Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain on Monday said he is an “unconventional” candidate, and some people don’t like it. WTF does that mean anyway. Is it political nonsensical double-speak, or is it a plan for winning the Presidency?
Archive for October, 2011
Make no mistake about it: The actions of the police department in Oakland last night were a military assault on a legitimate political demonstration. That it was a milder military assault than it could have been, which is to say it wasn’t a massacre, is very much beside the point. There was no possible provocation that warranted this display of force. (Graffiti? Litter? Rodents? Is the Oakland PD now a SWAT team for the city’s health department?) If you are a police department in this country in 2011, this is something you do because you have the power and the technology and the license from society to do it. This is a problem that has been brewing for a long time. It predates the Occupy movement for more than a decade. It even predates the “war on terror,” although that has acted as what the arson squad would call an “accelerant” to the essential dynamic.
Basic law enforcement in this country is thoroughly, totally militarized. It is militarized at its most basic levels. (The “street crime units,” so beloved by, among other people, the Diallo family.) It is militarized at its highest command positions. It is militarized in its tactics, and its weaponry and, most important of all, in the attitude of the officers themselves, and in how they are trained. There is a vast militarized intelligence apparatus that leads, inevitably, to pre-emptive military actions, like the raids on protest organizations that were carried out in advance of the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. Sooner or later, this militarized law enforcement was going to collide head-on with a movement of mass public protest, and the results were going to be ugly. (There already had been dry runs elsewhere, most notably in Miami, in 2003, during protests of a meeting of trade ministers.)
Meet Oakland, Singapore-by-the-Bay. There will be more of these. Depend on it. After all, they have fans out there.
(It should be noted here that John Timoney, the police chief in Miami who crushed the protests there, is now a recognized authority on how to keep order in the face of public demonstrations. Chris Matthews even has him on Hardball to talk about it. That’s the way the wind’s blowing here.)
And why shouldn’t the police be militarized? After all, we keep handing them “wars” to fight. A war on drugs. A war on terror. A war on graffiti. Wars are not properly fought with half-measures. Wars are fought over territory and wars are fought over power. You put enough war propaganda into the heads of young men, hand them weapons, and give them a license to use them, and they are not going to see fellow citizens through the visors on their helmets. They are going to see enemies. Wars have enemies. In Oakland last night, the police took action against enemies.
To their credit, libertarians have been warning about this dangerous drift of law enforcement for longer than most people have been aware of it. Republicans have too much to gain from any get-tough strategies, and Democrats are too timid to stand against them with any real zeal. Most people are perfectly willing to live with the beanbags, and the rubber bullets, and the clubs, as long as it’s happening to other people, especially other people who are really, you know, Other People. Or who can be made into Other People by the judicious cherry-picking of comments, the judicious parceling out of anonymous tidbits of information, or the judicious use of idiotic innuendo such as that which was fed to Boston television stations last night:
“Capillo isn’t pointing any fingers (Ed Note: That’s TV‘s job, dammit), but the breaks have coincided with the arrival of the Occupy Boston movement, with the notable exception being first break-in on Sept. 29, the day before the protests began.”
(Ed. Note: All the break-ins have “coincided” with Occupy, unless you count the first one, which didn’t.)
Classic black propaganda. Somebody should get a raise there.
It’s time for the country to realize that something is dangerously out of control here, and that it’s not a bunch of people in sleeping bags in the public parks. There is a tradition of public protest in this country. Hell, this country is itself an act of public protest. Preserve that, or preserve nothing else, because there’s nothing else worth preserving. Police officers are public servants. They are not soldiers, facing down enemies. This is not a war. This is America.
by Charles P. Pierce – The Politics Blog/Esquire Magazine
(CNN) — Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey announced Tuesday he will not run for president in 2012.
The first-term governor said the pressure he received over the past few months caused him to consider throwing his hat in the ring — after repeatedly shooting down rumors — but that ultimately he is committed to his position in the Garden State.
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(CNN) — Pres. Barack Obama and Republicans squabbled over the best way to create jobs in their weekly addresses Saturday, with the president demanding Congress pass his jobs bill and Republicans insisting regulations be lifted on businesses.
“It’s been almost three weeks since I sent the American Jobs Act to Congress – three weeks since I sent them a bill that would put people back to work and put money in people’s pockets,” Obama said in his address. “This jobs bill is fully paid for. This jobs bill contains the kinds of proposals that Democrats and Republicans have supported in the past. And now I want it back.”
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