I have a little sympathy for the Seattle police


It’s got to be rough, becoming the villain in a Joe Hill protest song. Think of it; years from now, they’ll have a grandchild on a knee, telling them stories of their glory days when they served their civic duties by hosing pregnant teenagers and 84-year-old women with pepper spray, and it’s going to be hard to spin that as courageous work. They were dangerous, you know, great vicious brutes with slender limbs or fragile hearts, all mad-eyed and tainted with idealism, and somebody had to play the role of faceless uniformed thug and beat the proles down.

Here’s to Dorli Rainey, 84 and still fighting with the tears streaming down her cheeks.

I think this does call for a Joe Hill song.

There are women of many descriptions
In this queer world, as everyone knows,
Some are living in beautiful mansions,
And are wearing the finest of clothes.
There are blue blooded queens and princesses,
Who have charms made of diamonds and pearl;
But the only and thoroughbred lady
Is the Rebel Girl.

That’s the Rebel Girl, That’s the Rebel Girl.
To the working class she’s a precious pearl.
She brings courage, pride and joy
To the fighting Rebel Boy
We’ve had girls before, but we need some more
In the Industrial Workers of the World.
For it’s great to fight for freedom
With a Rebel Girl.

Yes, her hands may be harden’d from labor
And her dress may not be very fine;
But a heart in her bosom is beating
That is true to her class and her kind.
And the grafters in terror are trembling
When her spite and defiance she’ll hurl.
For the only and thoroughbred lady
Is the Rebel Girl.

That’s the Rebel Girl, That’s the Rebel Girl.
To the working class she’s a precious pearl.
She brings courage, pride and joy
To the fighting Rebel Boy
We’ve had girls before, but we need some more
In the Industrial Workers of the World.
For it’s great to fight for freedom
With a Rebel Girl.


Rainey is interviewed here.

Comments

  1. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Sound advice from Dorli: “Whatever you do, always take one more step outside of your comfort zone.”

  2. DLC says

    Rachel Maddow covered this. The woman in the photo is reported to have said : “we had a saying in the feminist movement: when you screw us, we multiply.”
    I liked it.

  3. TX_secular says

    Dorli is an inspiration. What a charismatic woman who is smart, informed, personable, and committed to social welfare. She tops it off by showing that older people have lots to offer. She should run for president. Dorli, you rock girl!

  4. capnxtreme says

    Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel said he didn’t have specifics on the Rainey incident, but he said pepper spray is “is not age specific. No more dangerous to someone who is 10 or someone who is 80.”

    He added, that if it were harmful, “we probably wouldn’t be using pepper spray if that was the case.”

    Sure, but I’m willing to doubt you’re not facing down a serious potential threat if your opponent is 84 fucking years old or pregnant. Have some damn respect. Is it really that much to ask?

    This sort of crap makes me feel physically ill.

  5. A. R says

    I’m getting tired of seeing images like this. I suppose that this is what happens when you give a small group of individuals almost absolute power over a populace.

  6. cyberCMDR says

    Maybe later they’ll take a cue from Penn State and the Catholic Church, and get advice from Hosni Mubarak on dealing with use of excessive force.

  7. hippiehunter says

    I don’t know what these people are protesting about/against.
    Are the really just protesting against greed? Do they have any actual goals and why do they think they have the right to obstruct other peoples travel, business or leisure activities?

    By all means protest against anything you want but your right to protest should not trump my right to unfettered freedom of movement. So I would suggest protesters obey the police and stop obstucting other peoples rights or I expect the police to force them to.

  8. M Groesbeck says

    I’ve already seen posts from Teabaggers insisting that the lack of police brutality at Teabagger events is proof that their “let’s all kill the President and Congress” rallies were “less violent” and “more American” than the OWS crowd.

    Apparently, for the Teabaggers, you’re only a real rebel when you’re on the side of the people who are already in power.

  9. Aquaria says

    I don’t know what these people are protesting about/against.
    Are the really just protesting against greed? Do they have any actual goals and why do they think they have the right to obstruct other peoples travel, business or leisure activities?

    Here’s a link for you, you lazy, ignorant, authoritarian fuckface.

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=occupy+wall+street+demands

    By all means protest against anything you want but

    I bet you also say you’re not a racist but…

    your right to protest should not trump my right to unfettered freedom of movement.

    Now I know you’re the kind of bigoted and stupid fuckface who would say “I’m not a racist but…”

    “but” is the new term for, “I’m about to say something that negates everything I said before in the most insulting, bigoted and authoritarian lickspittle way possible.

    So how long do you think you’ll have freedom of movement, scumbag, if someone doesn’t stand up for the rights you’re too fucking lazy to get off your own ass to defend?

    So I would suggest protesters obey the police and stop obstucting other peoples rights or I expect the police to force them to.

    To “Obey the police” when they’re taking away your rights to peaceably assemble is fucking fascist, idiot.

    That’s what your too authoritarian-worshipping to fucking get.

  10. says

    By all means protest against anything you want but your right to protest should not trump my right to unfettered freedom of movement.

    yeah! stoopid protesters should protest in such a way that I won’t have to notice their existence if I don’t want to!

    *facepalm*

  11. NOT Aquaria ("hippiehunter") says

    Hi Aquaria,
    Thank you for your considered, informative and reasoned response.

    Your ad hominem/strawman response says a lot about your character and intellect.
    Your link was about as informative as your obvious hatred towards people who do not share your opinions and in fact reinforced my idea that these peoples aims are in fact pretty vague.
    Aquaria if you think YOUR right to assemble includes the right to obstruct me from getting to work, theatre or hospital then your childish name calling makes a lot of sense.

    Thank you for not being aborted Aquaria, I am so glad your here.

    [I will assume that your claim that you accidentally used the wrong name is true (although I find it very dubious) this time — you don’t get any consideration beyond this, though. Screw up again, and you will be banned, you fascist scumbag. –pzm]

  12. Justin says

    Hey fake Aquaria,

    You don’t have the right to unfettered movement whenever/wherever.

    Try walking on private property and test it out.

    Also, you’re a fascist and wish you a short and miserable life.

    Thanks.

  13. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Ooh, morphing? But why? And into Aquaria’s name? What a fuckwitted asshole.

    Your link was about as informative as your obvious hatred towards people

    Usually Aquaria’s hatred is quite informative. And obviously you didn’t click on the link, you sniveling lying puerile cretin.

  14. Jay says

    The article also documents the reasons why the clash happened: “Seattle police said plenty of verbal warnings were given to demonstrators attempting to block intersections and streets during rush hour.

    “Pepper spray was deployed only against subjects who were either refusing a lawful order to disperse or engaging in assaultive behavior toward officers,” Kappel wrote on the department’s blog. Kappel also noted that one man threw an “unknown liquid” at an officer’s face and was arrested. The officer was not injured.

    In another incident, Kappel said a 17-year-old woman swung a stick at an officer, and as police moved to arrest her, others tried to intervene on her behalf, prompting a blast of pepper spray.”

    I’m hopefully correct that this wasn’t a planned march with street closures, in which case you would have to consider the actions of the police in the context of what the protesters were doing.

  15. says

    Thank you for not being aborted Aquaria, I am so glad your here.

    I’m not glad you’re here, you dishonest coward. Here’s hoping, in your case, that morphing and using someone else’s longstanding nym is enough to see you in the dungeon.

  16. hippiehunter says

    Actually I used aquaria’s name accidently.
    Wow it seems some of you just jump on the bandwagon to abuse anyone who disagrees with you.

    I maintain though that I do not respect your alleged right to obstruct my travel to work, theatre or hospital.

    Aquaria If you are going to abuse people for asking questions and stating their opinion I suggest you focus on what they actually say.

    Twit

  17. says

    “Wow it seems some of you just jump on the bandwagon to abuse anyone who disagrees with you.”

    No, just ignorant trolls like yourself.

    0/10

  18. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Actually I used aquaria’s name accidently.

    We already knew that you’re a liar, no need to put up a neon sign.

  19. says

    @hippiehunter — Sure, you have a right to travel. But you don’t have a right to use the road, you don’t have a right to drive a car, and, oh, look, if the protesters are blocking one street, there are other streets you can use, and it isn’t going to kill you to walk a block or two.

  20. says

    So I would suggest protesters obey the police and stop obstucting other peoples rights or I expect the police to force them to.

    And grandma shouldn’t have mouthed off like that, right?

    Speaking of rights, I seem to remember something about peaceably assembling…

    Hippiehunter: you found some. Let’s rock.

  21. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Sometimes your rights come into conflict with other people’s rights. Deal with it.

  22. eigenperson says

    @hh: When you wrote:

    I don’t know what these people are protesting about/against

    did you actually want to know what Occupy Seattle was protesting, or are you too enwrapped in your precious bubble of superiority and ignorance to click on Aquaria’s link to find out?

  23. says

    I would very much be interested to hear a plausible explanation as to how someone could “accidentally” use the wrong nym to post.

  24. eigenperson says

    #30: Probably by copying the name so as to refer to the person without typos in one’s post, but accidentally pasting it into the “Name (required)” box as well, and not noticing.

  25. M Groesbeck says

    Jay @ 21 —

    plenty of verbal warnings were given to demonstrators

    Police always say that “plenty of verbal warnings were given” — often while actions are taken to ensure that those “warnings”, given anywhere between seconds before to minutes after aggressive police actions, cannot be followed. So police will enclose a group of protesters, instruct those protesters to leave by nonexistent means, and then break out the nightsticks and pepper spray. And the occasional teargas canister fired directly at someone’s face.

    …and they can rely for ideological backing on people like “hippiehunter” who insist that the right of the police to engage in widespread rioting must, by definition, be in defense of his right to live in a universe free of anyone who might be somewhat to the left of him.

  26. Mick says

    Something I’ve noticed about modern law enforcement tactics. Cops don’t actually go in as hard against unruly drunks or real rioters, if the London met used those tactics against the rioters there it would guarantee immediate violent reprisals against the police. The London Met is more than happy to use exactly the same tactics as the Seattle police against peaceful protesters however.

    They are harder on peaceful protesters not because they pose any kind of threat but because they are LESS likely to fight back and injure police than drunks, rowdies and thugs!

  27. Mak says

    He added, that if it were harmful, “we probably wouldn’t be using pepper spray if that was the case.”

    What a load of horse shit. How many people have died from being tazed, and yet the police still use tazers?

  28. A. R says

    hippiehunter: You have no constitutional right to be able to move unimpeded, but the protestors do have the following rights:

    1. The Right to Free Speech (1st Amendment)
    2. The Right to peaceably assemble
    3. The Right to petition the government for the redress of grievances.

    These all from the First Amendment to the Constitution

  29. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Wow it seems some of you just jump on the bandwagon to abuse anyone who disagrees with you.

    I was going to say “liar,” but Caine beat me to it. So, instead. .

    Bingo!

  30. Okasen says

    I don’t know what these people are protesting about/against.
    Are the really just protesting against greed? Do they have any actual goals and why do they think they have the right to obstruct other peoples travel, business or leisure activities?

    Two things.

    One- it ~really~ isn’t a protest if you can pass by it and not be affected. Part of the point of a protest is to stir up attention and bring their issues to light, and make it known that they’re upset.

    Two- It doesn’t matter that you don’t understand what they’re protesting against. Hell, it took me an incredibly long time to completely understand the movement. But that ignorance doesn’t give you an excuse to think they don’t have a right to be protesting- which is exactly what you are saying, as much as you want to deny it.

  31. says

    This whole movement is revealing a whole side of law enforcement that I knew was there, but never knew its severity.

    Here in Vancouver, the police and fire department have been behaving like professionals. We’ve had only one serious clash between police and occupiers. It happened when when the fire department decided that the newly lit First Nations Sacred Fire was hazardous and needed to be extinguished. Here’s video of what happened, plus my best attempt to reconstruct what led up to it. Notice that the police did not wear riot gear and that they did not use tear gas or pepper spray. One officer had a clip of pistol ammunition stolen, while two other officers received “human bite wounds,” the most serious injuries suffered by anyone present. Riot control fit for a democratic society?

    A number of Vancouver Occupiers seem to be trying to recreate the Battle of Seattle, seeking conflict for conflict’s sake. We have a uniquely reasonable municipal government here, and I hope we don’t squander the opportunity to seek consensus in the city as a whole.

    Anyone else from Vancouver on this thread? What’s your take?

  32. Bruce Gorton says

    HippieHunter, because you are going to feel all so self rightous about how nobody could really answer you, here is the full reason to protest.

    Corporations have essentially taken over the US government, forming an end result that is essentially the same as communism, except without the conscience.

    This has several consequences:

    1: The subprime mortgage crisis was essentially caused by non-depisitory banks giving high risk loans and then selling them on through derivative packages.

    It has since been revealed that not all of these loans were even real – the robo-signing scandal demonstrated that people were getting their homes threatened for mortgages they never actually took.

    Yet the corporate run news media in the US popularly blames poorer home owners for the crisis never mind that the reason they weren’t paying off that mortgage was because the mortgage was fraudulent.

    As these institutions have the Democratic and Republican Party in their back pockets, the government has been slow to prosecute the fraud involved but quick to help seize people’s houses.

    2: The derivative market, born of stock traders being incompetent or negligent assholes who the world would be a btter place without, spread its contagion to the depository banks forcing the US government to issue big bail outs.

    These bailouts came at the cost of social benefits, and rather than being grateful for the save the wankers of Wall Street proceded to give themselves big bonuses and use their lobbying power to kill more social benefits and cut taxes.

    3: The financial interests of Wall Street despite being pretty much worthless to the US as a whole (Even in helping business expand – selling shares only does a business any good on new issues and the majority of shares that get traded are anything but new) its concerns trump everybody else’s.

    When the government talks about “Restoring confidence” it is generally in a bid to make Wall Street happy at the expense of jobs.

    4: Where media threatens corporate interests it is shut down. Wikileaks for example – it is not simply that it threatens the US government with exposure, but also that it threatened Bank of America.

    Bank of America was linked to a frankly illegal plan to descredit the organisation, yet most of the US government’s investigative time has been trying to find some sort of crime it can accuse Wikileaks of in a court of law with a straight face.

    5: Remember the horror of the KGB and how Russia was spying on its own citizens? Same deal in America, except in America the spies also try to sell you porn on the internet.

    6: Protests against all of this have met with violence, which the corporate-state controlled media has attempted to spin as being the protesters’ fault. So you have jackbootlickers talking about how the protesters had it coming because there are always useful idiots out there.

  33. uncle frogy says

    I wondered how long it would take for the “new Authoritarians” to start to self-destruct and go for force and not dialog to end the disruption of the demonstrations. There supposed to be disruptive otherwise no one will even know they are going on!
    like one of those kind of tiger hunts where you mass a great many people to surround the area and beat the bushes to flush out the tiger and kill or capture him.
    Any thing that brings more light the better it is. The more riot police are brought in to “protect the city” the more cameras there will be TV is about eye balls at the bottom line the camera likes action and can’t stand “talking heads” The more stupid the reactions of the “authorities” the more the reasons for the demonstrations will become clear and make the demonstrations larger.
    The only real choice for the Ruling Party is to give in to some real change in order to stay in control which they do not seem capable of really doing or be utterly defeated by totally resisting any change or even acknowledgement of the grievances of the majority of the population.
    things just can not keep going on as they have been going on for much longer before there is a real explosion.
    The only things I hear from those in power are just playing around at the edges and talking like it will all be OK an a little while and things will be back to what they were in earlier times. I see nothing that remotely looks like a stable situation up ahead any where.
    The question is are we going to look like Syria or Yugoslavia or will we realize that we are all in this together and follow the founding fathers example and try to work rationally together.

    forward
    uncle frogy

  34. says

    I saw a “demotivator” poster that really hit this particular nail on the head: “you can tell there’s going to be a riot by all the people who come dressed for one” (picture of cops in riot gear)

    When you start clubbing people and pushing them around a riot is a self-fulfilling expectation. In Berkeley, though, the students didn’t even struggle – so they were carted off for forming a human chain. Because apparently linking arms and singing scares the pigs.

  35. Anri says

    And here I was, thinking that a non-violent illegal action should be met with equally non-violent action by the police.

    Unless, of course, hippehunter wants to get someplace. Then, hell, mace ‘em.

  36. Tom says

    A good analysis, Mr Gorton, but for one little slip-up – you said “Communism” when a better phrase might be something like “State capitalism,” “Soviet-style despotism.” or “non-democratic authoritarian socialism”

    Real communism was never supposed to be authoritarian, and real socialism (state control of industry as a precursor to communism) was supposed to be a)authoritarian but directed in the interests of the people, of which some form of democracy is generally held to be the best method thus far devised, and b) as brief as possible. The fundamental goal of both was to end human exploitation.

    The western plutocracy you have identified, by contrast, is de-facto authoritarian in that it wields enormous power over the entire world economy, cares nothing for the people or the democratic process beyond how they can be induced to serve it, has its very foundation in the exploitation of many people in order to extract huge amounts of unearned wealth (and thus ever greater power and influence over the whole system) for a select few, and evidently plans to exist as long as it possibly can.

  37. raven says

    The Occupier’s message is a bit incoherent but that doesn’t matter. What is really driving this:

    1. Median incomes have dropped 3 years straight. By a total of 10%. This is the largest drop since the Great Depression. WE ARE GETTING POORER!!!

    2. The US economy got trashed by Buchco and the Tea Party and is in big trouble, worst since the 1930’s. The Fed Reserve is projecting recovery in 2018. We may never recover. THIS IS AN ENTIRE LOST GENERATION.

    IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID!!!

    Sorry for the bold and all caps but there are a few fundie xians/Tea Partiers around. Even with the emphasis, they aren’t going to get it. But it might distract them for a few hours as they try to puzzle it all out.

  38. raven says

    One thing any government fears a lot, people in the streets. It means they have lost control. People are apathetic, especially in the USA, and they have to be totally fed up to turn off the TV and hit the streets.

    Just look what happened in Poland, the USSR, Egypt, Libya and what is happening in Yemen and Syria. The leadership can lose their jobs.

    The demonstrations never look like they are accomplishing anything. But they are. It takes time, lots of time. Years.

    I remember the Vietnam war demonstrations. They started out small and the protestors were demonized, insulted, and sometimes beaten up pretty badly by the police.

    A few years later there were hundreds of thousands and then millions in the streets. LBJ refused to run again, Nixon resigned, and the pointless war ended with 55,000 US dead and who knows how many Vietnamese.

  39. KG says

    Because apparently linking arms and singing scares the pigs. – Marcus Ranum

    Maybe they were singing out of tune?

  40. Carlie says

    One thing any government fears a lot, people in the streets. It means they have lost control. People are apathetic, especially in the USA, and they have to be totally fed up to turn off the TV and hit the streets.

    Exactly. What recourse does the average person have left? They can’t really influence politicians; even a large, well-organized grassroots group can’t compete with lobbying by corporate interests. They can’t appeal to the better morals and empathy of the majority of legislators; legislators are in an entirely different world and can’t even understand what the poor really struggle with. What other way to get attention than to be physically present in visible areas? This is democracy. This is how democracy works. This is the bed that legislators have made, by insulating themselves from every other avenue of influence average people have, to leave them this as the only way to express their opinion on government that can make any impact.

  41. raven says

    This is democracy. This is how democracy works. This is the bed that legislators have made, by insulating themselves from every other avenue of influence average people have, to leave them this as the only way to express their opinion on government that can make any impact.

    Those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable.

    Old slogan from somewhere or another. I believe it was used to explain guerrilla movements in Latin America and elsewhere. It did explain how the Soviet block ended up collapsing.

    Not saying we are anywhere near that point. The USA has historically not had too much trouble with political violence in the last century. (Ignore that civil war behind the curtain.) At least compared with other parts of the world.

  42. M Groesbeck says

    Tom @ 46 —

    That description/definition of socialism is the Marxist communist description, not the socialist one. Socialism is older than Marx, often non-communist even when adopting elements of Marx’s critiques of capitalism, and has a long history of developing non- and anti-authoritarian tendencies which have become more central to socialism since the middle of the 20th century.

  43. Cassius Corodes says

    Carlie: “Exactly. What recourse does the average person have left? They can’t really influence politicians; even a large, well-organized grass-roots group can’t compete with lobbying by corporate interests.”

    Of-course they can. The real reason lobbying is so successful is because people are apathetic. If they actually gave a shit about who was in power no amount of money would be worth an unpopular decision. Instead, for a politician, ad money is worth more than good decisions.

    While protesting etc. may seem heroic, its just bullshit. The real heroic thing is to pay attention to politics and cast an informed vote, every time. We already have a fully free democracy. There is nothing meaningful left to demand from government – only from fellow citizens.

  44. KG says

    Cassius Corodes,

    What a load of disingenuous tosh. The majority of those voting in the 2008 election have been completely let down by the Obama administration’s failure to bring about any significant shift away from the kow-towing to corporate power that has characterised the last few decades. (How far to blame this on Obama, and how far on the REpublican strategy of sabotage is another matter.) We know very well that even if he is re-elected with majorities in both houses, there will again be no significant move to the left. Nor is voting for third parties a viable option – the Dem-Rep duopoly is in practice immoveable, and gerrymandering is rife at state level. Republican drives to obstruct voter registration are well documented. Unlimited corporate political contribuitons, and the corporate stranglehold on the media, ensure that most voters are swamped by the flood of right-wing lies. Widespread voter apathy in these circumstances is not only understandable, it has clearly been deliberately brought about by the corporate oligarchy.

  45. raven says

    While protesting etc. may seem heroic, its just bullshit.

    Wrong.

    Demonstrations create an informed, alert electorate.

    The two are complementary and reinforce each other.

    Without public discussion and visible issues, people just take the easy route, turn on TV, and tune out.

    The real heroic thing is to pay attention to politics and cast an informed vote, every time.

    Well sure. But this is fantasy, not the world we live in. You go with the universe you have, not the one you want.

    How are you going to get 310 million USaians to be “real heroic (thing is) to pay attention to politics and cast an informed vote, every time.” Mind control rays, bullwhips, IQ enhancing drugs in the water supply?

  46. jeebus says

    Really, hippiehunter? You’re still using that “but what do they want?’ crap that was old the first week of OWS?

    The answer is simple: Ayn Rand’s god failed spectacularly in 2008 (even Alan Greenspan admitted this), requiring $12 trillion in total bailouts from the Fed and Treasury, not all of which has been paid back, and the same criminals who visited waste on our economic system neither paid for their crimes nor have they been restrained by any real reform. Dodd-Frank is a joke, Obama is at least as owned by these interests as Bush (whose loyalties were more in line with those other cronyist parasites, the Fossil Fuels and War industries.

    The financial services industry doesn’t create value. It takes our money – both taxpayer funds and our deposits – and gambles with them on a derivatives market that at $600 trillion is 2.5 times the net worth of the entire planet. They are going to lead to another collapse – irresponsible, baseless gambling always does. They aren’t making things, they aren’t innovating (even their criminal endeavors are not at all original but are as old as cronyism itself), they are not making life better. They’re gambling. And you’re an enabler.

    If you dislike America so much that you hate free speech and the Constitution, maybe you could at least support the American economy and help us put a leash on this criminal activity. It’s in your own best interest to do so.

    But then, acting entirely counter to one’s best interests and then whining about the consequences is S.O.P. for Tea Partiers.

  47. Carlie says

    The real reason lobbying is so successful is because people are apathetic. If they actually gave a shit about who was in power no amount of money would be worth an unpopular decision.

    Do you understand how it works? A lot of that money goes to media to push the message that what’s really bad for people is actually good for them. That’s the entire thing propping up Fox News.

  48. Cassius Corodes says

    KG: “The majority of those voting in the 2008 election have been completely let down by the Obama administration’s failure to bring about any significant shift away from the kow-towing to corporate power that has characterised the last few decades.”

    Voting didn’t start in 2008, nor is the nature of government policy going to shift within one election. This is what I mean about casting an informed vote every time.

    “Nor is voting for third parties a viable option – the Dem-Rep duopoly is in practice immoveable, and gerrymandering is rife at state level.”

    The tea party has had moderate success in changing this duopoly by co-opting one of the parties to its own agenda, and its only been around one mid-term election. Again you cant expect this to change in one election, nor would a system that does be any good.

    “Unlimited corporate political contribuitons, and the corporate stranglehold on the media, ensure that most voters are swamped by the flood of right-wing lies.”

    This is the same garbage that the right-wing sells. The left controls the media, etc etc. Its bullshit. Both views have no trouble getting their message across.

    “Widespread voter apathy in these circumstances is not only understandable, it has clearly been deliberately brought about by the corporate oligarchy.”

    Again with the conspiracy bullshit. There is no organised effort to disenfranchise people, its people being so lazy that half the god dammed country doesn’t vote each election. They dont care.

    Raven: “Demonstrations create an informed, alert electorate. The two are complementary and reinforce each other.”

    That’s a fair point. However protests are short term, and the problem is really a long term one.

    “How are you going to get 310 million USaians to be…”

    The idea is not to get anyone to do anything. I was pointing out the issue was not that people had no recourse, but that people had no will or interest to pursue that recourse.

  49. alkaloid says

    While protesting etc. may seem heroic, its just bullshit. The real heroic thing is to pay attention to politics and cast an informed vote, every time. We already have a fully free democracy. There is nothing meaningful left to demand from government – only from fellow citizens.

    Except for:

    Doing something about the massively horrific unemployment rate.

    Stop subsidizing (militarily and financially) the fossil fuel industry and support a transition to clean energy.

    Actually prosecute the financial criminals and take back the money that they’ve stolen from the American people.

    Stop massively trespassing on the people’s rights as stated in the Constitution-including the ludicrous drug war.

    Actually building a health care system that is worthwhile instead of health industry extortion.

    Stop protecting industries like the RIAA/MPAA with massively regressive legislation.

    Stop supporting repressive governments all over the world.

    There just really isn’t much to demand of our government at all.

    Just being an informed voter is insufficient when being informed just means that you know the government will actively work with the wealthy to make your life worse-but both political parties are equally committed to that as a goal, although to differing degrees and in different ways.

  50. Cassius Corodes says

    Carlie: “Do you understand how it works? A lot of that money goes to media to push the message that what’s really bad for people is actually good for them. That’s the entire thing propping up Fox News.”

    I wonder if you do. The thing propping up fox news is the same as any other channel – the free market. Its not funded by any shadowy group and drops unprofitable programs as readily as any other. They have stumbled on a profitable niche which unfortunately happens to be selling right-wing garbage to people who like right-wing garbage. No conspiracy here.

  51. Cassius Corodes says

    alkaloid: If enough of your fellow citizens cared about these issues they would be addressed. The problem is not that government is not doing something that you and a minority of others want. If you want to enforce your point of view on the majority then that’s not really democracy.

    That’s why I say the people you should be addressing is your fellow citizens, not the government.

  52. alkaloid says

    alkaloid: If enough of your fellow citizens cared about these issues they would be addressed.

    That’s a load of nonsense. The original bailout of the banks during the Bush administration was overwhelmingly and vastly unpopular. Congress and the Bush administration did it anyway. People have been trying to fix the lack of a national health care system (which in one form or another, most other industrialized nations have, and those that don’t, their citizens probably aspire towards) in this country since the Truman administration. The most that we’ve ever gotten from working through the system is Medicare…in the 1960s and the AHA which will probably have any provisions that are improvements stripped out, leaving us stuck with the bill to buy insurance from the same corporations that gouge us relentlessly.

    I don’t see much of a future in trying to work through the system as is.

  53. illuminata says

    While protesting etc. may seem heroic, its just bullshit.

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    Let me take a wild guess here – you’re a safe, comfy white dude.

  54. says

    Delurking for a moment. If you look at the US economy and how it evolved from the time of the European infestation you might realize that part of the problem is that just like nature much of it has been unplanned. Yes, initial conditions such as property laws, taxation, etc can be set and tweaked, but people will normally act in their own perceived self-interest (don’t get me started on how death-cultism distorts perception of self-interest – makes adherents difficult actors on the political scene). Successful entities will seek to expand and perpetuate their positions and unless we continue to tweak the conditions to respond to concentrations of power and other sources of disequilibrium (see trust-busting, Glass-Steagall) we end up with an eco(n)system out of balance.
    One of the problems as I see it is that corporations today, though made up of individuals acting in their own self-interest, have rights created by the Supreme Court over the years (most recently: Citizens United) that gave them a toehold in the political process which they will not voluntarily relinquish. So now we have a econsystem dominated by a class of superpredators that is decimating its “prey” (wow – what an unfortunate analogy, eh?). And with about 1/10th or more currently unemployed (not to mention underemployed, busting ass in a minimum-wage job, etc) decimation is actually le mot juste.
    I disagree with the demonization of corporations, some are quite ethical and efficient at coordinating humyn activity. But the people behind some of them are quite evil bastards. Until the average person who is just trying to make a living understands how badly the playing field is skewed and will respond in what is their true self-interest, and not some Koch Bros. propaganda, we will not get out of it. The really evil thing is how they’ve used a faux grass-roots movement to convince people to betray themselves. I sincerely hope that OWS has or will get people to think about how badly we have gotten out of balance. It is critical that the composition of the Supreme Court not be allowed to swing even more to the right (which we need to reverse, anyway), for many reasons!

    I could wrant more, and spend more time honing this (and if I had some of nature’s own I could approach within telescope distance of Satra’s eloquence – but then I wouldn’t get around to writing it…), but I’ll spare y’all.

  55. This Is A Turing Test says

    Somehow, I’m just having a hard time elevating hippiehunter’s alleged “right” to free travel (to the damn theater, for chrissake) to an equality with the people’s undoubted and constitutional right to protest the conditions so well described by Bruce Gorton at #42. Hippiehunter, you’re worried about an inconvenience- what the protesters are trying to spotlight is a way of life(and if they had no specific demands that you could understand because of what I suspect was a reactionary “tl;dr” on your part, just the spotlight is an accomplishment). Of course, if you’re really that worried about missing the latest production of “Cats” (or whatever), you could protest yourself. Or maybe, you could leave a little earlier, instead of acting all surprised by such a well-publicized event, and shouting “you kids get offa my lawn, goshdarn it!”
    Oh, hell, I’m just gonna go with Aquaria on this one:
    Hippiehunter (just your name says you’re a bigot), you’re a
    lazy, ignorant, authoritarian fuckface.

  56. KG says

    Cassius Corodes,

    The tea party has had moderate success in changing this duopoly by co-opting one of the parties to its own agenda, and its only been around one mid-term election.

    The tea party offers no threat to the oligarchy – indeed, it is simply a small number of rich liars exploiting a large number of ignorant fools in order to push the duopoly further right. Hence it gets funding from the likes of the Koch brothers and friendly coverage in the media.

    This is the same garbage that the right-wing sells. The left controls the media, etc etc. Its bullshit. Both views have no trouble getting their message across.

    A bare-faced lie. Who owns, the media? Almost without exception, the rich. Where in the mianstream media, before the Occupy protests, was there significant discussion of the vast concentration of wealth and decline in median real incomes of recent decades?

    There is no organised effort to disenfranchise people

    And another. Republican drives to block poor and black voters (e.g. Florida 2000) and impede registration (e.g. the lies told about Acorn, and see here) are well documented. Here’s a quote from the latter, a scholarly article:

    While the existing election administration system is quite effective in promoting integrity, there is considerable room for improvement when it comes to access. Overall turnout in the United States lags behind that of all industrialized democracies except Switzerland. The link between registration and turnout has long been recognized. As one recent study put it: ‘The registration requirement offers an obvious clue for the relatively low turnout in U.S. elections compared to other countries, which do not have such requirements. (Of course, voter registration is not the only reason for the relatively low turnout in the U.S., and probably not the most significant one.
    But more restrictive registration rules can depress participation by eligible voters. This might not be so problematic, were the voters who do participate representative of the citizenry as a whole, but that is not the case. People of lower socioeconomic
    status, as well as younger people, are less likely to vote. There is also a relationship between race and voter turnout, with more diverse states tending to have stricter registration requirements and lower turnout. Minority voters are registered and vote at lower rates than whites, and more likely to view the registration
    process as difficult. Although the long-standing conventional wisdom is that voters and non-voters do not differ dramatically in their political preferences, that view is increasingly under fire. Recent social science research shows that voters tend to be more conservative than non-voters on class-based issues like health insurance, education, and union organization.

  57. attilaabelovszky says

    I am still unsure how to feel about the protests. But for the HippieHunters and Cassius Corodes’ out there, I talked to a couple of the Occupy Columbus protesters. My attitude was that your hearts are in the right place, but what is your head going to do about it. They pointed out to me to look around before the protests we were not talking about the income disparity. Now it is becoming common to the point it is a front cover Time Magazine article.

    For the whole concept of conciousness raising Dawkins has talked about in the atheist movements. This is the first parts of it for the economy. THe biggest problem will be figuring out how to change and implement better policies. But we need the converstaion first.

  58. Cassius Corodes says

    alkaloid: Again you are conflating your own points of view with the views of the majority. Like it or not the US is not a country where the majority support European style socialism. Your disappointment cannot be aimed at a government that governs as the people request.

    “The original bailout of the banks during the Bush administration was overwhelmingly and vastly unpopular.”

    That’s not even true. At the start it was supported by the majority: http://www.scribd.com/doc/51238502/TARP-the-Auto-Bailout-and-the-Stimulus-Attitudes-about-the-Economic-Crisis

  59. illuminata says

    Think of it; years from now, they’ll have a grandchild on a knee, telling them stories of their glory days when they served their civic duties by hosing pregnant teenagers and 84-year-old women with pepper spray, and it’s going to be hard to spin that as courageous work.

    clearly you’ve never read internet forums where police congregate. They are proud of hurting innocent people. They brag about doing illegal things to “hippies”. They share tips about how best to avoid being identified by the people they are illegally beating, harrassing and abusing. They share stories about sexual assault and harrassment ( but of course don’t call it that). They are especially fond of the
    “non-leathal” weapons – especially when they can use them against people who can’t run away – i.e. in a wheelchair.

    So, when they have their grandchild on their knee, they will have made sure to brainwash them and desensitize them against feeling any empathy towards fellow humans – and they will grow up to be much like the utterly worthless hippiehunter upthread.

    Obligatory caveat: No, not all. No, they’re not all bad. Yes, some are good people. Yes, they are part of the 99%.

  60. KG says

    BTW, Cassius, I notice even you don’t contest that gerrymandering is rife – FFS it’s built in by putting redistricting into partisan hands rather than in those of an independent authority with a statutory duty of impartiality, as in most democracies – or the effects of unlimited corporate political donations. You simply cannot, in practice, become POTUS unless you are either a multi-millionaire, or are backed by multi-millionaires, and the same entrenchment of the oligarchy’s power operates also at lower levels. The level of political discussion and commentary in the mainstream media has long been abysmal, and the bounds of opinion aired extremely narrow, even compared with the situation in the UK, which is bad enough.

  61. Cassius Corodes says

    KG: “The tea party offers no threat to the oligarchy – indeed, it is simply a small number of rich liars exploiting a large number of ignorant fools in order to push the duopoly further right. Hence it gets funding from the likes of the Koch brothers and friendly coverage in the media.”

    The tea party is hated by the old guard in the republican party. The Koch brothers are the same boogey man for the left as Buffet is for the right. The shadowy behind-the-scenes puppet master. They are both self-made rich who use their money to support their respective political points of view.

    “A bare-faced lie. Who owns, the media? Almost without exception, the rich.”

    So people like Buffet who support the left wing? Its as if you believe that rich people have never supported the left.

    “Where in the mianstream media, before the Occupy protests, was there significant discussion of the vast concentration of wealth and decline in median real incomes of recent decades?”

    So by the fact that they gave coverage to the protesters’ aims and discussed their points of view this proves that they never discuss their points of view???

    As for the registration requirement. They ask for ID. This is to prevent voter fraud. Its very very reasonable. They have the same thing everywhere I have voted (I get around). Its not part of any conspiracy. The right also claims that the left routinely block military voters (take a look into this as it happens, although not quit as the right wingers would have you believe) and encourage voter fraud by eliminating ID checking. Its all how you look at it.

  62. Hershele Ostropoler says

    She brings courage, pride and joy
    To the fighting Rebel Boy

    And her position in the movement is prone.

  63. KG says

    Like it or not the US is not a country where the majority support European style socialism. – Cassius Corodes

    It’s interesting that despite the constant tide of denigration of “socialism”, there is nonetheless a large minority of US citizens who regard the word positively*. See here and here – the latter showing a majority of Democratic voters regarding it favourably. But where are the Democratic party leaders who would admit to thinking of socialism as anything but an un-American evil?

    *Of course, most probably don’t mean socialism in the sense of collective ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, but it’s nonetheless very telling that the public and the political establishment are so far apart in their attitudes.

  64. says

    And by the way, an insult is neither an ad hominem fallacy nor a straw man argument.

    An ad hominem fallacy is, “You’re heartless; therefore you’re wrong.’ This is, “You’re wrong AND you’re heartless, too.”

    A straw man argument is a misquotation of the other person’s argument. I haven’t seen that, either, from ourside.

  65. Kevin says

    Sometimes, I wish there were a hell so that people who would do this sort of thing to an old lady would rot there.

    I wish there were ways to name names. Shame that police person into oblivion.

    I’m sure he/she feels very proud tonight.

  66. illuminata says

    They are both self-made rich who use their money to support their respective political points of view.

    As for the registration requirement. They ask for ID. This is to prevent voter fraud. Its very very reasonable. They have the same thing everywhere I have voted (I get around). Its not part of any conspiracy.

    Okay, so, that’s a yes on you’re being a safe, comfy white dude.

    There is no evidence of voter fraud on such a wide scale that is requires new laws to fix it. Multiple politicians have come right out and said the new laws were specifically designed to prevent minority voters from voting. So, you’re wrong on every single count.

    You’re absolutely clueless (or possibly just really dishonest) and an apologist for blatant bigotry, corruption and dishonest double-speak. Go away, tea bagger.

  67. illuminata says

    illuminata: Grow up.

    Cassius Corodes Translation: Yes, I utterly failed to make a single honest or correct argument, and you’re a big meaine for pointing that out.

    Go away, tea bagger.

  68. says

    Cassius Corodes: If illuminata is incorrect in their characterization of you, then correct them. But the evidence so far supports the “privileged white dude” hypothesis.

  69. illuminata says

    myeck waters – thta’s just an invitation for him to lie some more. Now he’s going to be a poor black single mother from inner city Atlanta. Who just happens to “think” that voting i.d. laws are absolutely innocent, despite the words coming directly from the mouths of said law’s authors.

  70. raven says

    illuminata: Grow up.

    Down to trivial insults.

    CC is a Tea Partier. Explains the lies, ignorance, and hate.

    CC, don’t you have a country to destroy and an economy to ruin somewhere? If it wasn’t for moron Bush and the Tea Party, we wouldn’t have anything to fix.

    Clinton left with a roaring economy and a budget surplus. Bush and the Tea Party left us with a dead economy, dead US citizens, and a lost generation.

  71. KG says

    Cassius Corodes,

    So people like Buffet who support the left wing?

    Bwaw-haw-hawwww! Buffett, left-wing? Just because the man shows evidence of a ghost of a conscience? OK, he supported the moderate conservative Barack Obama for President over McCain, but McCAin as well as Obama mentioned him as a possible Treasury Secretary, and he was also financial advisor to Arnold Schwartzenegger during his 2003 Californian campaign.

    So by the fact that they gave coverage to the protesters’ aims and discussed their points of view this proves that they never discuss their points of view???

    Actually I don’t know whether they have given such coverage, not currently being in the USA. But these concerns are not new – polls for years have been showing widespread opposition to the huge growth in inequality and growth of corporate power. See Study: Most Americans want wealth distribution similar to Sweden and the academic study it references here. We also have the following from the article, showing how the oligarchy have concealed the extent of inequality:

    But in their study, the authors found Americans generally underestimate the income* disparity. When asked to estimate, respondents on average estimated that the top 20 percent have 59 percent of the wealth (as opposed to the real number, 84 percent). And when asked to choose how much the top 20 percent should have, on average respondents said 32 percent — a number similar to the wealth distribution seen in Sweden.

    If you want more, just Google “USA polls inequality”. It’s taken the demonstrations you started by sneering at to even get these issues mentioned.

    As for the registration requirement. They ask for ID. This is to prevent voter fraud. Its very very reasonable. They have the same thing everywhere I have voted (I get around). Its not part of any conspiracy.

    You didn’t even look at the scholarly article I linked to, did you? There is a long history of deliberate attempts to prevent the poor and the black from voting, and literally zero evidence of any significant level of voter fraud. In the 2000 Florida election, voters were turned away based on having the same name and living in the same district as a former felon. I’m giving references, you’re making unsupported claims.

    *The popular article confuses wealth and income. The academic study does not, and it is wealth it asked about.

  72. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    A brand new poll shows that Cassius Corodes is quite wrong. Of course, if he weren’t, he wouldn’t be reduced to replying to Illuminata with substance-free taunts. (Taunts full of substance are preferred, here.)

    The Public Religion Research Institute released this poll today (PDF)

    From the Washington Post summary of the poll:

    It finds that 67 percent of Americans agree that government should do more to reduce the gap between rich and poor, which a large majority says is growing. Sixty nine percent favor hiking taxes on millionaires. Fifty seven percent favor eliminating tax breaks for corporations. Sixty seven percent oppose cutting federal programs that help the poor (though a large majority also says the poor are too dependent on government). A plurality, 48 percent, thinks the American Dream — that if you work hard, you’ll get ahead — no longer holds true. These general findings are borne out in many other polls.

    Nevertheless, many respondents say that OWS does not represent their values or goals. Now, why would they be unable to identify OWS as being perfectly congruent with the things they want from their government? Couldn’t have anything to do with the skewed media presentation of the protests, could it? Nah, that’s just conspiracy talk.

  73. raven says

    CC is just spouting the Tea Party line word for word. I expect him to start babbling about gods, demons, Kenyan born Moslem terrorists in the white house, and claiming Palin and Bachmann are conscious beings. With any luck he will then go hide in his closet because the Rapture is any day now, always has been, always will be.

    It’s so routine, its boring.

    The media isn’t leftist at all. It’s almost all right wing. This is a myth and a lie of the Tea Party.

    Buffett isn’t a leftist either. At best he is a centrist. He is looking out for his own interests. If the US people are impoverished, who is going to buy all the stuff the corporations sell? A lot of Buffett’s companies sell to consumers. Broke consumers =/= no sales =/= no profits.

    This is BTW, somewhat recognized in business circles. They know that a prosperous middle class and growing economy means they get to make more money. And that isn’t happening now.

  74. illuminata says

    (Taunts full of substance are preferred, here.)

    LOL Well said. If you’re going to be a useless troll, CC, at leat put some effort into it. I get worse than that from dudes just for walking down the street.

  75. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Even back in 2010, polling data consistently showed that the public was more interested in job creation than in deficit reduction.

    Nevertheless, it took Occupy Wall Street to get the media to stop pretending that deficit reduction was the number one concern of the American public. These simple charts show the dramatic shift in media coverage of deficit reduction vs. job creation before and after the OWS protests began.

    Isn’t amazing what happens when you follow the evidence to wherever it leads you?

    Too bad Cassius Corodes is likely going to run away now, like the lying boot-licking authoritarian coward he is.

  76. greame says

    That’s why I say the people you should be addressing is your fellow citizens

    Which, from what I can tell, is a big part of what the Occupiers are trying to do. Inform the people who don’t give a shit how badly they are getting screwed.

  77. raven says

    Deficit reduction is a red herring.

    The way to reduce the deficit is to get the economy growing again.

    This is simple Keynesian economics and everyone knows it but the Tea Party wingnuts.

    The deficits do have to be fixed at some point. But if the Tea Party crashes the economy, they will get worse not better. So called austerity leads to a falling economy, higher deficits, and a good way to turn a Great Recession into a Great Depression.

  78. illuminata says

    Too bad Cassius Corodes is likely going to run away now, like the lying boot-licking authoritarian coward he is.

    Which brings us back round to the topic of the post.

    For me, the most interesting thing is how utterly and completely chickenshit all these cops are. They’re going out in full Call of Duty riot gear to brutalize unarmed, peacefully protesting citizens of a supposedly free country. They look ridiculous. They look like they’re shitting their pants over phantoms and bumps in the night. They’re hurting veterans, the elderly, etc etc – people that they pretend they “protect and serve” – for camping.

    They look like cowards bringing nuclear weapons to open mic night at the folk bar.

    What’s to respect? What’s to empathize or sympathize with? It’s fucking embarrassing.

  79. alkaloid says

    Alkaloid: Again you are conflating your own points of view with the views of the majority. Like it or not the US is not a country where the majority support European style socialism.

    Even beyond what later posters stated against this point, much of what I listed as failures of the American government are issues of basic accountability and justice. Average Americans are routinely and massively overpoliced and punished while the profligacy of the wealthy is almost never dealt with unless, as was the case with Bernie Madoff, the victims were other wealthy people-and even in his case, there were multiple warnings to the government specifically about his behavior that were ignored.

    Your disappointment cannot be aimed at a government that governs as the people request.

    Actually, even if that was true (and in this case, it isn’t), yes, my disappointment can be aimed at a representative government. The people wanting something doesn’t automatically make it right-although in the case of the protesters, what they want is right as far as I’m concerned.

    “The original bailout of the banks during the Bush administration was overwhelmingly and vastly unpopular.”

    That’s not even true. At the start it was supported by the majority: http://www.scribd.com/doc/51238502/TARP-the-Auto-Bailout-and-the-Stimulus-Attitudes-about-the-Economic-Crisis

    “AEI Public Opinion Studies”

  80. says

    There it’s always a popular hatred of cops while conveniently forgetting a few things.

    1. Riot armour looks scary and bulky to stop blunt weapons and knives. Normal chips in the USA wear bullet prof vests

  81. Gregory Greenwood says

    Cassius Corodes @ 54;

    Of-course they can. The real reason lobbying is so successful is because people are apathetic… While protesting etc. may seem heroic, its just bullshit. The real heroic thing is to pay attention to politics and cast an informed vote, every time. We already have a fully free democracy.

    I think you will find that there is actually a massive disparity in access to and influence over policy makers between major corporate lobbyists and citizen’s groups – a great deal of the business of government is still opaque to the ordinary citizen even after the advent of Freedom of Information Acts, and as was demonstrated in the UK after the fall from grace of Liam Fox, corporate lobbyists have a level of direct access to government figures (Ministers, in our case) that is simply undreamt of among charitable entites or social pressure groups.

    Also, apathy is, for the ruling elite, a feature of the system, not a bug. It helps them get away with figurative (and sometimes literal) murder. It allows for the maintainence of an unresponsive political system that privileges the interests of the wealthy minority over the bulk of the populous, where only two parties are electable because they are the only ones that can raise sufficient finance and politicl capital, and both those parties ultimately protect the same set of interests, usually by means of very similar policies.

    It is no coincidence that the hope-and-change ‘Yes We Can’ message of Obama’s initial election was not realised in any meaningful sense – whether it is Obama’s fault or not, his administration is behaving an awful lot like Bush-lite; not quite as obnoxious, but not really as much of an improvement as it should have been. Despite being notionally leftwing, the Democrats have flunked health care reform such that America has wound up with a deeply compromised half-measure, failed to uphold their manifesto promises to properly investigate extraordinary rendition and shut down Guantanamo Bay, and presided over a complete failure to hold the architects of the financial collapse to account. Is it any wonder that many people are apathetic when it is so clear that, which ever party they vote for, as the saying in the UK goes, the government always gets into power?

    Even with an informed, engaged populous, so long as the corporations and their lobbyists are able to monopolize the attention of any government of any political stripe to such a degree that their voice carries several magnitudes more weight than any amount of public opinion (save around election time, but even then corporate campaign funding is so indispensible to modern candidates that the corporations must be kept happy if a prospective candidate wishes to remain electable), then the system will remain iniquitous, and the poor and vulnerable will remain downtrodden while the rich and powerful enjoy an unlimited supply of de facto get-out-jail-free cards.

    Furthermore, as Carlie points out @ 58;

    A lot of that money goes to media to push the message that what’s really bad for people is actually good for them.

    The genius of political Right in the US and elsewhere is its skill at convincing millions of ordinary people to act against their own interest, including when the worst thing they can do to themselves is to slip into apathy and do nothing to prevent the erosion of their civil liberties and the degradation of their quality of life. The tools deployed are many, but perhaps the favourite, and certainly the most often deployed, is scaremongering. The Reds-under-the-bed mania of the Seventies and Eighties springs to mind, and the modern analogues are probably the Islamic ‘threat’/illegal immigration/’too much’ legal immigration/’militant’ homosexuals depending upon local preference. Naturally, it is implied that any kind of progressivism is either in league with such a supposed ‘axis of evil’, or is so negligent that it will inevitably leave the door open for some kind of (usually poorly defined) catastrophe to befall the US.

    Such scaremongering is also almost invariably accompanied by appeals to pseudo-morality, often of a religious flavour, that tries to paint the very progressive policies that would benefit the ordinary citizen as being somehow harmful or even ‘evil’ – it is no coincidence that talking heads on the Right go to such lengths to demonize (sometimes literally) even the most centre left of their opponents. False moral panic can be a useful tool, as tyrants throughout history have discovered.

    The role of the major media outlets in this is not as a monolithic conspiracy of state propogandists, but rather as a loose association of organisations that have a massive over representation of rightwing ownership and a tendency to replicate certain social memes and frame issues in such a fashion as to be useful to the maintainence of the economic, political and sociological status quo – presenting a fundamentally unjust and exploitative system as just ‘the way it is'; as an inescapable reality of democratic society.

    It has been done before, just look at the media hatchet-job done on the hippies of the 1960’s – this played directly into a social discourse that has resulted in ‘hippie’ being used as an insult to this day, and certainly contributed to a social environment that facilitated and enabled the violent police response to that movement. The same is already beginning to happen to the Occupy Wallstreet protest movement – character assassination as a means of stripping the group of public support prior to things getting really nasty.

  82. illuminata says

    There it’s always a popular hatred of cops while conveniently forgetting a few things.
    1. Riot armour looks scary and bulky to stop blunt weapons and knives.

    Yeah, thanks for the stunning insight into what everyone already knows.

    It only “looks scary” when you’re an unarmed, non-violent protestor doing absolutely nothing threatening and that is what is running at you with actual weapons. From the safety of the computer screen, it looks like a ridiculous overreaction from cowards pretending to be macho.

    When violence breaks out, its because the police in their ridiculous riot gear START IT.

  83. Eric Sweeney says

    PZ, you are a government employees. The taxpayers pay you salary.

    And you are the biggest Dementid Fuckwit I have ever met.

  84. Eric Sweeney says

    By the way, the Kansas Trolls finally have transportation.

    They will be infiltrating Skepticon with Chick Tracts and other great stuff.

    We are trying to get a table.

  85. says

    Sorry hit enter by mistake…

    Normally cops wear a bullet proof vest. Which is not going to stop a brick or a knife but will stop bullets

    2. Remember they are acting on orders. Someone told them to use force. They are just doing their jobs. If it were neo nazis they were having you really would not care.

    3. Remember the requests of the occupy movement won’t actually solve the economic crisis. It just would torn the economy into a communal one. Many of the goals sound amazing but alittle thought

  86. raven says

    By the way, the Kansas Trolls finally have transportation.

    Your mom let you borrow her car. It was probably just so you would leave her basement once in a while.

    They will be infiltrating Skepticon with Chick Tracts and other great stuff.

    We are trying to get a table.

    Try and get some of his older and loonier works. The recent stuff hasn’t been very good.

  87. illuminata says

    And ‘employee’ and ‘your’

    Careful, you’re going to make Eric piss his pants in impotent RAGE

  88. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    By the way, the Kansas Trolls finally have transportation.

    They will be infiltrating Skepticon with Chick Tracts and other great stuff.

    We are trying to get a table.

    Look for the Car with all the clowns pouring out of it.

  89. Eric Sweeney says

    We have a good supply of some of his older stuff.
    Any particular titles you are interested in?

  90. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    2. Remember they are acting on orders. Someone told them to use force. They are just doing their jobs. If it were neo nazis they were having you really would not care.

    So were the actual Nazis.

    Godwin and I don’t care.

  91. raven says

    Remember the requests of the occupy movement won’t actually solve the economic crisis. It just would torn the economy into a communal one. Many of the goals sound amazing but alittle thought.

    Assertion without proof. Dismissed. You are wrong.

    Who won’t fix the economy is the Tea Party. They cause economic crisis, they don’t fix anything.

  92. says

    #50 Carlie,

    I haven’t finished reading all the comments, but I had to post something, because I have not been able to go past yours – I’m amazed by the clarity of your elegant explanation and just keep reading it, going to another tab, and then coming back nand reading it again. I am familiar with the reasons behind OWS, but your summary really brought home to me why so many people are out there now, especially in the US (because Occupy actually started in Vancouver IIRC), because a real political shift (to the left) in the US is almost impossible in the current system. I hope you don’t mind if I quote your last couple sentences online.

    Now, I think finally I can read the rest of the comments.

  93. raven says

    We have a good supply of some of his older stuff.
    Any particular titles you are interested in?</blockquote.

    I won't be there.

    Try the Big Daddy one. The anti-Catholic ones are pretty funny.

    Anyone else who has favorite chick tracks needs to speak up.

  94. anchor says

    [“I don’t know what these people are protesting about/against.”]

    That’s about it. So what the hell DO you know to raise speculation about their reasons being “vague” to the status of fact? Anything at all?

    Later…

    [“…in fact reinforced my idea that these peoples aims are in fact pretty vague.”]

    See, the problem with the likes of you is that you can’t abide anybody who doesn’t share the opinions of the likes of you. You talk yourself into being Right then immediately pull your pathetic disapproval – nah, HATE – act, while judging everybody else who points out you are spraying unjustified judgements around, you Stereotyping Motherfucking Bigot.

  95. illuminata says

    2. Remember they are acting on orders. Someone told them to use force. They are just doing their jobs. If it were neo nazis they were having you really would not care.

    3. Remember the requests of the occupy movement won’t actually solve the economic crisis. It just would torn the economy into a communal one. Many of the goals sound amazing but alittle thought

    Really? You thought “they were just following orders” was a good argument to put forward? Hmm . .. Where have I heard that before. . ..

    Stop pretending you can read minds. It’s a lazy cop out. I don’t give a fuck who police are brutalizing – it’s universally wrong, when that person is unarmed, non-violent and not doing anything to threaten the police.

    And who the fuck said occupy was going to magically fix all the problems?

    Do you have any real points to make, or is this vapid nonsense the best we can expect?

  96. says

    (again… Stupid new phone. I keep hitting submit)

    I mean that the armour is there to protect them… A thrown bottle is insanely dangerous for example. I have been to a fair few protests on both sides. Trust me, it’s often orders of someone telling the cop to go arrest people.

    And yes I have read the whole manifesto from liberty square. It’s very nice, but ultimately bound to the idea that somehow citizens in the richest nation on earth will give up on luxuries which they now take for granted. Keynesian economics are back in vogue so the best way forward would be to build projects such as roads and bridges. The american rail system could do with some love.

    And remember the issue with the bail out is rt hat it was unconditional. It should have come with oversight and regulation. CEO salary cuts and the like.

    I fear both alternatives, we need some sort of middle ground between the current system and the demands of OWS.

  97. illuminata says

    That’s now three posts of telling us things everyone already knows, as if it justifes, excuses or explains anything.

  98. says

    I wonder if you do. The thing propping up fox news is the same as any other channel – the free market. Its not funded by any shadowy group and drops unprofitable programs as readily as any other.

    Oh Jesus Christ….even ignoring the ideological agendas and just taking for granted that it doesn’t happen that’s still an absurd comment to make about the media industry. Anyone who has worked on a project can tell you that is often a living hell specifically because the people in charge are as concerned with petty grudges, massive egos, self promotion, and personal deals over making either art or profit. It is well known that execs will kill projects simply to make themselves look better in comparison to others. The Industry is KNOWN for being a tangled mess of sociopathcy!

    2. Remember they are acting on orders. Someone told them to use force. They are just doing their jobs. If it were neo nazis they were having you really would not care.

    The oath is to serve and protect. Serve and protect WHOM?

  99. says

    I fear both alternatives, we need some sort of middle ground between the current system and the demands of OWS.

    Ok here’s what you don’t get. OWS *IS* the suggested compromise. The actual unspoken demands are “fix this issue or the poor will get so desperate we will realize the legal system is a convenient fiction and fucking eat the rich alive”

  100. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    And yes I have read the whole manifesto from liberty square. It’s very nice, but ultimately bound to the idea that somehow citizens in the richest nation on earth will give up on luxuries which they now take for granted.

    Really, ALL the citizens? And what do you mean by luxuries? Cars? Jobs? Health care? Honestly, Avicenna, you can do better than this.

  101. says

    Okay. But I am pointing out that when you work as a cop for such a salary, you probably have invested a lot of time into that career to get fired over not following orders.

    It’s not like cops decide to break up a protest on their own volition. So the cops decide to break ranks…

    Wil you feed their families? Will you pay them a salary? Will you explain to their next employer why they got their service terminated?

    Now you see why they follow orders. And just following orders is what you are expected to do in a police force. Our in any hierarchical organisation, unless you want to get fired. Some people do stand up but you cannot expect them all to do that.

  102. P Smith says

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Mr. Fuddlesticks, a person who made parody cartoons of the Renton Police Department. Renton is only 21km from Seattle. It seems corruption is popular in that region.

    Mr. Fuddlesticks pointed out how cops who engage in unethical behaviour tend to get promoted. The RPD’s response was to go on fishing expeditions in order to obtain Mr. FS’s real name. The Seattle cops have feebly tried to label the cartoons as “stalking” despite the fact that no names are used nor people identified in any of the videos.

    No real crime took place, but as Mr. FS points out in the second video linked below, the RPD said, “We are butthurt” and want to go after him. Rumour has it Mr. FS is an employee in some capacity of the Renton Police Department.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hc6-vlJG1W0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLBdKY9tUkA

    http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/renton-police-shopped-prosecutors-to-make-case/nDjdb/

    To further prove the point about corrupt cops in Washington:

    http://www.king5.com/news/Seattle-detective-arrested-for-drunk-driving-132752728.html

    I can’t find a link, but there was a story a few years ago of another Seattle cop – a fundy christian, of course – who was disciplined for abuse of office. She was telling drivers to take part in christian prayers with her in order to avoid tickets. Those who refused received tickets.

    .

  103. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    By the way, I’m jealous that the Kansas Godbots get to Skepticon and I don’t. Anyway, godbots SHOULD go to Skepticon! It’s the best place for them. No one will believe their bullshit, everyone will have a good time laughing at them, and odds are higher than average that their tiny brains will get shook up just a bit.

  104. says

    Avicenna:

    It’s still the cops who decide to use excessive force, to pepper spray the elderly, to turn hoses on pregnant women, to shoot beanbags at marine veterans, to club non-violent protestors.

    That is their choice. And if they’re following orders, they’re following illegal orders, and that is itself a crime.

  105. Adam G says

    @Cassius

    “We already have a fully free democracy. There is nothing meaningful left to demand from government – only from fellow citizens”

    Then why, sir, as a man, can’t I marry my boyfriend, the love of my life, despite the fact that the majority of this country now supports same sex marriage?

    Holy crap the privilige you demonstrate, it burns. Your free democracy doesn’t look so free from where I’m sitting.

  106. says

    Okay. But I am pointing out that when you work as a cop for such a salary, you probably have invested a lot of time into that career to get fired over not following orders.

    It’s not like cops decide to break up a protest on their own volition. So the cops decide to break ranks…

    Wil you feed their families? Will you pay them a salary? Will you explain to their next employer why they got their service terminated?

    Now you see why they follow orders. And just following orders is what you are expected to do in a police force. Our in any hierarchical organisation, unless you want to get fired. Some people do stand up but you cannot expect them all to do that

    Deer lord with Halo antlers.

    Let’s try something.

    Okay. But I am pointing out that when you work as a cop for such a salary, you probably have invested a lot of time into that career to get fired over not following orders.

    It’s not like mobseters decide to burn down a grocery store on their own volition. So the mobsters decide to break ranks…

    Wil you feed their families? Will you pay them a salary? Will you explain to their family why their corpse is sealed in a drum in an Atlantic City landfill?

    Now you see why they follow orders. And just following orders is what you are expected to do in the Mafia. Our in any hierarchical organisation, unless you want to get whacked. Some people do stand up but you cannot expect them all to do that

    Jesus fuck…it actually works better at providing sympathy for the mobsters!

  107. says

    I mean seriously Nazi soldiers would killed if they broke ranks. Their families might be killed. And some of those people were conscripts. And we STILL don’t see that as a good excuse.

  108. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Yes everyone, we’re focusing on the wrong people. Please think of coach Paterno the Nazis the cops and how horrible it has to be for them to do their jobs.

    Think about what this means to them.

    Seriously. Your priorities are all askew.

    Get some perspective people.

  109. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Cops have an enormous amount of power in this society. As such, I hold them to a HIGHER, not lower, standard of ethical conduct. I don’t make excuses for them. I regard this as doing them the favor of treating them like the professionals they claim to be.

  110. Anri says

    We have a good supply of some of his older stuff.
    Any particular titles you are interested in?

    I like the one where Daddy Pie tells his two obedient fillies why parties are tools of Nightmare Moon. (Would that I could find a link…)*snerk*

    Actually, if we can get the ones with the most repulsive Jewish stereotype artwork, it would really add that air of honest intolerance so lacking in most public Christian outpourings of love.

    Damn, now I’m really sorry I had to cancel this year!

  111. reasonisbeauty says

    The protesters have exceeded the protest allowance that their natural superiors are willing to let them have. The constitution allows people to petition the government for redress of grievances, but it doesn’t say that the government actually has to do anything about them. You’ve had your say, now go home and allow the new aristocracy to get back to the business of putting the product of your labor where it belongs, in their pockets. If you people would just stop bitching and be happy with the generosity of your betters all this nonsense could be ended satisfactorily. Your sense of entitlement to a larger share of the wealth of the society is clearly delusional, and if we have to we will use force to put you in your place. And if you whiny liberals would stop insisting on a minimum wage, we could end unemployment tomorrow

  112. spamamander, hellmart survivor says

    Speaking as one of the uneducated (yet not unwashed) masses of the poor, I have to ask:

    When we go to eat the rich alive, what kind of wine is to be served? About all I can afford is some Annie Greensprings, or maybe splurge for some “white wine in a box”.

    More on topic, my stomach just lurched seeing that woman streaming tears from the pepper spray. The shit is NASTY. My ex as an Air Force cop and a civilian corrections officer had to get nailed in the face with it to understand its effects and therefore maybe not whip it out on a whim. (That sounds rather Freudian- then again, an awful lot of law enforcement I have met probably ARE compensating.) He also had to be Tazed (and I have the DVD of it, if I ever get too annoyed at him I can always watch it). It’s kind of depressing in that I had a BIT more hope for the Seattle PD after their traffic control and such when I participated in a pro-choice rally and the SlutWalk up there, both of which ended right there in Westlake Park. Even more depressing that it probably was inevitable.

  113. says

    There’s also the one that explains how the Roman Catholic Church have a giant underground supercomputer in the Vatican that has the name and address of EVERY PROTESTANT IN THE WORLD.

    There’s was another called something like The Greatest Treasure in the World, which suggested on the cover that it would reveal the secret to a pile of gold or whatever, then at the end springs the TOTALLY SHOCKING SURPRISE that the treasure was going to Heaven – and the writers actually seemed to think they had tricked some greedy nonbelievers into learning the “truth”.

    The last one I saw (which was handed to me, oddly enough, as I walked out of a Chinese restaurant after some nice dim sum) was called Why is Mary Crying and was, of course, about the incredibly evil veneration of Mary that the RCs practice. As bizarre as the RCC can be, the obsessions of the anti-RC protestants and evangelicals manage to be even weirder.

  114. reasonisbeauty says

    @ Ing: Od Wet Rust

    You forgot “I am the 53%”

    Actually, I’m much closer to the 1%…at the other end of the spectrum tho, dammit.

  115. truthspeaker says

    Too many police seem to think that if someone disobeys an order to disperse, they police are justified in assaulting them rather than just arresting them.

    Tear gas is supposed to be used to defend themselves against violent suspects, not to punish people who don’t do what they say.

  116. KG says

    The thing propping up fox news is the same as any other channel – the free market. Its not funded by any shadowy group and drops unprofitable programs as readily as any other. They have stumbled on a profitable niche which unfortunately happens to be selling right-wing garbage to people who like right-wing garbage. No conspiracy here. Cassius Corodes

    Jesus wept, you’re thick. Viewers are not the customers, dolt – they are the product. The customers are the advertisers. They are the “shadowy group” propping up Fox News. That’s why the political spectrum of American TV runs from the centre-right to the batshit right, even though, as demonstrated by numerous polls showing that there is a strong current of leftist opinion in the USA, there would be an audience for a left-tending channel showing populist programmes.

    BTW, raven, there’s not the slightest evidence CC is a teabagger: every word he’s written is typical of the kind of nincompoop who thinks he’s terribly sophisticated and above the fray, able to “cast an informed vote every time”, while in fact he’s a political ignoramus, as he’s clearly shown here. As usual, you’ve jumped on one of your hobby-horses and ridden away into the sunset.

  117. changeable moniker says

    I admire Occupy, and I’ll big up SallyStrange for being data-driven, raven for the (Krugmanite?) economics, KG for reason, and Gregory Greenwood for #98. Times a thousand!

    *Ahem*

    However, talking of numbers:

    derivatives market that at $600 trillion is 2.5 times the net worth of the entire planet

    This is a big, scary, and technically accurate number.

    It’s also completely misleading. (Oh, no, I’m off again.)

    If you actually look at what this means, the real exposure in the derivatives markets is more like $0.9trn. That’s still big (and needs to come down, and will under Dodd-Frank) but, for comparison, it’s about 6% of US GDP and to crash it would take something insane like the Fed raising interest rates to 100%.

    In related news, my fridge just started making noises that make more sense than Eric Sweeney, CC’s “you’ve only got yourself to blame” schtick can fuck off, and anyone who peppersprays a non-violent protester can taser themselves in the ass.

  118. Eric Sweeney says

    We pooled our resources and have a 20,000 copy supply of Chick Tracts, including 1500 copies of Big Daddy.

    We also have books.

    100 copies each of The Irrational Atheist, and Does God Believe In Atheists.

    Plus 25 copies each of 10 other titles.

    We ill have mom’s station wagon, packed to the brim.

    If we can’t get a table we are going to appeal to PZ directly to help us get a table!

    If that fails, look for the station wagon parked just west of the auditorium.

  119. changeable moniker says

    ES, that’s lovely, but you are aware that the convention already has TP suppplied?

  120. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    mw:

    There’s was another called something like The Greatest Treasure in the World, which suggested on the cover that it would reveal the secret to a pile of gold or whatever, then at the end springs the TOTALLY SHOCKING SURPRISE that the treasure was going to Heaven

    Good lord. Sounds like the plot to the Assassin’s Creed series*.

    Anyway, fuck the police. For the longest time, I would sneer at those who called the cops “fascist” &/or “pigs”– it’s not like I necessarily trusted the police, but I thought that rhetoric was over the top– but after this shit in Seattle and the absolute hell** that protesters have been going through in Oakland, I know that I was totally wrong.

    It’s fucking scary out there.

    * Can you guess what Audley is playing?
    ** The OP reminds me of this photo from Occupy Oakland. (Originally found on the fb.)

  121. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    Eric Sweeny:

    Uh, what is TP?

    *facepalm*

    Toilet paper.

    Dumbass.

  122. changeable moniker says

    *Sigh*

    Embedded video sucks. Again.

    Actually!

    If anyone can get a message to the elves at the FTB webmaster HQ, it seems to happen if you don’t have a newline at the end of a post. In related news, double-quotes in brackets (“[]”, not those rounded things sensible people call “parentheses”) don’t smart-quote, either.

    If you need a Perl/PHP regex expert, well, there’s BenG, me, or some others.

  123. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    Sally:

    Straight outta Compton, eh Audley?

    You know it. XD

  124. says

    Eric Sweeney:

    We pooled our resources and have a 20,000 copy supply of Chick Tracts, including 1500 copies of Big Daddy.

    I love those things. We used to find Chick tracts all over campus. My SO and I would pick them up from the table, and everywhere it says “God” or “Jesus,” we’d over-write, “Elvis.” It totally makes those things entertaining.

    Then we’d take them back to campus, to share our amusement with others.

    Big Daddy is creepy, though, no matter who it is. Jack Chick is one sick fuck.

  125. Hazuki says

    @Eric S:

    Oh, go on, do try to crash the convention. If there’s anything left of you and your little pack of jackals that can’t be wiped off the floor with a spray of Goo-Gone and a dishrag I’ll be amazed.

    Hint: do not engage in a battle of wits when you are unarmed and your opponents not only outnumber you hundreds to one but are packing the equivalent of a BFG9000. Each.

  126. Hazuki says

    @151

    It’s “Cornholio” actually, though there’s nothing great about this one. Also I find Beavis’s caffeine-fueled rants far more entertaining, education, and coherent than this weak-tea low-level apologetics claptrap. After sharpening my claws on Alvin Plantinga, the tracterati just don’t have any meat in them…

  127. changeable moniker says

    *****Sigh*****

    Hazuki, round about 1:58. It’s the transposition that makes it funny. ;)

  128. David Marjanović, OM says

    By the way, the Kansas Trolls finally have transportation.

    They will be infiltrating Skepticon with Chick Tracts and other great stuff.

    We are trying to get a table.

    It’s such a pity I can’t come and laugh at you!

    everywhere it says “God” or “Jesus,” we’d over-write, “Elvis.” It totally makes those things entertaining.

    I still think this is better. :-)

  129. Cassius Corodes says

    KG: “Jesus wept, you’re thick. Viewers are not the customers, dolt – they are the product. The customers are the advertisers. They are the “shadowy group” propping up Fox News. That’s why the political spectrum of American TV runs from the centre-right to the batshit right, even though, as demonstrated by numerous polls showing that there is a strong current of leftist opinion in the USA, there would be an audience for a left-tending channel showing populist programmes.”

    I don’t really need to say anything here. The insults add a delicious topping to the inanity of what is posted.

    “BTW, raven, there’s not the slightest evidence CC is a teabagger”

    However I do give you the respect of being one of the few in the thread that actually seems to need evidence before making this accusations.

    illuminata: Why are you so obsessed with my race? Either my points hold on their own or they don’t. You complain about my comment – yet in you comment you have provided no evidence of your point of view before using it to claim I am an apologist for bigotry et al.

    Adam G: “Then why, sir, as a man, can’t I marry my boyfriend, the love of my life, despite the fact that the majority of this country now supports same sex marriage?”

    Again the problem is not with the government. Same-sex marriage has failed every referendum it has been put to. However its now finally beginning to be allowed in the US.

  130. Kagehi says

    The tea party has had moderate success in changing this duopoly by co-opting one of the parties to its own agenda, and its only been around one mid-term election. Again you cant expect this to change in one election, nor would a system that does be any good.

    That is about as rational a statement about the “effects” of a movement as suggesting that the Inquisition made major inroads at disrupting the power of the church in medieval times. Its also about as idiotic as claiming that Soviet Russia made great strides in advancing the ideas of Karl Marx, rather than Stalin.

    The Tea Party movement started out with the exact same sort of, “We don’t like the government wasting our money, or letting corporations get by with stupid crap”, and within less than a month faction from the extreme right wing, beholden to the corporations, and picking their “leaders” straight out of the more obscure parts of the conservative loony bin, took over the movement. If there had been a Karl Marx running the Tea Party, he would have mysteriously disappeared, only to be found years later, in a shallow grave.

    I was highly sympathetic to the “claimed” goals of the Tea Party, and to most of the views of those that where invariably dumb enough to vote for them (a few of the same people at work now suggest Herman Cain is making sense, if that tells you anything…). However, I also saw who was driving the damn bus, when it pulled up and started telling people, “If you really want to do something, come with us!”

    As for the problem with third parties.. Yeah, the near absolute lock that the Big Two have over the system is a problem, especially since they now resemble, to use another religious analogy, a fight between Protestants and Baptists, over who gets to fleece everyone else, including the majority that are neither. But that isn’t the only problem, the “third parties” we have to pick from, to extend the analogy again, would be the political equivalent of being asked to “vote for” a Scientology, New Age Guru, Wiccan, Muslim, or maybe, if you where lucky, Buddhist, but with anyone and everyone that was a Skeptic, or Agnostic, or Atheist, excluded, by the simple fact that none of them *have* a real party.

    The third parties we have, basically, are made up of the people on the “fringes” of the two major parties, but who can’t get any traction *in them*. If the Tea Party hadn’t managed to do an end run around the rest of the Republicans, they would have just been another third party, filled with people with slightly more crazy ideas than the Big Two, like the rest of our “third parties”.

    No where is there any sort of “liberal party”, or “rational party”, catering to the people that things the two in power are too far right, or too irrational, but dedicated to actual (or even something closer to European) liberal values, or emphasizing logic and evidence, over wishful thinking. From the “green” you get crazy, Libertarians – crazy, etc. They all have some central “idea” that they won’t let go of, which is defended, even when it doesn’t work. Green probably would have fed more money into corn based ethanol, despite all evidence that its not, and likely never will be, cost effective, while ignoring obvious solutions, like growing something that already *has* more sugar in it. Instead of bank bailouts, we might be hearing them bailing out “solar power” companies, like the one they tried to pin on Obama (but the funding of which was promoted under Bush). And, pretty much everyone here knows what sort of insane mess we would be in with the Libertarian party.. The rest… Are not much different. Failed campaigns, odd ideas, strange visions of how the world works, which are even more questionable than the existing, “Let the rich get what ever they want”, strategy, and so on.

    Name one of them that doesn’t adhere to some wacky idea, which would, if implemented, scramble something else in the government just about as badly as this fight over whether Moderate Christian, Semi-Conservative is the way to go (i.e. Democrat), or Evangelical/Literalist/Christian-Nation, Hard Conservatives (Republicans) should be running things? I would love someone to show me one that wouldn’t be like trading a Roswell advocate for someone from Ghost Hunters, in terms of the sort of “policy” they might implement.

  131. Eric Sweeney says

    We are all registered for the convention. We will be polite and good natured.

    But if anyone tries to throw us out, or harm us in any way, note that we will be recording everything and are prepared to sue.

    There is a MOLE in your midst.

    By the way, Hazuki, what is a BFG9000?

  132. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    Eric:

    There is a MOLE in your midst.

    “There is a mole… right at the top of the Circus.”

    Meh. It was better when John le Carré did it.

  133. says

    @ Eric Sweeny

    But if anyone tries to throw us out, or harm us in any way, note that we will be recording everything and are prepared to sue.

    Wherever did you get the idea that you would be thrown out of the convention? You will be the entertainment!

    The best you will be able to come up with for your hoped-for lawsuit is “they laughed at me”.

    As for “harm us in any way”, please spare us the victim routine. While you richly deserve a dope-slap, ridicule is the closest you will come to getting one.

  134. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, liar and scoundrel says

    Eric:

    But if anyone tries to throw us out… note that we will be recording everything and are prepared to sue.

    I’m pretty sure that the event organizers can legally boot out whoever they wish.

    Note that your lawsuit would be frivolous.

  135. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Eric Sweeney, the James O’Keefe wannabe.

    Apparently he hasn’t heard: O’Keefe is himself a wannabe.

  136. A. Noyd says

    I wonder if the police were “following orders” when they refused to tell me what had been going on Tuesday. I just happened to find myself transferring buses next to Westlake Park right after everyone had been chased off. A good number of cops were still there, standing around and looking imposing, but they wouldn’t say what had happened and wouldn’t even answer me when I asked if they were there in such numbers every night. Any of the three I was closest to could have responded, but two were completely silent and the third gave me non-answers till they got the call to take off.

    So was that their own choice? Did they fear that I, a lone woman, would get violent against 10 cops on bicycles (with another 8 in riot gear halfway down the block) when I found out that they’d just pepper-sprayed a park full of people into submission for blocking an intersection? (I was standing in some of the pepper-foam, FFS.) Were they ashamed of what they’d done? Or were they under orders not to talk for some reason? Whatever the case, it just serves to compound the damage to their image when cops won’t communicate with citizens seeking basic information.

  137. julian says

    Again the problem is not with the government.

    ummmm

    Ok.

    So, segregation wasn’t an issue with the government, it was an issue with the people, right?

  138. SallyStrange, Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Yeah. I got pepper sprayed, along with a couple of very small children and of course a larger group of protesters, in Portland OR in 2003. It was a protest against Bush’s environmental policies. I had no idea what was going on. We were just marching, and there were a bunch of cops, and then they pepper sprayed us. Apparently we didn’t have a permit.

    Later I asked some cops whether there was an antidote for pepper spray. I knew that it doesn’t help to put water on your face, but that was about it. They shrugged sardonically and said, “beer?”

    As it turns out, milk is helpful for relieving the symptoms. Keep in mind that this was hours after the protest had dispersed, there was just me and a friend and these two cops. It always seemed odd to me that they were so completely unconcerned. The only people who got hurt at that protest were the people who got pepper sprayed. It was completely peaceful otherwise.

  139. says

    Ing,

    there has been a long debate about Nazi soldiers in Germany. AFAIR, research has shown that soldiers refusing to shoot Jews were not punished, certainly not by death, nor were their families (one of the reasons the SS took over the task of killing Jews).

    Now as for the concept of Sippenhaftung, this was mainly something which occurred towards the end of the regime, mainly after the attempt at Hitler’s life on July 20, 1944.

    And mainly only against prominent families such as the Stauffenberg family. But they weren’t summarily executed but sent to a (domestic, i.e. a non-extermination) concentration camp.

    In February 1945, the military issued an order that the families of those POWs who had collaborated with their captors and told them about numbers, weapons and positions should be made liable with their property, freedom or life. Given that it was three months before the surrender, I would be surprised if this happened at any large scale at all. What did happen in the last months was large numbers of executions of deserters. This has been another topic of debate. Because these executions were ordered by judges, many had been arguing that these were legal and need no rehabilitation, and thus the descendants of the condemned would not get any compensation from the government. This stance has been somewhat changing..

    Bottom line: while deserters were indeed executed, mere insubordination was not (in the case of German soldiers, not in the case of prisoners!), and cases of family members being executed for desertion or insubordination of soldiers are unheard of (theoretically possible during the last three months of the war, but to my knowledge no such case exists).

  140. Kansas Troll Leader says

    Eric Sweeney is an impostor.

    He lives in our dorm, and has information about our plans, and is betraying them.

    But we will be there.

    We are going to plaster the place with info sheets, but not Chick Tracts.

  141. Rev. BigDumbChimpbi says

    In return, however, what is a “MOLE”?

    A rich and sometimes spicy Mexican sauce.

    Are the trolls bringing lunch?

  142. Lancelot Link says

    I have to say, I’ve heard more nuanced opinions about the police from professional criminals.

  143. WishfulThinkingRulesAll says

    *Sigh*

    How can the police be so dumb? There has to be at least a few people in each department who recognizes what PR disaster this kind of thing is, and institute training so this doesn’t keep happening? Surely cops can be trained to not be overly aggressive dipshits? Eh?

  144. spamamander, hellmart survivor says

    No Chick tracts? :(

    I was hoping someone could score me a copy of the old one about Dungeons and Dragons…

  145. says

    @WishfulThinking (#173)

    Surely cops can be trained to not be overly aggressive dipshits?

    Sure, but that would defeat the purpose of recruiting the overly aggressive dipshits in the first place. (IOW, it’s a feature.)

  146. Ing says

    He lives in our dorm, and has information about our plans, and is betraying them.

    I politely decline your invitation to join your game of cops and robbers

  147. schnauzermom says

    “…With liberty and justice for all.” **

    **(Offer not available in all areas. Prices subject to change.)

  148. uncle frogy says

    Ing put it best
    “Ok here’s what you don’t get. OWS *IS* the suggested compromise. The actual unspoken demands are “fix this issue or the poor will get so desperate we will realize the legal system is a convenient fiction and fucking eat the rich alive””

    add to that all the current ideas about austerity will increase the number of the poor.

    good luck
    uncle frogy

  149. says

    “I have to say, I’ve heard more nuanced opinions about the police from professional criminals.”

    Yes, a harmless elderly women gets pepper spayed for no apparent reason and you’re worried about nuance.

    Get fucked.

  150. KG says

    KG: “Jesus wept, you’re thick. Viewers are not the customers, dolt – they are the product. The customers are the advertisers. They are the “shadowy group” propping up Fox News. That’s why the political spectrum of American TV runs from the centre-right to the batshit right, even though, as demonstrated by numerous polls showing that there is a strong current of leftist opinion in the USA, there would be an audience for a left-tending channel showing populist programmes.”

    I don’t really need to say anything here. The insults add a delicious topping to the inanity of what is posted. – Cassius Corodes

    Translation: I don’t have an answer to your point, so I’ll complain about being insulted.

    CC, whining about insults just makes you a laughing stock here: substance is valued over tone, and we object only to racist/sexist/homophobic/etc. abuse. You have not produced a single reference to back up any of your claims, and have simply ignored the copious evidence produced by others showing that you are wrong – so calling you a dolt is a simple statement of fact.

  151. StevoR says

    @35. Mak :

    He added, that if it were harmful, “we probably wouldn’t be using pepper spray if that was the case.”
    What a load of horse shit. How many people have died from being tazed, and yet the police still use tazers?

    Better they use tazers than guns.

  152. KG says

    Better they use tazers than guns. – SteveoR

    They clearly use tazers – and pepper spray – as torture devices, and in situations where even they might have problems getting away with using guns.

  153. Anri says

    CC:

    Again the problem is not with the government. Same-sex marriage has failed every referendum it has been put to. However its now finally beginning to be allowed in the US.

    I’m sorry, I must have missed it, but since when does a referendum get to determine if two consenting adults can be married? Why does Laryy The Cable Guy – or anyone else, for that matter – get to decide who I can marry or not?

    The failure is with the government refusing to issue a marriage license, and then continuing to fail to regard the marriage as a proper legal entity. Unless the local church leaders get to take a gander down your pants to make sure everything’s to their liking, of course.

    In what way is that not a failure of government?

  154. Kansas Troll Leader says

    The Kansas Trolls do not exist. They are something PZ made up for his old dungeon section.

    So, they won’t be at Skepticon, no reason to be on the lookout for them.

    Or their Chick Tracts.

    If you see three guys and a gal of with messenger bags with Chick Tracts, or a somewhat older model station wagon packed with books and tracts and sitting outside, its not us.

    O.K.?

  155. illuminata says

    Why are you so obsessed with my race? Either my points hold on their own or they don’t. You complain about my comment – yet in you comment you have provided no evidence of your point of view before using it to claim I am an apologist for bigotry et al.

    *facepalm* Jesus on a pogostick, you are definitely not ready for prime time, diddums. PRIVILEGE. YOU REEEK OF IT. That’s why your race matters. And why you won’t answer the question, which merely makes it more clear that I’m correct.

    You have the luxury of insulation from reality. You’re not even aware of how insulated you are, as evidenced by you’re incredibly naive posts. But, you’re certain you’re opinion should be given serious consideration. Despite the fact that its based on total cluelessness, wrapped in shit you made up, dipped in bullshit.

    YOU are providing the evidence that you’re an apologist for bigotry. Your words speak for themselves. As does the things you chose to evade.

  156. says

    The issue with tasers seem to be that since they are “less lethal” than guns, cops tend to pull them out more often. They are being used as a problem solving device a lot more that conversation and actual policing.

    Yes, I agree they are a vital tool in some situations particularly where guns would kill the person being subdued but the lack of education and legislation of use is quite telling.

    Anri –

    What he is implying is that since there is a public opinion that gay people cannot and should not get married there is a concerted government drive to prevent gay marriage. It’s a self feeding issue.

    The government is a representation of the people, when people don’t want gay people to get married the government mirrors that because anti-gay marriage people get voted in.

    It’s the same with say racism… If sufficient people are worried about black people/islam/mexicans then they start listening to racists and racists start getting into positions of power and so are more likely to do racist things. Currently the number of people who are for gay marriage and against are getting close to the level where we are in the majority. Which is why the fight has intensified to this level. However, they still are in the majority and so get to often dictate what is and what isn’t allowed for gay people simply by electing who they want to power.

  157. Ichthyic says

    The government is a representation of the people, when people don’t want gay people to get married the government mirrors that because anti-gay marriage people get voted in.

    just so long as you realize it’s “a” representation.

    it’s not necessarily even OF the people, let alone a majority of them.

    or hadn’t you noticed that yet?

    it’s pretty damn rare there is majority voter turnout on most issues, and even then, that still is really representative of all the people, since it typically is NOT by any means, a random sample.

    it’s so easy to bypass “democracy”, is it any wonder there are massive protests all over the world?

  158. Ichthyic says

    Same-sex marriage has failed every referendum it has been put to.

    you better check your facts, I don’t think you have that right.

    I can think of at least half a dozen states that have legalized same sex marriage via ballot initiative, or via standard legislation.

    Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, oh and…

    Washington D.C.

  159. Ichthyic says

    no, no, technically you’re correct; none of those passed via referendum, but then…

    what’s your point?

    do you somehow think ballot initiatives are democratic?

  160. Ichthyic says

    Better they use tazers than guns.

    better they use rocket launchers instead of nuclear weapons.

    idiot.

  161. KG says

    Green probably would have fed more money into corn based ethanol – Kahegi

    Have any evidence for that claim? I’m not saying you’re wrong because I know little about the US Green Party, but I did not come across any Green/environmentalist statements in support of the subsidy for corn-based ethanol, which was transparently just a boondoggle benefitting “Big Farma”.

    while ignoring obvious solutions, like growing something that already *has* more sugar in it

    Er, no. This is not an “obvious solution”, nor any sort of solution at all. Making a significant dent in US use of fossil fuels for transport would require devoting most of its agricultural land to biofuel crops.

    Why not actually learn something about environmental issues before sounding off, Kahegi?

  162. Ichthyic says

    If you see three guys and a gal of with messenger bags with Chick Tracts, or a somewhat older model station wagon packed with books and tracts and sitting outside, its not us.

    will you be wearing your clown costumes?

    I mean, if your goal is to make us laugh at you, you should dress appropriately I think.

    If not, you should just mail the Chick tracts to the conference.

    Everyone always gets a laugh at sick old Chick.

  163. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    The government is a representation of the people, when people don’t want gay people to get married the government mirrors that because anti-gay marriage people get voted in.

    You have a very strange interpretation of rights and our constitution

  164. Ichthyic says

    Jim Wright’s Stonekettle Station make some good forceful points regarding the whole Occupy Movement thing.

    *looks*

    I had certain expectations and I wanted to see if I was right.

    Nothing like reinforcing misconceived preconceptions.

    forceful points alrighty; forcefully bad.

    it’s sad you thought that was a cogent bit of commentary.

    It was full of misreprentations, mischaracterizations, and outright lies, and of course entirely missed the point while he just kept screaming:

    “Goddamned hippies!”

    don’t ever post links again, Steve. You don’t have a clue which ones are good or bad.

  165. Anri says

    Avicenna says:

    What he is implying is that since there is a public opinion that gay people cannot and should not get married there is a concerted government drive to prevent gay marriage. It’s a self feeding issue.

    The government is a representation of the people, when people don’t want gay people to get married the government mirrors that because anti-gay marriage people get voted in.

    It’s the same with say racism… If sufficient people are worried about black people/islam/mexicans then they start listening to racists and racists start getting into positions of power and so are more likely to do racist things. Currently the number of people who are for gay marriage and against are getting close to the level where we are in the majority. Which is why the fight has intensified to this level. However, they still are in the majority and so get to often dictate what is and what isn’t allowed for gay people simply by electing who they want to power.

    The majority only gets to determine what’s allowed if it does not interfere with the individual rights of others, except in cases where the general public good is in question. That, at least, is my understanding of the Constitution.

    I understand that marriage without glance-in-pants is not terribly popular right now, I’m asking: So what?
    By what justification does the majority – or anyone – get to determine what consenting adult I get to marry?

    All of the answers to that question that I have seen have rested on a bed of bullshit, bigotry or both. I was asking CC if he had anything most substantive than that. And I’ll ask you the same thing.

  166. says

    You have to remember that they honestly believe that you getting married will somehow cause their marriages to explode and mean nothing. That it will harm the public good in some unknown fashion.

    We aren’t defending them, you have to realise that (Well I am not). We are simply pointing out to you how they think. If the majority thinks that somehow gay people marrying will cause society to turn into a Mad Max world, then the government will obviously reflect on that attitude since the majority will vote for people who think that gay marriage leads to anarchy.

    They seriously believe you marrying another man would cause the downfall of society. It’s perception will change as it has for the past 10 years. Just 10 years ago this argument would have been shot down really easily, but know? The numbers are almost equal, in time the majority will be people who don’t give two figs about who you marry as long as they are individuals who can legally make a competent decision.

    Just remember, just because you can see the reality of a situation, doesn’t mean other people can. Sometimes it takes time and a lot of education before people come round to your way of thinking.

  167. Kagehi says

    This is not an “obvious solution”, nor any sort of solution at all. Making a significant dent in US use of fossil fuels for transport would require devoting most of its agricultural land to biofuel crops.

    Why not actually learn something about environmental issues before sounding off, Kahegi?

    With respect, its true I don’t know what the party might actually be saying on the subject, but I do know the environmental movement, to an extent, and for everyone with a plausible solution, there are 500 others that do what you did above, which is say, “Make a significant dent in the US use of fossil fuels”, only to follow up with, “By, uh, well, maybe, sort of, uh.. I’ll get back to you on that.”

    One of the major problems with the whole mess, and the party isn’t likely to be any better off in this, is that we don’t have the investment necessary to do it, and without that, there isn’t any “practical” way, and won’t be for decades, to really “solve” the problem. We are waiting on too many “breakthroughs”, and the result is a long list of things that would cost too much, or would work but have their own major dangers, like nuclear (though, mind, one *huge* problem with that is a combination of bad thinking about how to make safer ones, and the fact that every one we do have is so old it doesn’t even rise to the level of “safe” that a newer design might have). The “ethanol from corn” thing came down to a hope that we could use waste product, to produce ethanol, it doesn’t work. Something like sugar beets probably wouldn’t work, in the long run, either, but it *could* provide a partial solution, maybe even until someone “does” have a way to make waste product into a usable producer.

    The reality is, we have a whole hell of a lot of not so efficient stop gap things we could try, which would reduce the use of fossil fuels, but not actual long term solutions, and we are not going to get any by simply electing people that, if they are like a lot of “environmental” types I have talked to, have no practical solutions, a lot of wishful thinking, and no clue how far off we are from coming up with any. This isn’t to say that, for example, the government couldn’t have decided to not bail out banks, but instead buy everyone in the entire country solar, or something (though there likely are not near enough panels for that). But, its still using poor, inadequate, tech, to solve a problem that isn’t any where near as trivial as some people would love to think it is.

    I think, my biggest objection to most third parties is that they are, themselves, often so far out of the loop, or so tied to a particular set of principles, that “naive” is the best term that might be applied to them. I wouldn’t mind them becoming not naive, and helping to come up with solutions, but, too often, you get either denial of facts, as they stand, or the whole, “We will get back to you on that.”, sort of stuff from them.

    In simplest terms, its rarely the rational, well informed, people, with clear goals, that are loud, and pushy, enough to form parties. The ones that do, sadly, are often the ones with the highest ideals, but the least comprehension of the problems. I have no idea if the Green party is such a party, but I see it way too much in both environmentalism in general, and in third party politics, to not at least “suspect” that there is some sloppy thinking going on. I would love to be proven wrong though.

  168. says

    Nobody else is going to take the opportunity to mention the song “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Kill?

    When she talks, I hear the revolutions
    In her hips, there’s revolutions
    When she walks, the revolution’s coming
    In her kiss, I taste the revolution

    Rebel girl, Rebel girl
    Rebel girl you are the queen of my world
    Rebel girl, Rebel girl
    I know I wanna take you home
    I wanna try on your clothes oh

    That girl thinks she’s the queen of the neighborhood
    I got news for you, she is!
    They say she’s a dyke, but I know
    She is my best friend, yeah

    Rebel girl, Rebel girl
    Rebel girl you are the queen of my world
    Rebel girl, Rebel girl
    I know I wanna take you home
    I wanna try on your clothes

    Love you like a sister always
    Soul sister, Rebel girl
    Come and be my best friend
    Will you Rebel girl?
    I really like you
    I really wanna be your best friend
    Be my Rebel girl

  169. Ze Madmax says

    Kagehi @ #204:

    Regarding fossil fuels, at least for the purpose of generating electricity, my understanding (which I’ll admit may be flawed) is that recently Southern Methodist University, in a partnership with Google, had determined that the entire energy output from coal could be switched over to geothermal energy with current technolgy (i.e., no need of breakthroughs)

    See link here: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/11/06/359699/google-geothermal-supply-chu/

    Granted, it does not solve the problem, and it would need some serious investing to actually reach required levels of energy production… but it seems like a better alternative than trying to rely on wind or solar power.

  170. Ichthyic says

    If the majority thinks that somehow gay people marrying will cause society to turn into a Mad Max world

    you’re living under the delusion that it really is a majority.

    truly random polls show otherwise.

  171. Ichthyic says

    I have no idea if the Green party is such a party

    then what the fuck are you blathering about?

    Go find out, then come back.

  172. Ing says

    “The oath is to serve and protect. Serve and protect WHOM?”

    The State…

    A) No that’s what the military is for. want to guess again
    B) The state is made up of what now?
    C) What good does it do to protect the state by inflicting pain on its civilians
    D) What danger does the OWS pose to the state?

  173. Kagehi says

    I have no idea if the Green party is such a party

    then what the fuck are you blathering about?

    Go find out, then come back.

    Ok, see, here are examples from their policy page:

    1. Convert U.S farm and ranchland to organic practices. – There is no evidence, other than psuedoscience, that this helps anything, and it didn’t work before to produce sufficient crops, so why it would suddenly work now…

    2. Switch to local food production and distribution. Localized, organic food production and distribution reduce fossil fuel usage and enriches soil that that sequesters more carbon dioxide. – Not at all clear how you do that with crops that won’t grow locally, or where you don’t have farm land to do it. There is a damn reason why 90% of everything we grow in the US *is* grown in a fairly narrow range of states, and its not because no one “thought of” growing it local.

    3. Reduce methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases by rapidly phasing out confined animal feeding operations, and encouraging a reduction in meat consumption. – Great, half good, half stupid. Animal confinement is not a good thing, there are far more critical sources of green house gases than bloody farm animals though, and where the hell do you get all that “organic” material, which you plan to use in #1, if you drastically reduce, or eliminate, meat eating?

    There “clean green energy” list is, at best a toss up. In involves a total elimination of all carbon based fuels (how, especially in the short term?), and replacement of them with technologies that don’t work well enough, are not available every place, etc. They also seem to want to go full electric with vehicles, while *simultaneously*, “reducing the use of electricity, so we don’t need to generate as much”. Uh huh.. So, what, electric cars, but we throw out our TVs, ovens, air conditioning, computers, and even lights, to make up the difference? Where is all the “power” for the 100% electric vehicle system supposed to come from? Never mind how you get there, from here, without major technological breakthroughs, or a willingness, in the short term, to use something “slightly” less dirty (they are 100% against “any” kind of nuclear, which one can assume means no just plants built to power several cities, which I seriously think is one of the biggest damn problems, after all, if they where small enough to be manageable, the risks would be a damn sight smaller too, but pebble reactors, or, quite possibly, even those new small-device power cells, which are being researched. After all, those are “nuclear” too…)

    Like I said, if someone has a policy position, in the US, and a “party”, odds are pretty good that at least *some* of their stance is irrational, impractical, based on gibberish, or flat out nuts.

  174. KG says

    Kagehi,

    You just prove with every post that you haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about, just a general prejudice against stereotyped greens and environmentalists. Greenhouse gases from agriculture, not including deforestation to grow feed crops, are estimated to amount to around 10%-12% of total emissions. Agriculture is as concentrated as it is in the USA because that is what is most profitable to agribusiness, which of course is heavily subsidised, even apart from the failure to cost in the damage done by the greenhouse gases emitted. It is quite feasible to reduce electricity use without reducing living standards – better insulation in itself would do a considerable amount, as would smaller and more efficient autos, even if fossil-fule powered. US levels of energy use per capita are around twice that in western Europe; while some of this is down to the US’s more diffused population, there is no doubt that much of it is because energy is simply wasted because it is far too cheap.

    where the hell do you get all that “organic” material, which you plan to use in #1, if you drastically reduce, or eliminate, meat eating?

    This really is breathtakingly ignorant. Beef production involves a roughly 90% decrease in the available calories when cattle are fed on crops that could be eaten by people – which the great majority now are. Of course there are areas which are best used for extensive cattle ranching, but if people stopped stuffing themselves with vast steaks on a daily basis, there would be far more food avilable for the same land and inputs, not less.

    Where is all the “power” for the 100% electric vehicle system supposed to come from?

    Mostly solar power, both in the USA and on a global basis. A recent review in either Science or Nature, which I can’t locate right now, concluded that this was the only renewable source capable of sufficient scaling up. It is already the fastest-growing source of electricity on a global scale. Solar power is also a technology at the right developmental stage to benefit from large-scale investment: not a fully mature technology, unlike existing types of nuclear plant, but beyond the experimental stage, unlike (say) thorium reactors, or the vapourware stage, like carbon capture and storage (I do support experiments with these technologies, but we can’t rely on them).

  175. patrickelliott says

    Greenhouse gases from agriculture, not including deforestation to grow feed crops, are estimated to amount to around 10%-12% of total emissions.

    And, oddly, without most of the other 88-90%, this wouldn’t be a problem.

    It is quite feasible to reduce electricity use without reducing living standards – better insulation in itself would do a considerable amount, as would smaller and more efficient autos, even if fossil-fuel powered.

    Up to a point, yes. The problem isn’t if its possible to reduce it, but how much, and how fast, and what you do to get there.

    This really is breathtakingly ignorant. Beef production involves a roughly 90% decrease in the available calories when cattle are fed on crops that could be eaten by people – which the great majority now are.

    Meaningless, since I was not talking about what we eat, but what you use to fertilize the crops. The “organic” in organic farming comes, in no small part, from “organic fertilizers”. The easiest source of which has, generally, been from animals. Yes, you can get it other ways, like composting, but.. your running into other issues.

    Mostly solar power, both in the USA and on a global basis. A recent review in either Science or Nature, which I can’t locate right now, concluded that this was the only renewable source capable of sufficient scaling up. It is already the fastest-growing source of electricity on a global scale. Solar power is also a technology at the right developmental stage to benefit from large-scale investment: not a fully mature technology, unlike existing types of nuclear plant, but beyond the experimental stage, unlike (say) thorium reactors, or the vapourware stage, like carbon capture and storage (I do support experiments with these technologies, but we can’t rely on them).

    Has drawback though. Its not effective in “small scale”, like housing panels, since its still too expensive for most people. On large scales… you need large areas to build it, sort of like other plants, and, well.. not every place is necessarily going to be optimal for it. Some place that rains like 50% of the time, for example, might make it fairly useless for the area. But, yeah, that is one way to go, maybe.

    I do know that, even if any of it was practical, it would never fly, out of shear human stupidity, if someone from the party was elected. Why? Because 6 months after electing them half the country would be whining about how they saw “no direct benefit”, its “taking too long”, etc.

  176. patrickelliott says

    I will note that, you are correct KG, in that I am not exactly an expert in this. I said as much, and that my main issue was that I don’t blindly trust the ones “running” parties. In the case of the environment, its a bit like woo, or even “anti-oxidants”, the presumption is that there are A, B and C things you can do that will have the intended result, but this ignores unintended consequences, misunderstanding of the complexity, and/or an invariable tendency for sides to form, one strictly toeing the line, and the other arguing against even the most sensible short term goals, towards the rest. Its “more complicated than that”, in other words, and precisely because, in the US, we value the best sales pitch, over what is in the damn box, most of the time, and the people running things suffer from the problem even worse than the rest do. The list of “environmental truths” are a pretty, shiny box. This makes me automatically distrust whether they are entirely accurate, or just how “close” we are to doing anything listed.

    This is why I would say that breakthroughs are probably more essential than policy. Such sudden shifts in the reality of costs, and what is possible, has the effect of making change inevitable. Its not entirely clear how/why giving billions to, for the most part, nearly the same set of companies that already squander billions every year, will bring about those breakthroughs any faster. It certainly hasn’t encourages the existing energy industry to make “working” blow out preventers, or develop better energy policy/methods/equipment, instead of just lying about doing those things, while lining their pockets. And, the small companies are hit and miss. More money isn’t necessarily going to make them find solutions any faster either, especially if the ones whose employees are being payed to not find one, are sitting on things that could provide one.

    We need a systemic change to the system, not the election of one random third party candidate. Sadly, its likely to take something like the Occupy movement to do that, and then, its only going to happen if someone presents a consistent, not-single-platform, set of goals, and clear explanations on how to get there, and *they* refuse to call themselves Democrat or Republican, while doing so (if they use either label, its both a bad sign, and it probably means that the next bastard elected from the party will be same old, same old). Sadly, I am not seeing that happen.

    Worse, most third parties are trying to distinguish themselves, not by having a comprehensive idea about problems, but “one theme” policy. This makes me nervous, regardless of what numbers show that the ideas, in principle, might make sense (pending actual implementation, which is the only real test of them). It also excludes variables, doesn’t explain how to mitigate real issues that arise in transitioning, etc. We are supposed to do what with that, wait around, like people did for 3+ years, for the Republican party to say, “this is what we actually plan to do, instead”, like they have been pulling, while spending their time on trivial bullshit that doesn’t fix anything, or actually makes the situation worse?

    Been there, done that. Lets see the actual numbers, and to how many decimal places, and, more to the point, I would like the names behind those numbers, since well.. that can tell you something about their believability, obviously. I definitely don’t want to see the word “think tank”, or the like, any place in there. I don’t care which side has them, its code for, “People paid to agree with us, by publishing things that agree with what we want to be true.”

  177. KG says

    patrickelliott

    Greenhouse gases from agriculture, not including deforestation to grow feed crops, are estimated to amount to around 10%-12% of total emissions.

    And, oddly, without most of the other 88-90%, this wouldn’t be a problem.

    Actually, yes it would: we need zero net emissions as soon as possible – preferably, negative net emissions. Even if that were not the case, if that 10%-12% is not cut, other sectors have to cutr more, don’t they? Every sector could (and those with a vested interest in a particular sector often do) make the same argument – that it should be other sectors that reduce emissions.

    This really is breathtakingly ignorant. Beef production involves a roughly 90% decrease in the available calories when cattle are fed on crops that could be eaten by people – which the great majority now are.

    Meaningless, since I was not talking about what we eat, but what you use to fertilize the crops.

    Still breathtakingly ignorant. The more food you need to grow, the more fertiliser you need. Moreover, I’ve said nothing whatever about agriculture as a whole going “organic”.

    Its not effective in “small scale”, like housing panels, since its still too expensive for most people. On large scales… you need large areas to build it, sort of like other plants, and, well.. not every place is necessarily going to be optimal for it.

    That’s why I referred specifically to the global and US contexts. In the UK, for example, wind and wave power are probably more promising; and by far the most efficient approach on a small scale is better insulation, more efficient boilers, and possibly heat pumps. Why don’t you try actually looking at the peer-reviewed literature? The special section I was recalling is in Science 329:779-803. As I do, it stresses the need for energy efficiency above all; but solar power is the only renewable which could comfortably provide more alone than current global requirements – wind could just about do so. There are, certainly, technological challenges, and it won’t happen if we leave it to the magic market, but the alternative is wholly irrational: to risk disaster on an absolutely unprecedented scale through catastrophic climate change. Here is a reasonably detailed peer-reviewed plan for generating all new energy supply from renewables by 2030, and replacing the remaining non-renewables by 2050. About an additional 0.5% of the Earth’s land surface is required – tiny in relation to the needs of agriculture. Why not actually inform yourself, then get out and do some of the hard political work? Pathetic whiners like you are almost as much of a problem as the outright AGW denialists.

  178. Ichthyic says

    . Convert U.S farm and ranchland to organic practices. – There is no evidence, other than psuedoscience, that this helps anything, and it didn’t work before to produce sufficient crops, so why it would suddenly work now…

    If they said it had to do with productivity, that would be wrong.

    I’m betting the concern is not primary productivity, but the effects of commercial agriculture on watersheds, lakes, rivers, oceans, etc, and there is a HUGE body of literature showing the damage agricultural runoff of organochlorine residues, DDT and metabolites, heavy metals, and even just excess nitrogen and phosphorous has caused over the last 100 years.

    I know, because I worked on the end results of the biomagnification of all those residues.

    Switch to local food production and distribution. Localized, organic food production and distribution reduce fossil fuel usage and enriches soil that that sequesters more carbon dioxide.

    – Not at all clear how you do that with crops that won’t grow locally

    LOL, uh, you missed the point, even though you actually spoke the words! the point of what they’re saying is that many largescale commercial agricultural practices grow things that are entirely irrelevant to the local economies of the people living in these areas. They’re not saying to stop growing rice for export, they’re saying: don’t force-grow rice where you should be growing brocolli that fits the local conditions.

    In fact, if you look at the Central Valley in CA for example, the crops that are grown there have changed tremendously over the last few decades, and while it used to be mostly food grown for people in the US, it now is mostly rice grown for export or cattle feed.

    do you know how much water it takes to irrigate RICE in the central valley?

    yeah.

    it’s doing huge damage to the water tables in CA, and saltwater intrusion is now a serious and increasing concern.

    so, yeah, we actually DO already grow crops in areas where they shouldn’t be growing. The idea of focusing on localizing product production isn’t just to limit transport, though it does that, the point is to avoid what amounts to slash and burn agriculture.

    I’m curious though, are you here to lecture us on things you don’t know anything about, or am I just reading you wrong and you really do want to understand these things?

  179. says

    I’m betting the concern is not primary productivity, but the effects of commercial agriculture on watersheds, lakes, rivers, oceans, etc, and there is a HUGE body of literature showing the damage agricultural runoff of organochlorine residues, DDT and metabolites, heavy metals, and even just excess nitrogen and phosphorous has caused over the last 100 years.

    Much of that has been “over use”. And, its wasn’t so much a case between use of artificial sources for nutrients, but a reliance of a system where you grew one, and only one crop, over and over, instead of cycling them. Even the big farms are starting to realize how stupid this was. Unfortunately, its still “easier” to slap a bunch of stuff on the soil to change the PH, or replace nitrogen, than to do it right, and so.. bets on how many in the corporate greed is good camp are still doing it?

    But, its still not the same thing as “organic farming”. Sane farming yes, but “organic” involves a whole mess of pseudo science, ranging from claims that its “never” a good idea to use artificial fertilizers, to claims that “all” pesticides are a problem (seriously, all of them?), to outright lies that the plants somehow know the difference and produce more vitamins, if you grow them organically. Its not even clear if the, “they taste better”, claim is pure bullshit, driven by the same sort of labeling nonsense that Penn and Teller debunked with bottled water, where they kept changing the labels, but filled all of them with tap water from a hose, behind the restaurant, or something tangible. I kind of have to wonder if someone marketed and “ultra-organic” carrot if 90% of the organic carrot people would claim it tasted “even better!”, and, “gave me even more energy and better eye sight!”

    LOL, uh, you missed the point, even though you actually spoke the words! the point of what they’re saying is that many largescale commercial agricultural practices grow things that are entirely irrelevant to the local economies of the people living in these areas.

    In these days, almost nothing is “irrelevant” to the local economies. Or is the prevalence of tofu on every grocery store a suggestion that we need to convert those rice farms to Soy Bean farms? Which is more “relevant”?

    That said, yeah, a lot of people who owned land figured out what was profitable for them to grow there, and are willing to pay the cost of use the water to do it. The answer is, “Make it so it costs what it really should, to use that water.”, among other things that could be done. Heck, figure out how the grow the stuff in salt water, or actually build a damn desalination plant, instead of just “studying the problem” all the time (but make sure you don’t then leech salt into everything in the process, if you go for the cheaper solution). Nothing is really “local” any more in the sense that more people are going to be buying avocados in California than Maine, any more. That people are growing some things in bloody stupid places is a given. Its slightly less clear how you, short of paying them to do so, get them to grow something less stupid, especially if you have to make up the difference, by paying someone else to grow things in the right place, to replace the loss from what you stopped them growing some place else.

    Yeah, it needs to change, but the problem isn’t near as simple as some would like it to be.

    I am not a complete idiot about this stuff. But, I don’t trust the people that advocate for a radical solution, with no clear time table, or explanation of how to get there, to not be idiots themselves. A lot of bloody stupid things have been done, not just by people trying to make profit, but by people trying to fix things fast, without clearly understanding the complexity of the problem, and causing collateral damage.

    Given what we see from nearly every other political party out there, how sure can we be that any of them are seeing clearly, and not just thinking that the picture in their own wallet is the “big picture”? Just because there are some people in the “movement” that have, or seem to, a firm grasp on some aspect of the problem, doesn’t mean the politicians will be listening to them, when it come time do decide to do the sane thing, or the cheap, fast, we hope it will work, thing.