Archive for the ‘protests’ Category

First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”

MLK 16 April 1963

Jamie ReidThe biggest problem facing any real resistance to the Trumpland narrative gripping the American narrative are the aged hippies, and other middle class Liberal whites, who were college age in the 1960s and early 70s.

These folks feel they accomplished things. They take credit for ending a War. They pat themselves on the back for integrating their local public schools. They embraced the Gay Party Scene.

But now these white people are unreasonably cranky and clueless and stuck in this outrage loop that swings between feelings of sheer exhaustion and disrespect. They feel entitled to their new agey racism and hippy dippy cultural appropriation because of their notions of antiquated liberalism. They have not progressed with the Progressives.

They want to shame Trump. They think their outrage should be enough. They want the Administration to know someone is watching, someone with a TSK TSK head shake at the ready. And because of this, the Trumpites will continue smashing through the Distraction Economy, dominating the news cycles and meme generators with new meaningless provocations.

These things that Trump says in his tweets are inherently meaningless in the scope of what actual shit these tweets obscure. The United States bombs Syria and kills 200 Russian fighters (who may have been there illegally) and there is barely a blip, while Trump tweeting about the 14th Season of the APPRENTICE is bigger news. There is something seriously wrong.

And what is seriously wrong rests firmly on the shoulders of the aged hippies, sitting at home trying to do yoga in front of their endless Fox News consumption, swept up in the Distraction Culture of Outrage. A state of unease that relies upon fury and anger to diffuse any real, actual angry outlets which might threaten the status quo. A status quo that is finalizing all the things that the 1960s and 1970s radicals fought against.

Dump out the bongwater into your hanging fern and help out.



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drawing by Kate Atherton

Trumpland, America’s Worst Theme Park

In America’s new theme park, Trumpland, all the attractions are grotesque, tragic, mirror-reflections of common sense. While billed as “…an America  First fun time…,” once you get into the park its too late. You’ve already been had. The lines are super long, everything is covered in a nutty grease, and nothing really works.

Trumpland promises so much. But Trumpland is NOT a family theme park. Unless your family is awful. And I mean like super-awful. Drowning boxes of kittens, awful. Punching old ladies for their pain meds, awful. But even then, you are NOT guaranteed a good time, either. Otherwise, Trumpland is an utter disappointment to all paying customers!

The park has only been open a little over a week. But aw shucks, has the golly gee wiz shine wore completely off.

Instead of promoting the exciting new attractions like the Immigrant Green Card Roller Coaster that loops and stalls through a life sized international airport, senior management of the park spent their first week moaning and whining.

Seriously, founder, chief flower arranger, and President Donald Trump spent his days between crying like a giant babyman who can’t find a decent wet nurse to role play his diaper fantasy and signing oversized souvenir proclamations.

Both the Trump Babyman Role Play costume AND these poster sized “executive orders” are already on sale in the many, many Trumpland gift shops.

Inexplicably, now, certain people are not even allowed to enter Trumpland. A fact that customers are not told about until after they have purchased their park tickets and booked their vacation accommodations.

This new move baffled other theme parks who have reassured all paying customers they will not be turned away from their resorts.

The Trumpland shareholders seemed divided about the sense of these new requirements. And some are wondering if the park is even worth defending any longer. We will all wait to see how the park fares in the coming week. If it lasts beyond that, is anyone’s guess.

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I planned on composing a long diatribe about the Occupy Wall Street – my thoughts on the protest, the press coverage, all the while bashing the nail of poverty and homelessness with a large Whack-A-Mole style mallet. But this morning, while dog walking in the dark and collecting my thoughts; I started to think that just bashing away with that padded carnival hammer would lead to a lot missed or unsubtle points. More importantly, though, I risked the possibility a few wild ricochets would bounce up to smack me in the nose. And I cannot afford to have that big thing smacked.

So instead of that, you get this: A few weeks ago, when Mindy Fisher was in town, we were waiting to cross Geary at Laguna. Standing next to his duffle bag, dressed in a slightly dirty white sweater, a purple shirt and a bold red tie, was a man holding up a small cardboard, professional looking protest sign. I had seen him a few times before this. He always stood right by the 39 bus stop – kind of moving between the garbage can and the tree, depending on the flow of traffic, strangely moving closer to the moving cars than the ones stopped at a red light.

The first time I saw him, maybe a month before, he was wearing a loose fitting gray suit. And the sign was just a piece of notebook paper. As I approached, I could read the side facing me – USA OUT OF LIBYA! It was written in furiously applied scribbly ink pen. The other side was a dense and illegible treatise on something. The words flowed over crudely drawn illustrations.

As he held this paper up for the world to see, it curled over and buckled in the slightest breeze. But his commitment was unflagging. The ineffectual communication of his message was overshadowed by his intense desire to share it.

 About a week later he was back on the corner. Only this time, his notebook sign was stuffed into a plastic binder sheet protector. Plus his message was now neatly printed in bold black magick marker. Or at least the USA OUT OF LIBYA! was, while the other side of complicated exposition was still a jumble of arrows, crude figures, and wild text. The poly sheet cover added some rigidity which helped in the curling and buckling.

This solitary protester looked slightly off, his hair a nest of greasy curls, while his clothes, where ill fitting but mostly clean. But there was something vague about him, fuzzy around the edges, and the way his eyes never focused gave him that ‘possibly coming off his meds’ look.

So when Mindy and I passed him on our way across the street, I was delighted to see that his protest had entered a new phase. He held up a legal size, typeset, multicolor poster. It was even attached to a small stick, so he no longer had to delicately worry about holding the edges so as not to obstruct the sign.

The USA OUT OF LIBYA had morphed into a clearer delineation – CIA OUT OF LIBYA. A clarification necessitated by the fact that the USA was never IN Libya. At least not in the way the sign implied. Plus the real crux of this gentleman’s protest rationale was finally revealed by the readability of the reverse side.

Printed in large block letters and illustrations of people that looked to have just jumped off a Slow PED-XING sign, the message was clear. See that black satellite up above the human figure. Now follow the very brightly colored red lightning strikes aimed at the man’s limbs. See how the rays seep in and animate the man’s body so he can no longer control his movements. This process of space puppetry explained the Libyan protests. These rebels were not really unhappy, they were being manipulated by the CIA space satellites to attack and overthrow their government.

The simplicity of the illustrations, along with the lucidity of the explanation, made me smile. I commented to Mindy that I am sure that some public librarian, somewhere, helped him make that sign. 

I think this is a great illustration of how I see the Occupy Wall Street protests. I would hope the next time I see this guy on the corner, his message has adapted to the new situation on the ground – namely the overthrow of the Libyan regime. I mean, I hope he does not give up that easy.

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Not to make light of the tragic deaths of two children due to the swimming hole bacteria that infects you through your nasal passages and kills by spinal meningitis, but this scare – stay out of standing pools of natural water – seems perfectly timed to the start of the school year. In other words, when parents are most relieved and nervous about their child’s close association with other little bacteria bombs, do they really need another reason to panic? YES! How many schools might this panic shut down? Only extended days at the end of the year will tell.

In other news, I have been working. At least temporarily at a medical library across the Bay. Which means I have been taking the BART each day. I never really paid much attention to the goings and comings and comings and goings that plague the massive rail transit authority.

Nor have I done much than accept the horror of the various BART Police shootings that killed two civilians. But, now, I am, possibly, affected by the ongoing staged protests and the assorted other, unplanned glitches that disable the service.

While I have managed to skate just under the rush hour brambles, I still experience the frustrating anxiety of possible delays. Which brings me to this point – I am not sure why the Anti-Police sign holders and those other “No Justice No Peace” rhythmic dance troupes stage their performances during the evening rush hour.

It would seem to me that a more sympathetic and useful time to disrupt the working stiffs’ daily trudge would be the morning. When people are still half asleep and dreading the underpaid abuse waiting for them at their offices. Most of the morning commuters would relish a few extra minutes on the train to doze or slurp at their piping hot coffees. A missed train or stopped service would be a welcome reprieve from the start of their awful work day.

Instead, everyone is further burdened on the way home. Cutting into people’s desperate free time, the few down minutes they still have with estranged family members to sit on the couch before the sheriff forecloses on their homes.

No one likes the idea of BART cops shooting people, but they would have a lot more sympathy for the civil disobedience if it did not punish them so directly.

I understand the need to make the point and to have people wake up and pay attention, especially when the usual protester can’t get out of bed before afternoon, I just think the evening commute is the wrong time to do it. But then if you are willing to get arrested and spend the next 8 to 10 hours in jail, I suppose, your idea of forced responsibility and dragging yourself home from a soul crushing job is not something you are readily familiar with, either.

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