Monday, December 12, 2011

Occupy Portland and shutting down the ports

When the occupy movement started, I was in full support. In fact, I took Charlotte out there and we were in the very very front, no one in front of us. I have photos of her on the steps next to those who were speaking. I defended the protesters who did block off a couple streets in town to march since there were other routes drivers could take (it's a downtown with all parallel roads all one-way streets, very easy to navigate around a couple streets that are shut down). Protesting isn't supposed to be so convenient that everyone ignores it. It's supposed to cause just enough of a disturbance that you have to notice.

When a knife as pulled on Cody and someone tried stealing his lunch off of him, I didn't hold it against the movement. Every group is going to have its fringe lunatics. Muslins have al queda, Christians have Rick Perry, and Occupy Portland has that mugger. The mainstream doesn't condone the actions of those extremists who make them look back. They condone them. Right? Well I didn't expect to find over the last couple days that the very leaders (though it's said there are none, there really are) actually condone the actions of that mugger claiming maybe he needed the food more than Cody (who's place it is to determine that?) and that Cody deserved it if he was going to work for a big corporation (a corporation that treats its employees VERY damned well, keeps most of it's labor and all of its call centers to the US and Canada, and defends the rights of its assembly workers who are overseas).

I spent last night and part of today arguing with the leader of the Occupy Salem movement over the alleged brutalities happening during arrests at Occupy Portland (yes, those cities are both right). I've seen many videos showing arrests doing OP, and I was shocked to see not a single bit of police violence, even in the videos uploaded by occupiers. In fact, those claiming brutality happened were outnumbered by others who were present saying that no brutality happened. One of the leaders of Occupy Salem claimed he suffered brutality last Saturday and got bruises on his wrists that happened when he "freaked out" and fought the police during arrest. He admitted this on Facebook when we were arguing. I told him that it was his own fault if he was bruised while FIGHTING the cops when he chose to be arrested. Yes, people who want to be arrested can take a seat on the curb and police will arrest them peacefully, and many are choosing to do this. He claims that he is suffering PTSD, to which I replied with links to the official criteria including that symptoms must be ongoing for 30 days and interfere with daily life or regular activities. He's so traumatized that he's planning to go out tomorrow and get arrested again. Traumatized? I think not. He self-diagnosed to trump up what happened. I challenged him to see an actual psychiatrist for an official diagnosis, but not to be surprised if he was told it hasn't been long enough and that his continued involvement by choice with the police and being arrested shows his activities and ability and desire to do them hasn't been hampered. He also said that the police were wrong to shut down Occupy Portland and didn't address my question about how the movement there was so peaceful when a man was shot to death. Still I chalked this one leader up to being an idiot.

Today I was in an argument with other leaders of the Occupy Salem group who posted about the planned shut down of the docks being covered on the news and I replied to let those who have jobs actually be able to work. Well they said that there's no plan to prevent anyone from working, and I posted the link to Occupy Portland's website backing up that yes, the plan is to disrupt the workers and shut down the docks. Well, that came to an amusing end with them giving me a warning for flaming, me telling them that trying to silence me for pointing out their errors and backing up my claim is censorship, them claiming to believe in freedom of speech and then banning me when I said that censorship isn't freedom of speech and calling me a conservative republican (wow, most republicans I know call me an liberal democrat). I actually have screen caps of all that saved and posted. Good thing I kept that conversation up so I could screen cap it. My comments were deleted. The other one was deleted and I didn't screen cap, not thinking they'd delete the entire thing. All of the conversation I capped is here. I find it hypocritical to tell me to be quiet because I disagree with them while they support those occupiers disrupting other events and rallies.

On the Occupy Portland page right now is a call to figurative arms to shut down the docks tomorrow. I asked how it helps anyone to cause dock workers, fellow members of the 99%, to lose a day's wages and have to worry about how to pay their bills losing 10% of a paycheck while the rich dock owners will be nothing more than annoyed but certainly not worrying about making ends meet. Why make those workers hurt? One stupid person said, "Some people are already hurting." True, but what good will it be to make others hurt more too? You can read what's going on here. I'll be heading to bed soon, but I have the most recent comments still open in case there's a deletion by the time I wake up. It will really do no good though to cause working stiffs to lose a day's pay. That's a good way to lose more support than has already been lost.

Personally I want the protesters to just shut up and go home at this point. Defending violence and being hypocrites has turned them into pests. I'm actually more concerned with safety of passers-by who don't make themselves a part of the movement. Who cares if those who choose to be an active part get some injuries, but I sure as hell care when people who are simply walking in the area are mugged, raped, and in a few instances, even killed. I know freedom has a cost that can include injury and death, but that shouldn't mean injury and death to those who are trying to keep out of it. At this point I think they are doing nothing more than pissing off those who have the power to actually cause change and making those politicians less likely to listen. Putting them on the defensive won't do a single bit of good, but can cause harm.

Also a better way to cause loss to the rich dock owners and rich business owners, as I said in the previous link, isn't to prevent workers from doing their jobs and getting paid. It's to use their money to buy American-made products. This will both lessen demand for imported products, which, yes, would result in lost jobs, but it would create demand for American products which would create jobs in companies that make their products right here. This is what we do, buy American when at all possible, even if it means we buy fewer items overall because we're paying more per piece. We get better quality that lasts longer and are helping to create demand for workers here in the US, and even better, we also specifically seek out people who directly sell their wares, like pot holders from someone on etsy (yes, I can make them myself, but this is one of those things that, when we have some money to spend, I'd rather give to someone else to make it for me to help circulate money and help someone else get by), and even some of Charlotte's wood toys have come from etsy sellers who make the toys themselves. We cut out the rich company owners and give 100% of the cost right to someone just trying to make ends meet. Honestly, if it weren't for those willing to pay more for items from me instead of buying cheaper imported crap that will fall apart within a few months, I don't think I'd be able to stay home with Charlotte. I'd be out there working night shifts when Cody's home to make ends meet. So we do our part to help other Americans. THAT is the best way to stick it to the rich company owners who give as little as they can get away with to those who toil to make the rich richer.

3 comments:

  1. I think the occupy movement kind of has a vague grasp on some important problems, but they don't really have any ideas with respect to solutions. Reading the Occupy Portland thread you linked to, it's clear you have a really strong grasp on what people can do to help fix things, but I kind of get the feeling that some of the occupy organizers want someone else to solve the problems for them, rather acting to help solve the problems themselves.

    As for the liberal Democrat / conservative Republican thing, I suspect you have a liberal Democrat voting record, but some of your core values - success through one's own hard work, belief in what an economist might call market based solutions like cancelling your business with problematic banks and buying directly from crafters to help the employment situation, and generally taking personal responsibility for one's own life - I don't think those values are seen as compatible with the progressive wing that seems to have taken control of the Democratic party. I wouldn't go so far as to say those values are wholeheartedly embraced by the Republican establishment, either - would that they were - but I think they are at least not actively rejected by most Republicans.

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  2. I make it a point to get my news from multiple sources. I'm not foolish enough to think that any one source will be completely true. Unfortunately the media is biased. The same story can be reported by two stations and have completely different slants. I found out the article that the Portland occupiers were using was one penned by representative from a few other ports who did support shut-downs, but they completely ignored that the workers at Portland's port were asking to be allowed to work with the union backing them because those people weren't going to get paid if they didn't get to work. What the Occupiers did was to choose news sources that jibed with what they wanted with a disregard for the truth in this situation, and they cleaved themselves to that.

    I think probably 60% of the time I've voted for Democrats. I absolutely refuse to vote along party lines and vote instead to candidates based on their individual merits. I'm basically right in the middle of Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. Even when it comes to socialism and libertarianism, I am right in the middle. I believe people need to take responsibility for their own lives and any luxuries they want should be earned, but also I believe that there are certain things that should be inalienable rights. Medical care shouldn't be a privilege with only emergency care, but not follow-up or medications, being available to all. Healthy foods should be within reach. But cable tv, air conditioning, etc., should not be viewed as rights. Only in a first world nation is it unfathomable to not have air conditioning. I also believe that welfare should be available as a temporary help, but that to continue it should come with the requirement of attempting to better one's situation, even if it's volunteering to learn skills that could transfer to a paying job. I also think that the refusal to do a damned thing to try to take care of one's own kids should be a criminal offense - kids should not only be fed because of food stamps. As I see it, if someone wouldn't feed their kids without aid, then that should be neglect. We shouldn't have to bribe people to feed their kids. Republicans tend to call me a socialist for thinking it should be available, and Democrats tend to call me a conservative for thinking that there should be strings.

    I think I'm unpopular with all sides because I don't even come close to fitting in any box. However this spot in the middle doesn't close me off to what any one politician has to say based on party.

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  3. Unfortunately the Occupiers are too happy to play the blame-game and use political party as an insult. There are Republicans out there who believe that the core values that were central to the start of the movement are important. Sadly it's only going to push those people away. Why should any Republican want to align themselves with those who insult based on party? This is a bipartisan issue. Our mayor, Sam Adams, started out whole-heartedly supporting the Occupiers until crime, including theft, vandalism, and violent, started increasing, drastically increasing. At that time he ordered the camp closed. So the Occupiers insulted him as a closet-Republican. Even now though he is encouraging them to continue the movement but to learn from the mistakes that happened with the first camp. That's not what they want to hear. They want him to allow them to do whatever the hell they damned well please and any damage to property or body is seen as a necessary expense. Too bad they've made themselves into such pests that many of their early supporters want them to go the hell away. I wish they'd grow up, let blue-collar workers actually go to work and feed their families, and realize that it's not capitalism itself that's to blame, but solely the greed and the government giving tax breaks to the wealthiest and keeping yacht-sized loopholes in the tax code to benefit the rich. Basically what has to happen is for more of those wealthy politicians to be willing to increase their own taxes, and since most of them are extremely selfish, that's an uphill battle.

    In the meantime, I'm going to focus on doing what needs to be done to keep my family safe and secure, and when I have extra money, to continue doing what I can for those who have less, whether that's buying a homeless veteran a big ol' sandwich or helping a friend pay a utility bill.

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