Visiting Occupy Tacoma…

Today was the day. After receiving the invite, I brought the two oldest kiddos with me for a visit to the encampment and talk with the occupiers about what the movement is about.

The bringing of the kids was partly strategic, partly logistic. The strategic part came from my own personal experiences counter-protesting in 2003 against the not-so-peaceful peace protesters. Having the kids there would reduce the chances of any sort of conflict. Logistically, well, my daughter held the video camera (since it was hers!), and son held my coffee when I used the still camera. I also had intended to, once we got home, to ask them about the experience from their perspectives, but they are both kind of at the stage of answering questions as “it was good”, which isn’t terribly helpful.

Anyway, as it turned out, there was virtually no risk of confrontation. That was quite welcomed. The closest it came to was a couple of times when we become the objects of curiosity and had people gathering around us. But both the people and the initial uncomfortable feeling dissipated quickly.

We talked. And talked. And talked some more. Then we got one of the protesters to agree to be filmed answering a few questions.  So…here it is with a bit of commentary:

Additional observations and commentary:

The people I met were decent, polite folks. But this was also not in a protesting, emotion-fueled event, but in an encampment, and there weren’t many there at the time.   Saw no direct signs of drug use there, and they did indeed keep the part fairly clean (though may be ignoring the destruction of the grass of the park from the constant walking and the tents).

And while I’d like to believe those I talked to about being a non-violent movement, there’s clearly been evidence of violence in other cities. Perhaps Tacoma will be spared, but I think, especially once they are given orders to leave the park, situations may present themselves in which we may see violence. And quite frankly, the discussion of “agent provocateurs’ doesn’t sit well with me–it’s just too much of a scapegoat cover.

I’d also like to believe that they, as Ryan expressed, want to be inclusive of the actual 99% they claim to speak for…but I don’t.At all. Why? First, there is the way in which they govern themselves–they call it a General Assembly, or GA. In the GA, they claim to use “consensus” to make decisions…which, of course, is nothing more than majority rules. They even passed along a story of “down twinkling” an anarchist-type person visiting from another Occupy group that was advocating some form of violence. (Aside from being and sounding like a juvenile way of voting or discussing, it’s nothing less than a peer-pressure created and maintained political system on a small scale.  And it’s a cliquish, exclusive thing…). But also in their own forums on the Occupy Tacoma website (as long as they leave open and transparent), there is PLENTY of infighting and struggles for power about what the movement is about, and they certainly aren’t terribly tolerant of beliefs that differ in the forums.

Aside from these observations, the answers, as you saw in the video, were vague, full of rhetoric, and lacking in substance. That’s a huge issue, especially if they intend on drawing in the others of the 99% they claim to represent. As it is now, they certainly do not represent me.

The biggest problem I still have in the Occupy Tacoma group, as an outsider, is that their mission statement states that they are nonviolent, yet they also lay claim to solidarity with other Occupy groups. But other Occupy groups have been violent, and I believe we’ll see others…but they can’t have it both ways. If they truly stand in solidarity, they are no different. And if they are no different, then they are also just as able and willing to commit violence.

Is my mind made up about them? No, not at all. Or not yet. Because it is completely unclear what they stand for, what they support, and what principles they hold.

Today was the day. After receiving the invite, I brought the two oldest kiddos with me for a visit to the encampment and talk with the occupiers about what the movement is about. The bringing of the kids was partly strategic, partly logistic. The strategic part came from my own personal experiences counter-protesting in 2003…


  1. Of course it is unclear what they stand for and what their principles are.

    They do not have any.

    All they are is a group of people that got together because they are mad. They haven't discussed why they are mad. They refuse too-commonality is assumed. Discussion will break up that perceived togetherness, as they realize they agree with each other about as much as every other group of humans ever has.

  2. Hello Scott,

    Thank you so much for coming down to Occupation Park at 21st and Pacific last Saturday. It was a pleasure to meet you and your lovely children.

    After you and I met on Saturday, I was out of town for the weekend and did not have access to a computer during that time. So please excuse the delay in acknowledging your visit until just now.

    I read your account of your visit and viewed your annotated video of the interview with one of our occupiers. It is obvious to me that you attempted to be fair. At the park, you and your children were courteous, respectful, and while you asked probing questions, you were non-confrontational.

    As you might imagine, I do not agree with some of your interpretations and some of your conclusions about the Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Tacoma phenomena. Nevertheless, in your coverage of this visit, you raised some important questions for us OWS activists to be aware of for reasons I state below.

    Because of that, I am writing two posts which I will submit to our web site at The first piece will cover your visit and will contain a link to your web site and your commentary on your visit so that our Occupy Tacoma activists can benefit from reading your viewpoint.

    That first piece will also contain suggestions to Occupy Activists about how we should interact with people who share your views. It provides me the opportunity to emphasize the importance of treating people like you with courtesy and respect. We need to listen to people who hold different views if we expect to have dialog. Otherwise, we'll just be talking to ourselves.

    There also will be a bit about the importance of nonviolent mass action as our strategy, a topic I and other OWS supporters regularly discuss and write about.

    The second piece will cover the specific questions and concerns you raise in your last post. Those are important for us to understand, because a sizable minority of what we call "the 99%" share them. If we are to be successful, we must understand those concerns and how best to address them. I hope you will have the opportunity to read both posts.

    After I've posted my two articles, I'll come back to A Dad First and post links to my articles in a comment here so any of your readers who might be interested can read them.

    Finally, please understand that I am expressing my views am I'm not a spokesperson for Occupy Tacoma or OWS. However, I think a large number of WS activists see these matters in much the same light as I do.

    Again, thank you so much for coming to our occupation and listening to us. I enjoyed you and your children, and so did my friend Jan.


    Alan OldStudent

    1. Thank you Alan! It was a pleasure meeting with everyone. Truly. And while I do disagree with much of the policy issues discussed, I do believe in listening respectfully and finding the common ground. And there certainly could be much common ground.

      Let me extend this…you've responded to the concerns I'd written…if there is any feedback I can provide that would help Occupy Tacoma in that regard, to find and reach those areas of common ground, I'm here.

  3. Hello Keim,

    I appreciated reading your comment. But with all due respect, I just don't understand it when you say: "They refuse too-commonality is assumed."

    However, it's clear to me what you want to say when you write this about us Occupy Tacoma and Occupy Wall Street protestors:

    "All they are is a group of people that got together because they are mad. They haven’t discussed why they are mad."


    I am assuming that by the word "mad," you mean "angry." And yes, most of us are angry.

    Actually, we have done lots of discussing about what upsets us and continue to do so. And we can identify many things that make us angry.

    For example, our economy has tanked largely as a result of "too-big-to-fail" banks gambling with our federally-insured deposits. Then, after losing our money gambling, the Bush and Obama administrations bailed them out with our tax money. I guess that's bipartisan collegiality, no?

    After we so unwillingly rescued them, those gambling addicts promptly gave themselves big bonuses.

    Tell me this: If you gamble with assets your employer, your club, or your church entrust to you, do you get a bonus or do you do time for fraud?

    Are you becoming angry yet? I ask because just about now, I'm getting hot under the collar!

    Do you know the number of CEOs and CFOs of banks and insurance companies who were charged with any crime at all in connection to the global economic meltdown of 2008?

    The number is none, zero, nada! Not one of those actually responsible for this disaster has ever been indicted or charged with a crime.

    Are you getting angry yet? When did you get your last bonus when took business losses owing to shady deals and bad business decisions?

    Did you know that 66% of Americans make less than $40,000 a year while just 10% of the population owns 82% of all stock market assets in this country?

    Does that disturb you even a little? Doesn't that make you just a tad angry?

    Does it make you wonder what's wrong with our system that you have to struggle to put away a nest egg, and then there's no guarantee you'll have it later on? My nest egg disappeared, and I'm 70 years old, still having to work. And I'm better off than millions of other seniors who are as deserving as I and who do not enjoy my robust excellent health, who don't own a home, who have to choose between food, heat, and medicines. I'm so thankful I have a roof over my head and food to eat.

    The system that treats its elders that way makes me prettyy upset. Maybe I'm old-fashioned because I'm old, but I was raised that we as a society owe a debt to our elders. They raised us, fed us, educated us, prepared us for life. Aren't you getting angry yet?

    Did you know that while Exxon-Mobile made $19,000,000,000 in 2009, they paid $0 in taxes and received a rebate of 156,000,000 in federal tax money. What did you pay in federal taxes in 2009? I paid thousands. Did you get a rebate in 2009?

    Are you getting maybe just a teensy-weensy bit testy about now? I don't know about you, but right now, I'm spitting fire and feeling pretty ornery!

    Can you picture graphically how much money Exxon Mobile's profit was the year they got their 156 million dollar rebate? Did you know that the thickness of a dollar bill is 0.0043 inches, which means that a stack of 19,000,000,000 dollar bills is 81,700,000 inches, –or about 6808 feet, –or about 1.3 miles high?

    Ask yourself this without losing your temper: How many years' worth of your federal tax liability would equal Exxon Mobile's 156-million-dollar tax rebate for 2009?

    Did you know you'd have to pay $5000 in taxes each year for 31,000 years to pay for just 1 year's federal tax refund to Exxon Mobile? That's 15 times longer than the 2000 years since Jesus walked the earth.

    Are you getting angry yet? Can you see why so many of us are angry?

    Did you know that 18 members of of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors were found to have serious conflicts of interest during the financial crisis by a recent Congressional audit?

    Does that peeve you a little yet? Aren,t you becoming fit to be tied? If not, why in God's name not? Why aren't you having conniptions right now?


    Alan OldStudent

    1. Alan:

      Perhaps I can best summarize my feelings about the current state of the Occupy movements with this somewhat pithy statement:

      Inchoate rage makes for a great protest. It does not make for a successful longterm movement.

  4. In my humble opinion, the Occupy Tacoma movement has not resorted to violence, and is therefore non-violent. Just because a group is in solidarity with other groups does not necessarily mean they condone the actions of every individual in all other movements across the globe. If you call yourself a Democrat and a Democrat in another state does something you disagree with, do you remove yourself from the Democratic party?

    As much as I would like to control everything, at the end of the day, I can only control myself while merely attempting to convince others to control themselves.

    The system is set up to respond to violence. How does the average person respond to a bully? Hide and cower? Stand and fight? Or reason with non-violent action? In a perfect world, all choose the latter,but our world is far from perfect

  5. This was shared on Occupy Tacoma's facebook. I want to say I'm glad I read it and thank you very much for coming down to the occupation. Especially with the kids.

    To Keim, specifically:

    I would like to think that we discuss every day what makes us mad. What really grinds our gears about what's been taking place. But we have these conversations personally and do not try to speak for the whole, as evident with statements of "personally" and "I believe." We also have disclaimers everywhere saying that our personal opinions do not reflect on the whole. People have been very quick to show crazy people and say they "represent" us, so we're taking the steps to stop that.

    To everyone else that may be reading:

    If you want to talk about it with us, or become more informed, we have public forums coming up. Tomorrow night, 7-9 at the UWT. Check it out. We have some pretty decent public speakers, and hopefully you can find something to relate on, if not support.

    To Scott:

    As far as our hand signs go, I don't get why everyone ranks on them so hard. It actually made our process more enjoyable and you can't twinkle loudly over someone like you can with an applause or "boo." I say come to a GA and see the process. Or watch it on livestream. And then watch any other GA. Compare and contrast…I think we've got things handled pretty well so far…but that's just me.

    I'll be keeping an eye on your blog in the future, thanks for the read!

  6. It is my observation that 'the other occupy groups' to which this man refers were non violent until they were forced to protect themselves.

    If a police officer drives his bike up my back I may respond physically as well. He can think whatever he wants, but it is clear that he wants to believe that protesters are ready to rumble.

    I appreciate that this man went to the park to see for himself what was happening and why, but I can read in his comments the negativity he has for any actions eschewing the status quo. (They might be ruining the grass);(Didn't actually SEE any drug use, but…); (no clarity of purpose). Even positivity cannot be understood by people who don't want to.

    1. "forced to protect themselves"–seems incredibly subjective. i think it would be far more impacting if, under a similar circumstance, the "nonviolent" protester where to not strike back, or even not antagonize at all. but as long as we're throwing out assumptions, i'll assume you have no interest in hearing other viewpoints, so this will likely fall on deaf ears.

      as for my comment about the grass, it meant this: the camp is indeed kept clean, but the grass is being destroyed by the constant walking and by the pressure of the tents. with this being a public park, albeit on State Dept of Transportation property, it is taxpayer money that will have to come in to repair it–an additional cost that quite frankly a vast majority of the 99% that you claim to represent have no desire to pay when they are already stretched thin.

      1. Actually, we have individuals who have already agreed to pay to have the park re-seeded. Not to mention I hear whispers of gardening amongst the occupiers.

  7. Alan and others that responded to my note: Yes, I am angry, and have been for a long time about these issues. I would have better expressed myself if I had said: “All they are is a group of people that got together because they are mad. They haven’t discussed a plan to fix it.”

    A group whose commonality is around anger will soon splinter when they start searching for real world solutions.

    1. Now, just because you haven't heard about it doesn't mean that steps aren't being made. We have to have a discussion before we can come to a solution, and as a whole, I don't know if we could come to a full consensus on one topic because we have so many things to cover. But really what we want to do is wake people up to the problems so we can WORK TO FIX THEM. The powers that be are not trying to fix them and we are calling them on it. I didn't come in to this world to fix it. I didn't choose these problems, but I bought in to the distraction for a long time. Now that I see what all is going on, I don't like it, and I just want to make sure other people know about it.

      The only way I can ensure that my kids grow up in the world I want is to take a stand for my rights. I mean, even the fact that these occupations are being stomped on by authorities has a wake-up call in itself. Thankfully we haven't had those problems here yet.

  8. Wow! Are you serious? First of all, I don't believe that spending an an afternoon with a group of people is going to give you an accurate picture of that group. You criticize the way they hold there GAs, but have you ever attended one? I have, several, in fact. They are not perfect. The people in the Tacoma group voted to have a 85% consensus, to approve any proposal and there has to be at least 25 people present, during that vote. If a person feels that the proposal will harm the movement, they can "block". This allows them 2 minutes to speak. After they have shared their point of view, there is a new vote taken. This is done so that all of the people can be heard and understood. It takes time, but people do it, because that's one of the things this movement hopes to accomplish, for the people to be heard.

    Far to many American citizens feel that their voice is not being heard in current politics. Most of the people in this movement have admitted that they feel that large corporations have paid lobbyists and lawyers, to ensure that laws are in place, to protect corporate interests, and not the best interests of the American people.

    It has been my experience that every occupier knows why he/she is occupying. Some of the reasons are personal to their situation, but there are plenty of group held concerns. Most want the government to be in the hands of average Americans again, not wealthy or "bought and paid for" politicians. Most want healthcare for all Americans. Most want a fair-wage job. Most want their college degree to mean something. Most want to be able to buy a home. Most want to be out of an endless war that drains American taxpayers and kills thousands of innocent civilians. Most want their fellow Americans to not be afraid and to stand up for what they believe is right.

    They realize that not everyone is ready, so they will stand in the parks for you. They will protest at the banks on your behalf. They will lobby politicians to honor the campaign promises that were made. They will write letters and work in their communities, for campaign reform and healthcare reform.

    As far as standing in solidarity with other occupy groups, try to think of this as your family. You have your annoying Uncle Bob who tells inappropriate jokes, your Aunt Mildrid who makes sure everyone is fed, your Mom who tries to keep the peace, your Dad (who yells), but gets things done and your rebellious brother, who has been in and out of trouble because he doesn't want to follow society's rules. You don't always agree with them, but when they are hurt, you stand up for them, you stand with them in solidarity. That does not mean you condone their actions or that you intend to repeat their actions, it just means that you care about each other and you want to show your support.

    Everyone that I have interacted with, has insisted that the occupy movement must remain peaceful. If you look back in American history, all of these types of struggles have begun peacefully. Most of them turned violent, first on the side of the police, and general public, then often times the protesters themselves. It seems to me that we don't have to have people killed (Revolutionary war, civil war, Abe Lincoln, Vietnam War protesters, Kent State, MLK JR., both Kennedy brothers, civil rights protesters, Harvey Milk) the list is long.

    Why can't we just learn from the past and agree that, when enough people suddenly stand up and say something has got to change, instead of trying to beat them back into submission, we actually look at the issues and work together to find solutions!

    Things are going to change!! They can change with no one being beaten, pepper-sprayed, tear-gassed, arrested, etc. or they will change after much bloodshed. The ONLY thing that is certain is that there will be change.

    We no longer have a King as our ruler, we no longer have slavery, we are not fighting in Vietnam (other wars, but that is a different story), we have integrated schools, women in politics, gay rights (still in progress), civil rights, equal opportunity in the workplace and in the housing industry, etc., etc. Those changes came about because one group of people stood up and said, "Enough is enough!"

    They were shunned, spat at, made fun of, distrusted and some were even killed. The more that they were seen and their combined voices were heard, their numbers grew. It is happening now.

    So you can go through the motions of casting these activists in a negative light, you can claim that they don't represent you, and you can think that they are unclear in what they stand for. But don't kid yourself, they are ushering in a new way of life. It's coming. You can ride the wave with them, you can get knocked off your feet, or you can stand on the bluff above and watch. It doesn't really matter, at this point, the change has already begun.

    Let's just all agree that violence is not the choice any of us would make. Would you beat your teenager for wanting to address the house rules, or would you sit down and explain why you have made the rules? If the rules no longer apply, because everyone has grown and changed, would you be willing to make changes?

    Why would we beat people, who have come together, to ask us to look at the rules and see if they can be made more fair for everyone?

    We all live here, this is our country. A country that is to have a government that is of the people, by the people and for the people.

    We are all a human family. We don't have to like each or agree with each other, but we must listen to each other, we must help each other.

    Like it or not, we are in this together. When you suffer, I suffer. It is the human condition. If your needs are not being met, I want to help you. If my brother has said that he is hurt, I will stand beside him and ask for help, on his behalf. I will not hit him with a baton, I will not throw rocks, I will not say hurtful things that make the situation worse.

    It is up to all of us as to how we will go forward. I hope that we will treat each other with respect and kindness. Change doesn't have to be mean and hard. Change can be welcomed and supported.

    1. "First of all, I don’t believe that spending an an afternoon with a group of people is going to give you an accurate picture of that group."

      You've spent a few minutes on my blog. Do you believe that gives you an accurate picture of me or my views?

      1. I don't think she said anything about your views, other than you painted the occupiers in a negative light. And, I'm sorry, but you did. At least to us who are involved, it seems pretty negative.

        She also explained how to share why you don't agree with something that was proposed during a General Assembly. I would have just preferred to have you show up to one to learn it with others. ^_^

        1. I agree. My point was the same as hers, though: she gave her opinion about my comments without spending much time with me or on my blog, while contending that my limited time didn't qualify me to render my opinion.

        2. had i been invited to one, i may have. but considering some of the personal attacks now posted on the OT Facebook page, i can only hope there are more very nice folks like you and Alan in the group…

  9. Alan – The information about Exxon-Mobil is misleading & inaccurate. This person is only providing the information that makes his case…3 pieces of a much larger puzzle. So, the case is really only made of straw. It's impossible to avoid taxes in business. You get taxed coming & going. Most companies are subjected to double-taxation. Now, perhaps after all of the other taxes paid (employment, medicaid, social security, state & local taxes, etc.), liabilities are paid, wages are paid, insurances are paid, loans are paid, deductions are taken, etc…there isn't much left to be taxed for Federal Income.

    As for the tax rebates paid, take it up with your senator. It's certainly not Exxon's fault for following the legal tax process & receiving a rebate. Politicians have created all the tax loopholes. Blame them, not businesses. Govt would have nothing if not for businesses. Govt doesn't create jobs or wealth. Our govt is bloated well beyond what is sufficient to provide protection & infrastructure. But you're fine with that as long as you get your check every month.

    Every person in America has equal opportunity to succeed. We're not in a caste system, born into poverty & never able to achieve. The truth is, too many are lazy & think money grows on some tree in DC to be given to them as they demand. Govt is their Santa Claus. You want govt to take more from business to give to you & your friends who contribute nothing. Well, I want you & your friends to stop stealing from my family. It's not my fault you didn't save enough money. Clark Howard has already proven that income level is not the factor in whether someone saves or even how much they save. Someone your age came through some really good days in America. Why don't you have more to show for it? My dad is only a few yrs older than you. He was reduced to $0 net worth in 1993, but yet he managed to work, save up money, & now he travels 100% of the time. He's not rich, but he's content.

    Stop being jealous & start taking personal responsibility. Capitalism is not the problem. You are your biggest problem.

  10. Scott, apparently you ruffled some feathers on Facebook, so decided not to reply to any further comments there. Fair enough, I shall bring the conversation over here.

    In your last comment, you blame "the affordable housing act that allowed for additional loans–especially sub-prime loans–to be made by banks that would otherwise have not done so…" for our economic crash. Are you sure you didn't mean the Community Reinvestment Act, which had to do with loans, and not the AHA, which had to do with making sure affordable housing units were built in underserved communities? From your context, it appears you're actually referring to the CRA. However, the CRA applies only to depository institutions, and only about 15.7% of all risky loans were made by such banks:

    And I was as upset about TARP as you are — probably even more, since I stood out on the street corner in the rain one evening at rush hour holding a sign reading "NO BUSH BAILOUTS." Unfortunately, the big investment banks threatened to take down our entire economy if they didn't get their way, which is why they were handed $780 billion in taxpayer money without a single stipulation as to how it must be used or what accountability measures would be taken. Shameful.

    But how did the banks get to be that big and powerful in the first place? It was the lack of government regulation and oversight. When provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 were repealed in 1999, the wall of separation between commercial and investment banks came crashing down, allowing speculators to play casino games with America's money supply. I mean, what could be more WRONG than pushing people into sub-prime mortgages — people who trusted the "experts" that this sub-prime mortgage would be somehow better than the regular mortgage they originally applied for — only to slice and dice them into complex financial "instruments" and pay off the rating agencies to slap a AAA on them? And THEN resell those "instruments" to unsuspecting pension plans and such, all the while betting on their failure, so that they could collect insurance on them when they inevitably went bust! So the poor pensioners are left with a vanishing fund while the banksters who knew all along walk away with a profit! Government can and should prevent these kinds of abuses, and we are demanding that it does.

    Government should also regulate campaign contributions. Public servants should be hired by the people, not the multinational corporations that will then hold those elected officials to their corrupt agenda. Make no mistake about it, if any politician gets uppity enough to challenge these behemoths, they can be assured of a swift end to their political career. As long as corporations are "people" and money is "free speech," your voice is silent. You simply do not have enough $$$ to compete. That's why you see so many OWS protesters with $1 bills taped over their mouths.

    Government should also regulate trade policies. As long as American workers have to compete with Chinese peasants who work 18 hours a day in a thick toxic smog for only pennies, we are at a disadvantage. Or is that the kind of future you wish for your kids and grandkids?

    Government should print money, not the Federal Reserve, which is a private institution not answerable to the federal government. The Constitution gives the federal government the authority to print money, not any private bank or system of banks. We need to audit the Fed, do away with fractional-reserve banking, and give the power to coin money back to the federal government. We cannot trust any private bank to do what is best for our country, only what is best for THEM.

    Government should protect its citizens. It should inspect food, toys, milk, building products, etc. originating from beyond our shores and even within them, to ensure that what we're consuming isn't tainted. It should protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, not grant leases to conduct environmentally risky business like deep-water oil drilling and fracking in places where any failure could devastate thousands or even millions of American lives. It should provide for our defense — not just national defense, but local as well. Police, fire and other emergency workers should be plentiful, well-trained, and well-compensated in order to retain the best of the best. When you see a hooded figure hiding in your hedges at night, or you hear your neighbor's wife screaming in panic when you know her husband's away, don't you want to be able to summon police quickly? Oh, I know you may say that's why you keep a gun at home — but is that really your best answer to crime? Do you really want EVERYONE to own a gun, and use it any time they feel nervous about something? I personally do not want to be running around my neighborhood every night trying to chase down bad guys — that's what the police are for, and to hear some people calling them and other public servants "leeches" and the like is really disheartening.

    Those are just a few things I would like my government to do for me. At least that's what I have in mind when I vote for someone — but of course, big corporations don't really care who we vote for, because they know they can strong-arm whoever it is once they get into office. And THAT is what makes me and so many of us extremely angry. We just want our democracy back.

  11. Anne-Marie,

    Your characterization of the Occupy movement as people who are "jealous" and "want government to take more from business" to give to them is inaccurate and is an ad hominem argument that ignores the real issues and resorts to character assassination, instead of trying to debate the real issues.

    I take issue with your implication that OWS is inherently anti-capitalist. Certainly, it seems to be against the brand of neoliberal capitalism that is defined by persistent deregulation and the mentality of profit before people. Many of us think that the free market is the best engine of innovation and change that has ever been invented. That does not mean, however, that we believe that we must think of the free market as a god who will answer all of our prayers if we just wait long enough. Any economist would tell you there are certain things the market just will not do. For one thing, it will not guarantee every human being an education. It will not guarantee that people too poor to afford healthcare will be seen by a doctor if they are injured or sick. For that, we need regulation. Regulation is not the job-killing demon that is made out to be by the far-right Republicans of today. For example, consider the case in which a factory is polluting a rate that exceeds legal limits set by the EPA. The EPA orders the factory to install a new air scrubber. The factory must then place an order for the scrubber, which must be built by workers, transported by workers, and then installed by workers. There is no net economic loss as a result of this action by the EPA. Though the original factory owner may be short a few thousand dollars, society is better off because not only did many workers get paid for their work on the scrubber, the environment will be healthier, meaning there will be lower long term costs to the healthcare system that would have been generated as a result of the air pollution. So you see, regulation can have some benefits.

    Furthermore, your claim that in America, everyone has equal access to opportunity is patently absurd. How can one make the claim that a person born in an impoverished neighborhood with a crumbling public school and no access to decent healthcare, not through any fault of their own but because of their parents' poverty, has the same access to opportunity as someone who is born wealthy and can go to the best private universities? Social mobility is now higher in Europe than it is here in the United States, in part because over there they empower their workers and assist their poorer citizens in attaining a college education and giving them access to the healthcare they might not otherwise be able to afford.

    Consider this- a recent study found that 47 percent of Congressmen and women are millionaires, while only 1 percent of the citizenry of the United States are in the same category. Also, insider trading laws do not apply to Congressmen and women. How can we claim we live in a truly representative democracy?

    All we ask for is that, in honor of the great liberal tradition this country was founded upon, the government protect our individual liberties from corporations that have managed, through massive campaign donations and lobbyists, to subvert and hold hostage political power in this country to their narrow, short-term interests.

      1. Yes, I read that and I was disappointed by it. You can see my own reply to those attacks (Alex Markey). But I fail to see how my reply to Anne Marie is ironic. Doug does not speak for the movement; nobody does. We are all individuals who hold different opinions. I'm sorry he stooped to the same level. We should hold ourselves to a higher standard. But please, if you lump me in with him, then you yourself are stooping to that level.

        I do agree with you though, these kinds of personal attacks hurt our movement, because they shut out people with whom we might find some common ground.

        1. Appreciate the response–both here and on FB. And in light of that, I do retract my comment about it being ironic–at the time, the irony was in being on the receiving end of an ad hominem attack while allowing a post calling one out. And wholeheartedly agree with the assessment that it does hurt the movement.

    1. Hello Anne Marie,

      I would rather not defend myself against charges of being improvident, dependent on others, lazy, unwilling to work.

      Instead, I'll address briefly the real issues you brought up by referring you to 2 articles published on the "Business Insider" website, not exactly a font of radical socialist propaganda:

      These two articles are full of well-documented facts, charts, graphs, and so on. Each also has a lively discussion section below, with many points of view.


      Alan OldStudent

  12. I appreciate you taking the time! There are lots of areas of agreement with you in this one, but because of time constraints, I'll have to reply in depth tomorrow. Have a great rest of the night!

  13. Anne-Marie, first of all, we are taking it up with our lawmakers — through the Occupy movement. I don't know when was the last time you were able to arrange a personal meeting with your senator, but I never have succeeded, myself. And I know for a fact that certain emails, faxes, and phone calls get mysteriously "disappeared" before ever reaching the intended recipient — it's just that easy to buy off a Congressional staffer.

    Also, as a Christian, I'm puzzled by the viewpoint that regards human value in monetary terms. You tell Alan, "you & your friends…contribute nothing." Really?? I find Alan's contributions to society's collective dialogue on these important issues to be fairly insightful. I am sure he is a warm, compassionate human being who contributes much positive value in many spheres of his life. And he definitely contributes a lot to our effort to reform our society in a more fair and equitable model.

    But having said that, most OT'ers do have jobs — in some cases, more than one. Yet they're saddled with oppressive student loan debt, or struggling in an era of rising prices and stagnant wages, or just simply sympathetic to those caught up in a system wherein you can work hard all your life only to watch your retirement savings evaporate at the stroke of a Wall Street speculator's pen. No, we don't all have equal opportunity in this country — we don't all have the same access to our lawmakers, we don't all have the same mouthpiece on the national stage, and we're not all able to wheel and deal in the stock market to where we can just watch the dividends roll in while we spend our days at the country club.

    A wonderful quote I came across recently: "If wealth were the inevitable result of hard work and ambition, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire."

  14. Thank you for posting this Cheryl. This is the most informed and well-thought out examination of some of the core economic/political problems with America. Frankly I have been disappointed with the general level of dialogue in the Occupy movement. Does OT ever hold teach-ins?

    1. They are in the works, Alex! In fact a professor from TCC came to the last GA and asked if he could hold some discussions and teach-ins. Stay tuned….

    2. There are actually plans to hold teach-ins on a variety of topics, although getting them through the GA is a challenge. When the proposal was made to hold a teach-in led by an economics professor, for example, it was blocked on the grounds that there are many theories of economics, and we couldn't know in advance how impartial the facilitator would be.

      So, we're trying. Whatever we come up with, it will have to be with the blessing of most, if not all, of the OT'ers who attend the GA's.

  15. Sadly, it's not just within the group I am concerned with.

    I like that you are open to having your concerns addressed and I am sad when I see personal attacks. I'm also disheartened that you took Amy's comment that way because it is simply true that you will not understand someone in one day. But at the same time I don't think she was discounting your opinion. HOWEVER, that is just how I took it, as I have spent time with her, and know her not to be abrasive. Though, if this is your first interaction with her, she could be seen that way…

    Apparently we all just need to spend time together.

    Again, I hate seeing people insulted, so I'm sorry that happened on our page in such a public format =/

  16. I never meant to imply that you could not render your opinion! I just feel that if you are going to write about a whole group of people, or a movement as a whole, you might want to check out more of their activities and meet more of the participants. You might feel slighted if I came over for dinner and we talked about a few things, I looked around the house, met your kids, then went home and wrote about how you were a nice guy and all, and I didn't see a bong out on the table, but your grass needed to be mowed and you raised your voice and seemed angry when dealing with one of the children. Not to mention you had some weird way of communicating with your wife that made me feel left out of the conversation and seemed a bit "cliquish".

    That would not be a fair and balanced critique of your life. I would need to hang with you, go to some BBQs, play some board games, see how you handle a variety of situations/people, before I could even hope to fairly represent you. Even then, it would be slightly biased due to my own perceptions.

    On the subject of GAs. You, and every other American, are invited to attend an occupy GA. They are a way for people to see what the movement is about, watch the process in action. This is where you would meet the members of the community who want to be involved but are unable/unwilling to "occupy" in the park. There are supports who donate items, food, technical knowledge, use of a truck, dish washing, clothes washing, etc. There are supports who only attend the marches. These are some of the people you will meet at the GAs. They are young and they are older. They all have their own reasons for supporting this movement. The one uniting factor is that they recognize a need for change and they want to help build a better tomorrow for all of us.

    Please do not view my words as a personal attack, for they surely do not have that intent. I only wish for you to have a deeper understanding of this movement. I only hope that you will understand that people do not rise up, unless they are suffering.

    Take care and I'm sorry that you had personal attacks on the facebook page.

    1. appreciate it…and that's just what i was trying to do: get a deeper understanding of the group. and in the course of doing so, like i'd written, met some wonderful people. but even in your comment that "people do rise up", i have a difficult time understanding in context, because, again, the reasons for the Occupy movement's "rising up" seem terribly vague [to me]. rising up for the sake of rising up, or protesting for the sake of protesting seems to be missing the entire point of protesting. and in not having clear direction (again, from the view of an outsider) definitely limits not only the effectiveness, but the inclusiveness: why would i join a group whose purpose i cannot determine?

  17. I just wanted to say that we have more in common than you might think. My husband and I have always homeschooled our two teens. I read cookbooks for fun. I spend way more time than I should on My faith, my family, and my future are very important to me.

    1. I think it's important for everyone to realize that the written word is often not the best way to convey emotion, sarcasm etc… It's much easier to misunderstand someones intentions when you can't see their mannerisms, or read their body language.

      That's why it's equally important to take a step back and re-read what someone wrote…really try to understand it…before responding.

      I'm not knocking anyone, as I think this conversation has been great, but just making sure everyone is aware.

  18. Scott, great job on the interview. I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said, but wanted you to know I commend you on what I see as a fair and balanced approach to this event. Just because you disagree with OWS doesn't mean you weren't fair and if you were a bit critical, I think that sometimes people mistake that as being judgmental when in reality you were just calling it as you see it. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and sometimes that means you disagree 🙂 Great job.

    1. I agree. I didn't have an opportunity to meet Scott (with school, and full time employment I don't have time to occupy) but so far I've seen him to be fair. I don't agree with him on many things, but he's shown a willingness to keep an open mind and that is all you can ask from anyone else.

  19. Hi Scott.

    I think it's wonderful that you brought your children to Occupation Park. I am a homeschool mom as well and I was in your shoes at one time. I guess because I can remember being unsure about this occupy "thing" I can have a bit of a open and more forgiving mind and continue to ask that you read independent sources for news, talk to more people and visit the park more than once. I have taken my preschooler aged child with me more than once and I really think the kindness of everyone has been exceptional.

    Remember to continue to seek truth in all things.

    1. i wouldn't disagree about the kindness experienced at the park. although there's certainly been a new perspective from the FB post, and while there's been (also) some great kindness there, the original and following comments from Doug Taylor certainly show another side, for sure.

      1. Scott, there are some bigoted, nasty-tempered people in my church, too. There are control freaks. There are cowards, and there are cussers. Any time you get a group of people together, I don't care what cause they espouse or even what they claim to believe, odds are you're going to find the whole spectrum of human temperaments and attitudes, unless it's a brainwashing operation. OWS is no different. Nobody ever claimed that we represent the noblest of souls or the purest of hearts. All we have in common are our anger and disgust at an exploitative economic system. But snideness and ridicule are a far cry from violence. We never promised you would not be dissed. But we are committed never to physically attack or harm you.

        (BTW, it would be nice if your blog allowed for email notification of thread replies.)

        1. I agree to a point…but will also have to say that the nature of the person determines their actions. If a person (and I'm not directing this to any OT person, but as a generality) is a vile, nasty person, their actions will tend tend to be kind and gentle. I find that the most peaceful folks are, in fact, peaceful, and don't just talk it. Alan, for example…though I might disagree with much of what he says, he's a nice, kind man, and I respect him and have enjoyed talking with him.

        2. email notification plug in installed now…but not sure if working yet. got some real work to do, then will check. or, if you get notification of this reply, it is working. 😉

          you should now see option when commenting about subscribing to comments…

      2. There are all sorts of souls in the world aren't there. Isn't that one thing we are teaching our children by exposing them in situations atht we have some control over. My first two times at the park an older lady took a very attached shine to my child. It gave me the chance to explain to my daughter how and why some people are the way they are and to maybe explore why she bestowed her with such gifts and attention (I believe the lad was missing her own grandchildren and wanted just to talk about her family with a couple nonjudgemental people). Everyone is different and as long as no one is being mean, we can be kind with people, even if we don't agree. My daughter has learned, even though I know many there might not agree with me or I them, how people can work together.

        I view many of the onsite occupiers as almost developing a family like relationship from what I have witnessed. Families argue, but in the end still care about each other. Internet forums really don't give the oppurtunity to explain yourself well. The words can come off not, in most cases, as the party intended for them to sound. This may not be the case but until I discuss something with someone I have choosen to think this way. 🙂

        I again hope that you think about some more visits, with open minds for all. We all have something to give and insight to share, even if we disagree on some issues. It's those disagreements that add spice and interest to life and make us seek truth and more knowledge. Anyone can sit home and never search out someone with a differeing thought, but they will become stagnet and useless.

        As aslways seek truth in all things.

  20. Thanks for the clarification, Keim.

    I think the point you're making now is that we're not standing on any real foundation, just some ill-defined anger at the world.

    With respect, characterizing our anger that way is a bit too black-and-white, maybe even glib. What's required is a more nuanced analysis if we are to understand how our movement fits into the real world.

    You make the point that "inchaote anger" does not make for an effective protest or a movement that is anything more than a flash-in-the-pan. Certainly, the media, especially Fox, say that about us.

    We are a mystery to them because we don't look like other political groups, with a structure, bylaws, and a hierarchy. To them, we lack focus.

    Really, when the media slap such a simplistic and unidimensional labels on us, they substitute glittering generalities for a more sober assessment. (click this link for more information about glittering generalities:

    What we Occupy activists have been doing is clarifying our thoughts through dialog. We're not fading away, as has the Tea Party to one extent or another. The Occupy movement is actually growing quite rapidly. In just days, it changed the political dialog from conservative talking points to a trenchant criticism of what we see as the corporate ruling class.

    It's an astonishing fact that as a movement, Occupy is only about 2 months old.

    When it started, it did not have big money sponsors, and yet it has grown from a few dozen people occupying an obscure New York park the press ignored into a nationwide and even international movement that dominates the news.

    Like the Occupy Movement, the The Tea Party movement also touched on a lot of grievances of the 99%. Like us, most Tea Party activists are ordinary people. But the Tea Party's real financing came from people like the Koch brothers and Dick Armey, who spent millions on public relations firms to publicize the Tea Party. They wined and dined the talking heads. Even before their first activities, it was well publicized, getting immediate coverage from media outlets like Fox News, talking heads, right-wing talk radio hosts, and a lot of conservative bloggers.

    What Armey and the Koch brothers wanted was to integrate the Tea Party into the Republican party. That's why they spent all those big bucks.

    Many in the Tea Party don't like the idea of being co-opted into the Republican Party. Our friend Scott echoes a similar sentiment when he says "I didn't leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me."

    A large number of Occupy activists were people who supported Obama in 2008, staffed telephone banks, gave $25 a week, and so on. They came from social layers who usually don't vote: Students, minorities, and so on.

    Many of these young activists feel the same way about the Democratic Party and Obama as Scott feels about the Republican Party. Like Scott, they feel their party used them and then betrayed them.

    The Democratic Party strategists have got to be pretty nervous right now, because they probably won't be able to herd that youthful energy in 2012 that put them over the top in 2008. These activists are too "occupied" with Occupy to bother working for a candidate they feel betrayed them.

    I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me and the other OT people who have visited "A Dad First." The discussion we've had here is of high quality, and I appreciate everyone's contribution.


    Alan OldStudent


    Alan OldStudent

    1. Hello Scott and visitors to "A Dad First."

      A promised, I submitted my first post on Scott's visit on my website. You can read it by going here:

      I also submitted it to the official website of Occupy Tacoma. It is waiting for the Internet Working Group to approve it for publication there, and you'll likely see it there in a matter of hours or days.

      You may visit Occupy Tacoma's official website by going here:

      In that post, I cover the issue of property destruction and violence versus the power of nonviolent mass action. Advocating nonviolent mass action is a preoccupation of the Occupy movement throughout the country.


      Alan OldStudent

    2. Alan:

      Thanks for your comments. You are a very well written spokesman for Occupy. You pretty much interpreted my feelings correctly. I don't have anything against Occupy-I just haven't seen anything to cause me to support it yet. Anger is not enough for me. I'd need a plan I can get behind. I have more in depth comments in another spot on this blog, if you care to look for them.

  21. I thought Alan did a pretty great job of summing up what is upsetting us. When Alan lays out, point by point, much of what makes us angry how can that be "inchoate rage?"

    1. Easily. The definition of inchoate:


         [in-koh-it, -eyt or, especially Brit., in-koh-eyt] Show IPA



      not yet completed or fully developed; rudimentary.


      just begun; incipient.


      not organized; lacking order: an inchoate mass of ideas on the subject.

      I think Occupy fits all 3 of these definitions.

      From my viewpoint specifically Occupy hasn't done some important things that a group needs to be successful in the longterm:

      1. Defined what it is about.

      2. Defined what change they are seeking.

      3. Defined who your movements leaders are. (I know, I know, Occupy is trying not to have individual people develop into leaders ALA MLKing, etc.-Unfortunately I can't think of any successful movements that DIDN'T develop figurehead leaders)

      As a person that has studied groups, I know they go through 4 stages: Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Occupy has Formed. I suspect it is Storming now, at least a little. But, with the governing techniques that are in development (consensus) Norming will be difficult, and Performing even more so.

      1. Fair enough assessment, even if I may disagree with some of your analysis. I assumed you were alluding only to the "we don't have a clear message" argument, but clearly that's not the case.

        We've been a group for two months. You seem to concede that a process of natural development takes place in activist groups. I would say that it's not suprising that a group this young hasn't coalesced around some kind of bullet point message. And at this point I think it would be a mistake to do so. We are in the reflective stage right now. We want people to think "where are we as a people, and how did we get here?"

        The process is playing out, we are just early in it.

      2. Yes, groups do go through specific, defined processes. As Occupy will undoubtedly do. But, past civic movements have started out being about something. Civil rights, for instance. Their goprecise goals may have developed over time. But what they were about was clear from the start.

        Occupy has no such clarity.

        Too date, Occupy has chosen not to define itself. It seems like it wants to be about whatever each individuals hot buttons are. It wants to be all things to all protesters. Such a movement can not succeed over time. Occupy must better define itself if it doesn't wish to disintegrate.

  22. What do you consider the definition of violence? I ask this not to excuse other indefensible acts, but to draw a necessary distinction between "violence" and…say "vandalism." Certainly vandalism is something that should be discouraged as well, but it is not violence and equating it with violence can be exceedingly misleading. A Police officer who's punched, or attacked with a broken bottle is probably justified in reacting with quite heavy force in order to protect himself. But should spray painting a building, or breaking a window result in being hit with batons? Again, I say this not to excuse the actions of those who engage in vandalism (there is no place for that in this movement either), but to make sure we all realize that violence has a very specific definition.

    Now, that said, I would caution against taking sensationalistic media reports as gospel, especially when you have never had a chance to interact with those specific groups yourself. If you listen to media reports of last nights March on the NYSE you would think that protesters were exceedingly violent. The last time I had a chance to look their were two police officers injured in a march that featured between 10,000 and 14,000 people. That amount of people could easily have injured or even killed dozens if not hundreds of police officers if they were to all go on a collective violent rampage. But they didn't. Instead…just like every occupy movement in my opinion…a few trouble makers acted out violently and were arrested for it. The few that engage in violent acts are in no way representative of this movement. If there is evidence that the movement itself has encouraged violence then by all means I would love to see it. But evidence of random acts of individual violence should not reflect on the movement as a whole.

  23. hello scott–

    i am a supporter of occupy wall street because i have seen our economy go out of control and have seen the effects this has had on friends, neighbors and the community as a whole. people are losing long-time liveleyhoods through no fault of their own, are becoming bankrupt trying to pay for unexpected health crises, small business owners struggle to stay afloat and many are generally demoralized by the lack of concern and cuts to entitlements that might help them.

    the major misunderstanding i see in your article is the assumption that protestors endorse violence. i could hold up livestream coverage of the portland eviction as a model of non-violence. when one individual threw something which hit an officer, the crowd offered him up as the perpetrator, and he was arrested. i have never been so impressed and proud as i was with the restraint that crowd showed.

    it is well known that infiltrators enter these crowds to provoke violence in order to discredit protestors and start trouble. look at revelations published regarding civil rights and anti-war protests of the 60's. i so hate to have this misunderstood, and hope you will take the time to do some research on this problem so that you won't need to perpetuate this myth. even if some in the movement seek violent means, it is wrong to characterize the whole of the group according to these few.

    i ask that you pretty please keep an open mind about the occupy movement. history shows that most constructive changes started with grassroots movements such as this; indeed, it is our responsibility as citizens to speak and act on our behalf rather than throw up our hands in futility.

    i have seen a diverse group involved, including many impressive young people getting involved for the first time. i wish i had been as committed and informed when i was their age in the seventies.

    thank-you for your forum on this important issue.

  24. i hear this argument so often, and vehemently disagree. most people want only the dignity of working for a descent income without fear of being outsourced or downsized. it is wrong for corporations to disregard the american worker, and yes, the american economy in order to pile up more profits for the few. health care issues impoverish so many whom are not insured and trying to keep up with the unregulated medical industry.

  25. Hello Mary Avery,

    In my opinion, trying to defend oneself by violent means against a police officer who is attacking a demonstration is a serious tactical error. See my article on Scott's visit here:

    The whole second portion of the article deals with this in depth, and I will be writing more about how essential nonviolent mass action is if we are to win.

    I've been involved in many social movements since the 1960s, and when provocateurs infiltrate, they are forever trying get us to engage in violence. Why? Because they know we can't win.

    For those other visitors to A DAD FIRST who don't know what I'm talking about when speaking of provocateurs, check out this Wikipedia article on COINTELPRO:

    And then check out this one on the congressional committee, known as the Church Committee which investigated this type of activity:

    The Church Committee held hearings in 1975. They don't teach a lot about this important part of American history today.


    Alan OldStudent

    1. Thank you, Alan. I probably marched beside you during and since the 60s if you were in Seattle.

      I was speaking specifically about the Seattle Occupy and the violence against the occupiers there, but it goes for anywhere. Occupiers spoke of being literally ridden over by bikes without provocation.

      I do not condone violence, but I am fully aware that any self protection enacted by a protester when attacked is immediately considered violence by this media and the police involved. I've personally been beaten in the past for simply being present when an empty bottle was thrown by what we all assumed was a plant. When one moves to cover one's head during attack, it is called a violent act.

      When people who are accustomed to getting their news via TV entertainment sources accept what they are told (even going back to the 'dirty hippie' era), and they close their minds to anything that rocks that particular boat, said people are not willing to accept the treachery that is enacted upon protesters regularly by police.

  26. Maybe the OWS message is to simple for most people to comprehend in our complicated and confusing society.

    Think Fairness and Equality.

    At the rate that our country is becoming more top heavy, how much longer will it be before the 1% decide our President is a God and makes us start building his pyramid?

    Think Fairness and Equality.

    I am Bill, 1 of the 99%

    1. So are you saying that those of us who desire to know more, who are asking questions….are you saying we're too stupid to understand? Do you really mean to be that condescending and really want to go down that road?

  27. I mean no offense or insult to any.

    Is it fair that one person starts a company with employees and he becomes worth billions while they slip to minimum wage. Is that fair and equal compensation for all parties? They all contributed. Why don't they quit? It's the same everywhere. In my opinion as long as we accept what is happening, it will continue to get worse, hense the Pyramid building scenerio.

    1. Yes, it is fair. That owner staked more on the venture. And those employees? They all agreed to work for what they earned. If they don't want the job at that pay and benefits level, don't take it.

      1. When you are in an environment that features double digit unempoyment what other choice do workers have besides taking jobs with reduced pay and benefits? Many business love this climate. They can demand virtually whatever they want from their workers and get it, because what else is the worker going to do? Enter the ranks of the unemployed?

        1. You assume that businesses are not facing the same, if not more challenges than the average worker. That's a very false assumption. Further, since much of the OWS stuff appears to be about large, often multi-national corporations, you have to look at how little–compared to small businesses–these folks actually employee. Yet who gets the tax breaks? Employers like Boeing.

          I started my business just a little over 3 years ago, at the downturn of the economy. I'd lost 1/3 of the value of my 401k, and though was told my job was safe, I didn't trust it and knew that the opportunity was there. I cashed out my IRA, and launched. And it's not been easy, but it's been an amazing journey because I took matters into my own hands.

        1. I 100% agree that if you start a business and risk all, you deserve some extra "gold" when you hit pay dirt. However I hate paying $3.50 a gallon for gas, having it shoved down my thoart that we need to pay that because of any number of factors, none of which include the corporate exces making MEGA profits and bonuses.

          Not only do the workers suffer in many instances (yes I agree if you agree to make a certain wage, it is honorable to do your best for that wage) and the consumer suffers. The corporate leaders don't suffer. They reep but they fail to sow. Their behavior is ungodly and I can't believe any Christian would ever think otherwise.

          Employers should be concerned about the welfare of their employees. Isn't that Biblical? I fail to see where an employer neglecting care and proper treatment of their employees is just and lawful.

          Seek Truth is all things!

          1. Might be good to check the stats on the costs of gas and where the $$ actually goes. Very little is profit for the oil companies (cents on the gallon, vs the gargantuan amount that is taxes)–most of their profits are from things other than gas, like plastics.

            But to the bigger point, if I, as a business owner, risk everything, work hard, and become successful, what right do my employees have to my profits? Are they willing to put in as much time or effort as I did? Are they willing to struggle for several years while building a client base? No. They, for the most part, want a job that is a set number of hours with a set of benefits, and as little responsibility as possible. Let's be honest, that's the by-and-large truth. So if I do well, what right to that do they have aside from working the job they were paid to–and more importantly AGREED to? Because that's what a job is: a contract for services rendered. Don't like the terms? Don't take the contract.

          2. Unable to reply to your comment so sorry if this seems confusing.

            I think you miss the point, by a mile, Scott. I never, nor do I know anyone, that disagrees with a business owner making a profit. I think things are getting muddied in all the confusion and misunderstanding. What most of us disagree with is abuse of the workers and the consumers all to make a profit off the blood, sweat, and tears that each of us shed.

            If you agree to do an hour worth of labor for $12, then you should by all rights give that hour worth of labor. On the same token the corporation–I am not talking local business owners that look their employees in the face each day or that see their consumers and know what they need and buy type of situation (I think you are thinking –or implying–that type of business whereas most people view a large corporation as Exxon, Chase, Walmart, etc….) should not abuse their employee and the consumer just to line their pockets with more and more gold. They do abuse their employees by deny some basic needs including breaks and compensation for hours worked past the agreed upon time… etc ., etc. The large corporations WANT personhood yet hide behind a veil of boards and nameless identities. This is not just or lawful (it might be legal but it is NOT lawful). As a conservative you must understand that what we have today is in NO shape or form what our founding father intended, right? We fought against a large corporation that day when on that green (perhaps on a day much like today) a group of family men said “HELL NO. WE WONT TAKE IT ANYMORE” and fired their guns. Or those people in Boston that woke up one day and took the boat out and boarded a ship and tossed all the cargo over board. They were fighting corporate greed that day as well. The only difference is, in the 1770’s it was a king and today it’s a nameless and blameless entity. I imagine they were ridiculed and despised by the masses as well. I suppose many people believed what the king’s men reported. They stood fast however and their cause was just, even when all seemed lost that winter at Valley Forge. Some might have looked at them and snickered and said, “Is it worth the fight? You agreed to pay those taxes when you bought that tea (paraphrase of what actually occurred).” Or “You agreed, when your ancestors sailed over and worked as indentured servants to the crown and Hudson Bay that you would pay high taxes and work yourself into the grave…” well those that forget history are bound to repeat it. We forgot, as a nation, and we are now repeating the fight of unjust and unequal representation and the resulting issues that follow.

            God never allowed masters to abuse their servants and those that treated their servants with just and righteous care was well loved by their servants. In today's world, the corporate master hides behind the wall of secrecy for "protection" yet demands the same rights as the individual. This is what the issues arise from, I think. Corporations set a standard to which to be competitive all must follow; including low work wages (the American dream is dead). Don't get me started on what happened when farmers, who began to do business with large seed companies, etc. began to practice mono-agriculture and what has happened in India because of large CORPORTATE GREED and how they hide behind contracts which are unattainable, saying that “you agreed, so pay up”. They hold the strings and lure in the unsuspecting. I could go on and on and well on some more. How someone can continually equate the corporate greed we see today to the businessman/woman that works hard to start a business from the ground up is, well Scott, frankly uninformed and I hope not purposely misleading.

            Do my words make me a Marxist? Would you view me as a diehard socialist expecting to be given a portion of the wealth just for being born? No. I am not nor do I see where a right thinking person would even envision this from my words.

            Time fails me to go on and on.

            I just remember what I heard one time and will paraphrase here, in the beginning of change a patriot is a scorned and hated man, but when his cause succeeds the masses join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. I don’t want to be like that proverbial frog in the stock pot that doesn’t realize he has been cooked until it’s too late.

            I do wish you good day, and remember to seek truth in all things.

          3. I appreciate the comment, though I completely disagree with the rhetoric as well as the "facts"….which in the case of this discourse, appear to be one in the same. Stating "abuse" without factual proof certainly isn't anything but vitriol. And your personal suppositions don't quite meet the grade. How many businesses have you run? Do you even understand the nature of a corporation, and how it is structured? Not that I'm defending it, but what are you basing your discourse on?

            As for my political persuasion, you assume far too much. I may lean conservative on some issues, but am far more libertarian than you've boxed me into–frankly, I view nearly EVERY issue in our society as one caused by government interference in matters it had nor has no business in. Every element of our lives that we grant the government power to say yes to, we also give them the power to say no. Neither is right…the government derives its power from the governed.

            But your use of terms like "right thinking person" are clear condescension, as are the remarks about things being muddied in the confusion and misunderstand, whereas the OWS movement has to sole truth and all answers to economic and political issues. The real 99% can do without this kind of silliness.

            And no, the American Revolution has NOTHING to do with "corporate greed", and had everything to do with the overreach of the government and desire to be free.

  28. I love you, Scott, and I appreciate this debate even though I do not agree with all of your assertions. It does concern me that you thought that you needed to bring your children to the park, in order to stem any potential violence – "Having the kids there would reduce the chances of any sort of conflict."

    This is disturbing for 2 reasons, although I think it best to share only 1 publicly:

    1. That you have any fear of violence at the park, where we work around the clock to keep everyone safe, even as they sleep.

    OP is probably the safest public place in Tacoma. We have had issues with transients, who were swiftly removed by our very professional police force. There have been heated discussions, but I was in the park when we voted on our provisional rules, and safety precedes everything. This is why we have people walking the park throughout the night, and why we have chosen to rely on the police to deal with potentially dangerous "outsiders".

    Thank you for visiting the park, and for sharing your thoughts on our imperfect movement. I do think that it's important to remember that this movement is 2 months old – still an infant, and prone to temper tantrums. Forgive us for showing our age, our weariness after weeks on end in the park, and our not-so-eloquent responses. We're tired, broken (if not broke), beat down, and trying very hard to change the opinion of folks who see only our flaws, and not how dedicated we are to making life better and more fare for hardworking Americans.

    1. And the second being that I'd bring them to something that could potentially be dangerous? Like I said, their presence would have reduced any possibility than if I had gone on my own. And I'm fine being criticized for that decision. More importantly, and the the credit of OT, there was no reason for concern. And when I wrote potentially dangerous, I'm not talking in the former-neighborhood type of danger, but in the way of overly-heated verbal confrontation. As a matter of fact, your comment made me look over what I wrote again to make sure I didn't use the word violence…

      I also did explain my reasoning for doing so, from my background from 2003, where a small group of us counter-protesters were seconds away from physical assault from peaceful anti-war protesters, even though all we were doing was standing well off to the side holding signs that portrayed other points of view. Had it not been for a small group of actually-peaceful protesters who surrounded us to prevent their other members from continuing, things would have been very, very bad.

      But again, I was wrong. The OT group was welcoming and indeed safe.

    2. Let me also say this, in a more public way, Heidi: you are one of the main reasons I've looked deeper into Occupy Tacoma. Even if I disagree politically with some of the folks involved, there are many areas of agreement, and more importantly, I respect you (and now others that I've met) enough that I couldn't just accept at face value or media portrayal.

      1. Thank you Scott! I actually think you would make a very good friend.

        I recently had a discussion with someone in church that spouted media words about OT/OWS and when I asked "have you actually went and talked with them?" was told no, they didn't need to, they knew what they were about….. How? I think your character speaks for itself in that you decided to find out for yourself and not rely on others.

        See Truth in all things!

  29. On another topic. Who would take their children to a place where they feel there could be violence?

    1. Please re-read the post. The word violence was not used in the explanation of why I brought them. Also check my reply to Heidi's comment.

      1. Scott, thanks for your cogent, balanced and humble approach to all of this mess. Certainly not every OT participant should be painted with the broad brush of violence, ignorance, entitlement or Marxist. However, given the generally Socialist bent of the protests (when you can get a central theme from the crowds, it seems to go there), and their utter lack of a critical eye toward government, who has instigated our current circumstances alongside many greedy "insiders" in the corporate world (not whole corporations, any more than whole protest groups), it would seem that they should take a closer look at history. Socialist protests have always been at first peaceful. As Stalin called them "useful idiots" do the peaceful up-front work of agitation. Then they are infiltrated and overtaken by the violent elements – the SEIU, SWP, ACP and AFL-CIO types – who take over during the initial instability to try to create greater trauma to the American system. It worked in the Russian Revolution and the Maoist purges, and it worked here to an extent in the 20's.

        Again, I do appreciate the peaceful protests. I also see the corruption going on in Washington and in corporations that work deals with their government cohorts to line their pockets. But that is not the entire business workforce out there. The vast majority of businesses, as you know Scott, struggle to make it under heavy regulation and taxation. And our middle class, btw, makes more than the middle class of any nation. Our poor are richer than the middle class of most nations and have access to services unheard of in other countries, due to the largesse of our wealthy. But most of our wealthy members are not criminally wealthy. They have earned what they have through hard work, good decision-making and lots of sacrifice. I won't envy their position. I believe what most of America struggles with right now (given what they've seen on t.v., granted) is the seeming entitlement demands of those who put forward a Marxist ideology and then try to claim they are part of a 99% of Americans who clearly do not subscribe to any kind of Socialism – or entitlement.

        If they wish to galvanize the rest of the 99% (given that less than 1% of the nation is actually protesting), then they will need to drop the Marxist ideology. But they will not do this, because they are the vanguard of the violent Communists that will follow them. I would support those who believe in our American system "revisioned" to topple the few who are gaming the system, in both government and business, but I will not support any group that protests for "fairness and equality" from a Marxist perspective. That is not only anti-American, but it is completely counter-productive to bringing prosperity to all people who will work for it. Instead, it will fairly bring poverty to all, equally. Just look around the world at those systems that delve deeply into Marxism. Case closed.

          1. Keim, I am already an enemy of the people – in any Socialist, Marxist or Communist system. I am a Christian, which by definition in those systems is an enemy – either explicitly or implicitly. And I am ever happy to be so, even though I will live at peace with all men, as long as it is possible for me to do so.

  30. Oh…this comment! Lots to go through, so starting from bottom and scrolling up..

    "Government should protect its citizens". Agreed. Yet many of the agencies that are supposed to be doing so (FDA, for a great example) are doing anything but…they are protecting the industries rather than consumers. Considering many of those agencies have been revolving doors between govt and those industries in terms of those appointed to positions in them, well, we can't expect much there. Those govt agencies need to be reformed to prevent that and return them to their purposes.

    Federal Reserve: abso-stinking'-lutely. It needs to be audited and gutted, if not abolished.

    Trade: they do that. Not well, but they do that. The issue, as I see it, is that the govt officials doing so are placing loopholes and other technicalities in place…to benefit someone, and often themselves. But they place nice-sounding titles on the bills, like "Free Trade" that is anything but.

    Campaign reform. Some agreement there, though other posters have mentioned public paying for it, which I disagree with. What I'd like to see are actually enforced limits on both personal and corporate donations, as well as a total cap.

    TARP. Bad, and not just because of Bush. The whole concept was flawed, and the execution even more so, not to mention corrupt.

    Running out of time…anything you wish me to specifically expand on or explain?

  31. I read a comparison today that struck truth for me. It is the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s to the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Think it's a reach? The former was a movement for voting rights and equality.

    Is not the latter the same? Voting rights for the overwhelming majority who cannot hire a politician, and are left unable to lobby as Americans once were, and the lack of equality has been eloquently stated on this thread. One can want to work, get out and get a job or two or three, and still suffer because there is no health coverage, or retirement, or time to raise children. While there may be a lot of jobs, the jobs that pay a fair wage for a fair day's work are few.

      1. Yes! I'm still waiting to hear someone that can tell me what the Occupy groups advocate for.

        People are clear what they are against (pretty much whatever the individual protester being questioned holds as a pet peeve).

      2. And the Civil Rights movement was about elevating an entire race to the level of equal humanity. Voting rights had already been given to blacks, so that was not part of it. Black Americans were being treated as second class citizens and blatant, institutionalized racism was the order of the day. They sought opportunity, not a hand-out. I have yet to hear what all of the protesters of OWS really care about, other than a general cry against the corporate America that, while flawed, has given us the highest standard of living in the world. The righteousness of the CR cause was in their desire to see all races treated equally. OWS has yet to show what they stand for, other than a French Revolution-style hatred of the wealthy.

        1. I welcome, btw, any one of the OWS posters here to decry Marxism (and any other form of Communism-Socialism) and support truthful reform of our current system in a Democratic manner that is appropriate for a Federalist Republic that conducts business in a capitalist, free trade environment.

          1. That shouldn't be hard to find, but I'm not going to do it. I'm a social libertarian myself, but wanting people to decry Marxism is easy, getting someone to do it that actually understands the theory and not just the propaganda our system has taught since the 50's is another. I'm planning on re-examining my 'knowledge' on what Marxism actually means. There is a big difference between worker owned means of production and Stalin. Much like Nazi including the word Socialist in it's party name didn't actually make them Socialists.

            Our media pundits have demonized word after word in attempts to make anyone that does not agree with their particular viewpoint an enemy who is dangerous. Liberal! Socialists! Communists! Leftists!

            I'd like to see more people (and believe it's happening) open themselves up to discussing what parts of a system have worth and what parts do not. Thomas Paine went from the writing the gas on the fire of our Revolution with "Common Sense" to designing an early version of a social security /pension system paid for by property owners and inheritance taxes in "Agrarian Justice" which to any conservative pundit = pure communism. Rather than claiming it can't work, I'd like to see more talking about what can work. A capitalist system where income disparity becomes to great also always ends in violence. Come to think of it, historically ALL systems end up failing as they get corrupted. ALL of them.

            Being that the Occupation group is made up of a broad cross section of people… with the levels of education you'd expect at any gathering of common folks, rather than those that have spent a lifetime studying economics, history, political science, etc etc… I feel it's quite fair that the interviewee joined the march and decided that he needed to get more educated. That is the point, not being able to stand toe to toe with people that have spent their college years or lifetime debating this stuff. We are all bringing our knowledge or what we think we know (plenty of misinformation just like in any other large evolving group). Sharing that and fact checking is critical. Continuing the status quo that has developed for the purpose of consolidating political/economic power is a dead end for our society, it's destructive and divisive and turns us all into pawns. I hope we can do better.

  32. Chris, while voting rights had been awarded to blacks, it was not the practice until 1965. See:, or if you don't ascribe to Wiki, feel free to google history of voting rights for black Americans. Just as we, the 99%, have the right to vote in most places in the US, we are at a huge disadvantage by our inability to hire lobbyists and pay off congressional aides and millionaire politicians, so our votes simply don't have the impact that they are meant to have. And while you profess that we have the highest standard of living in the world, I have read so much to the contrary, that it kind of surprises me to see it in print now. We may have once, but it hasn't been that way for many years. We have a much higher mortality rate, both for newborns and citizenry, than many countries, we have terrible health care in comparison, and the FDA is a joke by which many countries surpass us in consumer protection.

    1. I would love to argue with you about these things, Mary, but I am awaiting the aforementioned disavowal of all things Marxist. Arguing with a Marxist is an exercise in futility. Let me know if we have some common ground and then we can begin to work on it from there…

      1. Why the need to argue, rather than discuss? Why the demand to disavow? What is YOUR definition of a Marxist that makes them so futile to argue with? I've met a few in the last decade or so and they were all really nice, intelligent, very well read, very well spoken people. From business owners to school teachers, I don't know any violent ones, just ones that know what has gone wrong with various past attempts at implementing what they feel would be an improvement on our version of capitalism. I suspect that you personally don't know which of your friends/relatives/coworkers might actually be Marxists because you start with such a blanket statement.

        One thing I try in all aspects of my life is to recognize when I've been misinformed. I try to ensure that in this digital world that I fact check what I have taken as common knowledge, listen before arguing. I've found that a LOT of what we were pumped full of growing up is just plain wrong, and if you dig for the "why" it becomes obvious how we got it wrong. Groups, be they political parties, or religious groups tend to want power, if they need to fabricate or twist information to get or maintain it, it is a given that they will. Look at the impact that has had on our text books. History revisionism runs rampant, attempts to displace science with religious beliefs. Politics work the same way… character assassination is much more effective than actually putting forth the argument of why you as a candidate are qualified to do the job.

        I really would like to hear what you think Marxism actually is. I look forward to a reply, and hope that my reluctance to decry anyone's beliefs based on something someone else has in their head isn't truly a conversation blocker.

        ScottM (should have picked a different name than just my first above, didn't mean to possibly make it look like I was impersonating the Blog owner.)

      2. I am not for a soicalist government. Maybe a return to our republic as it was formed would be a start? I don't know… We are so far from what our founding fathers intended it's not even funny, yet even that wasn't perfect.

  33. what do occupy wall street protestors want? it may be as simple as what is happening here now: dialogue.

    they want the average citizen to stop waiting for something to change, and actively get up and express themselves and encourage change.

    they want to feel a part of the process, and encourage others to educate themselves about our systems, both political and economic.

    they want those people to stop listening to the hum of corporate news agencies, who slant the news to accommodate profit.

    that's a start…

      1. I mar zora nailed a huge part of what is going on. Itsonlywords, if the tea party wasn't a defacto arm of the republican party and their corporate owners they could have been this voice. As a libertarian, I CAN decry them because they got turned into a bunch of cranky old people on medicare and social security bitching about social programs while yelling not to touch their medicare. Showing up with guns on their hips, talking about their second amendment options if they didn't win an election. Our ranks have most likely drawn in a bunch of the early tea party members that weren't nuts and have a brain that hasn't been turned to mush by the media they are feeding on. I can't say I know anyone that admits to being a tea party member first hand, so can't talk further on that subject from a personal point of interaction. Their group has also suffered at the hands of character assassination by those opposing them, but unlike OWS I don't see any Tea Party actions at all. It's like "Well, we got our candidates elected as Republicans, we can go back to yelling at the TV"

        1. Scott, to quote the best movie ever made and your use of the phrase "nailed", "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means". The Tea Party has railed against GOP folks as much as Dems, and at times even more. It is by no way any kind of defacto arm of the GOP. So that kind of characterization doesn't stand, though by using it, your stand of being some sort of social libertarian shows that it's more likely you are anything but. So in that regard, thanks for adding to the discussion so we can more clearly see your real stance.

        2. ScottM, it would seem as though from the last part of your response that you think drum circles and uptwinkles are a more effective means of initiating change than getting Constitution-respecting candidates elected. But that surely can't be right because that would just be crazy talk.

          Aside from that, your ignorance of the demographics of tea party supporters suggests that you may be one of the people mentioned by mar zora who spend too much time listening to the "hum of corporate news agencies, who slant the news to accommodate profit." Maybe you should take the next opportunity to attend a tea party rally rather than basing your opinions on what you hear on the TV.

          1. I'm a hopeful realist. One of my constant comments in the Occupy movement is to NOT let the drum circle radical veterans take over. They have a long and glorious history of losing… oh wait, that's just losing. All these groups are coming to our events which is fine, they are all part of the 99%, the unions,, veterans for peace, etc. etc. Some are getting rather pushy about stealing our names in attempts to bolster their actions and it pisses me off. A coalition of unions and moveon is planning an 'occupy' action in DC, nothing about asking for approval by a GA, they just took the name, are getting permits and arranging buses etc… rather than helping out with what we have in common, they are going to try (and it is more than one group) to build their name value by stealing ours and applying it to their top down hierarchy driven bunch of historic losers.

            They plan on setting up tents on some capital lawn… and they'll be gone before the weekend is over unless they are planning on burning through the union members dues paying protestors to stay longer. That isn't OWS. That is the same type of protest that hasn't worked in decades… only with tents as props in order to make the tie to real OWS type actions.

            As to the getting Constitution-respecting candidates elected… at the moment THAT is the crazy talk. Almost impossible, I'd rather we insist that ANYONE in office respect the constitution and the people they serve regardless of what party they are a member of.

            As to attending a tea party rally, doing a search of Tacoma Tea Party mostly gets hits on a bike ride to tea shop I did participate in… but the local tea party blog was last used in 2006, most recent thing I see on other hits is from 2009. I know more atheists than tea party members. Hell, I know more card carrying Marxists. Aside from the pundits on FOX news, I haven't heard squat about them. If there is a local group of tea party members that is active let me know… I'll check them out.

        3. I see the Tea Party (which never made me think it was something I needed to join) as another arm of the political system that needs to ber overhauled.

          See Truth in all things!

      1. why do you say michael moore is a 1%er? he does not identify himself as such, and certainly does not profit from exploiting others. explain?

        regardless, my point was that he has expressed, in terms that even the non-intellectual can understand, that which occupy wall street haters say has not been expressed.

        there it is…fed with a spoon.

        1. Perhaps I was mistaken, but I thought the 1% status was based on wealth. And Michael Moore certainly has wealth, and lives nothing like the '99%', despite the chummy ballcap. Does this mean OWS is giving exemptions as to who is and who is not in the 1%? What are the criteria, so the rest of us apparently ignorant masses can be properly educated?

          1. Ok just to start with I could be wrong in everything I am about to say. I am not out occupying anything I am just a person who has been following the "Occupy Movment" and find it intresting. My opinion has been formed from reading up on topic and "debates" me and my friends have had ont he topic.

            You are right in saying that Moore is part of the "1%" but he is standing with the "99%" he is not the only one. Here is a link to lots of people who class themselfs as the "1%" but stand with the "99%" –

            You dont have to be part of a effect group to belive in what they are standing for and help them. In all history you will find people helping groups they are not apart of.

            From what I understand the whole 99% and 1% came about as 1% of the population control/own and very large chunk of the wealth. This is just going to be a simple fact of free markets you are always going to have a small % of people holding a large % of the wealth.

            The problem comes along when people/corporations within that "1%" use that wealth to get goverment to pass or affect laws/bills/acts to there favour members of the public could never achieve.

            Like I said as the start of this I could be wrong.

  34. i will answer questions to the best of my ability. i cannot speak for who is "in" or "out" of the 99%. i heard moore on a tv show identify himself as one. and i'm assuming its based more on means of acquisition and exploitation. but i'm no expert.

    the point of the post is to share his take on "what they want" rather than how much he earns. people criticize the movement for having no aims, so i shared his well worded piece to promote understanding. so, as to ad hominem attack–you chose to dismiss the messenger rather than hear the message, it seems.

    really, we can either nitpick and obfuscate, or actually have a dialogue. i understand that you have felt attacked. that is not my purpose.

    i've never heard anyone supportive of ows "choose" who belongs. and yes, i believe that one chooses which position he/she supports.

    i'm assuming you are in the 99% by your criteria; and wonder why you seem so disdainful of people who are speaking out. people in tents are only the tip of the iceberg. i am so glad these issues of corruption and misuse of power are making news.

  35. There is no disdain for the people; there is disdain of the positions and more importantly the reasoning behind it; and even more so the rhetoric that is often either empty or a smokescreen to something far more.

    That being said–let's go back to Michael Moore. The rhetoric of the OWS movement is pitting the supposed 99% against the 1%–and yet are perfectly ok with those same 1%ers joining or standing with OWS, even if it's just silly symbolism. Or even better, accepting MONEY, logistical support, and guidance from 1%ers like Moore. But it's all ok. Simply because OWS is ok with certain people because of their political leaning. Oh, and those 1%ers are all, shockingly, left-wing…and often far left.

    This is one of the many reasons OWS will never truly represent or enjoy the support of the ACTUAL 99%.

  36. I disagree, but that can't be a surprise at this point, Scott! 🙂

    Saying that 99%ers shouldn't receive support from empathetic 1%ers is like saying the homeless shouldn't accept help from shelters. This movement is about people who have too much sharing with those who have too little. If I have more than I need, and you have too little, the right thing for me to do is to give you a bit of my overage. It's the moral thing. The ethical thing. The Christian thing. The responsible thing. The kind thing. The RIGHT thing. Period. Call it social tithing. Call it charity. Call it communism. I frankly don't care. At the end of the day, it's still the right thing.

    It's a false assumption that 99%ers don't want people to be rich, or for people who work harder to do better financially. We just don't want people to get rich or stay rich by taking advantage of hard working people who aren't. If Michael Moore or Bill Gates or Warren Buffet want to lend a hand to the movement, I'm more than happy to accept their kindness and welcome them to the cause, since they are demonstrating the core values of OWS.

    Have you read this yet? I think it puts this all in perspective. –>


    1. Ok, but who in the OWS movement gets to decide this: "We just don’t want people to get rich or stay rich by taking advantage of hard working people who aren’t.". How is the movement defining this? Could easily say Moore has in the past, using non-union workers in films. Guarantee the argument could be made of ANYONE, even those sympathizers. Is it just conveniently subjective?

  37. Like so many things in life, this is not a black and white issue. You're trying very hard to put a round peg in a square hole – it's never going to be a perfect fit.

    I understand that you don't like OWS, and that you don't support it. Fine. I'm betting a very similar argument to the one you're making now could be made if we were discussing the Tea Party, the Arab Spring, or any other movement that is for the people, by the people.

    I'm a liberal and I identify as a Democrat on most issues, but that doesn't mean that I agree with every liberal policy or every other Democrat on every point. I'm assuming you feel the same about Libertarians, Conservatives, etc. The only organizations that I can think of with a supreme leader, who makes these kinds of all-or-nothing decisions for all followers to abide by, are Catholicism and Islam, and even after thousands of years of existence, there is still room for interpretation and internal disagreement. Asking for that kind of consensus from OWS is simply not feasible. While there are many discussions being had over what OWS stands for, the list for what they stand against is quite clear: We're tired of the greed.

    Until there are less problems, there won't be less answers.

    1. I'm not seeking black and white on the issues, but I am seeking definition on something that–at least according to the signs and protests–is critical to the movement: who are the 1%? At first, it sounded like it was based on income. Now, with the inclusion of supporters like Moore and Alec Baldwin (who, again, are from ONE political persuasion), the definition appears to be something else that only OWS gets to define, according to criteria that those of us on the outside don't get to know. So, my question, again, is who is this 1%? And who defines greed? Is it not giving a certain % of their income? And is that only to taxes, or charitable contributions? And if we demand those wealthy folks give an even more disproportionate % of their income in taxes, is OWS ready for the unintended consequences, namely in the drop in charitable contributions, etc?

      1. Apologies for a disjointed answer – I don't work in an industry where we get holidays off, so I'm formulating this as I try to get some work done.

        The 1% is, as far as I am aware, based on income.

        I'd personally like to see people taxed proportionately, not disproportionately, which is what we see now. When Warren Buffet comes out and says his secretary paid more in taxes, that's disproportionate. If the uber rich paid a fairer share, we might see a reduction in charitable contributions, but wouldn't that just as equally be because less people would need them?

        You're obviously pretty upset about this, Scott, and I think you're not seeing the forest for the trees. I hope you read the open letter at the link I sent previously, and that it gives you some perspective on this.

        And buddy – Happy ThanksGIVING to you and your family. (HUG)

      2. The initial 99% number is more valid than the 999 concept for tax reform, but still not accurate. It isn't truly describing the super rich, since the people pulling the strings are part of the 1% but even there they are an amazingly small minority. The 1% by income are those making over 385K a year… but the people on that end of the scale are the filler. Tough to chant "We are the 99.999%!!" The average income of the top 1% moved from about 350K a year to 1.3 Million a year average after taxes and inflation adjustment from 1979 to 2007. The chart changes a bit after that, but I didn't find it quickly. Suffice to say, the super rich had their income dip when the stock market crashed but quickly recovered. For the middle 60% of America, the average income moved from 44 to 57K in the same time period… then goes down from there. I think the result was that last year they had lost 3% after taxes and adjustments for inflation. So one group basically quadrupled income, one lost about 3%. I find it interesting trying to find a fair comparison.

        If you feel a rising tide floats all boats, you have to realize that the guys at the bottom don't have boats and are drowning. They also don't have the assets required to build a boat. It isn't about giving them a boat, it's about getting the chance to build a boat that they don't take from you because the tide changed.

          1. Just recognizing that the 99% isn't a strictly defined line in the sand. Since you aren't the problem just cause you make more, or have more. It's more about how are you getting your wealth and what are you doing with it?

            Elon Musk… not the problem. Poster child for what can be right about the 1% Spends his money creating things… Tesla (electric car), SpaceX (rockets, wants to go to Mars), SolarCity (photovoltaics, wants to combat global warming), Halcyon Molecular (mission to cure diseases, extend lifespan and enhance the quality of life).

            Mayor Bloomberg… 12th richest man in America. Outside of being an authoritarian that puts the police out there clamping down violently on dissent, and being the provider of the information systems used by those that crashed the system… not the problem? Blurs the line, Super Rich, Super influential… spends massive amounts of money to retain an office he doesn't even take the salary for… spent a lot of money getting the rules changed so he could stay in that office, watched his fortune climb by 4 billion in a couple of years. Spends a LOT of money on charitable things…

            Charles and David Koch… prime examples of the problem, Crony Capitalism at it's finest.

            Money from dad who figured out a better way to crack oil into gasoline. They spend their money on deregulating/destroying anything that gets in the way of their profits. They basically own a bunch of politicians and are the ones that funded the takeover of the Tea Party. Can't find anything nice to say about these guys, everything is about money and destroying anything that gets in the way of that goal. Perfect poster children of what is wrong with the 1%

            This doesn't touch on the number, it doesn't touch on the fact that it's not about people in particular, it's about a system that has been rigged by those people. My biggest concern isn't the Koch brothers… it's what our system allows them to get away with. But they are just one aspect of the problem. I've posted here and elsewhere how widespread the problems are.

            It isn't about just doing anything… there isn't a bandaid that will cover the wound. We have a situation where the patient (the US and the rest of the world) has sores bursting open all over from the cancer at the core and the doctors are recommending a cold remedy and some exercise.

          2. Funny, again, how selective OWS is being about who is and is not 'ok' within the 1%, especially as it relates to political leanings. Suggests to those of us outside that OWS is what we always suspected, and it has little to do with what many of the protest signs say.

            Also funny, and not in a funny-haha type of way, how rhetoric against the Tea Party is so prevalent, as is the propaganda about funding, and no proof is offered or suggested. There are plenty of stories out there about some of the funding and organizational resources of OWS. Shall we go down that road, or would you like to put your unfounded accusations elsewhere? I have no vested interest either way, so the choice has no effect on me.

  38. Scott, it's like Obama's Obamacare exemptions. It is all about political convenience, connections, contributions and political alignment. The 99%ers are trying to include even the Tea Party and other conservatives in their mix – people who would never ever show up to a rally with them or even find significant points of agreement on socio- political issues. In fact, I doubt the 99% even represent 25%. The vast majority of OWS activists appear to be Socialists or Socialist-curious.

  39. Hello all,

    I wanted to say happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you, and to thank you all for carrying on such a spirited discussion.

    There are several articles on my blog about Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Tacoma, and I'll soon be pasting more.

    Every one of you are cordially invited to read them and express your views. Much like A DAD FIRST, posts need to be moderated, and I'll be out of town for a few days, away from computers. So do not get discouraged if your comment does not show up on Monday.

    I have pretty much the same policy for approving comments on my blog that Scott has for A DAD FIRST. I welcome debate and disagreements as long as they do not include such things as threats. Recently, I've received some threats which I deleted.


    Alan OldStudent

  40. "Scott says:

    November 24, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Funny, again, how selective OWS is being about who is and is not ‘ok’ within the 1%, especially as it relates to political leanings. "


    1%er A:

    Pays lobbyists to affect a bill/act/law in their favour.

    1%er B:

    Uses their profits to fund projects that help people. This could be anything from making jobs to philanthropy.

    Both A and B are part of the "1%" yet do very different thing with there money.

    Where dose the "political leanings" come in when I say:

    " 1%er A is just looking out for their own needs and taking advantage / abusing the position they have, while 1%er B is giving back to community and helping people"

    I wouldnt look at that as a political thing I would say it relates more to a "moral leanings".

    1. So…if I understand you correctly, it's not about income, it's about lobbying. If that's the case, why the '99%' rhetoric if that's not what it's about? Why not rally against, oh, LOBBYING?

      Further, you make a massive assumption: that those 1%'ers you are ok with don't lobby. That's a falsehood. I'd guess you mean it's ok as long as they lobby about things that you like. Is that correct? Either way, it's completely subjective again.

      1. Sorry took so long to reply been away for the weekend

        "So…if I understand you correctly, it’s not about income, it’s about lobbying. If that’s the case, why the ’99%’ rhetoric if that’s not what it’s about? Why not rally against, oh, LOBBYING?"

        Well yes and no.

        It not "waaa this person makes xxx so we hate them", but most people may have problems which CEOs getting a 24% pay incress (avg) while the average worker only got 3.3% (avg). I have no problem with CEOs and higher ups getting paid more, but lets take CEO Philippe Dauman (viacom) getting paid 1,990 times what the typical Viacom worker got. Is just pushin it alittle bit if ask me.

        Lets not even talk about the bonuses people are getting after taking the bailout money. I think everyone can agree on that.

        I think the problem you may be having in understanding the "movement" is that you are trying to pigeon hole it or trying to find a nice "sound bit" to explain it. That methood would work just fine if it was a one issue problem but it just isnt.


        "Further, you make a massive assumption: that those 1%’ers you are ok with don’t lobby. That’s a falsehood. I’d guess you mean it’s ok as long as they lobby about things that you like. Is that correct? Either way, it’s completely subjective again."

        I agree there's what you could call "good and bad lobbing".

        You would be wrong in me thinking its ok as long as they lobby about things that I like. If you ask me lobbying has no place in goverment.

    1. Not sure. Is either than or they just aren't willing to put into non-vague descriptions. And I give that a big down twinkle.

  41. Here is a good blog post from Dr. Thomas Stanley. Amongst other things, he shows how the 1% hasn't really grown much since 1979.

    FYI-Dr. Stanley is a well known researcher of the habits of the wealthy, and author of the classic "The Millionaire Next Door." This book describes the wealthy: spending patterns, education, businesses, families, etc. A great read…