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What I Learned Occupying Wall Street and DC

| October 23, 2011

In Washington Square Park (Sarabeephoto / Flickr)

By Lacy MacAuley

I was standing on a street one evening near my home in Washington, DC — it seems like ages ago now — with a chatty friend who travels often to New York. He mentioned that a few New Yorkers were planning an “occupation” of Wall Street.

Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I said, “I’m there.” A few days later, I boarded a bus, backpack and sleeping bag in tow. I was there when Occupy Wall Street began.

After some chilly nights in Liberty Plaza, I returned to Washington to help plan an occupation in my city. Others in Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, Denver, Seattle, and so many more cities have begun their own occupations. Occupy DC started October 1, and is still going strong.

Many people are asking why. While the occupation of city squares all over the nation is inspiring many people, others are (understandably) a bit perplexed.

But I think people understand more than they know. Something is very wrong with our country and our world. The rich got richer from our economic crisis and the poor barely got the crumbs from their banquet table.

Lacy MacAauley

The Live Commentary

Now big corporations are asking for a new tax break, a tax holiday that they say will create jobs – while the last time Congress granted that tax break the main result was layoffs and downsizing. Corporations are sitting on over $2 trillion in cash but aren’t hiring. Our environment is under assault. Natural disasters are laying waste to towns like Joplin, Missouri, and some lawmakers even held up relief efforts by threatening to trim education, health care, and other vital services to free up money for emergency aid.

We keep paying for wars and people keep dying in them. About 50 million Americans have no health insurance, and too many of them go bankrupt paying for health care. Agribusiness is destroying family farms. Poverty is rampant. Congress can’t stop squabbling. Corporations have too much control. About 25 million of us are unemployed and underemployed and can’t find jobs. Too many college graduates can’t find jobs. Our children’s future is uncertain.

So, many of us are fed up. We’ve brought our anger and hopes to our city squares. We’re not leaving until we see real movement toward change. More people are arriving every day and joining us. In liberated squares, parks, and plazas all over the country, we’re discussing challenges and talking about solutions. Every voice is equal, and all of us are expected to raise our voices, our ideas, our concerns. We’re reaching consensus. We’re figuring it out as we go.

All I can say is that true democracy takes time. At Occupy DC, we meet daily to discuss why we’re there. The unemployed, the foreclosed, and the sick-of-it-all are coming together to discuss the world that we want to see and how to get there. We have big problems. We need big solutions. And those big solutions take time.

While on Wall Street and on McPherson Square on K Street in Washington, I’ve learned how to change my clothes in my sleeping bag. I’ve learned how to run a generator, which keeps us in electronic touch with the outside world. I’ve learned the best methods for hauling plastic bags of donated bread, pastries, and bagels nine city blocks. I’ve learned to appreciate tarps.

I’ve also learned that when we all raise our voices together and work in the spirit of true democracy, we can work toward real solutions and real changes to our world. We the people tend to agree on a lot more than we realize. It just takes coming together, talking things through, and not leaving until things change.

And that’s what the occupations are doing: We’re staying put, and taking the time for true democracy to work.

Lacy MacAuley is a member of the media team at Occupy DC and Media Relations Manager at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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49 Responses for “What I Learned Occupying Wall Street and DC”

  1. Mark says:

    Good, stay put!

  2. Charles Ericksen, Jr says:

    A very interesting article, written and articulated by someone, who works for “Institute for Policy Studies”. who’s sole purpose is taking time for “real democracy” ,”true democracy”,and real,solutions and changes. ” to happen. That is, until everyone does it their way. I really would like to see the “hardship” experienced by any of the spokespersons. This writer seems to be fully employed. Most seem like young graduates, who have good book learning, based upon their interpretation, and no real experience. ( I think we all went through that, after we graduated), They are starting to see, that the best rise up, and not all keep up. Always winners and losers. Do you have a solution other than taking from those who make it, and those who wait for a handout? Simple solution, Take a job, that you have to learn something new. Not the one you’d “like to have”.

  3. Liana G says:

    Mr Ericksen, I am forever amazed by those who make comments similar to yours. You live in PC, are you not able to see what the actions of the 1% have done to our town, county, state, not to mention this country. How can you say “taking from those who make it”? You mean to say that you are okay with how these people “made it”, raping and exploiting the ignorance of the poor, the weak, and the needy? Wow! Mr Ericksen, Please take your blinders off!

  4. Layla says:

    If you’d like to read Lacy’s bio, here it is:

    Lacy is a professional activist. You will see Acorn listed among the many items in her resume.

    I’d say her’s is a decidedly biased opinion. First, corporations are not asking for more tax breaks. They are asking for the ability to plan ahead and make accurate forecasts and you can’t do that when your taxes are constantly being raised. None of us can.

    Many of these people are being paid to be there. And most have no idea who their elected officials are. Those of us who work for a living and earn our way find these demonstrations highly offensive.

    Instead of trying to disrupt those few of us still working and paying the bills, try camping on the lawn of the US Capitol. It is your legislators, the administration and your government who created this environment.

  5. dtc says:

    Stay put, Lacy! Many of us “old folk” are behind you all the way. There will always be naysayers like Charlie above. Don’t pay a bit of attention to those who “don’t get it.” They refuse to acknowledge that Ronald Reagan began the distribution of all the wealth upward and it has continued ever since through legislation and numerous loopholes paid for by lobbyists and corporate America.

    It’s time to re-distribute that wealth back downward. If we don’t, the middle class in America will be gone. That would mean — America will be gone. So, stick it out. You’re going to win this one. You’re going to defeat that ridiculous Tea Party and their dreams of theocracy. Just tell ’em: We’re born again Americans!

  6. Christie 2012 says:

    North Korea and communist China are throwing there support to this cause. Is this what the people of this country really want? Be careful what wish for people, you may just get it!

  7. Liana G says:

    Great piece by Bill Moyers reported by George Zornick

    …”During the great prairie revolt that swept the plains a century after the Constitution was ratified, the populist orator Mary Elizabeth Lease explained “Wall Street owns the country. Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The parties lie to us, and the political speakers mislead us,” because, she said, “money rules.”

    That was 1890. And those agrarian populists were boiling over with anger that the corporations, banks and government were conniving to deprive everyday people of their livelihood. They should see us now.

    John Boehner calls on the bankers, holds out his cup, and offers them total obeisance from the House majority if only they will fill it. That’s now the norm, and they get away with it.

    Barack Obama criticizes bankers as fat cats, then invites them to dine at a pricy New York restaurant where the tasting menu runs to $195 a person. And that’s the norm. And they get away with it.

    As we speak, the president has raised more money from banks, hedge funds, and private equity managers than any Republican candidate, including Mitt Romney. Let’s name it for what it is: democratic decency defined downward. Politics today—and there are honorable men and women in it—but politics today is little more than money laundering and the trafficking of power and policy, fewer than six degrees of separation from the spirit and tactics of Tony Soprano.

    Why New York’s Zuccotti Park is occupied is no mystery—reporters keep scratching their heads and asking, “Why are you here?” But it’s as clear as the crash of 2008: they are occupying Wall Street because Wall Street has occupied America.”…

  8. Historysurprises says:

    Wall Street is not an innocent. It’s time for the Have Nots to have a voice. An interesting fact that wasn’t taught to me in history class is how Wall Street almost tore up the Constitution by force. During the Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt Wall Street attempted to organize a fascist putsch to render the President a ceremonial puppet. This fascist plot was backed and planned by persons possessing tremendous wealth and was exposed by Major General Butler who himself had won two congressional medals of honor as an infantry soldier in the marines. Several Wall Street banks and wealthy major stockholders and owners of corporations attempted to recruit and agreed to finance an army for General Butler for the purpose of setting up a fascist government that protected big business and stopped Roosevelt in his tracts from imposing social reforms. The Occupy Wall Street movement is nothing compared to what almost became the first serious armed insurrection since the Revolution that Wall Street itself attempted to finance. (The Plot To Seize the White House, Jules Archer, Skyhorse Publishing,1973). Look it up if you don’t believe me.

    Perhaps an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution will even the playing field a bit by prohibiting special interests from exercising so much influence on Congress through money. I hate seeing the middle class shrink.

    1. The right to contribute to a candidate for Federal office shall belong to the citizens of the United States exclusively. No candidate shall accept a contribution from any corporation, limited liability company, partnership or any other business entity, nor from any foreign country or citizen of a foreign country unless such citizen is also a citizen of the United States.

    2. No corporation, limited liability company, partnership or any other business entity shall advertise or expend monies on activities in support of a candidate or engage in any spending that calls for the election or defeat of a federal candidate regardless of whether or not coordinated with a federal candidate or political party.

    3. No corporation, limited liability company, partnership or any other business entity shall make a contribution to or expend monies on behalf of a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation.

    4. The congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

  9. Layla says:

    Raping the poor and the weak here in Palm Coast, Liana? Exactly how, please? And who is it here that is doing that raping?

    To dtc I would say, how would you suggest that “wealth” be redistributed? You would take from one who worked for it and give it to one who didn’t?

  10. Lin says:

    I too hate seeing middle class shrink — but I would add unions & lobbyists to the proposed amendment to reform political campaigns. The buying of influence is rampant in this country, from Palm Coast to the Fed.

    Already we have only 50% of the citizens paying federal taxes — we are creating a nation of givers & takers — “the poor go tthe crumbs from the banquet table”, Lacy M. Wall Street was GIVEN the breaks by our government — I see no heroes here. Housing crisis – began with Community program pushing banks to give loans to people that couldn’t really afford them. Whacked out tax code gives no penalty to the companies sending jobs overseas & paying no taxes (GE head sits at the big guy table with our President).
    Lots is wrong here, but the demonstrators with their gimme gimme doesn’t get to the cause of the problems. But aside from a safety net that we need to have for the poor, the best thing is to have a healthy economic climate so that the poor & middle class can support themselves and not look to govt for crumbs. Taking from some to give to others creates dependence — I can see it in my own family. If I were to pay for too much for my grown kids, they wouldn’t be doing for themselves. Help them, yes, but support them, no. And on a worldwide basis, eventually the govt runs out of money to support all these programs that socialist, redistribution advocates push. These demonstrators want WHO? to give them free tuition, free healthcare — WE, THE CITIZENS, are the government. We need to take control of the representatives who are NOT representing our interests and make it fair. Take from the rich?????? not even close to getting to the heart of the problems. They need to stop flying around blah, blah blah running for re-election in their private jets and get to work.

  11. Layla says:

    NOBODY has given Wall Street or the banks ANYTHING except the administration and Congress. If you want your protest to mean something, protest THERE, and VOTE.

    When only 10% show up to vote in a local election, it makes the people look pretty stupid and foolish.

  12. JL says:

    I fully support the reasons behind the Occupy Wall Street. But enough is enough. I work in Center City Philadelphia, a block from City Hall. City Hall is where the protesters are camped out with their tents, their trash, etc. They are costing our City tens of thousands of dollars “per day” in overtime for cops and paramedics. Our City cannot afford this. They will bankrupt Philadelphia. You are hurting the wrong people. You are crushing the taxpayers. Our City will do with less, possibly layoff people because of the money this ongoing protest is costing us. It is a HUGE inconvenience; they are leaving a mess, trash everywhere, tents everywhere, people peeing in public, laying in the sidewalks.

    If you really want to make a difference, vote out everyone in office. All of them. Run for public office. Do something that will make a real difference. Sitting on the sidewalk like a homeless bum is not doing anything other than bankrupting cities. But I’m sure most of those are unemployed, not paying taxes, and couldn’t care less that they are actually doing more harm than good.

    I do my part. I write to my Senators and Congressmen/women. Regularly. I do not care what party they belong to. I let them know how I feel on issues, and that I vote.

    We are all tired of Wall Street. I’m tired of politicians. I’m tired of greed. But there are ways to get your point across that are much more effective without putting such a strain on the public. Philadelphia has too much crime to deal with as it is and not enough law enforcement. Now we are having to pay officers overtime to babysit these protesters. They should be out fighting crime.

    They need to go home, after cleaning their mess up first. And vote.

  13. MSFB says:

    Subject: Congressional Reform Act of 2011 ~ Pass it on…
    Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

    In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

    Congressional Reform Act of 2011

    1. No Tenure / No Pension.
    A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

    2. Congress (past, present &future) participates in Social Security.
    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

    3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

    4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

    6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

    7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.
    Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

    If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.


    If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete. You are one of my 20+.. Please keep it going.

  14. palmcoaster says:

    We sure have reasons like this one: To create jobs repairing our infrastructure but Republikan Congress and Senate and few sold out Democ-rats also in the Senate voted down the president bill that will make it possible to do.
    More reason to get out and vote all these politicians that voted against this bill off their comfortable seats!
    Obama needs to start delivering what he promised to be reelected and among other things Stop These Wars.
    78% showed to vote yesterday and this woman president won because she delivered what she promised and what was that? …the betterment for middle class, workers and poor, that as they can afford, then, to buy more create a succesful economy now. If majority is broke they don’t buy and countries like ours sink then. Is not the rich what sustains a country’s economy but instead the purchassing power of the huge middle class and poor.

  15. palmcoaster says:

    Layla maybe reading the enclosed link you may find out how spreading the wealth could do wonders for our economy also…and the wealth we point to is the one illegally aquired thru fraud.

  16. NortonSmitty says:

    Enough already about the 50% of the hard workers paying to carry the other half of the freeloaders! The half you are talking about are either retired, students, disabled or really poor. And they still pay property taxes (directly or through rent), sales taxes, excise taxes (Gas, tires etc.)and FISA (social security).

    The only ones NOT paying a dime are huge multinational corporations like GE and Exxon/Mobil and the rich folks with really good tax attorneys.

    So quit parroting the Fox news talking point about the 50% Freeloaders It’s Bullshit!

    And I’m getting real tired hearing about how “a poor man never gave me a job” when the truth is way more than half of the jobs are from small businesses. Some like mine really small.

    Use your damn heads and think sheeople before you let your mouth move to reflexively regurgitate all of the Republican talking points you hear on Fox about how lucky we are to have the wonderful mega-rich of wall street on our side and just looking out for us!

  17. Layla says:

    Norton, it doesn’t matter who they are. Just how long do you thing the 54% can carry the rest of the country? Where did you hear me call them freeloaders? I DID NOT. I’m talking percentages here.

    Raise taxes all you want. With less than 50% paying into the pot, we will not survive.

    The rich pay 65%. How much more do you want them to pay you? 100% This country has MANY problems right now, but the rich are not the root of them.

    The people in Washington are 100% responsible. Until you hold their feet to the fire, this will go on.

  18. Layla says:

    Palm Coaster, do you realize that Argentina’s new leader is a Socialist? Do you know that Argentina has a history of seizing property from ALL CITIZENS when necessary to meet it’s needs?

    That is what Socialism is. ALL work for the benfit of the government. Do you realize what you are advocating?

    Our current problems have been handed to us by a government who has made promises they cannot keep. This is not the first time this has happened, but it is why people are now losing homes, jobs.

  19. NortonSmitty says:

    Layla, I disagree. The rich ARE the problem! How long do you think we can last as a Democracy when the richest 400 families in the country owning 35% of the wealth? And the next 9% owning another 40%. That leaves the rest of us to fight each other over the remaining crumbs! The bottom 90% own less than 25%, and if we don’t fight to keep that much it too will trickle upwards. And these are the latest figures from 2007 before the housing bubble burst. That was where most of the middle class had their equity. Now it is undoubtedly much less, which is probably why they are in no hurry to release the new figures.

    The median income of the bottom 90% of all Americans last year was $31, 244. The 50% or median level of income of the bottom 90% in this country was $25,354. So half of the bottom 90% last year squeaked by on about $25k. This means that the new “middle class” in this country is really poor! These are the people you want to raise taxes on Layla?

    Looking at those percentages, how long do you think we can have a stable Democracy, when both parents working can’t keep a decent roof over their childrens head, and they see the top 1% of the trust fund babies and hedge fund billionaires taking billions more every year out of the non-growing globalist pie, knowing it’s coming from them? And if the answers lay in Washington, what can we do about it when the rich and corporations own both parties lock, stock and barrel. If we look for the answers there, we lose. It’s that simple.

    If you want to have any chance at all to get a fairer shake and affect the real powers that allow the government to write the rules and regulations that control the distribution of wealth in this country, we all should get our asses up to Wall Street and fight for them like our Grandparents did and theirs before them. The middle class never got anything they did not fight for in the history of this country, from the Whiskey Rebellion to the New Deal. Don’t let the TV tell you it’s any different in 2011.

    That’s bullshit we bought over the last forty years, and that is what got us here today.

  20. NortonSmitty says:

    Layla, “ALL working for the benefit of the Government” was Communism. Socialism is what they have in Sweden. You got the wrong boogyman, sweetheart.

  21. Lin says:

    The problem is that noone in Washington is looking out for us. So sorry NortonSmitty is tired of hearing the same old, same old. I’m tired of hearing that it is Fox or the Republicans that are the problem when it is ALL OF THEM. Don’t let either party lead you around by the nose — GE’s Immelt is right up there next to Obama while not paying taxes and outsourcing the jobs. They need to take responsiblity and get off their duffs.

    And we all need to vote them out if we are not satisfied with their performance — AND I’M NOT SATISFIED AND I WILL VOTE THEM OUT. Don’t you see that “divide and conquer” and “class warfare” is being used by the pol’s to gain more power — look beyond the attack the messenger and see what the pols are doing to our system. It is capitalism that built this country but crony capitalism is destroying it. We are all “useful idiots”.

  22. NortonSmitty says:

    Lin, I thought I made it clear that both parties are bought and paid for. But it is the Repubs and Fox that work so hard to convince the Rubes that they are on the side of the Angels.

    If the two parties have a stranglehold on the system, when you vote them all out, your just going to vote in new faces on the same old puppets. That’s the Same Old Same Old we all should be tired of.

  23. Layla says:

    Norton, you left out the fact that the federal employee pay is now averaging $126,000 with benefits.

    Still blaming the problems on the democracy on corporate America? $126,000.00. This is federal employees.

    You can get your ass to Wall Street, if you wish. I’m going to Washington, where the crooks who make these rules and pass them are. The crooks who pass the regulations and the tax laws and accept major contributions from these entities.

    FACT: If every American went to the polls and voted in the 2012 election, we could vote out the entire U.S. House of Representatives.

    FACT: We can’t even get 10% to vote here in Palm Coast.

  24. Ralph says:

    @Norton: you think looting and stealing is better than democracy? Try EARNING it, Norton.

  25. Layla says:

    Norton, Suggest you read about pay and benefits of average federal employee which is now at $126,000.00 How Congress and federal employees are living the high life at our expense.

    You go to Wall Street, I’ll go to Washington where the crooks making these special regulations and tax laws are located. These crooks who are also busy siphoning campaign dollars off the very people they are trying to demonize. The middle class I grew up in EARNED IT.

    FACT: If every American showed up to vote in 2012, we could vote out the entire U.S. House of Representatives.

    FACT: We can’t even get 10% to vote here in Palm Coast.

  26. Layla says:

    Sorry, did not mean to post twice….. Believe it or not, I think we are on the same page here. Americans cannot keep enough/earn enough of their own money to survive. Over 50% goes to taxes either in your paycheck or at the store and it is taxed repeatedly, even after you are dead.

    Familes can’t survive. We can’t pay our bills. Congress ignores all this. Keeps raising our taxes and fees, which are now rising faster than our ability to pay them

    Nobody is innocent here, but we can do something about it. We can vote them all out. Norton, want to run for Congress? That is how it is done. Nobody dies, we use democracy as it was intended. WE ALL VOTE. AND THEN WE VOTE AGAIN UNTIL WE GET TERM LIMITS.

    Good stuff here. Everyone of us has seen that Congressional Reform Act. Let’s promise to pass it.

  27. some guy says:

    And that’s what the occupations are doing: We’re staying put, and taking the time for true democracy to work.

    I love how these usefull idiots use the term democracy and this it what it looks like on their wall street trash parade. first democracy is mob rule and thats what they are just a mob looking to take from others. second we are not a democracy!!!

  28. NortonSmitty says:

    Layla, we mostly are on the same page. I can’t understand why you are putting so much faith in the process. Even if we could vote every one of the bastards out, the ones coming in would be just as crooked with less experience. With the 2 party stranglehold and the need to raise millions from big business, primarily the ones that need to by their influence because their cause can’t be supported by the people who vote, we have no realistic way to get the change we need.

    As far as the cost per federal employee, the figures are skewed several ways. Congress increased the amount that has to be set aside for existing retirees based on the current employment. This adds about $10k annually to the current average cost. Second, the number of highly skilled white collar positions in the government is many times greater than the population at large. Lawyers, Accountants, Analysts, Programmers, translators, defense analysts, FBI, CIA, all of them are the majority of the Federal workforce, as compared to about 12% of the total workforce that has a Bachelors Degree or better. That’s just the nature of the beast, especially since all of the lower skilled jobs have been “Privatized”, meaning they have been given to political cronies that can pay lower wages while making monstrous profits for the well-connected. Fed. Prison Guards and Building Security personnel for instance.

    Given these facts, protesting in Washington is as as much a wast of time as bothering to vote today, you will not change a damn thing. The last election should have proved that to anybody paying attention. Once again, I must defer to the Master:

    Wall Street is where they choose who we elect, Wall Street is where the true Hedge Fund is the money they spend on both parties, in case the one they back should happen to screw it up so bad they lose. Wall Street is who hires the lobbyists who actually write the laws for the poor overworked Congress so they can continue to play golf and raise more money for the next election from the companies on Wall Street!

    So why in the hell should I go raise hell in Washington? I can’t see it!

  29. Layla says:

    Norton, are you crooked? If you ran and we voted you in, would you be crooked? Serious question. Congress is supposed to be a makeup of the people. You can’t major in Congress, but you can learn to pay attention. Anybody can do that if they make the effort.

    I don’t even know your background, but you pay attention. I feel fairly certain that if we sent you to Congress, your first thoughts would likely be how you could earn our trust, help us, your community, straighten this country out. It wouldn’t be until you’d been there much longer that you would spend more time trying to hang on to your seat, courting lobbyists, bankers, special interests. Congress works on senority. We show up, vote them all out, no more seniority, just 2-4 years to get something done or get sent home. No retirement, no benefits package.

    I come from a military family. I will ALWAYS choose my God Given right to vote over bullets and mobs.

    You have to vote in each election and you have to see how they’re voting, what they’re doing. And ideally, you don’t leave them in office more than a couple of terms. That’s 4 years vs the 40+ years they are getting now because NOBODY HERE will vote. That is why this country is gridlocked. WE are in charge, the citizens. If Congress is not working for us, for the country, we fire them.

    I believe we had a BIG shift in Congress in the last election, historical. Why not take it all the way? What are we afraid of that these people are not already doing to this country? Surely, we can do better. I believe that. You want to see some real action in Congress? Show up, vote the entire House out.

    This takes work, Norton. I’ve been doing it all my life and intend to keep doing it, until this country goes back to the people or belly up. Not the Socialists, Norton, the people, the ones who want to pitch in and help, the ones who want to be good neighbors and rebuild a country, not take from it.

    Federal salaries used to be indexed, based upon what the private sector was paying. That is no longer true for Congress or federal employees. If you were caught not meeting your obligations to your company, you would be fired. Why should Congress not expect to be fired? Because they KNOW the odds of enough people voting them out are slim and none. Why can’t we fire them, Norton? Wouldn’t you LOVE to see that? That’s how you BUILD a nation, not tear it down.

    Dream a little, Norton.

    I’m willing to help anybody who is interested in building. Our government has done enough damage. it is about time they heard from ALL of us.

  30. Liana G says:

    @Layla – “Raping the poor and the weak here in Palm Coast, Liana? Exactly how, please? And who is it here that is doing that raping?”

    You obviously cannot equate the high unemployment figures and the glut of empty houses in PC to the domino effect resulting from the exploiting and raping or violating (same difference) of clueless citizens by irresponsible and reckless individuals concerned with satisfying their insatiable greed. Perhaps you may be able to understand that the homeowners stuck in their underwater homes here in PC are essentially being raped and exploited by the actions of the very same individuals (clue – the Wall Street banks, lenders, builders are in our neighborhoods). I am! I am in a $60,000 straw house that we paid $240,000 six years ago. I live on a street, in a town, and a state buried in foreclosures.

    And what about those folks who lost their jobs and their homes and are now homeless? Oh wait! According to you, they are simply a bunch of lazy bums no longer willing to work. It’s ALL the common peoples’ fault – why couldn’t they see what was going on and prevent it from happening. Oh dear, If only all of us humans had tap into our god like visions, this would not be happenig.

    You claimed in one of your posts that you were forced to join a union with your job. Did you feel violated? Because that is a form of violation, except you had a choice to leave, did you leave or did you allow yourself to be continually violated? What I am saying is that not everyone gets that choice. And some push back and say enough is enough.

    Many unemployed/underemployed people are stuck where they are because they do not even have the resources to pick up stakes and leave in search of betterment. For others, they are stuck in their underwater homes afraid to move on for fear of ruining their credit.

    How does it feel to be living in a town falling apart because its tax receipts are no longer enough to maintain its upkeep let alone improve? Silly question, according to you what is happening in PC with businesses shuttering and home foreclosures has nothing to do with the larger picture. But that is YOUR choice to believe what you do.

  31. NortonSmitty says:

    But you need millions to get elected, to get the millions you have to sell out, to sell out means you are corrupted, so to get elected you must be corrupt. It hasn’t come to this yet, but there are less options every day we let the corruption fester.

    It’s gotten so bad it’s infected our politics all the way down to the local school board races.

    Until we get the corporate and fat-cat money out of the game, it’s rigged. But they have so much control now they ain’t gonna’ let that happen. So what are our options?

    Only ones I see are surrender or fight.

    By the way, the BIG shift we had last election was entirely in the wrong direction if you think we have too much corporate power in our country. In any way, shape or form you care to name if you think about it.

  32. Sherry Epley says:

    Regarding amendments to the constitution and congressional reform. Just to inject fact checking into this discussion. . . check this link on, and note that much of what is being sent around the internet on this subject is false:

  33. Layla says:

    Norton, the link you recommended is a good one. But we’re not Denver, yet. I have not seen any evidence of big money entering our school board races here, nor in any of the recent elections.

    You think that shift in the last Congressional election was the wrong way, I see it as voting incumbents out and feel both sides have reason to fear the American public in 2012. We need a clean sweep. I am seeing the same corporate interests feed both parties.

    You want to change the system, you have to send home the people who set it in place. I’m in. I’m sending them all home, so that people like you or anyone who wants to run for office will get my support, my measly $25 dollar contribution over an incumbent. My faith is in you now, and not my government.

    That’s people power and there are more of us than there are of them. Don’t lose faith, Norton. We are just about to the point where people are realizing that party politics are not all they are cracked up to be, that they provide empty promises and divide people. That’s at the point where you begin to rebuild because you begin to realize you are all on the same team in this thing. Both sides have felt this way for a long time. None of us are going to take it anymore. It’s not about THEM, it’s supposed to be about US.

    We can do this, Norton. I don’t care what party you are. We are all on the same page now. I’ve spent decades wondering when Congress was going to figure out they had finally tapped us out. The answer is they never will. So my plan is to send average, ordinary Americans in there in each election to try and fix this, and not let any of them make themselves comfortable for a lifetime career in Congress.

    Why would you even think of surrendering?

    Liana, you have me wrong, but I just don’t think of myself as a victim in all this. That’s why I questioned who you thought was raping us. As for the rest, I didn’t say ANY of what you said I did. Go back and reread my posts and stop putting words in my mouth.

    You think Wall Street is raping us here. Funny, but I could have sworn it was two administrations and Congress that approved all those bailouts to Wall Street and the banks. Did I miss something?

    And as for that union job, I couldn’t leave it because it was the only job I had. I guess I could have collected unemployment while I looked for other work. I stayed. I was poor, just like now. I just think you should be offered the choice of whether or not you want to join a union.

    Back to our current situation….what are we going to do about it?

  34. palmcoaster says:

    Layla I don’t know where do you get that Argentina is a socialist country. Just like BW here said, always sticking unjustified and undermining labels overseas and at home and to the poor and the unemployed, as lazy and druggies.The prior administration in Argentina confiscated personal bank savings and foreign currency in banks. Was in 2001 and was following orders of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) to pay the foreign debt and was the only time in the history of that country that was done. That was under the prior Radical (they are the equivalent of the Republikans of USA always lobbying for the rich) administration and not with the current one (Peronist the equivalent of the Democrats in USA). If that country is socialist for that, then so is the USA also, because of these banks taking away the homes from millions and that is worst that confiscating your savings and foreign currency that people could have on the banks, also Americans savings held in their 401 K’s were wiped as well as their jobs. Then in our USA our citizens lost their homes, their savings and their jobs, Then who lost more and which country is more socialist? By the way…in Argentina the current administration is working on refunding their citizens those funds confiscated in 2001 and of course will take time. Do you think that those foreclosed home owners and the 401 K employees lost to the Wall Street boys will ever be refunded to our citizens? I hope our jobs will be back after this President stops dining, wining and golfing with these Republikans and gets down to work by Executive Orders and stops these wars, tax imports and the wealthy as it should, to create jobs. America is not economically defeated yet, so hope he waste no more time.
    Please get the real Argie facts next:
    IMF advised:

  35. Layla says:

    A proposed amendment cannot be false, but the stuff attached to it….student loans, congress not paying social security is.

    The people are supposed to oversee the government in this country. It belongs to them, not a politican. I will ask my elected officials to support the Congressional Reform Act of 2011. If they were to receive that message from everybody, I think they would believe we mean business. We should have been sending it long ago and not waited until a crisis.

    Will never allow myself to be a victim, Liana. Norton, our candidates here in Palm Coast are not raising big money, one of the advantages to not having any.

    We need more good people to run, and to vote. That is something we CAN do.

  36. Liana G says:

    @ Layla

    You don’t allow yourself to be a victim Layla? You allowed yourself to become a victim of a detestable union job because you CLAIM you SUPPOSEDLY couldn’t find anything else (it was the only job you had). That’s odd since there are many, many, many non union jobs in this country for those who let their principles guide their decisions/actions.

    I have been in this country for 22 years, and I have had many, many different jobs, some as a result of my husband’s job relocation, others (2 to be specific) because they violated MY personal principles. Funny how the things you have control over you conveniently chose to do nothing, claiming you had no choice. But the ones that you have no control over (corporate America and its puppet gov’t – unless you support the OWS protesters), you seem to think you have a choice of not becomming a victim – who’s your daddy? I’ll try to pull up and repost some of your most infamous posts.

  37. Liana G says:

    “One Percenters’ Income Nearly Tripled In Last Three Decades: CBO (10/26/11)

    The last 30 years have been very good to the rich.

    Income for the wealthiest Americans has nearly tripled since 1979, while remaining relatively stable for the rest of the country, according to figures released this week by the Congressional Budget Office. The numbers offer a striking illustration — the latest one in a long series — of how wide the gap has grown between America’s richest citizens and everyone else.

    For the richest 1 percent of Americans, income rose a full 275 percent between 1979 and 2007, — accounting for inflation — according to the CBO.

    For the poorest 20 percent of Americans, meanwhile, income rose just 18 percent in the same time period.

    For the middle 60 percent of earners — that is, the 21st through 80th percentile — income grew by just under 40 percent. And for the 80th through 99th percentile, income grew by 65 percent. That’s a rapid climb, but the top 1 percent experienced a rate of growth more than four times as fast.

    Above all else, the CBO’s figures suggest that the richer you are, the richer you’ll get over time. But this is far from the first report to reach that conclusion: Numerous studies have shown that America’s very highest earners have been steadily pulling away from the rest of the population for a generation.

    Even as income for the richest 1 percent has nearly tripled since 1979, wages for the lower and middle classes have hardly moved — a phenomenon that roughly coincides with the decline in union participation in recent decades, as Think Progress noted. Paul Krugman, the Nobel-winning economist and left-leaning New York Times columnist, describes this phenomenon as the “Great Divergence.”

    Today, the 400 richest people in the country control more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of households, and the U.S. ranks roughly alongside countries like Uganda, Cameroon, Ecuador and Rwanda in terms of the gap between its poorest and wealthiest citizens.

    Such a pronounced degree of income inequality is likely holding back the economic recovery, according to the International Monetary Fund — thereby prolonging the misery for millions who are out of work, and the record 46.2 million people who are currently living in poverty.”…


    Out of the mouth or book of a Republican sweetheart.

    “Patrick Buchanan is no stranger to controversy. At the 1992 Republican national convention, he described the nation as engaged in “a religious war … a cultural war …for the soul of America.” A decade later, he wrote a book predicting the U.S. would be a Third World nation by 2050. Another ten years, two wars, a recession and a debt crisis later, he says America could now be on the verge of national suicide.”

  38. Layla says:

    Liana, there you go putting words in my mouth again…..I did not say I had a detestable union job. I said the job I had required me to join the union. As a young girl with no money, I was required to pay some of my salary in union dues. And I said I would rather people have a CHOICE about whether or not they want to join the union. It should not be forced on them.

    We DO have a choice in not being a victim. Who taught you that you had to be a victim? If I lose everything, I will work to earn it back again. It’s in your mindset, Liana. I am a FREE American. I can do, be anything I want. It is totally up to me, no matter what my circumstances are. I can choose to be a victim or I can do something about it. I choose the latter.

    Liana, if rich people pay 65% in taxes now, how much more do you think they should pay? If I am highly successful, working 24/7 for let’s say 30-40 years, am I obligated to make sure you have as much money as I do? Or is my government obligated to make sure I have the proper resources to offer as many jobs as I possibly can, and allow me to keep some of what I earned in building my company?

    We could use Bill and Hillary Clinton as examples. They started out with nothing while he was Governor of Arkansas. Then he became President and today the have millions of dollars. Are you angry at them?

  39. Layla says:

    Palmcoaster: Who is BW and what labels did I use? I don’t believe I said Argentina was a socialist country. I think I said that Argentina confiscated the citizens wealth.

  40. palmcoaster says:

    Layla BW posted his comment “against labeling” our suffering middle class. unemployed and poor. See his paragraph next:
    Here’s the real problem . . . attitude. We applaud and elect politicians that say these things while we should be rejecting them. We have loads of people applauding this demonizing of illegal’s, the poor, the unemployed, and basically any victim out there. All the while these are the same people who want to claim they “got it right” when it comes to morality and values. That we should all want to be “just like them”. I say . . . No thank you. I have this silly attitude that prefers asking “Why is that person poor?” rather than saying “That poor person is the problem.” Or “Why can’t that person get citizenship today?” rather than say “That ‘illegal’ is the problem.” Because the bottom line is these classification and labels we’ve assigned are comprised of people. Outstanding and compassionate BW words.
    Also I correct myself,,,as you said “Palm Coaster, do you realize that Argentina’s new leader is a Socialist? Do you know that Argentina has a history of seizing property from ALL CITIZENS when necessary to meet it’s needs. I infer in your second paragraph you extended the label to the whole country …? Why is then that everything aimed to improved the the lives of the masses (middle class, workers, students, retirees and the poor) is always labeled, socialism or even worst communism? Aren’t you yet convinced that is not the 1% rich that makes America successful but all the other 99%? Do you like the America of today, just because you have a job, a home and your healthcare? Because I don’t, becauseI want my fellow American to still have a chance to the American Dream stolen by the 1% slowly but surely since 1987. Why some here seem to have a rock in place of a heart? For worst now you have these latest empowered Republikans working hard at preventing people to vote!.

  41. palmcoaster says:

    I also agree with Norton that are both parties now faults for the policies and economic tragedy in place…but the Republikans had the upper hand at winning the game for their favored wealthy buddies since 1987. Other wise look at the 300 % increase in their wealth since that year till now, versus the 99% flat income in the same time period and higher health care cost, medicines,insurance, food and the rip off gas prices. Lets do not forget that we have a whole bunch of those residing in our county on these gated developments and are posting here too.

  42. Layla says:

    We going to fight over who is responsible, or are we going to do something about it? Up to you.

  43. Iris says:

    It appears that class warfare is alive and well. If I worked hard for 40 years and saved to buy a house go into debt to put my kids through college and I bought it in a gated community here in Palm Coast, I AM THE PROBLEM?

    Give me a break…

  44. Iris says:

    This might be one of the problems here in Florida:

    You might want to share this site with your friends and neighbors. It talks about us.

  45. Palmcoastbabe says:

    Palmcoaster, I just received a very nice and expensive card from the DeLorenzo campaign with a bulk mail permit from Louisville, Ky.

    Is this what you mean by the Chamber, etc. outsourcing this business out of Palm Coast? This very large bulk mailing was apparently outsourced.

    Why didn’t he have it done here?

  46. Liana G says:

    Lyla my dear, if a person detests the practices of an organization they should detest working for that organization. E.g. – I detest the exploitative practices of a certain big store retailer, especially against women/ minorities, so I will NEVER work for them. I can flip burgers at any fast food joint for the same pay – yes the food is unhealthy and the work is grungy, but their labor practices are somewhat fair as far as mimimum wage jobs go. This country has more non-union jobs than union jobs, and in some cases getting a union job requires having connections unlike a non-union job, so the choice to not work in a union/socialist establishment is easily attainable.

    As for the rest of your CHOICE statements – I stand by my earlier comment about the domino effect and seeing the BIGGER picture.

    BTW, Bill went to Georgetwon and Yale (private universities) and was also a Rhodes scholar. Hillary went to Yale. They both came from well-to-do middle class families and were successful lawyers in private practice before Bill ran for governor. Forgive me if I cannot see the connection you are making?

    Were you priviledged to the same opportunities as Bill and Hillary but deliberately chose to pursue work in a union/socialist environment instead?


    A very informative article worth reading – even uses religious scripture that the truly morally religious should be able identify with.

    It’s Time for Debt Forgiveness, American-Style,2

  47. Layla says:

    I worked for a company I loved which was controlled by the unions. I just never understood the concept of why I should have to pay somebody so I could work. From my personal experience with that job, I learned that union bosses represent themselves and influence politicians with the money/dues they take from their employees, who are forced to join that union or not work. To me, that is not freedom.

    Fyi, one of my early ancestors in this country was the first to be called “President” of Yale College/University. I am not rich. As I pointed out earlier, we are free in this country to be what we want to be. You don’t seem to be interested as to how Bill and Hillary Clinton attained their great wealth after they left the Arkansas Governor’s office.

    Another relative fought with Gen. George Washington in the American Revolution. No, am not, nor will I ever be a fan of Socialsm.

  48. palmcoaster says:

    Dear Lyla I can help myself from replying to you regarding the supposedly great wealth of Bill and Hillary and we are talking about two lawyers here just la our current President and his wife.
    How come you do not address the wealth of Bush father an original Northeaster that moved to Texas to attain his fortune lobbying for oil? Or the wealth that Cheney also master with Halliburton and the NO BID contract as pathetic dysfunctional war supplier of the war that his CEO engineered for their fraudulent profit?
    The Clintons have many years of combined law practice as well as many years of public service at those top salaries that they all receive, plus benefits plus pensions. Bill Clinton probably receives small fortunes as a speaker, so will Hillary once out of office and both are world wide recognized.
    What else Bush could talk about, as a speaker, that he was “the decider” easy job then with both house and senate approval due to distorted data.
    Honestly I am not happy with any of both parties because…look at what we are enduring today, but one is worst than the other no doubts.
    To lobby and promote the well being of the middle class, workers, students and elderly is not socialism is justice. Capitalism is great, but has turned almost into feudalism here now… can you see that? Do you have to loose your job, to be exposed to this real economic tragedy?

  49. palmcoaster says:

    @ Palmcoastbabe….you are very detail oriented and got that right, was outsource to KY and maybe originated in NJ. That is what this Chamber and their close buddies like DeLorenzo promote. Ask them where all TDC, Schools and Auditorium media print is done under this Chamber direction. Then they band together demanding more taxes from us to fund their giveaways for the supposedly, Economic Development…while taking our jobs and revenues elsewhere with this incredible outsourcing.

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