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October 03, 2011

Occupy Wall Street? No! Occupy St. Paul Street!

IMG_2994 A group of nearly 150 people rallied in downtown Burlington Sunday in solidarity with the thousands of protesters who have been occupying Wall Street in New York City.

Chanting "we are the 99 percent," the crowd called for economic, labor and environmental justice. Like the rally in New York City, the Burlington gathering became a catch-all for venting frustration with government bailouts of banks and corporations while unemployment, and underemployment, hovers at 16 percent nationally.

"It is time for those of us in the 99 percent to organize and fight back," said Jonathan Leavitt, an event organizer.

The "99 percent" references everyone, economically, who is not among the country's wealthiest 1 percent. Various reports show that the concentration of wealth at the top 1 percent exceeds that of the bottom 95 percent combined.

Budget cuts as a result of the flagging economy is "something that touches all of us in the 99 percent," added Leavitt. "Conservatives on the city council here in Burlington — who are the majority on the council — are looking to make cuts at fire, police, library and the arts and our mayor, who is wholly incompetent, only serves to help them."

Protesters overtook the corner of St. Paul and College streets, blocking part of the intersection at times. Speakers used the steps of the Citizens Bank — under the bank clock — as their makeshift stage.

Citizens Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland, which received billions in bailout money from the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

As has been the case in the New York City protests, the "demands" of the protesters vary, as do their solutions. Avowed socialists and libertarians were part of Sunday's rally in Burlington, with a general theme of taking back control of the nation's finances from the one percent.

Most of the anger — whether from college students or even an undocumented farm worker who attended — was directed at global financial institutions, as marked by the signs, "Goldman Sucks" and "End Wall St. Dictatorship."

Leavitt said the event was part of a "broad-based movement for justice" and told the crowd that later this month the Vermont Worker's Center was overseeing a statewide canvassing effort to better gauge Vermonters' sentiment about state and national economic policies.

IMG_3006Organizers said protests will occur every Sunday in Burlington as long as the Wall Street protests continue. Several people at the Burlington rally had traveled to New York City and others, including local organizer Matthew Cropp, were planning to go there. The next Burlington rally will be held at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9.

"We've gone from 15 people last week to this," said Cropp, as he gestured to the crowd. "Just think what we can do next week. We will be here, strong and standing together in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street."

Like the New York protests, the list of complaints ran the gamut from anger at Wall Street for taking billions in taxpayer bailout money while foreclosing on homes and refusing to loan money to small businesses to issues more close to home — like potential city and state budget cuts and energy issues.

As at any protest in Vermont, opponents of Vermont Yankee asked the crowd to lend support to activists trying to close the nuclear power plant in 2012.

Another protester asked the crowd to learn more about the impact of industrial-scale wind developments on the state's ridge lines, such as the project currently being built by Green Mountain Power on Lowell Mountain in the Northeast Kingdom.

IMG_3013 About halfway through the event, Burlington police showed up to monitor the rally and move traffic through the busy intersection. People in the crowd began to murmur, wondering how the Queen City's finest would react to the crowd that was partially blocking traffic. Many whipped out cell phones and video cameras and began recording as two officers monitored the scene.

Police officers guided traffic around the crowd and in a couple of instances politely asked some of the protesters to take a step forward to make room for cars. The protesters obliged. There were no arrests and no confrontations and several demonstrators thanked the officers and the crowd for showing mutual respect.

"I just want to thank our brothers and sisters in uniform," said Rob Skiff, of South Burlington, a clean-cut guy in a shirt and tie — not the normal Burlington protest garb. "If the banksters have their way, your pension, your security, your children's future will be at risk. We stand with you and we are here to say that we will help our brothers and sisters in uniform from the banksters and the corporations."

A new peak in pointless protests in Burlington. "Broad-based movement for justice" is code for "we just like to stand on the street and yell, with no clear central theme and nothing resembling a proposed solution."

If you want to support the equally aimless "occupy Wall Street" protests, go to Wall Street, where you have an outside chance of actually being noticed, or maybe even heard. This is just embarrassing to Vermont.

Sigh...people complain that we are dependent on foreign oil and demand alternatives like wind and solar. Now that we're moving toward both as a solution to our energy woes, they're protesting wind power?? Make up your F^@#ing minds, people. Although frankly, I think we could run all of Vermont on the hot air produced by our politicians, protesters and the out-of-state interests who seem to control everything here (Law Conservation groups, anyone?). Disgusting and shameful.

Oh G_d, here we go again.. Burlington.. the only city on earth where protesting is viewed as a legitimate profession. I mean it does kind of make you feel bad for all of these UVM freedom fighters who's trust funds have taken such a nasty hit in this recession.

Thanks for covering this. This IS a "BROAD-based movement for justice" it isn't just happening on Wall Street and St. Paul Street, it is happening across the country and the World. The protests normally starts with just a few people and the crowds seem to grow very fast. I put together some of the videos from a few of these protests across the country-

TARP was great for me- my local bank (Chittenden) which was in no trouble at all and was helpful and responsive to my needs as a farmer was bought out with TARP money by a formerly bankrupt giant bank. Said bank raised fees, layed off staff and is generally miserable to deal with. Glad our tax dollars supported that.

Thank you for the coverage! However, the gentleman who spoke so eloquently about our peers in uniform was not at all exceptional for being neatly attired. I for one, looked very much like the Mom that I am. I even wore my new LLBean raincoat! You must have missed me right up front? ; )

Doesn't Rob Skiff come from the 1%? Or, at least the top 10%? Seems a little hypocritical to me.

I'm going to ask this in the simplest way I can think of, and any supporter of this protest can answer (including you Shay, unless you're not a supporter).

What, SPECIFICALLY, are these protesters asking to have happen? Or is this just about venting? Anyone who was there, or who supports them, should be able to answer.

I agree with Mr. Leavitt that Mayor Kiss is incompetent. I cannot totally agree with him on the majority of the city council being conservative. It only appears the majority of the council is conservative as they struggle to right the wrongs of Kiss, and it makes the liberal side of the council look conservative.
Bottom line is that Bob Kiss is on the bottom of the list of great Vt. Mayors since, about 5 years ago.
Thanks IRV supporters, thanks 3 yr. Mayoral term supporters, you really helped here.

Jimmy, I'll try to answer this for you.

Above all, we're looking for economic equality. Representation in our local, state, and the federal level should be influenced by ordinary citizens, and not by corporations and money.

There is a fair amount of venting, but we're still early in the process, change doesn't happen in a week. At this point we are trying to raise awareness and to help people understand why they should be joining the cause and fighting for a voice in government.

Whether you're a Republican, Democrat, Conservative, Liberal, blue collar, white collar, retired, or a student, chances are, you've been impacted by an economic system and government that is rigged to favor the wealthy. You must have friends that have been laid off, know somebody that has gotten sick and is burdened with medical bills, know somebody that's lost their home, or a large percentage of their 401k and retirement.

When I look around, I see a lot of people who are less-well-off than they were 5, or 10 years ago and are struggling to make ends meet. You can't expect 99% of Americans to immediately come up with a list of SPECIFIC demands. At this point we're working to help everyone understand that most of us are in the same boat, and we need to work together to move forward. Once we're organized, we can begin to work towards fair taxation, closing corporate loopholes, getting corporate money out of elections, providing better funding for education, and other SPECIFIC goals.

Here's some more concrete demands, in addition to what Peter already described:

Criminal investigation into those responsible for the financial meltdown. As Matt Taibbi puts in in Rolling Stone: "Not a single executive who ran the companies that cooked up and cashed in on the phony financial boom — an industrywide scam that involved the mass sale of mismarked, fraudulent mortgage-backed securities — has ever been convicted."

A 50 cents surchage on financial transactions. The cost to regular investors is trivial but it will discourage the hyper-speculation that got us into this mess in the first place. Plus, it could raise billions to help alleviate the deficits.

Reduce the influence of money in politics. Overturn the recent Supreme Court decision that grants free speech rights to corporations. Transparent, publicly-accessible reporting of who's paying for political candidates' campaigns. Or even better, publicly-financed elections.

There's a lot more, but in essence the goal is to make the economic and political system work for the people, not corporations.

Thanks Peter and IWW. Were any of the specific "demands" you list articulated during the protest? I watched this protest for about 15 minutes on Sunday, and it was remarkably unfocused, even as these things go. I ask the question because I couldn't even begin to pick anything resembling the completion of a coherent "we want..." statement out of the rambling.

"You can't expect 99% of Americans to immediately come up with a list of SPECIFIC demands."

I don't. I expect people to come up with that list before they take to the streets screaming, though.

"Once we're organized, we can begin to work towards..."

OK, but you realize that people have been saying this for decades, right? Yet somehow protests never congeal into think tanks offering concrete solutions. History has proven that recruiting bodies before brains in these matters means that the real brains will stay at home, watching the protests in disgust, lamenting the lost opportunity.

Hey Peter, how about: If the Bank is too fucking big to fail it is too fucking big to exist?
The reason TARP happened is that when faced with imminent collapse, these bastards just called in their pet senators and congressmen and told them the gravy train was over unless they opened the public treasury.

I'm not one of the typical bleeding heart types that frequently protest to end wars, feed the poor, and build a utopia for all. I'm a realist, a small web business owner, and I'm doing OK at the moment (knock on wood). I

I realize that people have been protesting and attempting to organize for decades, but this looks like something different. What I saw on Sunday was a mix of a variety of groups, Veterans, Food Not Bombs, Farm Workers, Middle Class Families, Students, and more, listening to each other and making their own points. All the groups seemed impressed by the growing numbers of supporters in the street, and that all these groups were coalescing around a movement. Chaos gradually organizes, and I'm confident that we're going to see this message sharpen in the coming weeks and months.

I've heard two main types of objections to these protests...
a.) They're too vague with no real demands, b.) They're just a bunch of angry unemployed liberals.

Join us next Sunday, bring your friends, say your piece, make your demands. We're all in this together, and we're getting a lot more accomplished in the streets than you're doing by being apathetic at your computer.

As a supporter of this movement and a human service worker, this protest hits home for me. This is not an ambiguous protest. This is a protest to let the world know enough is enough. We, the 99%, are struggling to survive. As a college graduate, I watch my co-workers and I struggle on a daily basis. We struggle to pay our bills, to buy food, and to pay back our college loans. I have co-workers, who also have their Bachelor's degree, who qualify for government assistance and low-income housing. I myself would not be able to actually have a family or buy a house living off of the money I make. Yet the service we provide the community is invaluable. We provide services for people who are not able to take care of living in poverty, people with mental illness, people with developmental disabilities.... For me, this movement is about raising awareness to issues like this, and hopefully bringing about change around this. Thank you.

"we're getting a lot more accomplished in the streets than you're doing by being apathetic at your computer."

Well now you're just being silly. I mean, you answered the question "what do you want" with a list of things you're angry about, now you're claiming that you're accomplishing things even after failing to articulate what you want to accomplish.

IWW was the only one who even attempted to answer the question, and I'm pretty sure those were solely personal answers that, if they were voiced at all on Sunday, were drowned out by the vague but noisy exclamations of dissatisfaction.

Even if your "movement" clearly and consistently articulated your demand(s), standing in front of a closed bank screaming them would be unlikely to get you any traction. As it stands, it's just 150 people yelling about what makes them mad. If you have a picture, recording or any other evidence proving me wrong, feel free to share. I won't hold my breath.

Right now we're raising awareness of this movement, with the goal of increasing the number of attendees next week. I saw coverage on every major area news outlet about the protest, I must have missed the news pieces about arm chair Jimmy.

I'll be spending my week taking your advice and working to get this group organized and focused. Hope to see you Sunday, looking forward to your comments next Monday.

@ Jimmy: Getting more people aware of the massive income gap facing this country is an accomplishment though. I first learned of the 'champagne glass' effect eight years ago, so this really isn't anything new. Study after study proves that the rich keep getting richer, while the rest of us have to work harder for less or equal pay. More people are now starting to understand how bull shit that system really is. I think that's a big part of what these protests are about. That really doesn't concern you, Jimmy? I personally want the Bush Era Tax cuts to expire. An end to those wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would be nice too..

"I saw coverage on every major area news outlet about the protest"

Any time you get 150 people together to yell in tiny Vermont, they're going to cover it. Even if you're just yelling complete nonsense syllables, they'll cover it. In and of itself, being on the news is not something to be proud of. Getting lots of people together to no discernible end is not an accomplishment.

When you do something of note - or even figure out what it is that you WANT to do - then I'll be looking forward to YOUR comments. Until then, you're just convening an increasingly large support group, and while that may be exciting for you, it is appropriately uninteresting to - just a rough guess - about 99% of the population.

I was at the rally, and the speakers came from all political persuasions. There was no "drowning out" of anybody's voice. On the contrary, the "people's mic" respectfully amplified the voice of whoever was speaking, regardless of their political background.

Fed up with the government, wanting to have their voices heard, demanding an end to the corporate bailouts, having an economic and political system that works for the average folks and not just the fat cats.

I don't think these are solely my opinion, but rather they are sentiments that are shared by other participants at the rally. These are sentiments shared by my friends, family, and neighbors. Hell, this is what the tea partiers claim to want too.

Would you be more receptive to these ideas if we were angry, civil war reenactors-wannabe, middle-aged white guys saying the same things?

"Would you be more receptive to these ideas if we were angry, civil war reenactors-wannabe, middle-aged white guys saying the same things?"

Being "fed up" with something is not an idea.

Seriously? That's the best you can do?

This Occupy Wall Street movement appears to me to be the left's belated answer to the right's Tea Party -- a grassroots, loosely defined group of protestors with little in the way of concrete ideas and proposals, but lots of anger and frustration to vent. I do not mean this in a bad or good way. It just is.

Now it just remains to be seen if the Occupiers have as large an impact on the Democrats as the Tea Party has had on the GOP...

Well said Trenchcoat. I would offer that those gathering en masse in the Queen City perhaps "think global, act local". While they are out jousting at NYC banksters (nice quotes Skiff) their pockets are being picked by Burlington Telcom, the City's retirement plan and now the Airport parking lot.

This all happened right in front of them. Their taxes are going one way. Think it is tough now...? They should be spending some time investigating their own backyard. Would pay greater dividends than a happenstance juggaloseque gathering.

"Seriously? That's the best you can do?"

You referred to the fact that you're fed up with certain things as an "idea" to which I could or could not be receptive. It's not, it's a feeling on your part. I don't know what else to tell you.

"Fed up with the government, wanting to have their voices heard, demanding an end to the corporate bailouts, having an economic and political system that works for the average folks and not just the fat cats."

You know who you sound exactly like? Sarah Palin and her retarded followers, that's who. And you know WHY you sound exactly like them? Because you ARE exactly like them -- angry and unfocused.

The one thing that comes through from all the commenters is that people are angry. You see it in Burlington Free Press and Rutland Herald comments too. Vermonters are expressing hostility and anger at each other at a high pitch. Pick your issue, everyone has something they can point to that is seriously wrong, and these protests are a place where people can do something. This marriage of corporations with our governments is no longer tolerable for many people. This protest is widespread, spans liberals and conservatives, we are humans fighting for our lives. Watch it grow until you realize you are part of it.

"I was at the rally, and the speakers came from all political persuasions. There was no "drowning out" of anybody's voice. On the contrary, the "people's mic" respectfully amplified the voice of whoever was speaking, regardless of their political background."

Maybe we need to emphasize the format of these meetings? I would love to hear from everyone, ideally in the park where we're not blocking traffic.

While was staying at the Intercontinental in Boston this weekend, right next to the Federal Reserve bank I couldn't sleep because of the noise, so I went downstairs to see what was going on. While many of the Occupy Boston protestors were a bit grungy, there was a reasonable cross section of the other 99% as well. I was very impressed at the democratic manner in which the General Assembly was conducted. We don't see that very much these days, even on the first Tuesday in March. I think that's what is really wrong with this country. Too many people are fat and apathetic. We need more involvement and participation to restore democracy. If the protestors in Burlington were similar to the ones in Boston, we should be proud of them. Finally an antithesis to the ridiculous babble of the Tea Baggers. End the Plutocracy!

I for one support total equality in financial respects.

Institute a flat tax for everyone, no deductions, no loop holes, no nothing. Everyone pays X% of their gross income...period. Welfare, unemployment, tips, wages, etc...

That is equality !!

People need jobs. I was not at the "protest" (or "Occupation", or "March", or however all this is being categorized). BUT here is what I want:

I want to see evidence of those who HAVE offering others the chance to GET. "Success" at these protests would look something like this: People in suits or hardhats walking among the crowd looking to employ people, and willing to pay them a living wage. I don't mind if people are rich. It's the hoarding that bothers me.

Mark that would be great. Problem, most of the people in the crowd don't want a job. They just want someone to make it easy for them.

Case in point : An article the other day criticized Jay Peak because 20-30 hispanics from out of state were working on the massive expansion. When asked why, the answer was simple, they needed to because they could find workers to hang drywall (which is far from a skilled task). Around the sametime new unemployment numbers suggest there are plenty of people who COULD work, if they wanted to that is.

But hey Uncle Sam is generous, so why work? Afterall Deer season is coming up.

in my opinion, it's long-past time for the have-not's to let the have's know that we won't allow ourselves to be treated like second-class citizens any longer. my wife and i work - i'm a teacher and she's a nurse - and work hard, to provide our family with essentials they need to survive in today's world. but it's becoming more and more difficult to do so, while the 1% continue to sit in the lap of luxury without a care in the world. i look forward to next week's protest and plan to join in. this is not merely an outlet for the unemployed, sick and disabled. it's time to stand up for the america we believe in before it no longer exists.

"You know who you sound exactly like? Sarah Palin and her retarded followers, that's who. And you know WHY you sound exactly like them? Because you ARE exactly like them -- angry and unfocused."

Uh, Sarah, that's exactly my point. The concerns that these protesters have are shared by many, many people and transcend the usual left/right divide.

"You referred to the fact that you're fed up with certain things as an "idea" to which I could or could not be receptive. It's not, it's a feeling on your part. I don't know what else to tell you."

OK, I should have said "shared sentiments of being fed up with the government" or, better yet "the idea that government doesn't work for the people anymore".

You're not really addressing the merits of my arguments, but rather nitpicking the semantics. If that's the best you can do, then I guess further discussion with you would just be a waste of time. Thanks for trying, though.

"The merits of (your) arguments"?!? Good Lord, do you really think you're making arguments here?

"OK, I should have said 'shared sentiments of being fed up with the government'"

So essentially, your third attempt at asking a question is "do you agree that 'government bad'"? It is in some ways and it isn't in some ways, but that's irrelevant to the topic at hand. The point is that even if the government is REALLY SUPER BAD, standing on the street and yelling - whether it's 150 people, 300, 500 or 1000 - is utterly pointless for a few fairly obvious reasons.

1. The Federal government does not give one shit about a small crowd of people in Burlington, VT.

2. Even if they might care (they don't, and never will, but let's suspend disbelief for a moment), that small crowd - and it will always be small by real-world standards, even if you can get it up to 5000 - has no consistently articulated SPECIFIC problem that they're bitching about.

3. Even if, by some miracle, the ever-increasing crowd decides on a specific problem to focus on, there still isn't a proposed solution, and some of the more strident commenters here are basically saying they shouldn't have to come up with one.

4. If by some completely impossible miracle your group is able to articulate a specific issue and a specific proposed solution - see #1.

It's just a big yell-y support group. You saw people in NYC on TV and thought, "yeah, what that guy said," and did your own tiny little version of it. Hey, it makes you feel good to go out and commiserate with people, that's great. Just stop pretending that you're actually accomplishing something in the real world.

One exception to all of this, of course - the high-level executive confab that is taking place at Goldman right now to address the concerns of the genius with the "Goldman Sucks" sign. That guy really struck a nerve.

I'd take Jimmy's point one step further: instead of hanging out on the street like a bunch of clueless Sarah Palin-ites, go out an vote yourself an entirely new Congress. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that fully half (probably more) of the people "protesting" on Wall Street in NYC and St. Paul/College Streets in Burlington NEVER VOTE.

They've got time to protest and roll doobies, but not vote.

Ah, there you go. Was that so hard? Sure, the Fed may not care about a couple hundred folks in Burlington, but it's not just Burlington! This thing is spreading like wild fire. King George III probably didn't give two shits initially, either, when the Sons of Liberty were holding public demonstrations and throwing tea into the Boston harbor.

Let me back up here a moment and address your (and others') main complaint. I do have specific proposals, including some I touched on above. And though our anger at the power elite is shared by many people, every individual at the rally has their own personal reason to join that may differ from my own.

However, your complaints of the protest as being "unspecific" missed the point of what people here have been trying to explain to you. Being specific with our demands right now is counter-productive.

Look at the 2003 demonstration against W's invasion of Iraq. Hundreds of cities worldwide, 20 to 30 million people globally, half a million in NYC alone, the biggest demonstration in human history. One very specific demand: no war on Iraq. A month later the bombings started. So much for specific demands, eh?

When you make demands from those in power, you legitimize their power. Saying F-U to the existing power structures and using the anger to "build a new world in the shell of the old is much more productive". The #occupywallst people are doing exactly this through their General Assemblies, utilizing social media as high-tech organizing tool as well as introducing low-tech street technology such as the "people's mic" to show the world what real democracy looks like.

As Richard Wolff puts it: Yes, they could be better organised, their demands more focused, their priorities clearer. All true, but in this moment, mostly irrelevant. Here is the key: if we want a mass and deep-rooted social movement to re-emerge and transform the United States, we must welcome the many different streams, needs, desires, goals, energies and enthusiasms that inspire and sustain social movements. Now is the time to invite, welcome and gather them, in all their profusion and confusion.

It is foolish and self-defeating to compromise achieving inclusive growth – now within our reach – for the sake of program and organisation. The history of the US left is littered with such programs and organisations without a mass movement behind them or at their core. Whatever populist energies the Tea Parties may once have possessed have now been co-opted by the corporatists and channeled into same ol' electoral politics bullshit.

TL;DR: The very thing you are complaining about, of the movement having no specific demands, is exactly our strength right now.

"I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that fully half (probably more) of the people "protesting" on Wall Street in NYC and St. Paul/College Streets in Burlington NEVER VOTE.
They've got time to protest and roll doobies, but not vote."

No prejudice there, huh? How do you know, did you talk to them? I know many people who showed up there, and most of them DO vote. Some have even run in local elections. How do I know? Because I have in the past argued with those folks about voting.

When the political system is so screwed up that the will of the majority don't even count (see 2000 election), and our "choice" is the party owned by corporations versus another party owned by corporations, forgive me if I think your answer of "simply go vote" sounds rather shallow.

"King George III probably didn't give two shits initially, either, when the Sons of Liberty were holding public demonstrations and throwing tea into the Boston harbor."

Oh my God, please tell me that you're the only one drawing this utterly asinine analogy. You're not trying to take over a country that is governed by a king that rules from several weeks' boat ride over the ocean, you're dealing with a country that can have several forms of armed authority in your face in hours, if not minutes. And I hate to bum you out, but the original tea partiers knew exactly what they wanted right from the get-go.

"So much for specific demands, eh?"

Congratulations, you have managed the most illogical point on this thread. I never said that protests with specific demands always work. Most protests accomplish nothing. But using the failure of protests with specific demands to bolster your theory that it's better NOT to have specific demands is just... well, even you must understand how stupid that is.

"a mass and deep-rooted social movement to re-emerge and transform the United States"

Dude you are cracking me up. "We're not going to take it any more! We're going to transform the United States!" There is literally nothing you can do to "transform the United States." You've written hundreds of words here that amount to empty sloganeering without giving any thought whatsoever to how any of this could manifest as any type of change AT ALL, let alone the "transformation of the country."

So let's abandon the question of what this "movement"'s demands are, since there seems to be a poorly-thought-out but consistent answer of "we don't know yet." Let's ask this instead: describe a scenario in which your little protests, in the aggregate, are able to effect any significant change in this country whatsoever. And please, stop and think about it for a minute: I'd like a description of EXACTLY what would happen.

Statistics show consistently that practically no one under the age of 30 bothers to vote. They just can't be bothered.

Protests, yes.

"420" rallies, yes.

"Naked Runs," yes.

Livable wage rallies on campus, yes

Concerts, yes.

Voting booth, no.

They don't vote even after going to concerts where they are urged to go out and vote!

Now, what is the average age of the current protesters?

I'm going to side with Jimmy here. After reading back through the comments there is pretty much no specific demand that is realistic.

We have IWW overturn the SCOTUS ruling, but how do you do that? It's a ruling on the Consititution. It isn't just overturned. It has to be amended. And then you are jeopardizing all free speech.

It is also interesting that IWW brings up King George and then wants to tack on a 50cent "surcharge" essentially creating an unfair taxation. Even if it were to go through it would put the final nail in the economic coffin. Why spend money to buy stock and take the risk of it falling if you are decreasing the reward half. Skew the risk reward ratio and watch the Dow tank.

As for a criminal investigation... really? We just watched a year long criminal investigation into Kiss et al stealing BTV's money. Heck in that instance, they had them admitting to breaking the law. We saw how that went with all the proof in the world.

The problem with protestors is this. They have an issue they want fixed, it usually either has no solution or at least no realistic one.

Has there ever been a protest that actually worked? Like signs and marching?

End the Bush tax cuts. End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. How's that for specific? Pretty realistic, too. These may not be the views of everyone at these rallies, but at least we're out there discussing important issues. It's too easy to for you sarahinburlington (or anyone else) to dismiss the people at these rallies as being "a bunch of clueless Sarah Palin-ites" without jobs. I have a full time job. I own my own home. I pay taxes. I vote. I was at the rally. I wasn't alone. Show up this Sunday and actually talk to some people. It's not what you think. Now excuse me while I crunch my dreads and roll a few more doobies..

"End the Bush tax cuts. End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

What question is that an answer to? Are you saying that these are the central focii of the tiny, part-time BTV version of the "movement?"

"at least we're out there discussing important issues."

Awesome, a Sunday afternoon coffee klatch. In public. With yelling.

Ending the Bush tax cuts doesn't do squat. They are a drop in the bucket. Limit entitlement benefits and make everyone pay the exact same % of their income regardless of where it comes from. Tie that rate to expenditure and let the people know exactly how much Leahy's Pork costs them.

You could end the war in Iraq, but... See how the world freaked just over Momamars little revolution. Watch what happens when troops leave and the middle east destabilizes further.

Jcarter, I'm not a Wall Street occupier, but you're wrong about the Bush tax cuts being a drop in the bucket. Please note how large the dark-orange swath is on this graph:

sarahinburlington: Not sure what your "statistics" are. While it's true that more old people vote than young people, the number of young people who vote is not "practically nothing." I'm also willing to bet that the people in this protest are more likely to vote than your average young person. This is not a representative sample. The fact that they're here, and that they know what Goldman Sachs is, demonstrates that they're more engaged than the average person. You might think that their views are ignorant, naive, or plain wrong, but I don't think you can say that they don't vote.

I'm not terribly concerned that the protestors don't articulate specific policy goals. No one ever seems to hold the Tea Partiers to that standard. Besides, large rallies aren't exactly where to go to hear nuanced positions and debates. (Then again, the soundbites we hear from politicians increasingly sound more like rally slogans than nuanced ideas...)

The graph of the tax cuts is a bit misleading as it is also tacking on "additional debt servicing." Basically because we aren't taking in as much we have more debt and more interest, so lets add that in and call it all part of the tax cuts.

But yes it is significant. I for one am quite happy to go to a flat tax that charges a set % for each and every american of their gross income. No tax cuts, no deductions, no loop holes. Mail your taxes in on a postcard.

there are places in the the blogosphere
where provocateurs who ask ' snakes swallowing
their own tail' type questions are routinely
ignored. So called devils advocates ...its so
easy to be a cynical critic... this conversant
reminds me of that moron who rides his bicycle
around with a F#?! the troops sign. There are
ALWAYS going to be agents provocs whether paid
or just IGNORANT of history. They are like those
who claim ahmadinijad said israel will be wiped
off the can always take something out
of context and bleet bleet bleet...trying to
distract and start a verbal battle.
Defending the status quo is like trying
to rationalize and defend pedophilia....the word
"conservative" has been misused in its application
to this FAUX patriots movement, they are shills

Poem: Occupy Wall Street
This was written on October 15, 2011 while the "Occupy Wall Street" movement was just about a month old, and still growing. Many are confused with the message. This poem may help to explain. I'll appreciate your comments and suggestions as I prepare a YouTube video.

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