Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Occupy Wall Street

Through Thick and Thin

with 5 comments

Another week gone. The situation in the Middle East just gets worse. And I mean the greater Middle East when I say Middle East, including Iran and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan the situation is acutely bad. Riots and demonstrations triggered by the burned Koran incident continue. And pathetically, many Americans simply regard this as “loony” rather than try to understand the far more difficult concept that  these people are reacting in a way that is entirely consistent with their cultural and historical context. If a hated decade long occupier in the USA  trashed some of America’s most sacred relics, Americans might riot too. In just a few weeks with just two brain dead incidents, the pissing on Taliban corpses and now this burned Koran thing,  the USA has given the Taliban a huge propaganda boost and undone much of whatever good we did in the country. Smooth move.

Syria is more or less in a civil war. And in the new world order, that means intervention, IE benevolent invasion. Somalia, same deal. More drone strikes, more interventions, more inability to grasp that there are problems you can’t kill your way out of. Well, at least without killing on a scale that hopefully even the most rabid pro-war American would blanch at. One can hope at least. I think wider war in the Middle East is inevitable at this point, has been really since the USA rolled into Baghdad.

And in the USA, the Republican race to see who gets eviscerated by Obama gets weirder all the time. The Republicans are doing what the Democrats did in 2004, they seem intent on running a candidate with zero crossover appeal. The more they pander to their extreme religious base, the more they guarantee Obama’s reelection. At least that’s my take on it at the moment, could be an interesting summer.

In science news, they seem to have discovered that the faster-than-light neutrinos measurement was due to an equipment malfunction. Seem to being the operative words here, testing continues. That they can’t pin it down precisely just yet is a great illustration of just how fine scientists are slicing reality these days, we are talking extremely thin slices. Sadly, a lot of media sites pounced on this to take cheap shots at science and scientists by making this seem like it was a simple as a loose VCR cable, reinforcing the worst negative stereotypes about scientists. And these days, with massive sophisticated organized efforts under way to deny science for both political and religious reasons, I find gratuitous attacks on scientists distressing.

The myth of eight hours sleep. This one is great. There seems to be a case to be made that it’s normal for humans to sleep for two periods at night with an activity period in between. Honestly, that’s pretty much my usual pattern. Many of these blogs are written between four and six in the morning, then I go back to bed for a few more hours. There’s probably a book that could be written about things that are commonly believed to be true, with little or no scientific basis. Dogs are mammals, apples are fruit, that sort of thing.

In a last little science tidbit, research is increasingly showing that humans are naturally cooperative, not competitive. There’s actually been a lot of research like this the past few decades. It gives me hope for the species, though organized government and religion loathe research like this, don’t expect it to be getting it into school curricula any time soon. Both organized government and organized religion are predicated on the meme that without them, people would do bad things. Can’t have people doubting that, they might actually start to wonder why organized government and religion get such a big slice of the pie.

Lastly, in local news, Berkeley had its second murder of the year. Basically a lunatic attacked a man who confronted him trespassing in the man’s yard. Infuriatingly, the Berkeley police didn’t respond to the first call because they were too busy “standing by” because an Occupy Oakland march was scheduled later that night. Yerp, a massive police presence has to “stand by” when a few hundred people engage in a  peaceful and legal protest, but actually protecting the public and doing their job, that gets short shrift. The media of course is having a field day blaming the protesters! That’s right folks, don’t dare engage in peaceful and legal protests, you might get someone killed!

The founding fathers are rolling in their graves at that sentiment. Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image is believed to be Public Domain under US copyright law, but I will gladly amend if informed differently. The wild police over-reaction to OWS is a symptom of how far down the road to a police state this country has gone, if Washington had done their job the past few decades instead of selling the country out to the highest bidder, OWS wouldn’t be happening. Attacking protesters with riot police isn’t going to fix the problem.)

Real Hope and Change

with 8 comments

Sproul Plaza, Tuesday Night, 15 November 2011. These are Americans, not Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers, Liberals, etc. Our leaders, the Republicans and Democrats, have sold us out. If the Republic is to be saved, it’s up to the American people. This is what the Occupy movement is all about.

That’s what I wrote last night, it’s now Wednesday morning. A commenter below suggested that as a member of the 99%, they would like a say in who represents them. Exactly, said commenter should be in the front lines of the Occupy movement, because that’s what it’s all about. The two mainstream parties stopped representing the 99% decades ago, and have spent the past 30 years enabling the largest upwards transfer of wealth in history. Anyone who thinks that the Republicans or the Democrats are going to fix the mess they have made is living in a dream world. And the Tea Party is part and parcel of the Republican Party.

Speaking of the Tea Party, where the hell are they anyhow? Across the land Americans are assembling in peaceful protest, a constitutionally protected activity, exercising a right that our founding fathers fought and died for … and are being attacked by riot clad police. I thought the Tea Party was all about exercising our  Constitutional rights? I don’t hear any of them condemning the police actions or supporting people’s right to peacefully assemble? Silence is consent.

The media in particular, both left and right, is unseemly in their support of the status quo. The Drudge Report in particular is wallowing in filth in its effort to demonize the OWS movement. I suspect Fox News is no better, but I only watch it when forced to. Even here in “liberal” Oakland, the first thing the reporter on TV did last night was try and ask members of the OWS if they were going to pay for all the expense their movement had caused? This of course is completely the wrong question, the question is why the hell are cities across the country treating peaceful protesters as rioters, and confronting them with expensive ranks of cops?

And yes, there have been some cases of vandalism and such. Such acts are rare, and do not even begin to represent the average OWS supporter. And back on point, if you treat people as rioters and confront them with riot police, a few of them are going to over react and throw things. This doesn’t justify treating the protests as riots, in fact the opposite, it shows that treating the protests as riots is going to cause some of the problems it is purporting to prevent.

I don’t know how this is going to all turn out. This is the first real populist movement in decades, not since the sixties has there been a grass roots movement to force real change on the establishment. And sadly despite a few limited gains, the establishment has retrenched and is more powerful then ever. And tens of millions of Americans have been propagandized into supporting a system that has stolen everything from them and left them with debts their grandchildren will be paying off. Not to mention a bizarre system of perpetual war, where corporations are people, and all freedoms are to be sacrificed in the name of “security.”

The Occupy Movement is first crack in the dam in the USA, and it has the powers that be running scared. Maybe it will inspire real change in Washington and Wall Street. Maybe it will result in the USA making the final transformation into a dystopian police state where freedom is just a memory. Maybe something else will happen that no one saw coming, that’s always a safe bet. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a hell of a ride.

Doug Stych 16 November 2011

(Image published with permission of the photographer, all rights reserved.)

Written by unitedcats

November 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Occupy Wall Street Explained: End the War, Tax the Rich.

with 4 comments

Despite the veritable bullshit storm of nonsense tossed about by the corporate media (owned by the very people who are being protested, go figure,) the philosophy of the Occupy Wall Street movement is very simple and can be explained in six one syllable words: End the war, tax the rich. Not complicated at all, not hard to remember. Easy to explain to liberals and conservatives alike, easy to explain to anyone who still thinks the mainstream media or the two parties represent the interests of Americans. Anything else is a distraction and a diversion.

And no, they aren’t saying we should surrender to Al-Qaeda. They are saying that spending more money on our military than the rest of the planet combined is insane. That waging counterinsurgency war in half a dozen countries is madness. (You’d think we’d have learned that one in Indochina.) The best way to support our troops is to bring them home, they are dying overseas for nothing. We have enough nuclear weapons to flatten any nation that dares attack us, there’s no need to spend endless American treasure and blood trying to force democracy down the throats of tribesmen on the other side of the planet. When their people are ready for freedom, they will seize it, as the Arab Spring is showing us as I type. There are better alternatives to endless war and limitless military spending, trust me.

And then there’s “tax the rich.” A quick review: The USA has gotten vastly wealthier since the mid 1970s. Virtually all of this new wealth ended up at the very top of the pile. Through rented politicians giving the rich tax cut after tax cut, to rented politicians gutting depression era regulations intended to the prevent the sorts of financial shenanigans Wall Street used to steal trillions of dollars. I’s been more than thirty years since Reagan sold Americans on the cool aid that if the rich get tax breaks, they will run out and hire people. The so called trickle down theory. Well, guess what, turns out if one gives the rich tax breaks, they put the money in an offshore account and start pleading for the next round of tax breaks. Reaganomics has failed, it’s time the rich to start paying they same share of taxes as the rest of us.

The media is of course doing their best to discredit, ridicule, and trivialize the OWS movement. The want people to think that it’s all about a bunch of incoherent pot crazed hippies causing trouble for the sake of causing trouble. That the media is going to all this trouble shows just how scared the establishment really is, since virtually always they simply ignore protesters. Sadly it may work, there’s still tens of millions of Americans still convinced that the Republicans or the Democrats are going to somehow save the situation. By doing what, exactly? Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have made any serious changes in America’s foreign and fiscal policy in decades, and look where that has gotten us. At war with half the world and up to our eyeballs in debt. And, you know, the recession.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Every USA election since 1984 (at least) has been nothing more than a stage magic show to make people think their voice still counts. No, it doesn’t. And if Obama with his “Bush on steroids” foreign and domestic policy hasn’t made people realize the folly of thinking their vote counts for something, I don’t know what will. Hell, the stolen 1980 election should have woken people out of their torpor, but Americans have been softly screwed into a coma for decades.

Some of them are finally waking up. Occupy Wall Street. Stop the war. Tax the rich. Pass it on.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is arguably an historically important image. It’s all over the web, but I couldn’t find the copyright information, if someone supplies it I will be glad to post it. I chose it because it’s one of many images that show this movement has wide spread support. Tomorrow, I will expand on how we could conduct our foreign policy and defend America without endless deficit spending or waging war around the world.)

Written by unitedcats

October 10, 2011 at 7:28 pm