Response to “Occupy Wall Street: How Should it be Covered Now“.
To: Arthur S. Brisbane
Public Editor of the New York Times
I find it amazing that these pundits, looking at a crowd of people carrying signs, come away scratching their heads asking, “what specifically do OWS demonstrators want?”
The conspiratorial questions about “who is the leader, who is really behind it” also show how far out of touch, and indeed, clueless, these members of the chattering classes truly are.
Let me tackle the first part of Tim Kelly’s list:
Who are the protesters?
A few groups are here.
1. Old New Leftists, now part of the establishment, going once more unto the breach.
2. First-time protesters, most idealistic young people.
3. Ideological extremists (a small, but visible minority).
4. War veterans, now home and un- or under-employed.
Who are the leaders?
The internet is the leader. There is no person who can be described as leading the movement. Intellectually, the movement is led by Noam Chomsky, probably more than any one other living figure.
Who’s really behind all this?
Adbusters started it. I think it amazed them and has long since left their control.
Who’s going to pay for the cleanup?
Presumably this will fall primarily to municipalities.
What do they hope to accomplish?
Reducing wealth and income inequality.
Enhancing civil rights.
Holding the richest and most powerful to account.
What can citizens do to take part in the protests, or avoid them?
Really? A former newspaper editor has no idea how to Google about “occupy wall street” plus (name of town) and either go there or not go there?
What is happening inside the camps?
I have been to the Boston settlement twice and I have found it peaceful, clean and orderly, with many thought-provoking discussions, books, tracts, and signs.
This degree of confusion and inability to observe the plainly obvious makes me think that, as in the story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, that these wealthy pundits and apologists for the plutocratic class quoted above, see only that which they wish to see and nothing more.
Copyright © 2011 Henry Edward Hardy
David Brooks of the New York Times and the Occupy Wall Street movement
Mr. Brooks, in “The Milquetoast Radicals” errs in describing the “core theme” of the Occupy Wall Street protests as “If there is a core theme to the Occupy Wall Street movement, it is that the virtuous 99 percent of society is being cheated by the richest and greediest 1 percent.”
As proof, he offers a link to a pdf file allegedly from a 2004 issue of a Canadian left-wing magazine.
This is a straw man argument. It is so shallow because only Mr. Brooks is making this argument, falsely attributing it to Occupy Wall Street by guilt by association in order to make a facile refutation.
Then Mr. Brooks goes on to make a very deceptive and misleading analysis of proposals to tax the rich by considering only those individuals making one to ten million dollars per year and downplaying the supposed impact of increasing taxes on these individuals by ignoring all individuals making more than ten million dollars per year and by comparing the revenue gained not to the balancing effect on the yearly budget but rather to the total, historic, US debt. Mr. Brooks also ignores any discussion of the desirability and effectiveness of increasing corporate taxes and closing corporate loopholes.
Then while castigating the protestors as too extreme, he also attacks them as a “milquetoast” group whose “members’ ideas are less radical than those you might hear at your average Rotary Club”
Mr. Brooks apparently has an axe to grind with the protesters; well and good. His dissent is welcome. But he should not engage in guilt by association or what appear to be outright falsehoods in making his case.
Copyright © 2011 Henry Edward Hardy
Your Excellency Firas Gharaibeh, Deputy Resident Representative at UNDP,
I am writing to express my concern and consternation at the way the peaceful and non-violent protest of three citizens seeking freedom for their loved ones in detention in Bahrain today was handled. I am speaking of Asma Darwish, Sawsam Jawad, and Zainab Alkhawaja. Ms. Alkhawaja’s father, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, is an internationally known human rights activist and is the former President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and is currently a member of the International Advisory Network in the Business and Human Rights Resource Center chaired by Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He was taken along with Ms. Alkhawaja’s husband and brother-in-law in a raid by masked men on the night of April 9. He was brutally beaten into unconsciousness in front of his family before being abducted.
When Ms. Alkhawaja and her companions attempted to stage a non-violent sit-in at your office today, you called the Bahrani authorities and turned them over to them. If they are detained, raped, tortured, or murdered, you will be morally and legally responsible.
I want you to know that the whole world is watching. The whole world is watching *you*, your Excellency.
I look forward to your prompt reply.
Henry Edward Hardy
Somerville, MA, USA
UNDP Media Contacts
Women arrested in Hunger Strike in the UN Building – Manama
Bahrain arrests three women in UN sit-in, activist says
Three Bahraini women detained for ruckus in UN office
3 female activists arrested in Bahrain
Even in Custody, Bahrain Activists Use Twitter to Protest
Bahrain frees three women arrested for protesting at UN offices in Manama
Bahrain women arrested in sit-in released, says UN
Copyright © 2011 Henry Edward Hardy
Students at the University of Florida have carried out a second day of protest actions over the shocking and detention of Andrew Meyer, a student who tried to ask controversial questions of US Senator John Kerry. The actions included marching, speeches, chalking sidewalks, and a mass submission of more than 50 official complaints over the police conduct. UF taser protest, day 2
The Gainesville Sun has some information about the two officers suspended over the unjustified assault on Meyer, who was at the microphone questioning US Senator John Kerry when the police grabbed him, dragged him to the back of the auditorium, and apparently handcuffed him, then shocked him with a stun gun.
More than 50 students filed complaints with UF Police over their handling of the situation.
Police did not release the complaints Thursday, saying they could become the subject of an internal investigation. No decision on starting an internal investigation will be made until after FDLE’s independent review is completed, said UPD spokesman Capt. Jeff Holcomb.
The law enforcement agency did provide the personnel files of Sgt. Eddie King and Officer Nicole Mallo, the two officers placed on leave with pay.
King, 45, was hired at the police department in 1994 and had previously worked at the North Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center. He was promoted in 2000. He had attended Florida A&M. A recent review called him an “effective, fair-minded, competent supervisor” who did a good job of maintaining calm in “trying” situations.
King had been reprimanded or disciplined in the past for issues including failing to report for duty for an overtime assignment and being involved in the 2003 arrest of a person for carrying a concealed firearm when it was lawful under the circumstances to have the weapon, according to his personnel file. King also received a four-day suspension after an undisclosed romantic relationship with an employee led to a workplace confrontation with another employee, according to his file.
Mallo, 30, graduated from the University of Florida and was hired by UPD in 2004. She had been commended this year for her work in traffic enforcement with more than 100 citations, four arrests for driving under the influence and more than 200 bicycle stops. She also was listed as an instructor with the agency’s Rape Aggression Defense program.
Mallo had been reprimanded after a traffic stop in 2006 when she accelerated her vehicle to 74 mph and “unnecessarily placed yourself and other motorists in danger,” according to reports. She also was cited for a traffic crash and using profanity when talking to a motorist, according to reports.
Both King and Mallo were commended after a 2004 incident when they diffused a situation with a student at a residence hall who was wielding a knife. Different investigations and reviews are under way into the Tasering and arrest of a University of Florida student earlier this week.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting an investigation into the use of force by UF Police, which is expected to be completed within 90 days.
Next week a panel of UF faculty and students will start a review of police policies. No timeline has been set for their review.
FDLE reviews Taser incident
UF police’s aggressive acts inexcusable
Keeping the Tasers holstered
University of Florida Taser incident (wikipedia)
Updated video: UF student Tasered at Kerry forum
An impromptu test of integrity
Shock and awe: censoring citizens with 5,000 volts
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy
I stare at this paper and don’t know what to say
I don’t feel right saying “happy memorial day”
I don’t find anything happy in the price you’ve paid
We’re both just pawns when this game called
war gets played
My body came home but my spirit just stayed
That hot Iraqi day when you were slayed
Watching my back so I could sleep unafraid I
heard the explosion from where I laid
And instantly I watched the skies go grey
I watched my life just float away
How could things go this way
You were my brother in arms and you took my place
But not like the way that car bomb took your face
And blew off your limbs
When I think about it my head starts to spin
I get noxious when I think of your family
I want to tell them I truly am sorry
I’m sorry your son died protecting me
This isn’t the way things were meant to be
You see that day your son took my duty
Your brother sacrificed four 4 hours of sleep
So he could go guard a gate for me
Your fiancée took my fate from me
I’m sorry your father took my place for me
I’m sorry I can spend memorial day with my family
Today should have been a memorial for me
At least then the survivor could have lived guilt-
–Cpl. Cloy Richards
When Tina Richards, the mother of Corporal Cloy Richards, who is returning to Iraq for a third tour, encountered Representative David Obey (D-WI), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Richards mentioned her son was a Marine who was returning to Iraq and that she had just been to Obey’s office to drop off her son’s poem, “Survivor’s Guilt”.
Obey became infuriated and went into a tirade against, “idiot liberals” who call for an immediate cutoff of war funding:
It doesn’t. The President wants to continue the war. We’re trying to use the supplemental to end the war, but you can’t end the war by going against the supplemental. It’s time these idiot liberals understand that. There’s a big difference between funding the troops and ending the war. I’m not gonna deny body armor. I’m not gonna deny funding for veterans hospitals, defense hospitals, so you can help people with medical problems, that’s what you’re gonna do if you’re going against that bill.
When Tina Richards and the other members of the Occupation Project, an anti-war group, suggested that all that was necessary was not to pass any more war appropriations, Obey seemed to become unhinged, accusing one man of “smoking something illegal” and pointing to his empty inner coat pocket and almost-shouting, “do you see a magic wand?”
Obey’s office has been one of several around the country where anti-war sit-in’s and other forms of non-violent protest have been taking place.
Obey’s Tirade youtube link from Grassroots America
See also: Congressman’s video blunder shows Democrats split on war Washington Times
Tina Richards, A Mother of a US Soldier Crosses Paths With Rep. David Obey Al-Jazeerah
Protests target state’s lawmakers: Activists urge Obey, Kohl to vote against funding for war Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy