Nel's New Day

June 22, 2017

Senate Trumpcare: ‘Mean and Meaner’

After weeks of secrecy, the Senate version of Trumpcare is out, and police dragged protesters from the hall outside from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) door. Many of them were disabled in wheelchairs and on respirators. Over 40 people were attacked and arrested, and photographs showed blood on the floor of the hall. Photographs and video here. These protesters aren’t alone: Trumpcare has only a 17 percent approval rate in the country and no majority in any of the 50 states.

 SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

GOP senators said that their bill would not be as cruel as the House bill passed last month, but it is more “mean,” to use a word from Dictator Donald Trump (DDT). Republicans said that they had to pass a repeal of “Obamacare” to keep their promise, but it leaves most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) bones while taking away the flesh. Four senators have criticized Trumpcare because it doesn’t do enough damage to most of the people in the United States.

The sole purpose of the bill was to take money out of health care for women, the poor and low income, the elderly, the sick, and any health person who becomes injured in order to give massive tax cuts to the wealthy, the health care companies, and the pharmaceutical corporations. People with incomes over $200,000 are the ones who benefit. The rich get over $600 billion while people on Medicaid lose over $800 billion. Forty percent of the tax cuts go to the top one percent: multi-billionaire Warren Buffet said that his tax bill would drop about $680,000 with the bill, a 17 percent reduction on his taxes. The top 20 percent will gain 64 percent of the cuts. No date is listed for the giveaway to the wealthy, but it’s retroactive to last December.

The pharmaceutical industry would gain $28 billion from Trumpcare to add to its massive profits, $83 billion last year alone. These companies are also among the biggest offshore tax dodgers; Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck are three of the top ten U.S. corporations avoiding U.S. taxes.

In essence, Trumpcare is only an income-distribution plan.

The bill will meet the requirement of lowering the deficit by a few billion because people will no longer have the benefits of the ACA. Like the House bill, the senate Trumpcare will take insurance from tens of millions of people, remove guarantees for pre-existing conditions, and force massive increases in premiums and deductibles.

Bill highlights:

  • No ACA mandates.
  • Elimination of taxes for wealthy and corporations.
  • Disappearance of Medicaid expansion throughout the next few years. In eight states—Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Washington—phasing out Medicaid automatically ends any expansion and cuts off currently enrolled people.
  • Limits on Medicaid spending with per capita caps or block grants for states, allocating a specific amount of money no matter what the actual costs of care are. Caps are tied to general rate of inflation, meaning a smaller percentage of the actual cost of care each year. States can also use this funding for purposes other than health care.
  • Waivers allowing states to sell insurance without the Ten Essential Benefits that include hospitalization, emergency care, mental health, lab tests, maternity and pediatric care, etc. People can pay lower premiums to get minimum health care from insurance, leaving them with much higher medical costs. Low- and middle-income Americans will spend significantly more for less coverage.
  • Elimination of tax credits by 2020.
  • Repeal of ACA’s cost-sharing subsidies by 2019. Until then subsidies are reduced to 350 percent of the poverty line from 400 percent, providing help to fewer people. People would have to spend as much as 16.2 percent of their income on premiums instead of no more than 9.5 percent.
  • Reduction of covered medical costs to 58 percent, down from the ACA 75 percent.
  • Shift to Medicaid spending growth to general inflation rate, much lower than medical costs inflation.
  • Work requirement for Medicaid recipients except elderly, pregnant women, and people with disability.
  • Elimination of Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood.
  • Limitations on insurance for abortions, making it almost impossible to purchase.

Most of the 13 senators on the committee who supposedly wrote the 142 pages of Trumpcare were not aware of its contents during the process. [These 13 white men average over 60 years of age and more than $1 million in assets.] One member, Sen. Mike Lee (UT), said on Tuesday that he had not seen the bill that is “apparently being written by a small handful of staffers for members of the Republican leadership in the Senate.” Trumpcare must get a vote by the end of next week, according to McConnell. He will allow no testimony from experts and no input from the public. The debate will be limited to ten hours.

Republican senators claim that their bill stops denial of insurance for people with pre-existing conditions. In reality, premiums will be too high for people to afford. An analysis of the bill shows that older people could see their premiums increase by more than 700 percent.

Women will suffer from Trumpcare with lack of birth control to maternity coverage. Medicaid now pays for half of all births in the United States, including two-thirds of unplanned births. Women in the U.S. have some of the worst maternal health and mortality outcomes in the industrialized world, and life expectancy for women is going down.  Trumpcare allows the nation to return to the days when only 11 states required maternity coverage on individual and small-group markets. At that time, 88 percent of individual plans failed to provide maternity coverage.

Another highly vulnerable population is disabled and elderly people living in nursing homes who depend on Medicaid. With federal spending reduced by 25 percent, states will be able to cover millions of fewer people. Medicaid also pays for opioid treatment in the current epidemic. Trumpcare allocates $2 billion in 2018 for treatment and recovery services but nothing beyond. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) have requested $45 billion over the next ten years, and experts say that $19 billion a year is needed for the addiction crisis that results in hepatitis C, HIV, and bacterial endocarditis.

Rural people will be hard hit with Trumpcare. Their hospitals are partly keep afloat by Medicaid funds because hospitals are required to care for people whether they have insurance or not. At least 79 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and another 700 are at risk. Trumpcare wants to remove $834 billion in Medicaid, and DDT takes another $610 billion cuts with his budget. The loss of hospitals means not only less health care but also fewer jobs and lowered property values.

Republicans complained about the secrecy of passing the Affordable Care Act when the ACA had over 100 hearings and involved hundreds of interested parties during more than a full year. Both the House and the senate bills for Trumpcare were more secret than the Russian hacking. Democrats always clearly stated the purpose for the law, but Trumpcare supporters can’t even come up with a logical reason for the bill. They just repeat that they want to repeal “Obamacare.”

Hopefully, senators will have to face constituents during the summer recess. Twenty GOP senators represent 14 states that accepted Medicaid expansion. Over 30 percent of people in Sens. John Kennedy’s Louisiana, John Boozman and Tom Cotton’s Arkansas, and Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul’s Kentucky are Medicaid beneficiaries. More than one-fifth of those living in eight of the other states with Republicans senators are enrolled in Medicaid.

In explaining the House Trumpcare bill, used as a pattern for the senate bill, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said:

“It will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”

Using Brooks’ statement as a guideline, he should tell Rep. Steve Scalise (R-SC) after he was received at least three surgeries from the recent shooting in Alexandria (VA) that he should have done a better job keeping his body healthy. Scalise now has at least one pre-existing condition—and probably many more—from the shooting. Fortunately, however, the people losing health care are paying for his health insurance.

The Republicans have trapped themselves. They can’t pass a repeal of the ACA if it needs 60 votes in the senate so they put it into a reconciliation process that requires only 50 votes. They can’t pass a reconciliation measure if it doesn’t have the budgetary savings as the House bill so they cut hundreds of billions of dollars that have helped people. They can’t “add some money to it,” as DDT suggested. So they end up with another bill that, added to the House bill, is “mean and meaner,” as Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said. [Right: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaking on the floor of the senate.]

The 142-page bill is available on line.

January 31, 2015

Kissinger-Defender McCain Calls Code PINK ‘Low-life Scum’

“I have never seen anything as disgraceful and outrageous and despicable as the last demonstration that just took place…” That was part of Sen. John McCain’s apology to Henry Kissinger, 90, after Code PINK protesters interrupted a Senate hearing with their demands that Kissinger be arrested for war crimes. While serving as National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State between 1969 and 1977, Kissinger “designed and implemented policies which led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, the overthrow of democratically-elected governments, and the invasion and occupation of sovereign countries,” according to a group of historians. In defense of Kissinger, the 78-year-old senator who is currently considering running for another six-year term in 2016, labeled the protesters as “low-life scum.”

Early in his term as National Security Officer, Kissinger authorized the secret bombing of Laos and Cambodia in 1969 and 1970 killed 40,000 people. He said, “[Nixon] wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. He doesn’t want to hear anything about it. It’s an order, to be done. Anything that flies or anything that moves.”  Although Kissinger claimed that he was stopping North Vietnamese troops, he merely gave the brutal Khmer Rouge an opportunity to take over Cambodia, allowing the U.S. a justification for more bombings. Kissinger illegally bombed a sovereign nation, destabilized its government, and allowed a violent, autocratic regime to seize powers.

Kissinger’s killings didn’t end with Cambodia. As Secretary of State for Richard Nixon in 1973, he facilitated a coup against legally elected Salvador Allende that brought dictator Augusto Pinochet to power and ended civilian rule. Among the 5,000 people rounded up in Chile’s National Stadium was singer/songwriter Victor Jara. Guards smashed his hands, tore off his nails, and then ordered him to play his guitar before dumping his dead body, riddled with gunshot wounds and signs of torture, into the street. After hearing about the torture and slaughter of thousands of Chileans, Kissinger said to Pinochet, “You did a great service to the West in overthrowing Allende.”

During his 17-year reign in Chile, government policies dramatically increased economic inequality—just as attempted in the United States—by restricting labor unions and privatizing social security. When Pinochet died in 2006, Chile had approximately 300 pending criminal charges against him not only for human rights violations but also tax evasion and embezzlement.

Hours after Kissinger and President Jerry Ford visited Indonesia in 1975, the country invaded East Timor with weapons provided by the United States. The result was a 25-year occupation in which 100,000 to 180,000 soldiers and civilians were killed or starved to death. Horrifying details of the invasion are here. Almost all the military equipment for the invasion came from the United States. U.S.-supplied destroyer escorts shelled East Timor, and U.S. aircraft dropped Indonesian paratroops and strafed East Timor’s largest city. Although the U.S. claimed that they suspended military service to Indonesia from 1975 to 1979, taxpayers provided $250 million of military assistance to Indonesia during those years.

Kissinger’s war crimes include his backing Pakistan’s overthrow of Bangladesh’s democratically elected government which caused half a million deaths. He also gave the green light to Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus when a right-wing junta wing replaced President Archbishop Makarios in 1974.

In The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens, writing as a prosecutor before an international court of law, describes Kissinger’s ordering or sanctioning the destruction of civilian populations, his assassination of “unfriendly” politicians, and the kidnapping and disappearance of soldiers, journalists and clerics who got in his way.

Kissinger fled France after French Judge Roger Le Loire served Kissinger to appear in court. Indictments from Spain, Argentina, Uruguay—even a civil suit in Washington D.C.—followed Kissinger. Trying him may be difficult because he doesn’t directly commission these crimes; instead he facilitates them. The B-52s flew over Cambodia to bomb villages so high that the planes’ crews couldn’t see the targets.

In a pre-Internet world, Kissinger’s crimes were easier to hide. With access to information now, people were able to find out that George W. Bush lied about Saddam Hussein’s having weapons of mass destruction were able to discover that he was wrong although 42 percent of the people still believe Iraq had WMD. Less known, however, the United States’ long history of supporting Hussein and providing him with weapons and other resources before the political strategy of deposing him in 2003.

While McCain claims that “war is wretched beyond description,” he is the biggest war hawk in Congress whether about Iraq, Syria, or Iran. Yet he kept a 2014 bill for veterans’ retirement pay restoration from getting to the Senate floor. Five years earlier he allowed a bill to die that would have funded a transition for homeless veterans to having shelter. The same year he did the same thing for a bill to provide homes for veterans who are single mothers. Another bill he helped destroy was to pair up veterans with job opportunities based on their skills.

McCain has a net worth of over $10 million and owns eight properties, putting him in the top 0.01 percent of people in the United States. He voted 19 times against increasing the minimum wage but voted to extend George W. Bush’s tax cut package. Earlier he had called it “generous tax relief to the wealthiest individuals of our country at the expense of lower and middle-income taxpayers.” McCain’s $700-million bailout for big banks benefited him with almost $2 million in campaign and leadership PAC donations between 2005 and 2010.

Instead of being disgusted by Kissinger’s behavior, McCain fawned over him, apologizing profusely for anyone who objected to Kissinger’s reign of terror for decades. Kissinger has presided over a series of failed wars and was invited to the Senate to testify about “Global Challenges and the U.S. National Security Strategy.”

McCain follows the conservative approach of sliming individuals rather than their ideas. He calls the protesters “scum” but fails to point out how their ideas are wrong. Nowhere does he try to deny or justify Kissinger’s complicity in replacing elected officials with brutal dictators while killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people. The theory, which never succeeds, is that eliminating the people will take away the ideas, avoiding the merits of an argument by attacking an individual’s or group’s character. Michael Mann calls it “The Serengeti Strategy” in which a lion kills an individual zebra, usually one perceived as a soft target, rather than going for the herd. McCain can’t kill off the herd of people who believe that Kissinger should be tried for his war crimes because he can’t stop the debate. Therefore he yells “low-life scum” at a group composed largely of young women.

McCain’s purpose was to silence the protesters. The best way to oppose this intention is to keep talking and keep talking. “The best defense is a good offense.” Mann writes that a herd can be made stronger by supporting those who are perceived as weak and vulnerable.

May 11, 2013

Take Action for Mother’s Day

As I write my blog almost daily, I wonder how I can improve the dire situation that the people of the United States suffer. I sign tons of petitions, donate to causes, write occasional letters to the newspaper, talk politics with people, attend meetings, and, in the past, marched in protests in our small town.

Over a year ago, I cheered on the fighters in Wisconsin who tried to protect their unions and mourned their losses, especially the return of Gov. Scott Walker to his post despite his illegal actions. After that, conservatives popped up everywhere like superbugs that spread throughout hospitals, sickening everyone who objects to the GOP’s goal of eradicating the middle class.

Occupy Wall Street—and many other places—gave some hope, but people can live in a park only so long. Across the country now, however, people are acting in opposition to legislation and corporations to create move toward a better world.

Students in NYC occupying Cooper Union are demanding that their education remain free. And spare me the conservative attitude that students should pay a fortune for their education. If we want a skilled workforce, we need to educate them like countries around the world including Europe and the Middle East do.  Students in Philadelphia walked out in protest of budget cuts that are cheapening their education. Chicago students and teachers are protesting against the closing of schools that define their communities.

A massive student-led movement over 400 campuses is pressuring university administrations to divest their school endowments from the fossil fuel industry, with growing success at the Rhode Island School of Design. In Madison (WI) students occupied their chancellor’s office demanding the school cut their contract with a food vendor known for willfully abusing its employees.

Fast food workers have been on strike in St. Louis, demanding their employers treat them like human beings and pay them a living wage.

This weekend, activists in Baltimore are celebrating the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign by marching the 150 miles to Washington to protest the cruel, intertwined systems of mass incarceration, police brutality, and private prisons.

On May 25, people in over 30 countries will participate in the March against Monsanto, showing their opposition to the corporation that has poisoned food supplies, bribed politicians to keep quiet about their crimes, and caused an epidemic of poverty and suicide among thousands of farmers around the world.

In North Carolina, doctors, preachers, lawyers, raging grannies, students, and others are willing to be arrested as they protest the GOP control of the entire state government that has attacked voters’ rights, health care policies, welfare management, and public education. Their weekly gatherings at the state legislature for “Moral Mondays” has resulted in 50 arrests, but they’re not stopping.

Dr. Charles Dr. van der Horst, 61, was arrested during his protest against the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid with federal funding, limiting health care access for almost one-half million people. He also opposes legislation which requires photo ID to vote and decreases the number of days in voting.  Van der Horst also fights legislation from people who claim to be “pro-life” who then cut early childhood education programs and access to Medicare.

Rev. William Barber, head of the state chapter of the NAACP, said that this fight will move to the courts and raise money for candidates and awareness about the legislators’ actions. He said they had already talked to legislators and the governor who ignored them. Barber was also part of the protests in Wake County (NC), arrested for refusing to leave school property, when he acted with dissenters against the GOP-controlled return to school segregation.

North Carolina’s latest outrageous bill is to mandate fiction to be taught to seventh graders as fact. The past week, the state Senate Health Committee passed a bill requiring all these students be taught that abortion is one of significant risk factors causing a woman to have pre-mature deliveries later in life. An impressive set of health organizations agree that this is not true.

Another protest movement garnering success is boycotting Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers. Within the year starting with Limbaugh’s statements about Sandra Fluke being a “slut,” the vast majority of Cumulus radio network advertisers have left Limbaugh, and the company has lost $5.5 million. Forty-eight out of 50 major network advertisers have excluded not only Sean Hannity but also Limbaugh.

The courts may also take care of his hate speech. According to Dick Armey, former chair of Freedomworks, that organization and Heritage Foundation have been paying Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to promote their right-wing agendas. Yes, it’s free speech, but FCC rules mandate that the recipients of the money make this public:

“Any broadcast station employee who has accepted or agreed to accept payment for the airing of program material, and the person making or promising to make the payment, must disclose this information to the station prior to the airing of the program.”

The boycott continues. Here is a petition that you can sign.

You can also help stop the Koch brothers from buying the Tribune newspaper group. After extensive lobbying and messaging in the media, the Koch brothers have decided to go directly to the newspapers to publish their message of taking over all the country’s net wealth and eradicating the middle class. The Tribune papers include eight major publications in the United States: the Los Angeles Times, the Allentown Daily Call, the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, the Baltimore Sun, the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Hartford Courant, the Daily Press of Hampton Roads, Virginia, and Hoy, the nation’s second-largest Spanish-language paper.

The Koch brothers bankrolled Scott Walker’s anti-union movement in Wisconsin and went on to take aim at public unions, lobbying, and pensions across the country, spending $4 million in California alone to restrict unions’ political activity. Two major Tribune stakeholders are the investment management firms managing billions of dollars in public pension funds. If Koch buys the Tribune group, public employees will be forced to support their anti-union attacks.

So eager to purchase themselves several of the nation’s major newspapers, the Koch brothers are allegedly prepared to submit a bid of $1 billion over the current value of $600 million to $700 million. Conservatives are already mentally watching the evacuation of journalists: Chicago Tribune’s Cal Thomas is waxing ecstatic over the day when his office is rid of the “liberal quitters” and full of “unbiased” people like him. Thomas wrote that the Koch brothers could provide “ideologically balanced coverage”—sort of like Fox News.

Public sector employees have some control over the purchase. They can require their investment managers to choose between them or the Koch brothers. You can help keep the eight newspapers more independent from right-wing ideology by signing this petition or searching the Internet for others.

Fortunately, people in the Congress like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) continue to fight against corporations. We need to support them. And we can do this by celebrating Mother’s Day tomorrow, not with the commercial, corporation-driven belief that it’s a day for eating out and flowers but with its original meaning.

After the Civil War, Julia Ward Howe, author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” issued a proclamation asking women to form peaceful resolutions to international conflicts and avoid war. Most casualties of wars, whether the current ones in the Middle East and the ones imposed by conservatives and corporations, are women and children.

In her proclamation, Howe wrote, “We will not have urgent questions decided by irrelevant agencies.” We need to stop “irrelevant agencies” from undermining our quality of life.

November 16, 2011

Occupy Movement Celebrates Second Month Anniversary

The Occupy Movement celebrates its two-month anniversary tomorrow–ten days shorter than Kim Kardashian’s marriage. In the beginning, media didn’t report on it. After the police attacked the peaceful protesters, attention swiveled to Wall Street to watch passive people get pepper-sprayed and arrested. As the movement started sweeping across the country and around the world, more and more media attention focused on people protesting the inequities between the top 1 percent and the rest of the population. Now it’s moved to the top of the media headlines.

Conservatives’ first approach was to denigrate protesters’ actions. Tea Partyers deplored the fact that Occupiers didn’t go home like nice, well-behaved people. Those same conservatives forgot that they behaved so badly in town hall meetings with their Congresspeople had to be call off these meetings or monitor them with a strong police presence.

House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) called them “growing mobs” before he decided they were all voters and said that they were “justifiably frustrated.” “They are out of work. The economy is not moving,” Cantor said. “Their sense of security for the future is not clear at all. People are afraid, and I get it.” It was a short-lived change: he’s back to cutting benefits for the poor and middle-class.

The police continued to physically abuse the protesters in Oakland until an Iraq veteran went to the hospital in critical condition with head injuries, and the mayor called them off. The stricken man has since been sent home although he hasn’t regained his speech. Other cities followed the more peaceful approach—for a while.

After mayors from 18 large cities conferred, police started on Sunday to drive protesters out of their camps across the country from Oakland (CA) to New York City. Police destruction of these areas went so far as to throw the New York Occupy Wall Street library, over 5,000 books, into a dumpster along with everything else including shredded tents, tarps, sleeping bags, clothing, food, and electronics. Told that their library was being saved for them, protester librarians found only a few boxes of books, destroyed laptops, and one chair at Sanitation.

City officials claim that their actions against the protesters came from the violence surrounding the camps although those not associated with the protest movement including undercover cops perpetrated many of these actions while the actual protesters tried to stop them. Because of this movement, the homeless and mentally ill are now highly visible, something that city officials try to oppose.

Unions, such as the ones that fought union-busting Ohio Gov. John Kasich, will join Occupy protesters and liberal groups such as moveon.org and the American Dream Movement tomorrow in a “day of action” to pressure lawmakers on jobs. Since people first occupied Wall Street, President Obama presented his jobs program, and conservative legislators refused it. Events tomorrow will focus on getting lawmakers to pass federal funding for infrastructure. Republican-led filibusters blocked funding to repair government structures such as bridges, funding that would help the jobs crisis that Republicans refuse to address. A $60 billion infrastructure bill could have been funded by a .7 percent tax on millionaires, but most Republicans have zero tolerance for making the wealthy pay their share.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA), the nation’s largest telecom union, is coordinating two marches with Occupy protesters to coincide with the day of action. Both are tied to the battle over union contract negotiations with Verizon. In one march union members and other protesters will go from Albany (NY) to New York City; the other goes from a Verizon call center in Maryland to McPherson Square in Washington, one of the Occupy’s encampments.

After accusing the Occupy Movement as being just a bunch of hippies, conservative media has worked daily to connect Occupiers with unsavory characters. Fox started by claiming that protesters were part of ACORN, an organization that conservatives destroyed last year. Then Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and his guest, Glenn Beck, said George Soros was funding the protesters and their newspaper, the Occupied Wall Street Journal. Glenn Beck reported that former KKK leader David Duke had “endorsed” Occupy but neglected to point out that Duke also endorsed the Tea Party. As usual, Andrew Breitbart rose to the top of outrageous claims when he suggested that Occupy was affiliated with Al Qaeda.

The Family Research Council is battling the Occupy Movement in the same way that Texas Gov. Rick Perry tried to solve the drought across the state: pray. It is calling on all its members to destroy the movement through mass prayer. “May the movement simply fizzle” is what people are called upon to say to their god.

The hundreds of thousands of people protesting across the country are largely composed of people in the mainstream—students, labor unions, unemployed workers, teachers, artists, singers, writers, former real estate brokers, political activists, in short, people who have given up on the traditional political system. A growing contingent is composed of veterans who are suffering from high unemployment but want to support their country while banks prey on them. Politicians give money to profiteering corporations as they try to cut and privatize veterans programs through proposals of capping military basic pay, limiting veterans’ health benefits, and swapping the military pension program for a 401k system.

Almost 80 years ago, more than 20,000 unemployed World War I veterans occupied Washington to support a bill that would have given them immediate cash payment of the war service “bonus” they were due in 1945, 27 years after the end of the war. Although the House of Representatives passed the bill, the Senate and President Hoover opposed it. Disturbed by the “Bonus Army” or “Bonus Expeditionary Force,” the 15,000 veterans who refused to leave, Hoover called up four troops of cavalry under the command of General Douglas MacArthur to clear the area of men, women, and children. More than 1,000 people were injured in the incident and two veterans and one child died.

A year later the new president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, took a different tack with the 3,000 Bonus Marchers who converged on Washington, giving them housing and providing them with housing. Although he refused their demand for the early payment of their pensions, he offered them work in the newly formed Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Ninety percent of them accepted, the Bonus Marchers voted to disperse, and those that opted to return home rather than join the CCC were given free rail passage.

Complaints about the protesters include the one about their breaking laws: they stay at the park during hours when this isn’t allowed. Protesters ask why they are arrested for not walking on sidewalk etc. while few major prosecutions of banking executives and other financial actors are prosecuted for financial frauds and other crimes related to the economic crisis. Major players causing the crisis have not been touched.

Some protesters weren’t even breaking the law when they were arrested. After about 50 people went to the LaGuardia Place Citibank to close their accounts, 23 Citibank customers were locked inside the bank and arrested. As a result, ACLU provides information about protesters’ rights.

Another objection to the protest is that they lack direction. Orrin Hatch said, “I am very concerned that they don’t seem to have any real agenda other than causing problems.” He missed the piece that protesters in the Occupy Movement seek justice for the vast majority of the people being left out of the dominant economic and political systems. The Occupy Wall Street Movement’s website states: “The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.” The site contains contact information, news, and much more.

Specific issues addressed by protesters begin with the huge inequalities in wealth and income as people gradually realize that the government is responsive only to that tiny percentage of people who control the vast percentage of the money.  It’s the worker bees—public school teachers, police, firefighters, etc.—who get their salaries lowered and put out on furlough and sometimes lose their jobs while conservatives refuse to impose a surtax on the extremely wealthy. Conservatives refuse to close the loophole that allows hedge fund managers to pay a 15% capital gains tax instead of the full income tax on the millions of dollars they rake in every single year. Such an approach  shows that the only constituents are the wealthy. The wealthy corporations caused the private debts, but they are the only ones exempt from repaying this debt.

Although a recent poll cited only 35 percent of the surveyed 1,005 adults held a favorable impression of the Occupy Movement, these protesters fared better than anyone else. Only 16 percent said the same for Wall Street and large corporations, only 29 percent had a favorable impression of the tea party movement and 21 percent for the government in Washington. Wall Street and large corporations tied with Washington government in unpopularity, with 71 percent of those polled saying they had an unfavorable impression of big business and Washington. The tea party got a 50 percent unfavorable response and Occupy Wall Street 40 percent. If conservative legislators don’t decide to do some compromising, their numbers will only get worse.

Tomorrow: more information about the 1 percent versus the 99 percent.

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