Independent Republican Presidential Candidate Andy Martin was the first presidential candidate not to demonize the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Lower Manhattan. Martin promised to spend an overnight at Zuccotti Park to gain a deeper insight into the demonstrators and their goals. Here are his surprising conclusions after his night at Zuccotti Park.
ANDY MARTIN /2012
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Republican Presidential Candidate Andy Martin reports on the night he spent with Wall Street demonstrators (barely sleeping) at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan
The presidential candidate is a former adjunct professor of law at the City University of New York; In 1974, Andy opened a New York office at the World Trade Center, across the street from where the Occupy Wall Street demonstration is taking place 38 years later
(NEW YORK) (October 18, 2011) Most Sundays when I am in New York I walk past Zuccotti Park. In 1974 I opened an office at the World Trade Center, across the street from what is now called Zuccotti Park. I worship in the neighborhood and have spent many nights in Lower Manhattan. I was there after 9/11. So I am very familiar with the area. And, oh, my family first took me to visit Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange in 1960. I come from a family of investors.
I tried the first public interest lawsuit at the Federal Reserve Board in 1973. For many years I have been involved in fighting the growing concentration of power by big banks.
The week after Occupy Wall Street opened I walked past and didn’t pay the park or the occupants any particular attention. I was busy preparing to leave for an investigative trip to Honolulu on September 27th (you can read about the Honolulu trip on our blogs, and there will be new research reports on the Honolulu trip coming later this month). In Honolulu, I was surprised to look back at the mainland and find the vicious attacks on Occupy Wall Street by Republican politicians and presidential candidates such as Herman Cain. And so I started to think more deeply about the challenges posed by Occupy Wall Street.
I occupy a unique perch in the presidential race. All of my opponents are products of the corrupt system that produced the economic collapse. Herman Cain served in the Federal Reserve System and thinks Alan Greenspan was a great central banker. Romney was a hedge fund operator. The rest of them are politicians of various stripes. I am the only conservative Republican with a history of pro-consumer advocacy and standing up to the “system” on behalf of ordinary Americans.
As a law student I worked at the First National Bank of Champaign, Illinois. My interest in the banking system expanded during my time with U. S. Senator Paul H. Douglas. Douglas served on the Banking and Currency Committee and proposed many of the consumer protections we enjoy today. The senator was a consistent foe of bank holding companies. The then-retired senator was quite proud when I battled against Mellon Bank and conducted the first administrative trial at the Federal Reserve Board almost forty years ago. So my knowledge of the financial system is broad and deep.
Over the past several years I have been incensed and outraged by two aspects of the economy. First, the amount of fraud in the mortgage markets was disgraceful. I knew in 2007 when the Bush administration attacked subprime mortgages and mortgage fraud that they were going about it the wrong way. Robo-signers, fraudulent affidavits and malicious foreclosure operations helped bring down our economy.
Second, I saw how the big New York banks sought to use the economic collapse as a way of stealing equity from other regions of the country by robbing other banks of their operations. Wachovia and Washington Mutual were stolen from their shareholders by Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. Power was concentrated in Manhattan at the expense of other areas.
And yet no one has ever been charged with serious administrative violations or any criminal activity despite the mountains of evidence of criminal activity.
Much to my unhappiness, the other Republican presidential candidates have tried to pretend that we do not need financial reform. They want to repeal it. That’s why I say all of them are part of the problem and I am the only candidate who is capable of arriving at a solution to our economic mess that will find acceptance by all segments of our society.
I decided to stay at Zuccotti Park overnight because during the day the Occupy Wall Street demonstration has become a tourist attraction. It’s hard to get a sense of what is real and what is unreal. I know that night you see people in much more relaxed situation. You can see more at night. People let their guard down. And they are tired.
Here’s what I leaned during my overnight stay at Zuccotti Park.
First, I have lost track of all of the conspiracy theories that are flying around Occupy Wall Street. The demonstrators are on George Soros’ payroll. Soros is the mastermind (possibly, but unlikely). Mayor Bloomberg’s lady serves on the board of Zuccotti Park’s owner’s board (true but probably irrelevant). And so on.
Second, Fox News has been maliciously distorting the reality of Zuccotti Park. Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity have been obsessed with fornication, masturbation and urination at the park. I have not seen any of those through I am sure people do become intimate and I do know where they go to perform some of their bodily functions (not the park).
I did a careful recon of the park when I spent the night (and have gone back since then). I was surprised at how generally clean and well-organized the place was. By midnight it was “lights out” for most of the “residents.”
I was also pleasantly surprised to see how law-abiding the “residents” were. While I was there the police had to enter the park to arrest someone who was groping women. People in the park did not object, because they were aware that person was breaking the law and was a pervert. The “collar” took place peacefully.
Can you find “freaks” and reprobates at Zuccotti Park? Most assuredly you can. In any self-assembled group of people staked out on the streets some of the human detritus of any big city (hello, San Francisco?) will soon assemble, particularly when there is free food to be had.
The park was serving food late into the night. People were friendly and generous.
Third, I was surprised to find a great diversity of opinion at Occupy Wall Street. Some of the disillusioned young already hold ultra-conservative views about various aspects of our economy and the financial crisis that they expect to continue to fail them. They want to abolish the Federal Reserve and end Social Security and Medicare because they are liberal scams. I teased these protesters for being “Rick Perry” and “Ron Paul” acolytes.
Most of the protesters are simply frustrated and have little or no economic knowledge. Some of the organizers may even be “socialists.” And, the word “communist” has reared its head on Fox News after decades of somnolence. “Communist demonstrators!” Oh my God!!!
My view: Many people would leave Zuccotti Park in a heartbeat if they had job offers. The fact that the protesters are so organized and computerized almost suggests our society has already inculcated “organizational” psychology in them and they have no place to apply their knowledge. Unable to join a conventional organization or corporation, they have created their own organizational contraption at the park and in the streets. Thanks to the liberal news media a worldwide movement has sprung from a tiny green space in Manhattan.
And, may I remind you, all of these people have parents and relatives, many of whom are conservative residents of the Midwest heartland. These “communist demonstrators” did not simply parachute in from “Communist China.” They are our family and friends and neighbors.
That is why I have been willing to listen to the protesters, and to hear their grievances. That is what a genuine leader would do.
Fourth, Sean Hannity has tried to portray the demonstrators as “anti-Semitic.” This is also a false or misleading accusation. I did not see any signs of anti-Semitism during my night stay. This past Sunday I saw a handful of people holding up anti-Semitic signs on a tiny corner of the park, and I saw even more people holding up signs disassociating the bona fide demonstrators from the anti-Semites.
Sunday I also saw Hasidic Jews who were also demonstrating (they had a kiosk) and no one was being unruly or offensive to them. I do not know where the anti-Semitic demonstrators came from but they were clearly a tiny fringe element of the entire Occupy Wall Street premises. The Fox News cameras, of course, were there.
So where do we go from here?
First, you can get an idea from my actions over the past several weeks that I am a somewhat different type of conservative Republican. Yes, I am a conservative. But I am also someone who will extend an open hand and listen to people who disagree with me. That is what real leadership means to me. In my opinion, that’s what the Gipper, updated to 2011, would do.
Second, unlike Herman Cain, who is always quick to mouth off, and Mitt Romney, Eric Cantor and others who also have loose lips, I investigate before I make accusations. You can agree or disagree with my observations but they are the product of actual research. No other conservative has spent a night in the park.
Third, many of the “demands” (and the demonstrators’ complaints may not be a PowerPoint presentation but they are “demands”) are impractical or nonsensical. But how can Republicans, how can anyone, be against making the people who caused the economic collapse responsible for their misdeeds and ensuring they are held accountable in a court of law for signing false affidavits, for filing fraudulent foreclosure lawsuits, for causing chaos and helping prolong the economic collapse through market manipulation?
Do Republicans really want to be seen as supporting the fraud artists such as Goldman Sachs that sold its customers fraudulent merchandise and engaged in market rigging???
Fourth, I have bad news. Our “national nightmare” is probably just beginning, not ending. In any crisis, human nature usually assumes the best, and expects that “this too shall end.” The economic crisis will end. But when? It will probably not end as long as Obama is in the White House. So we are looking at years more of economic stress. How much stress can people absorb? Good question.
But if fewer and fewer people get richer and richer as the national economy remains impoverished, and the Midwest heartland continues to contract, I can foresee more, not fewer, demonstrations and more anger directed at people who gamed the system’s collapse to profit privately from public misery.
Right now my primary opponents for the presidential nomination are merely “clowns of the month” who mouth platitudes that they think their uninformed supporters want to hear. A real leader would tell Republicans what they don’t want to hear. The truth. If the economic decline persists we could even see the emergence of real political demagogues. It was only last month that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg predicted riots in the streets. A few days later, they appeared.
Finally, you cannot trust Fox News to be “fair and balanced” in this controversy. Monday night Sean Hannity was trying to “out” a “trust fund baby.” What difference does it make if someone has money, or doesn’t? People with a social conscience do not want to see Americans suffer needlessly while Wall Street hedge fund hucksters are simultaneously scheming to export more of our economic base to China.
Why isn’t Sean Hannity screaming bloody murder about the two million jobs that hedge fund hucksters exported to China in just the past few years? (Hint: Rupert Murdoch, principal owner of Fox, does business in China. Hannity always genuflects to his masters.)
Pat Buchanan, now a toothless old “house conservative” for MSNBC, has written a new book, “Suicide of a Superpower.” I haven’t read he book so I can’t endorse it. But I know where Buchanan is coming from. He has been warning abut our national decline for many years. In general, at least, he’s 100% right.
Almost all of us know college grads that can’t find jobs, “kids” that have to live at home when they should be going out and starting their own households, couples that can’t get married or have kids, seniors that can’t retire and so on. Next June a new class will be graduating. A new “class” will be turning 65. Will there be jobs? How long can the unemployed hold out? Will Medicare and Social Security be there? (I am the only Republican presidential candidate that supports these programs, see my TV ad on my web site.)
I only spent one night at Occupy Wall Street. But I am running for president to end the “long night” of economic suffering that our beloved nation is enduring. In the words of the old Beatles tune, please “help me if you can.” You won’t regret it.
COMING: I won’t promise a date but I have more thoughts on how Occupy Wall Street could bring down the Obama regime. The law of unintended consequences is still alive and kicking. Watch for my comments.
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ABOUT ANDY: Andy Martin’s family immigrated to Manchester, New Hampshire 100 years ago. His mom was born in Manchester. Growing up, Andy spent summers in New Hampshire. That’s why he’s New Hampshire’s “Favorite Son” presidential candidate in the 2012 presidential primary election.
Today Andy is a legendary New York and Chicago-based muckraker, author, Internet columnist, talk television pioneer, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. Chicago Public Radio calls Andy a “boisterous Internet activist.” The Chicago Tribune calls him “Chicago’s own…political activist.” He has over forty years of background in radio and television. He is the author of “Obama: The Man Behind The Mask” [www.OrangeStatePress.com] and he produced the Internet film “Obama: The Hawaii’ Years” [www.BoycottHawaii.com]. Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of the “Internet Powerhouse,” http://www.ContrarianCommentary.com. He comments on regional, national and international events with more than four decades of investigative and analytical experience both in the USA and around the world.
Andy has been a leading corruption fighter in Illinois and American politics and courts for over forty years. [www.AndyMartin.com] He is currently sponsoring http://www.AmericaisReadyforReform.com. See also http://www.FirstRespondersOnline.us; http://www.EnglishforAmerica.org
He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and is a former adjunct professor of law at the City University of New York (LaGuardia CC, Bronx CC).
Andy’s columns are also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; ContrarianCommentary.wordpress.com.
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