Some Personally Occupied Perspective

Call this my penultimate post of the year, check back Sunday for more on that.

I want to look at the four major points I have discovered in the past two months that are driving the Occupy Movement, the Tea Party and me personally.

I. Income Inequality, which for me is better expressed as Opportunity Inequality. The land of the free and the home of the brave has become a rigged game. Wall Street and Washington DC have conspired to put the American Dream so far in debt that none of us will ever have the opportunities our national government was originally formed to preserve and defend. We must tear down those institutions that are too big to fail, because only the nation deserves that label and if we do nothing - the nation will fall.

II. Money in Politics. This one has surprised me. I really had no sense of just how angry the overwhelming majority of citizens are that the government has been bought. Everybody knows it. Everyone is mad as hell about it, except those doing the buying. Once again we see the coalition of greed between Wall Street and elected officials. It has got to stop or we will get the same result - the nation will fall.

III. The Main Stream Media. No one trusts them anymore. No one. Several of my conservative friends gave up on Fox News because they just knew the news would be slanted every single day on every single story. CNN may actually be worse with Wolf Blitzer's breathless excitement over the endless stale parade of republican debates and new polling results. The good news is that the internet provides so many avenues of excellent on-site sources for news and commentary from the thoughtful to the extremely paranoid. Everyone can tune in the ultimate in Free Speech.

IV. The Department of Defense. For me, defense spending has been at the heart of our budget problems for decades. Do you realize the United States still maintains a force of nearly 30,000 troops in South Korea nearly 60 years after the military conflict ended. Not to mention huge bases in Germany and Italy staffed and maintained since WWII. Just last week Barack Obama agreed to huge new military expenditures for a U.S. presence in Australia.

To put it simply. We are not the police force for the world. We should not be. The U.S. Constitution is not a blueprint for the world. There actually are other cultures different from the one we know and they are not for lack of a huge military inferior to ours.

Cutting the U.S. Defense Department by 25%* would fully fund programs in health, education and research; including government seed monies for research and development to reassert the U.S. economy on the world stage. But we can do none of these things if we keep dumping billions of dollars into foreign wars that drain our resources not to mention maiming and wounding our military.

*By the way, none of the DoD cuts should come out of veteran's benefits for medical services or counseling.

V. Other issues. Yes, there are more. You probably don't agree with my top four. The Occupy Movement is about facilitating all voices; the needs and demands of those voices. Occupy is a call for deep change—not temporary fixes and single-issue reforms—this is the movement’s sustaining power. Here are some things you can do to get involved.

-and here is an analysis of Occupy from Mother Jones that is worth considering even if you haven't been in a tent in twenty years:

"The occupations provided a catalyst, but the most interesting conversations haven't taken place in the camps via the human mic. They've happened among the millions of people who found that kids in tents were quite effectively articulating their own sense of abandonment. What comes next is the question that should occupy us in 2012, and beyond."