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Occupy Congress Continued

Thanks to all of you who contacted your Congresspersons and Senators about SOPA and PIPA.  What these bills seem to be attempting to do is two things: promote private ownership of internet content and to sharply censor the non-conformists under the pretense of protecting property. SOPA looks quiescent for now but it’s going to take constant vigilance to make sure it stays that way.  PIPA is still in play, as far as I can tell.

One thing I learned when I was on the board of ed is that politicians will back down and even do a 180 if opposition is noisy and persistent.  This is probably why our political class is quite content to cast the Occupations in a negative light.  They’re noisy and persistent but if they can be made to look dirty and violent, their message doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

I had some connection problems in our room in Washington and on the train on the way back so I wasn’t able to upload my pics or process my video yet.  Then I found out from the insurance claims adjuster that all of the siding on one side of my house needs to be replaced including vapor barrier, weather stripping around the windows and the shutters as well.  The claims adjuster said her own house had suffered some structural damage from the wind storm as well, although nothing this extensive.  We both think the wind came from a different direction since neither of us had ever seen anything like it before.  Anyway, it’s been an interesting week in a Chinese proverb way.  So, I am uploading a few pics tonight to try to catch up.

Some interesting tidbits: we met a ragtag triplet with the letters “SD” on their shirts.  They reminded me of the stereotypical fife and drums trio from the Revolutionary War.  It turned out that they were three of the contingent from San Diego who were thrown off the Greyhound bus in Amarillo, Texas.  That’s not quite accurate.  What *really* happened is that the bus driver pulled over, got out of the bus – and locked them in.  Then he unloaded their baggage and forced them off the bus leaving them stranded in Amarillo.  But here’s the great thing about the Occupation.  The deserted in the desert contacted Occupy Amarillo and Amarillo came to their rescue, picked them up, gave them a place to stay, fed them and sent them on their way to Washington.  That’s a heart tugging story with a happy ending.

Then there was a contingent from Walla Walla, Washington.  They were senior citizens who had become very active in the Occupy movement and had canvassed their neighborhood advocating the protection of Medicare.  They struck some kind of deal with their city officials so that their site remained intact and free of harrassment from the local constabulary.  They say they are getting an overwhelmingly positive response from everyone they have talked to about Medicare.  Another success story of people sticking up for each other.

Then there was the not-so-good stories.  One woman from Portland told horror stories about the Portland police.  It sounds like the whole Portland police force is made up of sadistic automatons.  Their attitude seems to be “crack heads first, ask questions later if they’re conscious”.  She said that she had a concussion from one of her unfortunate encounters and she hadn’t done anything to provoke it except be present.  The police attack without warning and in as brutal a fashion as they can get away with.

We spent much of the afternoon in conversation between the four of us, Lambert, Marsha (CoyoteCreek), DCBlogger and me, and went back to the Capitol lawn at about 6:00pm.  There was a festive mood and music playing.  It was hard to tell how many people were there because there was no lighting except flashlights.  We sat on the muddy ground on plastic rain ponchos and took it all in.  It’s a different mood in Washington than it is in Manhattan.  The police are a lot less menacing and they don’t seem to outnumber protestors.  They ride around the city on bikes in colorful jackets and blue helmets.  They’re, dare I say it?  Friendly.  Really weird.  And also a nice change.  You would have really had to get up into their grill to get your ass hauled away.  In fact, early in the day, one occupier got righteously indignant about all of the fencing around the lawn so he started to tear it all down.  They let him.  The occupiers either rolled up the fencing neatly and moved it out of the way or used it as ground cover over the muddy ground so they could erect their makeshift structures.  There was a staging area, a kitchen and a medic area.  The kitchen served oatmeal, bottled water and fresh fruit for breakfast.

The GA took awhile to get started.  I blame the location.  It’s a wide open space with no natural acoustical advantages.  The voice dissipates quickly.  We tried a double mic and it took several attempts to get it to propagate.  The GA read the agenda and the plan to visit representatives.  Each congressional office building was assigned a color.  To visit your rep, all you needed to do was find the color of his/her building.  We decided to go have lunch at this point since Marsha hadn’t eaten anything all day, so we didn’t participate.  Later, we heard that the occupiers found the offices deserted for the most part.  Maybe they were busy, I don’t know.  But the vast majority of occupiers are old enough to vote.  They are constituents.  They deserve some respect.  I can only imagine what those nice elderly gentlemen from Walla Squared are going to tell their neighbors about their visit to their congresswoman, Cathy McMorris Rogers.  From what they told me about her, they were not impressed with her or the fact that she always seems to be standing behind John Boehner when it’s picture time at the Capitol.

Here are some pictures from our day.  Be sure to check out updates from Lambert, CoyoteCreek and DCBlogger at Corrente.  Also, Lambert hosted Virtually Speaking during the pajama party in our room last night.  Check it out.

Setting up:

Occupy Applique:

The GA tries the double mic:

{Ok, I started to video this with my iPhone and thought I stopped recording when I put my phone in my pocket.  Ha-Ha.  Always double check.  Yes, that is my voice.  I couldn’t always hear what was being said and mostly just caught the tail end of each statement.  Still, this gives you an idea of the challenges of doing a GA on the lawn.  If I were the occupiers, I’d walk down the mall and look for a circular concrete plaza on the right side a couple blocks up.  I think it’s the Naval Heritage Center. It’s a much better space for a GA.  Don’t know what the rules are for occupying it for that purpose but it didn’t look like anyone was using it.  hint-hint}

The Agenda:

Night on the Capitol lawn:

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WHO coordinated the raids?

Occupiers during the Zuccotti Park raid

One data point is just data.  Two points are a trend.  Three points are a correlation.

Denver, Portland, Oakland, New York.

And we musn’t forget Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  For years, an abandoned car dealership was a blight on the town’s business environment but no one did anything about it.  Then, the Occupy Movement stepped in and occupied the building and, voile!  Last Sunday, the cops moved in and arrested the occupiers for squatting.  Township authorities cleared their agendas and focused on solving the suddenly most important issue before them – condemning the building.

Why the rush?

On Monday, when Mayor of Oakland, CA, Jean Quan’s legal council quit, he said something cryptic about supporting Occupy Oakland and not the 1%.  That was interesting.  And then the deputy mayor quit too.  Then we find out that Quan was one of 18 mayors nationwide  on a conference call sometime in the past week where allegedly they planned to break up the occupy protests.

There are three possibilities for who coordinated the raids:

1.) The mayors were all good golfing buddies, got together over a few beers and decided all on their own to rid themselves of these meddlesome protestors.

2.) The 1% organized an online Mayor’s Retreat where participants offered charitable donations to the cities who took a more proactive approach to cleaning up their parks.  Does Oakland need to buy some property for a new school?  Does Chapel Hill find itself short on funds for their downtown business zone Renaissance project?  It wasn’t a coordinated effort to shut down the Occupy Movement.  It was simply a way for the 1% to give back to these communities and pair up interested benefactors with cities that have been stretching their tax dollars as far as they could go and were still falling short of their obligations.  Call it Noblesse Oblige.

3.) One (or both) of the political parties was involved in cleaning up the Occupy Movement.  It could have been either party because both take wads of cash from the 1% and have an interest in keeping their finance industry masters happy.  But there’s only one party in charge of the executive branch departments that might prove useful to coordinating the clean up.  But that’s just a conspiracy theory and you will never find the fingerprints of anyone in particular on the documents.  But I would love to know who set up that conference call.  And isn’t it conveeeenient that it all went down right after that off year election where so many politicians were forced to give lip service to the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.  Maybe it was the Republicans.  They haven’t chosen a nominee yet and maybe they don’t want to be put on the spot, having to scrunch up their faces and make little strangled choking noises about how the Occupiers are speaking for some terribly misguided but well-meaning people who should be working.  But if that were the case, how did they manage to get Democratic mayors like Jean Quan and Portland Mayor Sam Adams (with a name like that, he really should be an occupier) to go along with it?

So, here we see clear evidence of a coordinated effort but we don’t know what motivated the mayors to terminate the occupations.  The timing is suspicious.  There is no doubt now that there was a conference call.  And the resignation of Dan Siegal in Oakland suggests that the 1% are involved, whether by itself or through some political/electoral coordinating committee.

I want to know WHO did it.

Who decided to get together and terminate the peaceful assemblies of these occupiers to protest and speak?  Who decided to use the excuse of “cleaning” (or, more accurately, “cleansing”) the parks?  Who put together the trigger words that they all used about health and safety and danger and crime?  Who has associated those words with a group of people who are protesting social inequality brought on by the unchecked and reckless behavior of the 1%?  And while we’re at it, if the cities were so concerned with sanitation and hygiene, why did they make it so difficult to get porta potties at the sites?  And why do they permit vampire romance addled teenagers to camp out in a parking lot in front of a theater for 5 days for tickets to a silly movie without subjecting them to pepperspray, batons and arrests for unlawful, unpermitted assemblies?

And what is the meaning of an unpermitted assembly?  The very idea violates the spirit of the first amendment that says that citizens have the right to assemble and speak.  If you have to ask for a permit to do this, isn’t that the same as saying you don’t really have this right because someone else has the power to deny you the permit?  I am not a lawyer but it seems to me that the Constitution was written broadly enough that powerful people have been able to argue that just about any truncation of your rights are permissable because the Constitution didn’t explicitly say “no”.  Why is it that movements like Occupy Wall Street are routinely shut down?  Why is it that so many grassroot movements such as the Occupy movement fail to take root because they can’t get permits?

Anyway, I want answers.  I want mayors who have been “forced” to cooperate for fear that their local and state parties might lose campaign funds to come forth and tell us the truth.  It won’t go well for them if they don’t tell the public the truth and the truth comes out anyway. Now that the press have had their own rights violated and reporters roughed up, they have an interest in finding this out for themselves.   The timing was really, really bad from a PR standpoint.  It came way too soon after an election.  And now a whole year stretches before us so that those of us who have questions and demand answers can keep this issue going.

The coordinators didn’t end the movement.  No, the idiots focussed the concentration of the nation with laser like intensity on the Occupiers now.  The way these raids were carried out, complete with jack booted thugs and helicopters in the middle of the night, is enough to make even the most whacked out 2nd amendment nutcase sympathetic and make the most liberal minded crunchy granola type think that owning a gun to defend yourself against governmental overreach isn’t such a bad idea.  So, whoever it was who planned this hamhanded operation should be congratulated for finally finding common ground between the two extremist ends of the parties.

Concern in Chapel Hill after Sunday's raid

If I were to hazard a guess, I’d go with Rahm Emmanuel’s syndicate.  Yep, he’s got the whole mayor thing going, he’s in Chicago, which has a reputation, he’s familiar with how to use the 1%’s money to gain political influence in an election year and he’s not into subtlety.  There’s just enough distance between him and the 1% and the Obama campaign and just enough irritation from the merry pranksters of Occupy Chicago that it would make it look entirely reasonable for him to want to squelch them and help his fellow mayors squelch them.

That’s my hypothesis.  What kind of data to we need to make a correlation?

Monday: Big O and the Obots

Is the crowd real or CGI enhanced?

Q: Is the crowd real or CGI enhanced?

A-Haa!  The truth comes out.  The best way to get HUGE numbers of young enthusiastic people to turn out to an Obama rally is to lure them with that rock-n-roll, bratwurst and beer.  From gateway pundit comes a description of how they did it:

OBAMA Lures Massive German Crowd With Rock Bands, Brats & Beer!

CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN—

The choreographed Obamapalooza Tour 2008 continues in Berlin today complete with with rock bands, beer and brats.
Oh… And, German campaign flyers.

But remember- It’s not a political rally.
The German newspaper Berliner Morganpost reported on the rally today (translated):

The speech will begin clock to 19 and up about 20 clock time. Admission to the event area is from 16 clock. At 16 clock begins the inlet to Obama spectacle on the streets of the 17th June. For the spectators, the further back have been enlarged picture screens.

To the waiting time of up to the speech of the presidential candidates to shorten a second stage built on the musical framework programme to take place. The German Reggeasänger Patrice and the German pop band Reamonn 17.30 from occur there. Before and during the breaks, the British disc jockey Mantu.

Snack and drink stalls are also up – the area is converted Fabnmeile-Obama.

Hat Tip Dan

To many of you, this is old news, especially to those of you living in the Portland area where it was done before the Oregon primary and THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of Sports Illustrated Sweimsuit Models with PhDs in Architecture paddled their kayaks to a different Obama rally:

From CNN to the New York Times, the media hyped Barack Obama’s Portland, Oregon rally on Sunday, some comparing him to a rock star.

Unmentioned in national reporting was the fact that Obama was preceded by a rare, 45-minute free concert by actual rock stars The Decemberists. The Portland-based band has drawn rave reviews from Rolling Stone magazine, which gave their 2005 album Picaresque four and a half stars (out of five), and another four and a half stars for 2007’s The Crane Wife.

Now, as we mentioned before, two points are probably sufficient data for a biologist to draw a conclusion but we chemists need at least three. Fortunately for us, we may already have a third point. It’s called Invesco Field. How do you get 80,000 ordinary people into a stadium to spend some time with a bunch of political types? Think about it. What would it take to get *us* to spend time listening to Barack Obama, I mean, without earplugs and dramamine? The only thing that would get me in there is a Broncos game, U2 or Bruce Springsteen. I’m guessing the Broncos aren’t playing; I’m going with Bruce. Or the Dixie Chicks, whose normally astute Natalie Mains has donated to Obama. (I’m burning their songs on my iPhone.)

But why does Obama have to bribe voters in Oregon and the newly created congressional district of Berlin to get people to come and cheer for him? Did JFK or Reagan have to do that? Why isn’t his amazing record and speechmaking enough? (Don’t answer that) Or maybe it’s because his whole persona is a manufactured one, conjured up by some Madison Avenue type to meet a demand that did not exist before this election season. And if the demand isn’t really there then co-marketing and tie-ins and special bonus offers are necessary to entice the disinterested.

He’s like Teddy Ruxpin, Cabbage Patch Dolls and pet rocks. Artificially animated, oversold and useless.

Can we have Hillary back now?