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op ed - The Daily Occupation

Keeping you up-to-date with the #Occupy movement.

Posts tagged op ed

Op-Ed.: The Pending Tragedy of Cuts to the Medicaid Program

On the front page of the 25 April Decatur Daily was an article entitled ‘Providers: Medicaid could face more cuts’ (1). This is not really news to most of us, but the potential impact of this action is monstrous. I will have to mostly limit the scope of this paper to the impact of these cuts to the state’s mentally ill that receive Medicaid assistance.

In the article, it states that the House has appropriated ‘$400 million (M) to Medicaid in the 2013 budget, which is about $175 M less than the current year’ (1). Later, Senator Orr of Decatur states that ‘there is without question the need for more state dollars that what was appropriated in the House’ (1), and posits that the Senate appropriation will be between $500 M and $600 M.

In any case, that will still lead to cuts. One of the potential cost saving measures being considered is an ‘across the board pharmacy prescription limit of 1 brand name and 3 generic medications (a TOTAL of 4 medications) for each Medicaid participant. There (would be) no drug class exclusions and no special population exclusions. This would mean that the antipsychotic exclusion for individuals with serious mental illnesses would no longer be part of Medicaid reimbursement…(and that) many (consumers) will be forced to choose (for example) between filling prescriptions for their diabetes medications versus filling prescriptions for their antipsychotics’ (2). I cannot overstate how tragic it would be for this to happen, for those of us who struggle to maintain some stability to have it be endangered by a cut in funding.

Continue reading Op-Ed.: The Pending Tragedy of Cuts to the Medicaid Program

[Op-Ed] The Corporate State Will Be Broken

Chris Hedges has a well-crafted, pitch perfect, and damn passionate op-ed over at Truthout that is quite worth the read. Some excerpts:

I spent Friday morning sitting on a wooden bench in a fourth-floor courtroom in the New York Criminal Court in Manhattan. I was waiting to be sentenced for “disturbing the peace” and “refusing to obey a lawful order” during an Occupy demonstration in front of Goldman Sachs in November.

[...] The country’s most egregious criminals, the ones who had stripped some of those being sentenced of their homes, their right to a decent education and health care, their jobs, their dignity and their hope, those wallowing in tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, those who had gamed the system to enrich themselves at our expense, were doing the dirty business of speculation in the tall office towers a few blocks away. They were making money. A few of these wealthy plutocrats were with the president, who was in New York that day to attend four fundraisers that took in an estimated $3 million. For $15,000 you could have joined Barack Obama at Daniel, an exclusive Upper East Side restaurant. For $35,000 you could have been at a gathering hosted by movie director Spike Lee. Most of those sentenced in that courtroom do not make that much in a year. It was a good day in New York for Barack Obama. It was a bad day for us.

Hedges goes on to address the frustration of voters towards the available candidates, voting third party, and why and how OWS will ultimately succeed. The piece is incredibly well written and, in our humble opinions, deserves a look, as it touches on many subjects and themes central to the Occupy movement.

[Op-Ed] GOP Candidates’ “Weird Obsession” With Taxing the Poor

Here’s a fresh quote from the latest non-Romney front-runner in the GOP presidential race. “This dividing of America [between] 99-1,” Rick Santorum said this morning in New Hampshire, “It’s anybody that makes money and pays taxes and everybody who doesn’t. That’s the 99-1.”

Normally we would start by telling you who wrote this and where it came from, but let that above quote sink in. I know it’s from Rick Santorum, who’s particularly notorious for shooting from the lip, but let it roll around in your head nonetheless.

GOP primary candidates have been howling about the so-called “47%”, the number of households they estimate do not pay income tax due to their salaries being so low that credits and deductions outweighed the amount they owed. Now, normally you can stop right there. Anyone who’s ever filed a 1040 knows that the income-to-deduction ratio has to be disturbingly low to get a pass on income taxes. Therefore, most of the households involved are poor. That’s why they’re exempt. It’s an act of mercy for those struggling to get by on meager wages. If that number has risen to 47% or higher, we already have a pandemic in America.

But the nasty label of the “47%” is still somehow persisting through the Republican primary, and Derek Thompson of the Atlantic is willing to tackle it head on.

Continue reading [Op-Ed] GOP Candidates’ “Weird Obsession” With Taxing the Poor

[Op-Ed] Michael Thomas and Wall Street’s “Big Lie”

Michael Thomas has an interesting article available at the Daily Beast on Wall Street’s role in the economy and how they’ve seemingly gotten away scott-free. A brief excerpt:

But there was one aspect of Wall Street that I found morally confusing if not distasteful: “[... O]n the one hand the New York Stock Exchange has sent its president, the estimable G. Keith Funston, out into the countryside, supported by an expensive, extensive advertising campaign, to exhort the proletariat to Own your share of America! As if buying 50 shares of IBM or GM in 1961 is as much of a civic duty as buying a $100 war bond in 1943.”

I then added, “But here’s the thing. At the same time as Funston’s out there doing his thing, if you ask any veteran Wall Street pro how the Street works, the first thing he’ll tell you is: The public is always wrong. Always.” I paused to let that sink in, then confessed, “I have to tell you, I have trouble squaring that circle.”

And that was back when Wall Street was basically honest, brought into line thanks in part to Ferdinand Pecora’s 1933 humiliation of the great bankers of the Jazz Age and even more so because of the communitarian exigencies forced on the nation by war. From Pearl Harbor to V-J Day, greed was definitely not good, and that proscriptive spirit lingered on right up to 1970, when everything started to change, and the traders began their long march through our great houses of finance, with the inevitable consequence that the Street’s moral bookkeeping grew more and more contorted, its corruptions more elaborate, its self-interest less and less governable. What someone has called the “Greed Wars” began.”

The full article is available here and is definitely a recommended read.

[Op-Ed] Occupy The Ports: An Open Letter from America’s Port Truck Drivers

The media narrative holds that dockworkers opposed the Occupy The Ports action. However, the action was intended to show support and solidarity with West Coast port truck drivers, whose attempts at unionization and securing safe working conditions have been continually stymied. Here’s a statement from representatives of the port truck drivers:

We are the front-line workers who haul container rigs full of imported and exported goods to and from the docks and warehouses every day.

We have been elected by committees of our co-workers at the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, New York and New Jersey to tell our collective story. We have accepted the honor to speak up for our brothers and sisters about our working conditions despite the risk of retaliation we face. One of us is a mother, the rest of us fathers. Between the five of us we have 11 children and one more baby on the way. We have a combined 46 years of experience driving cargo from our shores for America’s stores.

We are inspired that a non-violent democratic movement that insists on basic economic fairness is capturing the hearts and minds of so many working people. Thank you “99 Percenters” for hearing our call for justice. We are humbled and overwhelmed by recent attention. Normally we are invisible.

Today’s demonstrations will impact us. While we cannot officially speak for every worker who shares our occupation, we can use this opportunity to reveal what it’s like to walk a day in our shoes for the 110,000 of us in America whose job it is to be a port truck driver. It may be tempting for media to ask questions about whether we support a shutdown, but there are no easy answers. Instead, we ask you, are you willing to listen and learn why a one-word response is impossible?”

Read more at cleanandsafeports.org

(This is another instance where I wish I could quote the whole piece. Stirring and compelling. —ed.)

[Op-Ed] The View From the 1%: A Priest’s Look at OWS

Another op-ed from an OWS supporter, and this one comes with a little extra moral authority on it. Father Tom Ehrich takes a look at Black Friday fallout and the economical and society implications thereof:

Now that the financial industry and major corporations have successfully lobbied Congress to make more people poor and to keep them that way, they are discovering the downside of unbridled greed: people are too broke to buy their products.

Heavy discounts were necessary to stimulate sales on Black Friday — a stimulus that lost steam as the big shopping weekend proceeded. Now further discounts will be required. That bodes ill for retailers, as well as for their suppliers.

It’s one thing to own Congress, but it’s something else when consumers refuse to buy. They’re staying home, maybe shopping online; they’re not investing, not saving, not selling their houses, not feeling confident about their own jobs.

[...] What did they think would happen? If no one wins except a very few, the economy stalls. With all the incremental wealth in a few pockets, who is left to buy $200,000 houses or $20,000 Chevrolets or even $200 lawn mowers?

(Emphasis editor’s.)

It’s a short, punchy, and extremely well-written piece that deserves more attention. Take a look at the whole article here.

[Op-Ed] SEIU Attempts to Claim “Occupy Wall Street” as Their Own

Kevin Zeese of Salon.Com has a particularly illuminating editorial about the democrats’ attempts to co-op the Occupy Wall Street movement:

In fact, [former Obama administration official Van] Jones, who received a golden parachute at Princeton and the Center for American Progress when he left the administration, is doing what Democrats always do: trying to co-opt the movement. Jones sees the energy of an independent movement and is racing to the front of it, in hopes of leading it down the familiar dead end path of electoral politics and essentially destroying it.

[...] As Glenn Greenwald noted in a recent Salon article, “White House-aligned groups such as the Center for American Progress have made explicitly clear that they are going to try to convert OWS into a vote-producing arm for the Obama 2012 campaign.”

Before the Occupy movement emerged, Jones said the first task of Rebuild the Dream was to elect Democrats. Now he urges the movement to make a “pivot to politics,” claiming there will be 2,000 “99 percent candidates” in 2012. These Democrats will be rebranded as part of the 99 percent movement, just as Republican operatives rebranded corporate Club for Growth spokesmen as Tea Party candidates in 2010. (Exhibit A: Sen. Pat Toomey before and after.) Even the Rebuild the Dream website has been rebranded as an Occupy movement site.

Jones’ call for the movement to “mature” and move on to party politics would only make us a sterile part of the very problem we oppose. As I learned working on Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign and running for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, the electoral system is a mirage where only corporate-approved candidates are allowed to be considered seriously.

[...] Democratic operatives want to steal the energy of the Occupy movement because they do not have any of their own. [...] Democrats need to derail and co-opt the Occupy Movement because it calls attention to their failure.”

Emphasis editor’s. Full text available here.

(It’s important not to let someone else control the People’s Mic. Both parties have failed spectacularly and are now beholden to corporate interests. —ed.)

[Op-Ed] Internet Censorship, the First Refuge of Scoundrels

The internet has become the printing press of our generation.

I realize it sounds like hyperbole, but I really do believe it. The internet has opened possibilities and changed organizational landscape within the course of a single generation. Information flows freer than ever, huge crowds can communicate and organize nationally within seconds, and it’s very difficult for any central body to shut down concentrated swarms.

But not impossible.

Continue reading [Op-Ed] Internet Censorship, the First Refuge of Scoundrels

[Op-Ed] Nick Hanauer Debunks 1% as “Job Creators” Myth

Via Bloomberg (which has had some fantastic coverage during OWS, by the way) comes a fairly thorough dismantling of the “Job Creators” talking point by Nick Hanaeur:

I’m a very rich person. As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I’ve started or helped get off the ground dozens of companies in industries including manufacturing, retail, medical services, the Internet and software.

[...] Even so, I’ve never been a “job creator.” I can start a business based on a great idea, and initially hire dozens or hundreds of people. But if no one can afford to buy what I have to sell, my business will soon fail and all those jobs will evaporate.

That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.”

Emphasis editor’s. The full article is here and well worth the read.

[Op-Ed] Al Jazeera’s OWS Inspired Editorials

A Modest Proposal for Occupy Wall Street
Inspired by satirist Jonathan Swift, a plan for turning the tables on Wall Street and offering ourselves as a sacrifice. (By Steve Fraser)
American Deceptionalism
Under the growing influence of the 1 per cent, American exceptionalism has become American deceptionalism. (By Paul Rosenberg)
Is it Time to Occupy the World?
If the Occupy movement hopes to achieve anything, they must organise and create a proactive strategy. (By Danny Schechter)

(Al Jazeera English has been cranking out some pretty heady stuff lately in their editorials section.The three listed above were passed along to us by an alert reader; there will probably be more as OWS rolls on. Al Jazeera has been particularly noted for staying on top of things during the Arab Spring, and their reporting has, in this editor’s humble opinion, been top-notch all year round. —ed.)

[Op-Ed] Mike Daisey on Collaborating with Corporations

Actor/commentator Mike Daisey, of “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” fame, has released one of his signature monologues on the subject of corporate corruption. Though polarizing, the recording is definitely passionate and compelling. It can be found here, courtesy of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

[Op-Ed] Naomi Wolf: “The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy”

Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks—under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop—awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.

That is, until I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted.

Read more at the Guardian

(This is an incredibly powerful piece that posits the existence of a concerted effort to kill #Occupy, exclusively because the movement is speaking truth to power. It would sound paranoid—except this time, it’s real. — ed)

Occupy Philadelphia: City Demands Eviction, Repayment from Protesters

Philadelphia wants Occupy Philly out. But no worries, they can get a new permit! So long as they agree to this condition:

One restriction of the new permit is that Occupy Philly must pay for “costs for services for the purpose of staging and conducting the demonstration,” according to a letter city officials gave protesters.

Occupy could request a waiver if it can prove it can’t pay, the letter says.

And what’s the main argument they use?

City officials said they could no longer tolerate the risks to public safety posed by the group’s tent city. Officials have complained of fights, public urination, and other unsanitary conditions at Dilworth.

“We’re not going to permit the conditions that exist at Dilworth to exist here,” Everett Gillison, Mayor Nutter’s chief of staff, told reporters Monday at Paine Plaza.

Courtesy Philly.com. For full text, head over to their site.



So, “city officials” say the camps are unclean. Has anyone gone down to the camps to confirm? Taken down the protestors’ view of things? Objectively evaluated the sanitary conditions and reported them back? We keep hearing strangely (and suspiciously) uniform accounts of Occupy camps around the country being a cesspool, yet consistently, all we have to go on are accounts from unnamed officials, most of whom already want the protests gone.

If, and that’s a huge if, the camps are so filthy, let’s get some proof out there so we can shame individual camps into cleaning up. But funny enough, the only camp I’ve been to was not only clean, it was just about the most organized thing I’ve ever seen. One protestor I spoke to mentioned how they had to put down hay to avoid the park turning into a swamp—then made sure to pick it up after the rain was over. Similar reports are coming in from camps about cleaning up after themselves. I say again—can we get some proof, rather than a milquetoast repetition of the city line? An investigation? Some eyewitness reports? Anything?

–ed.