Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 8:01 pm

How to end Occupy Wall Street

Filed under: We're so screwed — Lex @ 8:01 pm
Tags: , , ,

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Airways, has an idea, but the IGMFY crowd won’t like it:

There is a fundamental problem with capitalism. And that is that it’s the only system that works, but it does bring extreme wealth to a few individuals. Therefore, if you’re lucky enough to be one of those few individuals, you have to make sure you use that responsibility extremely well, and that you use that wealth to create more jobs and to try to sort out some of the intractable problems of the world. As a business leader, I’m no more successful than a doctor or a nurse or a journalist, but I have that wealth, and with wealth—as they say—comes responsibility.

In short, you need to know when enough is enough, and you need to stop screwing less fortunate people just because you can — two things sociopaths are fundamentally incapable of doing.

Oh, well.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011 8:31 pm

I told you years ago that this would happen …

Yes, I did.

… and now, as Matt Taibbi points out, it has:

Every time we looked the other way when the president asked for the right to detain people without trials, to commit searches without warrants, to eavesdrop on private citizens without even a judge knowing about it, we made it harder to answer the question: what is it we’re actually defending? …

We had all of these arguments in the Bush years and it’s nothing new to assert that much of our population made a huge mistake in giving up so many of our basic rights to due process. What’s new is that we’re now seeing the political consequences of those decisions.

Again, when we abandoned our principles in order to use force against terrorists and drug dealers, the answer to the question, Who and what are we defending? started to change.

The original answer, ostensibly, was, “We are defending the peaceful and law-abiding citizens of the United States, their principles, and everything America stands for.”

Then after a while it became, “We’re defending the current population of the country, but we can’t defend the principles so much anymore, because they weigh us down in the fight against a ruthless enemy who must be stopped at all costs.”

Then finally it became this: “We are defending ourselves, against the citizens who insist on keeping their rights and their principles.”

What happened at UC Davis was the inevitable result of our failure to make sure our government stayed in the business of defending our principles. When we stopped insisting on that relationship with our government, they became something separate from us.

And we are stuck now with this fundamental conflict, whereby most of us are insisting that the law should apply equally to everyone, while the people running this country for years now have been operating according to the completely opposite principle that different people have different rights, and who deserves what protections is a completely subjective matter, determined by those in power, on a case-by-case basis.

If you let them build a police state, they will use it. And eventually, they will use it on you.

Monday, November 21, 2011 9:36 pm

One thousand words

Filed under: Evil,I want my country back. — Lex @ 9:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

Buzzfeed has more, but this one pretty much says it all.

Sunday, November 20, 2011 4:16 pm

UC-Davis: It was unquestionably illegal

The UC-Davis police’s pepper-spraying of nonviolent protesters was contrary to the controlling law in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes California.

As The Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta documents, illegal violence by law enforcement against peaceful demonstrators has become commonplace. And it must stop. This is not how a free country governs itself.

UPDATE: The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal argues that the officer who did the spraying is just the product of the system of policing that we constructed. While true, that argument opens the door for the Nuremberg defense, and that door is one we want to stay firmly closed. Police officers have an affirmative duty not only to obey the law themselves but also to disobey illegal commands. No one gets off the hook. No one.

Saturday, November 19, 2011 8:00 pm

Want to know why the Koch brothers are trying to kill public higher education?

They can’t stand this.

 

What police brutality, and nonviolent resistance, look like

Yesterday at the University of California at Davis:

Angry Black Lady at Balloon Juice comments:

Today [Friday — Lex] at Occupy Davis, a police officer approached a group of students sitting in a line peacefully on the ground, walked up and down the line and pepper-sprayed them directly in the face—as one would spray pesticide on weeds. What you’ll see in this video is such a callous display of police brutality, I don’t know how this police officer is going to go home and look at himself in the mirror.

As the students cry “Shame on you!” the police arrest a few students; but as the crowd circles them—non-threateningly, but insistent—the police begin to retreat. Then, amazingly, the students (via People’s mic) offer the retreating police a moment of peace: “We are willing to give you a brief moment of peace so that you may take your weapons and your friends and go. Please do not return.”

And the police do.

If you’d like to object to this crime by the university police, you can call the university chancellor’s office at (530) 752-2065 and/or the UC Davis police at (530) 752-1727. The officer who pulled out the pepper spray was identified as Lt. John Pike. You can contact him at (530) 752-3989 or  japikeiii@ucdavis.edu. (UPDATE: Forget calling the chancellor’s office. Chancellor Linda Katehi has demonstrated that she doesn’t know the difference between legitimate law enforcement and unprovoked brutality.)

Unless or until the Bill of Rights is repealed, what Pike did in this video is a crime. He should be prosecuted and punished.

UPDATE: John Cole at Balloon Juice agrees:

It’s really just amazing that any administration official would think that [Katehi’s] is the appropriate response. It’s mind-boggling that anyone with law enforcement training thinks that was the appropriate response. Lt. John Pike wasn’t maintaining the public order or using appropriate force, what he did was to physically assault a bunch of kids who pay a hell of a lot of money to be on that college campus. He shouldn’t have a job today, and if any of his colleagues had any balls or any sense, they would have arrested him on the spot on multiple counts of assault. …

The balls on this lady. She orders the cops in riot gear to go pepper spray the kids, then when everyone is horrified at what she has done, she forms a task force to figure out what happened. You don’t need a [expletive] task force to figure out what happened. You’re the problem. Just look in the mirror and ask yourself “Why am I such a blithering idiot?” And then resign.

 

Friday, November 18, 2011 8:03 pm

Contrary to popular belief, the Bill of Rights has not been repealed

Esquire’s Charles Pierce, bringing up our inconvenient Bill of Rights:

It would be helpful if the president would mention, in public, that people exercising their fundamental First Amendment rights of free speech and free assembly should not be made to bleed from the ears. When did we decide to look at our fellow citizens as enemies who deserve to be subject to military assault? When did we vote on that?

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