Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Obama Needs To Reach Out or LEAD! - on Police Violence Against OWS Protests Before Somebody Gets Killed

Obama on Bahrain, Libya, Yemeni and Egyptian protests last winter:
 "I am deeply concerned by reports of violence in Bahrain, Libya and Yemen. The United States condemns the use of violence against peaceful protesters in those countries, and wherever else it may occur." [emphasis added]
That would include Oakland, where a two-tour Iraqi War veteran was almost killed by pigs that would make a Bahreini cop proud; in Seattle, where a pregnant woman, pepper-sprayed, reportedly miscarried her fetus;  in NYC, where a group of women were pepper-sprayed for, uh, nothing;  and - most recently - at UC Davis, where law-abiding students were pepper-sprayed in such an egregious way, it has become one of the most important icons of ongoing US protests against the bloodsucking policies of the 1% and their enablers.

Obama had his chance to defuse the growing police violence against lawful citizens today in New Hampshire, at a high school appearance.  Though he showed more class then Michelle Bachman, when he was Mic-Checked by a bunch of people who probably voted for him three years ago, he failed to address their genuine concerns:

That is a powerful video. One of the interesting aspects of the crowd reaction happens at 24.5 seconds, when several audience members turn their heads toward the right of the screen simultaneously. Though the camera very soon backs up to a panorama pan, it appears that the later collective reaction to drown out the Occupy New Hampshire stalwarts who confronted the President were probably orchestrated by Obama staff or 2012 campaign people at the scene.

Flash back to the day before the Kent State massacre, May 3, 1970:

During a press conference at the Kent firehouse, an emotional Governor Rhodes pounded on the desk and called the student protesters un-American, referring to them as revolutionaries set on destroying higher education in Ohio. "We've seen here at the city of Kent especially, probably the most vicious form of campus oriented violence yet perpetrated by dissident groups. They make definite plans of burning, destroying, and throwing rocks at police, and at the National Guard and the Highway Patrol. This is when we're going to use every part of the law enforcement agency of Ohio to drive them out of Kent. 

We are going to eradicate the problem. We're not going to treat the symptoms. And these people just move from one campus to the other and terrorize the community. They're worse than the brown shirts and the communist element and also the night riders and the vigilantes," Rhodes said. "They're the worst type of people that we harbor in America. 

Now I want to say this. They are not going to take over [the] campus. I think that we're up against the strongest, well-trained, militant, revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America."  Rhodes can be heard in the recording of his speech yelling and pounding his fists on the desk.

This is a huge country mile from Obama's improvised response, for sure.  And although one right-wing pundit or AM radio blabber after another has been this incendiary about what OWS, student protests and other civil disobedience actions around our country mean, no Democrats or administration officials have dissed what is happening to a noticeable degree.

President Nixon could have made a simple statement on May 3rd, to defuse the situation in Ohio.  Or he could have called Gov. Rhodes and chewed him a new asshole.  He did not.  

On May 4th, the students were murdered.

Later he felt guilty enough to meet protesters in Washington DC in the middle of the night, an event that needed both Hunter Thompson and Norman Mailer to have been there as chroniclers.  

Alas, we're stuck with recently released White House tapes and Wally Hickel's May 6th letter (pdf), which led to Nixon's May 9th visit to 1970's OWS.

Watching what is happening this week in Cairo, Syria and in the West Bank, where other law-abiding protesters are being hit by the same metal, gas and spray used by our cops, and where a helluva a lot of innocents are getting killed and a helluva a lot more are being maimed or dragged off to torture chambers our money helped build, I have to pray that no one will get killed here.  

I am concerned, though, that unless Obama has the courage to scare the pigs into some kind of restraint, my prayers will be unanswered.

Please, Mr. President, stop fucking around regarding police violence against these growing protests.

note - I worked in the public safety sector for 13 years, five of them as a shielded, sworn officer. I do not use the term "pig" toward police officers in general. Just toward the pigs themselves. We know them when we have to endure them.


Anonymous said...

You may be one of the most anal retentive progessives I have ever read. Every other politician in Obamas' place ran away. Obama stood his ground and sent a message to the people of OWS in person.

He didn't run away and proved to be a real leader. I am wondering if you are insane??? One of the minortiy ultra leftwing morons(like rightwing morons) that think if you do not support everything I support you cannot be progressive at all.

If that is the case, you are one of the biggest fools on the planet.
And you will lose your fight.

Stop being a dick....Ya Goof!!!

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 12:30,

so you think what he did Tuesday in NH was enough re police violence?

Anonymous said...

He is a PRESIDENT... not a DICTATOR. Individual states and cities make their own laws. Obama is not a god... he can't see or know everything that goes on.

I would love for Obama to send in the National Guard to protect the OWS movement, but that would be Illegal. The same as it would be illegal to send in the national guard AGAINST the OWS movement!

You of course are a standard Dictator loving fool... Do what I say or else I will whine like a bitch!

It's your turn to answer my comment, I answered yours!

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 12:30am -

yes - President Obama stood his ground today, listened to the kids and engaged with them personally, proving one more time he 'is' the adult in the room. I'm proud to say I voted for him.

But it's what he didn't say that is at issue with some of us (and please show some self-restraint and stop with the anal/dick name calling. It makes you sound adolescent and immature.

To base your argument on the simple claim he's better than Nixon - who did nothing at all - or better than Bachman - who does nothing even better than Nixon - is a ridiculous argument. Yes, President Obama stood today and listened and didn't run away. But he's the president - the man we look to for solutions - so while what I heard from him today was good - it's not good enough.

President Obama has an army on his side. His citizens are being brutalized indiscriminately and without cause and he needs to get in front of a camera, address his 50 governors and literally order them all to STAND DOWN.


BEFORE we have another Kent State.

Whoa, Baby! said...

I'm waiting fearfully for a repeat of Kent State. It's just a matter of time.

Anonymous said...

ozmud... At what point in time did I mention Nixon, Bachman, or anyone else?

Thanks for the pathetic false equalization... I disagree with you, But comparing what I have said with the ultra right wing is BULL FUCKING SHIT!!!

I will ask for your apology here.

Anonymous said...

In hindsight, I bet more than a few folks wish they had voted for Hillary.

Aussie Blue Sky said...


You can see he knows the words.

Anonymous said...

@anon 12:30 who said:

"... Every other politician in Obamas' place ran away."

Names of two of the 'other politicians who ran away' which popped into my head at the time were Nixon for his non-defense of student protesters in the 70's and Michele Bachman who recently walked off the stage rather than engage the student protesters facing her.

I don't see how that is calling you an ultra-right-winger - but you certainly are entitled to your take on my comment.

You do raise an interesting point however. Liberals - progressives - conservatives are more alike than different. We all want to see our children grow up in a safe world, get a good education and have jobs available so they can realize their dreams.

Maybe if we concentrated more on those things which we have in common, we could more easily find compromises on those things which make us different.

In the meantime, our current elected officials need to work out how to keep our bright, passionate young students from getting pelted with pepper spray and riot sticks.

Anonymous said...

We're waiting for Kent State? No, I think we're in it.

Debunking Obama’s So-Called Leadership Failure
By Jonathan Chait

Various fiscal scolds have been scolding President Obama for failing to use his mind-control powers to force Republicans to accept a tax hike. Michael Bloomberg sadly attributes the failure of the supercommittee to agree on reducing the deficit to a failure of “leadership.”

The notion that Obama’s “leadership” could have persuaded Republicans to accept a tax increase seems strange. Republicans, I have noticed, tend not to like Obama very much. His endorsement does not carry a great deal of weight with them. That was why the administration stayed in the background when Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson developed their deficit plan.


Anonymous said...

"This isn't high school where our clique tries to beat out your clique. This is the adult world where we realize that we all are humans with human problems.

But both sides have to recognize that they need each other so that neither side goes too far out toward one extreme or the other. We need to find that kernel of humanity that we can respect in everyone, so that we can work things out instead of carrying on never-ending feuds between 'us' and 'them.'"


Anonymous said...

One of the things that President Obama's detractors on the sanctimonious Left have always failed to understand is the concept of leverage. Or rather, they have always misconstrued that concept. It's been equated with podium pounding, "pushing hard", and totally, absolutely, and completely an abhorrence against compromise. As if leverage meant that the president was an elected dictator and he could do anything he wanted simply by wishing hard enough.

But leverage in politics and legislating is not about what you can do to convince your own side. It's about what you can do convince the other side or if not convince them, put them in a bind so they have to acquiesce to your demands. That kind of leverage was not available to the president - Republicans (and some Democrats) had no incentive to cooperate with the President on health reform, financial reform, student loan reform, credit card reform, and so on. Actually, as the professional, sanctimonious Left joined the chaos of the radical Right to try to stop these reforms on the excuse of not-good-enough-ism, they helped reduce any leverage the president did have.

So what is leverage? This is leverage:

Hensarling looked for help from President Obama, who is traveling in Australia. He noted that he told the president in a phone call last Friday that he wanted Obama to clarify or rescind a veto threat he issued to Congress back in September, when he said he would reject any plan to overhaul entitlement programs without asking the wealthy to pay more in taxes.

That veto threat has shaken the Republicans to the core. I think that's when they first began to realize that Obama is playing hardball, and that he has now successfully forced an internal GOP fight between the anti-tax religionists and the defense hawks. They have to pick either Grover Norquist or Lockheed Martin, and face the wrath of the other.


Anonymous said...


His Holiness Dalai Lama.

Anonymous said...

I don’t mean to highjack your thread, but I thought you would be interested in this.

In light of OWS actions, and sparked by the masterful ‘shaming’ of the cops and the Chancellor done by the UC Davis students, I’ve been re-reading about some of the earlier activists who have actually made a difference.
Yesterday, I read Bella Abzug: An Oral History by Suzanne Braun Levine and Mary Thom.
I came across the following description from a journal of Bella’s first year in congress. The representative from New York wrote about what happened on May 3, 1971.
“I went to my office, and as the morning progressed, word came that the cops were arresting everybody in sight, en masse, without any identification, without any charges, without any anything, and herding them off to a fenced-in football practice field near RFK Stadium, where they were being held without food, water, and sanitation facilities. It was like the whole thing was finally coming apart.
I immediately decided I had to go to the stadium.” [She hitches a helicopter ride with the man who did traffic reports for a local station.]”From the air, when I allowed myself to look, I saw quite a shocking scene. All these thousands of people in one large field on this raw and nasty day, wire and cops and soldiers all around them, and off in the distance, machinery and artillery. You wouldn’t believe it.”
[The copter landed and she and two of her legislative assistants] “walked together toward the gate, past an ominous line of cops and soldiers with bayonets. It was gruesome…..Perhaps the most shocking thing of all is the number of people I spoke to who were doing nothing at all to warrant getting arrested. It’s clear to me that anybody in the dragnet area who was not wearing a business suite was hauled in. People who just went out to mover their cars. Students on their way to classes. People walking their dogs. One young man and young woman I spoke to were on their way to get married. People w3ho had merely brought food and thrown it over the fence for those inside were herded inside themselves. I saw old friend Dr. Spock, Barbara Deming, Grace Paley, members of my campaign staff—all of them arrested for no reason at all. It’s very sad---like the Constitution has been suspended, and this stadium is a detention center, a concentration camp.
When I left the stadium I went back to my office and started calling any and everybody I could think of: the Red Cross, the attorney general’s office, Mayor Walter Washing’s office, other congressmen. By this time more than seven thousand people had been arrested, a one-day record for the city – in fact, for the entire country --- and I explained to the Red Cross that their people were being treated like cattle. You know what mayor Washing’s office told me? “We’re working on it,” they said. The liberals I spoke to – I can draw their replies into one composite: “Bella, cool down, at least it’s not Chicago. [A reference to the police riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention.] “At least they’re not breaking one head after another.”
“You make me sick,” I told each and every one of them.
Finally, later in the night, procedures were finally set up to formally “arrest” people after more than fifteen hours of illegal detention.
They had never been properly arrested. No charges had ever been filed. They were not informed of theory legal rights. They were denied access to lawyers. They were not promptly arraigned --- and as a last insult they were asked to forfeit collateral [paying ten dollars and entering a plea of guilty] in order to be released. Is there anybody who’s going to tell me that the Constitution meant a damn thing to the government today?” [quoted from the book pages 116-118)
A week later, a reporter asked Senator Hugh Scott (R-Penn) who opposed the war in Vietnam about the conditions of the incarceration and he said, “Nobody in the Democratic Party was down there except Bella Abzug. She’s the only man in the House.”
We need more like Bella. Where are they?

Anonymous said...

Oh look, he goes again...

I'm beginning to think that Phil has some sort of 'daddy' complex. I suspect his father severely disappointed him or in some way never lived up to his expectations, and he is projecting his rage on the 'daddy' of the country. It's the way he writes that really reveals his affliction. Each and every post is complaining and whining about how Obama somehow has disappointed him or let him down or not fulfilled his dreams, often times being deeply disrespectful and petty when he makes his so called 'point'.

The more that I witness this the more that it becomes clear to me. He has no functional relationship with male authority figures so he tears them down and attacks in such pedestrian and martyrish ways as if he is being PERSONALLY affronted in some way.

When you begin to develop a sense of this, it becomes very clear that Obama is the 'daddy' that Phil never had, that he hopes and wishes for, but won't have since Obama isn't interested in parenting a stunted and emotionally crippled man spitting and slobbering his pathetic complaints.

Instead of taking responsibility for his lack of a strong, healthy patriarchal relationship, he unhealthily projects his angst and deep disappointment on President Obama, because he can and he isn't called to task for it. It's just like the bully that throws mud balls until somebody bigger chases him away. What he's really hiding is what an utter coward he is.

Heads up, Phil, the more you attack and demean our Commander in Chief, the more you reveal your own deep dissatisfaction with your own life, your own self and most likely your own upbringing.

And you put it all under the banner of 'progressive'. Now THAT is laughable. Your entire approach to EVERY communication and every sentence is drowning in regressive tactics, seeped in regressive behavior and saturated with regressive ideas.

When one TRULY understands the meaning of PROgressive, one immediately sees how empty your platform is and how disastrous your development as a full adult human being has been. Perhaps if you chose a less catatonic approach to life, you wouldn't be in the kind of emotional pain that you telegraph with your every utterance on your blog. Alas, you THRIVE on negative, harmful energetics, feeding at the trough of arrogance that hides your miserable self esteem. I strongly suggest some professional counseling so you can free yourself of the pain that so clearly has you by the throat. I can't say I feel at all hopeful that you will do this, since part of your illness has to do with denial, of which, good god, you are something of a poster boy for.

Philip Munger said...

It appears most of the commenters here didn't even read my post.

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 4:42:

"Heads up, Phil, the more you attack and demean our Commander in Chief"

--- WTF. Are you in the military? If so, then the president is your commander in chief, whoever is president, until the day of your discharge.

He certainly is not my commander in chief, nor has any president been (subsequent to my honorable discharge from the Army), or had the right to be termed as such, whether during war or peace.

We are not such a fascist state that we have to call the president "our commander in chief." Ever. Nor should we.

And you think I need help?