Weekend Reading

A lot of things have been going on, so let’s catch up with some reading:

Targeted arrests, through which police attempt to head off large-scale civil disobedience by snatching individual activists out of the crowd, were documented yesterday in Oakland, New York and Seattle. Unlike the now-familiar Occupy scene of demonstrators being arrested en masse in dramatic, late-night evictions, May Day protesters in many locales were arrested individually throughout the day, in some cases for crossing over onto sidewalks or, according to local media on the scene in Oakland, seemingly at random.  As Gawker reported Monday, the NYPD, with involvement from the FBI, raided at least three New York activists’ homes that day to interrogate them about their May Day plans.

It seems that he exerted all the pressure he reasonably could within the system we have. At every step, he was as attentive as possible to the weirdness of the system, starting with the primaries. He pushed the discipline of the Democratic party as far as he could, for instance by naming as his point-man the guy to whom the younger and more centrist Democrats owed their jobs (Rahm Emanuel). He was willing to pay people off if necessary — remember when Ben Nelson demanded a special exemption for Nebraska from one of the provisions of health care reform? He was willing to exploit procedural loopholes when possible, as in using reconciliation to pass the health care reform bill (retrospectively making his odd insistence on making it deficit-reducing seem like a pretty good idea). And it seems like all the things that he could’ve done unilaterally would have just increased the executive power grab that, as I recall, we were all opposed to when Bush was president.

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