Occupy Yourself… With Something Important

When the Occupy Wall Street movement began, I have to admit, in a cynical way, I was just looking at the people in the protest as neo hippies. A generation of young people mostly invested in doing what they wanted, including getting high and getting laid and maybe getting a $5 chai latte while using the free broadband to tweet and Facebook and whatever the newest version of that might be. (Note to old people like me… If you’ve heard of it, it is no longer cool.)

So anyway, I had an initial opinion about the kids and it was a one dimensional picture that I created based mostly on one second video edits and a couple of jokes on the Daily Show. All of my favorite comedians chimed in with something about the protest or the protesters on their podcasts (another note to old people, a comedian who does not have his or her own podcast at this point, is essentially a dinosaur waiting for the asteroid’s cloud to blot out their existence) and I even caught a snippet or two on the actual news.

Then of course, NYPD Capt. Tony Baloney decided to spice things up with a little pepper spray and not only did the media’s attention become stronger, it became longer. The news providers were more and more willing to up the segment length from 15 seconds to 30 seconds and then 2 minutes and finally whole segments. What had been a cartoonishly simple drawing of the people and the movement suddenly became a full color painting on a giant canvas. People from divergent backgrounds started to look, explore and appreciate the story as they began to feel it and experience it in fullness. The story of it was no longer hippies chanting slogans, it was moms and dads, unemployed assembly workers, laid off transportation workers, homeless home builders and a host of others from as many different backgrounds and locations and economic circumstances as you can conjure in your imagination. They were all there and they were saying essentially the same thing. “These guys broke the economy and got even richer than they already were while the rest of us found ourselves out of work, out of insurance, out of food and shit out of luck. And we don’t know exactly what to do about it, but we want something… anything done to fix it and keep it from happening again.”  I’m paraphrasing.

The average American is a pretty resilient creature. We whine a bit when the cable is out or there’s no Pepsi left in the fridge, but by and large, we can be counted on to get up, go to work and eat a bunch of shit if it means we can feed our families and pay for some “hardly covers anything but the catastophic shit” health insurance. We’ll put up with a lot. The basic inequities of our system are clear and evident to all of us and have been for a long time. We’re used to the idea that there is such a thing as ultra wealthy people who have more money than two or three sub Saharan countries combined. We accept it and even to some degree admire it and we don’t want to abolish it because we all hold out hope that someday, we can be there too. maybe a lottery win, maybe a kid who can play football and another kid who comes up with the next Facebook. We don’t want to do away with ultra richdom, we just don’t want to have our faces rubbed in it every single day. And even that could be ok (remember we have tv shows and magazines that only exist to show us pictures of rich people, their houses and their vacations) as long as we didn’t think the whole game was completely rigged.

But the incontravertible evidence of the rig was finally presented in the court of public opinion and I gotta believe this is where we rest our case.

During the last ten years, as the circumstances of the average person in American got worse and worse, the top one or two percent of the economic population increased their holdings more, as a percentage, than has ever happened in the history of this country. Clearly, every dollar that fell out of our pockets was falling into theirs. Whats worse was that it wasn’t accidental. They actually created a system that they knew would fail and by so benefit them while screwing us. They created a betting system that would allow them to bet on the fact that we would all lose and they would all win and then they also came up with an insurance policy for the whole thing so that they could get paid off double and triple, all the time sucking more money out of us, the economy and the future. Then when the thing finally did blow up, the guys who sold the insurance policies (and had to pay off) and the guys who didn’t buy an insurance policy (and lost their investors pension funds) got all of their money back AND SOME because the government decided it would be worse for everybody if these financial titans were to suddenly need to find jobs.

To add insult to injury, after our representatives in the government bailed these financial pillagers out, they used hefty bags of cash to pay bonuses to the very people who had crippled the nation and to some degree the entire world economy. The argument was that the bonuses were contractually required, but I guarantee you that I can find a lawyer in about 20 seconds who would willingly spend the next ten years trying to break the contracts or at the very least tie up the funds in a knot of red tape the size of the Wall Street brass bull’s balls.

Of course, all of this happened with the back drop of Halliburton and Black Water actually losing track of actual billions of dollars, flown over on actual C-130’s and stacked on actual pallets and wrapped with celowrap. Yes, Americans out on the street, destitute and wishing only for a job and place to sleep, had to wander from warm spot to warm spot while actual tons of dollars were lost.  Not spent, not wasted on speed boats and hookers, not used for blow or private jet rides to Ascot for the races,.. no, just lost, as in we have no idea where it is.

So now, on Wall street, a bunch of Americans, some of them hippies, some of them mommies, some of them republicans and some of them democrats, just want something to be done. They, and by they I mean we, or me or everybody I know, would probably prefer something substantial and punitive but we’d more than likely be mollified by something symbolic. But, truthfully, there are some really rich people in this country who need to step very carefully for the next little while because some shit could happen. People are so frustrated and so disenfranchised that they are actually willing to spend late fall in the park, for night on end, in New York City, no showers, no heat, no comforts and the constant threat of arrest. They’re willing to do this in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Columbus, Cleveland, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver and a list of other cities across this nation. Not because they’re hippies and need a cool thing to do. Not because they just want to get on tv or have a story to tell. They’re doing all of it because they want something to be done. They don’t know what, but something. Anything.

So,we have choices. Once in a while we get a choice handed to us that lets us decide not only something to do, but something to be. This choice we have in front of us will say a lot about who we are to people who read about us twenty or thirty years from now. Our kids or grandkids, or even beyond that kids will eventually see some photos and read papers about the time Americans stood up and said, rich is ok, we all want to be rich, but jesus fucking christ, you guys have taken all of it and left us nothing and that is just plain wrong. and oh, we just sorta remember that we outnumber you 300 million to a thousand. You can either fix this thing you broke or we’re going to come live on your estate in the Hampton’s, eat your dog and take dumps on your driveway.

Life is all about choices and this one can make us better or it can make us take a dump on your drive way. Choose wisely.

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18 Responses to Occupy Yourself… With Something Important

  1. William says:

    Some say the protesters are jealous of others who worked hard and got rich. Some still think that money is the evidence of success, coming from hard work and initiative. I want to believe that also, so let them do it (become successful) on their own. Stop the subsidies, tax breaks and bail-outs, which are paid for by the 99%. How can we give businesses credit for their success when taxpayers made it possible. Get the lobbyists out of Washington, take another shot at campaign reform and get back to fair taxes (pre-W) for individuals and corporations.

    I believe these are things that 99% of the people can agree on regardless of political leanings. It may leave out a few whiners, congress and some, but not all, of the very wealthy.

  2. randy says:

    I just heard from a friend of mine in Seattle’s protest…anyway, just want put some idea’s out there about what to do next, rather than spending too much time with the “why” or “how could they” or even who the hell is they? I want to suggest that the rich be defined as anybody that thrives off government largess in any form, with the emphasis being on “thrive”. Social Security doesn’t cause anyone to thrive, welfare same thing. Can’t blame people for “taking what they are giving” can we? But the government union’s, the road construction companies (which are union owned…through Davis-Bacon Act passed back in the depression), and the teacher unions with a hat tip to our “public safety officers” that have become nothing more than revenue generators sucking from the public trough too. That was a long sentence, and I am certain it left a lot for the reader to put between the lines. But do you realize the average college professor at Cal Berkelely gets $148,000 per year? that is for a 9 month year. They mostly “teach” all year, why not? since they also average only 4 class hours per week. so are they not getting fat on our dime? and for what? a worthless piece of paper and a student loan to pay off on the minimum wage job it gets you. I say we get some of these worthless lawyers together and put them to some use filing a class action lawsuit against the schools for massive FRAUD. Misleading us into believing that what they teach was going to be of use, etc….I don’t know about you guys, but I learned nothing useful in real life in college, it turns out. And the Davis-Bacon act, causing the cancer of “prevailing wages” to be perpetuated for the chosen one’s lucky enough to work for one of the corrupt union’s (ever wonder why there seems to be only a couple construction companies doing the road work?). And lastly, the FED needs to be abolished, after a complete audit (the audit is for the purpose of determining who to put in jail, starting with Ben Bernanke). If more people realized who, what and how the FED actually harms us all, except for the chosen few, there really would be a revolution, I bet. But I have a hunch it is not the local banker who deserves jail…it would surprise us all who is sucking us all dry. Maybe the CEO of Google and Facebook? Didn’t they take credit for Egypt’s revolution? Do us drones really believe that Obama can actually “create” even one single Job?

    • gmyers2112 says:

      That’s actually kinda skewed there Randy. There are 4 basic categories of professor at Cal Berk; Assistant, Associate, Full and Full Tenured. The wage range you’re talking about isn’t the actual average, it is the top pay for Full Tenured with Responsibilities. Generally, a full tenured professor with responsibilities sits over an entire department and though they teach fewer hours, they are responsible for a great deal of administrative work, include fund raising for the university, budgetary planning and resource allotment. The info I was able to find suggested that the average teaching professor (usually with a master’s degree and not teaching at a big name college like Cal B) earns a median income of 48,000 and is considered full time employment (30 hours per week or more, and including summer semesters. That is a national average based on research from DePauw University in 2008. I’m actually ok with a tenured professor with responsibility for a full department and the education of thousands of kids per year getting that kind of money. 148 grand is a good income and put them in the top 15% of wage earners (US Census Bureau. (2006). Educational Attainment–People 25 Years Old and Over, by Total Money Earnings in 2005, Work Experience in 2005, Age, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Sex.”. http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032006/perinc/new03_001.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-22. ) But we’re not really talking about somebody making a hundred and a half being part of the problem. We’re talking about people who pillaged the system, broke the machine and still got 20 million dollar bonuses. This other stuff you’re pointing at, is really besides the point. Talk about misleading.

    • gmyers2112 says:

      Randy, we’re able to do this as long as you can stay focused on one or two crazy things at a time. This last one seemed a little jumbled and rambly.

      I’m not going to edit you but try to stay on one or two concepts per diatribe. Also, I’m going to impose a word limit. Let’s keep comments to something less than biblical length. Realistically, you’re writing your own blog here. I think you could probably get one going easily enough and there are those who would find value in your ultraright ditto speak. But, since I’m not that audience and most of my audience is not that audience, we need to keep the through line a little less complicated.

      OK?

      • randy says:

        ok. and thank you for the thoughful reply. My sister is a college professor, two other sisters public school teachers. they all make over 75000 plus benefits, and get extra pay for teaching summer school. they do work hard. But besides my overarching belief that more government is bad…the truth is that in the last 30 years the cost of education has risen at almost 7% per year consistently, which means it doubles every 8-10 years, and is rising at almost 4 times the rate of inflation. I do not believe our current graduates are anywhere near 4 times smarter than us. But student loans became available in “66, too. Now, back to “scattered thoughts”…what exactly is the message now at these Occupy events? I’m hoping you will write on the FED next. Heard that at Occupy SF.

      • randy says:

        Where have you been lately with the news? Just wanted to say regarding the college professors etc…The National Education Association, the department of education and basically government unions involved in education have pretty much destroyed our youths minds with junk social science, anti-god(christian) hate speeches in-class, tenure after 2 years, and worthless curriculum in colleges churning out socialist idiots. You’re not one? where is middle?

      • gmyers2112 says:

        Sorry Randy. I was working a lot and then I had a heart attack. Not sure if I’m going to keep writing or not.

    • William says:

      Yes! Obama can create jobs. Building and/or repairing roads and bridges will create jobs. How else would we fund such projects if not through some level of government (taxpayer) funding? How else could we provide direction for such projects? Remember too, that although the funding would come from the gov., the materials, such as steel, concrete, paint, etc. would be provided by private sector businesses. All the jobs would be private sector jobs. Chill.

      • Deko says:

        randy said: “….I don’t know about you guys, but I learned nothing useful in real life in college, it turns out.”

        I learned how to proficiently bong beer and other stuff in college. Those skills are useful in that they can numb the pain of not having a job.

      • gmyers2112 says:

        Did you know that you can find enough throwawayable produce at the local grocery store to make a really good home brew? All you need is some ditch water, the old thrown away bathtube that you usually sleep in and a bunch of that throwed out produce. Mash it up, and let it set for a bit while it is covered with the cardboard you make your shelter from and then strain it all through an old screen door. Serves 25 out of work long haul truckers or 150 unemployeed baristas.

      • randy says:

        Let’s not forget, every single job with even one penny federal money must pay “prevailing wage” which is code for “union” rules and wages. My friend just closed down his “union” company in California because after you pay $77.00/hour to your basic carpenters and more to actual skilled workers, there is none left for the 1%. You can’t take money from the private sector by threat of force, give it to “those guys” and tell me you “created” a job. More like “harvesting” wealth and eating it. You must be one of the union thugs if you believe what you just said.

      • gmyers2112 says:

        I gotta say, I’m not worried about the 1%. You can continue to argue that these unfortunately rich people are the victims of our poor and are regularly taken advantage of by our government, but I’m gonna go with,… “mmmm, no.” as my response. Financial victims don’t generally have to make decisions about whether or not to gold plate the toilet seat. Financial victims, if they have choices, must choose between food and medicine. When the 1% have to make that choice, I will start to feel for them in the way that I feel for us (the not 1%). I get that you believe that unions have destroyed America, but without unions we would all still work in conditions akin to the Vietnamese garment workers in a Guatemalan immigrant neighborhoods in Bangkok.

  3. GG says:

    The symbol on the dollar bill with a pyramid and the all knowing eye on top for me represents the 1% which some refer to as the Illuminati. They need the 99% as their foundation. If and/or when that foundation decides to move out from under them, it won’t be long before they fall. Maybe they will land on the 53%, but in that system, eventually some of that 53% will end up becoming like the 99% – disenfranchised – disgusted with a system that has little to no regard to people because all they care about is power and wealth and obviously will stop at nothing to get it. If the 99% allowed the 1% and the so called 53% to keep their system and we started our own system of bartering and created our own society apart from them, working with and for each other, who would support them? The top would crumble, The pyramid would be no more. Long live true democracy. Peace and blessings to the occupiers all over the world!!!

    • gmyers2112 says:

      I’m about 75% certain that you have confused 45% of the people reading this. Also, and don’t take this the wrong way, but as soon as you use a term like “the illuminati” you’re gonna lose a pretty sizable percentage of the crowd. Eyes roll, lips purse, sighs expel and sudenly, what you’re saying, regardless of veracity, becomes a nattering background hum of crazy talk.

      So, thanks for reading. I’m glad you got something from it. Long live democracy, Up the Union, true dat and gimme five. Pound it, blow it up, bring it back. l8r

  4. FangsMcJ says:

    Wonder how much the shit catcher at the zoo makes…

    • gmyers2112 says:

      Too much if you ask me. Just think of all the fantastic stories he (maybe she) gets to tell the kids he’ll never have because while he’s trying to date, women keep commenting on his piquant odor. That’s priceless and if they’re paying him, he should thank his lucky stars. Why he could be stuck in a really horrible job like over seeing the day to day operations at GE and then getting fired from that job 3 years early and then getting a 20 million dollar bonus from tanking the valuation of the stock with a rumor (intended to tank the stock so that rich people could drive out the penny investors and suck up what remained of the stock for a whole lot less than it might have been.)

      Yeah, but Gary, How do you really feel about GE?

      Funny you should ask. *&%$#ers can eat my @%% and lick *&%^, $^%&#)% GE!!!

  5. rmh8400 says:

    HI, I hope your health has returned again my friend. Curious what your take on the latest “occupiers” is? Seems I had it correct when I suspected the union thugs and anarchists (not to mention George Soros and even Obama’s minions) were financing the signs and even paying losers to vandalize. But really, what is left of the message if there ever was one? Give us free college loans? What do they want? It is incoherent. Do you see any connection to the French Revolution where they made liberal use of the guillotine and France has still never recovered their national dignity. If the Occupy movement “wins”, do we become another socialist utopia like Western Europe?

    • gmyers2112 says:

      There was a message. The message was “This sucks and those fat cats screwed us again.” The problem with most things on this side of the aisle is that it’s fragmented at best. Lots of people had a real thing to say and a lot of other people had fringey things to say. In the same way that the left paints the entire right with the extremist brush of the fundementalist churchy gun nut birthers, the right paints the left with the wacko tree hugging granola munchy bunch. It is essentially how the thrust of any movement is defused. Let the first wave hit you, absorb it and then start chipping away at the fringes until all that anybody can remember about it was the cop with the can of pepper spray and the unwashed hippies playing drums in the park. But there was a message. And the message was that the game is rigged, perhaps worse than it ever has been and that there are way more of us without money and influence than there are of the ones with money and influence and this is how revolutions get started.

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