Friday, March 27, 2015

OWS: Medicare protests, Nurses, May Day, Bradley Manning etc

The May Day protests are about to pick up and they’re supposed to continue through the month of May. The government and the media have already indicated that if at all possible they’ll ignore them; for more information see Occupy Wall Street; however I’m starting with a protest that wasn’t affiliated with Occupy Wall Street but it still deserves attention. It is the protest that happened on Monday where dozens of people were arrested in Wheelchairs.

This is part of a semi-regular update of some of the latest stories from the Occupy Wall Street web page for additional details see previous post introduction to series.

89 arrested in Medicaid plan protest
Capitol Police arrested 89 disability rights protesters late Monday for occupying the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building in a demonstration against Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicaid plan, which they said would force people with disabilities to live in nursing homes rather than in their own homes.

The protesters were arrested on charges of unlawful conduct — demonstrating in a Capitol building, according to Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, a spokeswoman for the Capitol Police.

The charge is a misdemeanor offense, and most of the protesters probably will be released unless they have other outstanding offenses on their records, Schneider said. The arrested demonstrators were being processed in the Rayburn House Office Building.

The protesters were from the disability rights group ADAPT, which filled the Cannon rotunda early Monday afternoon and refused to leave. They were protesting the House-passed budget resolution, which would turn Medicaid into block grants and reduce the program’s spending by more than $700 billion over 10 years. full article

Se also “Seniors Join Occupy Chicago, Protest Cuts To Medicare, Social Security” at Huffington Post

The charges that they were arrested for technically are minor, “unlawful conduct,” but they shouldn’t have had to participate in conduct that would be considered unlawful at all. In nay sincere democracy they should have had just as much right to consult with their congressman as anyone else including campaign contributors but that isn’t the case. For all practical purposes the only people who have real access and influence are those that contribute an enormous amount of money to campaigns and they got to virtually, if not literally write the laws. The corporations and wealthy contributors are participating in an enormous amount of fraud and they often have the assistance of both the government and the Mass Media who refuse to cover it; then when money comes short they routinely cut funds, or increase the burden in other ways, to those that don’t contribute to campaigns.

If we had equal or somewhat equal access to participation in the democratic system this wouldn’t be illegal at all, nor would it be necessary.

There is a much larger segment of the population that oppose these cuts than those that support it but only the campaign contributors get their say.

This may not be technically a result of bribery but that is only because the people who accept the bribes thinly disguised as campaign contributions write an absurd definition of bribery that few if any other people would accept if it was scrutinized properly.

Bay Area Nurses Announce May 1st Walkout

4500 nurses in the San Francisco Bay Area will walk out of work on May 1st to protest more than a hundred cuts to health care services and RN standards planned -- despite massive profits -- by their hospital chain, Sutter Health. National Nurses United, which represents thousands of nurses with affiliates across the U.S., has long been an ally of Occupy Wall Street, even assisting with first aid at Liberty Square since October, 2011. NNU will also join occupiers and other allies in Chicago on May 18th for a massive march against austerity, war, and the global 1%....

…. Despite making over $4 billion in profits since 2007, and handing its chief executive Pat Fry a 215 percent pay hike to over $4 million a year, Sutter is demanding huge cuts for its RNs, many of which would pose risks to patient safety. Since the last strike in December, the corporate chain has refused to modify its massive call for cuts, and at several hospitals imposed reductions in standards for nurses and their families.

“As an RN at Sutter Delta Medical Center, I feel I need to go on strike for the safety of my patients,” said Sutter Delta RN Amy Black. “The medical center is attempting to take away sick leave, vacation time, and education time which effectively forces me to come to work sick, stressed, and not up to date on the latest advancements of my profession.” …. full article

A close look at the article will clearly indicate that the signs they’re carrying saying that “If nurses are outside something is wrong inside,” are fully justified! The current activities of those running the system are clearly indicating that they’re gouging people at a massive rate and putting lives on the lives so that a small number of people that don’t contribute much except the control that is corrupting the system can get away with grand larceny!

Break the Link Between Wall Street and Education: Abolish Student Debt!
April 25th, the total amount of student loan debt in the U.S. will top 1 trillion dollars. This marks a momentous victory for Wall Street—much to the despair of student loan debtors across the country. On this date, the profiteers on Wall Street will be popping champagne bottles, eating caviar, and sneering at the debt-burdened students and graduates who lug around this 1 trillion dollar ball and chain. full article

This protest has come and gone by now but there will be many more unless the government does a sudden about face and starts to respect the rights of its citizens; this is part of a complex system that artificially increases the price of education. Part of the way they do that is by using unnecessary copyright laws and many other tactics. Almost one hundred years ago Woodrow Wilson said "We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forgo the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks." The way the system is currently being run clearly indicates that even though they’re much more cautious about making similar comments most of the time they clearly are continuing to use this ideology and covering it up with more complex propaganda.

Obama has made the headlines lately sounding relatively good about this issue compared to Mitt Romney and the Republicans but that is clearly only because they have become so extreme that they make Obama’s position seem good by comparison. In my previous blod I cited a couple articles I found, “Arne Duncan and the Chicago Success Story: Myth or Reality?” and “The Corporatization of Public Education” that clearly indicate their true objective along with other low profile news stories about how Obama and his appointee Arne Duncan support charter schools at the expense of students and the quality of education. Arne Duncan has made a couple appearances on TV since then and he sounds quite rational, or at least he would have if I hadn’t heard of his agenda previously and made a point to listen carefully and think things through. On one occasion he responded to a question about the abolishment of public schools in favor of charter schools and he carefully avoiding providing a clear answer implying that this is only something the Romney camp supports; however even if he doesn’t support this he does support the dramatic increase of reliance on Charter Schools even thought they have clearly proven not to work. He also hedged when facing criticism about problems with Charter Schools implying it is only some of them that have problems; while the good ones should be increased; however the very principles of this concept is flawed. It introduces a profit motive that should never be there in the first place and it enables the corporations to increase their influence on the educational agenda which is already much too large.


This May Day, Occupy Wall Street is rising up in solidarity with the immigrant rights movement. Years before #OWS, May Day was revitalized in the U.S. as a day of mass mobilization against the unjust, racist U.S. immigration system. On May Day 2006, the May 1st Coalition helped organize the largest protest in NYC history, bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the streets in a march stretching over 26 city blocks. This year, as we gather as a unified front for economic justice in a Day Without the 99%, they are leading the struggle to UNIONIZE, LEGALIZE, and ORGANIZE…. full article

The debate about illegal immigration has routinely ignored one extremely simple and basic fact; the fact that the crime that aliens are guilty of is, for all practical purposes, being born in the wrong location. This country is supposed to be the great defender of democracy which is supposed to defend the rights of all not just the privileged class born into the right families. The discussion about immigration clearly doesn’t even take this into consideration. Even if there are some practical reasons why they should have some regulation for this it should be kept to a minimum and they shouldn’t be using this as an excuse to maintain a class of second class citizens that can be used and abused for the benefit of the privileged class.

Kris Kobach, a Romney advisor, and Michael Hethmon are lead supporters of the growing draconian policies on immigration; and they have indicated that they do so partly if not entirely so that they don’t become a majority gaining as much power as white people, as indicated in the following quote from the Washington Post, ‘Immigration is “on track to change the demographic makeup of the entire country. You know, what they call ‘minority-majority,’ ” said Hethmon, who is general counsel at the Washington-based Immigration Reform Law Institute. “How many countries have gone through a transition like that — peacefully, carefully? It’s theoretically possible, but we don’t have any examples.”’ Self-deportation proponents Kris Kobach, Michael Hethmon facing time of trial

There has been little if any information that will stand up to scrutiny indicating how or why these illegal aliens might be a threat to the peace of the country; although there is an enormous amount of propaganda to back this up. The truth is that the US has had a large part in interfering with the democratic process in the countries that many of these people come from and in many cases they have been fleeing oppression that has often had the support of the US government and the government has been reluctant to admit it so the blame has been shifted to those without power. There are many sources to back this up; a couple of the most credible and well documented include “Deterring Democracy” By Noam Chomsky PDF and “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Kline. these are just a sample of the well sourced history of US action that is rarely mention by the traditional media although they do often confirm many aspects of it in a low profile and unorganized manner.
The truth is that the US has been making many decisions based more on propaganda than they do on the facts; and Barack Obama is no exception. He has actually deported more people than the previous administrations have, as indicated by several articles including US Supreme Court reviews Arizona immigration law and Supreme Court hints OK on Ariz. immigration law.

Barack Obama clearly isn’t much if any more reasonable on this issue or many others than Mitt Romney although his rhetoric often sounds better; however there are other candidates that are who don’t get much if any coverage from the Mass Media. One of those is Jill Stein who wrote the following:

Immigrants have long given vitality to America. Today's immigrants should not be discriminated against by those of us who are descended from immigrants, many of whom similarly, were undocumented or "illegal." I will resolve the current crisis in immigration while respecting human rights and economic justice. Undocumented immigrants will be offered a path to citizenship. I will repeal NAFTA, which undermined small farmers across Latin America and the U.S., deprived millions of their livelihoods, and made them economic refugees in search of work. Replacing NAFTA with a fair trade agreement is essential to solving the ongoing immigration crisis. Jill Stein at Project Vote Smart

Jill Stein hasn’t been covered as much as the so-called viable candidate but as I indicated when I took a closer look at Jill Stein I suspect that her positions are much more in line with the public and that she may have a much better chance than many people realize. If the Mass Media provided fair coverage to all eligible candidates then the public would be much more familiar with her; instead they only provide coverage for the candidates that they consider “viable;” which essentially means that they cover those that collect money from corporations and don’t challenge them on many of the most important issues. Fortunately there are a growing number of people that are learning how corrupt this is, thanks in part to the Occupy Wall Street movement and other protest organizations, and they’re much more inclined to find information on their own; others will be more inclined to do so if they learn more about people like Jill Stein.

Jill Stein has also taken a more sincere position on foreign policy than the establishment candidates including the arrest and trial of Bradley Manning as indicated when she wrote the following:

"My name is Jill Stein and I’m running with the Green Party for President of the United States. If elected, I will immediately pardon Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army soldier accused of leaking classified material to the whistleblower website, WikiLeaks, while working as an intelligence analyst near Baghdad.

Many people know some of the highlights among the 3 million pages of leaked cables. Probably the most well-know is the horrifying so-called “Collateral Murder” video of the Apache helicopter attack on Reuters journalists and then on the civilians, including the children in that van, who tried to take the wounded away for treatment.

Another revelation concerned a military night raid that killed six children, followed by a U.S. air strike to destroy the evidence and cover up the atrocity.

The overall impact of the leaked information has been huge, leading indirectly to the recent withdrawal of the U.S. military from Iraq much sooner than our government intended. That’s because these revelations compelled the Maliki government in Iraq to refuse to extend criminal immunity to U.S. soldiers. It contributed to the turn of American public opinion to overwhelmingly oppose the war in Afghanistan. And it added momentum to the Arab Spring uprisings against dictatorial U.S.-backed regimes.

The war criminals whom these Wikileaks cables exposed have suffered no consequences. The only one who is suffering consequences is Bradley Manning, the one who is accused of exposing the crimes.

Whistleblowers are indispensable for democracy. They enable the people to defend themselves against government malfeasance and tyranny. Those U.S. cables released to Wikileaks contained more information on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries than all the media organizations in the world combined have been able to unearth. And they are all too filled with malfeasance, tyranny and war crimes.

So it may be that Bradley Manning was actually doing his duty, since he swore in his Oath of Enlistment to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It is, after all, the duty of every citizen to bring their government to account when it violates the Constitution and the law, including especially laws against war crimes…. full article

Contrary to the propaganda that has been presented to the American public Bradley Manning hasn’t endangered the lives of Americans soldier; instead he may have revealed information that exposed the fact that we have been fighting wars based on lies and help increase opposition to a war and end it earlier; which would actually save lives. This has been compared to the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers which also helped bring the Vietnam war to an end; in that case the war was clearly based entirely on lies and contrary to the claim that we were defending democracy the US was actually suppressing the leaders that had much more popular support among the Vietnamese people than the generals the US was propping up who were suppressing the rights of their own people. In both cases the whistle blowers weren’t the threat the lives they were threats to corrupt people in power.

Unlike the “viable” candidates Jill Stein and other independent candidates aren’t beholden to the multi-national corporations who donated an enormous amount of money and expect a return on that money which will come at the expense of the vast majority of the public one way or another. The corporate media and the political establishment would like us to believe that we’re throwing away our votes unless we choose candidates that we have reason to know will not do what we want; but the opposite is actually true; we’re throwing away our vote if we accept their lies and vote for those who have been corrupted based on the say so of the pundits.

(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

Rated. So much here... Oh, those student loans? Much like the mortgage interest write-off that made owning a home such a "good deal" (you get to write off a fraction of the interest, then get to pay an amount equal to the cost of the home to a bank) it would seem that those whom it truly intended to benefit, win again.

Samasiam April 27, 2012 02:40 PM

Great post. It's extremely encouraging to see so many Americans protesting the federal government's dreadful agenda.

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall April 28, 2012 04:08 AM

Sam, the high cost of tuition is rigged in more ways than one; copyrights is just the beginning of what they do that could be done more efficiently and without price gouging. It would take a much longer post to review and detail all the methods they use to rig it.

Doc, Torritto, agreed, the progress that has been made in the past has always been spurred at the grass roots level before the politicians came in and took credit for the work done by the people.

zacherydtaylor April 28, 2012 09:26 AM

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