Glenn Greenwald describes the status of the Occupy movement, both the hope for continued vitality and the disturbing para-military response by our government.
The reason the U.S. has para-militarized its police forces is precisely to control this type of domestic unrest, and it’s simply impossible to imagine its not being deployed in full against a growing protest movement aimed at grossly and corruptly unequal resource distribution. As Madeleine Albright said when arguing for U.S. military intervention in the Balkans: “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” That’s obviously how governors, big-city Mayors and Police Chiefs feel about the stockpiles of assault rifles, SWAT gear, hi-tech helicopters, and the coming-soon drone technology lavished on them in the wake of the post/9-11 Security State explosion, to say nothing of the enormous federal law enforcement apparatus that, more than anything else, resembles a standing army which is increasingly directed inward.
For those who want to help the protesters through the winter, Greenwald suggest that FireDogLake has done an excellent job of raising money to by cold weather clothing and gear for the protesters. If you would like to pitch in, visit FDL.
Chris Hedges of Truthdig writes the following (and much more) on what the Revolution looks like:
Our decaying corporate regime has strutted in Portland, Oakland and New York with their baton-wielding cops into a fool’s paradise. They think they can clean up “the mess”—always employing the language of personal hygiene and public security—by making us disappear. They think we will all go home and accept their corporate nation, a nation where crime and government policy have become indistinguishable, where nothing in America, including the ordinary citizen, is deemed by those in power worth protecting or preserving, where corporate oligarchs awash in hundreds of millions of dollars are permitted to loot and pillage the last shreds of collective wealth, human capital and natural resources, a nation where the poor do not eat and workers do not work, a nation where the sick die and children go hungry, a nation where the consent of the governed and the voice of the people is a cruel joke. Get back into your cages, they are telling us. Return to watching the lies, absurdities, trivia and celebrity gossip we feed you in 24-hour cycles on television.
An arrest should be merely an arrest, not a street-conviction or a street-sentencing-and-punishment. This story about the pepper-spraying of an 84-year old Occupy protester in Seattle makes me think that at least some police officers have decided to render their own version of justice on the street, rather than take protesters into custody using the minimum amount of force necessary.
Listen carefully to the #OWS protesters and the journalists trying to cover this story:
The NYPD is using more than words to fight journalists. This morning, five reporters were arrested, another was put in a choke hold, and others were subjected to police harassment. Journalists are being swept up in ongoing police actions happening right now in New York City.
In fact, since the birth of the Occupy Wall Street movement two months ago, 18 journalists have been arrested2, 3 and countless others have been roughed up, tear-gassed and pepper sprayed. There have even been reports of police using high-powered strobe lights to disable video cameras and stop people from recording their actions.
Matt Taibbi describes the motivation of the Occupy Protesters:
But I’m beginning to see another angle. Occupy Wall Street was always about something much bigger than a movement against big banks and modern finance. It’s about providing a forum for people to show how tired they are not just of Wall Street, but everything. This is a visceral, impassioned, deep-seated rejection of the entire direction of our society, a refusal to take even one more step forward into the shallow commercial abyss of phoniness, short-term calculation, withered idealism and intellectual bankruptcy that American mass society has become. If there is such a thing as going on strike from one’s own culture, this is it. And by being so broad in scope and so elemental in its motivation, it’s flown over the heads of many on both the right and the left.
There is a new series on the Pharyngula blog: Posts confessing “Why I Am An Atheist” gleaned from comments and responses. Some are well written, others not so much. But each is selected for showing a particular path into the light for people who have recovered from invisible friend addiction.
The most recent post, Why I am an atheist – Adam, shows how an upbringing under the Ken Ham school of Young Earth Creation and science denialism eventually led him to an understanding of the willful ignorance and dishonesty that pervades that culture. Once he began to question the “facts” that he was raised with, he quickly climbed up toward rationalism and lost his religion.
We have now moved from the absurd to the surreal. An anonymous corporation has brought suit against the CPSC to keep an incident report in the CPSC database confidential. Even without suits like this secret suit, the public does not have full access to the CSPC database: SaferProducts.gov.
A report issued by the Government Accountability Office in October found that 5,464 complaints had been filed by consumers through SaferProducts.org as of July 7. Only 1,847 were published to the database; many reports weren’t published because they were deemed incomplete, or involved products or services outside the agency’s jurisdiction.
“Incomplete?” What does THAT mean? I’d sure like to know more about those rejected reports–two out of every three being filed–that are not being made public, and “trust us” doesn’t give me any confidence that they are being rejected for valid reasons. But it all got even more concerning when an anonymous corporation brought its sealed suit attempting to keep a CPSC complaint against it confidential.