Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Boston Olympics could attract protests corruption and even more terrorism

When I was first taught about the Olympics in school we were told that this was an alternative to war from ancient times where different city-states could compete against each other on a peaceful basis and develop good relations without fighting.

At that time we were also taught that sports were only as game when some people got to excited and we were taught to recognize when the hype was escalating too much. This often happened when things led to a fight or some other minor problem like that.

Or at least the problems that we had then seemed minor compared to the ones that we have surrounding sports no.

There was some ridicule when people were told not to let things get out of hand but there was also recognition that those worried about the possibility of escalating violence had a legitimate point and that it was supposed to be fun with a reasonable sense of fair play.

Now all the good things that we were taught about the Olympics seem to have been abandoned and they have been taken over by an enormous amount of hype and commercialism. The benefits for the majority of the public practically never even come close to living up to the hype.

This is almost certainly due to the addictive nature of hype and that it always has to escalate the next time in order to outdo the surprise of the last time. It's kind of like the car chases or explosions in action films, that always had to be bigger but some where along the line they just get repetitive and boring no matter how big the bang is.

The Olympics is just along list of scandals; but the media repeated the hype much more often and louder over and over again, which enables the scams artists and advertisers to rack up huge bills that the public often gets stuck with.

Most people don't remember half of them but there are protests bribery scandals and either terrorist threats or fear of them that cause as much problems for one Olympics or other sporting event after another. Several authors including David Cay Johnston have written extensively about how taxpayer money is being used to subsidize sports and the profits of the well connected corporations that profit off of them.

Then they complain about welfare for the poor and call for cuts to programs for them.

No Boston Olympics has made the following argument against bringing the Olympics to Boston among other things on their web site.

No Boston Olympics

Boston's Olympics boosters tell us that the Games will be an economic boon, and that costs will be borne by the private sector. This is the exact same rhetoric that was pitched in Athens, Vancouver, and London. Economists have found that none of these host cities enjoyed lasting economic benefits. And in each, the public was left on the hook for billions of dollars in overruns (the London Olympics were 3x over budget), one-time security costs, and ongoing maintenance of unwanted venues. A Boston Olympics would divert resources from education, healthcare, transportation, and open space -- all to throw an extravagant party for the unelected, unaccountable members of the International Olympic Committee. Whatever our priorities as a Commonwealth, it is clear that $19 billion, the average cost of a summer games (and more than the cost of the Big Dig), could be better spent on other things.

Boston is one of the great cities on earth, and we don’t need rings to prove it.

- No Boston Olympics

These problems don't even mention the potential problems that are virtually guaranteed for Boston traffic which is even worse than many other larger cities that were better planned, as many people from the local area must be aware of. Cities like Philadelphia have more than twice the population of Boston but they did a much better job organizing their roads from the beginning in easy to recognize grids. People that come to Philadelphia for the first time often find it easier to find their way around than those that have lived in Boston for much longer due to lots of unorganize3d one way streets.

Protests are virtually guaranteed to come up and if they don't happen until after the decisions been made it will be much more difficult for them to get more than a minor amount of their concerns addressed.

The response to these protests has been almost identical for decades including when John Carlos and Tommie Smith participated in the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute and "International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Avery Brundage deemed it to be a domestic political statement unfit for the apolitical, international forum the Olympic Games were supposed to be."

However Avery Brundage didn't have any problem with the Nazi salute in 1936 which supported the state, raising a problem which should be obvious. gestures that support the state or the corporate interests that finance the Olympics even when it is violent and oppressive are considered "apolitical" even when they're obviously designed to keep people distracted and do the opposite of the peaceful principles that the Olympics were promoted as.

More recently they had Mass Protests Sweep Brazil in Uproar over Public Services Cuts & High Costs of World Cup, Olympics. People that relied on the traditional media might have forgotten all about this since they only provided a token amount of coverage about it but there was much more coverage on Democracy Now, including about twenty stories on the subject.

It might not seem likely to many people from the Boston suburbs that this would happen in their area; however many people from the inner cities, including Dorchester, Roxbury or South Boston almost certainly know better; and those that think about why they might not want to go to these parts of towns probably should know better. Charlie Baker has already appointed someone recently that is Charter school advocate for Mass. education chief which may guarantee increased privatization of education and either cuts or diversions of funds for education to the profits of the private corporations taking over education if people don't speak out against it.

On top of that it wasn't too long ago that they had to deal with a martial law situation in Cambridge and Watertown after the Boston Bombing led them to searching that area for the bombers. Even the fear of terrorism is going to drive up the cost of the Olympics, as they already found out in the United Kingdom although those that relied on the traditional media for information might have forgotten about that as well.

A few years ago hundreds of campaigners took to the streets against stationing surface-to-air missiles on homes; 'Don't play games with our lives': Londoners protest against plans for Olympic defense systems on top of flats. The typical response to complaints about security is that we can't let the terrorists when by changing "our way of life" or a more modern version of this claim which was routinely used to support slavery and later segregation. The more modern version is that "We don't negotiate with terrorists."

This justification would be much more credible if they did a reasonably good job negotiating with peaceful protesters that have legitimate concerns instead of constantly trying to sweep their complaints under the rug so they can cater to campaign contributors or even worse trying to portray peaceful protestors as terrorists.

It would also be much more credible if our government wasn't constantly bombing people which they refer to as "collateral damage" when they can't completely ignore reports about their death; or if they stopped selling arms to people that routinely turn them against us.

Some of these concerns take more time top explain than I can go into in a relatively short post; but there is much more information on them in alternative media outlets that the government and traditional media ignore and treat as "fringe" even when some of them do a much better job checking facts than the traditional commercial media, which is making an enormous profit selling ads to corporations sponsoring the Olympics.

A Poll Finds Lukewarm Support in Boston for Summer Olympics Bid which indicates that although half wanted the Olympic in Boston a third didn't. This is actually bad compared to most polls which have stronger support often as much as 70 to 80 percent. These high numbers are almost certainly a result of the hype that many people base their responses, instead of a full understanding of the costs of sporting events which are almost never reported by the traditional media which makes an enormous profit selling ads for these events.

The traditional media actually has an incentive to do a bad job reporting on the problems which is almost certainly why they don't report it but a growing number of people relying on alternative media outlets is almost certainly a major reason for the lower numbers. Brazil didn't gear up their protests until it was too late to have more than a token impact but they id let those paying attention; and if Boston and many other cities refuse to escalate the hype then more grass roots input could impact these events and reduce protests corruption and even more terrorism.

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