I originally wrote this article during the heyday of the Occupy Wall Street movement. With the recent violence in Charlottesville and Berkeley, it bears repeating now. (Just replace the words “Occupy Wall Street” with “Anti-Trump” or “Anti-White Supremacist”.)
It’s obvious to readers of this blog that I am in wholehearted solidarity with Occupy Wall Street and the struggle for economic and social justice for the 99% of our citizens who have been increasingly denied their fair share of the American Dream.
As the OWS movement has spread from lower Manhattan to big cities and small towns across the country, few of these protests have attracted more national headlines than Occupy Oakland, especially after last week’s spasm of police violence energized the Bay Area movement, leading to today’s General Strike and the effective closing of the Port of Oakland by thousands of patriots rallying to the cause of the 99%.
However, among the media reports on today’s General Strike in Oakland, I was disturbed to read this article by Ben Margot of the Associated Press.
OAKLAND – Protesters supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement smashed the windows of a Wells Fargo bank branch in downtown Oakland on Wednesday during a day of demonstrations in protest of wealth inequalities.
A group of about 300 men, many wearing black, some carrying wooden sticks, was part of a group of hundreds who set out to cause a general strike in the area around City Hall. The smaller group smashed several windows of the Wells Fargo branch while chanting, “Banks got bailed out; we got sold out.” They also spray-painted an expletive on the outer wall of the bank. Employees were inside while this took place, but it did not appear that anyone got hurt.
Who were these 300 vandals “many wearing black, some carrying wooden sticks”? Were they right wing provocateurs infiltrating the OWS movement to discredit it?
The Raw Story blog shed more light on black bloc tactics in Oakland:
“The vast majority of the protesters remained peaceful, but a small group of black bloc protesters defaced ATMs and broke windows at Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase Bank branches as the protesters marched through downtown, according to the Oakland Tribune.
A group of protesters also vandalized a Whole Foods store and someone spray-painted “fuck” on the side of the Christ the Light Cathedral.”
You can click on this link to get the full story – but basically, a black bloc is a tactic in which protestors wear black clothing, scarves, ski masks, and other concealing garb to avoid identification and promote solidarity. Black bloc tactics include vandalism, rioting and street fighting.
Black bloc? Let’s just say no to the black bloc.
The Occupy Wall Street movement is doing just fine, thank you, without black bloc tactics. OWS is attracting the old as well as the young, middle class teachers and union workers as well as students and unemployed youths. Dressing in black and hiding your face while engaging in violent acts will not win the hearts and minds of the 99% in America.
If the police attack non-violent protestors, OWS keeps the moral high ground. If the police crack down on provocateurs that smash windows and paint obscenities on bank buildings, grocery stores and churches – then that’s just the cops doing their job.
Scott Olsen, the Iraq War veteran who was shot in the head with a tear gas canister by the Oakland police during a courageous act of non-violent resistance did more to win average Americans to the cause of the 99% than any of these window-smashing anarchists ever will.
Remember the words of John Lennon, who knew a thing or two about street demonstrations and the struggle for social justice.You say you want a revolution Well, you know We all want to change the world You tell me that it’s evolution Well, you know We all want to change the world But when you talk about destruction Don’t you know that you can count me out
OWS must stay non-violent. The movement has already changed the national conversation in a positive way. The politicians, pundits and media are talking more about OWS and the legitimate concerns of the 99% than yesterday’s national debt hysteria.
Martin Luther King won. Ghandi won. Dressing up is a black disguise and busting windows is only a way to lose. So, take off those black masks. Put down those clubs. Pick up a witty, pithy sign – and join the peaceful movement that’s on the verge of changing the status quo.
Suffering from Trump fatigue? Scrambled by Scaramucci? Weary of Kellyanne Conway? Stultified by the droning of Sarah Huckabee Sanders? Jared Kushner creeping you out? Would you like them all to go away for a least a few precious minutes?
Donald J. Trump, a former reality TV personality and vulgar, amoral and narcissistic real estate tycoon — under investigation for colluding with the Russians to interfere with the 2016 Presidential Election — is still the President of the United States.
The U.S. Senate, in Republican control under the racist, ideologue Kentucky Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is deciding the fate of health care for tens of millions of Americans in the dead of night – forcing a vote after revealing the bill just hours before demanding a vote.
The not-yet-officially-hired new White House Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci, has gone viral – by haranguing a respected New Yorker reporter with a profanity-laced attack on the current White House Chief of Staff, Reince Preibus, and the President’s chief advisor, Steve Bannon. (Talk about message discipline…)
President Trump has continued his relentless Twitter attacks on his handpicked Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.
Trump’s attack on Sessions is part and parcel of his strategy to obstruct the ongoing work of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election — and Trump’s possible collusion with the Russians.
The Boy Scouts of America have had to issue an apology for Trump’s unprecedented politicization of his remarks to their annual Jamboree — leading to calls for the resignation of the Scouting and Jamboree leadership.
Trump’s surprise Twitter call for a ban on transgender military members has been soundly rejected by the very military leaders on whom Trump justified his knee-jerk, early morning Tweet ban.
And that’s just today.
That’s just the past 24 hours.
It’s not going to get any better.
Transcript of G-20 off-the-record meeting between Russian President-for-life Vladimir Putin and Useful Idiot, current American President Donald J. Trump:
Trump: Excuse me, Vladimir. Can I have a word with you?”
Russian Translator: Pardon me, Your Excellency. Your obsequious, naive puppet would like to smooch your royal derriere.
Putin: Bring him on. He is such a ridiculous buffoon. He doesn’t even have his own translator with him. This will be a turkey shoot.
Russian Translator: (to Trump) President Putin is honored to sit with you and share our common goals.
Trump: Thank you, Vlad. I’m glad that you and I can be such good, close, manly bros — when all these other so-called world leaders have such unfair suspicions about our legitimate, manly, soul-man bond.
Russian Translator: (To Putin) Mr. Trump has totally taken the bait. He has no clue that we are America’s enemy. Either that, or he’s even more naïve than we imagined he might be.
Putin: Tell the great orange ass that I think his wife is a fine example of Eastern European womanhood – and that he’s a moron.
Russian Translator: I can’t tell him that, your Excellency.
Putin: Fine, just tell him to sit down and share my dessert.
Russian Translator: Please sit down and share dessert with his Excellency.
Trump: Goody. I love dessert. Are we having a beautiful chocolate cake? Like the cake I served Japan’s Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago?
Russian Translator: (To Putin) Is this like the cake at Mar-a-Lago?
Putin: I wouldn’t wipe my yagoditsy with any cake at Mar A Lago…
Russian Translator: I can’t tell him that sir…
Trump: Of course not. Tell the egotistical oaf what he wants to hear.
Russian Translator: President Putin hopes that you will enjoy your dessert as much as the guests at your fine hotel, Mar-a-Lago, enjoy their sumptuous desserts.
Putin: (To translator) That’s laying it on a little too thick….
Russian Translator: Of course, sir. (To Trump) President Putin would like to move beyond cake – and deal with more substantive issues.
Trump: Of course! Forget all the delicious, rich and tasty cake. Let’s talk about what exactly you guys want for putting me in office.
Russian Translator: (To Putin) This doofus is being way, way too obvious about the game we’re playing…
Putin: Just tell him that his wife is calling him – and he has to spend time with her or people will talk. Is she calling over to him? Kakogo cherta! Is Melania even here?
Russian Translator: She’s trying to avoid him. She just ducked under the table next to the wife of the French President.
Putin: He’s such a loser. Why did we bet on this jerk?
Russian Translator: He really loves you, sir. He’s truly one of your biggest fans. (To Trump) President Putin is pleased to have you join him.
Trump: I’m so glad we can spend this terrific time together…
Russian Translator: (To Putin) Be careful, sir. He can’t be as stupid as he seems…
Putin: Maybe not. But he’s certainly as boring as possible…
Trump: Have I ever told you about my hole-in-one at my golf course in Scotland?
Russian Translator: (To Putin) He’s yanking stuff out his yagoditsy, sir…
Putin: O Bozhe. Be careful what you seek. You may, unfortunately, get what you want. And what you wanted may turn out to be too big a clown to be useful.
Russian Translator: (To Putin) What should I tell him?
Putin: Tell him we’re on his side. And make sure we’ve recorded this conversation.
Now, I’m not a lawyer.
I’m not a federal law enforcement officer.
I’m not a trained espionage agent.
Nor am I a political campaign professional.
But I am a thinking human being. I can read. And I can process what I read logically.
And that’s why two particular e-mails in Donald Trump Junior’s infamous e-mail string – and the fact that Donnie Jr., Trump’s campaign manager, and his son-in-law took a follow-up meeting — are all I need to determine that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian regime to hack and undermine our nation’s democratic process.
First, let’s look at the Russian come-on…
Now, let’s examine the e-mail in which Donald Junior takes the Russian bait – just 17 minutes later.
“I love it especially later in the summer”
Don’t get distracted by all the straw arguments.
It doesn’t matter if the Russians gave them anything substantial at that subsequent meeting.
It doesn’t matter who left the meeting first or who was texting throughout the meeting.
What matters is that at least three of the leading figures in the Trump campaign were made aware that people purporting to represent the Russian government on some level told them that the Russian government was offering dirt they collected on Trump’s opponent.
And Donald Tump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner did not inform the FBI.
They also repeatedly denied that the Russians were meddling with the election in any way.
They repeatedly said that their campaign had no contact with Russians.
Jared Kushner left this meeting — and other signifcant Russian contacts — off the disclosure forms required for his security clearance.
And the traitorous trio allowed Donald Trump himself to dump bucket after bucket of cold water on the very notion of Russian hacking. In fact, they allowed Trump to publically encourage Russian hacking.
All of which, at the very least, provided cover for a Russian election-meddling effort that the traitorous trio knew was underway as early as June 3rd, 2016: an effort the objective of which, they certainly knew, was to support Donald Trump.
So, forget all the other noise. Forget all of Trump’s tweets and the weasel words of his pathetic media mouthpieces.
Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller now has all he needs to bring the curtain down on Trump’s clown show.
And I’ll bet he’s got a lot more.
I haven’t written much on my blog this year. The daily nonsense, insanity and idiotic, bumbling evil of Trump’s regime have left me type-tied. What to say about so much crazy? How to parry so many lies?
I’ve left the Trump jokes to the staffs of The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Saturday Night Live. They’ve kept up the satiric fight very well without my two cents. Crafting jokes about a man-child whose words and actions are frequently beyond satire is a challenge. Simply holding up the mirror has often been enough. I’ve enjoyed watching our best comedians skewer the Great Orange Gasbag on a nightly basis.
But Trump’s latest dust-up with the Mayor of London, and the breathless, hyperbolic tone of the 24/7 media coverage of recent terrorist attacks has finally riled me enough to put down my remote, get off the couch, and vent.
Vent, that is, via a brief history lesson.
To be sure, the media (other than FOX News) quickly pointed out that Trump’s god-awful Tweet denigrating the Mayor of London for suggesting there was “no reason to be alarmed” about the London Bridge attacks took the mayor’s words out of context. Mayor Sadiq Khan was clearly referring to the increased presence of armed police on the streets of London – where, unlike in militarized America, London “Bobbies” don’t usually carry guns.
But that’s not where my mind went. My mind went to London during The Blitz — and the motto “Keep Calm and Carry On”. Had Mayor Kahn actually said there was no reason to be alarmed by the latest cowardly terrorist attack on his magnificent, open city – he’d have been standing proudly in the shoes of Winston Churchill, King George VI, and the millions of Londoners who endured The Blitz with a stiff upper lip.
And the media need a history lesson as well. London was never “on edge” because of the London Bridge attack, nor was the UK still “reeling” from the bombing in Manchester. And – this very morning – I somehow doubt, despite breathless CNN commentary, that Paris in “on edge” because one man attacked one cop with a hammer. Such lazy, hysterical media tropes amplify the terrorists’ small, desperate, murderous acts into something much large than they are.
How did Londoners react to The Blitz? And what was The Blitz? Hey, CNN and MSNBC – maybe the past few days have been a missed opportunity to put things in historical perspective? It’s a cinch Trump has no knowledge of history – but he does watch TV.
The seven innocent deaths in the London attack and the 22 lives lost in the Manchester bombing cannot be discounted. They must all be mourned. But we do them all dishonor when we lose perspective and help to make their deaths a propaganda victory for the terrorists. The Nazis tried to terrorize England on an infinitely larger scale – and they failed to break the spirit of the British people. What chance does ISIS have if Trump and the ratings-hungry media don’t play into their hands?
Consider this. (Donald, are you listening?)
Starting on September 7, 1940, the German air force bombed London for 56 out of the next 57 days and nights. The Nazis continued their night bombing campaign until May 11, 1941, when Hitler called off the raids so he could use his bombers for his invasion of Russia.
More than a million homes in London were destroyed or damaged — and more than 40,000 civilians were killed, nearly half of them were Londoners.
And what was the British response? “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
Still listening, Donald? (Of course not. You don’t have the attention span.)
Have 70 post-world war years of relative peace left us incapable of processing the difference between individual acts of murder and mayhem – and true existential threats? (Like global climate change?)
In contrast to today’s constant mass media blather about London, Manchester and Paris “reeling” and “on edge” after these latest attacks, historians tell us that the 8 months of bombing during The Blitz failed to demoralize the British or significantly damage their wartime economy. In fact, Britain’s war industries continued to expand. And, hey, New Yorkers made it through the horrors of 9-11 without surrendering to fear. Keep Calm and Carry On. That’s how we face down evil.
You face it like this defiant English lady…
Or this defiant English lady…
Or like the Mayor of London.