Feeling sick. Stomach cramps, running a fever, feel like crap and it’s making me cranky. Arghh.
I have seen my share of revolts, insurgencies and revolutions, from the guerrilla conflicts in the 1980s in Central America to the civil wars in Algeria, the Sudan and Yemen, to the Palestinian uprising to the revolutions in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania as well as the wars in the former Yugoslavia. George Orwell wrote that all tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but that once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force. We have now entered the era of naked force. The vast million-person bureaucracy of the internal security and surveillance state will not be used to stop terrorism but to try and stop us.
Despotic regimes in the end collapse internally. Once the foot soldiers who are ordered to carry out acts of repression, such as the clearing of parks or arresting or even shooting demonstrators, no longer obey orders, the old regime swiftly crumbles. When the aging East German dictator Erich Honecker was unable to get paratroopers to fire on protesting crowds in Leipzig, the regime was finished. The same refusal to employ violence doomed the communist governments in Prague and Bucharest. I watched in December 1989 as the army general that the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu had depended on to crush protests condemned him to death on Christmas Day. Tunisia’s Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak lost power once they could no longer count on the security forces to fire into crowds.
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Yeah, this really bugs me, too. It’s as if working class people don’t matter.
Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed, weighed in today on the OWS mess, lest we forget the disgraceful abandonment of the poor and middle-class by Barack Obama, the anti-FDR:
“One of the appalling things here is that there are so many Democratic mayors involved in these crackdowns or in Bloomberg’s case, someone who is seen as a liberal,” Ehrenreich said in a telephone interview. “And where in all this was Obama? Why couldn’t he have picked up the phone at some point a couple of weeks ago and called the mayors of Portland and Oakland and said: ‘go easy on these people. They represent the anger and aspirations of the majority.’ Would that have been so difficult?”
At first, I dismissed the idea of a short sale. Late that summer, I sat down with a really close friend in Las Vegas, someone I looked up to. He cut to the heart of the matter right away: Why, he wanted to know, were we still making the payments?
Because I have a moral obligation, I said. You pay your debts.
He proceeded to explain that I didn’t have a moral obligation to the bank. I had a moral obligation to my family. I had a contractual obligation to the bank, along with a clear moral obligation to be honest in my dealings. What he was asking was this: Which is more important? Your contractual obligation to the bank or your obligation to your family to preserve your ability to make a living?
I had never thought of it that way. But it made sense. I summed it up to myself like this: I have a contractual obligation to the bank (as well as a moral obligation not to skirt the consequences of breaking it: losing my house and wrecking my credit score). But my moral obligation to my family trumps the contractual obligation to the bank.
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Here’s all you have to know about the integrity of the billionaire mayor from Wall Street:
After ordering the eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday explained that the park would temporarily remain closed due to a court order that restrained the city from closing the park.
A ruling issued by [Manhattan Supreme Court Justice] Lucy Billings… said that the city is “prohibited from: “(a) Evicting protesters from Zuccotti Park and/or (b) Enforcing the “rules” published after the occupation began or otherwise preventing protesters from re-entering the park with tents and other property previously utilized,” the ruling said.
At a press conference Tuesday morning, Bloomberg said that protesters had only been “temporarily” asked to leave the park “to reduce the risk of confrontation and to minimize destruction in the surrounding neighborhood.”
Embattled Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, speaking in an interview with the BBC (excerpted on The Takeaway radio program–audio of Quan starts at the 5:30 mark), casually mentioned that she was on a conference call with leaders of 18 US cities shortly before a wave of raids broke up Occupy Wall Street encampments across the country. “I was recently on a conference call with 18 cities across the country who had the same situation. . . .”
Mayor Quan then rambles about how she “spoke with protestors in my city” who professed an interest in “separating from anarchists,” implying that her police action was helping this somehow.
If Mike McQueary had seen a child being raped in a boardroom or a storeroom, he wouldn’t have been any more likely to have stopped it, or to have called the cops, than he was as a graduate assistant football coach at Penn State. With unemployment edging toward double digits, and only about 10 percent of the workforce unionized, every American who works for a major company knows the penalty for exercising his personal freedom, or his personal morality, at the expense of “the company.” Independent thought is discouraged. Independent action is usually crushed. Nobody wants to damage the brand. Your supervisor might find out, and his primary loyalty is to the company. Which is why he got promoted to be your supervisor in the first place.
It is not a failure of our institutions so much as it is a window into what they have become — soulless, profit-driven monsters, Darwinian predators with precious little humanity left in them. Penn State is only the most recent example. Too much of this country is too big to fail.
Further, the institutions of college athletics exist primarily as unreality fueled by deceit. The unreality is that universities should be in the business of providing large spectacles of mass entertainment. The fundamental absurdity of that notion requires the promulgation of the various deceits necessary to carry it out. The “student-athlete,” just to name one. “Amateurism,” just to name another. Of course, people involved in Penn State football allegedly deceived people when it became plain that children had been raped within the program’s facilities by one of the program’s employees. It was simply one more lie to maintain the preposterously lucrative unreality of college athletics. And to think, the players at Ohio State became pariahs because of tattoos and memorabilia sales.
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