The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Digest for November 18th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for November 18th from 14:38 to 16:39:

  • Priceless | Talking Points Memo

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  • Occupy: Out of Zuccotti Park and into the streets – The Washington Post

    "There is a central idea, by the way: Our financial system has been warped to serve the interests of a privileged few at the expense of everyone else.

    Is this true? I believe the evidence suggests that it is. Others might disagree. The important thing is that because of the activism of the Occupy Wall Street protests — however naive, however all-over-the-map — issues of unfairness and inequality are being discussed."

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  • Disenfranchise No More – NYTimes.com

    "Mississippi voters just approved a new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. But that law will not go into effect immediately, thanks to the Voting Rights Act. Instead Mississippi will get in line behind Texas and South Carolina as the Department of Justice examines each state’s voter ID laws, in a process known as “preclearance.” The Justice Department will allow each law to go into effect only if the state can show its law will not have a racially discriminatory purpose or effect. Such proof may be hard to come by: a recent study by The Associated Press found that African-American voters in South Carolina would be much harder hit by that state’s ID law than white voters because they often don’t have the right kind of identification.

    But this important preclearance procedure may not be around much longer. Before the next election season rolls around, the Supreme Court could well strike down this provision of the law as an unconstitutional infringement on states’ rights, leaving minority voters essentially unprotected from efforts to diminish their voting power. Congress needs to act before then to protect voting rights everywhere."

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  • You Cannot Evict an Idea | The Nation

    "The raid of Occupy Wall Street by the NYPD did not come as a complete surprise. Ever since Mayor Bloomberg and the owners of Liberty Square, Brookfield Properties, threatened to toss out the Occupation on October 14 under the pretext of sanitary concerns, organizers have been preparing for this moment—canvassing other sites and drafting legal arguments defending the people’s freedom of assembly. But still, the military-style incursion into Liberty shortly after 1 am on November 15 came with a brutality and premeditation that literally took the Occupiers’ breath away. Given just minutes to vacate, protesters who peacefully resisted—as well as those who were just slow to act—were pepper-sprayed, beaten with billy clubs, shoved, cuffed and tear-gassed. In the end, around 200 were arrested, including City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who was bloodied by a strike to the head. Along with sleeping bags and tents, the Occupation’s intellectual tools—laptops, posters and the 5,000 books in the People’s Library—were thrown into dumpsters and carted away. But the ideas contained in those books, in those computers, in the Occupiers themselves will not so easily be tossed aside."

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  • Bankers evicted from nation’s economy: The mayor’s statement. – Slate Magazine

    "STATEMENT FROM THE MAYOR

    At 1 o’clock this morning, on my orders, the New York City Police Department and Department of Sanitation removed the bankers from the U.S. economy.

    The Constitution that created the economy requires that it be open to the public for the pursuit of their livelihood 24 hours a day. Ever since the occupation began, that law has not been complied with, as the economy has been taken over by bankers, making it unavailable to anyone else. "

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  • Anger Sowing Seeds of a New Consumer Movement

    As we all know, America is angry. Really angry. To put it in pop culture terms, we've moved from the vaguely inspiring agita of Peter Finch in Network to the wild-eyed, primal-scream rage of Sam Kinison in Back to School. When we pay attention to politics, we get peeved at Congress and the presidential candidates. When we tune into sports, we're annoyed with squabbling players and owners. When we turn on the news, we fume at the smug pundits. And when it comes to the economy, we're in a tizzy at big corporations. Most of this indignation is nothing new; it is atavistic fury expressed in the modern vernacular. Yet, one strand of our anger–the kind directed at big business–may be truly novel, as our chagrin is no longer just that ancient animosity toward excessive corporate power. Instead, it has also become a personal disdain toward firms we deal with on a daily basis.

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  • Not Heritage, Definitely Hate

    Insofar that I’m actually angry about the Confederate flag, it has less to do with the content of the symbol and more to do with the notion that it represents “heritage” and not “hate.” If the flag is a representation of Southern pride, then by definition, it excludes me from any membership in the tribe, so to speak. By virtue of our long history on the land —as slaves, sharecroppers, or otherwise — black Southerners have as strong a claim to Southern heritage as anyone else. Indeed, it’s simply true that the South wouldn’t actually be “The South” without the contributions of its countless black residents.

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  • Robert Creamer: Mayors Who Attempt to End Occupy Protests Are on the Wrong Side of History

    The one thing we know from history is that once a movement that is rooted in a demand for justice has taken root, attempts to destroy it with brute force almost always make it stronger. And those who attempt to destroy these movements almost always fail.

    This is a moment when mayors across the country need to look into their mirror, and decide which side they're on.

    Whatever their intentions, the mayors who have acted to end the Occupy protests around America over the last few days are on the wrong side of history.

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    The bottom line is that the Occupy protests are disruptive. That's the idea. That's the idea of any serious protest movement: to be disruptive — to stop business as usual — to force the media and the society at large to focus on a critical, fundamental problem.

      

    When Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus in Montgomery she was being "disruptive." So was the bus boycott that followed.

      

    When the sit-down strikers that founded the United Auto Workers refused to leave the plants in Flint, Michigan in the 1930's, they were being "disruptive."

      

    When Gandhi led tens of thousands of Indians in the civil disobedience that ultimately toppled British Imperialism, he was being "disruptive."

      

    When thousands of Wisconsin workers refused to leave the State Capitol in Madison earlier this year, they were being "disruptive."

      

    When the people of Egypt occupied Tahrir Square in Cairo they were being "disruptive."

      

    The protesters who dumped tea into Boston harbor in 1773 were being "disruptive."

      

    The idea of the Occupy Movement is to occupy Wall Street and other public spaces to demand that American government and business pay attention to the elephant in the room — the exploding inequality in wealth and power between the 99% and the 1%.

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    Protest movements that change history are always "disruptive" of the status quo. The mayors who are so concerned that Occupy is "disruptive" should instead turn their attention to the level of disruption caused by Wall Street, when its greed and reckless speculation collapsed the world economy cost eight million Americans their jobs and caused a recession that has lasted over three years. Now that's "disruption." And that's exactly what the Occupy Wall Street Movement is demanding be changed.

      

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    The Occupy Wall Street Movement is not just a group of random protesters. They have spawned a critically important historic, worldwide movement that is born of the most fundamental problem facing American society — the future of the American Dream — the future of the middle class. The future of democracy.

      

    Years from now people will look back at video of police in riot gear rousting Occupy protesters, whom they will remember as heroes of American democracy.

      

    The question for these mayors is what they want their grandkids to think of them as they watch that video.

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    The one thing we know from history is that once a movement that is rooted in a demand for justice has taken root, attempts to destroy it with brute force almost always make it stronger. And those who attempt to destroy these movements almost always fail.

      

    This is a moment when mayors across the country need to look into their mirror, and decide which side they're on.

      

    Whatever their intentions, the mayors who have acted to end the Occupy protests around America over the last few days are on the wrong side of history.

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  • Why We Need Occupy Wall Street

    "Today—the same day that New York’s Mayor Bloomberg had his cops clear Zuccotti Park—Richard Fisher, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, called for breaking up America’s biggest banks, calling them “too dangerous to permit.” Also today, Warren Buffett, in an interview posted on the Business Wire of Berkshire Hathaway, his company, continued his criticism of American plutocracy. “Through the tax code, there has been class warfare waged, and my class has won,” Buffett said. “It’s been a rout. You have seen a period where American workers generally have gone no place, and where the really super rich as a group increased their incomes five for one in this rarified atmosphere.”

    All of which suggests that Occupy Wall Street has already been a stunning success in changing the nation’s public discourse"

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    Today—the same day that New York’s Mayor Bloomberg had his cops clear Zuccotti Park—Richard Fisher, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, called for breaking up America’s biggest banks, calling them “too dangerous to permit.” Also today, Warren Buffett, in an interview posted on the Business Wire of Berkshire Hathaway, his company, continued his criticism of American plutocracy. “Through the tax code, there has been class warfare waged, and my class has won,” Buffett said. “It’s been a rout. You have seen a period where American workers generally have gone no place, and where the really super rich as a group increased their incomes five for one in this rarified atmosphere.”

     

    All of which suggests that Occupy Wall Street has already been a stunning success in changing the nation’s public discourse. Not that Fisher and Buffett hadn’t criticized our economic policies well before OWS set up shop in Zuccotti Park, but they are now not just rich and powerful voices crying out in the wilderness. As the following post from Politico’s Ben Smith illustrates, OWS really has altered what the media talk about—the chart measures a Nexis search of print stories, Web stories, and broadcast transcripts that used the term “income inequality,” measured by week:

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    <div><div>In other words, we need Occupy Wall Street to keep on keeping on and to inspire us to lean on our elected representatives to stop cosseting the rich and start rebuilding the nation.</div></div>

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