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Dennis Kucinich and Chris Hedges on the 99 Percent

Posted on Oct 6, 2011
AP / Craig Ruttle

Unions gave a high-profile boost to the long-running Occupy Wall Street protest against economic inequality, with their members joining thousands of protesters in a lower Manhattan march.

(Page 4)

Howie Stier: [To Protester No. 4] You’re currently homeless, living in a tent in Ventura County. What brought you down to City Hall in downtown L.A. today?

Protester No. 4: Well, my friends were telling me about the Occupy Wall Street movement, and they said that it was going to get going here in L.A., and I knew I had to be part of this. This is basically what my life belief is about, is changing the system and finding something that will work for the people.

Howie Stier: How do you think protesting here today is going to change the system?

Protester No. 4: I think most importantly it’s going to bring attention to the issues at hand. Most people don’t really know what is going on. There’s been such a vast media blackout that people don’t even know that there’s a protest. And one of my missions is that I want to get the word out to the people; I want the people to know that it’s not OK to just sit back and let ourselves be duped by these corporations.


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Howie Stier: You said you’re currently homeless. How did you end up in that situation ?

Protester No. 4: Unfortunately, I was living with my boyfriend at his parents’ house, and they decided that they didn’t want us to live there anymore. So we were kicked out to the street, and we had nowhere else to go; we didn’t have any jobs to pay for rent. So it was basically a tent or nothing.

Howie Stier: Do you have an occupation?

Protester No. 4: No, I’ve only held minimum-wage jobs before. I’ve thought about trying to find a better job, but most of them require a degree, and that requires thousands of dollars spent on school that I don’t have.

Howie Stier: You’re college-age, but you’ve never gone to college?

Protester No. 4: I was in community college for a while, but it just wasn’t getting me anywhere. Because even if I did graduate with a degree, there’s no job for me anyway.

Howie Stier: [To Protester No. 5] Steven, where are you from?

Protester No. 5: I’m from North Hollywood, California.

Howie Stier: And how old are you?

Protester No. 5: I’m 22 years old.

Howie Stier: OK. And your immediate goal for making a show of demonstration out here is what?

Protester No. 5: To think. Ultimately, to make people think. I’m holding a sign here that says “Suffering From Realness.” Ultimately that just means that we need to return back to the state of nature. This is me being real in a silicone world, and all of us are real; all of us are one; all of us are human beings; all of us are unique. So we all have our qualities to bring to the table, and to this puzzle of life. I’m just asking everyone to come out here and bring that piece. Because ultimately, this revolution is more of an evolution of consciousness. We’re going to another state of just being and living. And answering this call, this red telephone of awareness, is the highest state of human existence. What are they going to reminisce about you? What is your history going to be? Everyone’s the main character of their own movie. So what is going to be that ending, what is going to be that monumental moment of your life, to where you can say hey, I did this for my people?

Howie Stier: A lot of people are struggling out here in the economy. You have told me you’re flourishing; you’re doing well, because you have a broad range of skills. Tell me some of the things you do.

Protester No. 5: I wouldn’t say I’m flourishing, but I would say that I’m pretty comfortable. I think that it’s about how well you adapt when things get tough, and not just being stuck doing one occupation.

Howie Stier: What are the jobs that you do?

Protester No. 5: I do anything from computer 3-D renderings, digi modeling, architectural drafting, gallery openings, logo design, graphic design, website building, I do installation work, actual construction work. I can use tools, I can use a computer, I can work from anywhere, basically. I work from home. And so I don’t have to go to an office. I’m moving to India in three or four months to actually work from India; it doesn’t matter where I am if I have that broad range of skill sets; you just kind of get in where you fit in, and if people need help then you have a lot of different things that you can offer. I think that’s the way to adapt in this world.

Howie Stier: [To Protester No. 6] Could you tell me your name, please?

Protester No. 6: My name is Solomon.

Howie Stier: Solomon, full name, please?

Protester No. 6: Solomon, you don’t get my full name.

Howie Stier: OK. Solomon, can you tell me what brought you to City Hall in Los Angeles today?

Protester No. 6: I don’t really know where to begin. There’s just so much, from half of my friends who are drowning in student loan debt; they can’t find jobs, to the fact that we’re spending god knows how much money on wars on drugs, wars on foreign nations, while the people here at home—we can’t even eat. I myself, I’m struggling to eat; I live paycheck to paycheck, and I have to give up so much just to be able to feed myself. And I know that I’m not alone here. And it’s almost more of an emotional thing to be able to see and look around and know that I’m not alone and we’re not alone, we’re all in this together.

Howie Stier: So other than it being comforting, what are you planning to accomplish by being out at City Hall?

Protester No. 6: You know, I personally can’t speak for everyone out here, but I tend to just kind of look at it from the perspective of we’re going to meet and we’re going to come and see what happens. We don’t, I don’t think anyone here knows exactly what this is going to accomplish. It might not accomplish anything except getting the attention of some people and stopping traffic. But even if that’s all it accomplishes, then to me, in my eyes, that’s a success.

Howie Stier: And you spoke about friends having college loans to pay back. How about yourself?

Protester No. 6: Oh yeah, I mean, I’m only $20,000 in debt, which you know, I’ve talked to my friends and that’s pocket change to some people. Because I have friends that are 70, 80, $100,000 in debt.

[Protesters chanting: “They Got Bailed Out, We Got Sold Out”]

Joe Briones: My name is Joe Briones.

Howie Stier: What’s your function here in the tent?

Joe Briones: I’m part of the media team for Occupy L.A.

Howie Stier: You have said that anytime you need some equipment, you need some resources, how do you go about getting it?

Joe Briones: You know, we throw it up on the live stream—we need pallets, canopies, towels, dry socks, warm clothes—and every time we’ve made a request, the public’s been very gracious and has been down here within 10 or 15 minutes with what we need.

Howie Stier: So you put out the word you needed pallets to keep your equipment off the wet ground, and what happened?

Joe Briones: And a guy came by with a big truck and gave us 12 pallets. And this happened within 10 minutes of our putting it out there.

Howie Stier: That’s what you’d call direct democracy.

Joe Briones: I believe so. You know, I think it’s an indication of the people’s support for what we’re doing.

Peter Scheer:That was the mustachioed Howie Stier reporting from Occupy L.A. for Truthdig Radio. This just in: The Guardian estimates 15,000 people are marching on lower Manhattan in support of the 99 percent movement. Amy Goodman is on the scene and reports that the number is even higher. This is Truthdig Radio.

* * *

Peter Scheer: In a little bit, we’ll hear from Ina May Gaskin about modern midwifery. First, the White House is trying to thread the needle on immigration by re-prioritizing deportation rules. Leilani Albano has this report from Free Speech Radio about the so-called Secure Communities program.

FSRN Host: In Los Angeles, street vendors are often targeted by police. But this time, they’re getting more than a minor ticket. Many are being forced back to their countries and separated from their loved ones. Leilani Albano has more on the story.

Leilani Albano: It’s a hot afternoon as “Vicente” scoops up mounds of shaved ice from his food cart. For the last three years, the 56-year-old paletero, or ice cream vendor, has been concocting vanilla, bubble gum, strawberry and mango-flavored snow cones for passers-by. His customers might not know it, but most street vending in Los Angeles is illegal. “Vicente,” who will not use his real name, is aware of the dangers but continues to sell on the streets.

“Vicente”: [Translator:] “There is no other option but to keep working here.”

Leilani Albano: Violators are accustomed to paying fines, but these days the penalties are much higher. With the introduction of Secure Communities, a federal program that allows local authorities and immigration officials to share fingerprint databases of anyone booked in jail, L.A. vendors now run the risk of getting deported.

Antonio Bernabe: “Before, they were just being ticketed or arrested. But without any kind of immigration problems.”


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By Pacific, October 12, 2011 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

Thanks for all your reports.  As a former resident of Los Angeles, I found the venders report and the impact of “Community Security” staggeringly insulting.  The linking of local law enforcement with Homeland Security and immigration was one of my biggest fears since childhood, and as an adult, since 9/11. 

As a child, we had a Mexican nanny who was a second mother to me and my sister, and who was whisked away one night by immigration officials while my parents were out to dinner.  A green and white patrol car pulled up to the house, and an official in what looked like a train steward’s cap came to the door wanting to talk to our nanny, Julia.  I was five or six at the time, and happily brought her to the door.  He questioned her briefly, then led her out to the awaiting car.  I lived for a long time with the guilt of having turned her over to the “ferderales,” even though she returned weeks later, and worked for us for years to come.  She eventually found work with another family, but I would run into her walking around town on occasion well into my late teens, and was always greeted with the big embrace of a long lost son.  I loved her like my own mother.  This is probably a “luxurious” example of the plight of undocumented workers, but one that has stayed with me all my life.

I remain of the opinion that we should open the “floodgates” to Mexican and Central American workers, document them, give them drivers licenses (of course), and help integrate them into the mainstream of American life..regardless of current unemployment statistics.  As second and third generation Mexican-Americans have proven, they are at least equally if not better prepared to meet the challenges of an increasingly difficult “American Dream,” and with all that they have contributed to the dreams of others, we are obligated to afford them similar opportunities that we once offered the same immigrants during better economic times.
Keep up the good reporting of “The Occupation” (sic).

Bangkok, Thailand

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By Night-Gaunt, October 8, 2011 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

A real leader wouldn’t care what pressure Kos, the President, or anyone else placed upon him.

A real leader would say, “Fuck off! I’m not voting for a bill that was written by a former WellPoint executive and which forces people to buy junk insurance.”

Real easy for you to say. They were going to help the Republicans and DINOs to unseat him. Now wouldn’t you just be sitting pretty if they did? Where would be the good in that? His vote wasn’t important for the numbers, just for the appearance. I’m glad he did. I’d like to see you do that? Lose everything over one item. “Smart” and short sighted you are.

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By Lafayette, October 8, 2011 at 7:30 am Link to this comment


CH: But they can be snarky and snide and dismissive of the left, because the left has no power within this country, yet. I mean, let’s hope that that changes.

If CH believes this, then he has a bad misunderstanding of the “Left” in America. Perhaps he’s spent too much time abroad, watching leftist demonstrations with red banners,

It is true that the Latins (French, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese) will descend into the streets at the drop of a hat. Americans don’t have that custom. Nowadays, we bitch-in-a-blog – which is about as progenitive as is masturbation. In fact, that’s all it is – mental masturbation.

MLK showed the way with his Million Man March in ’95. He wanted attention and no TV channel could possibly overlook 837,000 people camped on an esplanade in DC. Let’s hope that progressives have learned a lesson from that bit of history.  It was a grassroots movement, just like the present one, and it must be followed by something more than just oratory.

A meaningful Progressive Agenda is what would precipitate that coalescence into a political movement.

The question remains nonetheless, How does such a movement advance reformative politics? Some are hoping for a third party – but history shows that Americans tend to eschew such parties. So, it appears that the best chances for bringing about concrete reformational change in our political class is from within the more progressive of the existing parties.  (That’s the Dems, of course.)

Besides, in an election such as the presidency, two candidates on the Left will only split the vote; thus allowing the sole candidate on the Right to waltz into the Oval Office.


Without a well-written Progressive Agenda designating the primary objective of addressing Income Distribution Fairness in America, it is unclear how all the present effort can obtain eventually a conclusive electoral result. Meaning, stay focused on what is really important and let, for the moment, the ancillary objectives to wait just a bit.

Otherwise the movement becomes diffused, loses focus and dissipates. This is particularly the threat on the Left, which tends to be a rainbow profusion of political colours.

Can the Left learn to sing off the same hymn sheet as do the mindless Replicants? Which is the key to success, I submit. That is, as long as the hymn sheet in question is an attractive Progressive Agenda.

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By Mark A. Goldman, October 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How to Fix the Economy

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By MK77, October 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

“Mk77 don’t you remember the pressure put upon [Dennis Kucinich] by the DailyKos who said they would do all they can to unseat him if he didn’t vote for it?”

A real leader wouldn’t care what pressure Kos, the President, or anyone else placed upon him.

A real leader would say, “Fuck off! I’m not voting for a bill that was written by a former WellPoint executive and which forces people to buy junk insurance.”

But alas, we don’t have leaders anymore. What we have are a bunch of nervous sell-out types afraid to stand up to bullies and speak the truth.

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By Night-Gaunt, October 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

Why weren’t people doing this during Reagan‘s time? There were some protesting against wars usually. The Bush‘s had hundreds of thousands protesting in major cities but were ignored. If it weren’t for the cops brutalizing people the Corporate Main Stream Media has finally lent part of an ear. The Reich wing are doing spin control but too many others see through that. Especially now that even some Tea Party types are there now too on the side of the protestors!

Dennis Kucinich can’t run for president since his party doesn’t like his point of view. They would deep-six him like the did before. We should have him as president not that faux Progressive, the Regressive Obama.

Mk77 don’t you remember the pressure put upon him by the DailyKos who said they would do all they can to unseat him if he didn’t vote for it? <b><i>Do some research. (Secretly the corps were for it all along as are the Republicans but they have put themselves into this strange position of being against all things Democrat even if it agrees with them!)

The police have shown that overall they still are for the bankers and hedge fund millionaire managers over us. But not all of them.

The Tea Party doesn’t get hassled by the police because they are on the side of the police. Ever wonder about that?

Shouldn’t it be the 90%ers? Since the top 10% own about 50%-75% of this country and how many of them are on our side? Not many I’d wager, not many at all.

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By Philip Feeley, October 7, 2011 at 11:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why weren’t these massive, sustained protests happening during the Reagan/Bush years? The problem was just as bad when they were in charge.

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By EmileZ, October 7, 2011 at 8:49 am Link to this comment

@ cpb

Indisputable Fair and Balanceshipmanhood is a rare achievement and it bestows great honors upon you and your magnificent brain.


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By EmileZ, October 7, 2011 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

@ cpb

You are indisputably fair and balanced.

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By cpb, October 7, 2011 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

Follow up to previous…  Let’s not forget the guy that
pretended to be a Koch brother and called the governor of
Wisconsin, suggested agent provocateur tactics to deal
with the growing protests, and received in reply
confirmation that such had indeed been considered and
debated.  They didn’t try it, for whatever reason, but
they thought about it. 

Let’s not be naive.

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By cpb, October 7, 2011 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

“It is amazing to see what can happen at a protest if a
small group of “anarchists” in all black DOES NOT show
up and start smashing things up.”

- Emilez

Worth pointing out that while many who show up in black
and smash shit may identify as anarchist, they do not
define the philosophy nor are they representative of the
majority of those who would so identify.

It is perhaps more important to point out that often
those that show up and smash shit, dressing the
stereotypical part, are paid members of the security

Black Bloc is not a club - it is a tactic.
Agent Provocateur is not a person - it is a tactic.

If one fears that the state will inevitably “deal with
it”, then one should expect the latter tactic to be
considered and possibly employed.  During last years G20
in Toronto there was ample evidence suggesting that the
violence that did ensue was possibly instigated and most
definitely accommodated.  The PR gained was invaluable.

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By Lafayette, October 7, 2011 at 2:04 am Link to this comment


DK: The district that I’m running in right now is a district that has been created through the merging of two congressional districts

I am an American who lives in France, but I vote in Massachusetts.

First, I want to thank Rep. Kucinich for his tireless efforts to stop the “gerrymandering”  that ossifies our nation into a two party system - which is so easy to control by manipulation (of politicians and electoral spending).

I want to congratulate him for the fine work he has done in representing the state of Massachusetts and his brand of progressive Social Democracy 
to which I have become accustomed these long years I’ve lived in Europe.

I would be pleased that one day we have a similar faction of Social Democracy firmly ensconced in the Democrat Party. It would do America a world of good to foster and implement Social Democrat policies.

It has worked wonders in Europe, which has generally a far lower level of Income Inequality (see here ) than the US.

Who needs more proof than that?

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By Marian Griffith, October 7, 2011 at 1:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are two critical changes that need to be made to the current system.
One, as you pointed out, is to limit campaign contributions. Evidence is abundant that the candidate with most money tends to win elections. So if most americans can afford to contribute perhaps 100 dollars to a campaign and a billionair spends a million, this means that the billionaire’s vote is worth 10000 times as much as that of the average american. So, if we limit contributions to 100 dollars most americans can have their vote back and we starve the perverse system that is based not on an exchange of ideas but of on who can pump out the most and most effective character assassination ads on television.

The other critial change that needs to be made is to reign in the financial markets. Fiat banking is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. However it needs strict regulations and tight ovesight. Any oversight that is not hated is not doing its job right after all. The most glaring, and damaging, part of it is how the banks keep invented new ways to gamble with the same money and pretend it is an entirely new contribution to the economy. Ultimately a share is nothing but a promissory of a percentage of the profit of a company. Trading in those shares does not add anything economically, and it does not determine the ‘value’ of the company in any way or form. That is putting the horse behind the cart really. Things get even worse if banks then start trading in projected share values at a future date, and add the volume of that to their ‘economic production’. And not satisfied with that they added insurance against default to their ‘production’, and trading in that insurance, and collaterised insurance, and trading in that, and insurance against that, and trading in -that- insurance. The newest ‘invention’ is gambling how well somebody can manage to predict changes in stock values.
And all that ‘trade’ in those ‘products’ is added to the ‘economic production’ that banks claim to represent, while it all really boils down to that one share that promises a percentage of a company’s profit that is sold a thousand times in different guises, often by people who never had nor never will have the share to begin with.
And now we have an immense hot air balloon full of money that is tied to economy in only the most tenuous ways, but that is direction the fate of entire nations and hundreds of millions of people. We -must- cut through all the pretense and self importance and get back to a situation where -economy- rules the economy, and not arbitrary numbers in a computer somewhere that say that somebody has 40 billion and the right to tell who lives and who dies.

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By EmileZ, October 6, 2011 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

RE Hedges/Occupy Wall Street.

It is amazing to see what can happen at a protest if a small group of “anarchists” in all black DOES NOT show up and start smashing things up.

Insightful commentary by Mr. Hedges.

This is a unique event in many many ways.

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By Carson, October 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

The reason for Occupy Wall Street and the 99% er’s. Gaze upon it if you dare.

Maybe this will help make the danger of fiat money clear.

Imagine you and me are setting across from each other. We create enough money to represent all of the world’s wealth. Each one of us has one SUPER Dollar in front of him.

You own half of everything and so do I.

I’m the government though. I get bribed into creating a Central Bank.

You’re not doing what I want you to be doing so I print up myself eight more SUPER Dollars to manipulate you with.

All of a sudden your SUPER Dollar only represents one tenth of the wealth of the world!

That isn’t the only thing though. You need to get busy and get to work because YOU’VE BEEN STIFFED with the bill for the money I PRINTED UP to get YOU TO DO what I WANTED.

That to me represents what has been happening to the economy, and us, and why so many of our occupations just can’t keep up with the fake money presses.

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By christian96, October 6, 2011 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

Well, after reading a few comments, maybe Dennis is
like other politicans.  All smoke(talk) and no
fire(action.)  I guess God is going to have to
search for 10 good people on Capitol Hill instead
of 9.  I hope you people know what you are talking

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By MK77, October 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

Why did you, a so-called single-payer advocate, vote for the Corporate Healthcare Bill?

You know, the one that forces everybody in the country to give their hard-earned money to insurance companies like Aetna—the one that doesn’t even have an anemic public option?

Talk is cheap. When the chips were down, you cast your lot with the corporations just like everybody else in Washington.

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By Jason Pacifico, October 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

Where is—- Congressman Kucinich—(1)  a Guarantee Jobs Bill, (2)a new minimum wage of $15.40 an hour ($32,000. a year), (3) a Marxist “wage multiplier,” as the Banks and Wall Street have “30 to 1 banking multipliers”—$100. in deposits creates $3000 for the banks.(4) Wage multipliers, for example, of 8 to 1 ,  the employers like Wal-Mart only need to put in $4000. in their payroll account which multipliers to create the $32,000 in their payroll account for the yearly jobs. ..

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By christian96, October 6, 2011 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

I was thinking about Sodom and Gomorrah this morning.
God told Abraham that he would spare them if he could find 10 good people.  He couldn’t and they
were destroyed.  Could God find 10 good people on
Capitol Hill?  I think Dennis Kucinich would be one.
Could God find 9 more?

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By Artsy, October 6, 2011 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

Dennis and Chris are 2 of my favorite people on this planet. Thank you both for all that you do!

....Add Ron Paul to the mix who gets very little media attention and we have 3 strikes against the other side! We need 3 strikes to get one corporate con out!

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By christian96, October 6, 2011 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

This morning I was thinking about Sodom and Gomorrah.
God told Abraham he would spare them if he could
find 10 good people.  Obviously, he couldn’t and
they were destroyed.  What if God made the same
offer today about people on Capitol Hill?  Could
God find 10?  I think Dennis Kucinich would be one.
Could God find 9 more?

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By Basoflakes, October 6, 2011 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

The solution to America’s problem begins with the elimination of unlimited private funding of candidates and the resulting influence of lobbyists and corporatocracy.  This can be done by two simple ideas - public funded elections and written platforms.

Without elections that are bought and paid for by Wall Street, Corporate America, and the wealthy, we can return to a democracy by the people.  Without it, we will linger in a purgatory of our current system.

What do we learn from the Trillions spent by candidates on their elections and the ‘debates’ - nothing but flip-flopping drivel.  Instead of spending all that money, bring back the idea of a platform.  Candidates establish their goals in a written platform, and reduce their time on air to answering questions about that platform.

Simple, straight to the point, non-refutable, unwielding, and truthful - but especially, innexpensive and democratic - likely the reason no existing Congressman, Senator or President would go for it.

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By Artsy, October 6, 2011 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

Hooray for the protesters! I seriously hope we grow into the millions.

We are suffering under the rule of an antagonistic Government and big business. This is not new or due to this President alone - many before have contributed to our slated demise. They are intent on taking away our rights and running the world. They need to be stopped in their tracks because that is not their job. The bail-outs were WRONG and the lack of regard for the Constitution is also WRONG. The criminals who ignore it should be arrested and imprisoned for treason against the American people.

The corporate war mongers force unjust wars on us and the people who live in them are a disgrace. They have instigated the aggression towards our country and they are effectively breaking us economically. Our honored soldiers are forced to risk life and limb for BIG BUSINESS, not us. The White House, administration, Senate, Congress and corporate lobbiests allow for this corrupt police state and fraudulent media conglomerates keep it moving ahead. The military / industrial complex must fail or our country is done.

“We the people” want our country back and since peaceful protest is our only means to maintain our freedom, we MUST support them and join them if possible. There is no other way.

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By Trish Roberts, October 6, 2011 at 8:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Dennis and Chris

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By MycallMcb, October 6, 2011 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

>Dennis you have the right questions and the best answers I’ve heard….please run for president, we need an alternative to corporate plutocracy…

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