Monday, October 10, 2011

The Occupy Movement: Origins, Motivations, and Purpose

Disclaimer: I do not speak for every Occupy, nor do I proclaim this as an absolute truth. This is my opinion and as a human being I am bound to get some of it wrong. The thoughts and views expressed are my own, and are a representation of my experiences at Occupy STL. With that said, please enjoy.  
For the people who don't get it:

America is in a crisis that the old "work harder and stop complaining" adage trumpeted by the defenders of oligarchy capitalism cannot nor is willing to solve. Approximately 312 million people inhabit a country with a 10% unemployment rate (which is higher considering there are many more unreported cases of unemployment, in addition to the levels of underemployment). That mean at least 31.2 million people are looking for a job in a market with no jobs to be had. The industrial, manufacturing, technology, pharmaceutical, and various other sectors have been uprooted and taken into other countries by American or foreign owners. The education, service, and retail sectors are either rapidly shrinking or grossly underpaying, and job applicants with college-level education are forced to take these positions to make ends meet while looking for a better job. The lack of actual production in this country coupled with the rise in importing means there are little employment opportunities, even for Bachelor's and Master's degree level college graduates.

"But competition spurs industry," you may think. "One should build a business from the ground up and claw your way from poverty to prosperity..." Incorrect. This would work in a country that is prosperous, however, we are currently in a recession. Banks will be even more selective than before about giving out loans. It is also terrifyingly easy to be disqualified from loans if you have no credit, bad credit, or not good enough credit, in addition to not enough income and other factors that will halt your loan process.

Of course, there are always some who will blame the victims in the sub-prime mortgage crisis on the victims. "The banks will no longer give out loans because all the poor people messed up the banking system getting loans they couldn't afford," you think. The banks fleeced people for their life's savings so they could afford the "American Dream" of fulfilling a comfortable life in a home with their family. There are SOME who took advantage of credit lines and loans, but that story is not true for most. Meanwhile these banks are bailed out and neglected to do anything for homeowners. The homeowners get no bailout or forgiveness and either live in debt for the rest of their life or commit suicide from the mounting pressure.

Our national debt keeps rising because we're overspending on defense and war while imports increase due to the lack of localized industrial and commercial ventures coupled with the lack of gainful employment. This is the fault of many entities, including Bankers, politicians, and business owners. In addition, the affluent members of society are holding vast amounts of wealth in a time of rising poverty and wish not to re-invest that money into our financial system to stimulate economic growth (which is the exact opposite for what Reagan said would happen when touting 'trickle down economics'). What we have is an impasse between those who have wealth and those who have none. When the wealth is in the hands of the few, and those few are unwilling to help their fellow citizens in the time of need, then those citizens can and often will rise up against those few to snatch prosperity back from those who would stand by and watch the world burn.

The Occupy movement is not a Democratic or Republican sponsored or motivated movement. It does not discriminate based on conservative or liberal viewpoints. It is not funded by George Soros or Moveon.Org. It is not seeking to create a new political party. It does not want to re-elect president Obama or any other political figure. It does not have leaders. It does not promote hatred and violence. It does not oppose, slander, or want to dismantle the Tea Party. It does not want to install communism or socialism in place of democracy. There are no leaders. There is no set of guidelines or demands by which we want to shape the world.

The occupy movement is you, your thoughts, your outrage on the one percent controlling this country's free fall, and the solidarity of your fellow occupiers. You make the movement, you can add as much or as little as you want, and you can say what you wish within the confines of the first amendment. There are a spectrum of people in the occupy movement from students to teachers, young and old, conservative and liberal, and everything in between. Our responsibility is for the rights to the freedoms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to be upheld for all, not just the 1%. We will not be bought, sold, ignored, silenced, intimidated, marginalized, or defeated. We are a human movement, in the purest sense of the word, and we are not going anywhere anytime soon.

-A Seeker of Truth.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Alan Grayson Gets it Right.

Or at least very close. OWS is not a political movement, it is a human one(for all you tunnel-vision conservatives out there).

Depite the fact that Grayson was a politican, he is refreshing, honest, and seemingly uncorrupted by Washington politics. However, OWS needs no spokesperson because the people ARE the spokesperson... Tea Partiers, when you are done participating in a protest that is bought out by corporations, come join your local occupies with your brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Budget Bungling By Barack

Obama recently unveiled a new plan for his budget, and there are a lot of cuts that are on the way for people who are below the poverty line. If you're a graduate student, your funds are about to be cut. If you use assistance to heat your home in the winter expect things to get a little chillier, if you're a graduate student with federal grants start flipping burgers, and if you work but cannot make ends meet witness the rope getting shorter. The plan is to knock down the debt by 1.1 trillion dollars over the next ten years, which is actually a small number compare to the national debt being at 14 trillion dollars and climbing (Source: http://www.usdebtclock.org/). While there may be several people who think this is progressive and forward thinking, let me introduce you to a few ways this is actually counter-productive towards the debt.

First off, you are targeting people who do not have much money to give. When the rich constantly rob from the poor denizens of the country, they are bankrupting the entire economy. The lower classes are the consumers who buy the products manufacturers and corporations sell. When the money becomes spread too thin between paying student loans, taxes, and costs of living, then people are unable to stimulate the economy through buying items of affluence. It's like cutting the economy off at the knees. In addition, any money paid for imports leaves the country and does not recirculate into the hands of Americans. Couple this with the increasing amount of outsourcing we're doing, and you have a recipe for an economic apocalypse.

Next, why not take it from out of the hides of those who can afford it? The rich and affluent people constantly cry about paying too much in taxes. I say let them whine and eat caviar while doing it. We should be making them pay more; they earned more so it's only fair for them to pay a higher percentage. The tax cuts should not have gone across the board as they have done, they should have been reserved for the lower classes to make up for the huge deficit the real estate, banking, and automotive companies that the people in the higher income bracket own. Washington can hand taxpayer money over to rich people who think it's not okay for tax dollars to go to underprivileged or poverty-stricken families on welfare and other state assistance programs, but cannot help stimulate the American economy by demanding the rich pay more and give the lower classes a break? I suppose that's because Washington doesn't really run the country, they are just the front-men for the corporate influence that runs the United States.

Finally, the military industrial complex that has become so bloated that they gobble up most of those tax dollars at work. If you hate the war, find a way to stop paying taxes. The spending alone has topped 600 BILLION, and after you factor in everything that has to do with defense(FBI, Homeland Security, NASA Satellites, R&D, etc) price tag tops out at over 1.4 TRILLION DOLLARS. A YEAR. Ask yourself this question, before you ask any senators or congressman: "Do we really NEED that much defense?" When is the last time someone actually invaded American soil? The 1700's (Revolutionary War) or 1800's(Spanish-American War), perhaps? The defense budget's gargantuan number completely dwarfs the education finances which was 46.8 billion dollar in 2010 and is set for 49.7 billion dollars this year. All this for an "average" education experience that is ranked 14th to 17th among industrial nations. Shouldn't we expect better from out government? Why is there always enough money for bombs but never enough for books? According to the White House, the military is 19.2% of the budget for 2012. Education? 2.7% of the budget. There is a tank-sized elephant in the room, and it's called the military industrial complex.

Obama's pitching hope and change, but the only thing he has managed to do with this budget is maintain the status-quo: War is more important than education.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

To The American People, Volume 1

Introduction:
To The American People is a series about speeches and essays I have written about the condition and state of America, from my own perspective. I don't pertain to know everything about politics, or the truth in general. What I can do is share with everyone what I know in my heart as true and just. This first speech is something I wrote several years ago when Bush was in office. I feel that the words in this speech still hold truth about our society even today. I hope you take something away from this that adds to your perspective on the path our country is taking.


First of all, I would like to say power to the people. To the people who cannot afford to take time off work to speak out. To those who fear to stand up and be counted. To those we've lost in the struggle through death or ignorance. We are the heartbeat of America.

Now, before I start this speech, let me say that the troubles in America have no color. This is not a meddling with black people problem, or a middle America problem. It is a middle class problem. It is an undereducated middle school problem. It is an underdeveloped inner city problem which leads to a poor, destitute, and listless people problem.

Some people think that the answer is a simple as exposing the problem, but we've been exposing the problem for decades and it has done next to nothing. Nothing but the deaths of the era's prophets. Government's answer to liberal change is conservative violence. Romans killed Jesus for radical thinking, Martin Luther King Jr. was killed for radical thinking, and so was Malcolm X and Huey P. Newton. The Kennedy's were killed for their support of radical thinking. All to teach us that radical thinking is dangerous. And they are right! Our minds are dangerous to them because of their potential to change the world. Our minds see that America's problems are only half the problem.

The indifference in America that perpetuates stereotypical views. That is the other half of the equation. The "Poor People Are Lazy" stereotype. The "Minorities Are Criminals" stereotype. Most importantly, the "People In America Have No Power" stereotype. Since the last time people got together to overcome injustice, we ourselves have sit idly by too long whole injustice overcomes us again. Our forefathers rose up and said "We wont take it anymore!" Now is the time to be heard again!

Today is a new day in the new year for new change. Personally, my New Year's resolution was to start a New Year's Revolution to stop the political pollution that plagues our society. It's time to rid ourselves of the purchased politicians, the cronies in the White House, and the underbelly of corruption that kills poor people nationwide and abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan. War is easy behind a desk, but it is hard to fight in the trenches, both in the desert and the homeland. Right now, we are losing the War in Iraq as well as the War on Equality.

The working class is only as valuable as the number of zeroes on their paychecks to the American Government. So we as a people must ban together to help one another as brothers to rebuild this nation by the people and for the people once again! We refuse to let our society be led like cattle to graze on the falsehoods and lies perpetuated by the powers that be!

The American Government is over 200 years old, still an infant in the eyes of the world. Still an infant in the eyes of the people as well. In regards to equal treatment of Native Americans, the equality of African Americans, the suffrage of women, and the ongoing struggles of the poor, minority, and middle class families from the past to today, the government has never been able to clean up it's own mess. Since this infant, this child had it's hands on the working class parent's hard earned money, it's been buying new toys to play with instead of taking care of it's responsibilities. Meanwhile, the mess we live in remains. There are only two solutions to this problem: Either make the kid clean it up, or do it for him.

For decades, America continues to collect new weapons to "protect" us, but still outfits troops with cheap and outdated armor. They explore the depths of outer space for aliens, but neglect the people who actually like it here by leaving them impoverished. They would rather buy guns for your children to kill before they buy books for them to learn. The time to depend on our congressman, senator, and other officials is over! It is time to reclaim the power of our forefathers gave to us in the constitution, Bill of Rights, and Amendments. It is time for Americans to TAKE BACK AMERICA!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Unversal Health Scare

Online today, I searched Google to attempt to find a Republican plan for Heath Care. Believe it or not, I found one(read for yourself: http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/GOPHealthPlan_061709.pdf?tag=contentMain;contentBody). It's a simple, four-page PDF document that doesn't offer a massive revamp of the health care system, but a modest remodel of the system already in place. Instead of single payer plans, they offer tax cuts and rebates for families and offer extended family coverage to under-25 year old kids. In addition, they offer discounts for those who are lower income and of lower classes.

Tax cuts? Rebates? Discounts? Sounds like the same FAILED policies that You-Know-Who was passing years ago. However, that's to be expected from a party that cannot learn from it's mistakes. Since the September 11th attacks, Republicans have been running on "Fear and Smear" tactics to scare the populous into submission. Attacked, they use "Shame and Blame" tactics to play the victim and attempt to reverse responsibility through outright lies or fabrication and misrepresentation of facts.

No more.
No more will the majority remain silent on the apparent lies told by self-serving politicians. The Republicans, now out of power and apparent options, can now feel the cold sting of truth numbing away their hot, bile-filled falsehoods. So now they are in scramble mode to salvage any chance of winning an election in 2012, and they will throw away the well-being of the very people to do it. They will put their remaining faithful on the chopping block just to prove the Democrats as ineffective. Why? To protect their interests, to protect their power, and protect their corporate friends.

Those of you of the conservative persuasion will not believe me. They will see me as false, they will brand me a liar because I do not hold the same values as them. I do not watch the same news, listen to the same talk show, or think the same thoughts. However, my concern extends to all men, which is why I tell them not to fear this new government more than the old one. I would petition all to be cautious, because we are who the government should fear. We should not fear our government, no matter who is in charge.

That said, the people who would tell you Obama is going to kill your parents or grandparents, that he is going to make people drop their insurance are lying to you. The cost will not increase under single payer health care, because we are already paying so much under the current plan due to the amount of health care being defaulted on right now. And guess who pays that cost the hospitals cannot? You.

Here is Obama's health care plan(http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/HealthCareFullPlan.pdf). It's a little longer, but worth at least reading. It is imperative that we as a people educate ourselves. Don't take Obama's word for it. Don't take the Democrat's word for it, don't take the Republican's word for it. Don't even take my word for it. Find facts for yourself, come to your own conclusion. Read, research, review, and then decide. Remember we are the gatekeepers of this country. 400+ years ago the forefathers of this country fed the tree of liberty the blood of the tyrants and traitors. Those who would put the needs of themselves above the need of the masses are traitors. Those who abuse the power given to them by the people to serve themselves are tyrants.

And when they forget who they serve, it is time to water the Tree of Liberty.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Death By Cannibis: The History & Legality of Marijuana On A World Scale

Throughout human history, even dating as far back as 3rd Millennium BC(or the "Bronze Age"), Cannabis(a.k.a. Marijuana as it has become commonly known) has been consumed through rituals by Romanians, Hindus, and various other cultures and even modern-day religions. Christians and Muslims alike previously used it for sacraments in ancient times. Today it's one of the largest cash crops in the United States, grossing in the neighborhood of 36 billion dollars in revenue. In a recession-based economy in which the farming industry is failing, why is such a relatively harmless and profitable plant with built-in user base still considered illegal?

In various cases, religions that were once users of cannabis led the stopping of consumption. This is speculated to have began in the Middle Ages for different reasons for different regions. Cannabis had various uses from the recreational uses of today to medicine to the hemp material being used as rope for ships. A great deal of literature came from Europe about the use and consumption from all over the world in the forms of diaries, journals, and publicized reports. Sometimes this let to misconceptions about the drug itself. At the time, it was thought to be extremely similar to Opium, which was also widely used at the time and becoming known for it's addictive qualities. There was also cases of hemp being used in Satanic rituals, which didn't do much to bolster the drug's image in an increasingly religious society.

Muslim law did not prohibit consumption of Hashish(which is basically dried Marijuana) until some period between the 12Th and 14Th centuries after varying degrees of public resistance, and even then they allowed it's use for medicinal purposes. By 1484, Pope Innocent VIII banned the used of cannabis in support of the Spanish Inquisition against Arabs. Other intoxicants that were banned from use due to religious reasons are also hops(used for beer) and coffee(banned by both Islamic and Christian faiths) among others.

Prohibition did not gain popularity in America until the turn of the 20Th Century, before then it was a popular resource for ropes, sails, clothes, and medicinal purposes. However after the Mexican Revolution of 1910 Mexicans immigrated to America and recreational use became popularized soon after. By the mid-1930's there was Marijuana regulation in every state. Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which taxed commercial dealers of Marijuana and had heavy fines and jail time penalties for those who did not pay. By 1951, there was mandatory sentencing for possession of Cannabis. Although Marujuana laws have softened since the 1970's it still remains a Schedule I drug, placed with Cocaine, Crack Cocaine, and Methamphetamine as having "high potential for abuse, no medical use, and not safe to use under medical supervision". Since then, 13 states have created laws that allow Cannabis for medicinal purposes only. However, Congress does not acknowledge the state laws, instead stating that it has the right to ban Cannabis even for medicinal use(Gonzales vs. Raich, 2005).

As of today, Marijuana is confirmed as completely legal in only 1 country: India. It's regulated by the government and is still considered a sacrament. It is currently the only country that allows unregulated use of the drug and is exempt to the Single Convention Treaty that outlaws Marijuana in most of the modern world. The only other 2 confirmed countries that allow regulated use of the drug are The Netherlands and Pakistan. At least 13 other countries have confirmed it decriminalized for personal use purposes. Most of the world still considers it illegal and punishable by fines and imprisonment. In the countries Antigua and Barbuda(Large quantities), Kuwait(Sale and cultivation), Malaysia(Possession over 200 Grams), Saudi Arabia(Dealing/Smuggling large amounts; becoming rare to execute), Somalia, Thailand(Selling only), Singapore(over 17 Ounces), Indonesia, Bali, and possibly other countries you can actually be executed for Marijuana. In fact, over 200 people have been executed in Malaysia for drug offenses since 1974.

I fail to understand how the punishment fits the crime, in any of these cases. America has it's own problems with prison overcrowding, jailing otherwise law-abiding citizens, and wasting federal money on a law that most clearly have ceased to care about. Yet, other countries have taken things to new extreme. Are these laws in place to protect the people, or subjugate them? Drug crimes are not irredeemable sins; they are not on par with killing innocents or committing war crimes. The need for people to die due for possessing drug is beyond subhuman. Often these sentences are handed out with no remorse for the soon-to-be-executed. Where is the human compassion for our fellow man? Buried under antiquated laws and barbaric traditions? The U.N. is trying to get moratoriums for some of these countries to stop these senseless executions, but I'm sure there are many too stubborn to budge. Even then, it seems the only lives Marijuana will be responsible for taking are from those who weren't under it's influence at the time. Perhaps the truth to Reefer Madness isn't stemming from those who use it at all, but from the ones who persecute those who seem to enjoy using it.

-A Seeker Of Truth.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poverty: Inequalities

Ever since wealth came into existence, poverty walked beside it as if the dividing line between life and death. In the lands with the greatest amount of wealth, the line can be a pleasant middle ground where people can live comforably. Only as the middle ground shrinks from the ends do we fully understand it's presence. However, there are many places where the line is a tight rope, leaving many fallen into poverty as broken huddles of starving masses.

The extremes are painfully real, but the inequalities of wealth is a far-reaching virus. Poverty is to be deprived- of basic human rights, basic freedoms, or enrichment. Poverty of the mind, of the blood, the Earth- lands raped and ravaged by war the only fruits the soil yields is poverty. That poverty can effect even the wealthiest man in the world. Even the man holding mounds of wealth can be morally bankrupt.

How do we fix a problem of wealth, the inequity inherantly presented by it's very flipside? Since the ages of noblity the problem has existed and even accepted by not only the ruling classes but often a number of the middle class citizens as well. Societies have even based caste-level systems to keep the impoverished and sick as less than human that exist even today. In the modernized society we all live in, something as primative as poverty should be non-existent. It's as outdated as slavery, akin to poverty as if they were branched from the same family tree.

Some would say redistribution of wealth would help give those without become able to do more for themselves. It's a step in the right direction, but true liberation from the shackles of poverty comes from education. Education and knowledge can empower any man to battle homelessness, hunger, or hardships. A person with wealth has nothing until they know how to use it- without that, it is as worthless as a pile of sand. The lack of education resources is a catalyst to keeping people impoverished and subservient.

First illustrated to me in the form of school closings within the inner city areas of my own hometown, the truth in the less edcuation available bringing about more poverty is more real than I had ever previously imagined. It's far more apparent to me that this was the status quo for establishing a lower standard of living. This inequality can cause or end most other inequalities caused by poverty worldwide, but too often do dictators use this and many other tactics to keep their people's will supressed. Often the first thing to be eliminated or censored is the education system and information access. We each have a personal resonsibility to end poverty worldwide. The first thing you can truly do to help aside from putting money in their hands is to give them the means to put money in their own hands.

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