Happy Holidays – just kidding… Merry Christmas to all of our subscribers! We at 1%er Talking Points hope you spend your end-of-year bonuses in good health as we all look forward to another year of unprecedented prosperity!
With that in mind, the editors would like to share with you a suggestion passed along by one of our readers who, like most of you, wishes to remain anonymously above the fray… As many of you will be attending the season’s major art auctions, you may be well advised to purchase a portfolio of works by living relative unknowns. As our anonymous source, former hedge fund CEO and Professor of Recession Economics at Pueblo State University, Newton Toomey points out, with the predictable pending upswing in the mortality rate among artists, most of whom are unemployed, uninsured, and otherwise belong with society’s other bottom-feeders, those currently producing works of merit can be expected to die in the short-to-medium term (as opposed to medium-to-long) leaving behind limited bodies of work which should appreciate handsomely in value. As an ancillary benefit, ‘supporting’ struggling artists by purchasing a warehouse full of contemporary pieces at fire-sale prices (even by today’s standards — remember, they need to buy food and pay rent) as opposed to purchasing one $20 million Rembrandt will help to solidify your credentials as a ‘job creator’.
(Disclaimer: As always, we at ‘1%er Talking Points’ bear no responsibility for any action taken by any organization, group, or individual based upon any statements or actions of ours.)
Again, Merry Christmas and a Happy and Profitable New Year!
Now, on to the task at hand:
Talking Point #1: ‘Gay Season’ is upon us. With the 2012 campaign about to enter its Primary phase, it’s time to once again divert public attention from jobs, the economy and the wars by pounding the table on behalf of good old-fashioned anti-gay family values. Now that the Kenyan anti-colonial Ivy League elitist has succeeded in getting DADT repealed and the liberal Jewish New Yorkers have legalized gay marriage, it’s time to again mobilize ‘God’s warriors’ to clog up the media’s print and air-space. But alas, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus – and he’s given us Penn State Football and Syracuse Basketball. We suggest whenever possible the merging of the anti-gay crusade with the call to eliminate all forms of public aid for education, as well, of course, as the elimination of the federal Department of Education.
Talking Point #2: ‘The 53%’. Our patrons continue to bless us with their unwavering support in spite of hard economic times, due largely in part to our esteemed marketing genius who realized that “getting them to believe they could become one of us has got to be an easier sell than a talking, burning bush or a virgin birth.” The editors hope that this past Thanksgiving our readers remembered to give thanks to all of those who complain they are supporting the ‘other 47%’ when in fact it is we who maintain our position through their diligence, loyalty, and hard work. That being said, however, we must refer to them as ‘hard working, patriotic Americans’ and the like, but NEVER as ‘the 53%’. Doing so only seems to inspire the few remaining liberal ‘goody two-shoes’ journalists who still believe that news stories should be fact-based to point out not only how small and inadequate one’s income must be to avoid paying even $1 in federal income tax, but also how much ‘the 47%’ pay in state, local, sales, property, excise, and other taxes.
Talking Point #3: Spending Cuts = Taxpayer Savings. Any federal budget cuts involving education, Medicaid, aid to states, etc. should be referred to only in the generic form, such as ‘spending cuts’, ‘increased savings’, ‘reducing wasteful expenditures’, etc. They should never be specifically referred to as anything that anyone with half-a-brain should realize is nothing more than the federal government passing the cost down to the state and local level and therefore not creating a dime of ‘Taxpayer Savings’. Continue reading 1%er Talking Points: Holiday & Pre-Primary Edition
It’s time for the conversation about police tactics—specifically about whether police actions against the Occupy movement have crossed the bright line. When an officer empties a canister of pepper spray on sitting, non-resisting participants from three feet away and is joined by a fellow officer as others step out of range, the paradox at the heart of police work–how the expectation for order translates into enforcement that preserves rights and freedoms—needs review. Police spokespersons cite such use of chemical force as appropriate, note that those assembled have been warned and put on notice, that individuals may experience random injuries if crowds resist or ignore police orders, but more than constitutional issues flare as buttons are pushed and batons are raised.
Taking place is a radical and aggressive shift in police attitudes and approach about what constitutes appropriate force. Streaming evidence shows repeated surges of violence by unidentified officers who wade into groups and appear to take a perverse delight or indifference to inflicting punishment and pain on unarmed citizens that goes above and beyond what the job or situation calls for. Their departments and chiefs are calling these acts justified. So far, these acts have resulted in a military veteran receiving a traumatic brain injury, a 70-year-old former US poet laureate beaten in the ribs by a baton-wielding officer (his wife was knocked to the sidewalk), countless women being pulled by their hair, and the elderly being confronted. Pepper spray has been forced into people’s mouths. But the strongest evidence of crossing of the line is not the shocking video captures. That evidence is in the methods police have abandoned—the equipment and tactics carefully developed to control large crowds.
Harper's Weekly, New York City Draft Riots. August 1, 1863.
After the Vietnam protests, effective measures for crowd control minimized the use of violence. These tactics have been tested, refined, trained, and widely used in urban areas, but are now being shelved and ignored.
To put this into relief, focus on a single piece of equipment: the riot shield. Riot shields, used worldwide, have a two-fold purpose: to protect police from injury and assaults and to direct large, resisting crowds. Riot shields have designs adapted to specific situational demands. The shield’s material construction and even the placement of the handles are well thought out to maximize police control and protection. Most urban police departments have shields. Departments typically require every officer to be trained in their use. A phalanx of well trained police arrayed shoulder-to-shoulder with shields is a formidable force. Shields are physical, but not violent. And they reduce the use of batons, pepper spray, hand-to-hand take-downs.
Yet in many cities, police are deploying shields on a limited basis. The option, a free-wielding, self-initiated use of batons and pepper spray is reasoned as a response to an implied threat that shields were designed to manage effectively–without the violence now being associated with police actions.
The police response, that spraying participants is less risky and “standard” since bodies “don’t have handles” to move them, is disingenuous. Nursing home personnel are taught safe ways to lift and move immobile, even resisting bodies. Moving a person after he or she has been pepper sprayed is more risky than moving participants before they are sprayed. Departments are suggesting that by disobeying, the participants have taken on the risks of the deliberate and calculated hurt being meted out by individual or small groups of police acting under the cover of authority, as officers and commanders on the scene tacitly observe. Continue reading Digging Deeper: Who Shields the Occupiers?
Last spring I got into trouble when I said Democrats have an image problem. A minor fervor rushed to let me know I had overlooked the obvious: Democrats stood for higher paychecks, protecting the air and water we breathe and drink, the dignity of all people, unconditional help if you are sick, and for each child, the joy of learning and a safe home. Democrats join freedom hands with people around the world.
But I didn’t say platform issues, did I? I said “image problem.” Reflect further: are these objectives the real image of the party? Or did these lauded ideals get turned around somehow into an image rewrite that says Democrats have a collective desire for higher taxes, redistributed wealth, laziness, sloth, hand-outs, and socialism?
Isn’t it time to talk about the disconnect between these two? After all, everybody agrees Republicans are mean. The debate over them isn’t over image: it’s over whether meanness has benefits. But Democratic image and policy is folded into a large national debate over the sage wisdom of Talcott Parsons and John Maynard Keynes.
The Democratic image disconnect is a Talcott Parsons problem (the Harvard sociologist was hard to understand, and even when you did, he didn’t make any sense!). A huge disconnect lingers within grassroots politics, in the homes and hallway conversations where groups of two or three nod in knowing agreement with short-form slander and lies. The President is a Kenyan. We are on the brink of communism. We are mortgaging our children. China owns us. And this year’s emerging big lie, the President is gay; a direct attack on his family. This one recently made CSPAN. (I first heard it in the last days of the 2008 election cycle and am surprised to hear it return.) Image is about a source code that 1) influences and affirms social action, and 2) makes action itself a part of the code of values.
Part of the Democratic image problem is a blind spot about how communities shape political narratives internally. Messaging and image are very different. Facts and stats no longer win the day! The image took down Russ Feingold for example, not the message. Image internally is a cultural code wired to the way we “get” things, the snap judgement part of us, a double helix of action and ideas. It’s the mien of our national manners — all those ruthless commercials pitting children and parents, especially the one that has the mom and dad turning pet gold-fish into sushi — which I find so appalling. Continue reading Digging Deeper: The Mirror of Expectations
In the picture, you’re holding up a sheet of paper that says:
I am a former Marine.
I work two jobs.
I don’t have health insurance.
I worked 60-70 hours a week for 8 years to pay my way through college.
I haven’t had 4 consecutive days off in over 4 years.
But I don’t blame Wall Street.
Suck it up you whiners.
I am the 53%.
God bless the USA!
That’s a lot of work for so little return. Why is that something to be proud of? The only difference between that and slavery is… not that much, other than the time period and the race of the man in the photo. If hard work was all there was to it, we wouldn’t have this economic mess. Everyone would be a millionaire or some level of rich, and there would be no poor people, except for the formerly idle rich, because they didn’t work for it, it was just handed to them.
We all know that isn’t true. The system doesn’t work like that.
The term “53%” comes from the premise that 53% of Americans pay income tax, versus the 47% that don’t. “We are the 53 percent” was originally the brainchild of Erick Erickson, founder of RedState.com. The website appears to be the standard conserva-blah-blah-blah.
According to the Washington Post, actually 23% of Americans don’t pay income taxes because their incomes are too low. Another 23% of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes mostly because of tax breaks given to the elderly, low-income working families, government welfare recipients, and students. So the percentage appears to be factually correct, but it looks like the facts stop there.
Back to our scowly-faced friend above, I wonder if he enlisted to help defend the rights of the super-wealthy to send jobs offshore and reap the benefits while hard-working Americans get laid off. Is he one of the “free-market libertarians” who are gonna be rich in the next few weeks, and wants everything deregulated? Does he really not blame Wall St. in spite of the evidence to the contrary? Does he think that the government and those “long-haired liberal hippies” want to take his money and just give it to “those undeserving people” (i.e. marginalized groups, the poor, etc.), but he doesn’t mind if the super-rich don’t pay any taxes? Remember, he’s gonna be rich in the next couple of weeks. Wink, wink!
I see this as the RW disconnect. He can’t have it both ways. He can’t be both proud of working insane hours and then complain he hasn’t had a vacation in years. He can’t be for business deregulation, and then be mad because deregulation hurts him. He votes for the GOP and Teabaggers because “he hates the liberal whiners,” then complains when they take the programs he likes away. Continue reading On the Open Letter to that 53% Guy and the RW Disconnect
As the third-largest financial center in North America (after New York and Chicago) Toronto was destined to be a foreign beachhead for the Occupy movement.
The Toronto protest, which began in mid-October, is headquartered in St. James Park, adjacent to the city’s Anglican cathedral and about a third of a mile east of Bay Street, Toronto’s counterpart to Wall Street. I recently spent an afternoon downtown, managing to miss the action that day, which included a morning gathering at a nearby university campus and an afternoon march in the financial district, but I did spend some time at the park, listening to the discussions, soaking up the scene and getting some photographs.
Probably anxious to avoid a repeat of their disastrous mishandling of the G20 Summit protests in 2010, the police kept their presence low-key. A group of bicycle-mounted cops passed me in the heart of the financial district, while a few others were stationed near the park but seemed to spend most of their time shooting the breeze with each other:
The weather was overcast but benign enough. Just in time for the colder days of November, the occupiers this week received three large and expensive yurts from organized labor, including the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. Things were decidedly more downscale the day I visited:
Although the sanitary arrangements seemed superior to those in some other Occupy cities:
The park’s gazebo has become a de-facto town hall:
Continue reading A Quick Look at Occupy Toronto
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has declared next Monday, October 24, an official day of mourning in honor of former Libyan leader Moammar Qadafi, a man he praised as, “… an inspirational leader, and a role model for the head of any state.”
He also announced that all state offices and public schools will remain closed through Monday and that the flags over the State Capital in Madison will fly at half staff through the end of the month. Teachers and state employees will not be paid for the missed work days.
Walker, who several months ago tried to lure the Libyan strongman to his state with an offer of political asylum and a lucrative position as the State’s Union Liaison, was visibly shaken after learning the news of his hero’s death at the hands of rebel forces.
“This is the sort of thing that happens when governments allow the workers to organize,” he reportedly told the third grade social studies class he was visiting when Qadafi’s death was confirmed. “The Colonel had children, you know. The same thing could happen to your Mommy and Daddy unless other governors grow a pair and squash all these anti-capitalism mobs that are now protesting right here in the United States.” Continue reading Wisconsin Governor Declares Day of Mourning for Qadafi
Boasting that from day one he expects to have at least 50,000 of the finest Americans onboard, former Vice President Dick Cheney today announced the formation of his new political movement, ‘Occupy Iraq’.
Speaking to reporters via conference call from an undisclosed location where he vows to remain as long as Iraq is occupied, the man with a heart shaped like a marching bunny beating a drum described the new movement as, “the most patriotic thing our millions of young people who have no jobs and no prospects can do to help keep our country safe and our largest, most strategically important corporations profitable.”
Expressing his belief that that the United States has “lost its way” in the nearly three years since President Obama took office, the unapologetic face hunter added, “When you look at when our nation has been its most prosperous, it has always been the oil companies and the military industrial complex who led the way. So it stands to reason that Americans occupying an oil rich nation is not only a great way to jumpstart the economy, but also the greatest thing I can think of for masses of frustrated, unemployed, displaced and disenfranchised patriots to blow off some steam – and believe me, we’ve got millions of them.” Continue reading Dick Cheney Launches ‘Occupy Iraq’ Movement
New York (DBI) – As if their depiction by GOP Presidential hopeful Herman Cain wasn’t already hard enough to swallow, scores of ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protestors were rushed to area hospitals today after falling ill from what sources believe was a tainted delivery — ironically, it is presumed, — from Godfather’s Pizza, Cain’s former company.
“When we arrived at the scene, we observed perhaps a hundred or more people in various stages of gastrointestinal distress,” EMS Captain Christopher Toomey told reporters. “We were able to confirm that most of them had consumed various food items that had been delivered earlier in the day. But I must say, there were several really queasy looking ones I spoke with personally who had not eaten at all, but did report they had been watching YouTube videos of Mr. Cain’s weekend television appearances.”
Toomey added that none of the cases appeared to be life threatening.
When told of the incident – and its positive prognosis — Mr. Cain is reported to have responded to an aide, “Of course it’s not life threatening – none of those a******s have lives.”
Federal authorities promised a full investigation. They have jurisdiction as the alleged tainted delivery came into New York from New Jersey because in recent years, Famous Famiglia (Donald Trump’s cheese pie of choice) has managed to muscle Godfather’s completely out of the City’s five boroughs, though rumors persist that a lone holdout Godfather’s franchise is still secretly operating somewhere on Staten Island.
But while the New York City FBI office claims they are already looking into the matter, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has vowed to block any form of Federal probe until House Democrats agree to spending cuts that will offset the cost of any investigation to taxpayers. Continue reading Scores of Protestors Sickened by Godfather’s Pizza
While the ongoing OccupyWallStreet protest may not ultimately end up effecting change and may indeed be labeled a “failure” when all is said and done, let’s not forget that mass non-violent protest has produced many successful outcomes in the . . . → Read More: Nonviolent Protests Can Initiate Positive Change
The Wall Street protest, which started on September 17, 2011, had been planned for months. What started as a peaceful march onto Wall Street by 2,000+ protestors last week then morphed into a sit-in, as planned. Those passionate and dedicated in their efforts to send an important populist message to Americans, as well as to Wall Street, showed up determined and prepared. However, the protest has now been turned into a violent circus by those so good at doing such things, the American corporate media.
The Wall Street protest’s message was straightforward and could be boiled down to a calling-out of Wall Street as a symbol of corporations and the rich, who (with the help of politicians) protect themselves no matter what, while displaying a shocking lack of concern over the hardship faced by millions of regular people. One of the protestors on September 17th, there at the site, clearly stated, “You need a scorecard to keep track of all the things that corporations have done that are bad for this country,” notwithstanding the fact that American corporations hold 2 trillion dollars in cash, waiting for the next election while the country suffers massive unemployment, actions that are not merely unpatriotic, but treasonous.
But right on cue, even before the march had begun the city had closed down many sections of Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall. This undertaking wasn’t going to be made easy by the powers-that-be.
Initially our corporate media placed small news stories about the peaceful protest here and there, miniscule in breadth of coverage and misleading when they did occur. The media worked slowly but surely to portray people trying to make a difference as wild-eyed incoherents who were aimless and unorganized. As of this week, what was found reported in the media was, overall, negative, dismissive and superficial, and then – BINGO – came the arrests.
With those arrests came a sigh of relief from media offices around the nation, as the media had finally found its “hook”. They would now be committed to turning the public against the Wall Street protest, rather than ignoring it or simply talking the whole project down. Believe you me, they will not be letting go of this tantalizing overall theme any time soon, and it will work.
To understand media math, one only has to sum up that it takes 2,000 “Occupy Wall Street” participants to equal a tiny fraction of discontented Tea Party members at a townhall event. In fact, the bias of the reporting of the Wall St. protests, when compared to the Tea Party advertising campaign underwritten by the majority of the corporate media owners, should give anyone an additional clue that the media has, for years now, not been our friends, nor will they ever be. More important to note, what is reported is seldom by accident, but by design.
The Tea Party phenomenon, in stark contrast to the Wall Street protest, was brazenly built-up and slickly marketed by the corporate media itself. It’s debut starred Wall Street media figure Rick Santelli, who initiated a rant on the corporate media channel he worked for, CNBC. The rant he became famous for encouraged a protest centered around the fact that the Obama Administration had dared propose measures offering a lifeline to help ordinary citizens on Main Street, who were losing their homes due to the mortgage financial meltdown. Although some mistook the Tea Party rant as a call to protest the bank bailouts (which occurred in 2008), that was never its intent, and Santelli made that clear at time. Continue reading What The Media is Doing to the Wall St. Protest is What They are Paid to Do!