Stormy Nights & the Winds of Change

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Mon, Nov 7, 2011

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By Mary DeCamp

These last couple of stormy nights make me think those crazy dirty hippies talkin’ climate change might be onto something.

Friday night we had the storm troopers from Tucson Police Department surround Military Plaza in Armory Park and roust the sleepy Tucson Occupiers, telling them if they did not relocate all their worldly possessions from the site they would be arrested and taken to jail and their stuff would be confiscated.  Winds of social change with a very chilling effect.

The Occupying Patriots showed their grit and grace.  Within two hours, there was not a trace of the Occupiers left in the public park.  All tents, food, medical supplies, generators, technical equipment, personal effects, pets, and people were gone.  With no litter left behind.  Wow, just think if our government could operate with such speed and efficiency!  But they don’t, of course.

The City of Tucson spent umpity-ump dollars to carry off the raid.  I conservatively estimated 60 officers, my friend Eric reported counting at least 72 on one side of the camp only, and those estimates didn’t include all the traffic cops stationed around the blocks surrounding the camp to keep traffic out.  Odd, though, that all the media knew about the raid and were on hand before the Occupiers knew of the City’s determination to break the will of the Free Speechers.  Maybe those elite opinion-leaders all have sumptuous dinners together and travel in the same rarified circles where they share priviliged information while the poor among us starve on their crumbs?  The City’s money is being wasted on the wrong stuff.  The decision-makers are not accountable, because the responsibility for decisions is so diffuse – no one person is THE ONE who makes the call.  And if it gets too ugly and messy over financing, they can always form a committee and do an audit and absolve each of their buddies individually from any harm done.  That’s how it turned out with the Bankster Bailouts, eh?  And how’s that Rio Nuevo comin’ along locally, folks?  Think globally , act locally.

That’s what the Occupation Movement is about.  Calling attention to just how broken the system is.  The rich think they can simply lock themselves in their panic rooms, down their Xanax, and talk with their spiritual coach to weather the social storms.  How about you do your part, too, and VOTE before 7 pm next Tuesday?  Is that too high a price to pay for your democracy?  Too much of an inconvenience?

Ah, but then Mother Nature weighs in, too, with her non-electoral vote.  Last night we experienced incredibly violent weather.  The tents that were relocated to Tucson’s Augusto de Veinte Park following Friday’s Armory ouster trembled and shook and in some cases collapsed.  The window at Shot In the Dark Cafe was blown out, so retail establishments take a hit when the mighty winds blow, too.  Perhaps we should all just continue to ignore human-caused global climate change and clap our hands that maintenance and repair workers will now have gainful employment?  That’s the Big Business approach, right?  Well, maybe right up until the time the insurance companies must pay – then there are squawks and squeals and legal maneuverings to evade responsibility and shift the expense to the poor who couldn’t afford to guard against the “forseeable consequences” of not building a multimillion dollar castle to protect themselves.

I’ve long had a favorite saying – “If you’re going to be poor, you better have a LOT of money, because it is going to cost you!”

We are at a point in history where we are questioning the role money plays in our lives.  Greece is defaulting on their debt, and NPR reports that the private financial sharks are circling the tank there, profitting off the taxpayers once again.  The dominoes are lined up and starting to fall.

Luckily plucky bands of Occupiers have sprung up in countless communities to show a better way of civic engagement.  Rather than letting the rats run off with all the goodies, they are standing together, sharing ideas and efforts, and getting stuff done.  We’ve organized into well-run teams of people to address every facet of the life in camp and we’re providing valuable service to our communities.

When we Occupied Military Plaza in Armory Park, there were no arrests other than the stupid curfew citations that were issued.  How much money could that save our community if we adopted the direct democracy model in all of our neighborhoods?  Think what is spent on indigent care in the way of emergency room services, police patrols, jailing offenders, prosecuting and defending those who cannot afford their own representation, probation administration, and social services to care for the mental, emotional, and physical abuse that accompanies poverty.  But somehow, our status-quo system sees us as the bad guys in all this.  How dare we raise our voices after dark in a public park?  Call in the cops to quell the outcry!

The winds of change are blowing, friends.  Batten down your hatches because we are in for quite a squall.

And it really is a pleasure and an honor to be at the helm, watching the breaking fronts, and reporting back to you what it’s like out here in the City’s streets.

Love & peace,

Check out the Tuscon Occupy site for updates

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  • Nalliah Thayabharan

    Wall Street is a confidence trick, a dazzling edifice built on paper promises, gambling, bets and rampant speculations. Wall Street doesn’t manufacture or produce anything.  Wall Street , however attractive it may appear, is built on paper. 
    Wall Street speculation caused a 70% increase in the price of wheat from June to December 2010 and severed food crisis in more than 35 countries. However, there was no significant change in the global food supply or in food demand. The total value of Wall Street speculative financial derivatives reached more than $600 trillion – about 10 times global GDP. Wall street’s speculative derivatives are virtually untaxed and banks often avoid paying tax on profits from selling derivatives. Every consumer is paying more for commodities including food and fuel due to the excessive speculation by Wall Street.
    Modern day bank robbers are at Wall Street but they wear grey suits and not masks. Rampant speculators, propagandists and financiers of Wall Street are all given some unfair advantage over the average consumers and taxpayers and the cumulative effect of the people watching selfishness prevail over the public interest has been an undermining of the public’s trust in the present US government. There’s no question that Wall Street is rigged against the average consumers and taxpayers. Wall Street has a lot more information. Wall Street jerry-rigged the system so that Wall Street always win.  If  Wall Street loses trillions, the US Treasury will bail the Wall Street out so it can go back and do it again. 
    50 trillion dollars in global wealth was erased between September 2007 and March 2009, including 7 trillion dollars in the US stock market, 6 trillion dollars in the US housing market, 8 trillion dollars in the US retirement and household wealth, 2 trillion dollars in the US individual retirement accounts, 2 trillion dollars in the US traditional defined benefit plans and 3 trillion dollars in the US nonpension assets. Greed, arrogance and incompetence created a massive meltdown, cost trillions, and still Wall Street comes out richer and more powerful.
    There are trillions dollars of new money taken again from Americans to make deals and hand out outrageous bonuses. And when these trillions run out, Wall Street will come back for more until the dollar becomes junk. The value of the US dollar declined very significantly during the last 70 years.  The value of the US dollar in 1940 was worth 2,000% more than the value of the US dollar now. 
     The USA emerged from the World War II as the richest and most industrialized country in the world, with 50% of world’s manufacturing facilities. But today the USA is basically approaching bankruptcy. Many big US manufacturers are outsourcing to Mexico and China to increase their profits, adding more unemployment in the USA. Manufacturing jobs in the USA declined 37% between 1998 and 2010. Since manufacturing industries has declined in the USA, the US competitiveness in the global marketplace has also declined.
    Robust financial markets don’t imperil capitalism.  In the early 1980′s Wall Street began to escape reasonable important regulations of the marketplace. The US government gradually adopted a “too big to fail” policy for the Wall Street, saving lenders with failing businesses from losses. The demise of Glass Steagall act helped spawn the credit crisis by allowing the Wall Street to create  financial instruments that allowed them to escape reasonable limits, including constraints on speculative borrowing and requirements for the disclosure of important facts. The extremely lucrative hedge funds and other risk management derivatives including credit default swaps don’t  fund or invest in successful growing businesses. The credit default swap market was the single biggest cause of the crash 4 years ago.  
    Wall Street’s suicidal capitalism built on rampant speculation eventually posed an untenable risk to the US economy—a risk that culminated in the trillions of dollars’ worth of the US government bailouts and guarantees that the US government scrambled starting in late 2008. But in 2008 the US government was compelled to replace private risktakers at the Wall Street with government capital so that money and credit flows wouldn’t stop, precipitating a depression. As a result, these Wall Street became impervious to the vital market discipline that the threat of loss provides. Wall Street lenders of the financial markets continue to understand that the US government would protect them in the future if necessary. This implicit guarantee by the US government harms capitalism and economic growth.
    The top 6 US banks had assets of less than one fifth of US GDP in 1995. Now they have two third of US GDP. The financial crisis was created by the biggest US banks to consolidate power. The big banks became stronger as a result of the bailout by the US Treasury. The big banks are turning that increased economic clout into more political power. Wall Street has undue influence on the US government policies and this situation reflects a failure of democratic representation for the other 99 percent Americans.
    Oligarchy is the political power based on economic power. And it’s the rise of  Wall Street in economic terms, that it’d turn into political power.Wall Street will  then continue to feed that back into more deregulation, more opportunities to go out and take reckless risks and capture trillions of dollars. 
    Wall Street only has the lobbyists. Today more than 42,000 Wall Street lobbyists manipulate USA’s 537 elected officials with huge campaign contributions that fund candidates who support their agenda. It no longer matters who’s the President of USA.   
    The political and economical leadership of the US has chosed to cartel profits and transformed the US economy to serve the colluding and unlawful oligarchy.  The political and economical leadership of the US is bailing out failed paradigms with trillions of dollars while committing social injustice to its people. The political and economical leadership of the US including the US Congress have now become Wall Street’s “Trojan Horses”. The US banks are borrowing money at near zero interest from the US government, then lending it back to the US government at even mere fractions higher interest than they are paying. The net interest margin made by the US banks by lending the money back to the US federal government in the first 6 months of 2011 is 210 billion dollars. 
    The organizers and profiteers of war and death – the past four generations of Bush family – Samuel P Bush, Prescott S Bush, George H W Bush and George W Bush along with a group of international investment bankers and corporate executives, have been instrumental in creating and profiting from extremely costly and destructive wars. Four generations of Bush family have reaped tremendous profits from the wars they orchestrated. The war profiteers of Wall Street are pushing the US towards a war with Iran.
    Due to  the oligarchs’ rapacious looting and their purchase of a politically protected luxurious lifestyle, the people of the US are on the road to permanent serfdom under a police state. Tens of millions in the US live desperate slave like existences and they hold little hope for a better life. The democracy was not given to the people of the US on a platter. It is not theirs for all time, irrespective of their efforts. Either people of the US organize and they find political leadership to take this on or they are going to be in deep trouble. 
    The failure of governance to address the current critical issues have already produced catastrophic consequences. Now we are experiencing a major global paradigm shift and it is still unfolding. Thirty-two US states including California, Illinois, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, New Jersey and Michigan are on the brink of insolvency as their tattered and fading economy is now more dire than ever.  Inevitably in very near future the US government will order police or military to martial law which may lead to a second American revolution.

    “There is no calamity greater than lavish desires, no greater guilt than discontentment and no greater disaster than greed” 
    - Laozi 
    “Greedy desire is endless and therefore can never be satisfied”
    - Buddha

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