Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘Occupy movement’

Forbes To 99%: Shut Up And Be Good Little Footstools For Us

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 13, 2011

Forbes’ Mike Myatt tries to pretend he has the common touch, but he can’t help letting the mask slip every now and then. He just wrote a column dripping with Ayn-Randian-style venom and contempt for the vast majority of us who don’t have enough dough to buy tax opinion letters:

… Fair is a state of mind, and most often, an unhealthy state of mind….


By the title of today’s column you have no doubt surmised I believe life is not fair, nor do I believe we should attempt to socially or financially engineer it to be such. Fair is not an objective term – it is a matter of perspective filtered by a subjective assessment. My subjective assessment is that fair is an entitlement concept manufactured to appease those who somehow feel slighted. Life isn’t fair – #occupyreality

So he doesn’t like ‘fair’ when it applies to wealth and opportunity distribution, eh? Betcha he likes it just fine in the FOX News definition — aka “working the refs to shove the Overton window ever rightward”.

I also notice that he ignores the Occupiers’ commentary on the sheer venality, not to mention illegality, on what the one-percenters do. For instance:

By the way, if you’re wondering what a “tax opinion letter” is, it’s a million-dollar document drafted by very crafty lawyers that allows super-rich clients to get out of paying taxes:

“No taxpaying mortal has ever heard of a tax opinion letter. Most of us can’t afford to buy one,” Winters says. “The very cheapest one you can find will cost roughly $300,000 per letter” and that’s a “downmarket” version. “The ordinary tax opinion letter costs closer to $3 million.”

A 2003 Senate report on KPMG’s massive tax-shelter business explained:

A tax opinion letter, sometimes called a legal opinion letter when issued by a law firm, is intended to provide written advice to a client on whether a particular tax product is permissible under the law and, if challenged by the IRS, how likely it would be that the challenged product would survive court scrutiny.

“It gives you a very complex tax product, often a combination of trusts along with sheltering personal assets in foreign tax havens,” [wealth defense industry expert Jeffrey] Winters says. A frequent element is the establishment of “anonymous shell corporations that engage in transactions that are not actually real, rack up huge losses on paper, all of which is incredibly hard to follow.”

And here’s the crux: “If you’re challenged by the IRS, the law firm, as part of the tax opinion process, guarantees that it will back you.”

This is all part of the “wealth defense industry” of which Mr. Myatt, as a propagandist for Forbes, is a part.

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Occupy Wins: LA Is First City To Reject Corporate Personhood Via “Move To Amend”

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 10, 2011

One of the key issues of the Occupy movement has been the threat to democracy posed by corporate personhood, the concept that made the Citizens United ruling possible. This week, even as Occupy encampments were being raided, the movement was scoring victories where it counted, such as this one:

On Tuesday [December 6], Los Angeles became the first major city to call for a constitutional amendment to abolish corporate personhood as a City Council resolution passed unanimously before hundreds of enthusiastic local residents, igniting loud celebrations throughout the standing room only crowd in Council chambers and a packed overflow room.

“It’s a great day for Los Angeles and it’s a great day for the United States of America,” said Mary Beth Fielder, Move To Amend-LA’s founding co-chair who spearheaded the local coalition effort to strengthen and pass the resolution. “I hope this is the vote heard around the world and that it will inspire other who want to reclaim our democracy to begin organizing in their communities. Together we can build the grassroots support we need to actually amend our constitution.”

Council members and community members showed almost surprising solidarity as they discussed the merits of the resolution calling for legislative action to support the idea that corporations are not people and money is not the same as free speech.

Other cities nationwide have rejected corporate personhood, but the Roberts-controlled Supreme Court backed it in its Citizens United ruling. Hence the new nationwide call to “Move to Amend”.

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Minister And Schoolteacher Among Occupy “Rabble” Per Murdoch’s New York Post

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 17, 2011

The guy in the long white robes getting pepper sprayed is a Methodist minister.

The lady with pepper spray covering her face is an 84-year-old retired schoolteacher.

But that’s OK. They’re both just ‘rabble’ as far as the New York Post’s concerned.

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Oakland heads for a general strike/Hedges models verbal non-violence

Posted by Charles II on October 27, 2011

To see how verbal nonviolence works and overwhelms the opponents of its practitioners, see Chris Hedges (via Avedon).

Oakland is going to need it. The wounding of Iraq veteran Scott Olsen will precipitate an attempt at a general strike; the police obstructed the medical treatment of Olsen, aiming flashbangs directly at medics (see also David Dayen). These police actions appear to me to represent assault with a deadly weapon, with no mitigating circumstances. Read this account by FBI agents on injuries they suffered from the detonation of a defective flashbang in 2008 to understand how deeply irresponsible firing flashbangs was:

That’s when, Bain says, the flash-bang grenade in his vest just blew up.

“The car is on fire,” Bain recalled. “I was told later I was on fire. Smoke billowing in the car. It was obviously chaos.”

Scanzano remembers “it was like being in combat. There was smoke and fire in the vehicle, and I knew that we were in trouble.”

An ambulance rushed the three agents to a nearby hospital.

“To me, it felt like someone just whacked me in the back with a baseball bat as hard as they could,” said Bain, recalling the incident, which happened four years ago.

Bain suffered severe bruising, a concussion and burns to his neck and ears. All three agents said they have experienced hearing loss.

Beanbag rounds have a similar safety profile, which is to say that they are potentially lethal.

Click for more on general strikes
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in abuse of power, General strike, Occupy movement, speaking truth to power | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

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