Attack on Press Freedoms in Occupy Movement

Nation Magazine blogger Peter Rothberg has reported on attacks on press freedoms in the Occupy movement.  Over 50 journalists have been arrested since the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movement last September.  You can sign a petition to support journalists who are fighting back for the First Amendment.  Take action to protect democracy and freedom of the press.  The Occupy movement, and all social movements, need freedom of the press so that the public can be better informed.

It’s the Greed, Stupid

It’s the Greed, Stupid POLITICAL BUTTON

It's the Greed, Stupid POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s the Greed, Stupid POLITICAL BUTTON

This cool design is linked to a button, but other great Top Pun products like T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, caps, key chains, magnets, posters, and sticker sheets can be accessed by scrolling down the product page.

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This cool design does not rely upon puns or complex twists.  This design is another tip of the hat to the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Of course, for those that been around for little while, you’ll recognize that this is a takeoff on the presidential candidate Bill Clinton campaign slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid”.  His Republican opponent, Pres. George H. Bush, was dealing with yet another economic turn downturn produced by the soon-to-be named “irrational exuberance” and casino economy that inevitably cycles into booms and busts.  Some things never change.  It almost goes without saying, since we worship the economy, that moneymaking by either corporations or by people in the form of jobs is perennially issue number one, and number two as well.  If you don’t think that we worship the economy, the next time you hear a news report or read a newspaper, just substitute “God” for “the economy” and it will make a lot of sense.  In this case, in this design, the simple twist is a substitution of “greed” for “economy.” This hones in on the normative driving force of the so-called neutral or generic economy.  The 1980s resulted in the coining of the phrase “greed is good.”  The inevitable logic that led us to such a stupid conclusion is centered around the idea that the economy is the ultimate provider of good in our society, i.e., our god.  This is why we must constantly serve the economy, feed the economy, and make it our ultimate focus. My simple definition for what constitutes one’s God, is what one values the most, what one serves over and above other potentially competing values.  It’s interesting to note, that in the 10 Commandments, while God commands us to serve God first, God does not claim to be the only god.  There are plenty of gods to choose from.  A companion to the incredible confusion that would lead us to say something as stupid as greed is good, is Western civilization’s quest for objectivity or neutrality.  Unfortunately, this perennially leads us to the conundrum of talking about what we value most while trapped in an underlying worldview that denies that any one thing is actually better than another.  This quest for ultimate objective reduces morality to simple if-then statements, neutering any morality.  This is the Achilles heel of denying subjective reality.  Just because something is subjective doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it just means I can’t be pinned down in some definitive empirical way.  Objectivism in our culture, and current political environment, is probably best represented by Ayn Rand.  Ayn Rand and her ideas are idealized, even idolized, by folks of the libertarian variety.  There is great force behind these ideas, that is, if you don’t mind ignoring the metaphysical violence that inevitably results.  Another term for objectivism is scientific reductionism.  In both objective reality and subjective reality some things follow other things; there is an order to the universe.  Those who have ears to hear, and those who have a heart listen.  A contemporary case in point would be Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul.  Many folks with a libertarian sentiment find Ron Paul’s political philosophy very attractive.  In my judgment, his judgment is largely negated by his gross inhumanity that frequently crops up when he takes his political philosophy to its logical conclusion.  For example, in denying health care for those who need it and cannot afford it, quite literally saying “let them die”, reveals forcefully that his God is not about caring for one another, or caring for creation as a whole, but raises each individual to the status of a god, and is forced to accept the ensuing violence that is inherent in such an inhumane philosophy.  If the individual is a god, not subject to any higher power, then individuals are condemned to be at war, and civility, in its best sense, will be run roughshod over, necessarily so.  Bringing this all back to the economy, greed is not good.  To have to even state such a truism is a testament to the sickness from which we currently suffer.  The idea that greed is a legitimate organizing principle for society should be offensive to anyone with a heart.  Of course, if being heartless is not a barrier to living one’s life fully, then go ahead and follow this mechanistically violent path to its logical conclusion.  I guess my concluding point would be that logic reaches a conclusion before life does, and that to continue living, that is to not reduce ourselves to being some mechanistic robot, we need to transcend logic.  This is the realm of the heart.  This is the realm of God.  By living fully into this realm, logic need not be tossed out, it merely serves a higher purpose, a humane purpose, a godly purpose.  May it be so!

If You Think The Poor are Hard to Get Rid of Try the Rich

If You Think that the Poor are Hard to Get Rid of Try the Rich-POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Think that the Poor are Hard to Get Rid of Try the Rich-POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Think that the Poor are Hard to Get Rid of Try the Rich-POLITICAL BUTTON

This cool design is linked to a button, but other great Top Pun products like T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, caps, key chains, magnets, posters, and sticker sheets can be accessed by scrolling down the product page.

View more Political Buttons.

I created this design long before the occupy movement.  Nonetheless, this timeless commentary on the rich and the poor is a tip of the hat to the Occupy Wall Street movement.  One of the main quests of the rich, the 1%, is to convince the masses, the 99%, that they can’t make a difference.  A saying that fits into this genre, that the poor will always be with us.  I guess that this is meant to reflect some underlying reality about human society, but I think that it distracts from a more important question.  Somehow this saying is an effort to discourage those who try to ameliorate the conditions of the poor by emphasizing how difficult that work may be.  This may be true.  However, have you ever tried to get rid of the rich?!  They are at least as difficult to get rid of as the poor!  By reversing or extending the meaning of the saying, we can better reflect on the whole picture, and make a better judgment about to which ends we wish to exert our efforts, even considerable efforts.  Some people will immediately get distracted by the question of whether we should try to get rid of the poor or try to get rid of the rich, or if and how these two tasks may relate.  However, pondering this is only a secondary concern of mine.  I am more interested in neutralizing the depressing and hope-sapping implications of focusing on the difficulty of changing the lot of the poor.  I believe that much power is mediated by the ability to define the questions in our public life together.  Having the power or the privilege to ask questions is probably at least as important as having the power or the privilege to answer the questions.  Unfortunately, the powerful elite and a complicit media are very adept at asking less important questions that distract us from more important questions.  Then, we spend an inordinate amount of time answering the less important questions and typically never get around to asking the more important questions.  Mission accomplished!  That is, for the powers that be who benefit from the status quo, advantaged by the present injustice.

Back to that much debated relationship between the rich and the poor, I would offer another saying or proverb, “where there is no wealth there is no poverty.” Well, hopefully, this design neutralizes the negative message of working to change the lives of those who are poor, and ends with a beginning, that is, a question about trying to get rid of the rich. While this may not be the ultimate question, it is certainly closer than the original question that this design addresses, and moving in the right direction is a very good start.  So, what would you propose is the best question to be asked relative to the relationship between the rich and poor?

Support the Police, Beat Yourself Up – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Support the Police, Beat Yourself Up – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Support the Police Beat Yourself Up - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Support the Police Beat Yourself Up – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

This cool design is linked to a button, but other great Top Pun products like T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, caps, key chains, magnets, posters, and sticker sheets can be accessed by scrolling down the product page.

View more Political Buttons.

This is a great political design for the Occupy Wall Street movement.  This is another great design that fits Top Pun’s goal to create serious, funny, and seriously funny designs.

This political design is serious because police brutality is a serious reality.  Police officers are trained and work in an environment where criminality and brute force are concentrated.  Naturally, we would expect that police officers would be trained to deal with violent criminals.  This may be the case, although police brutality is certainly not a rare occurrence in the United States.  Of course, in nonviolent social movements like the occupy movement, the police are confronted with an unusual situation that they are not necessarily particularly well-trained to deal with, and that is very much outside their normal culture.  First, they are often faced with large numbers, which is a little unusual considering that most of the criminal encounters they have are with individuals or very small numbers of people.  Second, though perhaps the most obvious for those of us in the movement, is that the persons they encounter are committed to nonviolence, and often trained in nonviolence.  Given the large numbers, police often overreact with overwhelming physical force.  Thus, police often come with the expectation and equipment for riot control.  This can be an inviting setting for police to overreact to nonviolent demonstrators.  Police may not be well prepared for dealing with political action, direct democracy, and civil disobedience.  Hopefully, they will get the chance to become a lot more experienced in the near future as the occupy movement grows worldwide.

This design is funny because it plays with the idea that nonviolent demonstrators are actually committed to helping society.  While this may involve civil disobedience, civil disobedience is rooted in the commitment of nonviolence, transparency, and taking personal responsibility for one’s actions, meaning accepting the consequences for violating a law that gets in the way of justice.  Actually, this typically involves respecting the police for the role they play in civil order. One can actually support the police while confronting an even opposing that which they see as their job to protect. Of course, asking or expecting a nonviolent demonstrators to beat themselves up is an absurd proposition — that’s why it’s funny, seriously funny!  I think we should leave the beating up of demonstrators to the police.

TopPun.com Celebrates 10 years, Launches TP Paper

Top Pun, Soul ProprietorTopPun.com Celebrates 10 years, Launches TP Paper

Ten years ago I had little idea exactly what I would be doing in 10 years.  Fortunately, TopPun.com – Maximizing Prophets has turned out to be too small to fail.  And while General Motors and pretty much the entire banking system have had to be bailed out, apparently, what is good for TopPun.com is good for America.  While I continue to make too little money to pay federal taxes (not unlike many corporations), this could just as well be the most effective way to not support war and imperialism by the US.  Reality has played neatly into my hand to live simply and justly.  How does one celebrate such an auspicious anniversary?  Occupy Wall Street ButtonsWell, the way that I’m celebrating is by launching a new monthly e-newsletter, affectionately known as the TP paper, because I prefer it over the top.  This newsletter will feature monthly web specials and free downloadable posters, among other things.  The first Web special, hopefully appropriately and timely, celebrates the Occupy Wall Street movement by offering 100 assorted Occupy Wall Street buttons for a mere $29.95, featuring dozens of new Occupy Wall Street themed designs that are not even available yet elsewhere on the website.  Download Free "Class War" Political PosterAlso to honor the Occupy Wall Street movement, the first free downloadable poster, “Class War” parodies the ridiculous attitudes of the 1%, corporate personhood, and money as free speech.  To receive the TP paper regularly, just complete the e- newsletter sign-up form.  THANKS!

Abolish Corporate Personhood – join MovetoAmend.org

Abolish Corporate Personhood – join MovetoAmend.org

End Corporate PersonhoodIt’s “We the People”, not “We the Corporations.”  Well, perhaps, for now, it’s “Wee the people!”  But hang on, the people are pissed off, and the meek are getting ready.  We are in fact the people we have been waiting for.  Corporations never have and never will be our saviors.  At best, they are tools… for people to use to better humanity as the people see fit, for the people’s benefit.

I am encouraging all the people of these United States to join in the effort to abolish corporate personhood through direct democracy.  One national organization helping lead the way in abolishing corporate personhood is MovetoAmend.org.  Here is a snippet from their website:

“On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions.

We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.

The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule. We Move to Amend.”

Here’s the Move to Amend amendment they propose:

 Move to Amend 28th Amendment

Section 1 [A corporation is not a person and can be regulated]

The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.

Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.

The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.

Section 2 [Money is not speech and can be regulated]

Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

Section 3

Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.

Let’s abolish corporate personhood and end of the reign of legal fictions over our political and social life in these great United States, great because of the strength of its people, and great because laws can serve people not people serving legal fictions.

PUNNY Epic Poem: Christmas on Wall Street – Occupying Humanity

In honor of my 50th birthday, I have decided to devote more time to writing.  I hope to concentrate on pun-filled political satire, including epic poems.  To get you started, here is my first major epic poem, in honor of Occupy Wall Street protesters and Jesus, both known for putting some skin in the game.  The title of this epic poem, not surprisingly, is Christmas on Wall Street.  Please be warned, this poem is very punny and very epic, meaning long and sweeping (mostly Wall Street Bull): Christmas on Wall Street – Occupying Humanity. Enjoy at Christmas and beyond!

Browse Occupy Wall Street designs.