Stephen Colbert finds his humor best, when people are at their worst:
It’s amusing to read right wing defenses of these actions. My personal favorite is “the clip is too short”—as if you can’t use the googlez to find that the full clip is even worse.
Another interesting one is that this is okay because Berkeley “accepts about 10-12% public money (or 88-90% private).” A cursory use of the google shows that they’re one quarter state funding. The other three quarters are from public AND private funding. For instance, any professor who brings in a grant (most grant, but not all, are publicly funded), has about 40% siphoned off by the university as overhead. This has always been the case. The university is also supported by a $3.15 billion endowment.
(State funding used to be a much higher percentage of Cal’s budget, but was cut by the governator so the state could keep its prisons. The largest single private grant to the university was done by the hippies at British Petroleum. Those two facts explain why the “powers that be” at the University of California tacitly approved of these actions and the one in 2009.)
No matter, the discussion of “public” vs. “private” with respect to speech is a red herring. The Free Speech Movement, which began in exactly the same place, settled this matter. Arguing that “pitching tents” is a bridge-too-far isn’t really going to save a lost cause when videos of your police dragging people by the hair and beating 4’10″ asian girls in the stomach are going viral on the intarwebs.
But perhaps the most damning argument comes from this observation:
If we were to view the actions of police as Americans watching people attempting to gain their rights in a foreign country, we would find them appalling. Yet somehow there are those in this country who are all too happy to deny rights afforded to all Americans under the Constitution. The right of peaceful assembly is guaranteed and those who seek to deny them are ignorant of this “fact.”
Whether or not it is legal to “nudge with batons” to take down some students’ tents, it is clear what is right—which is why, I suppose it, is a Right.
“The individuals who linked arms and actively resisted, that in itself is an act of violence.
—UC Police Capt. Margo Bennet
It is unfortunate that some protesters chose to obstruct the police by linking arms and forming a human chain to prevent the police from gaining access to the tents. This is not non-violent civil disobedience.
-UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau
Good luck with that line of thought. Bull Connor approves!