Tag Archives: terrorism

Emmetsburg: Excerpt from upcoming novel on Amazon Kindle

John headed south out of town. Not far, but towards a dark line of trees that marked the wide Vermillion River. He could make out the tangerine glow of a dozen or more fires, widely scattered among the trees and along the far bank. Most likely, John guessed, it was folks coming up out of Oklahoma and Kansas ahead of the hard times. He figured he could just as easily content himself among souls as lost as he felt.

The day had faded entirely when John pulled the truck up to the nearest fire. It was farthest from the others and much smaller by comparison. It illuminated a tiny shack with bits of wood, pieces of fabric constructed in the crudest fashion. The roof was an old olive drab army tent strung between the shack and an even older Model T. A simple three-drawer bureau, small cot, wash basin and metal post bed were almost lost to the shadow of the makeshift shelter at the open end of the shack. Dining chairs and a table were arranged beneath the stunning canopy of stars on a round handmade bed. Banks of gray-white wood smoke held to the branches and leaves above the makeshift camp. Close by, the fire crackled in an odd rhythm to crickets and the flickering dance of countless fireflies.

Behind this ramshackle transient home a line of laundry was strung between two trees. Stockings, under garments, a woman’s blue blouse and some old gray rags hung haphazard from the line. The line hung precisely where the bank dipped in a small trail towards the river. The laundry was still wet in places, and was wrinkled where it had been twisted and wrung dry by hand. Shadows forged from the glowing fire deepened those wrinkles into severe canyons of light and dark

There was an elderly couple on a pair of wood stools in front of the shack. The woman’s stool was a good deal shorter than his, as if there was some sort of pauper’s hierarchy; a queen to a beggar’s kingdom. She was in a long brown dress with white and gold little flowers. A hand-knitted men’s sweater covered her disillusioned shoulders. The collar of the dress was turned up over the rounded neckline of the sweater. She was small and frail, facing away from him, at the edge of her stool, as though she might suddenly bolt into the black night and simply disappear forever.

He was seated almost unnaturally straight, as if he was posing for a photograph. His neat white button shirt was stretched across a slight belly, but loose across his angular but narrow shoulders. The light of the fire played upon the contours and intersecting lines and valleys of their faces. Those shadows hid the murdered pride of a man who’d done good honest work his whole life and now had nothing to show for it. He sat like a statue to a dejected king, with one arm laid across his lap,the other holding an empty pipe at one knee.  Behind them the river whispered steadily. Neither of them reacted as John leaned part way out the truck window.

“If it’s just the same,” he said, “I could use a spell beside your fire. Just to rest a bit and then I’ll move along.”

The old man nodded slowly without looking directly at John. When he spoke his voice was rich and deep but low. It carried a faded German accent heavily layered with an Oklahoma drawl. The words slurred a bit, enough that John thought it odd.

“Fire’s free.” The old man looked to the night sky.

John climbed from the truck. The grass was thin and dry beneath his boots. It crunched softly with each step. He went over to where the couple sat, looking back towards town and rocking on his heels.

“Obliged,” he said, respectfully.

“Afraid we don’t have much else to offer, stranger,” said the man.

“Times being what they are,” John agreed.

“My apologies.”

“The fire just looked inviting. Got a bed roll in the truck. I’ll be moving on soon enough.”

“Suit yourself.”

The man’s wife looked up at that moment. It was the first John had seen her move. It was like she’d just come to life, out of a trance or a deep thought. “Suppose there’s a bit of coffee left.”

Her husband didn’t react, though John was certain the fellow’s brow furled just a little. John smiled, recalling how when money got tight at home he was the one who pulled back, who held tightly to every crumb, while Anna would trade her soul over any insinuation of an inhospitable nature. 

“Don’t want to bother.”

“No bother,” she replied, without moving from the stool. Her eyes moved just a bit, noting the slightest frown from her husband with a bit of disappointment.

At that moment a young woman appeared through the laundry, coming up from the river. She came up like a breeze, a long green printed dress flowing after her. The dress had slipped off one shoulder, baring the top of one breast.  The color of her long hair was lost to the night, but the fire caught her eyes and burned deeply there. Her sudden appearance, the rhythm of her smooth movements was so harmonious John was left wondering if she wasn’t some sort of sign. He wondered if the sudden lingering meeting of their eyes did not foretell or promise something more.

 


A Night in Jail: An Occupy Chicago story

Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Six kids charged across Jackson Street in the heart of Chicago’s loop just before 9 this morning. It was raining and cold, under steely gray skies brushing the tops of surrounding skyscrapers, in stark contrast to the near perfect weather for a protest through the streets to the Lakefront the night before, Fourteen hours earlier 3000 peaceably assembled and marched for a redress of significant grievances.

An estimated 3000 turned out on Chicago streets. Photo by 900poundgorilla

Splashing through gathering puddles reflecting that tattered sky their relieved laughs and ebullient “Yeahs!” resounded among the empty towers, echoing off among the streets. Waiting for them were a dozen or so friends manning a soggy ramshackle base of sorts on the sidewalk in front of the Bank of America building.

The kids, ranging in age from their late teens to their early twenties were wired from a long sleepless night in the lock up, courtesy of the Chicago Police, and were excitable at their newly regained freedom. But it hardly felt to any of them as punishment, but rather a victory. Theirs was pride rather than shame. They’d asserted their rights under the Constitution, and the authorities had shown their disrespect, or worse, systemic ambivalence to those guiding principles.

One of them was a tall skinny kid named Justin, with string black hair that chronically tumbled into his brown eyes. Justin was dressed in black and anxiously fumbling with a big cigar he’d just purchased to celebrate his first time in jail for a cause. He’d stood for something. He’d stood against something. he’d challenged an injustice, which is why going to jail for the night over a local statute that fundamentally is unconstitutional was a matter of pride.

Behind him, a girl with pink hair waved her plastic handcuffs triumphantly. Justin was starving, having had only a plain baloney sandwich in the lock up . One of the other girls, pulling a white plastic rain poncho over her head, who’d been arrested in an earlier protest groaned about the baloney.

“Know what they do with that in the morning for breakfast?” she laughed, “They chop it up and put it in this watery brown gravy for breakfast. Its disgusting!”

Justin slurped a few sips of a power drink someone handed him. “I have two jobs. I work for a corporation. Isn’t that funny? I was supposed to be at work at eight, but that’s when I got out of jail.”

He was rubbing his wrist where the police had placed the plastic cuffs the night before, arresting him for not vacating the park when it was declared closed in violation of a controversial and unconstitutional city ordinance abridging his First Amendment rights to peaceably assemble and to redress of grievances. 175 in all were arrested and taken to the First District station for the night before being released.

Photo courtesy Google images

“No, the cops were great,” said Justin. “They told us politely they would arrest us if we didn’t leave. There was no violence. It was all very peaceful. They said the fine was $120, but was being waved.”

 All the protesters were  released without charge.  

By now the rain was letting up a bit. It patted upon the blue plastic sheeting and an umbrella sheltering several of the protesters in their would-be base, evoking images of the Civil Rights activists occupying the national mall a generation before. In Washington DC a dedication of Martin Luther King’s memorial was just getting under way. It is difficult to miss similarities in the two historic movements, unless that is the original intention. Justin was clear about his reasons for being here.

“For me, I’m out here for the people. I’m out here to help people. I’m trying not to be selfish and think of people suffering more than me. I get out here when I can. I work six days a week, so it isn’t the easiest thing.”


On the front lines with Occupy Chicago

It is an occupation, and occupations are often not pretty. No one criticized frontline soldiers for being dirty. Even if that was true, and in 3 weeks covering the movement daily I can attest that it is not, these are soldiers in a peace-war to take back control of the nation from those who have leveraged and sold it out. 

 This is the people’s occupation against the actual redistribution of wealth that has already taken place in this country. If you believe the propaganda about those occupying spaces around the nation and world, ask yourself if you and the people you know are struggling more today in relation to the historic and unprecedented accumulation of wealth by a small number of corporatists and economic looters.

That 1% has been redistributing the wealth for three decades now. Only when the American people assert their right to reclaim what was stolen do they call that redistribution. By that perverse logic, a parking ticket, a license, a levied fine is redistribution. Right wing radio in Chicago claims daily the movement is fading. Today, holding their daily congress, I found the backbone of the effort, those stalwart and intransigent souls who hold the ground as their transient colleagues come and go, were in this for the long haul.

A Vietnam Veteran speaks before the Occupy Chicago citizen's congress, an open forum to organize, focus and strategizeAbout 200 attended Friday's OccupationAn organizer addresses fellow patriots. Occupy Chicago has been a non-violent protest despite acts of intimidation and efforts by authorities to disrupt and undermine the movement.

 

Protesters are in this for the long haul

 

 

 


Occupy Chicago: The people’s demands and grievances

Copied with permission from Occupychicago.org, here are the clear demands and grievances from the 99%:.

Our PROPOSED grievances

Posted on October 7, 2011 by occupychiadmin

1.PASS HR 1489 REINSTATING GLASS-STEAGALL. – A depression era safeguard that separated the commercial lending and investment banking portions of banks. Its repeal in 1999 is considered the major cause of the global financial meltdown of 2008-2009.

2. REPEAL BUSH TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY

3. FULLY INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE THE WALL STREET CRIMINALS who clearly broke the law and helped cause the 2008 financial crisis.

4.OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED v. US. – A 2010 Supreme Court Decision which ruled that money is speech. Corporations, as legal persons, are now allowed to contribute unlimited amounts of money to campaigns in the exercise of free “speech.”

5. PASS THE BUFFET RULE ON FAIR TAXATION, CLOSE CORPORATE TAX LOOPHOLES, PROHIBIT HIDING FUNDS OFFSHORE.

6. GIVE THE SEC STRICTER REGULATORY POWER, STRENGTHEN THE CONSUMER PROTECTION BUREAU, AND PROVIDE ASSISTANCE FOR OWNERS OF FORECLOSED MORTGAGES WHO WERE VICTIMS OF PREDATORY LENDING.

7.TAKE STEPS TO LIMIT THE INFLUENCE OF LOBBYISTS AND ELIMINATE THE PRACTICE OF LOBBYISTS WRITING LEGISLATION.

8. ELIMINATE RIGHT OF FORMER GOVERNMENT REGULATORS TO WORK FOR CORPORATIONS OR INDUSTRIES THEY ONCE REGULATED.

9. ELIMINATE CORPORATE PERSONHOOD.

10. INSIST THE FEC STAND UP FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN REGULATING PRIVATE USE OF PUBLIC AIRWAVES to help ensure that political candidates ARE GIVEN EQUAL TIME for free at reasonable intervals during campaign season.

11. REFORM CAMPAIGN FINANCE WITH THE PASSAGE OF THE FAIR ELECTIONS NOW ACT (S.750, H.R. 1404).

12. FORGIVE STUDENT DEBT – The same institutions that gave almost $2T in bailouts and then extended $16T of loans at little to no interest for banks can surely afford to forgive the $946B of student debt currently held. Not only does this favor the 99% over the 1%, it has the practical effect of more citizens spending money on actual goods, not paying down interest.


Breaking News: Michelle Bachman to show nipple on Bloomberg debate

Taking a page from the Nancy Grace “wardrobe failure” on Dancing with the Stars, sources close to GOP Presidential candidate Michelle Bachman says she is determined to have a strategic nipple slip. Bachman hopes that showing “a little somethin’, somethin'” will rejuvinate her waning presidential bid. Bachman is almost dead last in the polls.

The source revealed that Bachman has been working out the plan all day during debate prep. As the questions and answers are all rehearsed before hand, it is hinted that Bachman will reveal her stuff during  a question regarding the viability of the International Monetary Fund and Third World debt relief, which she knows nothing about.

Two staffers have already stormed out of Bachman’s campaign quarters, one of them complaining, “If I see another nipple I’m giving up sex forever!” Adding, “I’ll have nightmares from this, for sure. Maybe I’ll need therapy.”

Clearly upset by this Newt Gingrich complained in passing, “I swear, if even a dust bunny falls out of that blouse it will definitely be a full moon on stage tonight; hairy dippled and full!”


That’s what we’re talking about!

 From my office on the 17th floor of the Willis Tower I heard a marching band, a freakin’ marching band. Rushing to the window I watched the parade of kids in green and orange uniforms turning the corner onto Jackson. What is more American than a marching band? I laughed, literally laughed and believed-really believed for the first time that we the people might actually win this thing. By grace and god and the stalwart determination of the protesters it is possible to reign in corporations that have ransacked, bullied and raped the government, the people and the world. Wow, a marching band!

Thousands turned out for Monday's rally. Here teachers join the protest in downtown Chicago.

If that wasn’t enough, other citizen activists arrived by kayak down the Chicago river. Teachers and educators caravan-ed, gathering by the hundreds at the La Salle street location for their part in what amounted to a peaceful five-pronged invasion of Chicago’s Loop. Hundreds of Postal Workers formed up at Adams and Monroe.

Joined by Standup Chicago, the Teachers Union, Postal Workers, and an array of social justice and activist organizations, Occupy Chicago marched on the Art Institute along Michigan Avenue where the Mortgage Banker’s Association was holding their Annual Convention, which given their responsibility in the current crisis might have been more appropriately held in a funeral home.

Students are the anchor to the movement, allowing for a constant occupation day and night as Occupy Chicago enters its 3rd week

Joining the Teachers and Standup Chicago in a square below the Chicago Board of Trade, I found the air electric, charged by outrage at the plunder of the nation by a relative few, but also by an amazing turn out that would later culminate in a group of between 4 and 6,000.  But there was a spirit of community and neighborliness in the crowd, and a sense that we were all in this effort together, from the homeless activists, to middle class families, retired people, students, professors and blue-collar workers. There were the employed, the under employed and unemployed citizens, all bound by a common faith that together they could change the course of the nation and that together they would help those suffering the most from corporate and Wall Street greed and corruption.

So much for the criticism of a corporate media intent on demeaning and discouraging the movement. Enough of the obtuse pretense that these protesters do not have a message. They may have  different ways of coming to that message, and many to be sure may not be media savvy when mocked or condescended to by right-wing hosts or reporters, but their individual voices rose up this night in a deafening chorus.

But the movement’s message goes far beyond words. In action and practice it is a fundamental assertion of what the Constitution promises, but cannot guarantee without the active participation of citizens, which lies at the core of the argument. Despite the supreme court’s ruling that Corporations are a person, the difference is that they cannot be a citizen-a difference this movment is defending and asserting.

Each night, and in all the cities and towns of this nation, the Occupy movement meets in a citizen’s congress to discuss and strategize. In Chicago, a nightly meeting is held in the park at Congress Parkway and Michigan Avenue. This is the practical example of President Obama’s  platform of Change.

“We are” said Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, on WCPT this morning, “being the change we want to see.”


Occupy Chicago: Who really owns the streets?

On Saturday, beneath a pristine blue sky the protesters, railing against disproportional corporate power and greed, gathered at the end of La Sallestreet in downtown Chicago, just as they have now for more than three weeks.

Reality hardly coincides with media charcterization of the protesters

With the Chicago effort, which is active now in every major city nation wide, there have been no arrests. But police are slowly and steadily tightening that noose around the peaceful multi-cultural cross-section of the other 99%. An incident Saturday clearly shows where the City and police stand with regard to the protests.

The streets along La Salle and Jackson are lined with metal barricades, corralling protesters onto the sidewalk. Wooden barricades surround one end of the Federal Reserve Bank, further restrictions to prevent these citizen activists from even touching the building.  Within that narrow corridor protesters are cautioned about disrupting or impeding passersby(How far we’ve fallen from Jefferson’s whole “blood of tyrants” thing that the Tea Party constantly referenced). All in all it serves to ultimately restrict the number of people who can gather and protest. The implicit threat of imminent arrest- and at times overt warnings- for leaving the corrals or lingering too long in the street are seen in the cordon of police present at the protests. Now the police are stopping and ticketing drivers who honk their horn in solidarity-clearly an infringement of their First Ammendment rights to free speech.

The protest isn’t banned, yet, that would be unconstitutional,  but the powers now owned by corporations and big money will do their best to strangle it through the strategic use of local statutes. The police are not there to facilitate the asserted freedom of the protesters, but rather as a potential heavy hand to the corporatists. Here’s a prime example.

Police pressure is steadily mounting to inhibit the rights of the protesters

It was just after 3pm Saturday when nearly a dozen young men in black tie tuxedos strode down the middle of La Salle Street, fully ignored by police, who had to do everything but cover their eyes not to see what was happening. This group went directly to the largest and loudest cluster of citizen activists to loudly and obnoxiously mock, harass and berate them. Still, there was absolutely no reaction from the police. Even when the men turned and walked down the middle of the street-again where protesters are prohibited from going, the police did nothing.

These 1%ers harrassed and berated peaceful protesters without police reaction. Police now ticket drivers who honk in solidarity with protesters

Sadly it is obvious that the City and police do not act in the service of the law, but in the interests of the corporations and the power elite. It underscores the crucial need to win over the police, the military, fire men and women and any working class group that is part of the 99%-whether they realize they are part or not. They must be reminded that their paychecks, pensions and benefits come from the people, and are not merely incentives from the corporatists, as if the police and government were their hired mercenaries or servants.


Hal Sparks, Steve Jobs and the loss of Sincerity

This really isn’t about Hal Sparks, the actor/comedian turned activist, and it also isn’t about the late Steve Jobs. But an incident Saturday on the Hal Sparks radio program, carried on a local Progressive station revealed something lost in this country, at least in the media( Link:http://www.ustream.tv./channel/halsparkslive) . And it is as fundamental to a bygone American media as truth and facts and insight.

Hal, began his program Saturday with an homage to Steve Jobs, the late Apple co-founder. Hardly a minute into the remembrance, Sparks broke into tears, overcome with emotion as he thanked Jobs for the amazing ingenuity which had so deeply affected his life.

Actor, comedian, Progressive activist Hal Sparks

“Sometimes,” he choked back emotion, “we just forget how to say thank you.”

But there was something more in those words and the emotion. It was true, unadulterated, and honest sincerity. I was struck, at first by the emotion and second at the realization that we are in danger of losing the ability to discern true sincerity from manufactured emotion. Here’s what I mean. 

This was a real moment. It was a non-political, non-commercial display, which has become dangerously rare in our culture, especially in the media, in which everything is absolutely for sale. But this wasn’t some vehicle to bolster a political point, or a segway to a commercial for gold because Obama is out to destroy the American Dollar. Sparks didn’t pin wheel the moment into a tirade on some political or social ill. He brought us to a place that had touched him deeply. He said his heartfelt piece and let it go. We went along willingly because it was real, and I have no doubt many in his audience were swept into the moment, just as I was.

We are constantly defrauded by theatrical emotions in the corporate media. News people cry on cue. Politicians manufacture tears for the polls or to position themselves against adversaries. Glenn Beck’s faux-emotions are a means to close a sale for the vapid products he is selling(His whole schtick is to whip up his audience to be in position to buy the crap he hawks). It is meant to guilt  or fool us into a false belief in theatrical sincerity. Indeed, if that becomes the only food available to us, at some point we’ll forget what the real thing is.

There is a cry-on-demand industry, but that insincerity parading as sincerity only serves to cleave us away from the truth and one another. As the media degrades truth and facts, they render our own hearts as the final battlefield. We battle one another on that field, and then turn upon ourselves. It isolates us,  and leaves us alone, separated from our communities and the world.

 We’ve got to cling to those moments when there is no bottom line and no tag line. We’ve got to measure against the purposeful confusion and the avalanche of cynicism of our media and politicians those who reveal something true and vulnerable and selfless of themselves without expecting something in return. Kudos to Sparks for taking a moment just to be human.


Ocuppy Chicago: conversations with a banker.

I scared this poor girl. She was having a conversation with a banker in front of the federal reserve, and I sort of butted in. Surprising, since I rarely have much of an opinion on anything. In my defense, she was struggling. He had facts and knows the system, as he should. it seemed a great opportunity to engage someone on the other side in a friendly and thoughtful conversation. The banker, dressed in a neatly pressed blue shirt had taken the time, very much to his credit, to engage with his fellow Americans. Unlike Congress, he was showing his humility and ,In my opinion, was absolutely  open to what the protesters had to say.

“I’d lower the corporate tax rate, because they are already paying 19%, the highest corporate tax rate in the world,” he said. The girl did not have the figures. This guy lives and dies by numbers. He needed numbers.

A businessman engages protesters in conversation at Friday's protest

“You know, through deductions, loop holes and subsidies, large corporations in this country pay little or no federal tax. When they do, they usually settle for less than ten cents on the Dollar.”

Technically speaking it does have the second highest rate in the industrialized world, just behind Japan. My banker friend pointed that out, but practically speaking they pay much less than foreign competitors, again thanks to loopholes, deductions and subsidies which often do not exist in competing nations.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html?_r=1  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/business/economy/03rates.html

“So what would you do?” he asked.

I proposed, first, an international minimum wage, tied to an individual nations GDP, which takes the romance out of playing populations against each other in a never-ending race to the bottom. That would level the playing field internationally, keeping corporations at home, and all but erasing potential trade war issues.. He nodded,thoughtfully, but wasn’t convinced it could be enforced. I replied that I was involved in Bosnia and Rwanda, and that the perpetrators of the genocides are now on trial in an International Court, under International law. There are sanctions that are applied to rogue states, The IMF and World bank, all of which are vehicles for compliance.

“All right, what else?” he pressed, accepting the basic premise at least.

Greater enforcement, I said, in the tax code. Success and wealth and prosperity are fantastic and should be nurtured. Indeed, this country-this country-this nation provides a rare opportunity to encourage wealth and success, and that should come at a cost. No one gets to abuse that privilege. If we take a page from the Right, who famously argues that things like health care are not a right but a privilege, can’t we also say that about wealth, or anything in this society? If rights are now completley negotiable, they all are negotiable-for everyone. Perhaps we defer to the anti-choice crowd and say that being a fetus is a right, after that, it is up to the powers that be to decide what is and isn’t a privilege.    

“But do you just take it from them?” he said, truly with sincerity.

Even if it is only in the short-term, corporations have to understand their responsibility to this society as a condition of the privilege to succeed here. If corporations were suffering, but their profits are historic, while the gap between rich and poor becomes obscene. Fiscally that responsibility is no different that a soldier who risks their life for this nation. “When people are suffering you have that responsibility to the nation that nurtures your success. That is, in summation, is what all of these people are out here saying.”

With that we shook hands with a respectful smile and parted ways.

 


Herman Cain’s Marie Antoinette moment: On the street with Occupy Chicago

“Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks, if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself. It is not someone’s fault if they succeeded”

Seems Herman Cain just discovered his let them eat cake moment. For most of the nation, the so-called 99%-ers, it was hardly surprising. The cornerstone of the corporatist, right-wing ideology in this country if fully and unabashedly one of , “I got mine, you get yours.” It always has been, and since the Bush administration it has vaulted to a whole new, and obscenely perverse level.

Unlike the Tea Party, the Occupy...Movement is made up of a true cross-section of Americans

“…and (if) you’re not rich, blame yourself.”  Take that garbage men and small shop owners putting in 16-hour days. And to you war veterans coming home to desolate job prospects, down-sized workers, students forced to take out mortgage-sized loans for future low-paying jobs, if you ain’t rich, what’s the matter with you?

Cain’s comments came as the Corporate media could no longer ignore the protests, now spreading to dozens of cities, including Dallas, where hundreds marched today. The protests exponentially dwarf the manufactured manipulation of the Tea Party. Still, the media has drawn a narrative about the protests, as disorganized and unfocused. Interviewing a number of protesters in today’s continuing march in front of Chicago’s Federal Reserve branch, I found quite the opposite, and stark evidence regarding the difference between the Tea Party and the Occupy…Movement.

It should have been readily apparent to anyone that the precisely focused anti-Obama agenda of the Tea party was strategized and crafted well before hand by Republican party operatives desperate to challenge the grass-roots efforts that swept Barack Obama to the White House. That they immediately and unwaveringly were in lock step, and “outraged” over issues they’d conveniently ignored under the Bush administration should have garnered suspicion from an independent media and properly informed public. Instead, the Corporate media did all it could to legitimize the minority Tea Party, while undermining and ignoring the 99%-ers.

Stephanie and Marni, a list of grievances bound by a single thread

By contrast, today’s protest, which has grown larger and louder each day, reflects individual perspectives bound by a common theme. Near the steps of the Fed I found Marni  and Stephanie, both professionals downsized from their jobs and nearing retirement with limited prospects in the current market to make up critical financial ground before retirement. Both are among the under-employed, bumped from professional careers and working part-time jobs to survive. Marni is in graduate school. They are smart, educated, well-informed and had a laundry list of economic issues, all of which illuminate the perversity and outright mockery of working people in Herman Cain’s statement.

They pointed to the absolute waste in this country, starting with the tax code and including the grossly bloated defense budget, jobs, health insurance and more. Indeed, to a media all too eager to discredit the movement, such a laundry list could be characterized as unfocused. But all of those issues are related. They are all bound by the common thread of corporate and individual greed that has imperiled the nation for the power and privilege of a few.  And that is the message of this peaceful but stalwart movement. They demand an end to greed, corporate governance and the growing gap between rich and poor that threatens to turn us into a feudal nation.

Protests growing louder and larger each day

The protesters are not animated by fear of change, or immigrants or even other points of view as those in the Tea Party are. They are a chorus or individuals, joining in the truest spirit of “from many one.” The suffering in this nation is now epidemic, and these groups protesting across the nation, in Canada and Mexico have said enough is enough. In this rich nation, wealth and success can well be a virtue, but excess in the face of devastating suffering in intolerable. If you want a clear message about the purpose of the protests let it be that, Mr. Cain.


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