As a result of several long-building, polarizing trends in American politics and culture, we have lost the ability to execute even the basic functions of government, much less solve the most difficult and divisive problems facing the country. … Those who think that they alone have the right answers, those who demonize those who think differently, and those who refuse to listen and take other points of view into account — these leaders, in my view, are a danger to the American people and to the future of our republic.
“New York City Police Foundation — New York JPMorgan Chase recently donated an unprecedented $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple. The money will pay for 1,000 new patrol car laptops, as well as security monitoring software in the NYPD’s main data center.
New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon a note expressing “profound gratitude” for the company’s donation.
“These officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,” Dimon said. “We’re incredibly proud to help them build this program and let them know how much we value their hard work.”
Oh how the pieces fall together :) like a symphony.
It’s unsurprising that establishment media outlets have been condescending, dismissive and scornful of the ongoing protests on Wall Street. Any entity that declares itself an adversary of prevailing institutional power is going to be viewed with hostility by establishment-serving institutions and their loyalists. That’s just the nature of protests that take place outside approved channels, an inevitable by-product of disruptive dissent: those who are most vested in safeguarding and legitimizing establishment prerogatives (which, by definition, includes establishment media outlets) are going to be hostile to those challenges. As the virtually universal disdain in these same circles for WikiLeaks (and, before that, for the Iraq War protests) demonstrated: the more effectively adversarial it is, the more establishment hostility it’s going to provoke.
Nor is it surprising that much of the most vocal criticisms of the Wall Street protests has come from some self-identified progressives, who one might think would be instinctively sympathetic to the substantive message of the protesters. In an excellent analysis entitled “Why Establishment Media & the Power Elite Loathe Occupy Wall Street,” Kevin Gosztola chronicles how much of the most scornful criticisms have come from Democratic partisans who — like the politicians to whom they devote their fealty — feign populist opposition to Wall Street for political gain. […]
But much of this progressive criticism consists of relatively (ostensibly) well-intentioned tactical and organizational critiques of the protests: there wasn’t a clear unified message; it lacked a coherent media strategy; the neo-hippie participants were too off-putting to Middle America; the resulting police brutality overwhelmed the message, etc. That’s the high-minded form which most progressive scorn for the protests took: it’s just not professionally organized or effective.
Some of these critiques are ludicrous. Does anyone really not know what the basic message is of this protest: that Wall Street is oozing corruption and criminality and its unrestrained political power — in the form of crony capitalism and ownership of political institutions — is destroying financial security for everyone else? Beyond that, criticizing protesters for the prominence of police brutality stories is pure victim-blaming (and, independently, having police brutality highlighted is its own benefit).
Most importantly, very few protest movements enjoy perfect clarity about tactics or command widespread support when they begin; they’re designed to spark conversation, raise awareness, attract others to the cause, and build those structural planks as they grow and develop. Dismissing these incipient protests because they lack fully developed, sophisticated professionalization is akin to pronouncing a three-year-old child worthless because he can’t read Schopenhauer: those who are actually interested in helping it develop will work toward improving those deficiencies, not harp on them in order to belittle its worth.
Students who acquire large debts putting themselves through school are unlikely to think about changing society. When you trap people in a system of debt they can’t afford the time to think. Tuition fee increases are a “disciplinary technique,” and, by the time students graduate, they are not only loaded with debt, but have also internalized the “disciplinarian culture.” This makes them efficient components of the consumer economy.
Between 80 and 100 members of the so-called “99 percent” were arrested for impeding traffic; some were charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. According to protest spokesman Patrick Bruner, the police response was “exceedingly violent.”
“I was shocked because it seemed like one person after another was being brutally tackled, and it wasn’t clear why,” rally attendee Meaghan Linick told the New York Daily News. “I was deeply disturbed to see them throw a man [down] and immediately they were pounding on him. Their arms were going back in the air. I couldn’t believe how violent five people needed to be against one unarmed man.”
Perhaps the most egregious incident involving excessive force came after NYPD officers began kettling protesters with orange police nets. In a video posted to YouTube, a uniformed officer can clearly be seen approaching a corralled group of women and macing them without warning or provocation, before quickly leaving the scene (see below).
In a statement to CBS New York, the NYPD said every arrest made was “justified.” The official Occupy Wall Street website is demanding jail time for the police officer responsible for pepper spraying the barricaded women.
Ironically, by attempting to curb the protesters’ continued Wall Street presence, the police may have unwittingly supplied the “diffuse and leaderless convocation of activists against greed, corporate influence, gross social inequality and other nasty byproducts of wayward capitalism” with the “infusion of energy” they had long hoped for.
O.K., about the Obama plan: It calls for about $200 billion in new spending — much of it on things we need in any case, like school repair, transportation networks, and avoiding teacher layoffs — and $240 billion in tax cuts. That may sound like a lot, but it actually isn’t. The lingering effects of the housing bust and the overhang of household debt from the bubble years are creating a roughly $1 trillion per year hole in the U.S. economy, and this plan — which wouldn’t deliver all its benefits in the first year — would fill only part of that hole. And it’s unclear, in particular, how effective the tax cuts would be at boosting spending.
Still, the plan would be a lot better than nothing, and some of its measures, which are specifically aimed at providing incentives for hiring, might produce relatively a large employment bang for the buck. As I said, it’s much bolder and better than I expected. President Obama’s hair may not be on fire, but it’s definitely smoking; clearly and gratifyingly, he does grasp how desperate the jobs situation is.
But his plan isn’t likely to become law, thanks to Republican opposition. And it’s worth noting just how much that opposition has hardened over time, even as the plight of the unemployed has worsened. […]
So, at this point, leading Republicans are basically against anything that might help the unemployed. Yes, Mr. Romney has issued a glossy, well-produced “jobs plan,” but it might best be described as 59 bullet points with nothing there — and certainly nothing to justify his assertion, bordering on megalomania, that he would create no fewer than 11 million jobs in four years.
The good news in all this is that by going bigger and bolder than expected, Mr. Obama may finally have set the stage for a political debate about job creation. For, in the end, nothing will be done until the American people demand action.
and how do unemployed people DEMAND jobs?
do they walk into businesses and demand to be employed? hire me! or else…
or else, what?
honestly, i want to know what this looks like because letters and phone calls to politicians don’t work.
does this look like a hunger strike?
maybe that’s what i’ll do if i don’t get a job by the time unemployment runs out. i won’t be able to pay rent and will end up homeless. so, what the hell, i’ll go on a hunger strike… and camp out on the steps of…
hmm, where would be the most effective place to camp/go hungry?
in front of the white house?
or is the whole camping out hunger strike thing old news?
do i need to set myself on fire?
…like they do in other parts of the world
when no one gives a fuck (about the common person)
and no one listens.
what do you think?
what’s it going to take
to create *enough* jobs?
and i’m not talking about a position in a private prison!
The comments, in newspapers and online, which chime with me are the ones professing sadness, confusion and a willingness to wait for more information before jumping to conclusions, the latter being particularly welcome. Some commentators leapt to equal and opposite forms of idiocy. Conservative pundits spoke mechanically of “mindless” violence (it’s never mindless, it just means you don’t consider the mind behind it) while some on the left bent over backwards to justify looting as an anti-consumerist act, failing to discriminate between anti-police violence and nicking trainers from Foot Locker, understandable outrage and plain old criminality, and thus doing rightwing pundits’ job for them. […]
What’s happening now isn’t a protest or, as Darcus Howe put it, an “insurrection” – it’s a nervous breakdown. The motor isn’t a political cause but a mood. Politics is in the background, in the pervasive frustration and anxiety of an alienated underclass: record levels of youth unemployment, widening inequality, social services (especially youth services) slashed to the bone, the Education Maintenance Allowance scrapped, a damaged relationship between the police and the community, and collapsing faith in a seemingly indifferent political class. But the immediate outcome makes the lives of residents – many of whom are every bit as deprived as the rioters – even worse than they were last week and opens the door to an authoritarian response. A riot is a weapon of last resort; a cry for help; a public form of self-harming. It pays for short-term catharsis with long-term pain.