out by Cato, Heritage and ALEC. What stuns me is that the Republicans are not very secretive yet we keep acting surprised! And when they are not overt regarding their intentions, all one has to do is listen to what they accuse the Dems of–Paul Ryan being the most recent example–to know exactly what THEY are doing. It’s gone beyond projection to pathology. Time after time they insist we have done the exact thing they have just done in spades. It’s uncanny.

If I could reduce all the issues that motivate the Occupy Movement down to one overarching anger and frustration it would be that of injustice. Whether it is income inequality, the banks and Wall Street, Iraq, war crimes, mortgages health care, outsourcing, education–they all boil down to radical injustice and unfairness. Not only are the laws and rules stacked against us, we see that justice itself is a misnomer, and is applied completely differently, or not at all, to those with wealth and power.

Crimes and fraud are committed against us on a massive scale and perpetrators go unpunished or are slapped on the wrist. Yet if we commit even a minor crime we are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And if we want to really talk injustice, look at a man of color serving decades for possession of a small amount of drugs. When we see that the top are above the law, our trust in our institutions are ruined. And it’s not just government–it’s our religious institutions, our charities, our industries. Who is left to count on? This is so destructive to society. When the people can’t rely on the basic rules of the game, when every institution seems corrupted and unjust, we adopt a dog-eat-dog attitude, and I see that in the rise of the Tea Party. But I am also seeing the antivenin for that in the Occupy movement, and I honestly believe that more and more people–eventually the vast majority–will see that too. I am seeing it in the MSM even–I sense that most are cheering for it, hoping it works, hoping it lasts and grows. I think that people are yearning for something to change the coarse we’re on, and this is it.

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Emerald1943
Member

Dearest Cher, lovely! Great comment!

You are right about the demoralization from seeing ALL our institutions crumbling around us. Our education system is failing at least two generations of our children who will grow up with limited skills, some barely able to read. How can these children know what their rights are when they are not even able to read our founding documents with any understanding?

The dumbing down of America has been going on for a long time. Bush just brought it all home with his “No Child Left Behind” program that was an abject failure…but what can you expect with no funding??

Our votes are not safe! We cannot even count on fairly electing our representatives. Big money can sway the populace with deceptive ads and rig the outcomes with hacked electronic voting machines and biased election officials.

Our Supreme Court is stacked against the people, working only for the corporations and their big-money benefactors. We have little chance for redress of our grievances if they run counter to big business. Judges who rule in favor of the people are demonized as “activist judges”.

The government is to be dismantled, systematically, to be impotent and unable to help the people. Everything is to be sold off to the highest bidder…roads, bridges, airports that taxpayers have paid for. As the President has said, if the repubs are in power, you are on your own!

But I still have hope, in spite of everything. I believe in President Obama! I know that his heart is with us and he will do what he can to stop the bleeding. We MUST hold on to the Presidency, hold the Senate, and take back the House. Otherwise, we will see the continuation of this slow and painful decline. The repubs will not rest until they have ruined it for the 99%!

The Occupy Wall Street is waking up the American people! This is the best part of the movement! They have already won! 🙂

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Chernynkaya
Member

Thank you, Em, and backatcha! You’ve listed the big areas of worry and I think that there is a cumulative effect on us. We look around and everywhere we see injustice and wrongdoing. Who can we really trust? As you said, we can’t even trust the ballot box. Can I trust the FDA to protect me from big Pharma? Can I trust politicized churches? Can I trust that the charity that I donate to won’t be involved in a scandal? We still have watchdogs to try and protect us from the abuses of unfettered capitalism– but the Right wants to dismantle even those weak ones.
But all that aside, my larger point, and the thing I think drives us to the streets is that there seems to be no justice, and the chant I always hear at all protests I’ve been to is “No justice, no peace!” It covers everything.

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ADONAI
Member

We’ll be alright.

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Emerald1943
Member

Adonai, 🙂

Thanks for the vote of confidence!

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ADONAI
Member

You’re welcome , Em! 🙂

We’re a strong country with a history of weathering far worse than this. We’ll be o.k.

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KillgoreTrout
Member

Define “OK.”

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Chernynkaya
Member

Sure, sweetie. Thanks for the insight. Now back to sleep with you.

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ADONAI
Member

We’ll be alright.

You don’t have to be afraid.

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Chernynkaya
Member

That is such a dismissive and baseless comment. I’m supposed to feel relieved because you say “We’ll be alright.” Are you even interested in politics, I wonder? Because to make such a statement seems to show a disregard for policy or facts about anything happening in this country or the world.

It’s fine to be optimistic, and you can certainly make a case that things are just fine the way they are. But to come here after AdLib has written an impassioned and factual post, after reading how many of us responded to his post, your comment is in essence, “I disagree.” I find that insulting and patronizing. This is not HP, where people drive by and leave comments like that. If you disagree that this country is in trouble, at least make a case. If you had nothing to say about this post, you should not have commented at all.

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ADONAI
Member

I thought it was no more dismissive than

“Sure, sweetie. Thanks for the insight. Now back to sleep with you.”

Are we calling the kettle black?

Just my opinions honey. Yours are no better than mine.

I should be telling you this,

If you don’t like them, don’t comment on them. Sweetie.

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Chernynkaya
Member

Ok, let’s declare a truce. Apology accepted.

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ADONAI
Member

Cher,

My own medicine? All I said was “we’ll be alright”.

That’s it. Sorry that wasn’t enough for you. Sorry you had to react that way.

Sorry I acted the way I did. It was beneath me.

Again, take my words however you want. But know that I do apologize for speaking to you in that way.

Whether I took offense to what you said or not, it was small of me to react in that way.

I am sorry.

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Chernynkaya
Member

Oh I was being dismissive –deliberately. Taste of you own medicine.

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KillgoreTrout
Member

Adonai, in what way will we “be alright?” Do you think we are alright, now?

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ADONAI
Member

KT,

In the sense that the country won’t collapse just because we elect Republicans into office? Yes.

In the sense that the country has been worse off than this and persevered? Yes.

That everything is just peachy keen? No. But when has it ever?

This country has been a process from day one. We keep moving forward. And we will continue to.

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Khirad
Member

You are right in that no foreign invader is burning down the White House and that brother isn’t fighting brother for the very Union of the nation. That we don’t have (literal) slaves anymore, etc.

This is a potentially very low point in our history, should we see a more extreme GOP come into office than we knew in all the Bush II years.

But absolutely, this is not the darkest of times our country has seen. That being said, it could pave the way for another one of them.

I don’t know, but I do think a little perspective is an important thing. We of course are the ones living in the here and now so we always think things are worst for us ’cause we experience them directly.

I don’t think that was the point here, but it’s an important point nonetheless.

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KillgoreTrout
Member

Adonai, I wish I could share in your optimism. I would say things are OK now and I think that if the rethugs get back into power, things will definitely get worse. I don’t mean the total destruction of America, but America will become virtually unrecognizable from it’s former self.
I don’t think we’ve ever had a congress as corrupt and hell bent on destroying the middle class as we do now. And now, the rethugs only have a majority in one body of our legislature. God help us if they get control of the executive branch and both branches of congress. They are totally bought by big corporations and serve those corporations over the good of “we the people.” Just look at the OWS movement and how fast it has grown, and continues to grow. Things are far from being OK and it is not beyond reason to believe that things could get much worse. Our government is broken. It does not function now as it was designed to function. To quote William Butler Yeats, “the center cannot hold, the falcon cannot hear the falconer.”

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foodchain
Member
foodchain

AdLIb, My time is in 5 min bursts; not enough to read. I look forward to a quiet am tomorrow to delve into this. Kindred

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MurphTheSurf3
Editor

AdLib Meet Karl Rove

“One way or another, America as we know it will end in 2012. We will be living in an America where a wealthy class is cemented into power and economic dominance over the majority or it will be an America where the majority rallies to retake their nation and democracy back.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And the GOP gets your point AdLib…and they are working hard to keep their voters as misinformed as possible.

Karl Rove’s organization American Crossroads has a memo laying out how the party ought to oppose President Obama’s jobs bill.

The specifics of Obama’s proposal are all highly popular, and the Republican challenge is to oppose it anyway.

The memo offers a fascinating look how to do political spin in general, and the particular dilemma of the Republican Party as it so obviously blocks economic action in the face of an ongoing crisis.

Here is the GOP problem:

A) Americans want to do all the things Obama proposes.
B) By a twenty-point margin, they favor funding new road construction and a payroll tax cut.
3) By a 30-point margin, they agree with higher taxes on the rich to cut the long-term deficit.
4) They support helping stave off layoffs of police officers, firefighters, and teachers by a 50-point margin.

How does the GOP fight that?

YOU GENERALIZE. People don’t like firing police officers and teachers? Fine, just call them “union workers”:

CHANGE THE TERMS.Similarly, 70% of respondents initially favor Obama’s proposal to “give billions to states to stop layoffs of teachers and firefighters.” But when the same idea is described as “giving] billions to states to keep government union workers on the payroll,” 52% turn against the idea.

ASSOCIATE IT NEGATIVELY. People may like payroll tax cuts and spending money to build roads, so call them “Stimulus II”:

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER. “The new Obama stimulus bill is nearly identical to President Obama’s first stimulus, which spent $830 billion, yet the unemployment rate went up, so we don’t need to waste even more money.”

PARTY SOLIDARITY VS. OTHER PARTY DIVISION. When one party who you blindly follow is unanimously opposed to something, and the other party is trying to debate it and argue out the finer points, many people figure it’s a bad idea.

This was an insight Mitch McConnell grasped from the outset of Obama’s presidency, announcing that unified Republican opposition would help make the president’s policies unpopular. Accordingly, American Crossroads finds that the mere fact of Republican unanimity, and Democratic lack thereof, ranks among its most persuasive arguments against a bill.

So here is how you say it: “Since both Republicans and Democrats are worried [about the bill], this probably is not a good economic plan.”

LIE. In this case, the lie is that Obama would raise taxes right away:

How is this one: “President Clinton has said he doesn’t ‘believe we should be raising taxes … until we get this economy off the ground.’”

In reality, Obama’s proposal cuts taxes through 2012, does not increase taxes at all before 2013 and Clinton includes that idea in the second half of the cited statement.

Politicians have long trembled before public opinion, but the Republicans have come to understand how ill-formed and malleable public opinion can be, especially on economic policy issues. Most voters, and especially most swing voters, simply don’t know enough about the issues for their opinion to have any political weight. Bottom Line: Propaganda Works!

Almost no position in economic policy is too unpopular to be successfully defended.

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Emerald1943
Member

Murph, good points all! This is exactly why the Citizens United case is such a travesty! The first article that I ever posted in PPOV was about this case as it was under review by SCOTUS. I wrote that I was very afraid that our democracy was in extreme danger and would never be the same if they ruled as they ultimately did.

Now, we can already see the results of their dereliction! The ads are already beginning in many places. The flow of anonymous money into our campaigns has already begun. The lies and deceptions are being dreamed up in the video production rooms. Air time is being purchased with millions of dollars. God only knows where this money is coming from…even possibly from foreign governments.

If there is anything good coming from the Occupy Wall Street movement, it will be the awakening of the sleeping American voter! We can only hope that we can fight this influx of money and the lies and deceptions of the republicans like Rove by continuing to pound that message home! People don’t like being deceived…they need to know what Rove and the rethugs are doing to the conversation!

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MurphTheSurf3
Editor

Emerald-

COULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE…..

What does it take to mount an effective propaganda campaign?

An receptive audience
An effective message
A delivery method

For those three elements to exist one needs skilled practitioners in the fields of psychology, sociology, marketing and communications; and the means to disseminate the message.

For that to happen one needs money…..lots and lots of money.

Enter Citizens United…..a front for the overthrow of the electoral process.

THIS IS HOW DEMOCRACIES DIE.

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kesmarn
Admin

AdLib, I don’t know how you do it. How you so consistently turn out such well-written and thought-provoking articles. Another gem.

At one of our infamous family discussions we were talking about the up-coming elections, and someone asked me: “Come on. What do you think is going to happen if the Republicans win in 2012?” (Implying that I was catastrophizing…again.)

I said: “I think there will be a complete economic collapse.”

Which drew the predictable: “Puh-leeeeze…!” reaction.

Thanks for writing an article that is not only something that should be widely read, but something that validates a feeling that many of us have had for a while now. We are not making mountains out of molehills, folks!

This is crunch time.

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Emerald1943
Member

Bravo, Adlib! Wonderful!

I don’t think you could have said it better…I know I certainly could not. 2012 is going to be an incredible year for us all. And I believe you are absolutely right. This may be the battle of our lives!

The differences have become so stark. I have never been so frightened for the future as I am right now, seeing what has transpired. I have two wonderful grandchildren about whom I worry daily. What kind of world will they live in? Will they have jobs and be able to raise families? Will they go hungry? Will they be happy?

I never worried about any of these questions for myself as I grew up. It was always just a fact that I would be healthy, happy, and prosperous, living a full and productive life. Never would I have thought that in one generation, none of these things would be guaranteed for my grandchildren. After all, that was the American Dream, almost as much a part of our Constitutional rights as freedom of speech. At least, that is how I was taught to believe.

We can take this country back! While I despise the baggers’ use of this phrase, there is something to be said for it now. We MUST take this country back. Nothing in my life could be more important. If we do not succeed in 2012, I do not want to think about what my grandchildren will face.

Thank you for a beautifully done article! Every citizen in this country should read this!

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javaz
Member

And for Americans here that say they’re going to move to Costa Rica or St. Martens – Really?

Have you ever lived in a foreign country?
For any length of time?
2 years?

There really is nothing like the USA.

For all it’s faults, there is nothing like America.

We’re a huge country that traverses hundreds of miles, whereby France is roughly the size of Texas.

Travel across the US, and meet Americans.

Americans are the best people in the world, except for Maine where we were the ‘outsiders’.

LOL

New Hampshire shocked me – as I used to always say HI to folks. but since my time in Paris, France, I was told how the French regarded Americans for saying HI to all was false and not real.

Boston and New Hampshire were the friendliest people we ever met.

California people are fine in California, but when Californians travel anywhere, they really need to learn manners and stop the rude.
Not even New Yorkers are as rude as people from California.
LOL

I’m not leaving the USA and I’ve lived in Europe, and loved it.
But I love it here, too, as this is my country and I love my country and all who live here.

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SallyT
Member

Well, there has to be assholes because without them we couldn’t get the crap out. There are good and bad places and there are some better or worst than the other. However, much of that depends on you and how you approach it. Sometimes when we move to a new place and are not yet familiar we think the people are rude and not friendly. But we just haven’t gotten use or spent enough time there for us or them to get to know each other. I can say this and I even once lived in Utah! I have never lived outside of the US. But, most of those other countries have been around centuries longer then we have been a nation. So, they must have somethings to be proud of. Sure they have made mistakes and had dark periods but so have we. I love the United States because it is all I know and I think it is pretty wonderful in spite of its mistakes. It is worth saving. However, we need to realize that others have the same thoughts about their homes. That is why it is a planet worth saving.

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foodchain
Member
foodchain

SallyT, I can’t believe you’ve made me appreciate assholes! Just think how much more constipated we would be without them. I mean, this is a whole new perspective for me.

I think of each country as unique to it’s history of evolution; kind of nature vs nurture. Some countries have been aggressive, some dominated, some forgotten but all linked and evolving. We do some rights better (for now at least) but we seem naive for all our power and wealth.

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SallyT
Member

Foodchain, I am glad I was able to give you a new respect for assholes. I thank you and whatever big asshole corporation that makes EXLax thanks you.

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Kalima
Admin

I would have to reply to your “really” with my own “really” Javaz. I’ve lived in two countries that were foreign to me, and the last one is for over 30 years. If you haven’t lived there, how could you possibly know or compare. Living for two years in France because your husband’s company moved him there, just doesn’t do it. Knowing that you will only be staying for a few years, gives you the option of not needing to integrate into the society there, or bother to learn the language, you will be going home again when your two years are up. I had no choice in both cases, one was because my parents decided to move when I was a child, and the other because my husband wanted to return to his country. It’s easy to criticize other countries when you have no experience of them.

For millions of Americans over the last few decades, America is no longer number one. Millions are uninsured, millions are out of work, a few are good friends who are sick and uninsured. I have good health care here, and I have a job. I had good health care in the U.K. and I had a job. There is nothing that you can do over there, that I couldn’t do in the U.K. or Japan, except maybe visit the Grand Canyon. You can hardly call America the land of the free anymore. If things get any worse, I can understand completely why some people might want to move to another country. Moving to another country because things have gotten so bad in your own country that your life has become difficult, is in no way being un-American, you can be an American anywhere in the world.

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KillgoreTrout
Member

I don’t think your comment would draw hatred. On the contrary. But you do generalize a bit. I have lived all over America and found that people are basically the same where ever you go. There are good people and then there are assholes. I lived in Boston and New Hampshire and generally speaking, you are right. I noticed in Boston, that making friends wasn’t really easy at first, but once you did make friends, they were pretty much friends for life. If you want to really experience friendly people from Mass, you should spend some time on Cape Cod! Yes, there are some assholes there, but the nice folks definitely out number the jerks.

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javaz
Member

What happened to the edit button?

I just read to my husband what I wrote and he was “OMG you can’t say that, because they are going to hate you!”

Oops.

It’s always been a problem for me that I’m outspoken.

I hope that no one hates me for my outspokenness.

And how old will I have to be before I stop caring about what others think of me?

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Chernynkaya
Member

Maybe I should reply to your husband, but you should stand by your statements if you believe them– and I think you do. I certainly don’t hate you, but I disagree with you and think your statements reflect an ignorance of many facts about the US compared to other countries.

We rank 39th in education, are the only country in the West without national health care, have one of the lowest voter turnout rates, have the highest income inequality of ANY developed country in the world–I could go on and on. And for you to claim that Americans are “the best people in the world” is frankly laughable and nativist.

BTW, in California, we are so rude we actually don’t ask for Hispanics to produce their papers, as opposed to another state I can mention. We are so rude, we actually have a state Dream Act.

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Emerald1943
Member

Javaz, although I took your comment personally as I have been the one touting the advantages of St. Maarten since visiting there last winter, I certainly could NEVER hate you!

I can appreciate your absolute loyalty and devotion to the “mother country”. I share your love of America and everything we can be. But if the republicans are able to completely take over our government in the next election, this country will be unrecognizable in 10 years. We will be not much better than a third-world impoverished banana republic. It’s already happening and they don’t have total control!

Yes, St. Maarten looks wonderful to me! At least, I can have a banana tree in my yard!

No dear! I could never hate you! I appreciate your point of view…but I disagree! 🙂

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javaz
Member

I remember the Democratic National Convention whereby we first met a Senator named Barack Obama.
(I remember thinking that he was much younger than he was, but really loving what he was saying)

It was Senator Kerry running against George Dumbya Bush, and it was former President Jimmy Carter who spoke and I love Jimmy Carter.

I personally owe Jimmy Carter for taking me off unemployment (CETA) and training me for a job, whereby I found employment, completed college and then the rest is history.

But former-President Carter stood on the stage and told us all – “Never give-up on America or the American people.”

I still believe in the American Dream, and I really do.

The American Dream is still attainable, and there are younger people living the Dream.

Seriously.

You do not know any younger people who have good jobs and are married to a spouse that has a good job and they have a house and have one or two children?

I can’t say this correctly, but for all the unemployed, there are young people who have and who are living the American Dream.

I’m talking young people under 30, too, and I’m talking kids who are not rich.

I really do not know how to verbalize this correctly, but it’s not all bad news, at least it’s not in my little world and the people that I know.

I wish that I could say this better – but never give up, as Jimmy Carter said.

I get the inequality and believe me, I get it, especially at my age,
whereby my husband and I stand to lose everything if they are successful at taking away our SSI and Medicare.

The American Dream lives because the Occupy Wall Street Movement lives and it’s growing.

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Chernynkaya
Member

If you lived in one of the many other countries you consider inferior to the USA, you and your husband wouldn’t have to worry about losing your SS and Medicare.

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agrippa
Member
agrippa

It is a tough situation; and, it has been buliding for many years. Real wages for the vast middle, has been flat/slowly falling since the era of LBJ/Nixon. Vietnam and Civil Rights were very problematic for the liberal coaltion; nad, that is part of the explanation. If matters do not turn around, the vast middle will see many years of stagnation.

OWS/ we are the 99% has the potential to be a real catalyst to slow this decline.

Very seldom has the top 1% of any society in any era had the wit and the wisdom to preserve themselves and their world as they knew it. At the end of the day, most elites ruined themselves and their world.

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SueInCa
Member

Adlib
You paint a pretty grim picture and a few months ago I might have thought the ugly part of your scenario,the 1% gaining more power, was the path we would go but after the past couple months I have hope. Hope that I did not need to get from a President as much as I like him. But hope given to all of us by the Occupy movement. At first, as you know, I was skeptical, no longer. Look what happened in Oakland today, the people won. The mayor realized just how many people were behind these protestors and she changed her tune real fast. Oscar Grant Square belongs to the people again.

I hope that the awakening continues and Occupy grows.

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