Free - Beyond Collapse

Friday, October 7, 2011

Occupy Wall Steet and the Police - To Serve and Protect: America’s Institutional Fallacy

Guest Post
S. Paul Forrest

Those who today believe they are being sold out by Capitalistic Globalism, protected and served by a growing police state acting under the direction of our government are standing up to say, “No More!” They are tired of their jobs being shipped to other nations, their “representatives” serving financial contributors only and the poisoned rhetoric of corporatism infecting every speech and policy enacted by our currently inept government. Across this country, more and more people are standing up to have their voices heard and their demands for the resurrection of this once great nation, met. Unfortunately, these voices are being answered with the echoes of police brutality and media defamation trying to quell their collective desire for change.

Currently, the most powerful of these voices is Occupy Wall Street. Contrary to counter opinions from "popular" media, OWS is not a movement by Marxists and communists trying to take over America, a political march promoting President Obama’s agenda nor is it a meaningless protest by society’s pot heads and left over hippies from the 60’s. It is a meaningful commentary on the current and exponentially growing differential between our American Republic the way it was designed to be, and Corporatism. The line separating the two is evidenced by the police presence discouraging the movement, the violent tactics employed by them, and the news outlets either condemning this American reality or downplaying it by stating it is a movement without a clear purpose.

The police actions and the legislators and judges who enable them to enact such mistreatment and defamation of We the People as seen in Zuccotti Park, New York, delineates a greater ill in our society which many of the citizens in this nation are coming to recognize and speak out against. The protestors of OWS have gathered in numbers large enough to show solidarity in their purpose and represent a major cross-section of our population that cannot be ignored. Still, though, the police arrest and harass these people in an effort to control them, but it is only breeding more protests of the like, nationwide. The question is how our freedom of speech and assembly have both been so judiciously and legislatively quashed and how these "officers of the law" can so easily continue their assault on our right to assembly when they have sworn oaths to protect and serve We the People.

To Serve and Protect
We see it emblazoned on police cruisers, and politicians and judges swear oaths to it with hand on Bible: To Serve and Protect is more than a catch phrase, it is a promise to those who put them in their place of power and pay out of their own hard work the labor entailed in its performance. It seems of late, though, that the same people who only have power because We have given it to them, are abusing and misusing their posts to bring about a new structure of governing contradictory to the very essence of this great nation.

At one time, “To Serve and Protect” was the mantra of the Los Angeles Police Department and it eventually trickled into other departments nationwide. Many police officers took pride in this charter, and citizens most often could count on them to do so. Now though, one has to wonder to whom these services are being rendered and how it became acceptable by our government local, State and Federal to employ aggressive and even abusive tactics seen against the OWS protestors in this, our "free" Republic of the United States.

This term first came about in 1955, (when) a contest was announced in the Los Angeles Police Department's internal magazine, BEAT. The contest involved devising a motto for the Los Angeles Police Academy. The motto needed to be something that would succinctly express the ideals to which those who serve as Los Angeles Police Officers became dedicated. The winning entry for the phrase was submitted by Officer Joseph S. Dorobek and served as the LAPD academy's motto until by City Council action, it became the official motto of the entire Los Angeles Police Department in 1963. It continues to appear on the Department's patrol cars as a symbol of commitment to service.

This phrase which is emblazoned on LAPD patrol cars city wide has become one of the most recognizable phrases in law enforcement. Throughout its almost 50 years of use, it has come to embody the spirit, dedication, and professionalism of the Officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. (Excerpt from the LAPD site.) I wonder if Rodney King felt he was being served and protected in 1991 when he was brutally beaten by LAPD officers, an act which incited the 1992, Los Angeles Riots.

Likewise, the motto of the New York Police Department is Fidelis ad Mortem: (Faithful until Death) and until recently, members of the NYPD were frequently referred to by the nickname; New York's Finest. In light of recent events in the City one has to wonder to whom exactly they are faithful and what is it they have become the finest of? Certainly, the violent and inappropriate acts perpetrated by these “fine” officers in New York against the protestors of OWS, is anything but. If truth be told though, they are just an arm of our government, acting under their jurisdiction, direction and empowerment of the laws and codes of their legislative (mis)conduct.

Likewise, the oath to Federal Office is as follows:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
The last bit was added to the great chagrin of many in this nation especially since the oath swears to uphold the Constitution where it clearly states Article 6, at the end of the third clause:
[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
Congressional contradictions are bountiful, indeed. The very oath they take before entering office opens the door for ignoring our Constitution, so why stop there in the years they "serve" We the People?

Are we protected and served when our jobs are taken; our homes, our futures, and yes, even our civil rights? Are we protected and served when police officers spray in the face a group of seemingly peaceful women corralled in a plastic construction fence? Are we protected and served when our taxes and our safety is exported to foreign lands and used for murderous deeds the likes of which only Heinrich Himmler could ever have imagined? Possibly, but they are working daily to correct that particular oversight.

The end of service and protection
The police actions and the legislators and judges who enable them to enact such mistreatment of We the People, delineates a greater ill in our society which many of the citizens in this nation are coming to recognize and speak out against. With each arrest and unwarranted attack, these people justify the actions of Occupy Wall Street and further enrages the contempt toward this broken, American system.

Even though the First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference, actions are being taken to counteract it. Many policies in our nation's congressional history have served this purpose, but three particular ones stand out above the rest.

The Patriot Act was the most recent attack on these liberties, but history is rife with similar restrictions of which most Americans are ignorant. It is with these restrictions imposed by our government in all its forms, which are being enforced by the NYPD and so many other police departments across our fading empire. As pointed out by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, "The USA PATRIOT Act threatens freedom of speech from many different angles. There are three sections of the Patriot Act that are threatening to free speech in particular: section 802, which defines “domestic terrorism”; section 805, which defines “material support”; and section 215, which deals with surveillance. These sections also threaten freedom of assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of religion."

Another article found on HubPages, “Is Speech Really Free?” points out that the Constitution does not guarantee free speech, but rather prohibits Congress from imposing laws to abridge freedom of speech. The ambiguity of this Amendment gave rise to two separate Sedition Acts. The first in 1798 was initiated by John Adams while the second was passed in 1918. Unbelievably, these Acts were brought into Law a mere twenty years after the Constitution was ratified. Is it any wonder how so many who call out to return to the time of our founding fathers can so easily support Constitutional manipulation?

In a much older action directly ignoring the Constitutional protection of our rights, the 1798 Sedition Act was a response to the threat of a war with France and included “four laws in an effort to strengthen the Federal government. Known collectively as the Alien and Sedition Acts, the legislation sponsored by the Federalists was also intended to quell any political opposition from the Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson.” In essence, this Act prohibited public opposition to the government. Fines and imprisonment could be used against those who "write, print, utter, or publish any false, scandalous and malicious writing" against the government.

Acting in kind, the1918 Sedition Act extended the Espionage Act of 1917 to cover a broader range of offenses, notably speech and the expression of opinion that cast the government or the war effort in a negative light or interfered with the sale of government bonds." It was amended by Congress the following year to not only target those who interfered with the draft, but also those individuals guilty of sedition, in other words; those who publicly criticized the government — including negative comments about the flag, military or Constitution (text).

Soon after 9/11, paranoia gripped our nation, and fear propaganda was delivered by those who would profit most from war and heightened security policies. "Free speech zones” were delineated for any protests and marches. These zones are established to enable protestors to speak their minds but to not pose a threat to areas where national security may be threatened. Unfair and unconstitutional you may say, but not so fast: As Julie Hilden points out in her article, “The constitutionality of police-imposed 'free-speech zones'”, the “First Amendment rule is that you don't have a right to a "captive audience" …But occasionally, the Supreme Court has recognized a right to preach even to a captive audience”.

After the 9/11 incident, which propelled this nation into the sinking ship of xenophobic, pseudo-patriotic whirlpool, the Patriot Act produced legislation which shadowed these previous “Patriotic” laws, but without the outward transparency of its forbearers’ desires to silence the People. The national protectionism which accompanied this free-for-all detriment to free speech has been seen every time a person speaks out against our nation’s immoral wars, corporate enablement or any other voicing of dissent from We the People.

The New York Police Department in particular, in the aftermath of that tragic day, formed a counterterrorism bureau whose sole purpose was to avoid another attack on the City. Part of the police reaction to the protests in New York is tied to this effort. Police in the City corralled protesters; pepper sprayed them and arrested hundreds of others on the Brooklyn Bridge. The rationale for these actions could be tied to this counterterrorism goal in that the protesters represented a danger to the City’s security in that the disturbance could distract police from their main duties. The control and silencing of the people in New York and across this nation embarking upon similar quests are being treated similarly without regard for their civil liberties under the banner of practices under the patriot Act, National Security Act but hidden with crimes cited such as inciting a riot, blocking the right of way or soliciting.

Protestors in America decry, as I do, the police force quelling the protests in this manner. Many of those who have been arrested and those watching these un-American events unfold cite that our freedom of speech is being undone. The Sedition Acts could easily be brought into action and all could be arrested accordingly. The main issue, though, is whether these police officers have been ordered to take this action against the People and whether they are now protecting and serving We the People or the corporatists who are now in control of our government.

Our institutional fallacy must end
Occupy Wall Street has taken this country to the point of revolution. The people are finally standing up against an unjust, self-serving system of governance which has forgotten who put them in power to begin with. One can only hope the protesters and many like them across this nation suffering for the result of this blatant disregard for our personal and financial security will show the same passion in protesting the corporations not only on Wall Street but across this nation, which have taken our jobs through boycotting any products and services sold by these pirates.

As it has been reported by the New York Times, “a trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Adam Sarzen, a decade or so older than many of the protesters, came to Zuccotti Park seemingly just to shake his head. 'Look at these kids, sitting here with their Apple computers,' he said. 'Apple, one of the biggest monopolies in the world…trades at $400 a share. Do they even know that?'”

To add to the broker’s words…Do these people even know that their laptops represent the worst part of supply-and-demand in this country: That economic principle which has enabled our jobs to leave for cheaper labor abroad? Do they know that every piece of non-American product they consume takes us further from the result they want: The end of America's quest for globalism and the revitalization of our economy? I wonder if they will they expend the same effort of only buying American products to bring our jobs back as they have in this march against Wall Street.

Another target which would serve the American people as well is a protest against corporate, mass media. These people have en masse stuck to a formula which has been designed to serve only to sell a product which enables their sponsors. The media system sells their politically ideological brands as well as useless products; both of which we can well do without. With the violent rhetoric of anti-Unionist slander, anti-socialist principles, and, in essence, anti-citizen protective policy, they have joined the deception by offering mellow tones of distraction rather than reporting on what America’s war machine is really doing overseas; how Congress is producing nothing to help our economic struggles of the middle- and lower-class citizens, and ignoring the blatant truths of the worst struggles in America since the early part of the 20th Century.

We must all accept, though, that Wall Street isn’t the only power of greed responsible for our current debacle. It represents crony capitalism that will do what they can to garner profit. Most operate with an understanding of ethics, while others only do so because they have to under Governmental restrictions or moral/ethical restrictions. When the restrictions are lifted however, many of these entities with great fortunes to be made will succumb to the temptation and take advantage. It is our government which has enabled these corporatists by lifting restrictions; our government that is setting dissenters into “free speech zones” else pay the price of imprisonment; and our government operating with the monies of capitalists, who are allowing the state of our nation to degrade.

As an example of this infiltration of corporatism into our system, the New York Police Department, apparently for want of funding to continue their "service" to the people, accepted payments from Wall Street firm JPMorgan Chase & Co. This Fortune 500 company recently "donated an unprecedented $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation". The department was allowed to take these bribes . . . I mean “contributions,” not only because funding has been cut in many areas to combat bloated State and Federal budgets but because government oversight itself has shifted from protecting to controlling We the People. Again, Wall Street represents an obligation to investors to make money; they are acting within their character. It is the government’s job to protect the people from excessive and abusive practices of corporations. Why then has this practice of gathering funding from corporate America not been stopped?

Funding for domestic programs and our services are being drastically cut to combat the debt accrued by a government which has grown too large to support itself. The doors of opportunity then have opened for those with money to come in, take control and profit as a result. In this manner, corporatists have been able to pay for a private security force paid for largely by taxpayers for pennies on the dollar. Many of the officers performing the arrests may have lost their jobs otherwise so a certain amount of dedication to them. All one has to do is examine the growing market for private, corporate run prisons to see this unfolding.

The days of American industry are over and with it millions of our jobs. Unless We the People in our protests against the systematic destruction of our liberty aim our protests at all who are responsible for enabling the destruction of our nation and move toward stopping the madness of free trade and the corrupt government enabling corporations to control our nation, we will continue to lose jobs, our rights, and will continue be arrested for protesting as well as suppressed from speaking against the wrongs committed against us and yes, unemployed; more and more of us each day.

The end result
Wall Street presently represents greed growing unchecked. It is because our government allows it to be that way. The unfair practices and procedures enveloped by our government, now largely controlled by special interests, are moving toward enacting more laws and policies to better serve their corporate supporters rather than us, hardworking Americans. Though profit is the goal of business in a free market society, when their profit comes at a life destroying cost to the people, the Declaration of Independence’s premise of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” given to all men and women within that society, quickly diminishes. The Sedition Acts, The Patriot Act and other policies passed throughout our American history serve only to keep free speech imprisoned. These were largely brought by xenophobic insecurity, but, most recently, they are caused by greed, plain and simple.

To this humble writer, the issue is not so simple as to fit conveniently into the neat little image given by media moguls and their talking heads of a protest filled with disgruntled employees, people who fell into the crevice of throw away middle management or neo-socialists and Marxists with nothing better to do with their day since their unemployment compensation expired: It has to do with a society that has had enough with the status quo and are not going to keep their heads in the sand, anymore.

To the protestors on Wall Street, I say good show. I greatly admire your fortitude, your dedication to a cause and your decision that being arrested doesn’t matter if you have no future. To the rest of you, I can only emphatically say; It is time to get off your ass and take back our country. It is time the people enact our right to throw off a tyrannical system are reform this great nation. We need to keep our march moving and growing to throw out these criminals; these people who have taken the oath to Serve and Protect us, but instead are taking this country into the Land of missed and forgotten opportunity.

Original Article

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ocuppy Wall street - This Is What Freedom Looks Like

Written By NewAmericaNow

I look out at the current world situation and see abusive government power and massive corruption at every level. A government, our government, co-opted by the powerful banking and corporate interests.

The banks and corporations have successfully hijacked our government on the back of good intentions for their own self interests. The addition of the fourteenth amendment in 1868, while purportedly designed to insure equality of citizenship after the civil war, has been used since then, by the banking and corporate interests for the purpose of a massive power grab of our unique political system. And so is the tale of the real danger of good intentions and their unintended consequences.

In my opinion, the fourteenth amendment was whole heartedly unnecessary. The fundamental solution for the problem of inequality was not another amendment, act or law but simply to fairly interpret the original fundamentals of existing law. The most fundamental precept of our nation is, all men, and people in general, are created equal and have basic rights expressed and agreed upon, as written in our Bill of Rights. The usual problem, as always, is that government does not abide by the rules and finds differing interpretations to break the chains that prevent the acquisition of power. When we protest that banks and corporations are in collusion with government and have taken over our political system and then in the same breath propose that government should do something about it is unbelievably preposterous.

In the final analysis, the banks and corporations are not the true cause of our problems, they are merely an opportunistic infection in a self inflicted injury. The banks and corporations would not consider taking control of a system that did not exert control over it's citizens, as it would not offer any monetary advantage. The fact that we have slowly and through the years given government more and more power over us and our actions, for some progressive well intentioned myth of safety or the common good, is the ultimate cause of our dilemma today.

Giving government more power has historically only made things worse. The secret solution to our dilemma is our undying insistence that government strictly adheres to the rules plainly written in the Bill of Rights and Constitution and to always err on the side of maximum individual freedom. Communism, Socialism and all forms of totalitarianism, such as fascism rely on the power of those in charge to fairly manage the masses. In a world of selfless, uncorruptable people it could work. However, in the real world of people with the the human frailties of ego, selfishness and self importance it would quickly, as our founders knew, devolve into tyranny.

It is quite interesting, as a history student, and disconcerting, as a citizen that although our system has given us a users guide to how our government should work and what our rights are, every single amendment of the Bill of Rights has been violated by government under the premise that they (the government) has the right to interpret those rights any way they choose because they have the force of arms and incarceration and are willing to use it. This is simply inconsistent with the original intent of the Bill of Rights.

Today people are arrested for dancing or expressing themselves at the very public and ironically, the memorial to the man who was the biggest champion of American freedom, Thomas Jefferson. What ever you may think about this type of expression, it is in fact, protected by what is suppose to be the highest law in the land. A US citizen was just exterminated by the Obama administration without due process of law and without presentation of evidence to justify this action and his family denied legal counsel to refute those allegations as it is guaranteed by this same document.

Innocent people are being searched against their will at airports across the country and the private internet activities of millions upon unsuspecting millions are surveilled without reasonable suspicion or warrant. People are being held without charges and without counsel for allegations they are unable to challenge with evidence or a jury of their peers.

The rights that we have are not subject to a vote because the majority thinks it's a good idea. THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY or rule by mob as our founders would call it. Areas of free choice like, privacy, lifestyle, who you married, what you and your community decide to teach your children or the food you choose to eat, were, according to these rules, for better or for worse, not subject to the vote of an intrusive majority or government regulation but was your right of choice as a human being. The protections we have are not subject to government interest or national security, they are unalienable and you can never be separated from them for ANY reason. That is what FREEDOM looks like.

Many would say we must regulate some things. I would agree that their are a good number of things that should be regulated, but not by the hand of government. It is not in our rules of government conduct and powers that they regulate our lives, and for good reason. Our founding fathers were specific in how much power our government would have because of the historical truth that, no matter how good intentioned human's are, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Underwriter's Laboratory or UL who's logo is found on many electronics today, is a fine example of the private sector stepping up to give unbiased assurances to the public that products don't kill or injure the public, as that would be legally costly for any business trying to compete in a world free of monopolies and full of real competing consumer choices where reputation is everything.

Another wonderful violation of the original rules placed on government, which originally only taxed those who OWNED the means of production and CORPORATIONS, was the addition of the Sixteenth Amendment. The Sixteenth Amendment, ratified on February 3, 1913 sets up the future creation of the monster we now know as, the Federal Reserve System, and allows the Congress to levy, for the FIRST time in American history, an income tax without apportioning it among the states or basing it on Census results. The founding father's believed labor was a trade not income and so should not be subject to taxation and only those who could profit without work would be taxed and taxed equally, however, if taxes were to be collected they would always be equal and not incremental as they are today.

The founding fathers were very learned and wise men and were avid students of history.

Alexander Tytler, Arnold Toynbee, and Lord Thomas Macaulay were widely read historians of the pre-revolutionary period that noted that democracies throughout history have always been temporary in nature. The consensus among these learned historians was a democracy simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.
As stated by Tytler in the 1768 "A democracy will continue to exist up until the voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority will always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.” Does any of this sound familiar and ironically on target?

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. -
George Santayana

Although there are many aspects of democracy that were used in the creation of this nation, there were protections put in place in this Republic against the darker side of democracy that would protect each individual equally.

There are a number of ridiculous statements that I hear quite often coming from the naive or uninformed. Statements like, "a job is a right", "health care is a right" or "food is a right" or "I have the right to higher education". These statements are simply and unbelievably delusional. How can your right come from your demands on someone else? You have the right to choose to create your own business or choose to work for someone who has. You have the right to take care of yourself but you can not demand a doctor to heal you of your sickness without compensation. You have the right to grow your own food, but you do not have the right to sit in someone's restaurant and demand food without compensation. You have a right to educate yourself but you can not demand that someone teach you what they already know.

Don't think I am just picking on the left, the Tea Party is just as guilty of hypocrisy. I have heard of many a Tea Party member talk about Liberty and Freedom for all, yet call for Muslim members of our society, not to have the right to start a mosque in certain places even though they own the property. I have heard conservative Tea Party members rally against Gay marriage, when it is none of their business, since what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes is their right. The true test of freedom is respecting the free choices of others even when you strongly disagree.

Whether it's Occupy Wall Street, a Tea Party protest or whatever, if we are to make meaningful and fair change in our society we must proceed with caution, historical knowledge and wisdom at our backs. It is too easy to point fingers and say it's the other guy's fault without considering the historical facts and creating a real meaningful dialogue to make a better society. If we are careless, egotistical, and self absorbed we shall get exactly what we deserve.