Occupy Hope

As the Left in the US has become quite disillusioned with the Obama administration, and the conservative Tea Party movement is deflating, Occupy Wall Street and the entire Occupy movement managed to shine a huge spotlight on the biggest problem in America: corporate greed. Occupy’s actions bring focus to populist anger about the “1 percent” who own half the wealth in this country. Occupy’s constructive actions help us past the pervasive cynicism in American politics. Occupy “does something” and that gives us – the 99 percent – hope.

Ever since the start-up I worked for in 2001 was destroyed by its own investors after the 09/11/01 attacks, it became clear to me that the bankers at Wall Street are destroying the economy in the US. Yes I was – and still am – bitter about that experience. But my conclusion was not emotional. My conclusion was based on this simple realization: the investors do not understand what they are doing. And they don’t care. That is the Achilles heel of the US economy, as we have seen over the last few years, over and over.

After 09/11 the bankers probably did more damage to this country than the terrorists – destroying companies, ruining lives by pulling their investments out of businesses simply because they panicked because they had no clue what was going to happen. They had no clue what was going to happen because they are ignorant and don’t understand the businesses they invest in. That same type of ignorance, combined with their greed, is what caused the mortgage crisis and every other recent economic earthquake.

We, the taxpayers, the 99 percent, we then get to bail out these jerks, every time their Ponzi scheme collapses. And in order to make sure we keep bailing them out, they rig the political process in their favor by buying and influencing politicians.

Don’t believe me? Check out this memo from the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford to the American Bankers Association:

It may be easy to dismiss OWS as a ragtag group of protestors but they have demonstrated that they should be treated more like an organized competitor who is very nimble and capable of working the media, coordinating third party support and engaging office holders to do their bidding. To counter that, we have to do the same. Pulling the cornerstone elements of a plan in place right now will prepare firms to respond quickly and collectively at the earliest and most influential point when embracing OWS goes from concept planning to execution. The cornerstone elements of a plan include: surveyy research and message testing, opposition research. targeted social media monitoring, coalition planning, and advertising creative and placement strategy development.

This memo was obtained by MSNBC and Jonathan Larsen and Ken Olshansky point out in their story that this lobbying firm has close connections to House Speaker John Boehner:

Two of the memo’s authors, partners Sam Geduldig and Jay Cranford, previously worked for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Geduldig joined CLGC before Boehner became speaker;  Cranford joined CLGC this year after serving as the speaker’s assistant for policy. A third partner, Steve Clark, is reportedly “tight” with Boehner, according to a story by Roll Call that CLGC features on its website.

We, the 99 percent, are fed up with this bullshit. We need our elected representatives to represent our interests again. We need the bankers to go back to managing our money and helping us to be productive, again, instead of sucking us dry. That what Occupy is all about. And that’s why Occupy is NOT a liberal movement. It does not matter what your political views are – the bankers are ruining your country, too. More and more conservatives seem to get that. Especially the populists, the tea partyers, have expressed support for OWS. Most notably perhaps, Sarah Palin and, no less, in the Wall Street Journal:

The corruption isn’t confined to one political party or just a few bad apples. It’s an endemic problem encompassing leadership on both sides of the aisle. It’s an entire system of public servants feathering their own nests…

What are the solutions? We need reform that provides real transparency. Congress should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act like everyone else. We need more detailed financial disclosure reports, and members should submit reports much more often than once a year. All stock transactions above $5,000 should be disclosed within five days.

Yes Sarah Palin wrote this! Salon’s David Sirota explains how this makes sense:

So the fact that Palin (or Limbaugh or Coburn or any other conservative) is an opportunist is actually the most important and encouraging point of all — she shows how one of the conservative movement’s leading icons now sees a major political opportunity in these kinds of progressive/populist proposals. That is, she exemplifies how the perception of political self-interest and opportunity is now shifting so fast toward the Occupy Wall Street sentiment, that even some icons of the right are seeing a bigger opportunity in championing that sentiment than in remaining rhetorically loyal to the corporate establishment.

So political opportunists like Palin are jumping on the OWS bandwagon, the bankers are getting nervous and the cops increasingly show their true colors, using disproportionate violence when dealing with the peaceful, disciplined Occupy protesters. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but right now I’d say that the signs are set for a major storm. Earlier this year, discussing the Arab Spring, I said I did not think America was there yet, ready to confront the mess. I was wrong, and I am glad. No matter what happens with this movement, I think we’ll learn a lot from it. And I think there is a chance it will bring about some real change, not just hope and small change.


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