Thursday, October 13, 2011
The protests continue and grow
New and important live feed from the Occupy Wall Street Seattle protest.
Last night two protesters at the Seattle protest were arrested and a tent confiscated. The two were released with no charges filed. The tent was released on it's own recognizance. :-)
When I started keeping track there were about 300 protest sites in the country with just one two or three protesters at each site. Later in the day those numbers increased both by the number of cities and participants to around 500+. In just one week the numbers and locations increased threefold and the locations went worldwide. At present there are over 1600 locations. Some only have 2 or 3 protesters but it is a representation and it will grow as things get worse. The next three or four weeks will tell as the federal budget must be dealt with.
Eventually some concrete ideas must come from this movement. If those in power are afraid they should be. Given the right focus this movement could easily change the system in short order. What they might not realize at present is the economic power they wield. Each individual may have only a few bucks in the bank but collectively that amounts to a rather large sum. Should there be a shift in those funds, banks will take notice. A simple change with Netflix resulted in a consumer revolt. It's a simplistic example I know but the point is that things done on a small scale can have a large effect in the grand scheme of things. Imagine a large swath of people pulling their funds out and using only cash for purchases. That is exactly what happened in the 1930s when the faith in banks failed. This time around the situation is a bit different but the outcome may be similar. A shift to credit unions could easily bring down the largest banks.
What should have been done and what needs to be done.
1.There was never an accounting of the crimes of the last administration. Had anyone done what they did as average citizens they'd be serving rather lengthy sentences in a federal pen. From false information to outing a CIA agent all that got us into an illegal war these were just a few aspects of the very nature of the shift in this country. All the principles that most sane Americans hold dear were flushed with the passage of the Patriot Act. When torture became an okay thing because (you know) it worked on that TV show last night, we were doomed to what we have now.
2. No one went to jail for what was foisted on the American public in terms of mortgages. I defy anyone to actually read and understand the terms of such a mortgage agreement even with a college degree in English. Sorry I can only assume you need an additional degree in law with extended training in contract law. All of this was pushed from higher ups who saw no one guarding the hen house and enforcing the rules. The real kicker in all of this was when investment firms were able to package loans that they should have known were questionable. But nobody cared as long as the loan fees were rolling in. Did anybody go to jail for all of this fraud? Not one that I can think of. When someone was willing to lend 125% the value of an asset with no down payment or closing costs it should have been a tip off to a bad business arrangement.
3. With the passage of every major piece of legislation of the last 9 years there has been some type of direct or indirect tax break for the wealthy. There was lip service to small business with breaks they could not use with the current economy. Some would have you believe that this movement is against capitalism. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We all rely on the system for the day to day operations of the economy but the present system has become perverted. When the profits are returned to the company and shareholders yet the losses are dumped on the taxpayer this is a clear indication that this is not capitalism. It's one issue to give a corporation a temporary loan to keep it afloat when it's trying to adjust to difficult economic times, but it's quite another to give that money only to watch as the company continues to do the things that got it in trouble in the first place. When a gambler has blown all his cash and spread markers all over town (in this case the world) you'd be a fool to give him one more dime.