The Bloody Cross Roads http://thebloodycrossroads.com Dissident Journalism Mon, 26 Aug 2013 17:41:32 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Who is Watching the Watchers? http://thebloodycrossroads.com/590/who-is-watching-the-watchers/ http://thebloodycrossroads.com/590/who-is-watching-the-watchers/#comments Sun, 14 Jul 2013 18:03:50 +0000 Marc Adler http://thebloodycrossroads.com/?p=590 Snowden’s heroic efforts to prevent totalitarianism:

 

The terrifying reality we face is that the U.S. government has the capabilities to make Orwell’s telescreens in 1984 look like child’s play. Edward Snowden has said we are on the brink of “turnkey tyranny.” He told The Guardian that while working for Booz Allen Hamilton, he “had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge, to even the president, if I had a personal email.” More broadly, he asserted, “the NSA specifically targets the communications of everyone. It ingests them by default. It collects them in its system, and it filters them, and it analyzes them, and it measures them, and it stores them for periods of time, simply because that’s the easiest, most efficient and most valuable way to achieve these ends.”​

As much as I fear another 9/11-like terrorist attack, which is inevitable according to nearly every authority I’ve consulted, from former terrorism czar Richard Clarke to former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit Michael Scheuer, I’m even more afraid of the government’s response. With modern technology, governments have the capacity to monitor everything that everyone does. We could conceivably face a future in which the government flips the switch on the surveillance apparatus it has created, and there will be no possibility to escape or form a coherent rebellion. It will be a form of totalitarianism unrivaled in human history…

That is why Snowden’s actions are heroic. He’s warning us about what may very well be our fate. Daniel Ellsberg has declared that, “There has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material, and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago…  Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an ‘executive coup’ against the U.S. constitution.”

And yet Snowden has been attacked repeatedly in the mass media. Worse, and far more important, the nature of the attacks obfuscates Snowden’s revelations. To review, plain and simple, he’s saying the government can and does spy on millions of Americans without due process or any serious oversight. And it will likely get much worse.

But the attacks against Snowden and his leaks are extremely misleading.  Take The New York Times, which I read every day. Thomas Friedman, who doesn’t “believe that Edward Snowden is some heroic whistleblower” but rather “someone who needed a whistleblower,” writes that he will “reluctantly trade off the government using data mining to look for suspicious patterns in phone numbers called and emails addressed—and then have to go to a judge to get a warrant to actually look at the content under guidelines set by Congress.” This echoes President Obama’s defense of the program. Interestingly, Friedman supports this because it will “prevent a day where, [because of another catastrophic, 9/11-like terrorist attack] out of fear, we give government a license to look at anyone, any e-mail, any phone call, anywhere, anytime.”

 

He then goes on to quote extensively from David Simon, creator of HBO’s The Wire, who argues that the fundamental question ”is government accessing the data for the legitimate public safety needs of the society, or are they accessing it in ways that abuse individual liberties and violate personal privacy—and in a manner that is unsupervised. And to that, The Guardianand those who are wailing jeremiads about this pretend-discovery of U.S. big data collection are noticeably silent.  We don’t know of any actual abuse.”

Many pundits in the media insist on focusing on the court-approved data mining aspect of Snowden’s revelations and seize upon that as evidence that he hasn’t really uncovered anything significant. The government is not even reading our emails or listening to our phone conversations, we are being told. It perhaps is merely monitoring whom we speak to, when and for how long, which isn’t even illegal, according to legal scholar Geoffrey Stone.

Well, thank heavens for small favors. First, even if we accept this notion, cyber security expert Susan Landau claims that data mining can be even more intrusive and revelatory than actually listening in because “the metadata of a phone call tells what you do as opposed to what you say.” For example, she says, “if you call from the hospital when you’re getting a mammogram, and then later in the day your doctor calls you, and then you call the surgeon, and then when you’re at the surgeon’s office you call your family, it’s pretty clear, just looking at that pattern of calls, that there’s been some bad news. If there’s a tight vote in Congress, and somebody who’s wavering on the edge, you discover that they’re talking to the opposition, you know which way they’re vote is going.”

Furthermore, according to investigative reporter James Bamford, who has covered the NSA for decades and exposed its very existence in the 1980s, the FISA court supposedly slated to oversee the program “is a top-secret court that nobody is even allowed to know where it exists, where its address is, let alone getting any information from it. And… the last time [the government] overhauled the legislation, they weakened the court a great deal.” And as William Binney, former chief of research for the National Security Agency’s signals intelligence division, points out, “the only head of a communications company to demand a court order or approval under FISA” was targeted by the government and is in prison. Binney, a whistleblower himself, has been held at gunpoint in his own home by a dozen FBI agents and falsely prosecuted by the government. He says that in the case of the surveillance program called Stellar Wind, the government “bypassed the courts. They didn’t tell the courts about this program, and they didn’t solicit any approval from the courts. And they also only told four people initially in Congress.”

Obama and Friedman’s defense offers scant comfort.

But this exclusive focus on data mining is smoke and mirrors. It diverts attention from the guts of the matter, which is that Snowden has exposed the way in which the NSA and private contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton have created an infrastructure for all-out, classical totalitarianism. And he’s essentially given up his freedom and well-paying job to inform the public about this and spark a debate. His point is that because of propagandists like Friedman (whom I suspect is an unwitting propagandist), the American people do not realize that we’re already at a point where the government has carved out for itself “a license to look at anyone, any e-mail, any phone call, anywhere, anytime.” As investigative journalist and author of Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Outsourced Intelligence Tim Shorrock has documented, “we have hundreds of thousands of contractors with security clearances. We have hundreds of thousands of federal workers in… Homeland Security and intelligence… monitoring other Americans.” He says “it’s not even a revolving door; it’s just a spending door… what we have is an intelligence ruling class, public and private, that hold the secrets.”

And we must ask ourselves if the massive, dragnet surveillance program that sucks up millions of Americans’ communications actually prevents terrorist attacks. Built into this whole debate is the assumption that it does. But according to investigative journalist Shane Harris, author of The Watchers, the Rise of America’s Surveillance State, the surveillance program is so massive that analysts are overwhelmed by excessive data and false leads and therefore have trouble connecting dots. As Harris explained on CSPAN when promoting his book, this phenomenon was on display during the failed Christmas Day attack, when the bomber was able to board a U.S.-bound aircraft even though his father had contacted the CIA to warn them about his son’s radicalism. Since intelligence agencies receive a barrage of such reports every day, it’s more difficult for experts to decipher which admonitions are worth heeding.

As for David Simon’s contention that “we don’t know of any actual abuse,” Harris writes that the only assurance we have that “information wouldn’t be misused now came from the government agents conducting the surveillance.” But “they were the watchers. Who was watching them?” Biannual reviews of surveillance activity during Obama’s presidency have repeatedly shown that the watchers regularly spy on Americans who have no connection to terrorism, collecting phone calls and emails of innocent people. Unfortunately, the reviews have been conducted after the fact and have imposed no regulations to curb the systemic law-breaking.

Harris warns that we must have a serious national conversation now about how we should monitor the watchers and protect our privacy. Because when the next attack occurs this discussion will be merely “academic.” The government will crack down even harder and still further revoke basic rights in the name of national security. I hope Snowden’s courageous leaks will bring forth this much-needed debate in its proper context.

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Occupy Wall Street is Here to Stay http://thebloodycrossroads.com/551/occupy-wall-street-is-here-to-stay/ http://thebloodycrossroads.com/551/occupy-wall-street-is-here-to-stay/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2011 19:05:46 +0000 Marc Adler http://thebloodycrossroads.com/?p=551

(Photo by Adam Lempel)

They keep trying, but they keep failing.  The elites are doing everything in their power to crush the revolution.  But they will continue to fail.  Every time they crack down we just get bigger.

After Bloomberg launched a most vicious, illegal and egregious raid on Liberty Square, we bounced right back.  I spent all Tuesday at the park, and at first it was depressing.  Seeing the police occupying Zuccotti Park in blatant contempt of a preliminary judicial ruling was tough.  But I saw someone holding a sign thanking Bloomberg for being the best propaganda vehicle for our revolution.  He was dead silent as he brandished his message, clearly tired, but steadfast in demeanor.

I walked up to him in the hopes of finding inspiration.  I introduced myself, saying I appreciate his optimism but cannot find a reason to be optimistic myself; “I’ve been here since day one but feel really down; can you tell me why I should be hopeful?” I asked.  A big smile lit his face up, brimming with exuberance and assurance.  He said his name is Murdoch.

“Dude, I’m thirty six.  I’ve been doing activism for years.  But I gave up a while ago.  It seemed hopeless.  But OWS has brought me back into the fight.  You guys give me hope.  We can’t fail.  You know why?  Because we’ve already got people talking.  After only two months, we’ve gotten people to start talking about issues they never discuss in ways they never have before—inequality, democracy, empire, etc.  It’s not supposed to be easy.  The Revolution upon which this country was founded wasn’t easy.  Civil rights wasn’t easy.  Universal suffrage wasn’t easy.  And that’s because change comes through struggle.  That’s the only way.  But we’re gonna win this man.”

That night, OWS hosted its largest General Assembly yet.  Thousands flocked to the park in spite of or perhaps because of the draconian police presence.  We had been punched in the gut, but not knocked out.  We shared stories from that morning’s horrors.  And we moved on, planning our next step as a group, true to our democratic principles.

Thursday was huge.  I participated in nearly all the day’s events.  In ways Thursday contained the flow of OWS in microcosm.  In the morning we locked arms and formed human barricades in an effort to obstruct Wall Street and shut down or delay the morning bell at the Stock Exchange.  Of course the cops arrested and beat people up.  But that perhaps shouldn’t raise anyone’s eyebrows, since, while the real crimes are being committed in the Stock Exchange, we understand that we were technically breaking the law.

More alarming though, and a harbinger of what was to come later, was the ensuing police brutality.  After we disbanded the human barricades the NYPD attempted to intimidate and kick us out of the streets.  Bear in mind that these streets typically host very little traffic, so we were not obstructing anything substantive.  Nevertheless, the police arrested and indiscriminately beat us up.  Even those who were careful, like me, faced excessive measures—at one point a cop shoved me and a group of people even though we were clearly obeying their orders and standing on the sidewalk.  I have this indelible image in my mind of one fat officer marching down the street and needlessly throwing a kid standing right by the sidewalk with a camera a good five feet.  It was so egregious, unjustified and thuggish.  Some courageous protestors defied authority, sat down in the middle of the road and got arrested.

After an hour or so we headed back to Liberty Square, where we were greeted by hundreds of cops.  The park was completely sealed off with metal barricades, leaving only one small entrance and making a complete mockery of Bloomberg’s pledge to reopen the park for peaceful protest after the raid.  I walked up to one officer and said, “I thought we’re allowed to come back into the park now.  Why is it sealed off like this?”  His response?  “Keep walking sir.”

When I finally did enter the park, in the pouring rain and freezing cold, I witnessed things that should concern all Americans.  On multiple occasions, the police stormed the park unprovoked and beat the shit out of people.  The attacks were frightening.  I repeatedly saw a sea of protestors fleeing in fear.  The sight of cops running after demonstrators was terrifying.  It was like watching the school bully chase the weakest nerd; only here, the supposed authorities, those who should be stopping the bullies, were doing the chasing.  It looked like they were gonna murder somebody.  Afterwards I saw blood all over the scene of the assaults.

But amidst the despair I found reason to be hopeful.  During one such raid I stood atop one of the platforms on the outskirts of Zuccotti Park to watch the horror unfold.  A cop, a Hispanic man, came over to tell me to step down.  I said, “why?  What am I doing wrong?”  He replied, “please, do me a favor and step down.”  I said, “but I want to see what’s going on.”  “There’s nothing to see here,” he responded.  “Come on now, there’s clearly something going on.  I don’t want to give you a hard time, but I have a right to stand here if I want.”  The officer looked me in the eyes.  And in his eyes I could tell that he meant every word he was about to say: “look man, I’m just following orders, I don’t want to make you leave, but I gotta do my job.  Please just do me this favor.”

I stepped down.  And I felt good.  That’s all it took.  Just a little respect, a little decency.

But more important, the officers’ eyes showed me his heart was not in what he was being forced to do.  True, there may be many scumbags in the NYPD who relish abusing power.  But many of them hate following their orders.

Shortly thereafter, we marched to Union Square, and there the fun began.  A day that had been largely marked by frustration and anxiety turned into a huge victory and celebration.

Thousands of us marched to Foley Square.  This was the most electrifying moment of the revolution for me thus far.  Our presence was huge, and we essentially shut down 6th Avenue.  On every street, most cars honked like crazy in support of us, drivers pumped their fists and gave us the peace sign.  Some got out from their cars to salute us.  And, much to my initial surprise, nobody, as far as I could see, expressed anger towards us—no one flipped us off or booed.

Dozens and dozens of cab drivers, truck drivers and bus drivers in particular were enthralled.  They have been screwed by the system, and they know who we are fighting and what we are fighting for.  To lighten their day a little, to give them hope, was exhilarating.  The joy on their faces, the enthusiasm with which they honked their horns and banged on the ceilings of their cars, made every act of resistance in which I’ve participated worthwhile.  Because they know we are trying to help them break free of their cages.  Because they know we’re trying to create a world in which they will be treated right, with access to fair wages, benefits and unions.  I am not one who usually chants with crowds.  But never before have I chanted with such passion when I shouted, “we are the 99%,” and “show me what democracy looks like; this is what democracy looks like.”  Taking 6th Avenue felt extremely empowering.

And then, when we arrived at Foley Square, we were joined by tens of thousands of people.  The music and speeches were inspiring.  And when we marched on Brooklyn Bridge, I walked next to a 73 year old lady named Joni who braved the freezing cold and marched many miles to show solidarity.  While waiting to enter the bridge, we asked one of the officers what was taking so long, as we feared the NYPD may have started arresting people in front.  “Trust me, nobody know what’s goin on,” he said, laughing.  He was very friendly.  We joked around with him, and Joni even took a picture with him.  I could feel, as with the other officer at Liberty Square earlier, that he is part of the 99 percent.  If OWS becomes big enough, if the middle class and majority of Americans join us, many police officers will refuse their orders, and we will take down the corporate state.

I kept looking around, and at the sight of tens of thousands of fellow protestors I couldn’t contain my smile, which was ear to ear.  It was like the first time I ever hooked up with a girl.  Who would have thought, just two months ago, when I and a small group of idealistic youngsters first occupied Zuccotti Park, that our efforts would blossom into a global revolution?  Although Bloomberg and the Power Elite will fight with all they got, it is impossible to defeat an idea whose time has come.

 

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The Crackdown Should Come As No Surprise http://thebloodycrossroads.com/544/the-crackdown-should-come-as-no-surprise/ http://thebloodycrossroads.com/544/the-crackdown-should-come-as-no-surprise/#comments Thu, 17 Nov 2011 04:51:58 +0000 Marc Adler http://thebloodycrossroads.com/?p=544

(Photo by Adam Lempel)

As I documented over a week ago, this was coming.  The corporate elites have been gearing up to crush Occupy Wall Street.  They wanted to take the battle right to the heart of the revolution, in Liberty Square.  They launched a propaganda blitz, transformed Lower Manhattan into a sphere ruled by martial law, and then subverted the legal system to support their crimes.  And their propaganda is so powerful that many people, even those who should know better, actually side with the state.  Anyone who stands on the sidelines now is complicit.  If you permit the corporate state to get away with destroying the First Amendment you deserve what you will get.

I wasn’t on Wall Street Monday night.  I was out of the city and couldn’t return in time.  My friend through Occupy Wall Street, Priya, was there.  I read her text right before I went to sleep—“OWS raided now!!!!!”  I called her first thing in the morning.  She was hysterical.  “It was horrible,” she said.  “They just came in, destroyed all the tents, beat people up, sprayed people with pepper spray.  They destroyed everyone’s property and threw the books from our library into dump trucks.”  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, even though I should have been prepared.

“Sorry,” sobbing, “but this is just very emotional for me.  This was like home.  This was a spiritual center, a community.  And now everything’s gone.  It’s all gone.  So many people have nowhere to go.”

The NYPD, acting under the orders of Bloomberg and the rest of the power elite, orchestrated a campaign as vicious, deceitful and flagrant as Bush’s campaign to invade Iraq.  The parallels are striking.  As I’ve documented, the Bloomberg administration used the mass media, which is owned and controlled by Wall Street shareholders, to launch a propaganda blitz to plant the seeds for a raid on OWS.  Stories from both sides of the political spectrum, from The New York Post to The New York Times, laid the groundwork by depicting the occupation as a health hazard, encouraging the mayor to “restore law and order.”

The campaign was based on lies of course, just like with Iraq.  OWS posed no health hazards, just as Saddam possessed no weapons of mass destruction.  But the power elites’ minions in the corporate media went right along with the disinformation-based line, calling us dirty hippies, criminals and crazy.

We had a security team patrolling the park at all hours to nip criminal behavior in the bud.  We had a sanitation crew to maintain cleanliness at all hours.  We had our own fire department and a health team of EMT’s, doctors and nurses to stanch the spread of sickness.  And we maintained safe conditions in spite of the NYPD, which sent infiltrators, drunks and violent drug addicts to Liberty Square in an effort to agitate and create a pretext for a raid.  And we rectified whatever mistakes we made by taking measures such as creating a women’s tent in the aftermath of the sexual assault incident.

Even if it were true that OWS had posed a health hazard, that would be entirely beside the point.  The mayor and NYPD don’t give a fuck about your health.  Have you been on the Subway lately?  Have you breathed the pollution-laden air of Manhattan?  Have you visited some of the other parks in this city, such as Tompkins Square Park, across from which I lived for a year and never dared enter at night, as it is filled with rats and disgusting?  And what about the fact that 40,000 New Yorkers are homeless?  None of this matters.  Bloomberg and his cronies don’t care about any of that, just as they don’t care about the 4,500 public workers they plan to lay off even while Bloomberg shamelessly accuses OWS of harming local business, as if we, not the state, are the ones who have erected metal barriers throughout the Financial District.

It was merely a matter of time till they raided Liberty Square.  And the assault was as naked in its aggression as the invasion of Iraq.  In a carefully coordinated plot hatched with the FBI and Homeland Security, the state storms us by surprise, put lower Manhattan under martial law, shutting down the subway system, closing the Brooklyn Bridge, barring journalists from entering, and even creating a no-fly zone to ensure no helicopters could document the raid.  As described above, the assault was brutal—nearly a thousand officers in riot gear invaded Liberty Square according to an eye witness who opened Tuesday night’s General Assembly, and there was a lot of blood—mass arrests, devastating beat-downs.

As I later overheard one officer say to his buddy in the force a few blocks away from Liberty Square, “they keep saying, ‘we’re peaceful protestors,’ and I say, ‘oh ya?  Well we’re a violent police force and I gonna beat your fuckin brains out.’”  They had a good laugh over that one.  It’s fitting that these animals destroyed most our 5,000 book collection on top of all the other personal property.  The first thing fascist societies do is burn the books.  Just look at Nazi Germany, which despised intellectuals, liberals and communists.

It seemed lawyers defending OWS had an open and shut case against the NYPD.  When I arrived at 2 PM Tuesday, most protestors surrounding the now bare Liberty Square had assumed we’d be granted legal authority to re-enter and continue our occupation.

But I was not optimistic.  I started telling people not to get their hopes up because we live in a country where the rule of law is a joke; where the oligarchs control everything, not just Congress and the press but the legal system as well.

The crimes our elites have gotten away with during the past decade alone are staggering.  To pick a few salient examples, the Supreme Court stole an election and handed it to Bush II; our government has invaded multiple countries without UN approval or any credible justification; the United States tortures and sends prisoners to black sites all over the world; and the state, through the Patriot Act and FISA laws, has disemboweled the Constitution, legalizing warrantless wiretapping and eviscerating habeas corpus.  This little list doesn’t even include the maelstrom of earth-shattering crimes Wall Street commits with impunity every day.

Sure enough, the ruling came down on the mayor’s side.  How could it not?  No doubt, billionaire Bloomberg and his cronies hired the most expensive lawyers, trained to pervert the law and rig the system for the rich.  And they’ve also got the judges in their back pocket.  We didn’t have a chance; and that’s precisely because we were the ones acting lawfully by exercising our right to peacefully assemble in protest.

The ruling is almost comical.  The author concedes everything, from the fact that “Zuccotti Park is a privately owned public-access plaza, created in 1968 by a City Planning special permit issued pursuant to then existing authority of the New York City Zoning Resolution… which encouraged the creation of space for public use in exchange for additional or ‘bonus’ development rights given to the owners of adjoining properties, Brookfield Properties, Inc;” to the fact that “the special permit requires that Zuccotti Park be open to the public and maintained for public use 365 days per year;” to the fact that it was only “some time after the Occupy Wall Street began,” that “Brookfield Properties promulgated rules which prohibited, among other things, camping and/or the erection of tents or other structures.  Lying down on the ground, or lying down on benches…”

But none of this matters because we pose some kind of health risk, as if, even if true, the only feasible solution is a brutal eviction rather than merely telling us to stop the alleged “use of gas” and to clean up the supposed “accumulation of garbage and human waste in public places.”  Apparently, we have curtailed “the rights to public access of others who might wish to use the space safely,” a blatant lie.  The ruling is right out of that scene in Orwell’s Animal Farm, when the Seven Commandments of the society, after being ruthlessly revised by Napoleon and the pigs, is finally reduced to “ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS.”

Indeed, this was how we were made to feel.  When I arrived on Tuesday afternoon, it was a depressing sight.  Our community had been destroyed.  It was now being occupied by the criminals—the NYPD.  And we just had to stand outside the metal barricades.  Later, when they finally let us in after the verdict had been issued, cops in riot gear forced us to come into Liberty Square through one small opening.  They made it as difficult as possible to enter.  They searched people’s bags.  They harassed us.  They barked orders on their bullhorns.  And they made it clear that we would not be allowed to set up tents.  It was humiliating.  It took great restraint not to spit in their faces or fight.

But we shall persevere.  The general assembly was our biggest yet, as thousands flocked to Liberty Square, and the revolution will not be stopped.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of people out there, not just those who have been brainwashed by the right-wing propaganda machine, who side with Bloomberg.  They see nothing wrong with the night raid.  And more broadly, they see no value in Occupy Wall Street, branding us stupid lawbreaking hippies.

This is the ultimate testament to the power of corporate propaganda.  In freer societies propaganda is far more important than in totalitarian states, where the government can always overtly use brute force to maintain control.  The propaganda blitz described above was subtle, consistent with the idea preached by pioneers of corporate propaganda such as Edward Bernays, that the best way to control a population is to flood them with propaganda without their realizing it, to make the masses believe they have come to form opinions on their own.

After the eviction, The Daily News ran the headline, “Beat It!,” The New York Post was of course jubilant, and The New York Times ran a snarky story on its Web Site calling attention to Bloomberg’s tough struggle with his deep respect for free speech and the pressures to restore order; at one point the article singularly portrays local residents as relieved that the nuisance was over.  Wednesday morning’s coverage is pure government propaganda, absurdly claiming that “Bloomberg and his aides tried but failed to negotiate with members of Occupy Wall Street” and “concluded that the protesters were unwilling to negotiate and unable to address their encampment’s growing problems on their own.”  Ultimately, “inaction was not an option,’ the mayor said on Tuesday morning. ‘I could not wait for someone in the park to get killed or to injure another first responder before acting,’” which is why he ordered the police to mercilessly beat the shit out of innocent protestors and later ominously declared, “no right is absolute.”

But let me tell you something.  Everyone who opposes the revolution is digging his own grave.  Those among the 99% who are toiling away in dead-end jobs with no hope to form unions and demand a living wage are deceiving themselves if they think they can get rich some day.  You will almost certainly have to scratch and struggle to make ends meet for the rest of your life if things don’t change.  The police officers who trample on our rights and beat us up will see their pensions privatized and their budgets cut.  And the rich, the masters of our neo-feudalist society, will likely see all their wealth become worthless when the next boom-bust cycle comes crashing down and ultimately, they will see their cities drowned under water as sea-levels continue to rise, if they haven’t been obliterated by nuclear bombs already.

 

 

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There Are No Good Jobs to Occupy, Mr. Giuliani http://thebloodycrossroads.com/531/there-are-no-good-jobs-to-occupy-mr-giuliani/ http://thebloodycrossroads.com/531/there-are-no-good-jobs-to-occupy-mr-giuliani/#comments Tue, 08 Nov 2011 21:44:15 +0000 Marc Adler http://thebloodycrossroads.com/?p=531

Unless you have the right friends in government (photo by Adam Lempel):

It’s fitting that former mayor Giuliani, himself one of the elites responsible for America’s decline and the explosion of crony capitalism, would denounce Occupy Wall Street as consisting of lazy hippies.  His accusations are false, exposing his embarrassing ignorance about the plight of ordinary Americans today, and he conveniently omits any talk of his own criminal efforts to enrich himself and his friends through government.

The first thing to be said is that nearly everyone I’ve met at Occupy Wall Street has a job, albeit one that is very much beneath their qualifications, leaving them grossly underpaid and lacking benefits.  And those who are unemployed are not so by choice.  One friend I’ve made, Max, is a carpenter.  He’s extremely smart, educated and articulate.  But he doesn’t make much money and has a liver condition which will kill him within the next decade or so if he fails to get surgery.  Of course he can’t get that surgery in America, thanks to our corporate health care system.  He will have to eventually move to Costa Rica, which has superior health care even though it’s a poor country, or die. 

Another friend I’ve made, Adam, is also very smart and well-read.  He’s an artist, a painter.  He should be able to paint professionally or use his talents to become a teacher or a writer—something which entails truth and beauty.  But no such jobs exist.  Teachers in particular are ridiculed in America, blamed for the deficit.  Instead Adam must toil away in a dead-end job as a waiter.  He doesn’t make much money, and he works long and hard hours.  But when he has time off he comes to Occupy Wall Street because he feels he deserves better.

One girl I met, Claire, is a talented comedian.  But it’s nearly impossible to make a living in that profession.  So she must serve as a bartender, routinely working eleven hour shifts during weekends.  She has almost no free time.  And she has struggled to maintain access to health care, even though she has had health issues in the past.  She also told me about her epic struggle to help her father get treatment, lest he die of cancer.  She comes to Liberty Square whenever she can, sacrificing her few off hours for a noble cause.  Another girl I met, Lauren, is a waitress who has to save up to be able to afford a routine visit to the doctor.  All these people are doing much better than the tens of millions who are unemployed, living in dire poverty and facing the end of unemployment benefits.

And then there’s me.  I’m an unusual case compared to the Occupy crowd, which consists mostly of young folk suffering from massive debt.  I come from one of the richest communities in America, Riverdale, New York.  My parents paid for me to go to NYU, albeit very grudgingly.  I’m very lucky in that I didn’t have to take the first available job immediately after graduation to pay off student loans.  But I want to be a writer of dissident journalism.  Everyone with experience in the field that I have spoken with, from the president of the Nation Institute to legendary journalist Chris Hedges, agrees that there is no future for young people.  Those who seek to be journalists of any kind, especially those who strive to challenge power and expose truth, will have no jobs.

When I started a year ago, I didn’t believe it.  I believed in the myth of the internet.  It’s the same myth pushed by celebrity culture—the American Dream; that if you just believe in yourself and work hard, anything’s possible.  That if you put yourself out there someone will discover your talent and help you rise to prominence.  But for every successful celebrity we hear about there are thousands, equally qualified, who never make it.  Celebrities, especially those from humble beginnings, are held up by the corporate media as evidence that in America anyone can achieve wealth and fame.  But this is a lie.  Most people do not rise to fame.  Most people have to struggle.  And statistics show that America ranks near the bottom among industrialized nations in upward social mobility.

I may come from wealth, but I have rejected the life I was offered.  My family adheres to a militant form of Orthodox Judaism.  They are right wing fanatics who believe blacks are stupid niggers, all Palestinians deserve to rot and global warming is a liberal hoax.  When I renounced my faith years ago, my parents pressured me to hide my true identity from people, lest I bring shame to the family.  And when I graduated from college, during which I faced endless threats to stop paying tuition and other forms of harassment if I failed to conform and maintain the façade of religion in front of my grandfather and neighbors, I was given a choice.

I could marry some Jewish girl, have children and receive huge inheritance money.  I could get a lucrative job in finance through the community.  Or I could go to law school without having to bury myself in debt and, ideally, serve rich people.

None of these choices appeal to me, though I realize most people don’t have such opportunities because they don’t have the requisite connections.  Instead I chose to pursue the only thing I can do, the only thing I must do—writing.  I’ve essentially been cut off from my family because of my choices.  But there’s no other way—to me the unexamined life is not worth living; either you follow your heart and convictions, or you have wasted your life.

I spent last year writing columns for an online magazine.  They could not pay me a living wage because there’s no money to go around; indeed, all other publications that have published my work paid nothing.  Like the film and music industries, only perhaps more so, journalism is dying because, with the rise of the internet, people think journalists must work for free.

I have left the magazine and started my own blog, which I may be able to monetize eventually and use as a springboard for book deals, but that will take a long time, if it happens at all.  Readers typically ridicule me for asking for donations.  My friends support me for now, though I will likely have to either quit journalism or find some supplemental source of income, which will doubtless damage the quality of my research and writing.

Thus far, my search for a stable, secure tutoring job in writing and reading comprehension has yielded the following reply, and I must inform the reader that I am a magnum cum laude graduate from NYU with some tutoring experience, and a professional journalist who scored a 750 on the SAT writing section:

“I’m not currently hiring and I don’t think you’d be a particularly good match for my company…  Very few small tutoring companies actually hire people- the industry relies heavily on independent contractors…  There is absolutely no guarantee of having any particular number of hours…  It is difficult (not impossible) to make a living as a reading/writing tutor, since that is a relatively crowded area.  If you want to/are qualified to work in that area alone, I have a feeling your best bet is to work with a relatively large, high volume tutoring agency…  I have a friend who teaches ESL full time for Kaplan.  He makes $21/hr for teaching and minimum wage for prep.  That seems to be the trade-off for working for a large company that can guarantee a steady schedule.”

These are the words of one of the masters in a neo-feudalist society.  We live in a country of masters and serfs, with no hope, no prospects.  Workers have no power, and living expenses, especially in New York City, are astronomical.

Some will call me lazy for pursuing independent journalism and dismiss my work as a mere hobby, but they have no clue how much work goes into quality journalism.  True, I make my own hours, but I often put as much as fifty hours of work into a single article, between the research, interviews, writing, fact-checking and editing; all this on top of carefully following the news and learning how to navigate new media.

My conception of what work should be is extremely different from how most of us have been brainwashed to perceive work.  Work should entail dedication and all-encompassing effort, but it should not be a chore.  I think everyone has a talent and a passion and should be able to explore his passion and maximize his talent through work, which should be the ultimate form of self-expression, since, after all, it consumes the bulk of our time on this planet.

But most Americans believe work is something that must be hard, boring, mechanical and invasive.  Either you are a slave to some corporation, either you agree to forfeit your freedom and work when your boss, your master, tells you, the way he demands, for whatever salary is thrown your way, or you are deemed lazy.

I tried that route during a year on leave after my freshmen year in college, when I worked for a cash advance company.  But I believe in democracy in the workplace—that the workers should own their work and the means of production, rather than be slaves to management.  That everyone should be treated as equals, which would incentivize them to work harder, since so long as all workers share in the profits, the more they produce the richer they will all become.  This is a better incentive than the predominant one of our age—the fear of getting fired.

Everyone should be guaranteed good jobs, housing, free education, free health care and protected pensions, so long as they work for it.  The government should work to ensure this.  And primarily the wealthy should pay for a strong welfare system through heavy taxation, rather than let the homeless starve.  There is no such thing as a utopian society, since we are all fundamentally flawed; but we can do much better.

I guess this makes me a Marxist, a leftist.  I suppose Shakespeare was simply a naïve Marxist too (which, amazingly, is what occurred to me the first time I encountered the following soliloquy years ago, thanks to a lifetime of corporate indoctrination), since he has King Lear utter, out on the heath in the midst of a violent storm after he has relinquished everything to his ungrateful daughters and for the first time of his life experiences poverty,

Poor naked wretches, whereso’er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop’d and window’d raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta’en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.

Indeed, it is only through compassion and empathy that we can “take physic” as a society, which is why the humanities are so important.  This is why the corporations, which control the education system through mechanisms like No Child Left Behind, work hard to suck all the life out of education by making it entirely subservient to standardized testing, which, together with the preparation courses, is itself privatized and extremely lucrative—the ETS is a multinational monopoly and the Princeton and Kaplan Reviews are huge money-makers, albeit for those at the top.  Only that which serves a strictly utilitarian function is valuable.  Art for its own sake is worthless.  Even Shakespeare itself has been transformed into a commodity—an NYU professor once told a class I attended that he hosts business seminars on how the wisdom of Shakespeare can be used to increase the bottom line.

In writing my columns, I spent the past year immersing myself in dozens of eye opening books, such as Deadly Spin, Winner Take-All Politics and Blood and Oil, about just how corrupt our system is.  My research has gradually pushed me away from all the propaganda I had been fed about America and capitalism and towards radicalism, which is only radical relative to the mainstream, which is itself the height of radicalism, since it promotes the destruction of the ecosystem, speculation, devastating boom-bust cycles, crony capitalism and likely nuclear holocaust.  Truth is almost always subversive.  Our government does not export freedom and democracy, but rather works to expand the tentacles of empire on behalf of multinational corporations like Halliburton and Lockheed Martin.

I have learned a ton and dramatically improved my research and writing skills.  But these skills are considered worthless in our society.  Literacy, truth and beauty are valueless compared to illusion and spectacle.  Hence Derek Jeter (whom I admire and root for) gets paid over $15 million a year to hit a baseball, and, much much worse, his boss, George Steinbrenner, makes billions.

Which bring me back to Giuliani.  The reason why billionaires like Steinbrenner make so much money is because of nepotism and corporate welfare lavished on them by gangsters like Giuliani.  Like my parents, who spout the wonders of the free market while they collect millions from my late rich grandfather and millions more from Medicare—they run a nursing home they inherited—Steinbrenner started off with wealth, his father was fabulously rich, and he received massive government subsidies.

As I’ve reported in a recent article, and I quote at length, “during the Reagan administration” Steinbrenner “made a fortune by ripping off the Navy for nearly half a billion dollars to build defective ships through a company he inherited from his father,” according to David Cay Johnston, author of Free Lunch, investigative reporter and specialist in tax and economic issues.

“Steinbrenner was therefore used to receiving massive handouts from the government when he built the new Yankee stadium a few years ago.  Because of his connections he was able to get every level of government to help him orchestrate the project, from the mayor to state councils to federal officials.  To build the stadium Steinbrenner used eminent domain to kick people out of their homes, forcing them to sell below market value, and seize public parks.  He then received over $600 million from the state to build the stadium.  And when the Yankees opened their new ballpark they jacked up ticket prices.

Johnston explains that the reason almost every major league baseball team has built a new stadium during the past two decades is because the owners, who are already filthy rich, get government subsidies.  Once the new stadiums are finished they raise ticket prices by over 40% on average.  Accordingly, the tax payer gets fleeced in every way imaginable—those who like baseball have to pay more to attend games at stadiums they paid for, and the majority of people who don’t care about baseball are nonetheless forced to pay.  The state claims the subsidies benefit the city by creating jobs, but this is a ruse—most of the jobs are seasonal, part-time and low wage; there are, after all, only eighty home games a year; and I can say, as someone who grew up in the Bronx, that Yankee stadium has not brought prosperity to the surrounding community, which is a shithole.

The real motive is crony capitalism…  Giuliani played a crucial role in helping Steinbrenner secure the deal [among many other favors over the years] and has been handsomely rewarded in return. According to Johnston ‘after almost every Yankee home game, Giuliani… loaded up the trunks of his and his entourage’s city cars with free warm-up jackets, signed baseballs, and other valuables, despite a city law that prohibits gifts of more than $50.  And Giuliani received Yankees World Series rings worth $200,000 but that Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice reported cost him only $16,000.’  Of course Giuliani has fired other government workers who have taken gifts like Broadway show tickets, but the rules apply only to those who are not ‘important.’”

So please, next time you hear a criminal fraud like Giuliani denounce Occupy Wall Street protestors as lazy hippies, don’t accept his bullshit.  Come join us.  We are fighting for a better future.  One where everyone gets a fair chance to attain a good job on a level playing field.  It will be far different from the system of corporate socialism and nepotism that dominates our society, and, indeed, the world.

 

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A Land Where the Law Protects the Powerful http://thebloodycrossroads.com/517/a-land-where-the-law-protects-the-powerful/ http://thebloodycrossroads.com/517/a-land-where-the-law-protects-the-powerful/#comments Fri, 04 Nov 2011 19:10:47 +0000 Marc Adler http://thebloodycrossroads.com/?p=517

The People v. Goldman Sachs, a personal account (photo by Adam Lempel):

What a day.  It started with a hearing at Liberty Square—the people vs. Goldman Sachs.  Victims came to tell of the suffering they have endured at the hands of this criminal firm.  And after the verdict was reached, the victims were arrested while the guilty were protected by the police.  Hours later, I found that the New York Post is calling for further arrests and an end to free speech, part of a broader misinformation blitz launched by the mass media intended to set the stage for the state to break up Occupy Wall Street.

One woman came to the mock trial at Liberty Square to express her grievances over how Goldman Sachs has ruined her life.  The organization she works for had invested money in Goldman, and most of it got wiped out by the sub-prime mortgage bubble.  She has seen her paycheck, which had already been paltry, cut in half, and it will likely evaporate entirely in a few months because of Goldman’s fraud—the firm played both sides of the game by packaging worthless mortgages as collateralized debt obligations (CDO) and selling them to pension funds, banks and other institutions under the guise that they were secure all the while betting against these very securities through credit default swaps (CDS).  As Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibi reports, they knew they were selling shit, and “Goldman’s mortgage department accounted for 54 percent of the bank’s risk.”  The object was to maximize profits at everyone else’s expense.  And they wiped out millions of people, from small investors to pensioners to ordinary workers.

Then when insurers such as AIG couldn’t pay Goldman back, they raided the Treasury, stealing tens of billions of your tax dollars.  And they were able to do this because they control the government.  Nearly every key player in Washington has deep ties to Goldman Sachs, from former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to Tim Geithner to Bush to Obama.  It makes no difference which political party or which administration is in power.  They are all in bed with Goldman Sachs.  Their fangs are deep inside your neck, even if you don’t realize it.  This is why all of Goldman’s top executives can lie before a Senate committee and not go to jail.

Nobody in power has a problem with Goldman because they stole from poor people, over six million of whom will be evicted from their homes and won’t receive any bailouts.  Bernie Madoff, on the other hand, gets all the attention and jail time because he stole from the rich.  As they said on 60 Minutes earlier this week, he’s “the biggest financial criminal in history.”  But the truth is, he’s small fish.  He just scammed a bunch of greedy fat cats.  The real criminals are still in power.  Corporations like Goldman Sachs and AIG and Bank of America continue to speculate with your money.  They continue to subvert the political process with their lobbying and campaign contributions.  And they have already begun to march us towards the next boom-bust cycle, which will likely be even worse than the last one.

After all these facts were brought to light at The People’s Court, we marched on Goldman Sachs.  We came to demand justice.  We came to collect the money Goldman stole from us.  We came to arrest Blankfein and all the other top executives.

But instead, we faced arrests.  The police, who as usual had followed our every step with a battalion of motorcycles and foot soldiers, quickly ordered us to leave.  But we stayed.  Over a dozen bravely sat down in front of Goldman’s headquarters and refused to move.  They were all arrested while the rest of us, who had chosen to step back rather than face certain incarceration, watched.  We cheered the squatters on and condemned the cops, shouting “shame,” and “who do you protect, who do you serve,” and “the real criminals are inside.”

It was a tough scene.  It was heartbreaking to watch.  I saw the police violently subdue a young, pretty girl, who courageously sacrificed her body for truth and justice.  It took a whole gang of officers to arrest another squatter.  Where I stood two black cops were on guard, preventing us from joining the sit-in.  One of the protestors, a black guy in his twenties, spoke for us all by shaming the officers, telling them to go fuck themselves and shouting, “any black man who serves the man is betraying his brothers” and “you’re shaming your children.”  The officers tried to ignore us, as they have been trained to do, but I could tell from their facial expressions that they felt bad about what they were doing.  They couldn’t look us in the eye.  They were often staring at the ground.  But they are slaves who don’t deserve our sympathy.

It was hard for me to control my emotions.  Here we were, at the epicenter of fraud and corruption, and the victims were the ones who were being arrested.  One cannot imagine a more blatant perversion of justice—the police exist to serve the corporate state.  I couldn’t afford to get arrested on this day for personal reasons, but I had trouble just standing on the sidelines while others heroically went to jail.  A part of me wanted to burst through the cops and link arms with everyone on the floor.  I still feel some regret at not having joined.

Fittingly, a few hours later I saw the front page of the New York Post, which featured an article called “Enough: Time to Throw the Bums Out,” about how Bloomberg has got to get tough on Occupy Wall Street and kick out those “crazies and criminals” who have “trashed lower Manhattan,” as if Bloomberg hasn’t already tried to throw us out, sent riot police on us when we attempted to take Washington Square Park and routinely unleashed mass arrests.  The Post conveniently omits these facts because they must convince their readers that Bloomberg, one of the billionaire oligarchs, is some kind of bleeding heart liberal.  The paper falsely charges that the mayor has “essentially been hiding behind the fact that Zuccotti Park is not city property,” cravenly “passing the buck to City Hall.”

I thought last week we were “eating like kings,” dining on “gourmet food?”  Pretty rapid transformation to degeneracy.  In any event, the “party is over,” and it’s time to establish law and order.

Of course, Rupert Murdoch, their boss, isn’t a criminal deserving retribution.  He only orders his henchmen to hack into the phones of kidnapped children and then lies about it, and he only commands his army of propagandists to promulgate disinformation every day in support of criminal wars of aggression and speculation.  But that’s fine.  We’re the real criminals because of “the lewdness, the incessant noise, filth and downright dangerous conditions” we “have foisted upon lower Manhattan,” apparently an allusion to Bloomberg’s false accusation that we failed to report a sexual assault incident to the police.

In fact, “OWS security personnel forcibly removed the individual and handed him directly to the NYPD,” according to Andrew Smith, a member of OWS’s overnight Community Watch, and Ryan, an eyewitness and member of the OWS press group, says our security team had to notify the NYPD multiple times before they bothered to take matters into their own hands and arrest the rapist.  Meanwhile the police, at Bloomberg’s behest, have allegedly been busy injecting violent drunks and drug addicts into Zuccotti Park to agitate and create a pretext for eviction, which the authorities will likely attempt soon.  Nobody cares that, according to a source of mine on the inside, a friend whose name I cannot reveal, Goldman employees typically snort cocaine before leaving for work every morning.  Drug use at Occupy Wall Street, on the other hand, is a serious public safety crisis.

Though it styles itself as independent of government and ensconced in the free market, The Post is actually acting on behalf of Bloomberg by planting the seeds for the state to storm Liberty Square. It’s a vicious twist of irony that they are pretending to criticize him for lacking toughness while orchestrating a propaganda campaign in support of his fascist agenda of evicting Occupy Wall Street.

But they’re all playing for the same team, which includes The New York Times—they’ve played their part in painting OWS as dangerous as well, setting the stage for a government/Wall Street crackdown by focusing on the dangerous presence of homeless people and writing a piece that reads like government propaganda on behalf of Bloomberg, amazingly stating that “the city has generally tried to avoid confrontation” with Occupy Wall Street and characterizing “Mr. Bloomberg’s evolving response to the protest” as embodying  “a central tension in his third term, between his celebration of free, and at times cacophonous, speech as a hallmark of New York, and his emphasis on bolstering the city’s economy by improving its appeal to residents, employers and tourists,” implying that the occupation itself, rather than the state’s unlawfully erecting metal barricades throughout the Financial District, is harmful to the economy and local residents.

The Times’ recent coverage illustrates very clearly how disingenuous they are when at times they have sympathized with or even praised Occupy Wall Street.  They, together with The Post, serve the real owners of this country. There’s no need for a formal conspiracy among the power elite.  They attend the same clubs, schools, golf courses, etc, and they know what’s in their best interest.  Bloomberg and the rest of the elites have friends at all the major media outlets eager to do their bidding.

As always, The Post refuses to mention the crimes Wall Street has unleashed on not only lower Manhattan, but the world.  As their buddy Bloomberg recently said, it’s the liberals in Congress (as if there were such a thing) who are responsible for the sub-prime mortgage crisis, not the big banks.  The object is to distract readers from “the dangerous conditions” Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs have created in Greece, Iraq and, of course, America.  In truth, as the Post sees it, we are criminals because we are exercising our right to free speech and protest.  Then again, as the Post conceitedly claims, “no one has greater respect for the First Amendment than this paper.”  Not even Orwell’s Ministry of Truth could have topped that one.

It’s fitting that the right wing propaganda machine, itself backed by Wall Street, would call for arresting and, if need be, brutally doing away with Occupy Wall Street.  Like their corporate masters, they have nothing but contempt for truth and justice.  Indeed, the ethic that guides Goldman Sachs pervades the Post, Murdoch’s empire, and ultimately the mass media.  The law must protect powerful criminals and imprison those who stand up for what’s right.

Wearechange footage of arrests at Goldman Sachs

 

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The Real Meaning of Occupy Wall Street http://thebloodycrossroads.com/511/the-real-meaning-of-occupy-wall-street/ http://thebloodycrossroads.com/511/the-real-meaning-of-occupy-wall-street/#comments Mon, 31 Oct 2011 21:26:35 +0000 Marc Adler http://thebloodycrossroads.com/?p=511

Feel the moment, forget about where this is heading (photo by Adam Lempel):

It doesn’t matter if Occupy Wall Street brings no practical changes to the world.  It doesn’t matter if it fails to halt the onslaught of global corporate capitalism.  If humanity does indeed annihilate itself through nuclear holocaust or climate collapse or the next boom-bust cycle—which will likely be even bigger and worse than the sub-prime mortgage crisis, as power is now more concentrated than before— we’ll at least know that we spoke the truth when it mattered.  That we took a stand for what was right.  Even against all odds.  Even in the face of ridicule and state sanctioned brutality.

We live in a world ruled not by Orwell’s Big Brother, but by the forces of “free markets,” a euphemism right out of 1984’s Ministry of Truth, a misnomer in a sea of big lies pushed by the corporate state.  For it is not a world of genuinely free markets described by Adam Smith that today’s corporate capitalists have imposed on the world.  It is the antithesis.  It is a system of concentrated power, carefully crafted to enrich the privileged few beyond comprehension, at everyone else’s expense.

There are no truly free markets.  There is only monopoly.  It oozes out of every dimension of society.  From the two political parties, both of which belong to Wall Street, to the six corporations which control the mass media, to the few insurance conglomerates that conspire to kill 45,000 Americans and bankrupt a million others every year while they fatten their pockets, to the handful of oil corporations that dictate imperial policies, and ultimately to the dozen or so banks that control over 60% of the nation’s GDP.

There is no escaping.  Nowhere to hide.  No time to waste.  The only thing to do is defy.  Resist.  That’s the real meaning of Occupy Wall Street.  You see, when I’m not there with the protestors at Liberty Square I feel I belong there.  Every minute I spend there is an act of rebellion, full of meaning and purpose.

Every day people come to share their personal stories.  A former trader of Treasuries on Wall Street who requested anonymity came to talk candidly about how deeply corrupt and fraudulent the system he once served truly is.  As he puts it, “Wall Street is rife with toll collection, zero-sum gaming, and organized crime.”  They contribute nothing to society, as “securities firms make the most precisely when they do the least,” extracting huge payoffs for meaningless transactions that can be made only through these firms.  Furthermore, the obscenely lucrative salaries divert the country’s talent away from other occupations, luring top graduates to business schools and companies like Goldman Sachs, which “ultimately hurts our nation.”

When he quit his job of twelve years he approached the SEC in the hopes of correcting the wrongs he had witnessed.  He had expected to approach an audience eager to hear his tales of wrongdoing and systematized rape.  What he found shocked him.  Nobody cared.  He couldn’t get anyone to listen.  They were all too busy preparing for the jobs they would attain on Wall Street after they finished serving the public.

A man named Federico once thought he had attained what all those men believed would one day be in their grasp.  The American Dream.  He had made millions of dollars.  He had started a family and bought a home.  And then the sub-prime mortgage bubble burst.  The depression dried up his business, pushing him to untenable levels of debt.  Before long he found out that Bank of America owns his house.  He had never been aware of any transaction between himself and the mega-firm.  But he has been made aware that the big bank intends to take what the law has awarded it.

And therein lies the real story of the American Dream, as Frederico laments.  Just another big illusion among a massive cesspool of lies.  Just another bubble, artificially inflated by Wall Street and the rest of the parasites who gain from pushing Frederico and his daughters, along with over six million other families, out of their homes.  The law exists to serve corporate power, never to protect the weak, the poor, the innocent.  Just ask black America how kind the law has been to them.  Or the Indians.  Or finally, Muslims.

A Navy Seal who requested anonymity and served in Afghanistan came to occupy Wall Street and protect his people from their real enemies.  Not the terrorists.  But the oligarchs sitting in those towers in the Financial District.  Those towers.  So tall, intimidating, mechanical, exclusive.  Bloomberg and Bush and Obama and all the criminals who really run things seem to be sitting there, plotting to increase their power and hold on to it at any cost; regardless of the lives lost or ruined.

The Navy Seal told me a tale of woe.  He witnessed the corpses of little Afghan girls.  They had just been raped, tortured and murdered by CIA officers who were fucked up on drugs.  “When my guys told me about it,” he says, “I couldn’t believe it.  But they [CIA officers] had really raped little girls, beating them up, you know, and bruising em.  I had seen two teenage girls beaten up so bad, that their bodies gave up and died right there.  The rest of em, we took em; we got em out of there.”

You can see the pain and suffering reflected in his eyes as he recounts the horror.  The agony it must have been to see such innocent young creatures freshly stamped out of existence in such a gruesome manner.  To the Navy Seal, those CIA officers are emblematic of the true agents of destruction.  It is not those individual men who encapsulate all that is despicable.  They merely reflect the system they serve.  The real culprit is the corporate state, which has unleashed a cycle of imperial, criminal wars of aggression that will not stop until the empire collapses on its own weight, and brings the rest of the world down with it.

This may very well be the bleak future we face.  But on the side of every woe there is truth and hope.  It is in Liberty Square where such magnificent things can be found.  It is here, in the public square, in the heart of the financial capital of the world, that a former Wall Street trader can come to speak honestly about what really transpires inside those towers.  It is here that Federico comes whenever he has time to hold up his bill of foreclosure for all to see.

He feels the power of truth in resistance.  He shows his tale of woe to the world.  And the world is watching.  And people are listening.  For once, people care.  For once life is about more than making a buck.  For once strangers show genuine compassion.  For once people have gathered to give voice to a cause greater than any celebrity or company.  To participate in this revolt; to soak in the intoxication of defiance; this is what it means to be alive.

 

I can’t work for free: If you like my work please make a $1.00 (or more) recurring-monthly donation.  So long as thousands of people make a recurring monthly donation of just $1.oo I can make a living, as this is a full time job, and Thebloodycrossroads is my only source of income. If people don’t contribute I will have to stop writing and find some other line of work.  You probably won’t notice $1 missing from your monthly credit card statement, and your $1 will make all the difference.  It should take only 30 seconds to a minute to set up the recurring donation through Paypal below and contribute to the fight against corporate propaganda.  (One-time donations are better than nothing, but not very helpful, as I depend on recurring donations for job security—I’d rather receive a $1 recurring donation than a $10 one-time donation, for example.)

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Murdoch v. Occupy Wall Street http://thebloodycrossroads.com/503/murdoch-v-occupy-wall-street/ http://thebloodycrossroads.com/503/murdoch-v-occupy-wall-street/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2011 18:13:23 +0000 Marc Adler http://thebloodycrossroads.com/?p=503

A New Low for the New York Post (photo by Adam Lempel):

 

If you’re interested in knowing exactly what the elites running this country want you to think about Occupy Wall Street, pay attention to what the right wing propaganda machine has to say.  Unlike the “liberal media” outlets, which are also owned by the six corporations that control the mass media and are far more sophisticated forms of propaganda—whereas during the first few weeks they either ignored or ridiculed us they now have to pretend they sympathize with Occupy Wall Street or risk becoming irrelevant— the right wing functions as the overt face of the corporate state.  A classic illustration of this is last Wednesday’s front page piece by The New York Post, which portrays Occupy Wall Street protestors as spoiled hypocrites.

It should come as no surprise that The New York Post would stoop to this level, Rupert Murdoch media outlet that it is.  But even I was shocked by the disgusting front-page headline on last Wednesday’s edition: “Whine and Dine, Protestors Eat Like Kings,” accompanied by a picture of a fancy looking menu.  The article goes on to describe us as a “mob… enjoying rich diet” and “grimy protesters” who are “stuffed into the now-smelly Zuccotti Park.”

We “eat like kings,” dining “each night on gourmet meals prepared by a former hotel chef using only the finest organic ingredients.”  Outsiders should not sympathize with the movement because, “while your family of four may have been forced to resort to Hamburger Helper, thanks to Smith’s culinary magic, hordes of Occupy Wall Street protesters instead feasted on organic chicken, spaghetti Bolognese, roasted beet and sheep’s milk-cheese salad and wild heirloom potatoes.”  I’ve never seen the Post display such concern for the plight of the working class before.

This is right wing propaganda at its most revolting.  While the food at Occupy Wall Street is generally good, I have never eaten anything gourmet there—and I’ve been at Liberty Square almost every day since the occupation began.  I usually eat elsewhere, and when I do eat at Occupy Wall Street it’s typically a slice of pizza or an apple, although on one occasion I ate chicken and rice, which was good, though not what one would expect to find at a royal banquet.

But this is completely beside the point.  Even if the Post’s depiction were accurate it would be irrelevant.  The purpose of Murdoch’s propaganda campaign is to make us look like spoiled hypocrites—look at how they dine like kings even though they’re protesting corporate greed!  I cannot tell you how many people I’ve spoken to who have described to me the incredible sacrifices they’ve made in occupying Liberty Square.  The real stalwarts, those who regularly sleep on concrete night after night, have had to contend with the freezing cold, heavy rain, and a menacing police presence.  During the first few weeks the cops refused to let us set up tarps and tents (though they’ve eased up of late, at least for the time being).  Many protestors have gotten sick, especially during the nights of torrential downpour.

But these acts of courage and fortitude don’t make it into The New York Post.  Instead Murdoch chooses to focus on fine dining.  For the sake of argument, even if the Post’s reporting were true, who cares?  As always, the goal is to distract readers from the real issues, which is what Occupy Wall Street seeks to correct.  The fact that we now eat solid food (in the beginning there was almost only peanut butter and jelly, which remains the most commonly served meal) is actually a testament to how powerful the movement has become.

Nearly everything is funded through donations and volunteer work.  In other words, so many people want to contribute that we’ve been able to raise enough money to feed thousands, including the homeless, with quality meals.  Unlike the criminals on Wall Street, who fund and own stock in the Post, we voluntarily use our own money, not that which has been filched from the taxpayers through bailouts and other forms of corporate welfare; and we use it to feed people, not to speculate on worthless paper and pay propagandists to misinform the public.

 

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The Police Are Not the 99 Percent http://thebloodycrossroads.com/493/the-police-are-not-the-99-percent/ http://thebloodycrossroads.com/493/the-police-are-not-the-99-percent/#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2011 18:24:16 +0000 Marc Adler http://thebloodycrossroads.com/?p=493

They are the enemy, unless they disobey orders and join us (photo by Adam Lempel):

I am sick and tired of hearing people say the police are one of us.  They are not.  They are the enemy.  They do not exist to protect us.  They don’t give a fuck about your safety or your rights.  They are there to serve the corporate state.  Sure there may be some cops who oppose the measures they have been ordered to take, but those who feel this way and nevertheless trample on the Constitution must be called out for their cowardice, and as a whole the police are a gang of thugs paid to protect the oligarchs who control America.  We do ourselves a disservice by failing to recognize the enemy when we see it.  Unless they choose to disobey orders and obstruct the corporate state, which I urge them to do, the police are not one of us.  We must never stoop to their level, but rather continue our nonviolent resistance, which is the only way to defeat them because they fear and don’t understand the language of peace and love.

Anyone who questions these accusations should attend an Occupy Wall Street rally.  You will see yourself surrounded by a long phalanx of officers riding on motorcycles, accompanied by dozens on foot brandishing guns and batons.  They are trained to look tough and menacing.  They bark orders and ignore us when spoken to.  And when they attack they are ferocious, like guard dogs let loose from the leash.  They throw punches, swing nightsticks and fire pepper spray indiscriminately.  They attack everyone in sight, including journalists.  On Saturday they trampled on an 81-year old Holocaust survivor at Times Square.  And they almost always provoke in an attempt to create conditions to carry out such flagrantly illegal and inhumane actions.  It seems only a matter of time before they actually murder somebody.

When people are given a license to use violence they will invariably abuse their power.  There is a perverse Freudian undercurrent in all of us to dominate others.  When the law awards cops free reign to unleash violence, many will transfer their general anger over problems at home or with women onto whoever happens to be in their path.  They relish battle with sadistic pleasure.  For many, this is fun, an occasion for a good laugh.

I cannot tell you how many people I’ve interviewed who told me they were brutally subdued for exercising their right to protest, arrested with cuffs unnecessarily wound as tight as possible to cut off circulation, and hauled into paddy wagons, where they were forced to sit for hours on end, unable to move, given no access to water and suffering from the beatings inflicted on them earlier.  Often one of the prisoners needs serious medical attention.  But the police guarding the paddy wagon just ignore the pleas for help.  They usually laugh.  A friend of mine was severely hurt during his arrest.  His arm may never fully recuperate.

On Saturday evening, as I left Times Square at around 7:30, I saw a massive throng of police cars charging towards the protest.  There must have been hundreds, I hadn’t seen anything like it since 9/11 (I’m from New York).  It was clear something significant was about to occur.  Sure enough, 92 demonstrators were arrested, while others were beaten and harassed.  Their crime?  Participating in democratic action.  In some cases cops lifted barricades and started pressing them against people.  In others they charged at the crowd on horseback.

Later that night at Washington Square Park the police were ready for us.  They were determined not to let us occupy another park in New York.  It’s impossible to articulate the sense of outrage I felt when after eleven o’clock the NYPD stormed the area with hundreds of officers, many dressed in riot gear, others riding on horses.  Buses to ship us off to prison were parked on the streets and along the sidewalks.  They were looking for a fight.

Perhaps the most astonishing thing about the showdown is the simple fact that Washington Square Park belongs to us.  Even more so than Liberty Square, which is a private/public park, Washington Square is entirely public property; we fund it with our tax dollars.  Bloomberg and all the other scumbags running things have absolutely no authority to tell us to leave.  How dare they arrest 14 people!  If the NYPD were really there to protect ordinary citizens in a truly democratic system we would be giving the orders to the NYPD to leave.  But alas, they exist to serve Bloomberg and the oligarchs.

This fact is on sorry display for all to see in a video taken the other day of people who closed their CitiBank accounts in protest of the corporate coup that has hijacked our democracy, as illustrated by Chase’s $4.6 million donation to the NYPD.  The police locked the protestors into the bank as punishment before incarcerating them.  One woman cried “shame, shame” as an undercover cop pulled her aside, pressed her up against the wall and arrested her.  While watching this video one wonders, could this really be happening in America?  But folks, this is how far we’ve come.  For those who didn’t realize it before, the crackdown on Occupy Wall Street is a serious wake-up call about just how draconian our police state has become.

So let’s be clear about something.  The police are not one of us.  Those who refuse orders to revoke our rights and take off their uniforms deserve commendation, and I urge officers to be on the right side of history and join us.  But as far as I know none has done so.  As such, they are all slaves at best and criminals at worst.  The slaves do not deserve our sympathy.  I keep hearing that we should feel for them because they have families too and are just doing their job; they need to put food on the table and pay medical bills; we’re fighting to protect their pensions and stave off budget cuts.  Those who feel this way are entitled to their own opinion.

Personally, I am not fighting for the police.  I don’t care about their pensions, and I hope they do face budget cuts, especially from corporations like JP Morgan Chase.  They are human, but they are trained to behave like animals.  It’s in their nature to mindlessly follow orders, and they unleash their frustrations and feelings of inferiority on us.  They are the corporate state’s henchmen.  They know they are at war with us.  We must never thank or applaud them for “letting us” do anything, whether it be to continue occupying Liberty Square or to allow us to enter the park from more than one location.  It’s not theirs to give.  It all belongs to us.  They belong to us.  They work on our dime.  And we, not fascists like Bloomberg, should be giving them orders on how to protect the people, not the corporations.

The only way to defeat them is to refuse to respond in kind, but rather show respect and let the public see the state-sanctioned savagery for themselves and choose between love and hate, change versus the status quo, and the rule of law versus injustice.

 

Great footage of Times Square brutality,courtesy of Paul DeRienzo and Joan Moossy

I can’t work for free: If you like my work please make a $1.00 (or more) recurring-monthly donation.  So long as thousands of people make a recurring monthly donation of just $1.oo I can make a living, as this is a full time job, and Thebloodycrossroads is my only source of income. If people don’t contribute I will have to stop writing and find some other line of work.  You probably won’t notice $1 missing from your monthly credit card statement, and your $1 will make all the difference.  It should take only 30 seconds to a minute to set up the recurring donation through Paypal below and contribute to the fight against corporate propaganda.  (One-time donations are better than nothing, but not very helpful, as I depend on recurring donations for job security—I’d rather receive a $1 recurring donation than a $10 one-time donation, for example.)

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Great clip of Marine confronts cops: “there’s no honor in this,” very moving

I am not moving,” powerful video

Luke Rudowski of wearechange.org gets beaten and pepper sprayed by cops

 

 

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The Revolution Cannot Be Stopped http://thebloodycrossroads.com/487/the-revolution-cannot-be-stopped/ http://thebloodycrossroads.com/487/the-revolution-cannot-be-stopped/#comments Sat, 15 Oct 2011 15:53:22 +0000 Marc Adler http://thebloodycrossroads.com/?p=487

(Photo by Adam Lempel)

A Huge Victory for Occupy Wall Street:

When it was announced at 6 AM last Friday that the NYPD would not go through with evicting Occupy Wall Street I experienced one of those moments that make life transcendent.  The crowd erupted in cheers.  People hugged, high-fived, clapped, jumped up and down, pumped their fists in resistance, chanting “the people, united, will never be defeated.”  Chills went down my spine.  It was a significant victory, providing an acute sense of jubilation.  The state desperately wants to crush Occupy Wall Street.  They thought their opportunity had come.  But they failed.  We proved that strength does indeed lie in numbers.

The two thousand plus people who showed up at Liberty Square at 6:00 AM yesterday were determined.  We all knew what we were up against.  We were prepared to get arrested.  We were willing to sacrifice for a supremely just cause.  And we refused to surrender.  The corporate state will not be able to silence us.  Bloomberg and his cohorts in the NYPD didn’t call off the eviction because they value free speech.  They abstained from their campaign of mass arrests and brutality because they knew it would be a disaster.  The media would be all over it, and Occupy Wall Street would only double in size, judging by the public’s reaction to the mass arrests at Union Square and the Brooklyn Bridge.

But the NYPD have by no means surrendered.  They will continue to intimidate, beat up and arrest us.  The police state has been cracking down on occupations all across America, desperately trying to quash an emerging mass movement.  But their brutality betrays their blindness to a stubborn fact—they are proving us right; every time they trample on the Constitution they illustrate the legitimacy of our claim that America is not a real democracy, but rather a country controlled by ruthless corporations who eagerly resort to violence to get their way.

The revolution cannot be stopped.  It will not be stopped.  This is because too many lives have been destroyed.  Too many Americans are suffering from unemployment, underemployment, lack of job security, unaffordable medical bills, foreclosures, etc.  Although most Americans do not understand how the mechanisms of power responsible for their declining living standards function thanks to corporate propaganda, they know they have been exploited and neglected.  They see that voting once every four years changes nothing.  It’s clear that their corporate healthcare premiums will continue to skyrocket, that the jobs which have been shipped overseas to fatten corporate pockets are not coming back, that big business lobbyists continue to control the government, and that the war on terror is consuming vast resources which could be used to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

As Occupy Wall Street grows it’s becoming increasingly evident that people realize the only mechanism for change left is civil disobedience.  Both parties have been bought and sold by corporate interests.  The only salvation lies in restructuring the rudiments of the system—rewriting campaign contribution and lobbying laws to remove corporate money from government; ending the imperial project so we can rebuild our country; reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act to separate commercial banks from investment banks and ensure that Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and AIG can never again hijack the economy through fraudulent practices and then force the government to bail them out; creating a universal health care system that will wipe hundreds of billions of dollars a year off our budget deficits and guarantee coverage for all, as is the case in every other industrial nation; and replacing the fossil fuel economy with a green one to save ourselves from catastrophic climate change and pollution.

These are some of the more salient items that we must fix quickly.  Occupy Wall Street is the ultimate struggle for survival.  If we do not succeed our future will be hopeless.  As historian and veteran Andrew Bacevich reports, if we don’t dismantle the empire of more than 700 bases the world over our national debt will reach $21 trillion by 2019, in which case “expenditures required to service the national debt will exceed even the massive amounts spent annually by the Pentagon—the equivalent of the interest on your monthly credit card statement exceeding the size of your mortgage payment.”  The climate disaster will certainly wipe out the species, as one of the great mass extinctions in history is well underway.  And the next financial crisis is right around the corner because the firms which created the subprime mortgage bubble are bigger and more powerful than in 2008.

The only responsible thing to do is join Occupy Wall Street.  We have the power.  Americans have passively allowed an oligarchy to enslave them during the past few decades.  It is up to us to restore our democracy and attain justice.  Last Friday morning, at the moment of truth, we demonstrated how much power we have.  The state could not shut us down.  When it was announced that Bloomberg postponed the eviction the crowd went crazy.  The happy news came as a profound shock, we had anticipated a bloodbath.  Most of us had never experienced people power like that before.  We now feel we can accomplish anything.  In a showdown with a brutal police state we won the battle.  They will continue to fight.  But they cannot win.  It seems their game is up.  Occupy Wall Street has struck a chord with too many people.  Change must come.

 

Support independent/dissident journalism: If you like my work please make a $1 (or more) recurring-monthly donation (one-time donations are also welcome, though my business model depends on recurring donations for job security).  So long as thousands of people make a recurring monthly donation of just $1 I can make a living, as Thebloodycrossroads is my only source of income. You probably won’t notice $1 missing from your monthly credit card statement, and your $1 will make all the difference.  It should take only 30 seconds to a minute to set up the recurring donation through Paypal below and contribute to the fight against corporate propaganda.

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Chris Hedges speaks, very powerful, one of the great ones:

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Occupy Wall Street and the History of Corporate Fascism http://thebloodycrossroads.com/464/occupy-wall-street-and-the-history-of-corporate-fascism/ http://thebloodycrossroads.com/464/occupy-wall-street-and-the-history-of-corporate-fascism/#comments Tue, 11 Oct 2011 18:28:46 +0000 Marc Adler http://thebloodycrossroads.com/?p=464

(Photo by Adam Lempel)

Humanity faces a daunting battle against corporate forces that have historically proved willing to employ any means necessary to preserve an evil system.  The police brutality and corporate funding aimed at crushing Occupy Wall Street hint of the savagery unleashed by corporations in countries around the world over the past 150 years.  Yet the recent crackdown has provided our rebellion with an extraordinary public relations weapon by demonstrating the veracity of our charges against a ruthless system that despises democracy and justice.

The movement sweeping America is our link to a world-wide chain of rebellion.  The majority of the world’s population, which for half a century has borne the brunt of neoliberal policies, is finally determined to stop the onslaught of global capitalism, which is the force sustaining most brutal systems on the planet, from the military dictatorships in the Middle East to the neo-feudalist societies now permeating industrial nations.

Since World War II the United States has expanded its ever-present imperial quest to entail global domination.  Our government has used nearly every method imaginable to ensure a world order that benefits big multi-national corporations.  It dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, even though officials such as General Eisenhower knew Japan was about to surrender, to send a message.  That message was the same as the one sent in Vietnam—do as we say or suffer a holocaust.

In the 1950’s Vietnam, led by Ho Chi Min in the North, was on the brink of uniting after long suffering under the yoke of French Colonialism.  But the United States wanted its puppet government in the South to overtake the country rather than allow the Vietnamese to coalesce under a communist system led by the North.  Thus America began to impose its will through operations in the region, lest the domino effect derail the world order.  When South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem contemplated cutting a deal with the North in November 1963, Kennedy assassinated him.  Contrary to the popular myth that JFK would have pulled out, this coup marked a dramatic turning point, leading to the inevitable escalation that left Vietnam and most of Indochina utterly devastated, with millions brutally murdered.

This was the same message sent in 1953, when America overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran and imposed a military dictatorship led by the Shah.  This was the same message the Reagan administration sent to El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, slaughtering hundreds of thousands.  And it’s the same message being sent by Bush and now Obama to the Middle East— don’t fuck with us; do as we say.

On September 11, 1973 the Nixon administration orchestrated a coup through the CIA to overthrow the democratically elected government of Chile and install Augusto Pinochet on behalf of the Rockefellers and other elites with business interests in the country.  After slaughtering thousands, Pinochet flew capitalist hero Milton Friedman in to provide guidance on how to implement free market economics and roll back the socialist reforms of his predecessor.  Pinochet followed orders, firing tens of thousands of public workers, dismantling virtually all public services and privatizing nearly everything.  Predictably, the country plunged into a financial crisis very similar to the one we experienced here after Bush II implemented similar policies.

Entire libraries’ worth of books, most of which have carefully been kept out of mainstream discourse in America, testify to the revolutionary nature of global corporate capitalism, which has left almost no part of the world untouched.  Just ask those who know anything about the history of Latin America or the Philippines, where labor unions, grass roots movements, religious institutions fighting on behalf of the poor and many others have been murdered, tortured and subjected to mass arrests.  Ask the people of Iraq and Afghanistan whether the wars that plague their countries are about democracy or corporate greed.  Peasants in Vietnam or Indonesia or China who made the shirt you’re wearing have certainly been subjected to similar treatment—slave labor, sweatshop conditions, intimidation, etc.

Big business has launched countless wars in South America, which continue today under a different guise, to ensure corporate domination over basic goods— consider the banana wars fought on behalf of the United Fruit Company in Honduras— and multi-nationals such as Halliburton and Bechtel have influenced the US government to launch invasions that enable them to steal oil (among other resources) from countries such as Iraq.

Occupy Wall Street and the global rebellion spreading across the world face the same nefarious forces.  Although we don’t live in a real democracy, we enjoy greater freedoms in America than people do in China, say.  Consequently, I don’t expect to be dumped in the Atlantic for writing this article.  But we do live in a police state determined to crush resistance.  By now everyone knows about the NYPD’s brutal treatment of Occupy Wall Street, the mass arrests, the pepper spray and the intimidation.  Someone hacked into my Web Site and shut it down the other week.  And JP Morgan Chase recently donated $4.6 million to the NYPD, a clear signal they are happy with the crackdown.

Considering corporate America’s historical relationship with fascism, this should come as no surprise.  Not only did corporate America support Hitler and Mussolini’s rise to power—in fact, IBM built the devices used by the Nazis to keep records of prisoners in concentration camps and made a fortune— but in 1934 they came close to overthrowing FDR and installing a fascist dictatorship in the United States.  That’s right.  Threatened by the populist reforms of the New Deal, heads of major corporations such as JP Morgan (coincidence?), Goodyear and DuPont approached Smedley Darlington Butler, Major General in the Marine Corps, to “pacify” America just as he had made countries in Latin America “safe for capitalism.”  By a stroke of luck he refused, confessing the plot before a Congressional committee and revealing that he no longer had the stomach to continue his brutal practices.

This is what we’re dealing with.  The individuals working for major corporations are not all evil.  In truth, many of them are nice, benevolent people.  But they serve an evil system; a system guided by the ethic of capitalism, which by law and in theory calls for the pursuit of short-term profits above all else, regardless of the human cost, regardless of the ineluctable self-destruction it will bring in the shape of environmental catastrophe, economic collapse and nuclear holocaust.  The corporate elites are terrified of Occupy Wall Street and the outburst of community and love that accompanies it.  These attributes are incomprehensible to the corporate structure, which only knows the language of violence and fosters alienation.  As the rebellion gains momentum, nobody knows what further retaliation lies in store.

I have been at Wall Street since day one of the occupation, and it is an entirely different animal now.  Liberty Park is bursting with people from all over America who are sick of being exploited, abused and neglected.  We want to reclaim what is ours from the oligarchy that rules America and controls most of the world.  We are too big to ignore, we have grabbed the world’s attention, and we will change the system.

The police brutality that has accompanied us every step of the way has been our greatest public relations boon because in cracking down on Occupy Wall Street the state is proving us right—it is true that we don’t live in a real democracy, where people can peacefully assemble in protest and our politicians represent the will of the people; it is true that the Patriot Act has unleashed a ruthless police state bent on crushing all dissent; and it is true that corporations like JP Morgan Chase are the forces pulling the strings behind everything.

 

Support independent/dissident journalism: If you like my work please make a $1 (or more) recurring-monthly donation (one-time donations are also welcome, though my business model depends on recurring donations for job security).  So long as thousands of people make a recurring monthly donation of just $1 I can make a living, as Thebloodycrossroads is my only source of income. You probably won’t notice $1 missing from your monthly credit card statement, and your $1 will make all the difference.  It should take only 30 seconds to a minute to set up the recurring donation through Paypal below and contribute to the fight against corporate propaganda.

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Footage of police brutality on Wall Street, courtesy of wearechange.org

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