Friday, November 11, 2011

From Penn State to Europe, Pro-Rape Forces Regroup After Week Of Setbacks

It was a tough week for the pro-rape forces. Child-raping former Penn State football assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was dragged off in shackles Saturday, and his enablers were fired Wednesday. Voters in Mississippi Tuesday turned back a law banning abortions for rape victims. Even environmental rape was dealt a blow when the media reported the U.S. government had known all along that thrusting long, hard probes into mother earth and spewing disgusting fluids into her caused earthquakes, like the ones that rattled Oklahoma last weekend.

Even jovial GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain was coming under fire just for inappropriately groping some women and making a few disgusting personal suggestions.

In Pennsylvania's formerly Happy Valley college football enclave, a grand jury found in excruciating detail that Sandusky was a serial rapist who'd violated numerous young boys over decades. Aside from his eight Pennsylvania victims, Texas authorities revealed they were investigating allegations Sandusky sexually assaulted another victim while he and the Penn State Nittany Lions football team were at the 1999 Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.

In Mississippi, voters rejected Amendment 26, which would have effectively banned all abortions in the state, including for cases of rape or incest. Right-wing activists had sought to define a fertilized egg as a person, forcing women to bear the children of rapists.

As earthquakes rumbled across Oklahoma, media reports revealed the U.S. Army and the U.S. Geological Survey had long ago concluded that injecting water into deep underground rock formations caused earthquakes.

The U.S. Army's Rocky Mountain Arsenal tried in the 1960s to get rid of liquid waste by injecting it deep into the ground. From 1962 to 1966, the RMA injected salty waste water containing metals, chlorides and organic waste into a 12,000-foot-deep well, but discontinued the practice because they discovered it was causing earthquakes.

"Injection had been discontinued at the site in the previous year once the link between the fluid injection and the earlier series of earthquakes was established," stated the 1990 Earthquake Hazard Associated with Deep Well Injection - A Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The magnitudes 5.6 and 4.7 earthquakes in Oklahoma last weekend set off a new flurry of speculation that hydrofracking for gas and oil was causing earthquakes in that state. Oklahoma averaged about 50 earthquakes a year until a couple years ago. Gas and oil moguls began widespread hydrofracking in the state, and, in 2010, Oklahoma experienced 1,047 earthquakes.

By Wednesday night, the pro-rape forces had had enough of the persecution onslaught. It was getting so a multi-millionaire pizza mogul couldn't grope women and say filthy things to them without some sort of backlash.

Thus, on Wednesday night, as multi-millionaire pizza mogul and GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain was harassed with yet another question about his harassing women, the pro-rape empire struck back.

In a scene reminiscent of GOP audience members jeering health care access at the September CNN/Tea Party debate, the pro-rape, pro-harassment audience, apparently fed up with the relentless assaults on their God-given right to defile and subjugate all around them, broke into a cascade of boos and catcalls when CNBC debate moderator Maria Bartiromo broached the subject of Cain's grabby-handed, potty-mouthed conduct.

"Why should the American people hire a president if they feel there are character issues?" Bartiromo asked, and the audience howled and screamed in protest. The audience let it be known that if anyone on the right wanted to grab someone's genitals and make lewd suggestions, his or her victim had better like it.

Cain, who'd been accused of sexually harassing at least four women, and had paid undisclosed settlements to several of them, brashly retorted, "The American people deserve better than someone being tried in the court of public opinion." Or, tried at all.

Rival presidential candidate Mitt Romney had Cain's back, as the jeering audience tried to shout down moderator John Harwood's question to him about whether he would have fired Cain for his conduct.

"Would you keep Herman Cain as a CEO knowing what you know?" Harwood asked Romney.

"Herman Cain is the person to respond to these questions," Romney replied, in the Mormon mogul-turned-politico's best impression of a Roman Catholic archbishop.

With "Tora! Tora! Tora!" apparently flashing across the pro-rape com net, hordes of rabid pro-rape partisans roared onto the streets of College Station, PA, battling police, tearing down light poles, and overturning vehicles.

They were enraged that Penn State's Board of Trustees had fired university president Graham Spanier and, especially, football head coach Joe Paterno for covering up and enabling Sandusky's serial child rapes. Paterno, a football coaching legend, had in 2002 brushed off then 28-year-old graduate assistant Mike McQueary when he said he'd seen Sandusky in the school football facility raping a child. Instead of reporting the alleged crime to police as required by law, Paterno pawned McQueary off on the school's athletic director.

The grand jury indicted Athletic Director Tim Curley and school business and finance VP Gary Schultz on obstruction and perjury charges.

The imperious 'JoePa' had turned back school officials' 2004 plea that he retire, and had declared he would finish out the current football season, warning the Board of Trustees not to "spend a single minute" considering his removal.

A crowd of apparently pro-rape partisans rallied outside Paterno's home. Videos showed Paterno leading them in a call-and-response, "We are: Penn State!" chant, as most viewers mentally filled the blank following "we are" with terms other than the name of a school.

Displaying utter contempt for the children who'd been Sandusky's and Paterno's victims, the mob then tore through town, throwing rocks at police, overturning a TV van, and tearing down light poles.

"I think the point people are trying to make is the media is responsible for JoePa going down," said Penn State student Mike Clark, making the point that raping children and covering up the rape so you could rape more children was a-okay with Mike.

"We got rowdy. We got maced," Jeff Heim told the New York Times. "But make no mistake, the board started this riot by firing our coach. They tarnished a legend," he said. Apparently to Jeff, raping children and sitting idly by while your friends raped children weren't reputation-tarnishing acts.

Zealots eager to force women to bear rapists' children regrouped as well. Opponents of Mississippi's Amendment 26 "lied to voters and they said lies often enough that they persuaded voters," complained Keith Mason, president of  Personhood USA, an organization apparently dedicated to forcing women to bear the children of persons who were hoodlums. "The people here in Mississippi are mad, and they are ready to come back and do it again," he said, threatening serial action.

Zealots in Florida gussied up their proposed state constitutional amendment to ban abortions for rape victims with the title 'Florida ProLife Personhood.'

"We're continuing on," Personhood Florida ringleader Rev. Bryan Longworth said. "Obviously, the defeat in Mississippi means we have to work all the more harder." As did the Mississippi measure, the Florida measure would define a fertilized egg as a person, clearing the way for rapists to procreate. Supporters aimed for a 2014 vote.

By week's end, pro-rape forces had regained the initiative worldwide. Financial markets in Europe, Asia and the United States rallied Friday on news that Italy and Greece had dumped their political leaders and had voted to mollify bankers and financiers by adopting the most draconian austerity measures yet.

Nothing buoyed the pro-rape crowd more than seeing the rich rape whole countries.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Occupy Oakland's Seaport Shutdown Makes Case For Industrial Action

Oakland, California, San Francisco's grittier East Bay neighbor, Wednesday briefly became the epicenter of the global 99% Occupy Movement when tens of thousands of activists, students, teachers, working class laborers, and middle class families marched through downtown streets, rallied before megabank branches, and shut down the night shift at the nation's fifth busiest seaport.

Showing solidarity with Seattle longshore workers who were in a labor dispute, some 10,000 peaceful protesters blocked access to the Port of Oakland, and its giant cranes ground to a halt. A long line of semi tractor-trailers queuing to pick up containers bearing the outflow of globalization idled outside the sprawling facility. Some honked their horns in support of the protesters.

"Maritime operations are effectively shut down," Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin told KTVU News at the height of the demonstration.

Longshore workers at the container facility had not called a strike themselves, but had warned they would not cross a well-organized community picket line.

Most of the crowd dispersed after 11 p.m., and by Thursday afternoon, the port was back in action.

The General Strike Occupy Oakland organizers called in response to the October 25 police beat-down that sent Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen to Highland Hospital with a fractured skull showed protest demonstrations in the U.S. could draw the numbers seen in more activist Europe. While police estimates claimed the crowds numbered around 4,500, reputable media counts ranged nearer 10,000, with some estimates as high as 100,000.

More importantly, shutting down the Port of Oakland revealed the demonstrations had some muscle. The model could prove useful in getting the haughty one-percenters' attention. Large numbers of fed-up masses marching on major industrial operations could be the best way to storm the plutocrats' ivory towers.

General strikes of yore staged by the nascent labor movements of another era helped usher in America's greatest period of prosperity, and won for Americans a social contract today's one-percenter plutocrats have eagerly broken. Industrial actions could again address economic imbalances and injustices reminiscent of the 1930s.

Just as labor shut down seaports and factories in the past, today's 99% could march on the core institutions that propel the global economy. Far more effective than chanting in front of a local bank branch, mass demonstrations aimed at ports, transportation and energy infrastructure would deliver protest to the doorstep of the plutocrats' most vital engines.

In Europe, protesters have shut down major highways and blocked access to nuclear plants. Railway strikes were common occurrences.

In America in the first decades of the twenty-first century, the lifeblood of the global plutocracy was the titanic fossil fuel industry.

The beating heart of this beast was in south Texas. A shockingly small handful of massive refinery complexes formed the vital core of a fossil fuel processing empire strung along the Gulf Coast from Corpus Christie to the Louisiana bayous.

Fully 40% of America's oil refining capacity resided in the giant refineries arrayed along a swath of south Texas and Louisiana. Half of that refining capacity was clustered around Houston, Texas City, Baytown, Port Arthur, and Beaumont. Within an hour-and-a-half drive. Traffic permitting.

The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves resided nearby. Pipelines for gas and oil criss-crossed the region. Fort Hood, America's premiere Army base, wasn't in Texas for the weather.

Moreover, as the Northeast and West Coast were also home to sizable chunks of America's refining capacity, the refineries in and around Houston represented much of the gasoline, diesel, kerosene and jet fuel needed to negotiate a wide swath of the middle of the country.

Industrial action in this beating heart of global plutocracy would shake ivory towers from Houston to New York to London to Beijing. Industrial action in the core of America's energy infrastructure would force capitalism itself to stare mortality in the face. Thousands of feet tramping toward the gates of those giant refineries and gas distribution heads would be walking over globalizations' grave.

Angry masses bearing down on those refineries would be marching on the heart of global economic life. Townsfolk storming the castle with pitchforks and torches. Well, perhaps not with torches. Torches didn't mix well with facilities so catastrophically inflammable workers were barred from wearing steel-toed boots. Refineries didn't prohibit cigarette smoking because the proprietors were obsessed with lung disease.

The traditional accessory for pitchforks notwithstanding, masses bearing down on the refineries would give the local constabulary, to say nothing of security authorities all along the food chain, headaches no one could use. In an increasingly flattening world featuring increasingly asymmetrical warfare challenges, those security authorities already had enough to fret over in a neighborhood where a handful of dedicated partisans with, say, a half-dozen ordinary infantry mortars, and, say, a half-dozen ordinary pickup trucks with sand-filled inflatable kiddie wading pools in their beds for firing platforms could give money moguls in corner offices from Boston to Bangkok the worst day of their lives.

While angry townsfolk mightn't march with torches, and candlelight vigils were probably off the table as well, law enforcement's options would likewise be limited.

Tear gas would be a no-no. Flash-bang grenades were absolutely out of the question. Probably, use of any sort of gunpowder-driven weapon system would be strongly frowned upon.

Scott Olsen might have been better off picketing Exxon Mobil's Baytown refinery than Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza.

The refineries in Texas and Louisiana were the critical blocks at the bottom of the global financial jenga pile, the aces at the base of the multinational house of economic cards. Huge refineries were spread all along the region, but many of the biggest were clustered around Houston:
  • Baytown Refinery (Exxon Mobile), 560,000 bbl/day capacity
  • Beaumont Refinery (Exxon Mobile), 348,000 bbl/day.
  • Houston Refinery (Lyondell), 270,000 bbl/day.
  • Houston Refinery (Valero), 83,000 bbl/day.
  • Independent Refinery (Stratnor), Houston, 100,000 bbl/day.
  • Sweeney Refinery (Conoco Phillips), 229,000 bbl/day
  • Texas City Refinery (BP), 460,000 bbl/day.
  • Texas City Refinery (Marathon Oil), 72,000 bbl/day.
  • Texas City Refinery (Valero)  210,000 bbl/day.
  • Deer Park Refinery (Shell Oil), 334,000 bbl/day.
  • Pasadena Refinery (Petrobras), 100,000 bbl/day.
  • Port Arthur Refinery (Total), 174,000 bbl/day.
  • Port Arthur Refinery (Motiva), 285,000 bbl/day.
  • Port Arthur Refinery (Valero), 325,000 bbl/day.
The fourteen refineries clustered around Houston and Port Arthur accounted for 3.5 million of the United States' 17.6 million barrel-per-day refining capacity. That was 20% of America's total capacity.

Fortunately for the plutocrats and oligarchs, the heart of the fossil fuel beast beat in the reddest center of Redsylvania, among folks who figured Rick Perry and George W. Bush were the best possible choices for chief executives in all creation. Thus, the ivory towers would remain safe and inviolate forever and ever.

Or not.