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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Occupy the Constitution

Posted on  by WashingtonsBlog
By David DeGraw, and [See this for DeGraw's role in organizing the Wall Street protests.]

Occupy the Constitution: Get Money Out of Politics!

get money out Occupy the ConstitutionOne of the most popular 99% Movement and Occupy Wall Street issues is getting money out of politics. In a country where the candidate who spends the most money on their campaign wins the election 94% of the time, it is blatantly obvious that our electoral process is dominated by the richest global financial interests. By saturating the campaign finance and lobbying system with an endless supply of cash, Wall Street has rigged the political and economic system against hard working Americans. In unprecedented fashion, they have consolidated wealth into the hands of one-tenth of one percent of the population, at the expense and suffering of the American people.
If you’re wondering why we have the most severe inequality of wealth in American history; if you’re wondering why we currently have an all-time record number of Americans living in poverty, while we have all-time record profits and bonuses on Wall Street, it is primarily the result of the richest members of society being able to manipulate and control the legislative process through a system of legalized political bribery.
For us to take the first crucial step in solving the many problems we currently face, we have to create an amendment to the Constitution to get money out of politics. Thankfully, there is huge momentum building on this front. Here’s a brief summation of the newly proposed amendments, courtesy of theGet Money Out campaign. Hopefully, with your leadership, one of these amendments, or elements of a few of them, will soon become the 28th amendment to the US Constitution:
1) Rep. Ted Deutch – OCCUPIED Amendment (or Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy)
Introduced by Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), the amendment reverses Citizen’s United by stating that corporations are not people under the Constitution, and that corporations are barred from making election-related expenditures. It authorizes Congress and the states to regulate all election contributions and expenditures, and reaffirms Congress’ right to regulate corporations.
2) Sen. Bernie Sanders – Saving American Democracy Amendment
Senator Bernie Sanders introduced an amendment in the Senate that mirrors the OCCUPIED amendment in the House. Introducing this “companion bill” in the Senate allows both houses of Congress to begin debate on the same bill without having to wait for the other to pass it. Learn more. Read the amendment.
3) Cenk Uygur, Wolf PAC – Wolf PAC Amendment
Wolf PAC, a group started by progressive TV and radio host Cenk Uygur, reverses corporate personhood and prohibits corporations from giving to any politician. The amendment also sets a cap of $100 on all political donations and it establishes a public system to fund political campaigns. Read the amendment.
4) Senator Tom Udall – Udall Amendment
Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) along with eight other Democratic Senators proposed an amendment that gives Congress the power to regulate all money spent on campaigns and outside political groups such as Super PACs. It allows states to regulate state elections in the same manner. It would clear the way for Congress to pass reform legislation that would limit spending and would withstand a challenge in the Supreme Court. Read the amendment.
5) Rep. Jim McGovern and Free Speech for People – The People’s Right’s Amendment
Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) introduced the amendment with the support of Free Speech for People, a non-profit group that aims to end corporate personhood. The amendment states that people or persons as used in the Constitution does not include corporations and that corporations are subject to regulation by the people through their elected representatives. Read the amendment.
6) Public Citizen – Democracy is for People Amendment
Pursued by the non-profit group Public Citizen, the amendment would reverse the Citizen’s Uniteddecision and permit Congress to regulate political spending by corporations. The amendment has not been drafted into specific language, but is based on a set of core principles. Read those principles and get more information.
7) Russell Simmons – Simmons Amendment
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons announced support for an amendment in a speech to Occupy Boston protesters. The amendment establishes public funding of political campaigns and prohibits any political contributions from any source. It gives Congress the authority to design and enforce the public funding system. Read the full text of the amendment. Watch Simmons’ speech.
8)Rep. Donna Edwards – Edwards Amendment
Introduced by Representative Donna Edwards (D-Md.), the amendment would overturn theCitizen’s United Supreme Court ruling by allowing Congress to regulate political spending by corporations.
9) Rep. Kurt Schrader – Schrader Amendment
Introduced by Representative Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), the amendment authorizes Congress and the states to regulate the contribution of all funds to candidates and the expenditure of funds to influence elections. Read the amendment.
10) Rep. Marcy Kaptur – Kaptur Amendment
Introduced by Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), the amendment authorizes Congress and the states to set limits on the contributions that may be accepted by and the expenditures that may be made in support or in opposition to candidates running for public office.
11) Move to Amend – Move to Amend
A group opposed to corporate personhood, Move to Amend, has proposed an amendment that would overturn Citizen’s United by affirming that corporations are not people and can be regulated, and that money is not speech and can be regulated.
12) Get Money Out – Get Money Out Amendment
The amendment was proposed by the Get Money Out organization, which was started by MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan, and became a part of United Republic in late 2011. The amendment prohibits corporations from making political donations and affirms that political donations are not speech, which allows Congress to regulate them. It also makes election day a federal holiday.
13) Lawrence Lessig – Lessig Amendment
Lawrence Lessig, Harvard professor and founder of Rootstrikers, which joined forces with United Republic in late 2011, introduced an amendment that prohibits corporations from contributing money to any candidate, limits campaign contributions to $100, and gives Congress the power to regulate outside campaign spending. It also establishes Election Day as a national holiday.
So that’s the team so far. Join us at Tell your friends. Let the world know.

Here’s a video of Russell Simmons speaking about his Get Money Out constitutional amendment at Occupy LA:

It’s Time to “Occupy the Dream:

It’s Time to “Occupy the Dream:” African-American Faith Community Joins Forces with Occupy Wall Street – First Day of Action on MLK Day, Jan 16 at Federal Reserve Banks

By David DeGraw, and [See this for DeGraw's role in organizing the Wall Street protests.]

It’s Time to “Occupy the Dream:” African-American Faith Community Joins Forces with Occupy Wall Street – First Day of Action on MLK Day, Jan 16 at Federal Reserve Banks.

Members of the African-American faith community have joined forces with Occupy Wall Street to launch a new campaign for economic justice inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Faithful to its philosophical origin, the “Occupy the Dream” coalition has called for a National Day of Action on Martin Luther King Day – Monday, January 16, 2012 – when they will “Occupy the Federal Reserve,” in multiple cities nationwide, focusing attention on the gross injustice visited upon the 99% by the financial elite. This will be the first of many actions leading up to a mass gathering in Washington D.C., to be held April 4 – 7, when millions will unite in celebration of the life and legacy of Dr King.

The Occupy the Dream coalition was launched by a contemporary of Dr. King – Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. – and Rev. Dr. Jamal Bryant of the Empowerment Temple Church, in partnership with Occupy Wall Street organizers. The following statement in support of the Occupy the Dream coalition was prepared by over 30 Occupy Wall Street organizers and read at the National Press Club in Washington, DC:
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for social and economic justice with a deep moral commitment to non-violent civil disobedience. His legacy inspires many of us on the front lines of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Nearly fifty years since hundreds of thousands of people marched with Dr. King and filled the nation’s capital, the dream that inspired our nation remains unfulfilled. As shocking as it is to believe, there is a more severe inequality of wealth in the United States today than there was back then. More Americans are living in poverty today than when Dr. King organized the Poor People’s Campaign.
While the rich have grown richer, tens of millions of Americans have been exploited and left behind. In a time of great wealth and technological advancement, American families are desperately struggling to get by and to make ends meet.
Our political, economic, and legal systems have become wholly corrupted through a system of political bribery. Through campaign finance, lobbying, and the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street, our wealth has been consolidated into the hands of the few at the expense and suffering of the many.
Many of our brothers and sisters lead lives dominated by fear. Fear of losing a home. Fear of losing a job. Fear of losing medical coverage. Fear of losing the ability to provide food for our families. And for far too many, these fears have already become a reality.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is about people coming together to say “enough is enough.” Our families have endured economic oppression for too long. The Occupy Wall Street movement draws its strength from people of all different walks of life, with opinions across the political spectrum, coming together to find common ground and unite against the global financial interests that have bought control of our government.
Dr. King’s vision of economic justice is an edifying example of what we intend to achieve. The Occupy movement has become a powerful force by occupying communities throughout the country. The time has now come for us to embody the spirit of Dr. King and for us to “Occupy the Dream.”
We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the African-American Faith community in this campaign for economic fairness and justice. We are all in this fight together. We all want a healthy and secure future for our families. In the absence of a government that will defend and represent us, we are now taking it upon ourselves to stand up and defend our own families.
It is a great honor today to join with the spirit of Dr. King, to join with heroes of the civil rights movement, luminaries of the faith community, pioneers in music and all of you in attendance.
It is a great honor today to announce the birth of the “Occupy the Dream” movement.
Social Media Accounts
Twitter: @OccupyDreamOWS
Facebook: Occupy the Dream

The Corporate and Political Tea Party Fears The Occupiers

Citizen’s Arrest! Citizen’s Arrest! 12/16-18-11 From

The Mayberry Incident

The president was coming to town. And Neil Jednoralski was prepared. He’d taken his list and checked it twice. Handcuffs, Arrest Warrant, 4 guns! Check.
Barack Obama was coming to Osawatomie, Kansas, reportedly to do a Teddy Roosevelt impression. Neil was going to do his best Gomer Pyle. “Citizen’s Arrest, Citizen’s Arrest!” Sadly, both Barack and Neil were spectacular failures in their attempted impersonations.
Mr. Jednoralski is no stranger to high stakes political gamesmanship. He’s run for Kansas State Representative in the past–an obvious stepping stone position just before Crop Circle Prevention and Awareness Coordinator. But what particular crime was he taking it upon himself to arrest Obama for? Civil liberties trashing? Indiscriminate murder by drones? No. British and Indonesian Citizenship- fraud by virtue of pretending to be eligible to be president. Yep, it’s the season for that crap again. Mr. Jednoralski is a member of the Tea Party.
Why am I telling about this not even out of the ordinary incident? The town hall meetings of the past couple years had all manner of this nonsense. It’s all actually a little tedious, but this is why it holds my interest:
The similarity to Mayberry doesn’t end with the Citizen’s Arrest plan. (And no I’m not old enough to have seen Andy Griffith pre-rerun…youngsters go to YouTube to see what I mean, and check for Teddy Roosevelt out-takes while you’re there). Anyway, after Mr. Obama dusted the land with his fauxopulist lies and safely exited, Mr. Jednoralski was allowed to retrieve his handcuffs and……… his 4 guns. He had a genteel visit from Secret Service prior to the visit telling him not to show up. He got the drunk uncle at Thanksgiving treatment. Just put him in the easy chair and give him some pie. Go hide his car keys and hope he naps.
Contrast that with the treatment that the Occupiers have endured. “Get back your handcuffs and guns? Hell, we won’t even give you back your books, hippie. And what’s that? You want your tent back that you donated for a free first aid stand? I needed to shred that for cleanliness.”
This, along with folks languishing in jail (who can make bail) for misdemeanor offenses. They typically hold them just as long as they can to make a statement. I think you can guess what that statement is.
I’m not even arguing against the drunk Thanksgiving uncle treatment- it probably was the way to go with this guy. One reader commented after a story on Jednoralski that she looked him up, and he has a facebook page. Evidently he likes lolcats and wants a wife! He doesn’t sound terrifying, but if he’s got a nephew who sits on a sidewalk he’s not supposed to occupy….well, he’s got it coming right?
The Home Owner’s Association for the totality of humanity (the 1%) have been given all manner of firepower to get the damn kids off the lawn.
Much was made by the media, framing it “Occupy versus Teaparty” earlier this year. As fun as it is to picture that grudge match, maybe even both parties in Lucha libre suits, it’s just more prepackaged drivel. To claim any sort of balancing equivalence in regard to Occupy and the Teaparty is insane. Cauliflower versus Cigarettes! Vomit versus Cotton Candy!
And perhaps even more galling is the manner in which this works out for all the corrupt politicians. The Tea Party gets powerful, and their people push through deranged agendas, all with dripping acquiescence from the Democrats. And Obama again gets to look like the sane one-despite the sterile psychopathy of being the drone killing jokester. There is no Republican/Teaparty-Democrat/Occupy reality here. Poor Occupy is up against them all.
And presidential detractors get to appear as yokel fools. If you have a problem with the man in charge- well, this is the company you keep…. Neil and his handcuffs. Send ½ the country towards crazy and ½ to deluded; then walk away with the spoils.
I’ve made mention of the manner that Occupy protesters are tricked into walking on streets only to be brutally taken down by the militarized police forces. More than enough first hand reports and video have been coming in to prove that this is the case- yet other protesters like the Phelps clan (homophobic agenda cult) get time in front of the Supreme Court to ensure their rights are protected. Crazy drunken uncles get treated very well, indeed.
The take home note is this: the wackier you are, the more your needs are catered to— you hold no real threat to power. Your very existence “proves” what a free country this is.
This Mayberry treatment is the best example I can think of to illustrate the sheer corporate and political control of the Tea Party as well as proving the legitimacy of Occupy.
If there is any doubt which “protest” genuinely makes the powerful nervous, just remember that Neil Jednoralksi is comfortable at home with his cuffs at the ready. Oh and he likes lolcats and wants a wife, too.
Kathleen Peine writes out of the US Midwest and can be contacted at