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Dismissing Change As Nothing Important

A lot of conservatives in the news are dismissing the Occupy Wall Street movement as nothing worth taking note of.  Conservative experts claim that the movement that consists of thousands has not managed to develop a coherent message and is failing at its attempt to bring attention to a single issue.  As proof, they ask the question what’s the purpose of the movement.  Who are the leaders?  Where is the mission statement?  Where are the headquarters?

I saw an interview with the latest conservative front runner for the White House, Newt Gingrich.  Mr. Gingrich was able to benefit from all of pizza mogul Herman Cain’s troubles, the previous front runner who was able to take advantage of Texas Governor Rick Perry’s troubles, the front runner before that who was able to take advantage of Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann’s troubles, the front runner before that who was able to take advantage of conservative business tycoon Donald Chump’s troubles, and so on and so on and so on as long as the front runner wasn’t former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Anyway, Mr. Gingrich has been making a lot of political rhetoric against the Occupy Wall Street movement.  He has accused these people of having hygiene issues saying that they refuse to take a bath.  He also said that they refuse to get a job, refuse to understand how economics work, and refuse to do anything to earn a living.  It is Mr. Gingrich’s impression that the Occupy Wall Street members, the 99%, believe that the 1% owe them something, everything.  Needless to say Mr. Gingrich has no sympathy for anybody who isn’t in the 1% and is not ultra conservative.

People can dismiss the Occupy movement as nothing important.  But I saw a panel discussion about the Occupy Wall Street, and one of the pundits made an analogy comparing the Occupy Wall Street movement to the civil rights movement of the sixties.  People protesting race based discrimination didn’t have a formal leadership structure or a mission statement.  Although Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other influential black people eventually became the face of the movement, it started with a mass of people protesting institutionalized unfairness that was the norm in America.

The civil rights movement never made a charter.  Our ancestors and elders who participated in the movement didn’t have a governing body listing all the demands to be negotiated.  It had a slogan, “What do we want?  Equal rights!  When do we want it?  Now!”

People knew what the problem was without somebody pointing it out.  Black people were not equal to their white counterparts and the racial discrimination that had become part and parcel of the United State’s social fabric was no longer acceptable.  The unfairness had reached a critical point where it was not going to be quietly tolerated any longer.  Enough people said enough was enough and it was time for change.  It took years, but the environment of brazen open hostility towards blacks became a thing of the past.  Racism and discrimination had to go underground.

Looking at the Occupy Wall Street movement, a very similar slogan can apply.  “What do we want?  Financial equality!  When do we want it?  Now!”

To put the prerequisite of such officious steps as a single mission statement and other such nonsense in order to deem the movement successful is just a distracting tactic meant to minimize the potential of the movement.  A few weeks ago the message bandied about in political circles was that America’s deficit was getting out of hand and we had to put everything into getting it under control at the expense of everything else.  We need to reduce taxes and reduce spending so that we can grow the economy that seems to be benefitting only the 1%.

While some of us still want to pretend that the federal deficit is the number one concern for the majority of America, it should be apparent that a huge chunk of the population is beginning to see things a little differently.  In the past few weeks, a lot of attention is beginning to be paid to the income disparity that has become part and parcel of our American economic landscape.  Like the inequality of racial discrimination, economic discrimination is beginning to take center stage of our national consciousness.

People can pretend this movement means nothing.  People can dismiss the people as nothing more than a bunch of poor hygiene hippies that refuse to work for a living.  But that’s really no surprise, it’s always how the establishment and anyone else who has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo responds to a call for change where the vast majority can benefit.  Go ahead and dismiss all the rebel rousers as nothing important, at least until you can’t.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - Posted by | Life, Racism, Thoughts | ,


  1. “First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden get booed at a NASCAR race and conservative talking head Rush Limbaugh says it is because Ms. Obama was being uppity. And people wonder why the vast majority of the black community doesn’t care for conservatives. This is the type of crap that brainwashes you to stay away.”

    Let me get this straight; ONE conservative pundit says something nasty about Michelle Obama and that means EVERY conservative thinks and feels the same way…

    Comment by Steven Lemon | Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Steven Lemon,

      But your presumption is incorrect. This isn’t just ONE conservative pundit that said something nasty. This is about one conservative pundit that is constantly saying something nasty and how most conservatives support this nastiness. Mr. Limbaugh wouldn’t have a show if what he said wasn’t defended, agreed upon by other conservatives. The rest of your truncated comment that I made the choice to delete was full of rhetoric supporting Mr. Limbaugh and his racist thinking with comments regarding the dysfunction of blacks. If you read the comment closely it said this is the “type” of crap that keeps black people from the conservative party, not that this is the only reason the majority of blacks stay away. You, and many other conservatives, are part of the problem. And because you do have a penchant to misunderstand criticism, please note that I did not say all conservatives.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, November 23, 2011 | Reply

  2. Our ‘status quo’ is maintained by an economic system built around the personal control of money.

    The alternative banking system is –

    Comment by loudefrog | Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | Reply

  3. Well let me just say to Steven Lemon, that I am a conservative, and Brother P has no problems with me, therefore cancelling out the rhetoric of labeling all conservatives as problematic.

    Now, Brother P-

    Looking at your correlating chant from the Civil Rights movement to the Occupy movement- I have to ask you to define the financial equality quotient. Do you mean that all people should make the same amount of money, regardless of participation or risk, or something different? And I ask this not only as the devil’s advocate here (no pun intended), and a conservative (maybe redundant term for you?), but also for you to have a shot at clarifying from a liberal’s perspective how the common man really thinks, as opposed to the main messages thrown out their by media pundits, so that your readers might better understand.

    I know we have talked before, and as a conservative, I was against the bailouts in their form, since the money went to the people who already had money and never truly and personally suffered like some of us little people did, I’m not a big fan of crony capitalism, nor of total deregulation. I think the government allows a lot of problems to happen by not enforcing fairly a lot of common sense regulations that would or should curtail a lot of unfair practices, and instead increases their political hunger by enacting new laws constantly ( I believe the tally of actual regulatory laws on the books technically outnumber the total number of types of problems that ever existed) just to keep getting re-elected.

    And it is those types who demand to see the message, the faces of the messengers and their official headquarters to try to label any movement as “legitimate”. The Civil Rights issue was more tangible, and while hard to enforce, at least had an easier (in theroy) solution. The Occupy issue while we see the problem, the solution is much cloudier….and to me, who needs no face, headquarters, or the like, finds it hard to identify with them (beyond general empathy- lord knows I dont make jack shit for a paycheck), because what I see anyways, is a bunch of people whining, but without any proposal other than to shut down a bunch of people’s jobs, while saying they are aimed at the CEOs and corporations, and add those people to the ranks of the protesters.

    Comment by mikelovell | Sunday, November 27, 2011 | Reply

    • Mookie!!!

      You’re a conservative!!! Since when??? This might be a deal breaker…


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, November 27, 2011 | Reply

      • LMAO! I guess technically you might cal me a moderate..ultimately I’m a Mookist….now if only i can find me some followers and have a Koolaid party, I’ll run this country and then…THE WORLD!!!! BWAHAHAHAH

        Comment by mikelovell | Monday, November 28, 2011

    • MOOKIE!!!

      It’s not that people should be paid equally regardless of what they do or don’t do. What’s important is that everyone have access to shelter, food, and medical care regardless of what they are paid. All too often lately we hear of people struggling to make do. We hear of people trying to find jobs and people trying to find medical care and it’s just not happening for way too many. At the same time, we hear people make the argument that people who have done extremely well shouldn’t have to do anything above and beyond what anybody else does.

      Imagine if there was a shipwreck in the middle of the ocean and everyone has to abandon ship. Some people managed to find lifeboats but others just jumped in the ocean. Now, one would think that people in the boat would take it upon themselves to help the people in the water who are in danger of drowning, getting attacked by sharks, or whatever. But what if the people in the boat said it would be unfair for them to be mandated to save others. If the people in the boat helped others there would be less space in the lifeboat for them. What if people in the boat said that the beauty of the ship sinking was that people had the freedom to decide whether or not they needed a lifeboat before they made the choice to get into the water? Would anybody think that such selfish thinking was acceptable? I think people would be appalled.

      But all too often these days we hear that it is irresponsible to raise taxes to help pay for programs that could help the majority of people. Collecting more in taxes so people who are having trouble finding jobs will have a safety net is not a threat to capitalism. Collecting taxes so that we can have teachers that can educate tomorrow’s workforce, build roads and bridges so that we can have transportation networks, build infrastructure so that we can prepare for the future today instead of waiting until it gets here, is not in and of itself a bad thing.

      Like the people in the shipwreck analogy, the people in trouble need help from the people who are in the better position. If those who can take the time to help those in need we all will benefit in the long term. If those who can help but won’t think that they can’t inconvenience themselves for a while to help others in need, we truly are in trouble.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, December 1, 2011 | Reply

  4. Okay, so… I don’t want to do that whole, this is what you believe business that some other morons in here try to do to you. In the efforts that everyone have access to

    shelter: This is obviously attached to having jobs and all that. And here is where I’d be proffering suggestions of family first, then any local shelters, or a church or whereever. Obviously there may be a shortage in this ability for some. I think just looking around some of our metro areas shows thats just the case..although some have perfectly good shelter just by showing up… but some do get thrown out because they show up drunk, high or go about assaulting some guy there that they dont like and get kicked out. By and large, this is a small number, but in my line of work, I see a lot of those particular brand of morons daily. A lot fo them find themselves having blown every chance they were given by being idiots and counterproductive to actually giving themselves a chance. Attitude is a real motherf*cker like that sometimes.

    Food: I can pretty much reiterate the shelter argument here, as well as the exceptiosn where people do fall through the system.

    Medical care: I would say affordable medical care or affordable insurance is the lacking part… I cna think of a variety of initiatives out there, public systems like medicaid/medicare, as well as private and public/private programs, and of course the whole ER option. Again there are inherent problems with all of these, just as there would be, even if we had some universal single payer program.

    Onto the shipwreck analogy- I think its a bit satirically stretched. maybe on purpose? If i was lucky enough to have a lifeboat, yes I’d do what I could to help those in the water, as long as it didnt cause the lifeboat to sink by putting too many bodies on there, and I would hope the others would do the same. However some mandate being imposed upon a person to act that way, is pretty much only self imposed anyways, as the lifeboaters have the option (even if there happened to be some law against it) to just row their happy asses on away fromt he unfortunate ones. Ultimately its a human nature thing, not a govt imposed issue… after all, we still have criminals galore despite numerous overlapping government mandates.

    Like you I agree that this whole defecit/debt issue will require some taxation increases somewhere in there, and I also believe some budget cuts are going to need to be made and some of them are going to hurt and hurt badly. Of course when it comes to our politicians, all sides will be blaming the others for taking away precious dollars from this program or that program and it will all be one big game. And no matter what happens, the poor are going to feel a big brunt of it all, along with the middle class. All because politicians in order to offer some genuine help to those in need started redefining the numbers and the needs, to score more political points, so they could retain power and get paid better than you or I.

    As for the teacher pay thing, while I think a lot of teachers are underpaid….the average teacher salary is more than I make, by a long LONG ways… so I dont cry TOO hard for them. (note my sister was a teacher for two years in FL before giving up because the system didnt let her discipline unruly kids and she spent more time putting up with assholes in high school than teaching them…and no matter what you paid me, I’m man enough to admit I couldnt stack up to that task)

    But again, we can argue points left and right, but you still really havent defined what financial equality means in your eyes, or those of the Occupy movement? While I am with you that they dont need to have a headquarters or any of that garbage, what are they asking for in real tangible terms? Just saying we’re the 99% and shit is unfair aint going to cut it. IF they have a problem (i think a small minority are simply just agitators), thats fine, voice your opinion all over the place…but I have to ask what is it you want accomplished? neverending protest isnt the answer…. you only strain city budgets on up, and you have almost zero effect on business (occupy movement in full peak and we still set record Black Friday sales) as far as I can see… so what IS the answer that satisfies the people?

    Comment by mikelovell | Thursday, December 1, 2011 | Reply

    • MOOKIE!!

      Just a few observations…

      Shelter: We have banks putting people out of homes because things have gotten so out of control. Somebody loses their job, get behind on their mortgage, the bank will put them out of the house their paying for, only to let the home deteriorate and drag down the rest of the neighborhood.

      Medical care: People are going into bankruptcy because they had the misfortune of needing medical care and did not have enough insurance to pay for it. People at insurance companies get bonuses because of the number of people they can reject. A system of medical care that relies on the insurance industry, a system that has an interest in denying people care in order to protect profits, is not one that is geared for the highest quality care possible. Profit should be taken out of the picture. And the ER is not the place for people who need chronic care. If people are going to the ER for their chronic poor health condition then we are wasting the most expensive form of medical care on something that should be handled in a clinic.

      The analogy: It might sound farfetched, but it’s exactly what’s happening these days. Telling people who have already made a million dollars to pay an extra 3.5 cents on every dollar above their first million is too much for some of our wealthy and our politicians to bear. Some people call it class warfare. We used to have higher income rates during the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. All of a sudden in the 21st century, when rates are at their lowest, we can’t ask any of the so called job creators to chip in anymore. And it should be noted that these job creators wouldn’t hesitate to ask working people to take a cut in order to keep a business going. What’s the problem asking rich people to take a cut to keep the country going.

      As far as the financial equality goes, I thought I did define it. We need to go back to a system where people can provide for their basic needs. When you have one person at the company making 500x the salary of the average employee you have a serious system of inequality. One person can provide for his/her family’s needs while the vast majority are going under. People need to be able to provide shelter, food, medical care, transportation, all the basic needs. When people who work at Walmart have to apply for welfare benefits but Walmart turns in fantastic profits in the billions of dollars something is seriously wrong.

      I don’t have the answers. I don’t think anybody does. But I don’t need to have the answers to voice my concern that something’s wrong. When people see a house on fire nobody says they better have a fire truck before they call for help. And for sure the solution isn’t let’s do nothing until somebody comes up with the answers. When people are desperate they try a variety of things until we find the ones that work.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, December 1, 2011 | Reply

      • On shelter- a lot of immigrants have the right idea. Stack up the family some, or as some did in my old hometown in California…3 families bought one house, they all worked and paid it off early, bought a 2nd house for 2 of the familes, til it was paid off (again, way early). and then they all worked toward the 3rd. I’ll agree mortgage requirements these days are a complete bitch for everyone but the bank. And here in America, we all like the idea of our own space, even away from our family…maybe in that respect we’re all greedy, both the 1% and the 99%. I don’t know.

        On Medical care- I think you and I are pretty much on the same page…the medical care isnt the issue so much as it is the insurance issue (which ultimately drove up costs, along with pharmaceutical giants). And one might ask why the ER entrance is any more expensive than office hours entrance. Again, I don’t know.

        The analogy, again I think its far fetched, but I do get it. And I personally have no issue with those making millions paying a little extra. I also tend to like the fair tax idea, of everything being a consumer tax…you buy something, you pay tax on it, built into the price. Saves businesses a lot of money on compliance and cost setting,e tc etc, along with a clause for the poor to get $X every year (like a tax refund) to cover the poverty income levels from using all their money paying the tax. But overall, on that issue, we’re in agreement.

        As far as the CEO making 500X the salary of us working stiffs, yeah I tend to disagree. I have no issue with an owner who started and personally runs a business setting the pay rate (according to some sense of being able to provide them with a living), and anything else he makes on top of it, is up to him. For most of these long and well established multi-billion dollar corporate empires, yeah those un-Godly sizeable contracts are total bull, especially when they come with multimillion dollar paydays if they are severed from the company for tanking it along with most of the workforces jobs.

        As for voicing your concerns, I’m with you. Everyone has that right and should exercise it… my point is, occupying some park and just voicing your opinion all day long solves nothing, other than to give us something to comment on here on the good old interwebs and amongst each other. I see articles about these protests costing municipalities billions in extra staffing, overtime pay and benefits costs… usually to people who already again make waaayyy more than I do as it is. And that money is coming out of the tax base, thus further straining our system, without also providing any positive impact toward changing it. WE, you and I voice our concerns on here, and in our daily lives… and I havent cost anyone one more dime in taxpayer dollars while we go about our business and griping about this or that. With the Civil Rights movement, it may have costed tax money and whatnot to bring about that social change, and obviously for a very good reason of asking people and corporations to treat minorities and women the same as they do white guys. While we havent completely eradicated civil rights violations from our midst, we’ve come aways along. These occupy people, they have some valid complaints, I just wonder what they expect to accomplish…

        Comment by mikelovell | Thursday, December 1, 2011

      • MOOKIE!!

        Shelter: Not everybody is an immigrant. Not everybody has a family that they can rely on. We all can refer to anecdotes about people who have made it. But what about people who don’t? The unemployment rate is up. The poverty rate is up. The mortgage failure rate is up. Everybody living in extended households isn’t going to relieve the problem of people being evicted for failing to keep up with their mortgage. It will work for some. But what’s the plan for the many it doesn’t work for?

        Medical care: The ER is more expensive because of the way it’s setup. When somebody comes through the door, the medical staff does not have the luxury of knowing their medical history. They err on the side of caution and throw as much testing as possible into their treatment. That testing needs to be done as quickly as possible and so it requires immediate access to medical/lab equipment that normally would not be part of a doctor’s visit. In order to treat anybody who comes through the door, the ER is staffed with a number of doctors and nurses and support staff and all of that has to be paid for.

        The occupy group: One thing they accomplished is changing the conversation. Before, the nation’s debt was the top issue in our politics. Now, some attention is being diverted to the inequality of our system. Again, it’s like the civil rights movement. Those people marching brought attention to the inequality of racism. And once that attention was there, change was imminent. It didn’t happen overnight. It took years for our political system to change so that civil rights for all became the rule. And that issue was as plain as black and white. The inequality of our financial system is still something some of us are trying to come to terms with.


        Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, December 2, 2011

  5. Shelter: Again, while they are anecdotes… this is where the lack of community shows its face in contemporary America. Immigrants or not, the options SHOULD be there…. Worse case scenario (short of deciding you really hate someone in your family having to live with them as adults! LOL) is we deprive the banks of their mortgage and investing schemes, while cutting their interest profit when we start piling up. Solves a few problems, cuz those rich are getting richer just a little bit (or a lot) slower now.

    Which leads me past medical care and onto your statement about the occupy group: changing the conversation… yes they accomplished that. (such as my anecdotal suggestions for the housing related issues being a different kind of conversation to have) But beyond that…are we looking at a replay of the french revolution? where the poor rise up, slaughter the rich, even after taking power? I agree its hard to say what things are and what they should be, etc. After all I can’t tell you youre not allowed to make a billion dollars with your web page building, even though there may be enough demand for it, because I make a crap wage doing security at the new Brother P Superscraper complex you built to house your offices up here in Des Moines!!!! LOL- althouhg just so you know, I expect to be hired on directly, not thru my company….and I want perks!!!! LMAO

    Comment by mikelovell | Friday, December 2, 2011 | Reply

    • I don’t think we’re witnessing a rebirth of the French revolution. I don’t think everyone’s is that miserable just yet. I like to believe that a lot of people who are protesting are actually betting that this country can right itself with the system we have, similar to how the civil rights movement used the same system that enforced discrimination to dismantle it. Besides, the people in power have a lot of power to manipulate public opinion or at least confuse the issue so that we become so unsure of what to do that we end up doing nothing and leaving the status quo untouched.

      And as far as employment goes, you need to learn a little something about negotiation. Perks…


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, December 2, 2011 | Reply

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