Archive for the ‘Fascism’ Category
Today’s read is an interview by the Saker of Michael Hudson, who the Saker refers to as “the best economist in the West”. We can quibble about politics and the economic fallout designed and approved of by the rentier class as they prepare their August meeting, but how often is it that we look to history and economic theory when trying to understand the present, and plan for the future?
Hudson’s voice in the debate rising about how to structure economies, in the face of the failure of the Soviet-style communism and the failure of “free market” capitalism to meet the needs of any but the elite, is a welcome respite to the usual left-right and neolibertarian-socialist views on economy. Throw in the debates over the so-called “free trade” agreements, and we have a global economy swirling down the drain into a 21st century economic version of the dark ages.
The missing item in today’s economic reforms is what classical economics focused on, from the French Physiocrats through Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill to Marx and his contemporaries: freeing industrial economies from the rentier carry-overs of European feudalism. The focus of classical value and price theory was to free economies from economic rent, defined as unearned income simply resulting from privilege: absentee land rent, mineral and natural resource rent, monopoly rent, and financial interest. The aim should be to prevent rent-extracting activities – defined as purely predatory transfer payments, an economically unproductive zero-sum activity.
The classical labor theory of value aimed at isolating those forms of income (land rent, monopoly rent and interest) that were socially unnecessary, and simply were legacies of past privilege. The halfway alternative was to tax land rent and monopoly rent (Henry George, et al.). The socialist alternative was to take natural rent-producing sectors into the public domain.
Europe did this with the major public utilities – transportation, communications, the post office, and also education, public health and pensions. The United States privatized these sectors, but created regulatory commissions to keep prices in line with basic cost-value. (To be sure, regulatory capture always was a problem, especially when it came to railroad charges…
Classical economics was a doctrine of how to industrialize and become more competitive – and at the same time, more fair – by bringing prices in line with actual, socially necessary costs of production. The resulting doctrine (with Marx and Thorstein Veblen being the last great classical economists) was largely a guide to what to avoid: special privilege, unearned income, unproductive overhead.
The aim was to create a circular flow model of national income distinguishing real wealth from mere overhead. The idea was to strip away what was unnecessary – what Marx called the “excrescences” of post-feudal society that remained embedded in the industrial economies of his day. When the great classical economists spoke of a “free market,” they meant a market free from rentier classes, free from monopolies and above all free from predatory bank credit.
Of course, we know now that Marx was too optimistic. He described the destiny of industrial capitalism as being to liberate economies from the rentiers. But World War I changed the momentum of Western civilization. The rentiers fought back – the Austrian School, von Mises and Hayek, fascism and the University of Chicago’s ideologues redefined “free markets” to mean markets free for rentiers, free from government taxation of land and natural resources, free from public price regulation and oversight. The Reform Era was called “the road to serfdom” – and in its place, the post-classical neoliberals promoted today’s road to debt peonage.
Today’s Cold War may be viewed in its intellectual aspects as an attempt to prevent countries outside of the United States from realizing that (contra Thatcher) there is an alternative, and acting on it. The struggle is for the economy’s brain and understanding on the part of governments. Only a strong government has the power to achieve the reforms at which 19th century reformers failed to achieve.
The alternative is what happened as Rome collapsed into serfdom and feudalism.
I’ve been spending far more time reading than writing lately, as writing and nursing blog posts eats up more time than I’m willing to expend. However, I think it time well spent to point folks to articles that begin to make sense of the precarious position our nation or world finds itself in.
So pull up a comfy chair on this grey and dreary spring day (thought the rain is most wonderful), pour a cup of coffee, tea or what have you and dig in.
Today’s reading comes from William R. Polk, Losing the American Republic. Here’s the end of Part 1 (Part 2 hasn’t been published yet, but I’m looking forward to it).
Lessons Needed Learning
It would be rewarding if one could say that our experience in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan has made us wiser in our approaches to Somalia, Syria, Libya and Yemen, but it is hard to substantiate that conclusion. Yet the lessons are there to be learned. There are more, but consider just these few:
- Military action can destroy but it cannot build;
- Counterinsurgency does not work and creates new problems;
- Nation building is beyond the capacity of foreigners;
- Piecemeal, uncoordinated actions often exacerbate rather than solve problems;
- The costs of military action are multifold and usually harm not only the attacked but also the attacker’s society and economy;
- Reliance on military action and supply of weapons to the client state encourages it to undertake actions that make peace-seeking harder rather than easier;
- War radiates out from the battlefield so that whole societies are turned into refugees. In desperation they flee even far abroad and create unforeseen problems.
- The sense that the attacker is a bully spreads and converts outsiders into enemies;
- Failure to understand the society and culture even of the enemy is self-defeating;
- Angry, resentful people eventually strike back where they can and so create a climate of perpetual insecurity.
The result of such actions is deforming to the central objective of an intelligent, conservative and constructive American foreign policy — the preservation of our well-being.
“Ferguson matters because it provides us with a foretaste of what is to come. It is the shot across the bow, so to speak, a warning that this is how we will all be treated if we do not tread cautiously in challenging the police state, and it won’t matter whether we’re black or white, rich or poor, Republican or Democrat. In the eyes of the corporate state, we are all the enemy.
This is the lesson of Ferguson.”
–John Whitehead, The Rutherford Institute
As usual, the discussion of the police killing of a young man has devolved into a morass of race relationships and retributions opening up old wounds, and feeding deep-seated feelings all the way around. So much of this is predictable, and the protests, riots, and counter-attacks all create pablum for a media more interested in controversy and sound bites for the 24 hour news cycle, than in examining what is happening to our country.
I’ve commented elsewhere on what I thought the grand jury process was all about. Ferguson was a perversion of what grand juries are, and how they should be used. If the prosecutor only wanted somebody to share the responsibility of his decision to not bring charges, he could have just impanelled a coroner’s jury to conclude the officer acted in self-defense. Or he could have just called a press conference and said he didn’t have the evidence to support a prosecution and left it at that.
In any case, what the prosecutor has done is to influence the public’s perception of what a grand jury is all about, allowing it to further be used as a shadowy substitute for real justice. Real justice being to allow for a cross examination of other witnesses, and the introduction of other evidence. The prosecutor used the grand jury in a way that bolstered his decision to not prosecute the police officer – he was a de facto defense attorney for the defendant. There are few that understand the grand jury system that would agree with his tactics.
On to today’s topic. This reading from John Whitehead, “We Are the Enemy: Is This the Lesson of Ferguson?” puts aside the notion that the importance of what happened at Ferguson is just another incident in a long litany of racial oppressions and its inevitable blowback:
However, the greater question—whether anything will really change to rein in militarized police, police shootings, lack of accountability and oversight, and a military industrial complex with a vested interest in turning America into a war zone—remains unanswered.
Yes, we are the enemy… since those first towers fell on 9/11, the American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, and denied due process.
I chose Whitehead as a way to try and move the Ferguson discussion in a more productive direction. He is a respected, and somewhat conservative civil libertarian with a long record of not playing politics or the race card. I hope folks will read the whole article and think about the greater ramifications of what has happened to our nation, and how the “powers-that-be” continue to profit when the dialogue descends into an unproductive racial diatribe.
I’ll leave folks with one more excerpt, and leave this as an open thread on the greater meaning of the Ferguson debacle. Let’s try and not let this discussion divert into the usual left-right, dem-rep racial garbage that just avoids the real issue: how our country has devolved into one where the police are becoming less and less distinguishable from the military or the national guard, and all our civil liberties are trampled. If we cannot, then we are just reinforcing Whitehead’s message.
Ferguson provided us with an opportunity to engage in a much-needed national dialogue over how police are trained, what authority they are given, what weaponry they are provided, and how they treat those whom they are entrusted with protecting.
Caught up in our personal politics, prejudices and class warfare, we have failed to answer that call. In so doing, we have played right into the hands of all those corporations who profit from turning America into a battlefield by selling the government mine-resistant vehicles, assault rifles, grenade launchers, and drones.
As long as we remain steeped in ignorance, there will be no reform.
As long as we remain divided by our irrational fear of each other, there will be no overhaul in the nation’s law enforcement system or institution of an oversight process whereby communities can ensure that local police departments are acting in accordance with their wishes and values.
And as long as we remain distracted by misguided loyalties to military operatives who are paid to play the part of the government’s henchmen, there will be no saving us when the events of Ferguson unfold in our own backyards.
When all is said and done, it doesn’t matter whose “side” you’re on as far as what transpired in Ferguson, whether you believe that Michael Brown was a victim or that Darren Wilson was justified in shooting first and asking questions later.
What matters is that we not allow politics and deep-rooted prejudices of any sort to divert our efforts to restore some level of safety, sanity and constitutional balance to the role that police officers play in our communities. If we fail to do so, we will have done a disservice to ourselves and every man, woman and child in this country who have become casualties of the American police state.
“If you name it, you own it. And they don’t want to own it.”
Well, it was just a matter of time until people started talking about “The War Which Must Not be Named.” I suppose if a war doesn’t have a name, it can’t realistically be called a “war,” right?
There is an interesting dimension to the ongoing circumvention of the Constitution over our latest undeclared war. While some Administration officials are finally calling our attacks in Syria as a “war,” the discomfort over defining this indefinite campaign has led to equal discomfort over naming it. After two months of airstrikes and statements that the campaign will likely go on for years, the Administration still have not named this war. The choice would now seem obvious: Operation Voldemort, the war which must not be named.
Usually, the military loves to give inspiring names to its campaigns, though sometimes the name can reveal a bit of insecurity like “Operation Just Cause” in Panama — a name that only seemed to amplify the questions of the legality or legitimacy of the invasion. Once coined, the name then appears on everything from government contracts to legislation to service medals.
However, the Administration has been in a not-so-private internal debate over what to call the campaign against Islamic State. Like naming a puppy, the naming of a war can create a dangerous achievement to those with commitment issues. As one defense official was quoted as saying “If you name it, you own it. And they don’t want to own it.”
For the moment, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby says that the Administration currently has “no plans to name the operation”…
The Pentagon, in trying to come up with an internal name for the war, came up with a tongue-in-cheek name that really isn’t so far from the truth:
In the absence of an official name, alternatives are bouncing around the halls of the Pentagon. One top suggestion takes note of how U.S. bombing raids are targeting U.S.-made equipment nabbed by Islamic State fighters. The suggestion: Operation Hey That’s My Humvee.
Thankfully, President Obama’s ex-CIA Director and ex-Pentagon head Leon Panetta has no qualms giving the latest extra-Constitutional imperial incursion into the middle east a name that will resonate through the history books: the “Thirty Year War.”
Americans should be braced for a long battle against the brutal terrorist group Islamic State that will test U.S. resolve — and the leadership of the commander in chief, says Leon Panetta, who headed the CIA and then the Pentagon as Al Qaeda was weakened and Osama bin Laden killed.
“I think we’re looking at kind of a 30-year war,” he says, one that will have to extend beyond Islamic State to include emerging threats in Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere.
So, as you get ready to head to the polls, and endorse the current crop of candidates, you can rest assured that Democrats, in all their infinite wisdom, have chosen to hunker down to endure war for the long term.
Remember, as you pencil in your absentee ballot or pull the lever on your electronic voting machine, that the stage has been set for indefinite warfare, and your vote for candidates who refuse to take anti-war stances endorses the status quo.
“Look, I’ve been a guy who’s always been honest,” Panetta says. “I’ve been honest in politics, honest with the people that I deal with. I’ve been a straight talker…
Panetta also argues that there is time for Obama to change tactics and recover — and that it is imperative he do so…
“My hope is that the president, recognizing that we are at a kind of critical point in his administration, will take the bit in his teeth and will say, ‘We have got to solve these problems.'”
And Barack Obama’s legacy?
“For the first four years, and the time I spent there, I thought he was a strong leader on security issues… But these last two years I think he kind of lost his way. You know, it’s been a mixed message, a little ambivalence in trying to approach these issues and try to clarify what the role of this country is all about.
“He may have found himself again with regards to this ISIS crisis. I hope that’s the case.
“Kind of lost his way.” Uh huh. I suppose you could say that if you ever believed that he had “his way” in the first place. Nice of the ex-CIA director to feel that our President may have found his way by submerging our country into the “Thirty Year War.” Not to mention the self-delusion about thinking he is honest (“honest CIA Director” is an oxymoron if I ever did hear one).
Must be time to renew my passport (this thought keeps arising)…
“… In time democracy can be delivered to
the Ukrainian people.” — Joe Biden to the Atlantic Council
Like father, like son!
Earlier today I read this statement spoken last April by V.P Joe Biden to the Atlantic Council (shortly before his son was appointed to the Board of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest private gas company). It’s just been gnawing at me all day, so I thought I’d ruminate on it a bit — that and I’m pretty sick today, and have a good fever, so the delirium should prove humorous for some of you.
The first problem here is with the notion of “in time.” What the heck does that mean? That we’re going to keep pursuing our goals in and around Ukraine until they are met? I guess the Russian Aggression Prevention Act is all over that notion, basically granting Ukraine the same non-NATO ally status as Israel — meaning that an act of aggression against one of our listed allies is an act of aggression against us — and bombs away! Heck, even Henry Kissinger in his whirlwind book tour interviews thinks we need to not be so bombastic and offer Russia an easy out.
Back to “time.” Today, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem was quoted as saying that the U.S. told the Syrian government that we would bomb ISIS/ISIL for three years. Three years! Is that all the time it takes to deliver democracy (I guess, if it’s not really a “war” with no Congressional authorization it’s ok and will happen sooner)? Let’s see, we’ve been in Afghanistan for 13 years. How’s that democracy thing working out there (hey, nobody said democracy was cheap!)?
Says Babushka to Obamashka:
“I will make you pancakes my child,
just don’t make war on people.”
Must be some new-fangled form of Russian propaganda, no?
“[U.S. intelligence] officials made clear they were relying in part on social media postings and videos.”
How comforting. Foreign policy developed via Twitter, FaceBook and YouTube postings!
Well, who didn’t see the inevitable backpedalling by everybody who was pushing direct Russian involvement in the downing of MH 17? I guess that would be everybody who jumped on the Obama/Kerry/MSM propaganda bandwagon.
A few snippets from today’s AP story (yes, I’ll quote the AP so as not to cause many of you to run away in disgust at the mention of RT).
“Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for “creating the conditions” that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement.”
Hmmm… and all of the $5b that Vicki Nuland said we invested in Ukraine didn’t have anything to do with it? Or with the millions that NED paid to “social clubs and political organizations” to help the “revolution” didn’t? How about the VP’s son joining the board of a Ukrainian oil & gas company along with John Kerry’s bundler (whose financial partners include the ex-deputy CIA director) and the ex-Polish president that hid our secret rendition (torture) prisons from the world? Any of that help with “creating the conditions” that could result in a civilian air catastrophe?
“…the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.”
Well, I suppose that the Sun will print a retraction to it’s “Putin’s Missile” edition (not).
“… [U.S. intelligence] officials said they did not know who fired the missile.”
Sure didn’t stop all the innuendo and accusations. Nor will this little acknowledgement take back all the propaganda that was generated after the catastrophe pointing to Russians and federalists.
“In terms of who fired the missile, ‘we don’t know a name, we don’t know a rank and we’re not even 100 percent sure of a nationality,” one official said, adding at another point, “There is not going to be a Perry Mason moment here.'”
A Perry Mason moment? Who are these guys trying to kid? Just say that you don’t know jack shit, and be done with it. Ya gotta be over 50 to even get the reference to Perry Mason. How about we have a special prosecutor moment: to look into our violations of international law with our meddlings in the world?
“The officials made clear they were relying in part on social media postings and videos made public in recent days by the Ukrainian government, even though they have not been able to authenticate all of it. For example, they cited a video of a missile launcher said to have been crossing the Russian border after the launch, appearing to be missing a missile.
But later, under questioning, the officials acknowledged they had not yet verified that the video was exactly what it purported to be.”
Yep, pure propaganda at work. And all of the MSM in the west bought it: hook, line and sinker. I would say that all of the propaganda was exactly what it was intended to be: the demonization of Russia and Putin.
When our public policy and statements on international disasters rely upon unverified social media and YouTube clips to respond with clumsy propaganda, who knows when the next shoe drops, what will happen. Let’s hope that the next time opportunity presents itself that our President doesn’t fumble “the football!”
“When is the war on terror over?”
So asked Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) today. And then he promptly answered himself:
“I don’t know what the answer is to the question.”
When the head of the Senate Armed Service Committee asks a rhetorical question like this, and then has no answer, quite simply we are fucked.
Terrorism has been around since the dawn of time, and will be with the human species until we evolve socially and culturally beyond using war and violence to resolve our differences.
Given the current climate in Washington, and all over the capitalist world, if we are going to maintain a permanent state of war via the AUMF until terrorism ends, then it will be a cold day in hell before we again see peace in, and being projected from, the United States.
Here’s Levin’s statement in context:
“We should be having a conversation about how to update the authorization of the use of military force, but we still have to protect the country while we’re having that discussion,” [Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas)] said. “Unfortunately, this puts the cart before the horse deciding to repeal [AUMF] before we know what will be used to replace it.”
“The world is still dangerous,” he added. “The terrorists are still coming for us. We need to keep this in place.”
Even if the measure had passed the House, the Senate is similarly ambivalent about taking on the AUMF, which also provides the legal basis for detaining terror suspects indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) told HuffPost in an interview that his committee was not looking at a similar provision as it debates its own version of the NDAA bill this week.
“It’s a very complex issue,” Levin said. “If there’s no AUMF, what do you do with guys like Khalid Sheik Mohammed? If there is an AUMF, we have a right to keep people under the laws of war until that’s over.”
Levin admitted he was at a loss as to what to do.
“I’m the first one to acknowledge there’s a real intellectual problem here as to when is the war on terror over, or when does that authorization end,” Levin said. “It’s a huge issue. It needs to be debated. There needs to be hearings on it. I don’t know the answer to the question. Maybe if I knew the answer to the question I’d be a little more sure about an amendment. But I don’t know what the answer is to the question.”
He echoed Thornberry about the ongoing risk of terrorism.
“There continues to be a threat from the same threat or an associated source that existed when we passed the AUMF. That threat continues,” Levin said.
“A real intellectual problem here…”
I’d say. And I’d add that’s just the tip of the iceberg
Because you won’t ever hear the truth from our administration. What you will hear is propaganda regurgitated from the mainstream western media.
After the jump… Continue Reading »
Imagine my surprise (not) when a friend brought to my attention the above public Facebook post from Intelligent Discontent’s Polish Wolf after our dustup in the comments of Lizard’s post “Cold War Proxy Conflicts Worsening”. I blurred out his name and photo so as to maintain his anonymity.
First off, let’s dispense with the easy stuff. I’m not sure if PW is referring to my being a ‘faux “anti-imperialist”‘ or a ‘faux… liberal’ (he might want to get some tutoring from his high school english teacher buddy on how to construct sentences clearly). Most assuredly I am an anti-imperialist. And I have never claimed, and do not claim, to be a liberal. God forbid I be lumped in with the milk toast politicians that pass as liberal democrats these days.
Maybe he’s insinuating there is no such thing as a liberal that is “anti-imperialist.” I don’t believe that all liberals have descended into neoliberalism, so I’d have to disagree with him on that point, that one could not be both a liberal and an anti-imperialist.
But I need to clarify a few things for those who would pass off a cursory look at the recent history of Ukrainian elections or economics for any indication of whether or not the CIA is involved in fomenting the instability that resulted in a coup, or if this coup is justified. There is much in-depth coverage outside of the mainstream press (and mouthpieces for neocon and neoliberal foreign policy stances).
Much more after the jump… with a “straight face.” Continue Reading »
This will be a very long post. I would break it up into manageable chunks, but I fear that having to defend my writings from entrenched stalwarts of the status quo in the democratic party would sidetrack this post.
There is an intersection of events and ideas that together lead to a much darker conclusion than addressing them individually. It is no secret that Edward Snowden has unleashed a firestorm of debate with his revelations about the state of surveillance in America, and around the world. That topic alone is far too large for one post to address, but it has unveiled some interesting material to work with.
The photo to the right is from protest signs being carried around various protests in Germany this summer, organized against the collusion of the American and German spy networks.
President Jimmy Carter rocked the foreign media last month with a statement he made in Atlanta at a conference on U.S.-German relations:
“America has no functioning democracy at this moment”
“‘… I think the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far,’ he said.
‘I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that [Snowden’s] bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial.’
Asked to elaborate, he said, ‘I think the American people deserve to know what their Congress is doing.'”
“In May 2004, the NSA briefed [Then chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and GW Bush appointee Colleen] Kollar-Kotelly on the technical aspects of that program’s collection, according to the report. She also met with the NSA director, Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, on two successive Saturdays during the summer of 2004 to discuss the issue, the report said.
‘It was very professional,” Hayden said in an interview. “We of course had to explain to her what it was we had been doing, what it was we wanted to do, how we would do it, what kind of safeguards we felt able to put in. We left it to her judgment whether there was proportionality in terms of was this worth doing, in the balance between security and liberty.'”
Oh, Ok. I feel better now that I know who is balancing “security and liberty” in the good ole U.S. of A!
I’m going off-grid for a week. Dontcha all go and revolt without me now, ok? Full text of the above quote, copied from behind the WaPo’s paywall. If you want to try and read it there and click on some good links to background info, just hit the stop button on your web browser right after the text loads, and before the paywall pops up. If the paywall pops up, just hit reload, and stop as soon as the text renders ya gotta be quick. This sort of content just shouldn’t be offered up for subscribers — it needs to be read in context with everything else that is leaking out.
And have a wunnerful “Independence” day folks, in Babylon. I’m going to go and be interdependent with my homies, where there are no fireworks, and people are living their anarchistic ideals. Continue Reading »
“WikiLeaks just threw some gasoline onto the conspiracy fire. On Wednesday night, they Tweeted: ‘Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.'”
“The bureau responded in a statement: ‘At no time was journalist Michael Hastings ever under investigation by the FBI.'”
“Coroner’s Lt. Fred Corral says an autopsy was performed Wednesday and the 33-year-old Hastings was identified by matching fingerprints to prints the FBI had on file.”
So I guess collecting vast treasure troves of data no longer indicates an “investigation.” I guess the FBI has been inflicted with that rampant national security STD (secretly transmitted disease) known as the “Clapper” and is presented in the form of “least untruthful manner” statements.
Now they’re not just too big to fail, they’re too big to prosecute. Attorney General Eric Holder testified about the obvious lack of D.O.J. prosecution of big banks:
“I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if we do prosecute — if we do bring a criminal charge — it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.”
So our banks are not only enjoying the rights of personhood, they also have been given immunity from the law. How much more evidence do people need that the era of economic fascism is upon us?
“President Barack Obama’s inauguration committee will accept unlimited corporate contributions to fund its January festivities, a spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee confirmed…”
Need we pretend anymore who runs this country?
There’s been some pretty shocking video out of University of California-Davis over the last several days. 99% of the reaction has been that people were horrified and disgusted by the police actions.
For myself, I must be numb. The blatent disregard the UCDavis cops had for the students they are paid to protect – protect – has been played out all over the country in cities across America. Police beating with billy clubs and people beating them with fists and body slams? Police pepper spraying – pepper spraying randomly and with malice? Police firing guns with rubber pellets and tear gas and other various projectiles? It’s been played out in NYC, in Portland, in Phoenix, in Denver…Pittsburgh…LA..Oakland. Everywhere.
All of this directed at masses of peaceful protesters. People angry at the banking system and corporatization of America. An America that is making money on money – and leaving real America- the 99% – out floating in its wake.
And let’s make not mistake – peaceful protestors shouting angrily about their protest issues does not necessitate a need for mob control. We are not seeing mass vandalism, people. We are seeing mass protest and over reaction by police which incites mobs and results – sometimes and not all the time and you all know this to be true – some actual property destruction.
On Friday, UCDavis chancellor ordered the #occupy occupation tents removed. Cops come in with full riot gear, and..well…started beating on not only students, but also a poet laureate and Wordsworth scholar, along with their colleagues who had gone down to bear witness to the alleged violence of the students. Here is the first video that I saw of Friday’s removal:
It’s bizarre. It’s troubling – and again, remember my numbness to these scenes of violence. I see this stuff day in day out on twitter – regular network news doesn’t even have time in their 20-second sound bite rule to cover this stuff, yet alone fit it into their corporate-biased agenda. But did you watch to the end? At 8 minutes long, I wonder how many of you bailed about half-way through?
Sometime late Saturday someone posted the video below which shows the same situation from another angle, with a longer lead in – and it cuts out the events that occurred late in the video I posted above:
It was this second video that sickened even the numb jhwygirl. The vitrol the one lead officer directed at peaceful students – children for crying out loud! – is stomach-turning. I feel the pain of the woman you can hear in the background screaming (and later crying) “you are supposed to protect them!” as the cops, with determination and deliberation, pepper spray those kids at close range while they sit peacefully on the sidewalk of their campus.
Goddess, what has this nation come to?
My numbness though requires me to try and find something good – a sanity mechanism I’m learning ;) – and it is the end of that first video (and less so the second) which shows the police’s full retreat.
Those police stood there in full riot gear facing down peaceful protesting students sitting on a sidewalk. Hundreds stood there in witness – all of which included cameras and cell phones and video cameras. It wasn’t just students standing there – it was news media and university personnel. Yet those cops stood there as a handful pointed guns (likely loaded with pepper spray balls or rubber bullets) at eye and head level. Those cops stood there in bullet proof vests and masks and watched as a colleague stood like some sort of cattle master over those peaceful students and shook up that pepper spray – and at one point double-fisted himself with the stuff, having grabbed a fellow cops can – and marched up and down in attempts to intimidate peaceful students sitting on a sidewalk with that pepper spray.
For what? Control of the sidewalk?
And yet even after he emptied a can of pepper spray on those kids and only one or two ran after the pain was inflicted, those cops were safe. The only rush was to the safety of those students – and yet those cops who are sworn to protect left those students in bodily harm (pepper spray is NOT harmless folks…it can blind, and in this case it did cause bleeding) and beat back the people who attempted to protect and assist.
What is moving about those two videos is the safety of those disgusting officers who violated multiple laws and policies by doing what they did…
What is moving is the safety they had as they retreated from their failed attempt to clear a sidewalk. A friggin’ sidewalk.
What is moving is the obvious fear that the same officer who inflicted the pepper spray exhibited as he retreated – and his companion officers who continued to point those rifles at the heads of those peaceful protestors and their accompanying witnesses.
Did they cry when they shut the door of their office or their car after they completed their retreat? Do they look at this video and realize the complete shame of what they did? Do the ones that stood guard realize the sin of their complicity?
I have some understanding of mob mentality, I’d like to think – so I wonder what those cops thought after they exhaled that evening. After they saw themselves on film.
Finally – last night UC Davis’ Chancellor Katehi took a late night walk to her car. The campus is now filled with protesters. And Chancellor Katehi – who had said on Saturday that the police use of pepper spray was justified because her and the staff at the university felt threatened – walked in silence and shame to her car.
I bet she was shaking once her and her companion drove away. And I bet she cried too.
My previous post got me to thinking about a better way to visualize how corporations have inserted themselves into America as a 4th power. I hope the diagram below might better illustrate what I’m trying to get across. Click on the graphic to get a full sized pdf version to print out if you want.
It was only a matter of time till people started coming to the same conclusion that many of us have made recently, that there may be more overlap between the tea party and OccupyWallStreet than is readily apparent. James Sinclair over at howconservativesdrovemeaway draws an interesting comparison of the two movements:
We should pay less attention to the individual lunatics, and more attention to what a movement is really about. Occupy Wall Street, at its core, is a reaction to the increasing power and influence of large corporations. The Tea Party, at its core, is a reaction to the government’s constant interference with private enterprise. But wait a minute—aren’t those things connected?
Bailouts, subsidies, tax breaks, special rights and privileges, regulations designed to restrict competition—to name a few of the many ways the government protects and stimulates corporate interests, and those things are every bit as anti-free market as, not to mention directly related to, the high taxes and excessive bureaucracy that gets Tea Partiers riled up. In other words, aren’t these two groups—Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party—raging against different halves of the same machine? Do I have to draw a Venn diagram here?
Oh, alright, I’ll draw a Venn diagram:
While I might quibble with his characterizations of the two, the important part of his analysis is the following:
Yeah, I’m oversimplifying, but only a little. The greatest threat to our economy is neither corporations nor the government. The greatest threat to our economy is both of them working together. There are currently two sizable coalitions of angry citizens that are almost on the same page about that, and they’re too busy insulting each other to notice.
The overlap between corporations and government — the intertwining of corporations and government — is a fundamental feature of creeping fascism in this country. And it will be the undoing of this country if it isn’t stopped.
We all have been educated about the 3 branches of government, and the separation of powers between the executive, the judicial, and the legislative. What the OccupyWallStreet movement needs to do is illuminate the need for another separation of powers, one between corporations and the government’s other three branches.
Congress and the Courts over the years have created a de facto 4th power in this country. Now the people need to raise up and separate it from the other three branches.