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Occupiers Have A Mascot, Robin Hood. Too Bad He Is Opposed To Their Rhetoric.

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by Casey Hendrickson

I suppose it was inevitable. Eventually, people ignorant to the circumstances they are protesting were bound to extend their ignorance to a new mascot.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d expected them to take up the Robin Hood fallacy.

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On October 29, on the eve of the G20 Leaders Summit in France, let’s the people of the world rise up and demand that our G20 leaders immediately impose a 1% #ROBINHOOD tax on all financial transactions and currency trades. Let’s send them a clear message: We want you to slow down some of that $1.3-trillion easy money that’s sloshing around the global casino each day – enough cash to fund every social program and environmental initiative in the world.

‘Take from the rich, give to the poor,’ is the often misused mantra of Robin Hood.  However, Robin Hood was not about wealth redistribution at all.  This proposal to demand a tax in Robin Hood’s name is the very definition of irony.  Robin Hood wasn’t an occupier, he was a tea partier.

Robin Hood’s beef wasn’t with the wealthy.  It was with the abusive government over-taxation policy.  It was the Sheriff’s unfair taxation to fund government programs he opposed.  Robin Hood has often been depicted as an aristocrat who had his wealth wrongly stripped from him.  He would oppose the occupiers at every turn.

Demanding a tax in his name is the exact opposite of what he stood for.  Robin Hood would have thrown tea into the harbor. Robin Hood would have been there at the beginning of the tea party movement.  Echoing what our founders and the tea partiers after them stood for … less taxation and getting the government out of our lives. Not the pillaging of the fruits of one’s labor.

Robin Hood is not one of the fictional 99% … Robin Hood is one of the 53%.

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Follow the “MONEY”: Never been a better time to make Robin Hood Tax a reality

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By Roger James
Sep 29, 2011

“The Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) we propose will be banks’ contribution to a fair society,” said EU president José Manuel Barroso this week.

The EU Commission further noted that financial firms had played a role in the current “economic crisis” and was “under-taxed” compared with other sectors, also arguing that banks must make a “contribution” back to society after the €4.6 trillion of taxpayers’ money they have received in the last three years.

Earlier this year 1,000 economists urged G20 countries to accept a similar ‘Tobin tax’. France and Germany have been joined by Bill Gates alongside other leading financial actors, George Soros, Warren Buffet and the UK’s Lord Adair Turner who have stated their support for a tax on financial transactions which could raise billions for the fight against poverty and climate change.

Gates was asked by President Nicolas Sarkozy to come up with proposals for new forms of financing for development for this autumn’s meeting of the G20 meeting of the biggest twenty economies in Cannes in November.

The next few weeks leading up to the G20 are going to be critical in deciding whether an FTT is agreed and crucially whether the resources are earmarked for the fight against poverty at home and abroad and to tackle climate change.

EU Finance Ministers next week are expected to discuss the proposal as part of pre-G20 and EU summit discussions. Public and political support is building behind an EU-wide FTT before the EU Heads of State Summit on October 17 and 18 and for a global agreement before the French G20 Summit starting on November 3.

I was heartened to see it as the leading item on the 10pm news only to be followed by interviews with City of London representatives who decried the idea claiming that about 80% of the revenues of any Europe-wide financial tax would come from London.

The UK Government is currently opposed to the idea. The UK Treasury said it would “absolutely resist” any tax that was not introduced globally because it may drive business overseas. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the contrary, has clearly stated that FTTs exist in all the major financial sectors already, without driving business away.

The best example of this is the UK, where we have a stamp duty of 0.5% on all share transactions. The UK’s major competitors do not have this and there certainly is no global agreement, yet it is a successful FTT that raises around £5 billion pounds each year. It is designed so it can’t be avoided and London remains one of the biggest stock markets in the world.

The Robin Hood Tax Campaign, backed by 115 aid agencies (including Oxfam), green campaigners, trade unions and faith groups is campaigning for a tiny tax of about 0.05% on transactions like stocks, bonds, foreign currency and derivatives.

It has the potential to raise £250 billion a year globally. It will not affect retail banking, which includes savings and mortgages. It will instead introduce a micro-tax on short-term, casino-style trading which employs a small number of highly paid bankers in London, not the tens of thousands employed in high street financial services.

The world faces a dramatic economic crisis but alongside our concerns we must remember that the financial crisis has driven millions of people into poverty and put many more at risk, as the world’s poorest countries scramble to fill huge budget holes with dwindling help from richer nations. Poor people in the UK are also being hit hardest by cuts. Revenue from a Robin Hood Tax could go a long way to helping make the world a fairer place by helping tackle poverty and climate change, at home and abroad.

Oxfam and others do have concerns about the apparent EU proposals. While we welcome the fact that the FTT is moving from rhetoric to reality, a significant part of the revenues should be used as Bill Gates suggested, to help poor countries facing chilling reductions in aid, trade, and investment – not just shore up the EU budget. An FTT is not a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ unless clear commitments are made to use the revenues for tackling climate change and poverty at home and abroad

That is why huge public pressure is needed to convince the government it is more costly to ignore the people than to ignore the banks. Actor Bill Nighy has been a prominent public supporter. The UK campaign alone has a quarter of a million supporters, and there are sister campaigns across the globe. A recent EU poll of more than 27,000 people found that 61% of Europeans support FTT, including 65% of Britons.

If you are reading this article please give your support to this campaign at a critical time. Many MPs have declared they are supportive – contact your own and ask them to write to the UK Chancellor and to press their own party spokespeople to come out in support. Have a look at Robin Hood Tax site for all the low down. One fun thing to do is add your own (or friend’s) face to a RHT Video. It’s great!

If a tax is agreed, it’s crucial that a commitment is made that the resources will go towards tackling poverty and climate change – not into the general EU or national budgets. Otherwise it’s not a Robin Hood tax.

We have lots of support, both expert and popular, there has never been a better time or opportunity to make the Robin Hood Tax a reality!

Roger James is a campaigner at Oxfam South West in Bristol

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Who’s really behind Wall Street protests?

Radicals foment agitation in New York, while hinting at American ‘Arab Spring’


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By Aaron Klein

As the news media struggles to find a unifying theme behind the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters, a closer look at the activists behind the agitation reveals a transformative agenda aimed at assaulting U.S. capitalism.

The New York Times on Friday featured a video depicting the motivation of the Wall Street protesters without disclosing the radical background of some of those featured in the newspaper’s piece.

The video was entitled, “The young and old on what they hope to accomplish by joining the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Zuccotti Park.”

One activist interviewed was Bev Rice, who has been sending online updates of the protests to the War Resisters League, where she has been an activist.

The League was one of the first radical groups to blame America for the 9-11 attacks.

On the very day of the 9-11 attacks, the League released a statement alleging, “The policies of militarism pursued by the United States have resulted in millions of deaths. … [M]ay these profound tragedies [of 9/11] remind us of the impact U.S. policies have had on other civilians in other lands.”

Another activist interviewed by the Times was holding a placard that quoted John F. Kennedy stating, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.”

Yet another was donning a red Kafiya, or Arabic headscarf with a specific pattern that has come to symbolize so-called Palestinian “resistance” against Israel. That style of Kafiya was popularized by Yasser Arafat.

The Occupy Wall Street movement launched two weeks ago and has been escalating ever since.

Earlier, police closed the Brooklyn Bridge and arrested more than 700 anti-Wall Street protesters for blocking traffic lanes and attempting an unauthorized march across the span.

The protests reportedly spread across the U.S., including to Boston, Seattle and Los Angeles. The organizers’ exact motivation has until now been sketchy.

The Twitter feed of a group calling itself Take the Square, one of the social media planners behind the Wall Street protests, has been blasting a multitude of messages, including:

  • “Fight market dictatorship.”
  • “People of the world rise up!”
  • “We are legion.”
  • “Take to the streets.”

Organizers have also been calling for rewriting the U.S. Constitution, imposing a “Robin Hood Tax” on most financial transactions worldwide with the goal of taking from the “rich” to give to the “poor” and giving the Federal Reserve permission to regulate interest rates on savings accounts.

The scheme seeks to bring to American streets the “same indignation that has prompted the people of Greece and Spain to occupy streets and squares on a permanent basis, the people of Egypt and Tunisia to overthrow their governments, the people of Iceland to nationalize their bank system and rewrite the constitution.”

So reads a call to arms by a group calling itself the General Assembly of New York City.

The group has been asking supporters to participate in a “Day of Rage” that started last month and seeks to escalate into protests across the nation.

The General Assembly of New York City has listed some of the possible goals of the current protests:

  • The imposition of a Robin Hood Tax on all financial transactions: The tax is the brainchild of nongovernmental organizations largely based in the United Kingdom. It calls for a new tax on most goods and services to be implemented globally, regionally or unilaterally by individual nations.
    The name of the tax originated in 2008, when Italian treasury minister Giulio Tremonti introduced a windfall tax on the profits of energy companies. Tremonti called the tax a “Robin Hood Tax,” stating it was aimed at the “wealthy” with revenue to be used for the benefit of poorer citizens.
    A prominent supporter of the Robin Hood Tax is Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University economist who crafted a controversial economic “shock therapy.” Sachs is a key member of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, or INET.
    Billionaire George Soros is INET’s founding sponsor, with the billionaire having provided a reported $25 million over five years to support INET activities.
    This past April, Sachs keynoted INET’s annual meeting, which took place in the mountains of Bretton Woods, N.H. The gathering took place at Mount Washington Hotel, famous for hosting the original Bretton Woods economic agreements drafted in 1944. That conference’s goal was to rebuild a post-World War II international monetary system. The April gathering had a similar stated goal – a global economic restructuring.
  • Rebooting the system and rewriting the Constitution: The concept seems to be a reference to a plan to push for a new, “progressive” U.S. Constitution by the year 2020.
    WND previously reported at least three White House advisers and officials, including President Obama’s regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, have ties to the Constitution rewrite effort, which is funded by Soros.
    Sunstein has also been pushing for a new socialist-style U.S. bill of rights that, among other things, would constitutionally require the government to offer each citizen a “useful” job in the farms or industries of the nation.
    According to Sunstein’s new bill of rights, the U.S. government can also intercede to ensure every farmer can sell his product for a good return while the government is granted power to act against “unfair competition” and monopolies in business.
  • Reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, which sought to enforce more government regulation of the banking industry. Some provisions of the act allowed the Federal Reserve to regulate interest rates in savings accounts.

Wall Street protests to turn violent?

Meanwhile, there are indications the Wall Street protesters are training to incite violence, resist arrest and disrupt the legal system.

Activists advertised on social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter for a “Day of Rage” on Sept. 17 to begin the “occupation” of Wall Street and continue with protests across the nation.

Planners have their own website – USDayofRage.org – which is not specific about the purpose of the “Day of Rage” other than calling for “integrity” to be “restored to our elections.”

The site accuses corporations of using “money to act as the voices of millions, while individual citizens, the legitimate voters, are silenced and demoralized by the farce.”

Advertisements claimed the protests at Wall Street and nationwide will be “non-violent.”

However, the official website provides resources, including videos and detailed written instructions, for protesters to engage in “civil disobedience.” The resources provided include instructions on how to resist police arrest and disrupt court hearings.

Similar instructions are provided on the website of an affiliated organization, which calls itself “Occupy Wall Street” and was also involved in planning the Sept. 17 protests.

The use of the term “Day of Rage” recalls the “Days of Rage” organized in the 1960s by the Weather Underground domestic terrorist organization co-founded by Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, close associates for years of President Obama.

Purple shirt power

In March, ACORN founder Wade Rathke announced what he called “days of rage in 10 cities around JP Morgan Chase.” Rathke was president of an Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, local in New Orleans.

Those efforts are being organized by Stephen Lerner, an SEIU board member who reportedly visited the Obama White House at least four times. Lerner is considered one of the most capable organizers of the radical left. He recently organized the SEIU’s so-called Justice for Janitors campaign.

As part of his planned protests, Lerner called for “a week of civil disobedience, direct action all over the city.”

His stated aim is to “destabilize the folks that are in power and start to rebuild a movement.”

In an interview about the protests, Lerner outlined his goals: “How do we bring down the stock market? How do we bring down their bonuses? How do we interfere with their ability to, to be rich?”

Forecast for American cities: Confrontation, intimidation?

There are other indications radicals and unions are planning chaos using the current economic crisis.

Last month, WND reported that a slew of extremist organizations, some tied to Obama, are preparing protests to coincide with major NATO and G-8 summits in Chicago next May.

Foreshadowing possible violent confrontations, some of the same radical trainers behind the infamous 1999 Seattle riots against the World Trade Organization have been mobilizing new protest efforts geared toward world summits as well as the current economic crisis.

The NATO and G-8 summits are not the only focus of radical groups. WND reported Heather Booth, director of a Saul Alinsky-style community organizing group, the Midwest Academy, was among the main speakers at the “2011 State Battles Summit” in June at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Booth’s husband, Paul, also was a speaker at the union summit. Paul Booth co-founded Midwest Academy in the 1970s.

The four-day summit was organized by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, with participation from the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest union.

An official schedule for the event, obtained by WND, declared: “Our union is under unprecedented attack in every state. Extremist politicians want to weaken us as we head into 2012. Their tactics include budget cuts, layoffs, privatization and the denial of our very collective bargaining rights.”

Continued the flyer: “New challenges require new energy and new thinking. We encourage union activists to attend this conference and bring their creative ideas on how to overcome the challenges ahead.”

Heather Booth participated in a panel entitled, “Our Message, Alliances and Best Practices.”

Another speaker at the union event was John Podesta, who co-chaired President Obama’s transition team.

Podesta is president of the Center for American Progress, which is heavily influential in advising the White House. The center is funded by philanthropist George Soros.

Mideast revolutions coming to U.S.?

Citizen Action of Wisconsin, an arm of Booth’s Midwest Academy, is part of the Moving Wisconsin Forward movement, one of the main organizers of the major Wisconsin protests in February, as WND first reported.

The protests were in opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal for most state workers to pay 12 percent of their health care premiums and 5.8 percent of their salary toward their own pensions.

WND reported at the time speakers at the rallies likened the Wisconsin protests to the ongoing revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa while calling for similar uprisings in the U.S.

And just this past week, former Obama czar Van Jones told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell that “October is going to be the turning point for the progressive fight back” and referred to the Occupy Wall Street protests as part of a “progressive counterbalance to the tea party.”

“You’re going to see an ‘American Autumn,'” Jones said, “just like we saw the Arab Spring.”

‘Redistribution of wealth and power’

Obama himself once funded Midwest Academy and has been closely tied to Heather Booth.

Booth has stated building a ”progressive majority” would help for ”a fair distribution of wealth and power and opportunity.”

Her husband Paul is a founder and the former national secretary of Students for a Democratic Society, the radical 1960s anti-war movement from which Ayers’ Weather Underground splintered.

In 1999, the Booths’ Midwest Academy received $75,000 from the Woods Fund with Obama on its board alongside Ayers, In 2002, with Obama still serving on the Woods Fund, Midwest received another $23,500 for its Young Organizers Development Program.

Midwest describes itself as “one of the nation’s oldest and best-known schools for community organizations, citizen organizations and individuals committed to progressive social change.”

It later morphed into a national organizing institute for an emerging network of organizations known as Citizen Action.

Discover the Networks describes Midwest as “teach[ing] tactics of direct action, confrontation and intimidation.”

WND first reported the executive director of an activist organization that taught Alinsky’s tactics of direct action, confrontation and intimidation was part of the team that developed volunteers for President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Jackie Kendall, executive director of the Midwest Academy, was on the team that developed and delivered the first Camp Obama training for volunteers aiding Obama’s campaign through the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. Camp Obama was a two-to-four day intensive course run in conjunction with Obama’s campaign aimed at training volunteers to become activists to help Obama win the presidential election.

Also, in 1998, Obama participated on a panel discussion praising Alinsky alongside Heather Booth, herself a dedicated disciple of Alinsky. The panel discussion followed the opening performance in Chicago of the play “The Love Song of Saul Alinsky,” a work described by the Chicago Sun-Times as “bringing to life one of America’s greatest community organizers.”

Obama participated in the discussion alongside other Alinskyites, including political analyst Aaron Freeman, Don Turner of the Chicago Federation of Labor and Northwestern University history professor Charles Paine.

“Alinsky had so much fire burning within,” stated local actor Gary Houston, who portrayed Alinsky in the play. “There was a lot of complexity to him. Yet he was a really cool character.”

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