Ashland joins the 99 percent

Occupy Ashland is part of a national movement now in over 1,200 U.S. cities. Thousands of morally courageous patriots have joined with the original nonviolent Occupy Wall Street movement in a little over three months. Occupiers have strongly influenced the national political dialogue.

The movement's aims are, first, to return control of the government to the citizens of the country through the voting process and, second, to remove political power from the financial industry and ineffectively regulated big corporations. It has exposed the Republican lie of the "trickle down" theory; a theory that has never worked and collapsed completely in 2008 as millions lost their jobs, homes and retirement benefits while the top 1 percent grew more wealthy.

Republican political philosophy is "every man for himself," as though that is a declaration of "freedom." This philosophy has been executed with increasing hostility and shameful success by every Republican administration beginning with Ronald Reagan, who began an era of unprecedented deregulation purposely leading to large-corporation socialism.

Today's Tea Party Republicans are ignorant of history. The colonists weren't protesting taxation without representation. They were protesting the shutting out of small local tea importers by the British Crown to allow only one company, the giant East India Company, to control tea prices as the sole provider of tea to the colonies. By throwing cases of East India Company tea into Boston Harbor the colonists were protesting against welfare for a large corporation.

The crisis of today's economy, millions unemployed with slight hope of employment, children living in poverty, families sometimes living on less than three meals a day, has been precipitated by a 30-year Republican betrayal of the middle class in favor of empowering and enriching owners, investors and executives of big banks and corporations. These corporations are proven job destroyers. They have shipped millions of jobs to overseas sweat shops under the guise of "free trade" and "globalism" while collectively holding trillions in cash and paying out billions in executive bonuses.

Are they investing those trillions in America? No. They are busily buying bargain-priced European assets from several European countries struggling to survive; additional victims of bankers' greed.

Wall Street banks, with the help of the Federal Reserve and a misinformed Congress, devastated the world economy, destroying trillions of taxpayer 401(k) and retirement dollars while enriching their executives with billions of dollars of taxpayer money. This is an unprecedented socialist transfer of wealth from the middle class to the top 1 percent.

Wall Street applauded the disastrously destructive repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. Glass-Steagall was specifically designed to contain the greed and abuse of power practiced by Wall Street leading to the Great Depression of the 1930s. And it did exactly that for 66 years.

The repeal of Glass-Steagall, long sought by the banking industry, was championed by former Co-CEO of Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin, then Treasury secretary under President Clinton. Led by former Goldman Sachs executives and others sprinkled throughout the Clinton and Bush administrations, many banking regulations were repealed or so softened as to ultimately constitute a Wall Street bank welfare program.

George Bush inherited the Clinton budget surplus and squandered it, spending trillions of dollars on unfunded unnecessary wars, tax cuts for the wealthy and the Hank Paulson/George Bush Wall Street bailouts. These created a majority of our national debt.

Because the 1 percent control most of the mass media, the public is ill-informed of the nearly complete political control the 1 percent possesses. Occupy Ashland and others are exposing how financiers and corporate overlords achieve overwhelming influence in Congress through a paid union of thousands of former elected government officials and staff members, now millionaire lobbyists, who further the cause of financial and corporate socialism.

Fox News is an example of mass media political information control. Independent recent studies by the University of Maryland and Fairleigh-Dickinson University found that those who rely on Fox News for information are more ill-informed and more likely to believe false political information than those who watch no news.

So far, the Obama administration, influenced by the same men who led the country into economic disaster in 2008, has failed to rein in Wall Street power or the private banking consortium called the Federal Reserve. The repeal and rewriting of hundreds of corporate regulations during the past 30 years enables the present system of big-corporation socialism. Lax regulatory bodies and monetary fines with no admission of corporate guilt allow corporate executives to ignore laws and to prosper with little fear of criminal prosecution.

Occupy Ashland and other Occupy movements across the country are asking, is this what you want? If not, they say, make your voice heard.

Ted Voulgaris is a writer, inventor, investor, retired businessman, a veteran and a former Marine Corps officer. He lives in Ashland.

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