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Monday, November 21, 2011

What the Hell Goes on Here?

What kind of country has this become? What kind of country is it going to be? When, thanks to the Supreme Court, corporations can spend unlimited sums on campaigning and billionaires are already planning to spend a quarter of a billion dollars to defeat Obama next year and elect a far-right president? Check out what Rachel has dug up:



Meanwhile, bankers are already thinking about a million-dollar media campaign to smear the Occupy movement with "negative narratives" and thereby fend off any unfavorable legislation:



What does it say about this country that millions of people would vote for pigs - and I use the term advisedly, just look at them - like Karl Rove or Newt Gingrich?  Huh?

But meanwhile the police, who are paid out of the public purse, sworn to protect and serve the public, gaily pepper-spray non-resisting, peaceful protesters on both coasts, defending their casual brutality as being "fairly standard police procedure" necessary to protect themselves and the protesters.  WTF?

84-year-old woman pepper-sprayed at Occupy Seattle, November 15th





Is this the kind of country you want? Ruled by rich, self-satisfied fascists with the jackboot heels of their thugs on the necks of the people?

If not, you better pray the Republicans don't win the next election.

Your Head Trucker agrees with Andrew Tobias, financial advisor and author of a gay classic, The Best Little Boy in the World, among other things, who said this last month:
So the Tea Party folks demonstrate to keep people from having health care, to lay off teachers and police and firefighters, bust unions, keep poor people from voting, and – most important – protect tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. Pretty neat trick how the billionaires more or less organized and financed their movement and, by harnessing their justifiable fears and concerns, gulled them into doing it. . . . Now come the “Occupiers,” or whatever they will be called, who share many of the same fears and concerns – and a few of the same bogeymen – but seem by and large to be taking the other side of these issues.

Maybe we should put construction workers back to work rebuilding our schools and bridges. Maybe we should pass the American Jobs Act “right away” to help the middle class. Maybe it should be paid for by Warren Buffett and other wealthy folks who are paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries. Maybe Paul Krugman knows more about economics – and has the average guy’s interest more sincerely at heart – than Sarah Palin.

Well, it’s about time.

Crowds make me nervous. Simple answers to complex problems make me nervous. But enough is enough.

Update, 6 p.m., 11/21:  Two campus cops and the chief of police at UC Davis have been suspended pending an investigation. The president of the UC system yesterday declared himself appalled by the incident, ordering an immediate review of police procedures on all campuses.

Philip Kennicott writes in the Washington Post on the pepper-spray video:
It looks as though he’s spraying weeds in the garden or coating the oven with caustic cleanser. It’s not just the casual, dispassionate manner in which the University of California at Davis police officer pepper-sprays a line of passive students sitting on the ground. It’s the way the can becomes merely a tool, an implement that diminishes the humanity of the students and widens a terrifying gulf between the police and the people whom they are entrusted to protect.

The video, which shows the officer using the spray against Occupy protesters Friday, went viral over the weekend. On Sunday, the university placed two police officers on administrative leave while a task force investigates. The clip probably will be the defining imagery of the Occupy movement, rivaling in symbolic power, if not in actual violence, images from the Kent State shootings more than 40 years ago.

Although another controversial image, showing an elderly woman hit with pepper spray near an Occupy protest in Seattle, made this nonlethal form of crowd control an iconic part of the new protest movement, the UC-Davis video goes even further in crystallizing an important question: What does the social contract say about nonviolent protest, and what is the role of police in a democratic society?
A prof at UC Davis says what happened after the spraying incident caught on video was even worse:
Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.

What happened next?

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.
More pictures and videos from that and other protests here.

And in case you ever need it, the Air Force has tips on what to do if you get pepper-sprayed.

Also worth reading:

Why I Feel Bad for the Pepper-Spraying Policeman, Lt. John Pike

What George Orwell Can Teach Us About OWS and Police Brutality

5 comments:

David said...

I used to see news video of police clashing with protesters in other countries and I'd think "They're so backwards, they're so primitive. Who lets dictators take over to the point that it comes to this?"

We're just as primitive here. I didn't know shit. We have dictators too, they just don't hold the office of the President. Because they don't need to.

FDeF said...

I'm afraid this is all just the tip of the iceberg. God help us.

MommieDammit said...

I've made several posts on the same topic, Russ, but this past weekend has me reeling. All I can say is that it's probably a good thing that Kansas City doesn't have a local Occupy movement. I can clearly see this same kind of criminal police behavior happening here, and I'd end up in the thick of it. The problem with that being that I have no tolerance nor patience with that kind of bullshit - and I own a gun. Not a good combo.

Trickle Down BS said...

You know Russ...I've seen this movie before. First as a youngster I saw the corrupt and repressive Batista government muzzle opposition only to end up with an even more repressive totalitarian 1% communist regime.
The parallels are uncanny as we had the equivalent of Teabaggers before Castro and then we had 90% populist support for the communist revolution.
I hope that is not the case here as I am a supporter of OWS because I am a senior, hispanic, gay and agnostic so that the Republicans and that 1% don't look very attractive to me...they never have.
great post
saludos,
raulito
http://fromtop2bttm.blogspot.com/

Russ Manley said...

I hear you, guys.

Raulito, how interesting that you remember the Bautista regime: I bet you have some very interesting stories about that time, and the revolution that followed.

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