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I was there last night for the massive general assembly. I filed this piece for The Atlantic:
Mario Savio was a UC Berkeley student in the '60s and a key member of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement. He's become an activist icon; Mario Savio Youth Activist awards are given out by his memorial fund. By the '90s, the steps of Sproul Hall on the UC Berkeley campus where he gave his now famous "put your bodies upon the gears" speech were renamed the Mario Savio Steps. It was there last Wednesday that police raided an hours-old Occupy Cal protest and pounded student activists with batons. Yes, the chancellor of the university that celebrates Savio in its brochures, Robert J. Birgeneau, waited mere minutes before setting in motion a response that saw students beaten on the very steps bearing Savio's name ... just for setting up tents.
As the massive Occupy crackdown unfolded nationally, students facing yet another tuition hike -- in a UC system that has seen its tuition triple in 10 years -- took note and took to organizing.
In less than a week the campus had a general strike. Tuesday most classes were cancelled. And it just so happened to be the day the annual event Mario Savio memorial at Sproul Hall was going to take place. Which in turn led to the largest General Assembly (GA) in the history of the Occupy movement.
An amazing coincidence. One of those historical ironies that should make the school administration cringe indefinitely.
Occupy LA has no food. None. I was there last night and they had a couple of apples and bottled water. They had not had one hot meal that day. They have the biggest Occupation in terms of numbers - it's four times the size of Zuccotti in terms of space and people and they have no food.
We're doing what we can and it's because of you guys. You guys have donated money - whatever you could to help feed these guys. We've raised over $30,000 in small donations and bought pizzas for 40 cities (Occupy Muncie, anyone?)
Anything you can give helps.
You guys haven't stopped giving and the protesters haven't gone home, so we are not ending our drive either. If you want to participate here's the PayPal:
For me this was the way I knew I could let these guys know we appreciate what they're doing. And you guys are the driving force behind this. Thank you! It's been an amazing two weeks (we never thought it would last this long) the protesters have said they're in it for the long haul - so are we!
So professional kvetcher Erick Erickson has a new project up called "We are the 53%" that purports to speak on behalf of the 53 percent of Americans who pay federal income tax. As per usual with these sorts of things, Erickson fails to note that while many Americans pay no federal income tax, they do pay payroll taxes, state income taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes... well you get the idea. But for professional propagandists such as Erickson, only federal income taxes count as Real Taxes because... well, who the hell knows at this point? Payroll taxes pay for Social Security and Medicare, which are two of the biggest items in the budget, while federal income taxes pay for the military, which you'd think Erickson would be happy to fund.
But anyway! As is his wont, Erickson has posted his own comical self-pity pic bemoaning the fact that he "works" three "jobs" (presumably as an Internet gasbag at RedState, as a radio gasbag on his talk radio show and a TV gasbag on CNN) and is thus one of the Randian Supermen who is supporting all the unwashed losers protesting Wall Street.
This type of weapons-grade st00pid demands a response, of course. And as someone who does in fact pay federal income taxes I've decided to make myself the de facto spokesperson for the 53 percent Who Hate the .000000001 percent that is Erick Erickson.
Of course, I do not have the final say in all this. I encourage all of my fellow federal income tax payers to post similar messages to Erickson. We can make a collage out of 'em if you want. We could even get out own Tumblr: "We Are the 100 Percent Who Think Erick Erickson is a Tool." Revolution, baby. Revolution.
Liberal certitudes continue to dissolve, the most recent solvent being a robust new defense of a 1905 Supreme Court decision that liberals have long reviled — and misrepresented. To understand why the court correctly decided Lochner v. New York and why this is relevant to current arguments, read David E. Bernstein’s “Rehabilitating Lochner: Defending Individual Rights against Progressive Reform.”
Since the New Deal, courts have stopped defending liberty of contract and other unenumerated rights grounded in America’s natural rights tradition. These are referred to by the Ninth Amendment, which explicitly protects unenumerated rights “retained by the people,” and by the “privileges or immunities” and “liberty” cited in the 14th Amendment. Progressivism, Bernstein argues, is hostile to America’s premise that individuals possess rights that preexist government and are not fully enumerated in the Constitution. This doctrine stands athwart liberalism’s aspiration to erase constitutional limits on government’s regulatory powers.
An 1895 New York law limited bakery employees to working 10 hours a day and 60 hours a week. Ostensibly, this was health and safety legislation; actually, it was rent-seeking by large, unionized bakeries and the unions. Corporate bakeries supported the legislation, which burdened their small, family-owned competitors. The bakers union hoped to suppress the small, non-unionized bakeries that depended on flexible work schedules.
I must admit that I find it surprising that an entire ideological movement exists that pines for a past time that none of its adherents were alive to see, but that's pretty much how modern conservatives feel about late-19th Century America. They're sort of like people who go to Renaissance Fairs, except they celebrate Social Dawrwinism instead of swords and sorcery. I wonder if Will dresses up as Andrew Carnegie or J.P. Morgan when he attends his little Gilded Age Reenactment Society gatherings?