It just hit me. I was looking at more photos of the UC Davis protest, and realized that they're claiming they were "surrounded" by the students SITTING ON THE GROUND. The students had formed a sit-in circle around the tent city to "stop" the police from crossing. Some of the cops were on the inside of the circle and now claim they couldn't escape and feared for their lives, that's why they had to pepper spray their way out of the dangerous piranha like circle.
Only problem? When you look at the now infamous video you see the cop that did the pepper spraying was IN THE "DANGEROUS" CIRCLE and simply stepped over the students and he was free. THEN he peppers sprayed the students, after quite easily leaving the circle.
Let's stipulate that there are legitimate questions of how to balance the rights of peaceful protest against other people's rights to go about their normal lives, and the rights of institutions to have some control over their property and public spaces. Without knowing the whole background, I'll even assume for purposes of argument that the UC Davis authorities had legitimate reason to clear protestors from an area of campus -- and that if protestors wanted to stage a civil-disobedience resistance to that effort, they should have been prepared for the consequence of civil disobedience, which is arrest.Fallows has some additional photos from the attack on the students, they're quite moving. Fallows also called the police claim that they feared for their lives "preposterous".
I can't see any legitimate basis for police action like what is shown here. Watch that first minute and think how we'd react if we saw it coming from some riot-control unit in China, or in Syria. The calm of the officer who walks up and in a leisurely way pepper-sprays unarmed and passive people right in the face? We'd think: this is what happens when authority is unaccountable and has lost any sense of human connection to a subject population. That's what I think here.
Less than two months ago, it seemed shocking when one NYPD officer cavalierly walked up to a group of female protestors and pepper-sprayed them in the eyes. The UC Davis pepper-sprayer doesn't slink away, as his NYPD counterpart did, but in every other way this is more coldly brutal. And by the way, when did we accept the idea that local police forces would always dress up in riot gear that used to be associated with storm troopers and dystopian sci-fi movies?
Earlier this week, retired Philadelphia Police captain Ray Lewis was arrested at Occupy Wall Street. Lewis traveled to New York City to protest the heavy-handed behavior of the New York City Police Department. Here’s a picture of Lewis being arrested;
Newt Gingrich called for a national personhood amendment during the Thanksgiving Family Forum, which would define life as beginning at contraception. Earlier this month, voters in conservative Mississippi resoundingly rejected the state?s personhood amendment because it would effectively ban all abortions, certain forms of birth control, and even in vitro fertilization for couples struggling to have a child. However, Mississippi?s Governor-Elect Phil Bryant (R) is now saying that the personhood proposal or something similar may ?resurface in the 2012 legislature” and conservatives are still advancing the initiative in states across the country. Watch it:
Last year at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made headlines when he called on President Obama to support an attack on Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. Today at this year’s forum in Halifax, Sen. John McCain (R-SC) noted Graham’s comments, and claimed that since then, talk of striking Iran has become more acceptable. It’s “generally accepted opinion,” McCain said citing former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, that “the only thing worse that an attack on Iran is Iran with nuclear weapons.” (Mullen has actually warned against attacking Iran).
Also during the Halifax forum discussion today, McCain criticized Obama for not speaking out more forcefully for the Green Movement in 2009, saying that it amounted to one of the greatest foreign policy missteps of the 21st century. In a press conference after the Halifax forum discussion, ThinkProgress asked McCain what he thought an attack on Iran would do to the opposition movement there. McCain paused, saying, “That’s a good question.” Then after diverting a bit by talking about general sanctions on Iran, McCain came back to the question and suggested that the Green Movement might welcome an attack:
TP: I just wanted to go back to Iran for a second. There was talk of attacking Iran in the discussion earlier over its nuclear program and I’m wondering what you think that would do to the Green Movement.
MCCAIN: That’s a good question and I’d like for Senator Udall to talk about that. First of all on the attack, the issue of an attack on Iran. I do believe that we should pursue sanctions. [...]
The Green Movement in all candor is already very disillusioned with the United States of America because of our failure to suppor them in 2009 when they rose up and died in the streets of Tehran and other cities in Iran. So I think that it — I can’t speak for them but if they thought it was a way that would eventually unseat the government then they might be supportive but they are understandably in my view very skeptical about whatever the United States of America does now.
While it’s unclear what information the Arizona senator is basing that assessment on, Iranian civil society, human rights activists and those close to the Green Movement have said that military action against Iran would be a huge set back for the opposition there. Last June, a spokesperson for the Green Coordinating Council said, “The regime would really like for someone to come drop two bombs” on Iran’s nuclear facilites because it “would then increase nationalism and the regime would gather everyone and all the political parties around itself.”
RAND Corp. Iran expert Alireza Nader agrees. “What a military strike could do is unite all Iran?s various factions and personalities around the supreme leader,” Nader said in June.
by David Roberts, in a Grist cross-post
Political reporter John Broder had a long piece in The New York Times [Thursday] chronicling Obama’s decision to delay a tighter national smog standard. I have no desire to relitigate that fight, but I do want to pluck out one particular bit of Broder’s piece to illustrate a point.
In a recent piece kvetching about media coverage of Solyndra, I said: “Republican talking points are delivered as first-order news. Liberal talking points are wrapped in meta-news about liberals and their talking points.” Let’s look at an example ? not the biggest deal in the world, but quite illustrative.
Here’s the 11th paragraph of Broder’s piece:
The standard for ozone was last set in 2008 by the Bush administration at a level of 75 parts per billion, above the range of 60 to 70 recommended by the E.P.A.?s scientific advisory panel at the time, but never enacted. Environmental and public health groups challenged the Bush standard in court, saying it would endanger human health and had been tainted by political interference. Smog levels have declined sharply over the last 40 years, but each incremental improvement comes at a significant cost to business and government.
Look closely at those last two sentences. They contain four assertions:
Now let’s re-order them based on how well they are supported by evidence:
That final claim is, depending on how its read, either trivially true or empirically false. It’s obviously true that smog rules impose costs on particular businesses (namely, the ones emitting ozone). But do the standards impose substantial costs on American business as a whole? Not according to the best evidence. EPA has done multi-year, peer-reviewed studies of the costs and benefits of the Clean Air Act. In the latest, implementation costs between 1990 and 2020 are assessed at around $65 billion. The direct benefits in public health will reach nearly $2 trillion. (That’s to say nothing of the myriad indirect benefits.)
When people get sick less, they die less. They miss school less. They miss work less. Health care costs are reduced. All those benefits are benefits for business. Ozone-emitting businesses have seen a modest rise in operating costs, but the U.S. business community overall has benefited enormously from a better educated, healthier, more productive U.S. work force.
(If you’re interested, EPA has also done a prospective analysis [PDF] of the ozone rule specifically; it shows net benefits outweigh net costs in more than half of the scenarios. It’s worth noting that both EPA and its critics in industry have a long history of overestimating how much these rules will cost.)
Now, with that ranking in mind, let’s take a closer look at how Broder presents his original four assertions. The first two, about Bush’s ozone standards, are things “environmental and public health groups” are “saying.” The third is stated simply (and appropriately) as fact.
And the fourth? It too is presented as fact: “each incremental improvement comes at a significant cost to business and government.” It’s not “some businesses,” it’s “business.” It’s not preceded by, “conservative and heavy industry groups say …” It’s not presented as the contested opinion of a particular set of special interests. It’s just a plain fact.
It helps to refer to a model I wrote about in this post:
The sphere of consensus contains what “everyone knows,” assertions that do not have to be backed up or sourced. The sphere of legitimate controversy contains all those issues on which there are “sides” with differing perspectives, typically quoted in he-said she-said fashion. And the sphere of deviance contains all that nuttery that Serious People simply don’t discuss.
When press critics talk about media “bias,” reporters think immediately about the sphere of legitimate controversy. They think, well, we don’t take sides in those disputes, so we’re objective. What they often have trouble seeing is that what gets included in what sphere is itself an intrinsically political question.
When Broder states as fact that ozone rules are a net economic drain on business, he is engaged in a political act, though he probably doesn’t think of it that way. He is helping conservatives do something they’ve been trying to do for decades: drive the notion that government regulations are inherently economically harmful into the sphere of consensus, to make it something that everyone knows so no reporter has to support with evidence.
And when Broder presents the public health damage of smog as something “environmentalists say,” he is helping conservatives keep that fact — which is overwhelmingly supported by scientific evidence — out of the sphere of consensus.
The pattern has played out on a larger scale on climate change. The conservative campaign against climate science has never been about disproving it, it’s merely been about keeping it out of the sphere of consensus. That’s what “teach the controversy” is all about.
It also plays out around jobs. No D.C. reporter would think twice about stating that regulations cost jobs; they wouldn’t feel any need to back it up. Everybody knows it! Yet research shows that EPA clean-air rules are net job creators. That notion would strike most Beltway denizens as loopy leftism. It’s not even offered as a credible perspective; it lives in the sphere of deviance.
Or, finally, consider the notion that the U.S. deficit is a dire economic threat that requires immediate sacrifice. Among economists, that is a highly contested position, to say the least; most say the deficit is a mid- or long-term concern and that the short-term priority should be stimulating demand. Yet a coordinated conservative campaign over the past few years has driven deficit hysteria into the elite sphere of consensus, to the point that reporters have no compunction simply stating it as fact.
This, not overt ideology, opinions, or “taking sides,” is how Beltway reporters pass along their biases, which tend, through social osmosis, to reflect the biases of the wealthy people they spend most of their time around. “Objective” journalism contains all sorts of subtle heuristic clues about what serious people believe, what is in serious dispute, what is the province of fringe or special interest groups, and what (by its absence) is simply outrÚ.– David Roberts is a staff writer for Grist. You can follow his Twitter feed at twitter.com/drgrist.
Newt Gingrich said that America’s problem are the result of the country’s growing secularism, telling the FAMiLY Leader’s Thanksgiving Family Forum, “A country that has been now since 1963 relentlessly in the courts driving God out of public life shouldn’t be surprised at all the problems we have. Because we’ve in fact attempted to create a secular country, which I think is frankly a nightmare.” He has previously blamed same-sex marriage for the country?s economic woes. Watch it:
During this afternoon’s Thanksgiving Family Forum, Newt Gingrich charged that the Occupy Wall Street movement believes that “we all owe them everything” and announced, to great applause, that protesters should “go get a job right after you take a bath”:
Coming up on Sunday Kos ?.
I called my credit union the other day to find out if mortgage rates had dropped since I last refinanced. They hadn't, but if they had, I would have jumped to refinance again. In this economy, you'd have to be stupid to turn down a safe opportunity to save money.
You probably already know where I'm going with this.
Here in the United States, Republican lawmakers are busy blocking plans to spend money on jobs and infrastructure improvement, while both parties work in earnest to find ways of cutting $1.2 trillion or more from the budget over the next 10 years.
They're doing this at a time when demand for America's debt is so high that investors will essentially pay the U.S. to borrow.
You read that right. Here are the numbers. They may appear hard to parse, but it's pretty straightforward: when you adjust for inflation, the interest creditors get for parking their money here is negative. That's not a deal you'd accept from your bank, but it's the deal we're getting now.
So why are we letting bridges and roads deteriorate? Why aren't we installing new high-speed rail lines everywhere it makes sense to install them? Why aren't we paying people to do the things the vast majority of Americans support doing? Why, in other words, aren't we going on a borrowing frenzy?
The biggest and most obvious reason is that our government is riven by ideology and politics. Republicans say they want smaller government, to cut government programs, and that means less spending - whether financed by debt or by raising taxes. They also have a strong political incentive against helping President Obama and the Democrats boost the economy.
Which is to say, we should be doing this, but we're not.
So any repug, DINO Blue Dog or random moron who opposes the federal government borrowing five or ten trillion dollars to create jobs right now is out to destroy the economy.
Don't let them get away with claiming anything else.
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