Thursday, November 03, 2011

On "Violent Protesters" and a Few Reading Assignments

Hello everyone.

Meh.

That's how I've been feeling lately. I don't know if it's the cold, dreary weather, or the fact that I haven't had a whole lot of interaction with people not named Cathy lately, but I'm just not feeling terribly inspired these days. I haven't done much in the way of writing on my book for the past couple of weeks, and I haven't been terribly motivated to do the tons of projects around the house that are crowding up my to-do list. I did, however, find time to write a to-do list, so there's that, I guess.

I haven't even been in the mood to brew any beer. It's that bad.

So now I'm forcing myself to pump out a blog posting with the hope that it might help fight the doldrums. Here goes nothing...

Occupy News

In what should come as a surprise to no one, there's been a big crackdown on Occupy protesters all across the country. Cops in full riot gear have been sent in armed with batons, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and tear gas grenades to dispel the scourge of hippie drummers camping without a permit.

One noteworthy incident took place last week in Oakland, CA, where Scott Olsen, who served two tours in Iraq, was shot in the head at close range with a "police projectile"--either rubber bullets or a tear gas grenade--leaving him with a fractured skull and an inability to speak due to brain damage, though fortunately doctors expect him to fully recover.  To protect and serve!

When several people rushed to help the man who was laying on the ground motionless, a cop threw a flash grenade into the middle of the crowd. I'm sure that if he could, that cop would've arrested those people and charged them with obstruction of justice or some other bullshit charge for attending to a fellow human being. How dare they?

Now I know some you may be thinking the cops are being a bit heavy-handed toward the protesters. But they have to do something. After all, the Occupy crowd is being barely inconvenient, and we can't have that. If the cops did nothing, the movement might become slightly more inconvenient, and then what? We can't inconvenience the plutocracy, now can we? And we all love the First Amendment, but only if it's used to protect certain types of speech, such as unlimited, anonymous corporate campaign contributions, not regular people with signs.

(end sarcasm)

The latest is that the protesters have become "violent." I'm not so sure. People have admitted to infiltrating the movement in order to turn it violent and discredit it. There's pretty solid evidence that cops have infiltrated Occupy Oakland at the very least. And is vandalism really the same thing as violence?

But let's assume it's true. Let's assume the actual protesters--not agent provocateurs or infiltrators--have become violent. We know that the police (not all, but some) have been violent toward the protesters, so is it really a surprise that the protesters (not all, but some) have responded in kind? Isn't that just a basic human instinct?

I'm not making excuses or justifying. I'm as non-violent as they come, but I'm also realistic. It's idiotic to expect people who have been treated this way to not start fighting back. In fact, I think it's incredibly impressive that the so-called "protester violence" has been so minimal, not just because of human nature, but because of how deeply ingrained and institutionalized violence is in our culture. Just watch practically any newscast, any movie, or any TV show, and you'll invariably come across violent conflict. Every Fourth of July we celebrate violence. It's everywhere.  So why are we shocked when victims of violence in a protest respond with violence, but cheer when the latest movie action hero does the same?

Also, shouldn't cops (or rather, the people giving cops their orders) know that protesters (or anybody for that matter) is likely to respond to violence with more violence?  You'd think that if they wanted to keep things peaceful, they wouldn't send a riot squad in to crush a campout that's already been peaceful.  You'd have to believe either they're incredibly inept at what they do, or they wanted it to escalate into violence.  I can't see a third option.

If you have an agenda (and are willing to forgo critical thinking), you can see the "protester violence" as example of a failure of the protests. Or you could see the relative lack of protester violence as an example of its success. And if you're honest with yourself and informed, it's pretty clear to see that the violence has been incredibly one-sided: committed by cops and government officials, and the victims have been the people they're supposed to protect and who pay their salaries.

But one thing is clear: The emperor wears no clothes. If a few kids taking to the streets have caused this much of a reaction, it can only mean the people who own our country are scared. And their hold on power is incredibly fragile.

Reading Materials

I've decided to start a new segment, in which I share articles I've recently read and found noteworthy for some reason. I share articles on Facebook all the time, but I realize not everyone has a Facebook account, and I don't want to encourage people to get one, because Facebook is evil.
  • Global Grind looks at reports that the NYPD has been encouraging drunks and transients to infiltrate the Occupy Wall Street camps
  • Matt Taibbi (probably the best investigative journalist in the nation) takes on the nonsensical claims of Michael Bloomberg and the rest of the corporate shills that the financial crisis was caused by poor people taking on loans they couldn't afford to pay back.  It's Taibbi.  Read it.
  • A home foreclosure mill had a Halloween party where the employees dressed up like homeless people to mock the ones the employees foreclosed upon for a living.  I don't believe in Hell, but if there was one, there'd be a special section for these scumbags.
  • The Telegraph talks about how a bunch of sociopaths encouraged a 17-year-old to jump off a building and kill himself
  • A woman who went for a late-night walk with a friend was arrested and held in jail for two days because she left her ID back at her room
  • Bill Moyers speaks.  You listen.
  • Do we want "jobs," or do we really want a better society?
  • Counterpunch looks at the Obama administration's claim of foiling an Iranian plot to assassinate a Saudi ambassador, and how it relates to a desire in DC to collapse the Iranian economy so as to overthrow the government and install a US and Israel-friendly regime.  It's so ridiculous, it just might work!
  • The local Priest River Times has a blurb about a recent fire.  Ignore the writing--it's horrendous--but look at the photo to see if you can spot Cathy (hint: she's the one on the left).
  • And finally, The Raw Story has an article about and 83-year-old who is being charged with being a gigolo for offering sexual services to pay off a debt.  It's nice to know even seniors can find work in this depressed economy.
In Closing

I feel a bit better.  Forcing myself to blog was a good idea.  I should probably do it more often, no?

Now here it is, your moment of Tucker:

"If I were human, dressing me up like this would be considered illegal under the Geneva Convention."
 Rob

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