Ben & Jerry’s Co-Founder: Occupy Dollar Bills

I love this idea that Ben & Jerry are promoting of stamping dollar bills with 99% slogans.  This expression of free speech aimed at taking back our democracy is also referred to as “Occupy George” http://occupygeorge.com/.  If I might add my own suggestions:  “Money is NOT Free Speech!”, ‘This Dollar Bill CANNOT speak”, “Money Talks, but it doesn’t SPEAK!”  “Money’s ‘Speech’ is never FREE!”, “Invalid if used to Bribe Politicians or Pay Lobbyists”, “Invalid if used to pay Corporate CEO’s”, “NOT TO BE USED TO BAIL OUT BANKSTERS OR WALL STREET CROOKS”, “On my way to the Cayman Islands!”, “Kiss Me Goodbye, I’m off to the Orient,  along with your JOB”, and “On Temporary Loan by the 1%.”

One person pointed out in his comment on the above article that “Federal Reserve Notes” are not government money (that is, they are not issued by the government) and therefore the law against defacing currency does not apply.  The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces currency (as well as postage stamps) and the U. S. Mint produces coins; the Federal Reserve produces neither, instead producing only federal reserve notes, which the courts have ruled are “legal tender” and “lawful money”.  So, though a federal reserve note is considered the equivalent of government money, from researching this question it appears that the defacing issue applies more to coins than to paper money, except with regard to altering paper money  in an attempt to defraud (e.g. trying to make a $1 bill look like a $10 bill) or to such an extent that it is rendered “unfit to be reissued”.  See these links for more info:

http://voices.yahoo.com/is-illegal-write-draw-us-money-rules-about-5839668.html?cat=3

http://www.ehow.com/list_6535889_defacing-u_s_-currency-laws.html

http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9613.htm

http://moneyfactory.gov/historicallegislation.html

http://www.richmondfed.org/faqs/currency/

As many of us are aware, there is nothing “federal” about the Federal Reserve because though it is subject to some congressional oversight, it is a privately-owned,  independent central bank, which has the power to make the decision to print money, for instance. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Under_the_Federal_Reserve_Act_of_1913_the_what_powers_do_Federal_Reserve_banks_have  What is interesting is that while our paper money used to read “silver certificate” across the top, as it used to actually be redeemable for silver from the U. S. Treasury, these stopped being printed in 1964 and were replaced by federal reserve bank notes which had “national currency” written across the top until 1971, when they were replaced with the federal reserve note which reads “Federal Reserve Note”.

There is a movement to end the Federal Reserve  and put the power to create money back in the hands of the federal government and out of banksters’ clutches. Dennis Kucinich has authored a bill toward this end titled the “National Emergency Employment Defense ( NEED) Act”.  You can read more at: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/12/01/kucinich-bill-seeks-to-end-the-federal-reserve/. The following link to a YouTube video also brings up some important points regarding the printing of paper money and its relation to debt and how it would be advantageous for the government to take back the role of again printing money. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tr5BbH6X8s&feature=colike

Amazing, how the more “federal reserve notes” the Fed prints, the less the 99% benefits.  The idea of “Occupying Dollar Bills” is brilliant in my opinion and I’m going to order me some rubber stamps!

Ben & Jerry’s Co-Founder: Occupy Dollar Bills

Occupy Patriarchy—End the War on Women!

The attempts to roll back the gains of the women’s movement have been going on for a long time now, almost immediately after Roe v. Wade was passed, but it has become increasingly escalated lately with attacks now being leveled against not only reproductive rights (including contraception) but women’s health care, and even programs for victims of violence and rape being dismantled. It is time for us to stand up.  Today is International Women’s Day, this is Women’s History month, and we are speaking up, taking to the airways, and taking action to help raise the awareness that this onslaught is about patriarchal dominance, not “religious freedom”.

 Women are steadily making gains in other parts of the world, one of the most heartening examples being the women of the Congo, who have risen up in the face of wartime torture against the violence that has been directed at them, demanding an end to rape.[1]  We see women making strides towards freedom in the Middle East with Tunisia granting equal rights to men and women, and in India, despite much discrimination, women currently holding all three of the high offices of President, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, and Leader of the Opposition, while here in the U. S. women are seeing our rights and gains erode and to this day are the most under-represented group in government and the poorest members of society.

Today, in America, we are contending with attacks on women’s human rights such as the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed any employer to refuse to cover any kind of health care service by citing “moral reasons”; fetal “personhood” bills; bills requiring ultrasound, including invasive vaginal probes, prior to allowing abortions; bills outlawing abortions after 20 weeks; bills allowing health care providers to refuse to perform abortions[2] and hospitals to refuse to perform emergency abortions, even in the case of the mother’s life being at stake in the “Let Women Die Bill” that passed in the U. S. House of Representatives; the defunding of Planned Parenthood, including the Susan V. Komen Foundation dropping planned parenthood funding for cancer screenings; the continuing harassment, arson attacks, bombings and shootings of family planning staff and doctors, four of whom have been murdered between 1993 and 2009.[3]

In view of such attacks, one might think we lived in a country ruled by an Ayatollah rather than in the United States where there is supposed to be a government of, for, and by the people with the separation of church and state.  But, as it turns out, the Christian fundamentalists who have made inroads into our government have been steadily blurring this line and are little different from their Muslim counterparts in their determination to restrict the freedoms of their respective female citizens.  Patriarchal religion has historically often been friendly to fascism and feudalism and hostile to the values of freedom and enlightenment, particularly of course with regard to women.

Patriarchy is about domination and the abuse of power and we wish to raise the awareness of the public that the war on women is about the attempt to control women’s lives, whether it be by redefining rape, slashing funding for planned parenthood, eliminating crucial health screening and services for women, attempting to restrict and even criminalize abortion, denying access to contraception, or doing away with programs to help victims of domestic violence and rape.  We will not sit by and allow women’s human rights to be treated as if they are expendable or ignore the sexist mentality that fuels these attacks.  It is time for us to Occupy Patriarchy and end the War on Women.


The Radical Religious Right & OWS Movement

Something I have observed recently is that some Occupy groups, though very aware of the tendency of the Democrats and Unions to try to co-opt the movement, there is less awareness of the co-opting of a much more dangerous variety:  The Radical Religious Right.

The religious right, or the fundamentalist fascists, have an anti-human rights agenda.  There are almost NO churches that are really supportive of true freedom and democracy, especially for women or gay people, and the religious right are in many ways more of a threat than the 1%.  They are the linchpin that keeps the whole patriarchal domination system in power and they have not only taken over the Republican Party, but have now taken over the Tea Party (which was not as extreme prior to this) who are in turn, now controlling the Republican Party and running our government because of their terrorist tactics (and the enabling complicity and cowardice of the Democrats).  To allow them ANY space in the Occupy movement is suicidal, and if naïve people in OWS act on the belief that they deserve a voice in it, because they are “part of the 99%,” it is a serious mistake.

The Christian fundamentalists have already had an immense influence on our political system and would completely fuse church and state if allowed to do so.  Not only have they indoctrinated the minds of the churchgoing public, but have managed to normalize many of their extremist beliefs by buying up all the radio and TV stations they have, allowing them to propagate their extremist agenda to a wide audience.  They would likewise love to infiltrate and sabotage the Occupy  movement,  even more than they already indirectly have by the people involved who buy into this belief system to one extent or another,  and their lack of awareness of the danger this virulent group represents to every freedom they are trying to defend.  Though they are waking up to other issues, they do not seem to be aware of this one, due largely to their motive to be inclusive and tolerant, but also because it is such a part of the zeitgeist that it goes undetected.   I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  Steven Biko’s quote applies so perfectly, “The most powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”.  We need to guard against the influence of the RRR in the movement and remove religion from politics and government once and for all.

70% of OWS Supporters are Politically Independent

This is an excerpt from a posting on the wallst.org website and is a direct quote.  For the full posting click on the link below.

“70% of #OWS Supporters are Politically Independent”

“Posted Oct. 19, 2011, 2:11 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt.”

“Two weeks ago we conducted an anonymous poll on this website to learn more about our visitors. We asked Héctor R. Cordero-Guzmán Ph.D, sociologist of the City University of New York to look at the data, which he analyzed to create an original academic paper titled “Mainstream Support for a Mainstream Movement“.

“His analysis shows that the Occupy Wall Street movement is heavily supported by a diverse group of individuals and that “the 99% movement comes from and looks like the 99%.” Among the most telling of his findings is that 70.3% of respondents identified as politically independent.”

“Dr. Cordero-Guzmán’s findings strongly reinforce what we’ve known all along: Occupy Wall Street is a post-political movement representing something far greater than failed party politics. We are a movement of people empowerment, a collective realization that we ourselves have the power to create change from the bottom-up, because we don’t need Wall Street and we don’t need politicians.”

Occupy Wall Street – Rebuilding Community

Occupy Wall Street  really is a very democratic movement that is open to everyone regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, race, or socioeconomic status (unless you’re a billionaire!) I hope all people embrace it because it is seeks to promote human rights and everyone having a voice.  The thing that is really unique about the OWS movement is that it really strives to be inclusive of everyone.  This is one of its biggest strengths.
The occupation offers an opportunity for people to rebuild community and bonds with others across all the differences that the powers that be always want to use to divide us.  In fact, this is the crucial stage it is in currently–rebuilding broken connections–and this needs to be done prior to deciding on a plan of action.  I like the fact that the movement has resisted pressure to come up with a plan and has focused on the process at this point. I hope all of us can become empowered to find a voice within it and be heard.

Occupy Wall Street

I was watching Occupy Wall Street Los Angeles livestream earlier today and there was some wonderful music playing that turned out to be “Uncle Sam Goddamn” by Brother Ali. It’s good to see someone doing some actual social and political commentary in music again, rather than the fatuous, self-serving prevalent schlock that glorifies criminality, misogyny, and brutality.

You can get the lyrics at: http://www.lyricsmania.com/print/457556.html

There was also a great slogan/demand that was being chanted:

“How to fix the deficit: End the war, tax the rich!”

Occupy Wall Street

I am so happy to see people beginning to stand up and reclaim their government!  I was online for several hours on Sunday with the people chatting on the Occupy Los Angeles livestreaming chat and sharing ideas regarding the protests and demands that are being formulated.  My own thinking on this is in view of the urgency with regard to the exercising of our civil rights, that repealing the Patriot Act should be at the top of the list along with preserving our ability to communicate with one another via the Internet.  There is currently a “resolution of disapproval” that has been ramrodded through the House of Representatives by big Telecom that undermines the Net Neutrality regulations that currently exist as well as banning the FCC from enacting future protections.  Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison  is pushing for a vote in the Senate and we must stop this and any other such legislation from passing the Senate as it is a serious assault on our civil liberties and the level playing field to which we are all accustomed on the Internet.  So, because our right to assemble peaceably and to communicate freely are vital to the pursuit of any other goals, my two top recommendations for OWS demands are to repeal the Patriot Act and to save the Internet.

There are many other demands that we need to make in order to reclaim our democracy, and I think the one I would place third would be the reason behind occupying Wall Street, to end corporate greed by holding Wall Street and the Banks accountable by prosecuting them for wrongdoing and demanding they pay their fair share of taxes.

Another demand I think is essential is the revocation of corporate personhood, as this is a cancer that has metastasized throughout our system until the corporation runs our government while it pays few of the taxes, pays no royalties on mining and oil on public lands, pollutes our environment, and receives huge amounts of government money in subsidies and contracts.

Ending war would save lives as well as money and help us invest in rebuilding our country and democracy both at home and around the world.

These are the demands with which I would start that double as good slogans for the movement to reclaim our democracy:

  1. REPEAL THE SO-CALLED PATRIOT ACT! RESTORE THE BILL OF RIGHTS!
  2. A FREE AND OPEN INTERNET! SAVE NET NEUTRALITY!
  3. MAKE THE BANKS & WALL STREET PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE!
  4. PROSECUTE WALL STREET! PROSECUTE THE BANKS!
  5. END CORPORATE WELFARE! STOP SUBSIDIZING GREED!
  6. CLEAN UP THE ENVIRONMENT! MAKE POLLUTERS PAY!
  7. TAX THE RICHEST 1%! SUPPORT THE BUFFETT RULE!
  8. END ALL THE WARS! BRING THE TROOPS AND MONEY HOME!
  9. REVOKE CORPORATE PERSONHOOD! PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHTS!

WE are the change we can believe in!!