Occupy Wall Street Protests and The Deregulation of American Greed

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[Speaking Truth To Power]

As the Occupy Wall Street movement’s fourth week ends, its rapid spread across the country and world continues as more Americans are becoming involved in a unified cry for jobs, justice and economic fairness.

Is a showdown looming between Americans, bought-and-paid-for politicians, and their Wall Street financiers who’ve manipulated the people’s money while crashing the American economy?

On Friday, a potentially bloody face-off between Occupy Wall Street and the New York Police Department (NYPD) was averted, after a Thursday decision to remove the protesters to “clean” the park, was called off before the 7 a.m. deadline.

The corporate owners of Zuccotti Park, Brookfield Properties, reportedly, backed down from pressure by elected officials. However, the rapid mass mobilizing of supporters and union groups, like the AFL-CIO, with the protesters no doubt instilled fear into Brookfield Properties and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Some 3,000 people stood in solidarity defying the order to vacate the park.

Bloomberg, on Monday, had said the protestors could stay “as long as they obey the laws, we’ll allow them to. If they break the laws, then we’re going to do what we’re supposed to do — enforce the laws.”

But then, reportedly, Brookfield Properties CEO Richard B. Clark sent a letter to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly saying “We are extremely concerned about dangers posed by damage that may have been incurred within the Park and the materials and equipment brought into the Park by the protesters.” The mayor’s girlfriend is on the board at Brookfield Properties.

The spontaneous, righteous indignation and anger of many Americans has found a voice through the Occupy Wall Street movement. There are, now, Occupy encampments in over 630 cities, including in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Philadelphia and Boston. Occupy Wall Street is also a global phenomenon with a presence in disparate places like: Canada, Australia, England, The Philippines, Italy, Japan, South Korea, South Africa, and in Latin American countries.

On Tuesday, in Boston, police attacked scores of protestors and arrested over 100.  And in New York, on Tuesday, several hundred protesters engaged in a “Millionaire March” through the Upper East Side where they demonstrated outside the homes of financial giants like: Jamie Dimon, of JP Morgan Chase; industrialist David Koch and media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Yet, in spite of the popularity of the protestors, some demonize them.

For example, Black Republican presidential wannabe Herman Cain has characterized the protesters as “jealous” Americans who "play the victim card." Cain says the Occupy Wall Street movement is “anti-capitalism” and “anti-free market.” Moreover, he claims "Wall Street didn't write those failed policies.”

Given the fact Wall Street’s dirty money underwrites the financial machinations of America’s political system; Cain’s statement is a truly obtuse one. Obviously, Cain is trying to obfuscate the real issue: the ungodly greed of Wall Street, and Wall Street’s connection to Republicans. We shouldn’t be surprised a professional Uncle Tom, like Herman Cain, is trying to blame President Obama for legislative failures linked to these Republican disciples of deregulation. They’ve been the most ardent opponents of regulating corporate America.

For the last 30 years, Republicans fought regulations they claim hurt business. The eradication of these regulations allowed Wall Street to run amuck—behind a veneer of legal legitimacy. After all, it’s easier to break a law if you eliminate that law. Lax laws allowed these crooks to perfect their crooked practices. So, now they tell us no one can be held accountable for the mass thievery these fine folks have committed. Worst of all, these robber-barons continue to live a carefree life, while most Americans are suffering today with the prospects of bleaker tomorrows.

Troublingly, in spite of the latest Wall Street debacle, Republicans continue to claim more deregulation is needed. This lie must be debunked. This push for deregulation was championed most strongly by the Republicans during the so-called Reagan Revolution.

Now, its true Democrats aren’t blameless in allowing the scourge of deregulation to take hold in corporate America. The 1999 repeal of the Glass—Steagall Act, also known as The Banking Act of 1933, although championed by Republicans, was nonetheless signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The removal of this law—implemented after the 1929 Wall Street Crash, another fiasco created by greedy “speculators” and investors—erased the separation that existed between commercial and investment banking.

However, it was Ronald Reagan and the Republicans who advanced the primary attack against regulating corporate America. According to them, regulation was stifling the market’s full money-making potential and hurting corporate America’s profit-margin. Republicans launched into their deregulation campaign and the “let the market decide” ideology was again implemented to disastrous results like: the 2010 Deep-water Horizon oil spill and the Wall Street Crash of 2008—a repeat of the 1929 financial disaster, both of which nearly sank the country. Yet, Republicans continue to parrot the fiction that deregulation policies are good for America.

There are now 14 million people unemployed. The official national unemployment rate is 9.1 percent. But, in the African-American and Hispanic communities, it stands at 16 and 11.3 percent respectively. For American teenagers the unemployment rate stands at 24.6 percent. There are also 9 million people working part-time because their working hours have been cut, or, they can’t find full-time work. Millions are facing foreclosures, if they haven’t already lost their homes. Many college graduates can’t find jobs and are drowning in student loan debt.

Given this dismal reality, isn’t it obvious why Occupy Wall Street protesters are unhappy? Why don’t those in their insulated ivory towers of corporate media get it? Are they too compromised by Wall Street money themselves?

The Occupy Wall Street movement has struck a nerve with the public at large. If politicians, like Mayor Bloomberg, think this movement can be curtailed by the impending cold weather—as he alluded to recently—or by phony excuses about the need to clean parks, they’d better think again.

Indeed, they’d better start thinking about cleaning up Wall Street with tighter regulations.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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