"The First Amendment right to gather news is, as the Court has often noted, not one that inures solely to the benefit of the news media; rather, the public's right of access to information is coextensive with that of the press."
- United States Court of Appeals For the First Circuit, August 26, 2011
I spent a day in Freedom Plaza, a triangle of concrete adjacent to several high-end hotels with shiny black Mercedes limos out front three blocks from the White House. It's Washington DC's entry in the Occupy America phenomenon.
I came wearing two hats. One, I'm a Vietnam veteran member of Veterans For Peace who has actively worked for over a decade against our bankrupting wars. And, two, I'm an experienced journalist with a master's degree who works in both images and words. I won't take a back seat to anyone in what is known as the Main Stream Media.
The crowd of maybe 700 people occupying Freedom Plaza was fired up. The focus of the occupation was on the wars and the "one percenters" at the top of the economic heap in America who control our lives more and more as they pursue more and more "free market" profiteering.
This monster of greed has always existed in history, but this latest binge was unleashed by a hack Hollywood actor who became President of the United States 30 years ago. Everything has been deregulated and the ruthless financial reapings by this class led to a progression of bursting bubbles, an economic meltdown and a subsequent tax-payer bubble in the form of massive bailouts.
We all know the story by now. We know who got bailed out and who ended up holding the bag and losing their homes, people like Andrea Agizi, a single mother from Atlantic City I ran into in Freedom Plaza. Up until the recent wave of "occupations" across America, those who ended up paying for this free-market extravaganza were silenced and marginalized.
The slick financial wizards who sliced and diced Andrea's mortgage for profit all worship the "free market." They tend to be very liberal with those profits when it comes to financing political candidates who, once in office, lower their taxes even further. But, a funny thing, when these free marketeers saw the baroque free market investment machine they'd created swirling in circles down the toilet -- a money-making machine that had been fully endorsed and shilled for by the libertarian oracle at Delphi Alan Greenspan -- they turned into flaming socialists with all our tax dollars. After all, the nation didn't want finance pirates jumping out of windows.