Las Vegas Sun

July 24, 2014

Currently: 101° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Sun Editorial:

Occupy Wall Street demonstrations a good use of the Bill of Rights

OTHER VIEWS

We asked you, our readers, for your thoughts on Occupy Wall Street. Here is a sampling of the letters to the editor we received.

As the Occupy Wall Street movement has grown over the past several weeks, we have noted with some curiosity the objections of critics. Several pundits, politicians and others with differing viewpoints have started to level some incredible complaints. The protesters are, in their eyes, a mob, unfocused, whiny, smelly — and those are the polite complaints.

One of the curiosities of the complaints is that many of the critics are supporters of the Tea Party. Many of the critics we have heard have tried to draw stark contrasts, making the Tea Party protesters out to be righteous, polite patriots and the Occupy Wall Street protests to be crazy malcontents.

Please.

There are bad apples at any protests, and there are crazies in any political movement — yes, that’s true even in the Tea Party. However, the actions of a few shouldn’t color the entire movement.

There is no doubt that the Occupy Wall Street movement is much different from the Tea Party, both in the type of people who are taking part to the motives and desires of the participants.

But the complaints about the Occupy Wall Street protests, which have happened around the country and included events in Las Vegas, miss the point: The protesters are exercising their First Amendment rights.

The last we checked, the Constitution isn’t limited to clean-cut, well-dressed Americans with clear agendas. In fact, it was designed to give a voice to all Americans, no matter if they need a shower or a focused agenda.

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are worthwhile. Opposing view points are healthy in a democracy. The Founding Fathers had plenty of differences of opinions, and there were extremes — from the federalist Alexander Hamilton to Thomas Jefferson, who stood opposed to much of Hamilton’s agenda.

Sadly, many Americans have started to despise dissent. Political debate, such as it is, has become a matter of who can talk over and shout down an opponent. Too often, talking points have become more important than ideas, and that’s a shame.

The nation faces significant problems, and it will take more than sound bites to put the country on a good path. It will take people who can listen to one another and seek out the best ideas, even if they come from those with different political views.

We would think that patriots would encourage debate. Remember: Just a few years ago, there was a complaint that people weren’t active enough in public life, but that certainly changed with the recession.

So, if the Occupy Wall Street protesters want to gather and march and make their voice known, even if they’re not exactly in unison about what they’re demonstrating for, well, good for them.

•••

What do you think? Send your thoughts in a letter — no more than 250 words. Include the writer’s name, address and phone number. Anonymous letters will not be considered. E-mail: [email protected].

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 23 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Mannix - "There is no right to be seen or heard nor is there a right to disturb the peace or disrupt the public order. Public rebellion has never been tolerated."

    Does that include the Tea Party?

  2. Mannix your statement could not sound dumber even if you actually thought it out.

    LastThroes are you saying that SS recipients are not allowed to have a say? Are you engaging in class envy with your motor home comment? Or do you just have a pathological hate and cannot see any opinion but your own?

  3. The loons on the left want to stifle the 1st amendment rights of peaceable opposition to their parasitic platforms and, at the same time, protect the rights of the white trash druggies defacating, looting and using violence to push their Red agenda. Cuba, Red China and North Korea would be fitting places for these morons! Those countries are examples of what they long for. Let's form a fund and pay their way with one-way tickets. See how many will take advantage of the opportunity to live in "People's Paradises." I can just see Simmons moving. No way. He's happy to be in a country where he can ride the gravy train while others pay his fare. The parasitic class, as you can tell by so many of the leftist commentators to the LV Rag, is alive and well in the USA. They are more than happy to invade your wallet to pay for their pleasures! Plus they have no qualms about stealing from their children and grandchildren just so long as they get theirs! "Greed is good!" seems to fit them accurately.

  4. "There are bad apples at any protests, and there are crazies in any political movement..."

    SUN -- this is the best piece from you in a long time, and a good reminder of this country's founding principles.

    "There is no right to be seen or heard nor is there a right to disturb the peace or disrupt the public order."

    Mannix -- your post described not only the police state we now live in, but your profound ignorance of the Bill of Rights.

    "The fact that society may find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it. Indeed, if it is the speaker's opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection. For it is a central tenet of the First Amendment that the government must remain neutral in the marketplace of ideas." -- HUSTLER MAGAZINE AND LARRY C. FLYNT v. JERRY FALWELL, 485 U.S. 46, 55-6 (1988)

  5. One difference between the Occupy protestors and the TeaParty protestors is the Occupy folks seem to be educated, I have not seen one mis-spelled sign yet which is a staple of the Tea Party folks.

  6. Few seem to make the connection with some of the sources of the "Occupy Wall Street Protesters.

    Money from billionaire financier George Soros, for example, has been linked to "Occupy Wall Street" from the very beginning. Even the Canadian magazine which first called for the occupation, AdBusters, is partly funded by Soros. And several union bosses -- some tied to the Obama administration -- have also been implicated in the protests.

    While the exact message and motivation of the protesters is impossible to discern, various interests are attempting to use its momentum for widely varying causes. In the United States, radio host Alex Jones called for "Occupy the Fed" demonstrations in Dallas and other cities to target the corrupt central banking system. But communist and socialist groups are openly hoping to use the movement to eventually smash "capitalism."

    Big Labor, meanwhile, is aiming to use the protests to advance union interests. More than a few analysts have linked the movement to a conspiracy unwittingly revealed by the SEIU's Stephen Lerner to bring down capitalism and "redistribute the wealth."

    Several political groups funded by Soros -- MoveOn.org and the "Rebuild the Dream" movement led by former Obama czar and self-described communist Van Jones, for example -- are seeking to build pressure for higher taxes on the middle class. Astute observers noted that this is the same agenda being advanced by President Obama, who publicly expressed sympathy for the demonstrators.

  7. LastThroes we seldom see eye to eye but good post. Frank can be annoying at times.

  8. Frank, you are so misinformed. OWS began with individuals. It is open to all who are in solidarity with it. As a result Meetup (Soros), unions and other organizations have participated with Occupy Wall St, as anyone is allowed to do. OWS does not endorse any individual or organization just because they are in solidarity with the efforts or issues of OWS.

    Each Occupy group is independent of the others and therefore can have different approaches.

    OWS is a leaderless, horizontal, transparent structure utilizing consensus democracy, rather than representative democracy. All are equal, all have a say and a vote. All are heard. The People are OWS, not leaders or organizations.

    Within the OWS movement you can find very diverse philosophies, both political and economic. Through consensus they arrive at what they can agree on to support as a movement.

    Consensus democracy basically passes a proposal with 100% approving. If there is a block (veto) to the proposal, it doesn't pass. One can Stand Aside, indicating they have no moral or ethical issues with the proposal but wish not to vote for it. They stand aside to allow the group to decide and support the groups decision.

    In order to keep one individual from controlling all decisions through blocking, a policy of consensus -1, -2, or -3 can be chosen by the group.

    The New York OWS group work on a consensus of 90/100.

  9. peacelily thank for your posts and for your information. I am curious. Is there any single event that will satisfy the group and allow them, through their own satisfaction, to go home?

  10. Did anyone besides me think of Athens and "Animal Farm" after reading peacelily's post?

  11. I have yet to figure out what OWS is all about, the TEA party was very explicit, stop spending more than is taken in, and most met for a day or weekend.. OWS seems to be a great party though! Get mad at the CEO of GE, ok, now what? Put in your application if you want the job! This OWS is like a flash mob who did not get the last text. Of course we know Wall Street is the life blood of the financial system in the USA and the terrorism attacked with vengeance,,, so are the OWS attacking the same? I am guessing it is just a big party!

  12. peacelily can you shed some light on the apparent anti-semitic protesters that are on the west coast. Is this misinformation from the media?

  13. John, I can't speak to what I haven't seen. That said, I can tell you that there are people who are trying to make the movement fail by going in and acting contrary to the OWS to destroy them in the media and within the minds of the public.

    It isn't unheard of, and the Tea Party has had the same experience.

    Nothing substitutes for doing one's own independent examination of what OWS is doing live, including watching their general assemblies.

    Keep in mind this is a movement that has grown over the month and a half it has existed. They are evolving like all movements, but they are doing so publically, transparently. I am sure we will see what comes of their growth and learning. If it lasts, meaning people start demanding action and be responsible for being part of the answer, we should see something substantial eventually that could mean a change in our system, and not necessarily communist or socialist, which all citizens have the ability to vote against.

    There are concrete legislative actions that our Congress could take to stop what has been going on, and return us to a government for and of the People.

    I will post here.

  14. Here are some unofficial proposals anonymously posted to an OWS website forum, minus the commentary or explanation that accompanied them.

    I think they would be a good effort to getting us back to a government & economic system working for The People, rather than for the Corporation. However, it is necessary for The People to get informed and to take action on Congress to get this to be a reality.

    1. CONGRESS PASS HR 1489 ("RETURN TO PRUDENT BANKING ACT" http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd....... THIS REINSTATES MANY PROVISIONS OF THE GLASS-STEAGALL ACT.

    2. USE CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORITY AND OVERSIGHT TO ENSURE APPROPRIATE FEDERAL AGENCIES FULLY INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE THE WALL STREET CRIMINALS.

    3. CONGRESS ENACT LEGISLATION TO PROTECT OUR DEMOCRACY BY REVERSING THE EFFECTS OF THE CITIZENS UNITED SUPREME COURT DECISION.

    4. CONGRESS PASS THE BUFFETT RULE ON FAIR TAXATION SO THE RICH AND CORPORATIONS PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE & CLOSE CORPORATE TAX LOOP HOLES AND ENACT A PROHIBITION ON HIDING FUNDS OFF SHORE.

    5. CONGRESS COMPLETELY REVAMP THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION.

    6. CONGRESS PASS SPECIFIC AND EFFECTIVE LAWS LIMITING THE INFLUENCE OF LOBBYISTS AND ELIMINATING THE PRACTICE OF LOBBYISTS WRITING LEGISLATION THAT ENDS UP ON THE FLOOR OF CONGRESS.

    7. CONGRESS PASSING "Revolving Door Legislation" LEGISLATION ELIMINATING THE ABILITY OF FORMER GOVERNMENT REGULATORS GOING TO WORK FOR CORPORATIONS THAT THEY ONCE REGULATED.

    8. ELIMINATE "PERSONHOOD" LEGAL STATUS FOR CORPORATIONS.

    For an explanation of each proposal go to: http://occupywallst.org/forum/proposed-l......

  15. After reading thru this post I have found the answer the OWS!
    "The people need to let the government know that we expect more. There are more poor and middle class voters than rich people in this country so it is time to let the government know that we want them to do a better job distributing the wealth. The election is only a year away and it is time to start taking care of the people. Empty promises and slogans won't work this time. We need money!"

    more lazy people wanting someone elses' hard earned money! Obama would be proud! If only he was actually an American citizen, but Kenya will be proud!

    OWS is what Community organizers is all about! Great mob job your Kenya chief!

  16. LastThroes frank simmons is the man like I am a hunk!

  17. "8. ELIMINATE "PERSONHOOD" LEGAL STATUS FOR CORPORATIONS."

    peacelily -- corporations are persons, always have been. One definition is "An artificial person or being, endowed by law with the capacity at perpetual succession..." That's from the original Black's Dictionary of Law, published in 1891, based on prior authorities. Blackstone used a similar definition over a hundred years before Henry Campbell Black wrote his first dictionary.

    "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know." -- President Harry Truman

  18. peacelily thank you again for your posts.

    Cognastics: I think there are a few that might agree with your last post. The problem is this will never happen.

  19. I just finished reading several of the more recent forum posts on the OWS website. The general theme of them all is that capitalism must come to an end in this country, and indeed, around the world.

    I can not and will not support this goal.

  20. When these folks begin focus on the shameful makeup, powerful few industrialists, of our nation's media ownership, we can recognize possibility for change. Only 1% of our media is offering citizen awareness to a present movement aimed at removing the influence of money from our nation's politics by changing the way we shamefully fund political campaigns. Some members of Congress, The Senate, and noted citizens are presently endorsing this movement, yet 99% of our media fails to offer public awareness that there even is such a movement under way. This is where we live today!

  21. OWS is certainly an expression of our freedom. But I can not say it is a "good" one as the Sun contends.

    The problem lies not with Wall Street, but with Congress who has allowed Wall Street to what they have *legally*.

    OWS is starting to harm the very people they need to have on their side. Just look at the increasing costs to private business owners (Main Street) who have to deal with the trash and waste disposal without any compensation coming back in the form of purchases of goods and/or services.

  22. "Corporations have not always been considered people. Not until the passage of the 14th Amendment and a couple Supreme Court decisions concerning that very thing..."

    El_Lobo -- wrong. Blackstone's Commentaries were first published between 1765-1769 -- check that out @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commentarie.... In his Book I, Chapter XVIII "Of Corporations" he wrote "..it is for the advantage of the public to have any particular rights kept on foot and continued, to constitute artificial persons, who may maintain a perpetual succession, and enjoy a kind of legal immortality." He went on to give the Romans the credit for originally creating them. A little more digging shows the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 -- about a hundred years after "Of Corporations." The Nevada Supreme Court first quoted Blackstone in 1865's Milliken et al. v. Sloat -- three years before the 14th was ratified.

    Next?

    "In the general course of human nature, a power over a man's subsistence amounts to a power over his will." -- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Paper 79, 1787-88

  23. "You should check your sources and do some more research."

    Cognastics -- so far I'm the only one offering any real research. My sources and research are solid. Neither you nor El_Lobo offered either.

    As to whether or not we have an "educated discussion" remains to be seen. Seems I'm one doing the educating. Class dismissed.

    "A corporation is but an association of individuals with a distinct name and legal entity, and, in organizing itself as a collective body, it waives no appropriate constitutional immunities, and, although it cannot refuse to produce its books and papers, it is entitled to immunity under the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures..." Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43 (1906)