Friends, Community help out Occupy

Occupy gets a little help from its friends. Volunteers pitch in to help with a cause they believe in at Occupy DC, McPherson Park.

These nurses volunteer two days a week.
Kitchen help
Carol enjoys her leg-warmers inscribed with "ODC"

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Occupy DC: Man at McPherson Park badly beaten, hospitalized

A space is cleared in McPherson Park after Friday night's assault

Two assailants brutally beat up a Hispanic man at the Occupy DC encampment at McPherson Park. The incident occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning, and the victim was hospitalized because of his injuries. No arrests were made. National Park Police were unable to provide an incident report on Saturday.

Park Police leveled a cluster of five tents nicknamed Echo Base where the assault took place. According to accounts at McPherson Park, the victim had been at Occupy DC for only a couple of days and the alleged assailants for a few weeks. As more non-activists with no affiliation to Occupy move in, the camp is encountering greater problems with accountability.

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Modest Needs for Hard Times

There’s hard times out there. Here’s a charity with a simple and direct mission:

Founded in 2002, Modest Needs is an award-winning public charity with a simple but critical mission: we work to stop the cycle of poverty BEFORE it starts for the low-income workers whom conventional philanthropy has forgotten.

We do this by empowering compassionate members of the general public to safely and securely help hard-working, low-income households to afford the kinds of short-term emergency expenses that we’ve all encountered before: the unexpected car repair, the unanticipated visit to the doctor, or the unusually large heating bill, for example.

Since 2002, by working together in this very ‘modest’ way, Modest Needs’ donors have stopped 10,281 low-income individuals and families from entering the vicious cycle of poverty and a lifetime of dependence on the public welfare system for their survival.

And, through our unique Non-Profit Grant program, we simultaneously empower our donors to invest directly in small non-profit organizations struggling to serve their communities, but whose needs are generally too small to be considered a funding priority by larger, more conventional grant-makers.

100% of every contribution goes directly to low-income individuals and families who’ve requested assistance. The average grant to recipients is $380.

Read testimonials and the Modest Needs blog.

We are the 99%: Congress is the 1%

Image source: William Domhoff, Sociology Department, UC-Santa Cruz

As you can see, only six Senators and thirty Congressmen are NOT among the wealthiest 20% of Americans.

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Why We Occupy: Filthy Rich Legislators

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) secured $800,000 in earmarks for his district and owns assets worth between $240 and $500 million

Supply-side economics, legacy of the ’80s. Wealth trickles down like rivulets from a mountain stream.

Reaganomics was called voodoo economics for more than one reason. First, since the Reagan years, wealth hasn’t trickled–it’s gushed. And secondly, it’s gushed upstream to the already rich and made them even more wealthy.

In another trend, we’re electing lawmakers who are upstream of the average, while voters get pushed downstream a little more. Between 1984 and 2009, the median net worth of a member of the House more than doubled from $280,000 to $725,000. In comparison, median wealth of American families stagnated at about $20,000 in inflation-adjusted dollars.

The statistics don’t take into account home equity. Given that the 2008-2009 recession gutted home values and the less well-off were more often on the bad end of sub-prime mortgages and foreclosures, these numbers don’t show the true extent of the wealth gap.

Of course legislators with personal wealth can and sometimes do stand up on the right side of issues–keeping a social safety net in place so 10% unemployment doesn’t turn families out into the cold, working for universal healthcare so that one illness doesn’t lead to financial catastrophe. But we know this majority Republican House isn’t on the side of the 99%. They’ve fought tooth and nail to keep the Bush tax cuts for millionaires in place and refused to extend the payroll tax cut–until they got eaten alive by public opinion.

When Republicans claim they’ve never met a tax cut they didn’t like, yet a tax cut for average Americans goes down like cod liver oil, it all adds up to gross self-enrichment.

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