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Fair disclosure: The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent Occupy Tacoma supporters. I am a resident of Tacoma, a supporter of Occupy Tacoma, but I’m not an authorized spokesperson for Occupy Tacoma participants. ~AOS

A fellow named Scott, who runs a personal website called A Dad First, had posted several criticisms on his blog explaining his opposition to the Occupy Tacoma and the whole national Occupy Wall Street movement from a conservative point of view. So I posted some responses to these criticisms on A Dad First, which Scott was gracious enough to allow to remain.

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A fellow who calls himself OccupyAnimator has produced an outstanding video. This video is simple, and by being simple, it’s clarity is compelling.

Kudos to OccupyAnimator. He’s only produced this one video, at least under the name OccupyAnimator. He is certainly talented, an asset to the Occupy Movement. I urge everyone to see it, pass it on, study it. Here’s his explanation for his video:

If you’re having trouble understanding what is at stake in the "Occupy" protests, here are some numbers that help explain the problem.

Regards,

Alan OldStudent
The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living — Socrates
My Web Site

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On Saturday, October 29, 2011, I had the honor of addressing a gathering Occupy Tacoma supporters in Lincoln Park, Tacoma. My remarks were a part of a longer statement. Several people asked me to post the entire statement here. Above is a video of the speech as it was presented on Saturday. Following is a full statement, including the parts I left out when speaking, slightly edited to make it suitable for posting purposes. This article was originally published on the Occupy Tacoma Website.

Hello all!

My name is Alan OldStudent, and I love what I am seeing here today. You are great! You are amazing!

In my long life, I have seen many amazing things. I saw how a mass nonviolent movement ended the infamous Jim Crow laws, — laws that legalized racial segregation, — laws that made it a crime to marry outside of your race. And now, I am seeing a how a mass nonviolent movement is ending laws against marrying the person you truly love, even if that person is the same sex as you.

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According to The National Priorities Project, The United States passed a landmark on May 30, 2010. On that day, the United States will have spent 1 trillion dollars on the Iraq and Afghan wars, and on June 7, 2010, the Afghan war will become the longest war the United States has waged.

Moreover, the cost of the war in Afghanistan is currently 1 million dollars per soldier per year, according to this November 14, 2009 New York Times article.

One million dollars is a large number, but one trillion dollars is an unimaginably larger number. It’s easy to gloss over when the politicians and pundits toss around these numbers.

The thickness of a dollar bill is 0.0043 inches. So a stack of a million dollar bills would be about 109.22 meters or 358 feet tall. That’s as high as an office building 30 stories tall, counting a story as being approximately 11.9 feet tall (about 3.6 meters).

But a stack of a trillion dollars would be 63,516.5633 miles (109220 km) tall. That’s 2.5 times the circumference of the earth. That’s what American taxpayers pay for the Iraq/Afghan war. And the champions of small government say nothing about this.

Did you know that the United States just by itself has a military budget greater than the rest of the world’s countries combined? Or did you know the US military budget is more than 10 times  greater than that of either Russia or China’s? (Click here for the documentation of those figures).

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Martin Luther King died in 1968, a year of incredible upheaval throughout the world. I was a young married man with a beautiful young daughter. We lived in San Diego, California, and I was a private music teacher. It was a completely different world then. People in my town thought it was funny to call Dr. King “Martin Luther Coon.” Many were sure he was a communist.

A student came to my studio in downtown San Diego for a music lesson. He was about 16, and his father was an officer in the Navy. San Diego had a large US Navy base.

This young man broke the shocking news to me that Dr. King had been assassinated. He was quite pleased. He referred to Dr. King as “Martin Coon.”

 

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Single payer health care reform proposals seek universal health coverage to replace  the confused network of thousands of for-profit private health insurance plans and companies. Under such proposals, a publicly accountable single payer board would administer the payment of medical costs.

Every other industrialized nation on the planet manages to achieve universal coverage for all their residents. They do that without relying on for-profit companies that make obscenely large profits by denying care to the policy holders.

In such countries as the UK, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, France, Israel, and even Cuba, nobody goes bankrupt, loses their life savings, or gets thrown out of their home because of medical bills.

Yet, in the United States in 2007, 62% of all bankruptcies were for medical costs, according to Business Week. The Business Week article says that the majority of these bankruptcies were in what we Americans call the “middle class,” people who had insurance and no doubt thought they were covered.

As there were 822,590 total personal bankruptcies in 2007, according to the Bankruptcy Law Network, that means there likely was one medical-cost-related bankruptcy every minute during 2007 in the USA. Bear in mind that was 2007, before the big meltdown! No doubt, the situation is much more dire today.

Compare that massive number to zero medical bankruptcies in the above-named countries—no elderly, no desperately ill, no children, no pensioners, no handicapped, no working people thrown out of their houses and into the street because of  medical bills! Zip! Zero!

Meanwhile, medical bills thrust hundreds of thousands of Americans into penury every year.

To get some perspective on this, consider that the number of people killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the International Trade Center was 2,973 (not including the 19 terrorists). According to this Urban Institute study, the number of excess deaths in 2006 in the United States was 22,000. That means there were 7 times more victim deaths owing to lack of medical insurance in 2006 than victim deaths owing to the 9/11 terrorist attack!

As the American Folksinger Woody Guthrie said:

As through this world I wander
I meet lots of funny men.
Some’ll rob you with a six-gun
And some with a fountain pen.

Just think about that for a moment, will you?

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By all accounts, when the proposed “health care reform” bill passes, it will still leave many Americans uncovered. We will still be saddled with a crazy-quilt of separate for-profit insurance bureaucrats who know zip about medicine, but who will nevertheless check their spreadsheets and profit margins before deciding what medical care we can get. Medical decisions will not be made by you and your doctor, but by the insurance bureaucrat standing between you and your doctor.

This law will require all Americans to become the paying customers of private companies or pay a fine. These insurance companies enjoy exclusion from antitrust legislation . These companies will still be able to set rates, define benefits, and exclude people whom they say did not disclose preexisting conditions.

The politicians, including the liberals and moderates, tell us that these measures are necessary to protect free enterprise system and enable market forces to solve our broken health care system.

There’s something terribly wrong with that picture.

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