Yeah, everyone tells me what nice dogs they are — until they’re not. They do have those locking jaws, you know.
The NYPD captain who pepper-sprayed those girls is Anthony Bologna – or as I like to put it, Tony Baloney! And (I swear to God I’m not making this up) he used to own a deli!
The solution, obviously, is less democracy! As opposed to actual Democratic leadership, and all.
Why are people occupying Wall Street? Why has the occupation – despite the latest police crackdown – sent out sparks across America, within days, inspiring hundreds of people to send pizzas, money, equipment and, now, to start their own movements called OccupyChicago, OccupyFlorida, in OccupyDenver or OccupyLA?
There are obvious reasons. We are watching the beginnings of the defiant self-assertion of a new generation of Americans, a generation who are looking forward to finishing their education with no jobs, no future, but still saddled with enormous and unforgivable debt. Most, I found, were of working-class or otherwise modest backgrounds, kids who did exactly what they were told they should: studied, got into college, and are now not just being punished for it, but humiliated – faced with a life of being treated as deadbeats, moral reprobates.
Is it really surprising they would like to have a word with the financial magnates who stole their future?
Just as in Europe, we are seeing the results of colossal social failure. The occupiers are the very sort of people, brimming with ideas, whose energies a healthy society would be marshaling to improve life for everyone. Instead, they are using it to envision ways to bring the whole system down.
But the ultimate failure here is of imagination. What we are witnessing can also be seen as a demand to finally have a conversation we were all supposed to have back in 2008. There was a moment, after the near-collapse of the world’s financial architecture, when anything seemed possible.
Everything we’d been told for the last decade turned out to be a lie. Markets did not run themselves; creators of financial instruments were not infallible geniuses; and debts did not really need to be repaid – in fact, money itself was revealed to be a political instrument, trillions of dollars of which could be whisked in or out of existence overnight if governments or central banks required it. Even the Economist was running headlines like “Capitalism: Was it a Good Idea?”
It seemed the time had come to rethink everything: the very nature of markets, money, debt; to ask what an “economy” is actually for. This lasted perhaps two weeks. Then, in one of the most colossal failures of nerve in history, we all collectively clapped our hands over our ears and tried to put things back as close as possible to the way they’d been before.
With such high unemployment numbers in the black community, this was inevitable — especially given Obama’s stated reluctance to target African Americans for specific help — even though unemployment is hitting them twice as hard. There’s only a one-to-three point spread between white and black voters on Obama’s popularity, so I’d say race has very little to do with it:
New cracks have begun to show in President Obama’s support amongst African Americans, who have been his strongest supporters. Five months ago, 83 percent of African Americans held “strongly favorable” views of Obama, but in a new Washington Post-ABC news poll that number has dropped to 58 percent. That drop is similar to slipping support for Obama among all groups.
“There is a certain amount of racial loyalty and party loyalty, but eventually that was going to have to weaken,” said Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University, who studies African Americans. “It’s understandable given the economy.”
African Americans have historically correlated approval ratings of the president to the unemployment rate, she said. The slip in the strongly favorable rating continues the decline Obama has seen among all groups, but black voters have been his staunchest supporters. Overall, they still hold a generally favorable view of the president with 86 percent saying they view him at least somewhat favorably.
Gillespie’s view that the decline is tied to the disproportionately high jobless rate faced by African Americans correlates with the drop in their view of Obama’s handling of the economy. In July, only 54 percent of blacks said they thought Obama’s policies were making the economy better compared with 77 percent the previous year.
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Now that the videos have gone viral, the NYPD has come up with a rationale for why they used pepper spray on a group of young protesters for no apparent reason:
As the police arrested a protester in the street, an officer wearing a white shirt — indicating a rank of lieutenant or above — walked toward a group of demonstrators nearby and sent a blast of pepper spray that hit four women, the videos show.
Numerous videos and photos captured the aftermath: two women crumpled on the sidewalk in pain, one of them screaming. They were temporarily blinded, one of the women, Chelsea Elliott, said.
Ms. Elliott, 25, who was not arrested, acknowledged that “there were some rough people out there” at the protests. She and the other women were penned in behind police netting meant for crowd control. But, she said, neither she nor the women around her did anything to warrant having pepper spray used on them.
“Out of all the people they chose to spray, it was just me and three other girls,” she said Sunday in a telephone interview. “I’m not pushing against anybody, or trying to escape.”
The Police Department’s chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said the police had used the pepper spray “appropriately.”
“Pepper spray was used once,” he added, “after individuals confronted officers and tried to prevent them from deploying a mesh barrier — something that was edited out or otherwise not captured in the video.”
Notice the careful wording: “Confronted officers and tried to prevent them from deploying a mesh barrier.” Sounds like they’re saying these women simply expressed their opinion. Guess we’ll have to wait for the lawyers to figure this one out!
[…] Ms. Elliott was one of several protesters on East 12th Street who had been corralled behind the plastic netting, which was being held by a line of police officers.
Ms. Elliott said she spent part of the time trying to engage the police officer nearest her in a conversation about pensions.
“I’m just trying to converse with them in a civilized manner, and tell them I’m a civilized human being,” Ms. Elliott said. She remembered saying, “Stop! Why are you doing this?” in response to an arrest not far away, but doing nothing else to attract attention.
“A cop in a white shirt — I think he’s a superior officer — just comes along and does these quick little spritzes of pepper spray in my and these three other girls’ eyes,” she added. The officer’s identity was not provided by the police.
The scene around Ms. Elliott verged on the unruly on Saturday. The police made arrests in the area on charges not only of disorderly conduct and impeding traffic, but also of inciting to riot and assaulting a police officer. About 80 people were arrested; some spent the night in jail and were arraigned on Sunday.
Patrick Bruner, a spokesman for the protesters, said he believed that pepper spray was used several times on Saturday. “I think it is very fair to call it police brutality,” he said.
The Police Department rarely uses pepper spray as a means of crowd control. Although the police used it during a large-scale antiwar protest in 2003, it was not used with much frequency during the protests associated with the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004, although they were some of the largest demonstrations in the city in years.
“We don’t use it indiscriminately like other cities do,” said Thomas Graham, a retired deputy chief who until last year commanded the department’s Disorder Control Unit. “You’re not just spraying indiscriminately into a crowd.”
Police officers, he said, “have the choice between spraying the guy or struggling with the guy with the night stick,” he said, adding, “Get poked with a nightstick good and hard and you might have a cracked rib from that.”
Got that? For the crime of saying “stop, why are you doing this?”, they’re lucky it was “only” pepper spray — and not a cracked rib.
If the protests on Wall Street were organized by the “Tea Party”, not only would there be abundant, and largely positive,media coverage, but the police would be there to protect the protestors’ free speech rights.
Deeper thought: if these protests are meaningless and silly exercises, as the New York Times told us yesterday, why are the police beating up and arresting these people in an effort to stop them?
I am not a Bowie fan, but this seems to resonate: “…And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds, they are immune to your consultations, they’re quite aware of what they’re going through…”
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United today called on Sutter corporation to immediately end the unsafe lockout of its regularly scheduled nurses following media confirmation of a patient death while under the care of a strike replacement RN, as well as reports of other serious problems involving strike replacement RNs.
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And these people all voted in the spending-cuts crowd. All spending is bad – except the spending they need! Despite their situation, they still can’t quite connect the dots
“We are basically homeless at this point,” said the owner of the house, Kenneth S. Eisenman, who had been planning to retire after 31 years as a driver for United Parcel Service.
Mr. Eisenman said he was not unsympathetic to the Republicans’ argument that Congress should partly offset the cost of disaster relief by cutting lower-priority programs. Some programs, he said, are as useless and wasteful as providing “treadmills for seahorses.”
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