The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, October 14, 2011

Occupy Bessemer (actually Birmingham)

Remember how when the Tea Party was being, I'm sorry, I won't take you back to that time.

Now we have the Occupy Wall Street protests spreading around the country.

Picture credit Diane on Facebook

This is Diane and her three rescue dogs, on the tundra near Bethel, Alaska.

She said, "The day is chill. The sentiment is solid. Find your spot. Occupy it. Even if it is only your own mind. Keep this going."

Locally, the effort started last week with just a few people.

Picture credit Occupy Birmingham on Facebook

People in Birmingham (at least Birmingham people on Facebook) have been waiting for years for something like this.

Oh yeah, what I was going to say about the Tea Party; remember when they were forming and people complained that no one knew what they stood for?  Well, I had my theory, but others determined it had to do with taxes.

People are saying the same thing about the 99% and Occupy; that they don't know what the movement stands for. Well, Rich has explained it in this Occupy Birmingham blog post.

Editorial: "What IS the 99%,  Exactly?"

I’ve seen a significant amount of misunderstanding on the concept of the claim that “we are the 99%”.  Most of the misunderstanding seems to come from skeptics as to the movement’s purpose and effectiveness (which is rather annoying, actually).  So, to combat the confusion, I thought I’d take a little bit of time to explain the concept in a little bit of depth.

Simply put, the wealthiest 1% is placed on one end of the equation, and the remaining 99% is placed on the other.  Why go after the top 1%?  Why not the top 3% or the top 10%?  The graph to the right shows that the top 1% is significantly different in terms of average household income (before and after taxes).  Their income has risen dramatically over the last 30 years while everyone else’s (the 99%)…. hasn’t.  As you can clearly see, the 1% is… special.  In effect, they made themselves “the 1%”; not the occupation movements which have sprouted all over the planet in recent weeks.

The editorial continues

We function as individuals.  Those that you see marching, protesting, and occupying have elected to do so on their own accord.  Those who are against the protesters and disagree with the occupiers are still a part of the equation and therefore the movement.  Their ideas are taken in and reviewed on the individual level and are considered just as important as everyone else’s.

Now I think that most of us understand that part of the problem lies in Washington.  For example, recently Alabama Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby both voted against President Obama's Jobs bill, thus voting against 18,800 jobs that would have been created in Alabama. Of course, the Republicans have their hands in the back pockets (where the wallet is) of corporate America, so it's all related.

Many of the occupiers have a problem with corporate funding of elections. The Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United in 2010 was the final straw for some of us.  This case held that the First Amendment protects corporate funding of political ads (and films).

Justice John Paul Stevens dissent summed up the feelings of many. Here is the conclusion of his dissent.

At bottom, the Court's opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.

Others are upset at the financial crisis and resulting unemployment caused by the financial industry. And that no one has been held accountable.

Now the media is more interested in covering things like the disagreement over moving protesters out of parks (in New York) for cleaning rather than focusing on the real issues.

Regardless, there will be a protest in Birmingham (not Bessemer) Saturday at 2:00, at Railroad Park. And more than just a few people are expected. Here is part of the crowd at another Occupy Birmingham event.

Picture credit Occupy Birmingham

If you don't like your government being bought and paid for by corporations, and if you are concerned about the state of the economy and unemployment, and even if you are just concerned about the injustice caused by HB56, you should be there. After all, you ARE part of the 99%


Dale said...

Joe, we need to be thankful that Sessions and Shelby (and others) voted against this jobs bill. I realize that you are a democrat and an Obama supporter, but common sense will SCREAM at you that this bill is one horrible piece of legislation. In fact, it is just "business as usual" for Obama. It is FULL of government REGULATIONS. The "short term" tax cuts for employers is NOT a tactic that an educated, well-established business person is going to fall for. There is no RATIONAL explanation how this plan will IMPROVE the economy OR lower unemployment. Yes, for a VERY SHORT PERIOD it MIGHT make a dent on the pie chart, but long term, it is ANOTHER BAD PLAN for 'hard working' Americans.

Joe said...

Anonymous, first, learn to spell. (smoke). Second, we have jobs. We don't like corporations buying government. And we don't like corporations being thought of as persons.