As some faculty members called for her ouster, the chancellor of UC Davis launched an inquiry Saturday into the pepper-spraying of apparently peaceful Occupy Davis protesters by campus police.
A video of the Friday incident that went viral on the Web showed a police officer dousing the protesters with a canister of pepper spray as they sat huddled on the ground. The police had been attempting to clear the university’s Quad of tents and campers.
Faculty and students reacted with outrage. Nathan Brown, an assistant professor of English, said in an interview that the episode was the latest example of “the systematic use by UC chancellors of police brutality” to suppress protests.
Value of all gold ever mined: $ 009,120,000,000,000 +
Value of World liquid assets: $ 072,120,000,000,000 +
Value of proven oil reserves: $ 124,000,000,000,000 =
Sum of all of the above stuff:$ 205,240,000,000,000 is less than:
Size of derivatives mkt ('09):$ 439,000,000,000,000
Congress’ approval rating has fallen to an abysmal 9% — to put this in perspective, herpes is now slightly more popular than Congress. Bed bugs really can’t be that far behind.
Diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer in 2009, Norman B. Smith, 63, has been treated at Cedars-Sinai by oncologist Steven Miles, who approved medicinal marijuana in part to help his patient cope with the effects of chemotherapy. Smith became eligible for a liver transplant last year, but was removed from the list in February after testing positive for marijuana.
If a population becomes bullied or intimidated out of exercising rights offered on paper, those rights effectively cease to exist. Every time the citizenry watches peaceful protesters getting pepper-sprayed — or hears that an Occupy protester suffered brain damage and almost died after being shot in the skull with a rubber bullet — many become increasingly fearful of participating in this citizen movement, and also become fearful in general of exercising their rights in a way that is bothersome or threatening to those in power. That’s a natural response, and it’s exactly what the climate of fear imposed by all abusive police state actions is intended to achieve: to coerce citizens to “decide” on their own to be passive and compliant — to refrain from exercising their rights — out of fear of what will happen if they don’t.
The genius of this approach is how insidious its effects are: because the rights continue to be offered on paper, the citizenry continues to believe it is free. They believe that they are free to do everything they choose to do, because they have been “persuaded” — through fear and intimidation — to passively accept the status quo. As Rosa Luxemburg so perfectly put it: “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.” Someone who sits at home and never protests or effectively challenges power factions will not realize that their rights of speech and assembly have been effectively eroded because they never seek to exercise those rights; it’s only when we see steadfast, courageous resistance from the likes of these UC-Davis students is this erosion of rights manifest.
The second exacerbating development is more subtle but more important: the authoritarian mentality that has been nourished in the name of Terrorism. It’s a very small step to go from supporting the abuse of defenseless detainees (including one’s fellow citizens) to supporting the pepper-spraying and tasering of non-violent political protesters. It’s an even smaller step to go from supporting the power of the President to imprison or kill anyone he wants (including one’s fellow citizens and even their teenaged children) with no transparency, checks or due process to supporting the power of the police and the authorities who command them to punish with force anyone who commits the “crime” of non-compliance. At the root of all of those views is the classic authoritarian mindset: reflexive support for authority, contempt for those who challenge them, and a blind faith in their unilateral, unchecked decisions regarding who is Bad and deserves state-issued punishment.
So am I against technocrats? Not at all. I like technocrats — technocrats are friends of mine. And we need technical expertise to deal with our economic woes.
But our discourse is being badly distorted by ideologues and wishful thinkers — boring, cruel romantics — pretending to be technocrats. And it’s time to puncture their pretensions.
Spin no longer works.
If there are any SCADA administrators out there who haven’t already replaced their ’1234′ and ‘admin’ passwords, then they might consider this a reminder.