Monthly Archives: February 2012
Photos by Carol Ayoob
from Occupy Aroostook
February 15, 22 people attended the panel discussion sponsored by Occupy Aroostook on corporate money and influence in government. Panelists and participants discussed a wide range of problems: the “two-party dictatorship;” the waste of campaign and lobbying money that is unavailable for creating sustainable, well-paying jobs and for paying down the national debt; the destructive effects of the Citizen’s United decision such as the impact of negative advertising that does nothing to educate the public about the most important issues; the destructive effects of health-care lobbyists and campaign contributors on affordable health-care access and quality; trade agreements that put US workers and small business owners in an unfair competitive situation; the destructive effects of all these problems on the local economy.
Possible solutions were also explored: fair-share taxes; clean and limited-time elections; a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizen’s United decision; the return of the Glass-Steagall Act with better regulation of financial industries and corporations to prevent the unrestricted exercise of greed; boycotts of corporations that drive out local small businesses and exploit workers with low wages and no health or retirement benefits; single-payer, universal healthcare; fair-trade agreements with our neighbors; better support for local small businesses, farmer’s markets, and clean-energy developers. Following this meeting, Occupy Aroostook discussed at assembly on February 17 the possibility of hosting further discussions about problems and solutions in the local economy.
from Alice Bolstridge
In 2011 there were 12,633 registered lobbyists in Washington who spent $3.30 billion to lobby congress. The top spender is the US Chamber of Commerce at more than $805 million. Among the top 7 spenders are 4 national associations representing health-care industries. Together, they outspent the Chamber of Commerce by almost $70 million. That money adds to the total costs of health care. We now have so many people who can’t afford health insurance that our Maine governor and state legislature says we can no longer afford to provide services to all of them.
More than that, the Citizens United decision has inspired a campaign spending frenzy by the top 1%. President Obama has joined it. His campaign is expected to reach $1 billion. Very expensive speech, definitely not free. Senator Snow has raised more than $1 million from sources outside of Maine, more than 3 times as much as from inside. Billions to the so-called “job creators,” but those funds won’t be creating sustainable jobs in local communities that could prevent the problems of poverty. And that money won’t be paying down the national debt either.
The economic gap between the top 1% and the rest of us has been widening at an accelerating pace for at least 30 years. We have to turn the tide, and tides do not turn easily. It requires the kind of effort on many fronts at once that it took to beat back voting rights restrictions here in Maine. It looks like it requires more effort than we can manage on a piece-meal basis, one issue at a time. It requires a total transformation of cultural values about economic justice, like the transformations still in progress about race and gender equality.
Our whole culture, including the 99%, is occupied by the love of money. We are trained to it. It’s the American dream, and it’s an addictive love. To recover, we all need to give up the dream and abstain from compulsive allegiance to wealth. It is neither morally right nor economically sustainable that the CEO of WalMart earns $16000 an hour while the typical WalMart associate earns only $10 and is advised to go to Maine Care for health insurance. I urge you to join the Occupy Movement. Take to the streets with us. Go viral on social media. Let’s claim our rights to free speech and infuse ourselves and our economic and political systems with the spirit of righteous justice for all.
See this from Regis Tremblay and The Occupy Maine TV show: http://regtremblay.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/the-fundamental-issues-and-the-future-of-occupy-in-maine/
from Jessica Feeley
“Up With Chris Hayes” on MSNBC had a 30 minute discussion on the topic of Glass-Steagall. Even showed a clip of Sen. Dorgin (D-ND) predicting the disintegration of institutions that would be considered “too big to fail.”
They also discussed Citizens United and how SCOTUS has agreed to hear a case from Montana, which may cause the Brethren to overrule themselves on a point of fact. Apparently, Montana can prove that unlimited corporate money does throw elections. Go figure.
I just find it amazing that this happened in the same week that the President’s reelection campaign found it necessary to embrace Super-PAC money.
A Panel Discussion Featuring Darrell Adams, RPh, Candidate for Maine House District #6; Alice Bolstridge, Ph.D., Occupy Aroostook; Hayes Gahagan, former senator from Aroostook and business developer in the energy sector; Gail Maynard, Small Business Owner, Candidate for Maine House District #3; Sam Portera, Chair, UMPI Democrats; with Moderator, Shelly Mountain. Free and open to the public. At UMPI Campus Center, Room 118, February 16, 6:30. Light refreshments will be served.
For more information, contact 768-5827, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Aroostook/312067425476344?sk=events