Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekly Roundup, November 14-20, 2011: Will History Call This The Week of Pepper Spray, or Maybe The Tipping Point?

by Blueberry T

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Friends of Rick Perry: Dr. Wendy Gramm

Nomad completes his brilliant series on Phil and Wendy Gramm and their many influential connections. This is a really important post, revealing how incestuous the relationships are amidst Republican power-brokers. We learn about Wendy Gramm’s role at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, which has devolved into a “think-tank” of deregulation primarily supported by the Koch Brothers. Nomad uncovered Wendy Gramm’s long ties to the Kochs, including her key role deregulating the oil industry and allowing speculation that accounts for more than a quarter, and perhaps a half, of the current cost of oil. Mercatus is also deeply involved in work to undermine the regulatory authority of EPA, at the same time that Koch Industries is deeply involved in illegally discharging pollutants into the waters of the United States, in violation of the Clean Water Act. It’s no surprise nor coincidence that EPA is under attack. Another key player in this web is Dr. James Leininger, whose Texas Public Policy Foundation and many other groups are behind the right-wing attempts to take over the Texas public schools and state government.

I can’t do justice to the work that Nomad has done in these posts; please read all four and you will see a disturbing picture of “…how much harm two people can do to the country. One would think that our system would be stronger than that. That our long established system of checks and balances would prevent people like the Gramms from ever inflicting too great a harm to the nation. But then the underlying purpose of all the de-regulation that the Republicans have called for (and have achieved) is really just a means to an end, a method of abolishing the safety checks that had, for the most part, protected our institutions. Once those have been removed, anything is possible.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Immortal Technique/Ultimas Palabras, and Pepper Spray

This post runs the gamut, from a powerful political rap by Immortal Technique to the pitiful pepper-spraying of non-violent protesters. When the police in Seattle, WA – not exactly a right-wing bastion – use chemicals to attack peaceful protesters, including an 84-year old woman, you know this country is heading in the wrong direction. When the campus police at UC Berkeley beat peaceful protesters with billy clubs and drag them by the hair, something is seriously wrong in America. You say we have a Democratic President and Senate and these incidents took place in progressive cities? Wow, you could have fooled me. You say President Obama has spoken out about repression against protesters abroad, but not here? Wow, what is he waiting for?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dusty’s Corner

Dusty gives us the first glimpse of Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope, by Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly. This is a warm and inspiring story of two people facing enormous challenges with love, grace and humor. I guess if they can be so positive after what they’ve been through, I’ll try to do the same… Dusty then reviews the week’s developments on the GOOP (was that a typo or subliminal message?) campaign trail. Dusty captured more idiocy, as Herman Cain blinked his way through another lying, inane interview, reminding her of McCain at his lying best. Cain, McCain, probably more brothers of different mothers. Rick Perry continued his buffoonery. Dusty closes with Sarah Palin spewing more brash, violent, hateful talk. Nothing new there; same old same old angry harpy.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Jackboots Pepper-Spray Peaceful Protesters at UC Davis

Patrick’s post covers police at UC Davis illegally pepper-spraying peaceful, non-threatening protesters. Let’s be absolutely clear here – there was no threat to the police and no conditions that would warrant the use of pepper spray. The police were not protecting the public – they were abusing their power, endangering the public and acting as thugs for their masters. (I keep picturing May 4, 1970 at Kent State and hearing “four dead in O-hi-O” running through my head.) The UC Faculty Association and individual faculty members have courageously called for the resignation or dismissal of UC Chancellor Linda Katehdi, who is shown in the video on her “walk of shame” amidst the silent, peaceful students she put at risk. You say we have a Democratic President and Senate and this took place in a progressive state? Wow, you could have fooled me. You say President Obama has spoken out about repression against protesters abroad, but not here? Wow, what is he waiting for? Another Kent State?

Patrick also includes information first revealed by Chris Hayes on MSNBC about a high-power PR firm orchestrating a smear campaign against the Ocupados; we’ve already seen some of this from Fox News and the GOP (including Sarah Palin). These are the very same people who, if I recall correctly, fell over themselves extolling the virtues of the Tea Party despite the anger, violent rhetoric, weaponry etc. that characterized Tea Party rallies. It was pure manipulation that led the Tea Party to its disproportionate political influence, and it is another side of the same manipulation that is attempting to discredit and weaken the Occupy movement. Patrick’s post also covers how new technologies will make personal surveillance routine in the future. It gives me chills to see how close we are to , but also inspires me to take a more active role in the Occupy movement. What a world our children and grandchildren are inheriting!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Will President Obama Speak Out Against Police Violence

Outrage over police violence against protesters is growing. Patrick asks the burning question that many of us are feeling: will President Obama speak out about the violence against Occupy protesters who are exercising their human rights? (I would go farther and say, WTF is he waiting for?) President Obama has sternly rebuked regimes in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere for repressive actions against their people, but remains strangely silent in the face of violence against the American people – students and faculty, workers and the unemployed, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, women, men, elderly and young – all have been subject to beatings, pepper-spray and other violence. These repressive police state tactics have now taken place in Oakland, Berkeley and Davis, California, as well as in Seattle and Portland – these are not right-wing areas, folks. WTF is going on? Come on, President Obama – your silence is becoming deafening! It is past time to speak out in favor of the right of the American people to peacefully assemble, protest and petition the government for redress of our grievances. You and the Democrats do yourselves no favors by hiding and cowering at a time like this. Just think, two years ago the Republicans embraced the Tea Party, a movement orchestrated with corporate dollars, and this led them to regain political power – and yet you cannot bring yourselves to even support the constitutional rights of a true grassroots movement? How cowardly can you be? I’m one of the biggest Obama supporters you could find, and I find this silence appalling.

Some Comments and Links:

Maddie’s_Mom: So I guess the people of Egypt, Tunisia & Libya have more rights than americans do..... grrreeeaaat.

JCos: Gabby may have been the one who got shot in the head, but her eyes are bright and focused. Palin, with her usual doper/slacker, 'sleepy lizard' eyes, appears to be the one who suffered severe head trauma.

Older_Wiser (in response to the WSJ piece purportedly authored by Palin): Quitler wrote this like I wrote the Constitution. You know Peter Schweizer just had to write his own publicity piece.

Emily Peacock: Perhaps it would be a good thing to remind the mayors of our cities that their police departments are employed by the citizens who pay their salaries and not the corporations or the Federal Government.

Linda 1961: It seems to me that our current crop of leaders are clueless about what most Americans are going through. And they don't care to find out either. There are some exceptions, but they are a small minority. Most Americans could care less about the deficit or national debt. They want jobs - good jobs and affordable health care, not to mention guarantees that what they and their employers have put into the system for retirement will be available when they retire… [Later, on Gingrich] His snide "Get a job" to people who can't get one because of crappy policies that HE implemented and supports is the same as telling hungry people who can't afford bread to eat cake.

ProChoiceGrandma: The magnificent NYPD who died on 9/11/01 SERVING their citizens are rolling in their graves at the current crop of NYPD who are now BEATING their citizens.

Karen Collins: This is no longer about the OWS goal of a voice for the people, it is now a Civil Rights fight. If we lose this one, the corporate state is officially our government.

Maelewis (from a longer comment): I am still trying to figure out why the Tea Party rallies attracted no police brutality, and the Occupy Movement did.

Older_Wiser, Linda1961 and Buffalogal posted links to the amazing Herman Cain interview where he flubbed the question on Libya – comedy gold! (It would be funnier if he weren’t running for President.)

ProChoiceGrandma had this antidote to the depressing news about police actions against the Ocupados – Karl Rove being mic checked!

Sunnyjane found this at thepoliticalcarnival: Mitt Romney is just lying.

Emily Peacock pointed out this article on how the Ocupados want to solve our economic problems.

Game of Life posted this link to the OWS Mission Statement (dated 9/30/11, BTW).

Linda1961 linked to politicususa and commented: as OWS demonstrates, Americans are getting the message - the gop doesn't care about the 99%, hell, the gop doesn't care about America at all! I don't care how many flag pins the traitors wear, or how many pocket copies of the Constitution they carry, the gop only cares about the 1%.

ProChoiceGrandma let us know about this fantastic letter from UC Davis professor Nathan Brown, calling for UC Chancellor Linda Katehi to step down because of the violence against peacefully protesting faculty and students.

Patrick posted this link to another UC Davis faculty member, writing at HuffPo on the potentially serious health effects of pepper spray and protocols that it cannot be used (in prisons) if a prisoner is seated.

He also pointed out this excellent article by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone and one from Glenn Greenwald at Salon.

The Last Word: Gabby Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly (describing what he had decided to say to Sarah Palin, if she had called): “You are not responsible,” I planned to tell Sarah Palin, “But you are irresponsible."



Amazing new video - The UC Davis pepper spray incident, from four perspectives at the same time.

This is a terrific effort by a youtube-user. The infamous incident from four different perspectives at the same time provides a completely new picture.

Best viewed fullscreen in HD - go to original video and click on "720p."

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