America in 2011 (Occupy Wall Street)

This is America in 2011: citizens protesting the social injustices of the financial sector upon the middle class and working poor are being brutalized by police and subject to a blackout by the mainstream media that is slowly being lifted.

It’s an unfortunate truth that the Occupy Wall Street movement(s) are revealing before us today: scream about the evils of government health care or murdered fetuses and they will grab the news cameras, scream about the evils of corporate monopolies or the corrupt practices of Wall Street and they will grab the pepper spray.

 

Gutting America

Now that the budget cuts have been released for public viewing I am reminded that we have a Democratic president who enjoys passing Republican policies.

This budget as it stands now is the gutting of America and the road to ruin. Slashing every domestic program in sight and leaving the wasteful military spending alone is the sort of move I would expect from a Republican, but if this is indeed the budget Obama supports then it amounts to yet another huge failure of this president to stand up for progressive values.

Gutting $415 million from state and local law enforcement, $438 from energy efficiency and renewable energy, $786 million from FEMA first responder grants, $1,045 million from HIV AIDS, viral hepatitis, STD and TB prevention — all of these proposed cuts represent a desire to see Americans suffer and to see this country fail as a competitive nation.

Combining these facts with the $5 billion increase in military spending illustrates to me that the whole of Washington DC is hell-bent on turning America into a war state with permanent rampant poverty. I expect such destructive and illogical policies from Republicans, they maintain the role of the uninformed saber rattlers, but to see such a ruinous and hideous budget plan being endorsed by Democrats is disgusting.

It’s obvious to me, as things stand now, that Obama along with the Democratic Party have thrown the middle class and the American worker under the bus. All the while holding up the bloodthirsty military industrial complex and the heartless desires of corporate America as paramount.

It is nothing short of a lie that the nation is “broke” and if either party was serious about trimming waste without gutting vital social services the first on the chopping block would be the Pentagon budget.

What this country has is a tax revenue problem. As any conservative will tell you GE paid nothing in taxes last year. That is only the tip of the iceberg, but a good place to start. Closing all the corporate tax loopholes combined with raising income taxes on the wealthiest Americans would free more than enough tax revenue to manage the debt while at the same time avoid gutting important government services in the process.

The failure of American Democracy is perfectly represented by the non-choice of Democrats who cave on if not directly promoting anti-American policies and Republicans who pander to racists if not openly endorse fascist laws. The choice between moderate conservatives calling themselves Democrats and extremist conservatives calling themselves Republicans is no choice at all.

They’re Not Cleaning It Up, They’re Covering It Up

Kindra Arnesen is not the only one appalled at this sham of a clean-up effort and the corporate whitewash media-blackout over the level of sheer disaster currently ravaging America at the hands of BP and Transocean.

Arnesen does not even touch on the toxic and hazardous dispersant (Corexit) that does nothing but add a poison that makes the oil harder to clean-up (and videotape / photograph) into the mix of all the other health hazards and environmental hazards already in play.

ProPublica.org:

The two types of dispersants BP is spraying in the Gulf of Mexico are banned for use on oil spills in the U.K.

As EPA-approved products, BP has been using them in greater quantities than dispersants have ever been used in the history of U.S. oil spills.

Reuters.com:

Oil-dispersing chemicals used to clean up the vast BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico carry their own environmental risks, making a toxic soup that could endanger marine creatures even as it keeps the slick from reaching the vulnerable coast, wildlife watchdogs say.

The use of dispersants could be a trade-off between potential short-term harm to offshore wildlife and possible long-term damage to coastal wildlife habitat if the oil slick were to reach land.

Cities in Support of Boycotting Arizona

Many U.S. cities across this nation have taken a respectable stance against the state of Arizona for its “immigration law.”

Austin, TX became the latest in a growing list of cities that are boycotting Arizona in some capacity to protest the law, which makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally and requires local law enforcement to ask for documentation from people they suspect are in the country illegally.

A List of Great Cities in Support of Boycotting Arizona (or are considering to boycott AZ and its so-called immigration law):


Los Angeles, CA


San Francisco, CA

Madison, WI

Austin, TX

West Hollywood, CA

Boston, MA

Oakland, CA

El Paso, TX

St. Paul, MN

Springfield, MA

Worcester, MA

Washington D.C.

Milwaukee, WI

Chicago, IL

NYC, NY

Boulder, CO

St. Paul, MN

Tacoma, WA

Lawrence, MA

Amherst, MA

Sacramento, CA

Baldwin Park, CA

South el Monte, CA

Santa Cruz, CA

And the list continues to grow!

Why The Health Care Debate Is So Contentious

Even prior to the abortion issue being pointlessly dragged into the debate over health care reform the issue has been one of the most contentious debates I have ever seen in politics.

The question quickly becomes: Why?

I feel I have an answer, and it mirrors the matter of the abortion debate as well.

It is simple:

Both sides view the other as disingenuous and downright evil.

From the perspective of the anti-reformists all support for this bill is a disguised effort to destroy capitalism and / or expand the federal government to an unreasonable size.

From the perspective of the pro-reformists all rejection of this bill is a disguised effort to spread hatred, intolerance, racism and violence under the banner of a “tea party” and / or purely strategic politics of conservatives seeking to undermine all bills proposed under President Obama.

(There is, of course, a great deal more complexity at play here in both positions.)

In a situation where both groups view the other as “liars” there is no debate to be had. No discussion that will bare fruits. None.

The fear and lies surrounding this health bill entirely native to the rightwing has no bartering point from which to start from. There is no common ground to find with a person who lies about the record and rejects all evidence that does not compliment their existing preconceptions.

Throughout this year long national debate I have strived to pull the emotions out and put the facts in their place, but such actions only serve a purpose when there remains holdouts on both sides. In the course of this I have seen new levels of hostility directed at me personally more so then ever before in my experience.

I have never “unfriended” and “blocked” so many people in my entire ten-plus years on the Internet.

The incitement toward violence, the death threats, the partisan hate; all existed prior to the matter becoming national in the death threats against Democrats post-HCR. All of this existed in the venom directed at health reform advocates on a daily basis from individuals of a very low moral fiber and very poor understanding of democracy.

In matters discussing life and death, I’d rather not see so many and myself give in to fear; but it truly doesn’t surprise me in the least to see this country explode in mindless paranoia. Big changes equates to big fears, bad economy equates to paranoia on the rise.

In the solid matter of facts, this health bill is a net-positive for America.

But this issue will not lose any of it’s contentious nature no matter how many facts are interjected in the mass spreading of paranoid myths. For too many Americans it is simply easier to believe the worst, and the biased conservative media is sure to provide them endless piles of red meat.

Tea Party Death Threats & Vandalism

The fractious ultra-conservative Tea Party Movement has finally morphed from bazaar partisan rancor into death threats and vandalism against the Democratic health care reform agenda. The racist language directed at John Lewis, the homophobic slurs directed at Barney Frank, the coffin placed in Russ Carnahan’s lawn; the list of examples continues on.

Bigoted anti-Semitism has erupted in talk radio and Internet circles as the threats with possibly bullets behind them find their way to Eric Cantor’s office.

The Tea Party tactics that we see coming to fruition in all this recent hostility toward Democrats, and any progressive or liberal who does anything but stand mute, are designed to sour and squelch all civil debate over health care reform.

This is not and never was about taxes.

The Republican Party and the biased Fox News media have done nothing but prop up these radicals who exhibit these untruthful and violent features. Now these same hypocrites attempt to lay the blame for this vandalism at the feet of Democrats and those who support the health care reform agenda.

The far right has revealed itself as an anti-life and anti-freedom movement in this reform backlash, while the mainstream right reveals itself to be completely accepting of this domestic terrorism.

I want to see these Tea Party bloggers posting an address that is attacked with vandalism to be arrested on charges of willfully contributing to wanton destruction of private property.

Two conservative Tea Party activists posted the address of the home on the Internet on Monday, mistakenly believing it was the home of the congressman. One of the activists urged others to “drop by” and “express their thanks” for Perriello’s vote in favor of health care reform.

Tuesday evening, Perriello’s brother’s family smelled gas and discovered the propane line of a gas-powered grill on their screened-in porch had been slashed.

11th Hour of U.S. Health Care Reform

WASHINGTON — After a frenzied push to nail down final commitments and resolve lingering disputes in their ranks, House Democrats today are poised to pass the most sweeping change to the nation’s health care system since the creation of Medicare nearly half a century ago.

President Obama has at long last starting stumping for health care reform and started speaking the truth to the power of the health insurance companies strangling American families worse and worse every year. Whatever strategic issues I have with Democratic Health Care Reform, the bottom line is the party and the president have stepped up to do the right thing and put forward the agenda of the American people instead of the agenda of Corporate America being placed in the highest priority. Whatever enhancements I myself would add to this bill (Public Option) it is nonetheless a step in the right direction and beyond that point, if we failed to complete at the bare minimum of this reform in the system there will be dire consequences on the overall national economic stability in years to come.

This is the eleventh-hour of health care reform in the U.S., and this political blogger is predicting we will see these reforms pass.

Good news, to be sure.

After more than forty years of inaction and failures to address this most important issue we shall at long last see moral standards in our health care system and some limit placed on the corrupt practices of the insurance companies.

Senate Reconciliation Now!

The Republican obstructionism on the health care reform agenda is not “principled objections” as Senate minority leader Eric Cantor suggests. It is non-principled, pure nihilistic policy of poisoning the well and deception on behalf of conservatives.

The liberal majority that elected Democrats to office in 2008 has spoken.

The Public Option must survive in a final health care bill, and the process of reconciliation between House and Senate bills is the only avenue by which Democratic representatives can claim to have made any “meaningful reform” come reelection time.

Make it clear that this will not go away, and we the liberal progressives will not be silent.

This push did not come from the White House, or the Progressive Caucus, or from the desk of Sen. Harry Reid. This push for a strong public option through reconciliation came from the people who understand that health care is a moral issue, not merely a budgetary issue.

Both President Obama and Senator Reid remain open to the pursuit of Senate reconciliation, but I believe it important to state that this in itself is the “failure to sell health care reform to the American people” I spoke of before.

Instead, we will have to make perfectly clear that the public option must go forward and does not continue to be the “public optional.”

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced on Friday afternoon that he would work with other Democrats and the White House to pass a public option through reconciliation if that’s the legislative path the party chooses.

The party has spoken. The ball is their court now in congress, but we must not allow this to fade into the night.

Just as Paul Krugman recently closed an op-ed with, “Health Care Reform Now!” I would say the as he except in different words given the changing of the situation but holding the same meaning:

Senate Reconciliation Now!

Texas Joins In On The Science-Denial Trend

The state of Texas has jumped on the science-denial bandwagon currently gripping the right-wing. Texas has challenged the EPA findings that greenhouse gas emissions are classified as “dangerous,” claiming that the findings are based on flawed science. This is of course a false and absurd claim coming from the leading greenhouse gas emitter of the U.S.

Al Armendariz, the EPA’s regional director over Texas, said the agency is confident the finding will withstand any legal action. He also said the move isn’t surprising considering Texas’ pattern of opposition to the EPA.

“Texas, which contributes up to 35 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted by industrial sources in the United States, should be leading the way in this effort,” he said. “Instead, Texas officials are attempting to slow progress with unnecessary litigation.”

EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said it’s the first legal challenge by a state, though industry groups have also challenged it.

Texas says the EPA’s research should be discounted because it was conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore in 2007 for its work on climate change but has since been embarrassed by errors and irregularities in its reports.

(Nobody ever successfully connected the so-called “Climategate” hacking incident, which I assume are the “errors & irregularities” mentioned, and the matter of the Greenhouse Gas Effect or the Climate Science findings as a whole in any way except political partisans with obvious Big Energy funding and absolutely no facts to back up the case they make.)

The guys and gals of The Great State of Denial, good ol’ Texas, seem to hold different standards of The Scientific Method and Comparative Analysis. Maybe those words are just too big for Texas.

I see this as just a symptom of a much larger problem breeding under the surface: the praise of ignorance over knowledge; the willful destruction of critical thinking.

The “debate” over climate change can be settled in moments by the most simple process of comparing the credibility of the sources and the amount of raw data on both ends. There is not a debate going on in the scientific community, there is a consensus with a few skeptic holdouts that have almost all published debunked papers at some point or another, but within the political community and the business community they would like very much for this issue to be up for debate. But it’s not, an overwhelming body of evidence exists in favor of Climate Science and skeptics fail to bring any new data (“Climategate” was the biggest joke on conservatives and their complete inability to rationally review data ever) so it’s simply “denial” and nothing more from these Big Money influenced talking heads. The Deniers and the Consensus; Texas just put itself on the side of the Deniers.

What lies under the surface here is the desire to squelch all rational discussion and replace it with bumper-sticker sound bytes. If anyone dares speak out against these ridiculous claims circulating and tries to use facts instead of rhetoric, then you can bet they will start up the personal attacks and just making even more broad claims about more unproven garbage. If you are even perceived as “smart” then you must be a “elitist liberal” who will only “lie to confuse you.” They are teaching people to hate intelligence and love stupidity in the once great state of Texas, all in the name of keeping their rich friends happy and scoring cheap political points while they are at it too.

I Believe Glenn Beck is Dangerous for America

MediaMatters.orgBeck, O’Reilly respond to Misinformer of the Year

This all bounces around in circles, just as Glenn Beck had hoped it would. He is supporting unconstitutional rhetoric and calling the people calling him out on it as doing the same. He is hiding behind a shroud of lies and then claiming that the scorn that befalls him is an attempt to silence truth. It seems the new right-wing meme to just accuse the other guy of exactly what you are doing so they have trouble calling you out on the ugly that you just spread all over the table.
Liars of this magnitude are not just merely irritating, as some have suggested to me, they are dangerous when given a platform of supposed credibility. Beck spends much of his time smearing progressives and Obama; but by the same tools he uses to falsely blame progressives / liberals are all of societies woes I could turn about and say that conservatives are the core of what is diseased and sick with the country. The same vile venom could be reversed to make the “enemy” the other side. There is no discourse to be had and that is exactly the goal from the beginning for this latest vein of populist-conservative banter. Glenn Beck will lie at any cost and continue to destroy democracy with his fear-mongering theories until people like you and me stand up and will say we have had enough of this vile anti-American propaganda. Partisan bullies like Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the corporate tools will always jump to defend the likes of these mindless hateful notions touted by Glenn Beck. The disgusting angle on both of these men is they claim to be “bipartisan” but they constantly attempt to demean and fabricate facts about liberals but never use the same dirty tactics against conservatives. Glenn Beck is the most unpatriotic broadcaster in U.S. History, and the fact that he remains on the air proves that racism and hate-speech sells better than Americanism and education. Perhaps Rodger Ailes made a simple business decision: that selling fear-mongering and race baiting was more important than representing American values.
After watching this video one could conclude, as Bill O’Reilly wants everyone to, that all voices against Glenn Beck have been those of the political left. But this is in fact not true. The Anti Defamation League is not a political-left group and they have gone out of their way to illustrate how dangerous and hateful this man’s chosen rhetoric is. What these people engage in just simply a labeling-game of a highly partisan nature of any ideological group that disagrees with their positions. Their own policy positions and tactile logic being so lacking they resort to defining the opposition instead of sharing their own perspective weighed against another extreme position. That is the definition of “fair & balanced” or “bipartisanship” … both sides of the political spectrum; not just one side amplified to an unrealistic height.
Everyone has to be a “far left radical” or a red baiting term like “socialist” or “Marxist” because if they are not then people might realize that being a patriotic American means respecting the difference of opinion rather than allowing yourself to be so broken and dishonest a person to believe or spread unsubstantiated slurs about liberals / progressives / Democrats instead of your own differing policy ideas and world view. It is Glenn Beck leading the charge, with the other pundits of Fox and the Tea Party riding behind him, to destroy the political debate and corrupt the political dialect in this country as much as possible. This man toys with racism, McCarthyism, political bigotry and fear-mongering about the government like they were all harmless tools when they deadly weapons that will destroy our democracy if left to spread like a virus throughout the country. To put it another way: Beck seeks to destroy the middle and push everyone into hateful opposing camps instead of negotiating parties. I have for many weeks been mulling over exactly what could be said that is truly “bipartisan” about Glenn Beck and all his noise. That is what I come up with, just that alone. He seeks to destroy the middle and aggravate existing social tensions for profiteering motives at the expense of our very system of democracy were his notions and supposedly genuine “fears” followed through to their logical conclusion. Glenn Beck paints an America that is dark and filled with myths that become reasons to hate the world.
However, all is not lost. I suggested we “Hit Glenn Beck Where It Hurts,” in the advertisers. And to some extent we were successful: a reported total of 20 sponsors dropped Glenn Beck after his racialist statement about a U.S. President was not apologized for nor retracted formally by the network at the reported request via multiple letters to Rodger Ailes.
Many people saw the truth: that this was not about political opinions anymore and that Beck had purposefully been race baiting when he called Obama a “racist.” The case that defines Glenn Beck is a case that they will never air or likely ever speak out on any version of Fox News. That being the most “extremist” internet-attack against Beck, that in fact illustrates quite well what his common tactic is when creating his fantastic tales of fiction. Minus the shock-value, the point is more on a legal aspect as to where his true allegiances lie. Beck went outside the United States, and sought European-brands of justice to serve him when he became aware of this “rumor” about him and wanted them squashed. He could have sought to U.S. Constitution that he claims to love so dearly to help defend him in what he saw as a violation of his rights, but instead he opted to try and simply destroy the opposing voice with a foreign court. It did not stop there, from there Beck has used his big-money influences to try and push this website promoting this “rumor” as “satirical comedy” off the bandwidth with dirty corporate tactics; the very same tactics he claims to despise so much. The website remains, and freedom of speech is protected despite Beck’s attempt to destroy it. I re-posted that website content onto my blog in the spirit of “rodeo clowning” that Glenn Beck is so found of himself. I refuse to take it down even if I don’t completely enjoying having it up.
Glenn Beck is smarter than he wants his audience to know. A trend popular with women working at Fox, but Beck has taken it up for himself and it seems to work rather well for him. He saw out over the horizon the same unwarranted fears and same old social tensions coming to rise in this country that I did nearly two years ago now. I mused that the time that I could go out into the lands as the healing suave, to bring some truth to matter and some real policy differences that people could see rather than hollow boiler-plate talking points. But what he decided to do was to pour gasoline on the fears and start putting Hitler-mustaches on anyone not giving to these ever-present right-wing propagandists that he frequently has as guests on his television and radio programs. He and I are not so different, in that that he is an embodiment of someone like myself in my “extremes of opinions” except minus all morality, patriotism and ethical standards. It’s all very clever word-plays and out-of-context quotes and rewriting of U.S. History; but it’s not impressive because I could have done it too. Lying is easy, but the question is: Is it worth it? In the end his soul will have to answer for the racism and many, many lies he has told. The money he makes while treating his audience like they are severely lacking intelligence (many unfortunately are) will buy him his ticket to the country club with Limbaugh and O’Reilly and the rest, but the currency of his character is forever darkened by the path he has chosen for himself.

Urban Institute Overviews The Public Option

Ezra Klein of The Washington Post has called this the “best overview of the public option” he has read so far, and I concur:

Getting to a Public Option that Contains Costs: Negotiations, Opt-Outs and Triggers

The debate over a public option has essentially become a debate over the size and role of government in the health care system. The central argument, as we see it, should be one of fiscal conservatism—that a public option should play a role in addressing the very serious problem of health care cost containment. The current debate between the left and the right on this issue is obscuring the fact that consolidation in both the insurance and provider markets is propelling a higher rate of growth in health care costs. The consolidation of power, particularly in provider markets, makes it extremely difficult for insurers to negotiate rates for their services and contributes to rapid growth in health care costs. A strong public option is one that ties provider rates in some way to Medicare rates (though set at likely higher levels), and that is open to any individual or firm regardless of firm size. It would thus provide countervailing power to providers and help control cost growth.

We argue that a strong version is necessary because there is little else in health reform that can be counted on to contribute significantly to cost containment in the short term. Capping tax-exempt employer contributions to health insurance has great support among many analysts (including us), but it faces considerable political opposition. Proposals such as comparative effectiveness research, new payment approaches, medical homes and accountable care organizations, all offer promise but could take years to provide savings. Thus, the use of a strong public option to reduce government subsidy costs and as a cost containment device should be an essential part of the health reform debate.

We recognize that there is opposition to a strong public option. Both the House and Senate proposals are considering relatively weak versions to make the public option more acceptable. Both proposals would have the public option negotiate rates with physicians and hospitals. We see two problems with this. One is that negotiating rates is not simple and it raises difficult implementation issues; for example, with whom would the government negotiate? Further, negotiations are most likely to be unsuccessful with providers who have substantial market power. Since this is at the heart of the cost problem, a strategy of negotiations seems unlikely to be effective, as has been affirmed by cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

The Senate has proposed a public option with an opt-out provision. This has the advantage of recognizing regional diversity in political philosophy by allowing states to pass legislation to keep it from being offered in their states. A disadvantage of this proposal is that it would exclude many who would potentially benefit from a public option. The states likely to opt out are likely to be those with high shares of low-income people and many uninsured.

The other alternative is to establish a strong public option but not implement it unless a triggering event occurred. The goal would be to allow the private insurance system to prove that it can control costs with a new set of insurance rules and state exchanges. The triggering events could be the level of premiums exceeding a certain percentage of family incomes or the growth in health care spending exceeding certain benchmarks. Since the public option would only be triggered because of excessive costs, however measured, we assume that a relatively strong version of a public option would come into play.

We recognize that taking a strong public option off the table may be necessary to enact reform legislation. But this will mean, at a minimum, higher government subsidy costs by not permitting a payer with substantial market power to bring cost containment pressure on the system. The outcome is likely to be that costs will continue to spiral upward. In effect, the nation would be relying on the range of promising pilot approaches to cost containment that would take some time to be successful. If they are not, we may be left with increasingly regulatory approaches, such as rate setting or utilization controls that apply to all payers. This would mean much more government involvement than giving people a choice of a low-cost public option that would be required to compete with private insurers.

(Read entire paper in PDF)

UCSC Student Protest & Possible Suppression of Facts

University of California Santa Cruz is often associated as a left-leaning campus and administration, being the keepers of The Grateful Dead Archive and located in a mainly undisturbed forested historic location, but they have raised the ire of this liberal blogger in the aftermath of a recent four day sit-in protest of a 32% increase in college fees enacted by the university.

I personally side with the protestors, and the group leading the statewide protests called “Occupy California,” in that the increase is outrageously high and only serves to make higher education less available to lower and middle-income households. UC colleges across the state have spent huge amounts of money on construction projects but done nothing to improve affordability or increase teacher pay. I am well aware of the budgeting woes of the university that are not connected to administration decisions and believe this heavy of a rate increase and the response to the Kerr Hall Student Protest are examples in poor leadership above all else. If the spokesman had spoken with the protestors prior to speaking with the press he would not have spread what appears to be inaccurate information, and if the president had only come to find a method of negotiation with the protestors instead of simply ejecting them from the campus using the police department this incident might have been avoided.

It appears the administration, though unlikely in a unanimous effort by any fashion, sought to simply throw these civil protestors off campus without even addressing them as concerned Americans because the protestors raised matters they would rather not address. Such attitudes of indifference to differing logic pang more of the “loyalty tests” we see coming from conservative-ideological camps than it does of liberal-ideological camps. I detect a desire to silence the facts of this matter, perhaps because it looks bad for the “image” of the university. I am also willing to entertain this may have been a decision of the University of California administration as opposed to a decision of the UCSC administration to handle these protestors as such.

To make all these matters worse the local news-outlets are simply repeating statements of UCSC Spokesman Jim Burns, thereby I believe are under-reporting and outright altering the objective truth of the events surrounding the aftermath of this protest.

Both The Santa Cruz Sentinel and The San Jose Mercury have notably deleted the online-versions of the articles they published on the matter.

I do not have all the facts of the case, at this time, but it appears that either the Santa Cruz Police Department or the UCSC administration or both are guilty of greatly mishandling the matter of their response to a small number of destructive and misguided individuals who committed unclear amounts of property damage at UCSC’s Kerr Hall.

One eyewitness told me that people were indeed being forcibly pushed out by the police of Kerr Hall, one website claims mace was used on students and a Letter to the Editor in the Sentinel claims that batons were used.

According to the eyewitness:

“You had to be there. It was frightening to see police officers show up in response to a peaceful sit-in protest with riot gear and holding tazers.”

“The whole point of the protest was non-violence and the leaders of the protest were adamant about keeping the property protected and stopping any violent behaviors before they began. Many of the people who were doing the destruction were not even from UCSC, it is not fair that so many are saying to protestors were the ones doing the damage to the building.”

I asked this eyewitness if they had witnessed any use of non-lethal force against the protestors by the police:

“I didn’t see anything like that. They were pushing people. It’s true that when they arrived a few people had overturned a table and were trying to keep them out, but that was only about three people and from there they were very heavy-handed with everyone.”

I inquired as to why some were so angry in the first place that they felt the non-violence and anti-property destruction ethics of the promoters should be ignored:

“There was a letter sent to the president of the university and it simply asked him to come down and talk to them and it was outright refused. Some people were made very angry about this and started saying things like that the university didn’t care to even take them seriously. I’m not sure, but I think that was motivating some of those people who were very angry. That all went on upstairs, I only know what happened after the police made us all leave.”

Without inquiry the eyewitness filled in the next question I had:

“A lot of people, I was one of them, were trying to get the police to let us back in to clean up the trash and try to repair some of the damage done by the unruly protestors, and we were told that we would be arrested if we went back inside.”

(I am told both the journalistic articles of The Sentinel and The Mercury did not include this report, and that they only repeated the UCSC Spokesman Jim Burn’s statement. Neglecting to report on this claim that many protestors offered to try to clean up whatever damage they said a “select few” were causing in the upstairs of Kerr Hall and also omitted these reports of mace and batons being used.)

Then, after pumping them for information, they started pumping me for information:

“Why weren’t you there?”

I was working, I have been broke for way too long, but I probably would have missed it due to ignorance of it going on more than a lack of support. (I could have asked for the time off if I knew in advance.) Also I’m the “firecracker” in the crowd and might just have my pocket-Constitution handy since I’ll never be able to carry around that huge textbook o’ mine on U.S. Constitutional Law. (The Freedom of Speech shall not be infringed.) I should have been there on Saturday, no question, but I might have only gone as an objective observer.

Had I attended the sit-in protest itself I would have been there on behalf of all American Workers, and on behalf of the working-poor and their equal right to higher education as the upper-classes. All while the UC system makes them the target of the budget gap that have in part created with speculative construction projects.

Here is a notion: how about all UC administration officials take a statewide 25% pay cut?

The difference that would make should be removed from the 32% fee increase and then that would be a policy I might support and would be more critical of those protesting such a hike in fees under such a circumstance.

If the state is suffering and people are struggling perhaps the UC administrations around the state should consider putting themselves in a position in which they have to file for food stamps and are collecting their change to pay for gasoline to get to their job like the rest of us.

To the credit of The Santa Cruz Sentinel they published a Letter to the Editor by one of the protest organizers who is also a UCSC alumni and I believe one of the other credible sources on the events of Kerr Hall:

“Shame on UCSC administration

Throughout Saturday night at UC Santa Cruz, students faculty and staff massed outside Kerr Hall where students barricaded themselves [incomplete]”

To credit of The Santa Cruz Police Department they have recently formed a gang task force after myself and many others made voice to our concerns about the matter. I failed to give credit as that story broke to the SCPD after berating them over the matter via weblog. I believe this was simply a matter of a poor response, in this case, on behalf of the department to arrive with riot gear and non-lethal weaponry instead of standard equipment.

The party that appears to hold the strongest share of what went wrong at Kerr Hall, is the UCSC administration, in both refusing to meet the protestors head-on and directly address their concerns and seek a peaceful solution to their vacation from the grounds if one exists and also in the case of publicly denying that protestors were asking to clean up the facilities that others had damaged if they were indeed ordered by law to leave grounds by means of their spokesman.

Atop of that the university is claiming an unrealistically high damage cost for what multiple sources have told me was mostly minor damage caused by only a small numbers of irate individuals.

It is my view, that if the administration had only addressed the protest from the lens of a civil rights matter they would not have made the same decisions.

One thing I’ve learned, is that ordinary people don’t bend the truth and I believe these two testimonies over any of the “big-name” reporting to come out about this so far.

I don’t have all the pieces at my disposal to provide what I would call “full-coverage” of the UCSC Protest and the aftermath, but I thought it important to share what I know so far as it is somewhat difficult to get the whole journalistic story on this matter with only internet resources:

CBS5.comUC Student Protest

No arrests were made and the demonstration ended without confrontation, UC officials said.

I believe it to be inaccurate to say that the demonstration ended “without confrontation” only in that, according to my sources, approximately 75 people approached the police and offered to clean up the second floor. However, CBS5 is only repeating the statements of the UCSC Spokesman. It is accurate to say no arrests were made in Santa Cruz.

NewUniversity.orgUC Santa Cruz Protest: From a Face-off to a Mace-off

Someone at the protest was using CNN’s iReportUC Santa Cruz Protest Enters Day 4

-The protests at the UCSC campus are soon entering Day 4.
-Additional students entering Kerr Hall to aid and support the occupiers.
-Protest has remained peaceful and non-violent.
-Positive atmosphere
-Dozens of students remain outside supporting those inside.
– As of 1:20AM Sunday morning, supporters and occupiers are still present.

The final component here is the political right-wing native to Santa Cruz and our local political dynamic perhaps effecting a great many views on this matter.

The local “Club for Growth” neoconservative / libertarian / conservative right-wingers had their voice well expressed in this Letter to the Editor in the same edition of The Sentinel:

“No-growth policies come home to roost

[incomplete]”

I wouldn’t be surprised to discover many of the local police officers agreed with this position and such attitudes are not often found from reactions of law enforcement officials in regards to right-wing protests.

The tuition increase along with the excessive spending on construction contracts while neglecting other more pressing matters like affordability were exactly what the sit-in was in protest of and this individual insists upon finding a way to blame the protestors for the highly questionable decisions made the UC that many, including myself, find upsetting.

I long for a day when “tea-baggers” and neoconservative (“neocon”) pro-war protestors are treated with the same heavy-hands and greatly scorned just for the sake of expressing their ideals. I would love to serve some of these people the medicine of civil injustice and public harassment they so enjoy seeing done to any left-wing protest.

I dream of an America that remembers the past of this country, endless disagreements of every nature and sort that we came together and sought solutions and found a way to look our neighbor in the eye even though we believed their politics to be nothing but whimsical rubbish.

I believe far too many in this community would seek to blame the protestors themselves for all ills than ever look at the matter scientifically, or at least rationally.

With all this love of the “expose,” I should really start tearing apart our local nut jobs and tell my tale of complete disillusionment with a prominent figure in local-conservatism.

The true “expose” here is to be had on portions of the American Press, as well countless figures across the nation touting themselves as “objective” in politics when in fact they are nothing but the most bitter partisans you could hope to find who simply smile and laugh as they create an atmosphere of utter hatred for their fellow Americans. The people tearing apart our legislature, our political media, our newspapers and our economy in this state are not we the liberals and progressives of the state.

I will continue to be critical of both sides and attempt to convey both sides of an issue, and then people can judge for themselves if any level of credibility should be bestowed upon people who distort facts to suit an agenda.

Coming from any political persuasion, such actions are wrong.

The population of students, alumni and residents here in Santa Cruz may be left-leaning individuals but I have long held the impression that the UCSC current administration is not that by any means and this possible suppression of what really happened when the sit-in protestors were asked to leave and the circumstances surrounding the dispersal.