It's hard to believe Osama bin Laden will go down in history as the architect of our democratic society's downfall, but this painful truth is becoming clearer with each passing day as fearful Americans continue to abandon the moral compass that made us great.
What Bin Laden (shown with National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1979, at left) lost on the battlefield after 9/11 he won on U.S. streets and in our living-rooms as we traded in our precious civil liberties for the false security of a venal police state devoted to savage capitalism. Tyranny and corporate greed won the day as institutions as disparate as the Republican and Democratic parties, the American Medical Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce took advantage of that climate of fear to advance Wall Street's message of "unrestricted profit growth by any and all means."
Why did this happen? When did this happen?
To quote U2: "You plant a demon seed, you raise a flower of fire."
Nothing illustrates these painful truths more clearly than the entitled, hateful trash now seeking the presidency in the sordid Reality TV Show our electoral process has become since Citizens United. To look at hate-mongers like Trump and Cruz and Wall Street sellouts like Clinton is to know, without question, that Osama won his showdown with America and the average American lost. Big-time.
At least 93 protesters were arrested this weekend in Chicago when thousands of members of the Occupy Wall Street movement descended on the city to protest a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Two people also were detained by the Secret Service for allegedly attempting to scale protective fencing around the summit at McCormick Place.
Sixty heads of state converged on Chicago for the two-day NATO summit, where they discussed the conflict in Afghanistan and other global issues behind closed doors Saturday and Sunday. Similar meetings of global elites, notably those held each year by the World Economic Forum, have helped funnel jobs to low-wage economies while keeping prices high in the developed economies where the displaced workers live.
Protesters sought to highlight those imbalances and to shine a spotlight on the continuing Afghan War, which began after the 9/11 terror attacks and continues to require 130,000 foreign soldiers. The vast majority are U.S. citizens.
“There’s just a great resonance with the Occupy movement, because if we weren't spending such outrageous amounts on war, we have money for human needs," said Lillian Moats, 65, of Downers Grove, Ill. "It seems like our country's priorities are upside down."
The Red Stairs in Times Square joined the growing list of New York City landmarks closed to those who threaten the corporate revenue of its billionaire mayor Tuesday, while local news outlets controlled by Michael Bloomberg’s fellow media tycoons continued to limit public awareness of his repressive actions.
Police blocked access to the Red Stairs to more than 1,200 peaceful protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement, who had hoped to exercise their freedoms of speech and assembly there during a global day of action. The iconic stairs rise above Times Square.
The ruling political machine and its business allies previously have prevented the nonviolent protesters from visiting the 9/11 Memorial and the area around New York Stock Exchange. Bloomberg also evicted the Occupy tent camp in Zuccotti Park in a bloody crackdown on Nov. 15 that was emulated by big-city mayors across the country.
Occupiers still succeeded in bringing their cause into the public forum Tuesday, by demonstrating at the foot of the stairs and crisscrossing Gotham with marches.
“I grew up in a police state in Belfast, Ireland, and this is definitely what a police state looks like,” Mark Hamilton, 35, of Jersey City, N.J., said as he cradled his 3-year-old daughter in his lap. “We should be on those steps. They only roped them off to hinder Occupy Wall Street.”
For a dead movement, Occupy Wall Street packs one helluva wallop.
The populist protest against economic disparity, political corruption, and predatory banking practices joined with organized labor Tuesday to spark May Day protests in more than 100 U.S cities, which drew more than 80,000 participants and resulted in at least 56 arrests. The largest gathering occurred in Lower Manhattan, where more than 50,000 people marched in the single biggest turnout in the brief history of the 8-month-old movement.
The strong showing was a collective rebuke for the political pundits who pronounced the American pro-democracy dead over the winter, after big-city mayors launched a coordinated series of raids against Occupy’s tent camps.
“Today's May Day march was a massive success, considering the protesters used a grassroots organizing strategy and lacked the support of major media outlets that the Tea Party enjoyed,” said Occupy Pundit Jesse LeGreca. “If we keep it up our political leaders will not be able to ignore the pushback against austerity and shock doctrine disaster capitalism that the financial elite are so hell bent upon. Remember, they only call it a class war when we fight back.”