Thursday, 13 October 2011

From the US Embassy, Damascus

On their Facebook page:

A Note from Facebook moderator Leslie Ordeman

We recently put up an article about the Occupy Wall Street protests in the USA -- there is lots of news about it on Syrian television stations.

For sure there is a lot of unhappiness in America about the economic situation. Unemployment is relatively high - nine percent. Housing prices keep falling, hurting more families. There is much debate between the two main American political parties about how to fix the U.S. economy.

We don't know exactly what will happen next. What we do know is:

* the US will have national elections in November 2012 that are not under the control of the American intelligence establishment but rather an independent election authority not controlled by the President or Congress;

* the Occupy Wall Street organizers will be entirely free to run as election candidates or to organize to support candidates;

* Occupy Wall Street groups will not be allowed to destroy public or private property, but they can organize more protests in other cities and they can say whatever they want about the U.S. government without being arrested or shot;

* the police will not shoot thousands of protesters;

* some Occupy Wall Street organizers have been arrested for disturbing public order (blocking traffic) but they won't be tortured, and no family will receive the body of a protester bearing torture marks.

* the international media and NGOs are watching and reporting on the Occupy Wall Street protests without interference from the government;

* the Occupy Wall Street organizers will be free to talk to any American or foreigner who wants to talk to them without fear of arrest;

* the U.S. government may complain that some countries' currency policies are hurting the U.S. economy, but the US government will not tell the world that there is a vague foreign conspiracy for which it lacks any specifics or evidence but that it says is encouraging the Occupy Wall Street or other protest movements.

Something to think about…


Speaking as someone of a relatively conservative political out-look, I am rarely sympathetic to public protests, especially when they appear to be directed to changing policies already decided on through a democratic process. This said, I find myself sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street movement. So far, rather than be directed against specific government policy, they appear to directed against issues that policy has failed to address. The parallel is, to my way of thinking, to the UK Uncut protests against corporations failing to pay their UK taxes (something the majority of us might not have heard of otherwise), rather than to last year's tuition fee demonstrations in London.

The grown up way in which these demonstrations have been handled so far, the lack of violence and the spreading of vague lies about a foreign plot - these are things countries other than Syria could also learn from.

9 comments:

Michael Fagan said...

"Occupy Wall Street groups will not be allowed to destroy public or private property..."

This is not true. One such group has even been encouraged to do so by a city mayor, for heaven's sake! See the case of Oakland under mayor Jean Quan.

"Speaking as someone of a relatively conservative political out-look, I am rarely sympathetic to public protests, especially when they appear to be directed to changing policies already decided on through a democratic process."

So you're a "conservative" in favour of the legislature being used to shape society.

"... I find myself sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street movement."

Which is dominated by plastic, middle-class students in the hands of crusty old commies. So of course it is only natural that a genuine "conservative" would be sympathetic to such people.

"So far, rather than be directed against specific government policy, they appear to directed against issues that policy has failed to address. The parallel is, to my way of thinking, to the UK Uncut protests against corporations failing to pay their UK taxes."

In other words, they're advocates of different and further government action to reduce income inequality and such like. Which, as a "conservative", naturally attracts your sympathy.

And by the way, you could have had the deceny to admit you lost the argument in the firearms debate at J.M. Cole's place. That is, if you weren't such a "conservative".

justrecently said...

Take it easy, Foarp. Inch pinchers are best dealt with by the Merlin's-evil-mother approach. Forget him, and he'll vanish like she did...

Michael Fagan said...

@JR

FOARP should have had the honesty and decency to concede - OR to continue defending his case. He did neither.

I might have to go out and make my arguments among enemies and other people who disagree with me wherever I can, and if that makes me an "inch pincher" then so be it.

You however, can go divide by zero back in your echo chamber. Which by the way, does not seem to be attracting substantially more comments than my place.

FOARP said...

Fagan, seriously, if you're arguing that people should just "concede - OR to continue defending [their] case" when opposed by someone who also does not concede, then you're basically saying that I should continue arguing forever.

JB had the right angle on you.

Michael Fagan said...

"...when opposed by someone who also does not concede..."

Not true: I conceded to you your initial point about prior criminal records, and I did so explicitly and without contrition.

Other than that and the minor thing about you being a "conservative", you lost point after point to me, yet never had the deceny to concede a single one.

justrecently said...

Mike: your behavior within a discussion itself is embarrassing enough. That you need to carry your peeves from somewhere else into yet another thread - it wasn't by the way, as you've put it here; it clearly kept you busy - doesn't make it look better, either.

I'm not going to get into another discussion with you here - we've had many in the past. Just this: it is very unlikely that a discussion which is driven by two or more different concepts will be "won" by anyone. A debate between politicians may be won in that there will be opinion polls afterwards, and there may be at least some statistics to go by. Practice may be another way to learn about the value of a point in an argument, but the range of interpretation widens considerably there, compared to a poll after a debate.

In a commenting thread, you may have the benefit of becoming aware of other views than your own, or of venting some steam, but in almost every case, that will be that.

You may not like that, but there are no rules of the game that would declare you a winner of anything. If you want to win, try real life.

Michael Fagan said...

"...your behavior within a discussion itself is embarrassing enough."

Others started that negative tone, not me. Go read the thread again.

"Just this: it is very unlikely that a discussion which is driven by two or more different concepts will be "won" by anyone."

JR... the debate was also about facts. Read it again. FOARP was wrong on the facts. On the one fact on which he was right, I conceded. On the major facts on which he was wrong, he didn't concede. Read it again.

"... but there are no rules of the game that would declare you a winner of anything."

There are facts, goddamn you. I will have the two of you bound to the facts. Read it again.

FOARP said...

Michael. Give it a rest. You say I was wrong on the facts. I obviously didn't agree with that, not least because you didn't cite any facts in your arguments - at most you made your own guess as to what you believed the facts to be.

Since I know what will now follow is an attempt to carry on the same argument on these pages, let me make it plain that if you want to do so you should not do so on this thread. I'll post your comments when they come up for moderation, but I'll not reply.

Michael Fagan said...

I'll let it rest then on these two points:

1) People who turn nasty on me can expect to get it back twice as sharp and I have no sympathy for them.

2) I am prepared to admit I am wrong if I can be shown to have made a mistake, and I assume the best in other people when I expect the same from them.