The Empire’s No Longer Laughing

Lownsdale Square - Occupy Portland

Dispatches From The Class War

And then what are you prepared to do?”, is one of my favorite lines from “The Untouchables” (an otherwise-droll film which not even Sean Connery as a beat-cop-turned-Federal-agent could save). This is the line Connery’s character uses on Kevin Costner’s Elliot Ness, when Ness was confronted with his first defeat – and later, as Connery’s character lies dying on his own living room floor, as a galvanizing statement to Ness.

It’s a good question.

I learned a lot during my trip to Washington. I met some good people (shared a tent with one for a couple of nights), and heard Chris Hedges speak (probably the only journalist who’s sufficiently connected the dots to know what the extended ‘Occupy’ movements are about).

Perhaps the defining moment for me wasn’t the pepper-spraying of several of our members outside of the Air and Space Museum, or the pathetic attempt to interrupt a Pentagon hearing – it was standing in the plaza during a general-assembly, in essence debating the First Amendment.

One half of the group (myself among them), wanted to tell the D.C. police to go to hell. They wanted us to understand that our ‘permit’ to be in the plaza ended that weekend, and that they could take action against us, up to and including arrest.

Their official negotiator asked us if being arrested was necessary to achieve our ends. This struck me as an odd question, but I later came to understand its true meaning – the best way to clip the wings of something like this is to co-opt it entirely. Arrest (or any other action by the authorities) loses its meaning if the aggrieved-party all but asks for it, and it’s carried out in a well-choreographed pageant.

We assured them that none of us wanted to go to jail – but that we were willing if it were necessary.

That’s when they extended the permit through February.

But wait a minute,” I said to someone standing next to me, “I agree with this other guy here. We don’t need a permit. We have the First Amendment. It’s not up to them to tell us when to leave – it’s up to us to tell them when we’re leaving.

The organizers of October2011 had other plans and saw it differently – they voted to accept the City’s offer to extend the permit – and thus, perhaps the only real, meaningful confrontation of the protest was avoided, entirely.

Four hundred people in a D.C. jail, supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and two legal-advocacy groups could have succeeded in setting a legal precedent, added to First Amendment case-law, and eventually influenced national policy.

Instead, the organizers allowed themselves to be co-opted by the authorities. This is not how change is made using the protest-model, which is the reason why I came home. And yes, folks, it really is that simple.

Now, that said, here are some things everyone should take away from the Occupy movements:

1. They’re attracting people from all walks of life. I met working-class folks from Massachusetts and Virginia; white-collar people from California; recent college graduates and retirees, alike. They all had one thing in common – they were sick to death of ten years of war. From what I’ve seen, the people in Zuccotti Park are the same – the only difference is the message.

2. Contrary to the media, they’re not a disorganized rabble of opportunists – the organizers of these protests are some of the most-lucid, best-educated people I’ve ever met, and they do have a message. In fact, they are the message.

3. They’re in this for the long haul. Clearing the camps (an event which seemed to be coordinated for the same day last Sunday, whether in New York City or Portland, Oregon) isn’t going to shut these people up or make them go away – in fact, the People In Charge of Repression might do well to realized that while these people were encamped, they were docile; rousting them from their temporary, voluntary living-arrangements in city or private parks only puts them on the move. Don’t expect these people to go away over the winter.

4. Gandhi was right. “First they ignore you; then they laugh at you; then they fight you; then you win” is a quote oft-attributed to the bespectacled little man who did much to bring about freedom for his native India. It appears that the laughing-stage is over; the nation’s media hasn’t been able to dissuade these people or their supporters; the right people ‘get it’, and their numbers are growing in spite of recent events.

________________________________________

Saturday, I decided to have a look for myself at one of the three most-active ‘Occupy’ camps in America – it didn’t hurt that it was going on right in my hometown.

Chapman and Lownsdale Squares are collectively a pretty place, most of the time; it’s in the government district, with the Federal building and City Hall a short walk away. The park there has been part of Portland’s scenery since the 1860’s – in 1861, the first fireworks display in Portland’s history were set off there, reinforcing in the public’s eye both Oregon and Portland’s commitment to the Federal union.

There’s a well-equipped brick building which houses the park’s bathroom-facilities (it was built around the turn of the century), along with a statue of Teddy Roosevelt as a ‘Rough Rider’ from the Spanish-American War.

In Lownsdale square just to the north, there’s a statue of a member of the Oregon Volunteer Infantry; ironically, at its granite base are two small cannon from Fort Sumter.

As I entered the camp through one of the many paved paths, I noticed a handmade sign – “This Isn’t A Party – Do Some Dishes”. About ten paces more, and a fellow asked me what I was doing. “Well, I wanted to see this for myself,” was my response. He identified himself as part of the ‘safety committee’; he pointed out that there were several people who’d come there to pick fights, and he wanted to make sure I wasn’t interested in causing trouble. “No. Not here for that. Actually, I wanted to see what the media weren’t telling us.”

We had a short conversation about the bathrooms – the city had shut them down several days before, and the odor of urine was evident. Where the campers were taking care of more-substantial business was anyone’s guess by now – but my new host informed me that the city had also asked local businesses to deny bathroom-access to ‘obvious campers’. Clearly, a ploy to make everyone leave.

If so, it didn’t work. I’d a feeling that anyone who’s camping in the rain in Portland in November wasn’t going to be deterred by a lack of ‘facilities’ – or much else, either.

I was invited to continue my walk. I walked from one end of Chapman to the other end of Lownsdale – and while I saw some very irregular living-arrangements, I didn’t feel particularly unsafe.

I did see a lot of scared people. Young ones. Old ones. A middle aged man who’d gone to the trouble of buying a gas-mask at a local army-surplus store. People who were in small groups, talking about what to do next. I got the feeling of a group of people on the eve of something they couldn’t define; something which was greater than they were. The apprehension was palpable; the city had given them three warnings to leave, and they expected a police-presence at any point to forcibly evict them from the park.

About halfway into my walk, a police officer asked me what I was doing. Somehow, I didn’t feel quite as safe around him as I did with the man who’d asked the same question earlier – he was armed with pepper-spray, a baton, and a firearm. Not exactly friendly attire – as I read recently, “If you want to know who’s there to start a riot, look for the people dressed for a riot.” I didn’t see any campers dressed for rioting (unless you count the gas-mask I saw earlier).

Taking a walk”, I said.

Well, be careful. This isn’t a place to sightsee.”

I’ll be careful, sir.

(Cops, by the way, call that behavior ‘P&C’ – polite and courteous – and they look for it; it’s a sign of submittal to authority.)

Although the media were quick, early on, to mention drug use and alcohol, I didn’t see any evidence of this. At the end of Lownsdale Square, I pondered what to do.

I crossed the street, and walked back on the Art Museum side. While I did, I read some signage: “How Is The War Economy Working Out For You?”; “I’ve Been Out Of Work For Three Years. I Am The 99%”; “Wall Street Got Bailed Out – We Got Sold Out”. As opposed to the hate-filled and misspelled signs at Portland’s only Tea Party rally, these used proper English, were spelled correctly, and didn’t rely on half-truths or outright lies.

Justin Bridges and Portland Police

(The next day, a large number of Portland riot-police surrounded the squares and began clearing out protesters. Mike Reese, Portland’s police chief, was interviewed by local media, saying that he was ‘pleased with the outcome’, and that there was ‘no violence’. Video posted to YouTube and on Occupy Portland’s website tells a different story.

A local musician and Occupy Portland’s sign-language interpreter, Justin Bridges, was beaten by Portland police on Sunday morning. Taken to the hospital, he still does not have the use of one of his legs, and one arm hangs limp. On the same day, Zuccotti Park in New York was cleared thanks to the machinations of the New York Supreme Court; an 84-year-old woman got a full face of pepper-spray during the clearout of Occupy Seattle, and the media praised the police in every case for their ‘restraint”.

 

The Empire’s no longer laughing.

They are on to the next stage of things – the point where they fight back. Just today, over 500 protesters were arrested nationwide, as they took the fight to the halls of the Elite’s money-machines (over 50 were arrested here in Portland). As this plays out, the Empire’s Fox News-worshiping supporters should remember some things:

First, it wasn’t a ‘liberal conspiracy’, ‘freedom-hating Democrats’, or ‘lazy hippies’ who melted down the nation’s economy. It was a cadre of impossibly-wealthy plutocrats and uberCapitalists who built a virtual Corporate State to serve their own interests at the expense of everyone else – and when their greed got the better of them, they were perfectly willing to bring down the nation’s economy and then whine like tittybabies for the rest of us to mortgage the future of our grandchildren by way of a ‘bailout’ so they could continue to live like gods.

They’ve created their gated communities – Versailles-on-the-relative-cheap – and continue to rake in upwards of $1,000,000 an hour while one person in five on the outside are unemployed, and one child in four goes hungry.

Dorli Rainey - 84 year old Seattle resident

Second, it wasn’t AlQaeda which brought us to war ten years ago. It was an administration which had been bought-and-paid-for by those same plutocrats – the ideological descendants of the Reagan era political apparatus which had elevated support for Israel into a holy crusade. AlQaeda was a response from the people oppressed by the regime in Jerusalem; a special-delivery package from a group of people who’d long ago connected the dots on the motives for Israel’s behavior.

Third, these same ‘hippies’ who are denigrated on the evening news are the message – and they’re making it, loud and clear, to anyone who’s listening. Joe and Josephine Sixpack aren’t paying attention – they’re too busy getting their soundbite-education from Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity to realize that the beginnings of a revolution are in play here, and the message is simple: The Plutocrats bought the government and proceeded to rape, pillage and rob the entire nation. In response, the protesters are camping in city parks nationwide to call attention to this crime, and set it right.

You can bet that the bastard-whores on Wall Street and their political counterparts on Capitol Hill know this – that’s why the camps were cleaned out. Laughter didn’t work. From where they sit, it’s time to fight back.

So, the question remains – “And what are you prepared to do?

It’s still a damn good question.

You have to do something. It’s no longer possible to sit on the fence and make excuses that you have kids, a job, a suburban house; the leaves need collecting, etc. The time for half-measures has come and gone. It was time to pick a side a good while ago.

I did – and I like those people; the protesters – the homeless ones; the kids who went to college and in return are drowning in $100K+ of student debt, with the greatest lesson learned being that the American dream had been killed by champagne-swilling cocksuckers on a balcony in New York; the guy with the gas mask.

They realize that the only ‘upward mobility’ in America has been the drain of cash upward into the coffers of the very few. They realize that these same people bought and paid for the government, and that if genuine change is going to occur, it’ll happen either with peaceful, or barring that, violent, revolution.

So far, the Elites have gotten a ‘bye’ – the protesters have been peaceful. To paraphrase Kennedy, they’ve asked that peaceful revolution be made possible.

 

The Elites have answered. They’re not laughing.

The next move is ours.

 

 

About astranavigo

Astra is one of the clever monkeys occupying space on the Third Planet From The Sun. While it was an early wish of Astra's to be one of the first to go to Proxima Centauri, he knows this is not to be; instead, you can find him here (some of the time) using simple tools to create communication. Holding up a mirror and saying 'Looky! Mistofer Emperor! Y'ain't wearin' no clothes!" is but one of the services he provides here. Others are subverting prevailing wisdom, peeing in people's Cheerios, trashing on their Imaginary Friends (he does this a lot,) and shifting paradigms without benefit of a clutch. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he hopes he'll never have to learn the true meaning of some of his dystopian fiction.

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19 Comments on “The Empire’s No Longer Laughing”

  1. This article is a little behind the times here – the protestors have been evicted from the park and they didn’t even fight back! They jst stood their with their little signs saying how much the trusted the pigs (I got a laugh out of that – 1st rule of revolution is not to trust established authority).

    The only part that came as a real surprise to me was that they broken without any live ammo being fired at them – these people supposedly have nothing left to lose, so the fact they were taken down relatively easily as they were makes me question their resolve…

  2. You:“This article is a little behind the times here – the protestors have been evicted from the park and they didn’t even fight back!

    Me:“The next day, a large number of Portland riot-police surrounded the squares and began clearing out protesters. Mike Reese, Portland’s police chief, was interviewed by local media, saying that he was ‘pleased with the outcome’, and that there was ‘no violence’. Video posted to YouTube and on Occupy Portland’s website tells a different story.

    A local musician and Occupy Portland’s sign-language interpreter, Justin Bridges, was beaten by Portland police on Sunday morning. Taken to the hospital, he still does not have the use of one of his legs, and one arm hangs limp. On the same day, Zuccotti Park in New York was cleared thanks to the machinations of the New York Supreme Court; an 84-year-old woman got a full face of pepper-spray during the clearout of Occupy Seattle, and the media praised the police in every case for their ‘restraint”.”

    There seems to be a dichotomy here.

    I stated the situation quite well, and accurately. Are you just trying to get a rise out of people, as usual?

    Next time, read the damned article before mouthing off.

    Thank you.

    -W

  3. I think that anyone who camps out in a tent for three months while placid autumn turns to winter is very committed. Occupy Anchorage stuck to their camp in below zero weather! Here is the new age dilemma; an indoctrination of non-acceptable violent retaliation so great that all the school yard bully has to do is taunt their victims until they express anger. Any anger at all will do. An explosive retort, slamming the locker, pushing back when pushed, and the victim suddenly becomes the culprit, and is labeled passive-aggressive. The victims are told to simply walk away from the instigators, thus indoctrinated at an early age to avoid hostile confrontations. The difference between self-righteous and righteous anger has been muddied.

    The Occupy movement has accomplished a purpose. They have proven once and for all that the administrators of law are nothing more than dogs of war. The Occupiers assembled peacefully. They lived peacefully together. They dissembled peacefully when Attila the Hun’s barbarians forcefully evicted them with pepper spray, mace and clubs.

    The media would like us to believe it’s over. The Occupiers failed to change one law, one policy, one mewley mouthed politician braying about democratic freedoms while ignoring the rights and well-being of the constituents, but it’s not over. It’s only act one, an act that brings out the character traits of the lead players.

    What do we do now? We continue to assemble, to discuss, to plan for the second act, which will be augmented by the viciousness of winter. We strengthen our connections with the other rumbles of discontent. A new president will be elected or the old one reinstated, but it won’t matter to the 99% who realize bi-partisan politics isn’t working because whoever is in office is bought and placed there by corporate interests. It will be a shabby victory, one backed only by the elitists, while the thunder of revolution grows louder. The Occupy movement accomplished one other purpose. The strings have been cut. We are no longer the puppets of an administration of authorities whose sole purpose is to turn us all into spineless jellyfish.

  4. @ W.D.

    Yeah, I got the second part – and I aslo know that most of those 30,000 will be gone in the next couple days (as is the case with most large demonstrations). But it doesn’t really matter what the numbers are: if they can’t do so much as successfully defend a campsite from the state’s paramilitaries they pose no threat to the state – wherever they go, wherever they set up shop the state will simply roust them from their chosen position again without fear of retaliation.

  5. @ Karlsie,

    “The Occupy movement has accomplished a purpose. They have proven once and for all that the administrators of law are nothing more than dogs of war.”

    Granted, they exposed the “law” for what it really is (the will of the guys with the most guns at their disposal) but where does it go from there? If these people are not willing to get physical with their oppressors this movement will only end in one of two ways – either the movement will be ripped apart by the state or some other political faction will hijack the protests and use them as a cover for its own cause (a la the military coup in Egypt – using the Tahir square protests as cover for its real intentions). Neither outcome is beneficail for those that wish to assert their own sovereignty…

  6. I too was not a bit surprised at how easy the crowds dispersed. People are naive if they think our government and its agencies have no plans for dealing with situations such as these. What will be telling is how people respond in the coming weeks and months.

    It is important to remember that just because people want to be peaceful does not mean they won’t rise up if necessary. The Goths did when they had been bled dry by Rome and effectively ended the once great power. Our leaders should be thinking of how to make things better if they truly want to keep this republic. It cannot stand the way it is being managed now.

  7. I’m reminded of the Iranian revolution. People streamed out of the mosques after Friday prayers and massed for anti-Shah demonstrations. The policf and SAVAK gunned them down and cleared the streets. The survivors mourned for forty days, went to the mosques for Friday prayers, came out to assemble into anti-Shah demonstrations, and were shot down. Over and over, in a forty-day cycle, until the police had had enough and refused to kill any more people.

    Moral: You can knock someone down, but if you can’t keep him down, if he keeps getting up again, your fists are going to break at some point. And then he owns yo’ ass.

  8. “What are “the motives for Israel’s behavior” as you see them?”

    First, thanks for commenting, SH.

    I take a somewhat-different view of 9/11 than my fellow countrymen – I don’t go in for moronic conspiracy-theories (big believer in Occam’s Razor here); I also don’t believe a whole group of people got up in the morning and said, “Hey! Let’s fly to America; buy some box-cutters, board a bunch of planes, then hijack them and fly them into buildings!” They had motivation – and that motivation, as their parent-organization (AlQaeda) said multiple times, was the U.S. support for Israel.

    Israel is the world’s ultimate schoolyard-bully; it’s a bastard state created from the land occupied by another ethnic group (they’re called ‘Palestinians’, after the land they occupied; ‘Palestine’). As with many schoolyard-bullies, the nascent Israeli government had to rely on someone else to finish the fights they picked. As the whole world was in the middle of a huge guilt-trip for not stopping Hitler when they had a chance, it decided that two wrongs would somehow make a right – so it supported the creation of Israel from Palestine; booted the Palestinians off their land, and said ‘so there!’ to the rest of the Arab world.

    This has predictably made them Very, Very Mad Indeed.

    It took them 53 years to put together something which would reach across the natural-barrier of the Atlantic Ocean and hit us. The real question should be, “Why did it take so long?” – instead, we asked, “Why did they do this to us? We didn’t do anything wrong!”

    Like so many who’ve supported bullies on the schoolyard, the perpetrator feigned innocence, and then declared two illegal wars in the name of ‘fighting terror’.

    Israel, for its part, continues to subjugate the Palestinians at every turn – the photos of dead civilians from white-phosphorus (against three sets of international laws) were incontrovertible; they’ve succeeded in creating, as we have here, more enemies than they can ever kill – and payday is inevitable.

    Whether Iran finally decides to nuke the place into iridescent glass, or one of its other neighbors decides to do the job, isn’t really in question – the simple math dictates that Israel’s days are numbered, if for no other reason than they’re outnumbered 200-1 by a whole ring of very pissed-off neighbor countries.

    Now that we’ve bankrupted ourselves, finishing off Israel looks pretty tempting to a lot of countries. It’s a foregone conclusion – 150 years from now the history books will be talking about the insanity of doing what the world did by way of founding a ‘nation’ where one already stood.

    Using the U.S. as a means of support is wearing thin with a lot of us; we’ve sent them an ocean of money and a forest of bayonets to fund and defend the place for over sixty years; the events of the last decade were caused to one degree or another by our support of Israel.

    As one of our governors said during an abortive run for the Presidency, “There won’t be peace in the Middle East until we tell the Israelis, ‘God is not your real-estate agent’, and the Arabs, ‘God is not your general.'” Of course, that was too much like common-sense, and he lost.

    That it’s time for such logic is a foregone conclusion.

    -W

  9. @W

    Thanks for your response.

    As I read your reply some questions came to mind. In your view, is Israel an independent nation/state, or is it an offshoot of the US?

    I realize this is way off-topic and I don’t mean to get into conspiracy theories here but, it seems to me like a certain group of people have been hell-bent on controlling Jerusalem since the First Crusade.

    Personally, I don’t see Israel as having much of an economy without the aid it receives from the US. So the question is, why does the US support Israel when they (america) are clearly facing bankruptcy? What is a Zionist presence in the middle-east accomplishing for the US that is more valuable than their own economy?

    Please feel free to remove this if it’s too off-topic.

    -f

  10. “As I read your reply some questions came to mind. In your view, is Israel an independent nation/state, or is it an offshoot of the US?

    I realize this is way off-topic and I don’t mean to get into conspiracy theories here but, it seems to me like a certain group of people have been hell-bent on controlling Jerusalem since the First Crusade.

    Personally, I don’t see Israel as having much of an economy without the aid it receives from the US. So the question is, why does the US support Israel when they (america) are clearly facing bankruptcy?”

    Actually, this is an excellent set of interrogatives, hardly off-topic as this is integral to much of what I wrote, above, and they’re questions which should have been asked by Americans back after the 1967 Arab/Israeli War; certainly after the oil-embargo in 1973.

    America has always has a huge Jewish population. While a lot of them are non-religious (a fair number are actually atheists), most have been convinced by the Zionists (a fairly-radical group which supports the existence of a nation-state which is run by and for members of one religion; Judaism) that support for Israel is synonymous with support for all Jews.

    Most Americans have fallen for this line, also. It’s what’s driven our foreign policy for nearly seventy years now. Anyone who suggests that we severely curb or eliminate our financial and military support for Israel is called a ‘Nazi’, or worse.

    Separating support for the world’s Jewish people from support for an obviously-racist regime in Jerusalem is (and would be) the first step in correcting a dreadful foreign-policy which has brought about, among other things, the attacks on the U.S. on 9/11/2001.

    As to Israel’s economy, they throw a disproportionate amount of their GDP into their military (that lopsided-fight they called “Operation Cast Lead” couldn’t have happened otherwise); while they have a thriving arms industry themselves, they purchase a large amount of their materiel from the U.S. Much of this is a paper-push, as we’re really just giving them the aid-money which comes back to the U.S. weapons manufacturers.

    Whereas our media has done a very good job of not reporting any of this, the rest of the world knows it all too well – one of the biggest eye-openers I got regarding news and how it’s reported came when I traveled extensively in Europe and the Middle East in the mid-late ’90’s; their peoples routinely get (or got) an unvarnished view of things; they were oftentimes better-informed regarding what went on here in the U.S. than we were.

    I haven’t a clue about solving all of this – we’ve ignored our education system since the end of WWII; as a result the average American can’t find Ohio on a map, let alone discuss the rest of the world; we’ve developed into a docile, supine mob more interested in “American Idol” than the world around us. A citizenry like that cannot be counted upon to do more than vote for one of the two puppets put up by the collective politico-media circus every four years. It’s why we have Tea Party rallies with signs that read, “Thank You, Fox News, For Keeping Us Infromed (sic)”, and “Make English America’s Ofecal (sic) Language.”

    Frankly, the odds are long in the tooth for getting America’s populace to grow a brain by some magic alchemy, then begin voting for, and not against, a set of candidates who represent genuine change. Until then, whether its fixing our problems at home, or ending our support for racist regimes and unjust wars, the odds are long against the fixing.

    (Anecdote: In 2005, Citigroup released a memo to its largest customers, in which they stated that what America now had was a plutonomy – rule by a handful of wealthy people and corporations – rather than a democracy; that the greatest threat to continued profits was that the people might wake up and actually exercise their democratic franchise – in other words, vote out the bastards who’d created this mess, and elect citizen-legislators who’d fix it.)

    For all of this, there are a handful of us who actually Stayed Awake in Class; a few who actually connected the dots, and ‘get it’. As I said, above, “They realize that these same people bought and paid for the government, and that if genuine change is going to occur, it’ll happen either with peaceful, or barring that, violent, revolution.”

    It’s really come to that. The powers-that-be are going to have to listen. They’ll act; you can count on that – they’ve quit laughing, and have proceeded to the ‘fighting us’ stage. The next move really is up to those who lead the way – the few who’ve decided to say ‘no more’, and protest the rule of a plutonomy.

    If it fades out or gains strength is dependent upon the rest of America. I hope they grow some brains.

    -W

  11. Sh- if I might butt into your conversation with Will, back in July of 2010 Subversify had published an article by me called The Swastika of David: Zionazism’s Future which might answer some of your questions. Use the search box on the right upper corner; for some reason I’m unable to post a link in the response column.

  12. Thanks Bill.

    Your article is a great collection of facts no doubt. Too bad those who don’t want to be convinced won’t be no matter how much evidence is presented. 🙁

    I left you a comment too.

    Keep up the good work.

    -f

  13. @ W.D. Noble,

    A couple things…

    1. Regarding 9/11 – how can anyone look at the physical evidence and conclude that the official story is anything but a pack of lies? Seriously, how do three buildings (yes, three buildings fell that day in New York) collapse into their own footprints at free-fall speeds with the use of explosives (explosions were heard before the collapse – the 9/11 commission omitted this from their final report)? How does liquefied steel pour from wreckage when jet fuel doesn’t burn hot enough to melt steel (the 9/11 commission omitted this from their final report as well)? How is it that the hijackers were immediately identified after the incident, and some of those hijackers were caught on tape walking around *alive* days or even weeks later (the 9/11 commission also failed to make any note of this)?

    And, most damning, why was the commission dedicated to investigating this incident so quick to dismiss any and all physical evidence and witness testimony that contradicted the official version of events? The only answer any rational person can come to is that it was all a show for the public – that the government knows a hell of a lot more about what happened that day than what it’s telling us, but won’t admit the truth because that will compromise the agenda of the state (i.e. Middle Eastern wars for oil).

    2. What’s this shit about voting for candidates that represent change? Didn’t that happen already and the guy who was supposed to bring said change about simply fuck over those who trusted him?

    The real question here isn’t who to vote for (as if there are any politicians that give a shit about us) – the real question is whether or not *anyone* should ever hold the kind of power the political class does! The problem isn’t the office holders, it’s the offices themselves: the kind of power and authority they hold are far too easy for the power hungry manipulators to seize control of – the positions of power need to be destroyed altogether and power localized if any real change is to come about.

    The system can’t be “fixed” – it *needs* to die so that a new kind of society not dependent on power monopolies can live…

  14. Excepting the provocateur act [nicely left ignored] elements in the comments thread as good as the article. I’d like to point out one more aspect of our failed schools which provide an education that is a mile wide and one quarter inch deep:

    The recent decade of establishing ‘charter schools’ meant to ‘sort the wheat from the chaff’ .. or that is to say the public schools infrastructure has not only been further abandoned, but the brightest staff and students will be [it’s already happening] skimmed away. Now, rather than socially justifiable accelerated of the meritorious best of an overall healthy system which provides fair opportunity to all, the charter movement has become a salvage yard that abandons those ‘not worthy’ to fate [public schools] and recycles the ‘precious’ elements.

    One complete generation of this risks a result ‘beyond salvage’

    Thanks, W.D. for the read, and the thread

  15. “the charter movement has become a salvage yard that abandons those ‘not worthy’ to fate [public schools] and recycles the ‘precious’ elements.

    One complete generation of this risks a result ‘beyond salvage’

    Thanks, W.D. for the read, and the thread”

    ______________________________

    First; thank you – your commendation is fulsome praise, indeed, when I consider the one who wrote it.

    Secondly, your comment about ‘charter schools’ is spot-on – they can point to impressive statistics, which hold up only if the reader failed to grasp the concepts of seventh-grade math (at least, as it was taught when I was 12 – it’s easy to claim ‘victory’ when the only students you accept are the best and brightest from stable families.)

    Sadly, we’ve already had a generation of this, in one form or another – anyone with a lick of sense and the money has already sent their children to private schools, with the result that we now have (in the instance of religious schools) a far-more-insular, stratified, and polarized society than before, with a public-school system which is sinking daily.

    The end-result is going to be a society of haves and have-nots; Jeffersonian egalitarianism will be a brief notion of the Enlightenment, and nothing more.

    (Then again, we shouldn’t wonder that this is now official in Texas.)

    -W

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