Archive for September, 2009

David Rovics: The Police Are Rioting

I don’t usually republish others writing wholecloth, but since I wasn’t in Pittsburgh for the G20, I am dependent on those who were. David Rovics is a journalist and singer/songwriter who was there and he wrote up his experience running from the cops with Cindy Sheehan, hiding out with no less than Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. I couldn’t have done better had I been there myself. Remember, be sure to check out the horrifying footage of police brutality on American streets. Now, David Rovics’ The Police Are Rioting – Reflections From Pittsburgh:

If any elements of the corporate media have been paying any attention to what’s been happening on the streets of Pittsburgh over the past few days I haven’t noticed, so I thought I’d write my own account.

There is a popular assumption asserted ad nauseum by our leaders in government, by our school text books and by our “mainstream” media that although many other countries don’t have freedom of speech and freedom of assembly – such as Iran or China – we do, and it’s what makes us so great. Anybody who has spent much time trying to exercise their First Amendment rights in the US now or at any other time since 1776 knows first-hand that the First Amendment looks good on paper but has little to do with reality.

Dissent has never really been tolerated in the USA. As we’ve seen in recent election cycles even just voting for a Democratic presidential candidate and having your vote count can be quite a challenge – as anyone who has not had their head in sand knows, Bush lost both elections and yet kept his office fraudulently twice. But for those who want to exercise their rights beyond the government-approved methods – that is, their right to vote for one of two parties, their right to bribe politicians (“lobby”) if they have enough money, or their right to write a letter to the editor in the local Murdoch-owned rag, if it hasn’t closed shop yet – the situation is far worse.

Let’s go back in history for a minute. After the victory of the colonies over Britain in the Revolutionary War, the much-heralded US Constitution included no rights for citizens other than the rights of the landed gentry to run the show. This changed as a direct result of a years-long rebellion of the citizens of western Massachusetts that came to be known as Shays’ Rebellion. Shays’ Rebellion scared the pants off the powers-that-be and they did what the powers-that-be do and have always done all over the world – passed some reforms in order to avert a situation where the rich would lose more than just western Massachusetts. They passed the Bill of Rights.

Fast forward more than a century. Ostensibly this great democracy had had the Bill of Rights enshrined in law for quite a long time now. Yet in 1914 a supporter of labor unionism could not make a soapbox speech on a sidewalk in this country without being beaten and arrested by police for the crime of disturbing the peace, blocking the sidewalk or whatever other nonsense the cops made up at the time.
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Land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy.

G20 2009: Police Attack Students at University of Pittsburgh

From YouTube: “Watch as police use teargas/pepper spray and rubber bullets against University of Pittsburgh students during the Pittsburgh G20 Summit. Many of the students were not part of any demonstration but simply bystanders on their own campus.”

These gentlemen are for whom the term “fucking pigs” was coined. Pay close attention at the 3:45 mark.

When are we going to take our country back?

Gotta get down to it, soldiers are cutting us down, shoulda been done long ago! What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground? How can you run when you know?Neil Young
Musician; Activist

I’ll be adding more G20 clips to this post as things progress. You can also follow along on Twitter at the #G20 tag.
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Factoid: Katie Couric’s Salary vs. NPR’s Budget

Katie Couric‘s annual salary is more than the entire annual budgets of NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered combined. Couric’s salary comes to an estimated $15 million a year; NPR spends $6 million a year on its morning show and $5 million on its afternoon one. NPR has seventeen foreign bureaus (which costs it another $9.4 million a year); CBS has twelve. Few figures, I think, better capture the absurd financial structure of the network news.Michael Massing
Columbia Journalism Review

Via BoingBoing

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