The beauty about the Occupy movement is that what started as a grassroots, spontaneous gathering has spiraled into hundreds and hundreds of protests all over the globe and is now starting fledgling political actions, buoyed by the notion that we not only stand on the moral high ground, but our numbers are powerful.
OccupyforAccountability is an advocacy group inspired by the Occupy protests launching this week. Their first campaign? Calling for a criminal investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. (.pdf)
America’s citizens have had it with people in power who violate the law. That includes Clarence Thomas who has used his position as a Supreme Court Justice to flout the law and enrich himself, his wife and their cronies through corrupt backroom deals with billionaires Harlan Crow, and Charles and David Koch.
Author and former Senate Judiciary Committee counsel Lillian McEwen, whose memoir this year describes a five-year romantic relationship in the 1980s with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, will deliver a lecture Oct. 26 calling for his resignation on grounds of corruption that is dangerous to the public.
As intense protests spawned by Occupy Wall Street continue to grow, it is worth asking: Why now? The answer is not obvious. After all, severe income and wealth inequality have long plagued the United States. In fact, it could reasonably be claimed that this form of inequality is part of the design of the American founding -- indeed, an integral part of it.
Income inequality has worsened over the past several years and is at its highest level since the Great Depression. This is not, however, a new trend. Income inequality has been growing at rapid rates for three decades. As journalist Tim Noah described the process:
We are in the midst of a deleveraging, we are nearly out of ammunition and we are at each other’s throats. Being in a deleveraging and nearly out of ammunition is a very difficult position to be in. But, being at each other’s throats is our biggest problem.
Our character and our political and social systems are now being tested in ways that have typically been tested in past deleveragings. In deleveragings bad economic conditions typically lead to emotional reactions, social and political fragmentation, poor decision-making and increased conflict. When this occurs in democracies, the checks and balance system, which is intended to yield the best decisions for the whole, can stand in the way of thoughtful leadership and lead to ineffective “mob” rule. This dynamic can lead to a self-reinforcing downward spiral.
Frustrations increase, the established ways of doing things come under attack and frustrations over the ineffectiveness of government creates the perceived need for someone to gain control of the mess. Plato spoke of this dynamic. It was the reason Hitler was elected in 1933.
As the new occupants of Zuccotti Park — and more pointedly, innocent bystandards — are plagued by increasingly problematic hygiene issues, one woman, Bette Midler, is coming to the rescue…or is at least offering to buy the protesters much needed porta-potties.
You may be wondering how Occupy Wall Street protesters have made it onto websites like the White House website and Wells Fargo.
CARTOON: OCCUPY WALL STREET AND ABANDON MAIN STREET | Atlanta Journal-Constitution political cartoonist Mike Luckovich points out that while Americans are taking to the streets to protest Wall Street, congressional Republicans are holding their own occupation — rejecting jobs legislation and abandoning Main Street.
A new report from the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday added to the evidence that the income gap between the top American income earners and the middle- and lower-classes continues to grow, as the top one percent saw its average after-tax income grow by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007. During the same time period, it grew just 18 percent for the bottom 20 percent, resulting in a “substantially more unequal” distribution of wealth than there was three decades ago.
It's a measure of how effective the Occupy Wall Street movement has become, that the right-wing feels compelled to attack them as having ties to Muslim extremists. More importantly, it's a barometer of just how frightened they are of losing the spotlight to real populism:
In a development that should surprise no one, some on the right-wing are accusing the Occupy Wall Street movement of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.“JIHAD ALERT,” the anti-“Shariah Islam” group “The United West” declares in a blog post. “‘OCCUPY ORLANDO’ or JIHAD ORLANDO?”
You can take Bill O'Reilly's dismissal as the best endorsement Occupy Wall Street can get.
Here's O'Reilly from this Monday's show pretending that he's ever had anything besides derision, belittlement, mockery or scorn for the people out there protesting Wall Street, ever since the movement they would have preferred to ignore started.
Who’s more dangerous to American society: Rush Limbaugh or al Qaeda?
It might not come as a surprise that key Democratic leaders supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement have in fact all raised substantial funds from Wall Street. Heritage reportes that President Obama, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Congressman Barney Frank have all raised significant funds from Wall Street.