Thursday, February 02, 2012

Occupy Common Sense

This is a guest post by Tony Boicourt.  Tony was one of the founding organizers of OccupyMN, and is active in politics in Minnesota.

First to the friends I've never met, I'm Tony. One of the founders of OccupyMN, using that experience to assist early logistics of Occupy Duluth.  I then started Occupy Black Friday  & Remove Mayor Bloomberg.

Making my affiliations known not to inflate my ego, but rather to establish my connections and ensuring my motives. The following document contains more than 40 of my last 78 hours spent either writing or researching its contents. Admittedly, this started as a way to correct some misconceptions about Ron Paul.  It has, however, evolved into something greater.

 It is a final appeal of sorts, to all Americans those who occupy, and to those who don't. Liberal, Conservative, Marxist, Democrat, Republican, Left, Right, Up, Down, our ideologies matter not. I, for one, desire liberal policies, but that would be difficult to infer lately. Coming to you now not with what I want from politics, but what I feel would be common sense, if it weren’t for the Ameristocracy trying to blind and divide us. If we cannot stand united, we will fail. George Washington warned not to allow parties to divide us:
"patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume." 

The Following Sections Will:
  • Highlight the ways in which freedoms that men and women die to protect are being stolen from beneath our feet.
  • Educate about Wall Street corruption of our government.
  • Show why electing the same types of politicians and adopting more regulations/policies will not work to restore the United States. (You can't build a working car when all the pieces you're electing to use are broken)
  • Clear up misconceptions about presidential candidate Ron Paul.
PERHAPS the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.       -Thomas Paine

What Has Obama Done? What Else Would He Do?
Obama has either deceived us with brilliant charisma, or he has in fact changed since becoming president of The United States. This is not a matter of opinion.

One of the most unconstitutional pieces of legislation ever passed. A clause within the Act includes that if you have over seven days of food in your house, or if you're missing a finger, you can be put on the terrorist watch list. What has worried many civil right experts is that the rest is written vaguely enough that it could be applied to U.S. citizens. The Military now has jurisdiction over U.S. soil, and INDEFINITE DETENTION without due process of the law is completely legal. 

Obama threatened to veto the legislation, which actually wasn't because of the civil rights issues, but rather because: 

Yes, you read that correctly: the president was going to veto the bill because it restricted his power too much. So much for "preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States."  The details of the NDAA should be the only reason anyone needs to hear to realize Obama does not stand with or for "The People." But don't worry he said he wouldn't use it against U.S. citizens, oh thank god... Wait, just like he said he'd make government more transparent? Or how the public will have 5 days to look at any bill before he signs it? um..... uh oh.

Also, why is he having the U.S. Military &   police in L.A., Boston, and Little Rock perform joint exercise? And barring the public from observing. Not only do the military now have jurisdiction on U.S. soil, it’s supposed to be conspicuous in major urban areas?


The Federal government has gotten so big, so corrupt, that our representatives listen to the few rather than the many.  If we don't choose to change our ways and our leaders, then, soon, there may never be another choice. 

Why Ron Paul? He's NOT a Corporate Pawn

What many hear about RP is that he'll "deregulate everything." Firstly as the president, he doesn't have the power to deregulate everything. Secondly, most people don’t realize many of those ‘regulations’ he would remove are actually benifeiting big business as laws. Corporate powers don’t want RP, because many regulations/policies of the two parties in power prevent negative things to happen. Like what?

"Too Big to Fail" - Ron Paul was opposed to the bailout of the major banks that many people have been protesting for months. Had their been no bailout, YES, many of the banks would have failed. However, at that point the banks that didn't run poor business practices would have become stronger. CEOs who ran our country into the ground wouldn't have recived exorbitant bonuses from taxpayer money.
  • Our Money would have been safe regardless. We pay FDIC with every paycheck to insure our money. Banks got bailed out, we got sold out. Our government chose to help the few over the many.
  • Many regulations are championed by major corporations and pushed on congress in order to create more stringent and expensive hoops any competition would have to face, thus allowing the eradication of "real" competition. Competition drives innovation, and forces prices to lower without they can stay high and give you an inferior product. Who/what are the regulations actually for?
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co., which received $391 billion in secret bailout money from the Federal Reserve and another 25$ from congress in 2008, was able to scoop up other companies that making it the largest bank in the country. Do you understand that? The Federal Government chose to give money to one bank that was supposedly "failing," but not the other that had been absorbed. I'll leave you with an excerpt from the article so you can get a better understanding.
  • Not only that, but did you know that JPMorgan actually makes higher profits the more people are in poverty? It turns out the JP is the largest provider of food stamps in the nation.  For every single person who needs food stamps make JP more money. Doesn't that give incentive to keep jobs low?

Remember: corporations are required by law to maximize profits for shareholders. Can you see how the companies have a strangle hold on our current system? Ron Paul was against the bailout and is calling for weaker regulations.

Now if this is exactly what the corporate Ameristocracy wanted, ask yourself the following question:

Why Ron Paul?: Less Federal, More State 
The heading is Ron Paul's central tenet regarding U.S. politics. To many, "power back to the states" often sounds odd, especially to my generation. Most of them only ever knowing federal law as supreme. Since 1776 the states have become weaker with each passing year.

What people need to realize the original definition of a state, which is still used on an international level was: 

A nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government 

When the constitution was ratified, it formed a union from pre-existing sovereign states. By doing this, each state gave up a piece of its power to the new federal government. 

The Constitution specifically states what powers each branch of government has. Article II. Section 8 along with the 13th, 14th, 16th, 19th, 20th, 24th, 25, 26th amendments dictate the powers of congress.

The Signing of the Constitution, by Thomas Rossiter (public domain)

If something isn't defined by these powers the federal government has no right to legislate it. Throughout our nations history, there have been laws passed of questionable constitutionality that for one reason or another upheld. It's important to note that the 10th amendment states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. 

The 10th amendment is very clear; any power not granted to the government shall belong to the states, or to the people. However, the power of the states, and therefore, the freedom of the citizens, have continued to shrink. The federal government has bent its power to tax, and to regulate interstate commerce to literally control the states and the lives of individuals.  Examples follow:
  • Wickard v. Filburn (1942)  , decided fed regulations could apply to wheat grown for "home consumption" – if farmers were allowed to consume THEIR OWN, instead of buying, they'd affect interstate commerce.
  • Gonzales v. Raich (2005)  decided Because the fed's desire to have no marijuana available, Congress is allowed to restrict homegrown medical marijuana. As it could effect supply & demand of the commodity's "market."
  • South Dakota v. Dole (1987) decided Congress could restrict funds to a state for not setting 21 as drinking age, because Congress was is just "pressuring" for a policy, not forcing.
  • The Maximum speed limit law & No Child Left Behind would be two other examples of the states being coerced.

But wait, the Constitution says: 

and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Sadly, this clause is rarely brought to light. If this piece of the constitution were being upheld as it should, the federal government wouldn't be able to withold funds from one state, only to hand them to another.

Ron Paul wants to give power back to the states. I only make that statement with confidence because, if you look at his voting record, the man actually says how he's going to vote. He would work to get the power back into the hands of the people, and that's exactly what we need.

Don't we need those departments/agencies? Short Answer, NO.
Ron Paul wants to eliminate:
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Housing & Urban Development
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of Education
  • Eviromental Protection agency 
Our energy policies are seriously troubled. Green energy is important,  but we've created an artificial market. Without the grants & subsidies for green energy both/demand is low.

Now we've created a market with high supply/demand, which is causing companies who had started out in this area to fold or merge, creating less jobs even though green energy was supposed to help unemployment.

Who's benefiting? Who's paying? The usual suspects, of course, according to the NY Times excerpt below.

It's already been covered that when corporate interests get into bed with politics, the people lose. Example, Henry Ford was going to run the Model T with Ethanol; yup that's right, ETHANOL.  

One problem, Rockefeller didn't enjoy that idea too much because his oil monopoly was just beginning. So what happened? Rockefeller promoted, and possibly funded the Anti-Saloon League.  The group wrote a resolution which later became the 18th amendment. Prohibition lasted for 13 years, giving Rockefeller plenty of time to make people dependent on oil.

Ethanol wouldn't be mentioned as a serious fuel alternative for 50 years. 20 years after that Ethanol finally saw an increase, but not for the reasons we'd like. Methyl tertiary butyl ether n (MTBE) was contaminating groundwater. High MTBE use was caused by the Clean Air Act.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 granted subsidies to produce ethanol. Adding an expected 6-7 billion annually to the deficit. These programs ended last year, but there is already consideration to bring back the corporate welfare. 

It's plain to see that government investment in the aforementioned areas have done nothing but hurt us as a nation. Just follow the chain of events.
  • Regulation lead to Rockefeller’s monopoly, stifling Ethanol investment for nearly a century.
  • Environmental policies resulted in environmental damage.
  • Use of ethanol increases to meet EPA regulations. (If only we had Ethanol the entire time, and we wouldn't have put nearly as much stress on the environment, wouldn't that have been great?)
  • U.S. Taxes spent for nearly 30 years to develop product, AND stifle competition to try and spur people to buy an inferior fuel.   

Those issues all involves multiple regulations/agencies/regulations overlapping, let's look at some more.
  • The Department of Education currently has a testing system which tests schools throughout the nation for a fictitious "Standard knowledge"
  • This same system has defined both pizza & French fries as a serving of vegetables
  •  ‎The same system in which about a third of students have NEVER studied the constitution by the time they graduate high school. 
  • The department of commerce mission statement states "promote job creation and improved living standards for all Americans by creating an infrastructure that promotes economic growth, technological competitiveness, and sustainable development." (They must be REALLY effective)
  • The Village Voice  Ranked the Department of Housing & Urban Development as New York’s worst landlord because of poor living conditions & questionable eviction practices. 

Why Ron Paul? SAFE Foreign Policy

Section 6 of the following article would have you believe Ron Paul's foreign policy would be a disaster with Ron Paul promoting isolationism. 

The author proves to know little of what they describe. Mentioning the ICC and how Ron Paul wouldn't honor its authority like Bush didn't (Obama also doesn't). Stating Ron Paul wouldn't honor the Rome Statute, even though Clinton signed it. However the signature means nothing, as the senate never approved it. 

Leaving the U.N. would actually be good for the U.S. We would stop being pulled into international conflicts, because of unnecessary alliances.

In his farewell address in 1796, George Washington said the following:

"Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice? It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world..."

Long-term treaties are what inflated the World Wars to their massive size. Our one-sided intervention during WWII caused Hitler to declare war on the U.S. Linked is the declaration of war: Hitler speaks of how we had no right meddling in European affairs. 

Our interventionalism helped bring about 9/11. The U.S. Trained Osama Bin Laden & armed the Taliban in the early 80s to promote removing the Soviets from their land. So then what? We build bases, filling them with troops, resulting with Bin Laden declaring war on The U.S. in 1996  because we occupied Saudi Arabia & Israel. Two separate pieces of Muslim holy land. Yet we stood, and still stand by our decision of ignoring international sovereignty to create a Jewish state. 

How wasteful must we be? We've destroyed cities. Then, funded with American tax dollars, we feed, clothe, and rebuild. We've funded and armed a new government, with U.S. money, and for what? 10 years later, still there's no peace. We've come full circle, completely ignoring what happened the last time we intervened like this.

Ron Paul's proposed foreign policy  is a solid one. Pulling troops out of foreign countries would do great things for the image of the United States. It could help ease tensions throughout the globe, save money, and bring our fellow Americans home. We would stop spending endless amounts of money on foreign issues, and we could deal with our own.

Why Ron Paul?: He'll Work to Repeal the Corrupted Health Care Law

I would like to note that I am actually a big proponent for UNIVERSAL health care. You know, that thing Obama kind of focused his entire 2008 campaign on?  This was one of the definitive issues that all nearly all of his supporters got behind.

He promised transparency for when the bill would be negotiated so lobbyists/special interests couldn't have their way the American people. Well, most of the meetings were done behind closed doors with lobbyists/special interests.

Look what we got, a healthcare bill that could hardly be called "universal," which has a mandate that REQUIRES U.S. citizens to buy insurance, or be charged a fee. Because of this mandate, the insurance corporations will be able to thank Obama for forcing an additional 30 million customers their way when all pieces of the act are in place.

Not only does the above just once again fall in the favor of the corporations that are using regulations and our government to secure the highest profit, it restricts the personal liberty to choose, and goes against everything Obama had promised. He had compared forcing a mandate on people to making a homeless person buy a house. 

Another issue with the plan is it could very easily have the same effect on the nation as RommneyCare did in Massachusetts. There were many lower middle-class families that made enough they wouldn't qualify for any government assistance, but they didn't make enough to afford coverage for their entire family. There is no way of knowing until the law is fully implemented. We do know, however, that nothing has been done to stop the rising costs and price gouging millions of people face.

Ron Paul plans to attempt to repeal Obamacare, and even as a proponent of universal healthcare I realize that is not what we got, Obama sold us out, and Ron Paul actually has some interesting ideas on the matter.

But isn't Ron Paul racist/Anti-gay/anti-feminist?: NO

 The only reason I highlight this up is because it's such a high point of contention for some people. CSMonitor Article Excerpt Below: 

In a 2008 TV interview, he responds to a question about racism by asserting that libertarians like himself "are incapable of being a racist" because they view "everybody as an important individual" rather than identifying people in groups.

There are people who think he's racist because he has said he wouldn't have voted for The Civil Right's Act of 1964; not in the form that was passed, anyway. I can understand how people would jump to conclusion on this matter, but if you listen to him speak, his reasoning comes without stutter or any moment of rethinking. 

Everyone should realize how volatile of a conversation this is, if he TRULY racist and just making up excuses, why ever bring up the civil rights act in the first place? Not only that, but everything I've heard him say on the matter has been nearly identical.

I am personally happy that 1964 act did in fact become law, but I do want to say that I completely understand his viewpoint. Let's use a Catholic church as an example the church has every right to not allow a member of another religion to its services, because it's their property. It's an interesting point, however I honestly do believe the only way to change people's mindset was by forcing desegregation. I have in no way found any other sources which state he would try to repeal it, I think he's wise enough to know that it would never happen. 

You'd think Black -- a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard -- would know whether the presidential candidate he supports is a racist. It takes one to know one, right? Well, it seems that neither Black, nor any of his n-bomb-dropping followers thinks Paul's a racist.

"...I respond to media by simply noting the obvious truth," Black writes. "Paul's not a White Nationalist and he doesn't address the problem of White genocide, but we support his strongly held positions opposing foreign interventionism and wars for Israel, government welfare and 'affirmative action' programs, police statism, the Federal Reserve scam and immigration."

 Amid the incoherent ramblings of self-admitted racists -- "racialists" is their preferred term -- the Stormfront users vehemently deny that Paul is "pro-white" like they are.

**Doesn't PROVE anything interesting to note all the less.

The newsletters have been all over the news today, and he has released an official statement saying his assistances statement is absolutely incorrect. The first article I read on the matter today even played with the notion that with the timing of it all it could easily be a fabricated story.

Ron Paul wants to end the war on drugs, and upon being sworn in as president, release ALL non-violent drug offenders from prison. LARGE majority of those people would be African-American. If he were racist why would he do such a thing? He's also already done the following:

  • Voted NO on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions. (Apr 2005)
  • Voted NO on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. (Feb 2004)
  • Voted NO on barring transporting minors to get an abortion. (Jun 1999)
  • Voted NO on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
  • Voted NO on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. (Jul 2006)
Even if he doesn't like homosexuality, or if he's pro-life so what? He's voted for gay rights, and he's voted on numerous laws that would restrict abortion. BECAUSE IT'S IN LINE WITH THE CONSTITUTION, he doesn't believe it's the federal governments power to dictate such things.

What about Obama's Racial Discrimination?

Many saw the election of Obama as The United State's move into a "post-race" era. This however not true, yes racisism exists. ON BOTH SIDES, yet no one seems to notice:
  • The Department of Defense is ignoring Racial disenfranchisement in Guam an article states:      
Citizens of Guam ARE U.S. citizens and are supposed to be protected under the 14th amendment

But He's a Gun Nut? No, He's a Constitution Nut

This was part of our Bill of Rights in case the national government became to powerful or tyrannical we would be able to defend ourselves

Thomas Jefferson said:

"The beauty of the second amendment is, we won't need to use it until they try to take it away"

There are countless studies that have shown violent crime has gone down while conceal and carry rates have gone up, think about it someone is planning on a robbing a bank, you think gun laws are going to stop them from getting one? no... but allowing people to carry guns means when that robber runs in he doesn't know who's packing heat. By restricting guns you only hurt the law-abiding citizens. Admittedly debate on the cause-effect relationship is one that ebs and flows, one study says one thing and the next say another.

In the 1980s and ’90s, Americans were killed by others with guns at the rate of about 5.66 per 100,000 population. In this decade, the rate has fallen to just over 4.07 per 100,000, a 28 percent drop. The decline follows a fivefold increase in the number of “shall-issue” and unrestricted concealed-carry states from 1986 to 2006.

The highest gun homicide rate is in Washington, D.C., which has had the nation’s strictest gun-control laws for years and bans concealed carry: 20.50 deaths per 100,000 population, five times the general rate. The lowest rate, 1.12, is in Utah, which has such a liberal concealed weapons policy that most American adults can get a permit to carry a gun in Utah without even visiting the state.

The decline in gun homicides also comes as U.S. firearm sales are skyrocketing, according to federal background checks that are required for most gun sales. After holding stable at 8.5 to 9 million checks from 1999 to 2005, the FBI reported a surge to 10 million in 2006, 11 million in 2007, nearly 13 million in 2008 and more than 14 million last year, a 55 percent increase in just four years.

Gun Control is a touchy subject, but we should NEVER underestimate our need to protect ourselves, and our loved ones:
  • From criminals
  • Possibly Animals
  • MOST importantly, should our government become a 1984-esque form of "Big Brother"
As cliché as the old saying is: "guns don't kill people, people kill people" 

Final "Hope"

So many elected Obama with the "hope" he would "change" everything; well, some things have changed, but by and large, they have all been for the worse. Our freedom is being restricted more every day; our founding fathers would be appalled as to the way our government behaves.

The final straw that pushed America into revolution was a BAILOUT for the East India Trading Company. This company was given giant tax breaks, and was given the right to monopolize vending in the American colonies. Sound at all familiar?

Our founding fathers fought for freedom declaring independence. We needn't go that far, we however MUST take our country back from the Ameristocracy that has taken hold. I present you with some passages from The Declaration of Independence. Sadly, much of it feels all too relevant today.

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…
  • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
  • He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
  • He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
  • He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
  • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
  • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people

-Declaration of Independence

Closing Statement

George Washington made it clear to not let differing ideologies divide us; I see that very clear today. We must stand together if we wish to take back our country.

Most who know me would usually call me a "bleeding heart liberal"; I, however, do not present liberal ideas above. I don't see the next step we take as a nation as one that should be taken divided by party lines. 

Every passing day that we choose to adhere to the status quo is another day opression's roots are allowed to grow beneath all of us; if we blink now, it may be too late.


Even if a shrinking of federal government would make changes some of us don't completely agree with, it is a better outcome than the complete dissolution of our nation and the rights its supposed to stand for.

The Bald Eagle may be our nation’s icon,
but I truly believe the mystical phoenix is our nation's spirit. 

Americans have before us, during revolution, during civil war, reconstruction, progression, and depression embraced this spirit, and we shall too.

Let us reduce the corruption we face to ash 
so the fire which lady liberty holds in her hand
may shine brighter and burn hotter than ever before.
Wherefore, instead of gazing at each other with suspicious or doubtful curiosity, let each of us, hold out to his neighbor the hearty hand of friendship, and unite in drawing a line, which, like an act of oblivion, shall bury in forgetfulness every former dissention. Let the names of Whig and Tory be extinct; and let none other be heard among us, than those of a good citizen, an open and resolute friend, and a virtuous supporter of the RIGHTS of MANKIND and of the FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES OF AMERICA.

-Thomas Paine from "Common Sense"