Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


coalition_unwilling's Journal
coalition_unwilling's Journal
June 7, 2012

I'm getting repeated jury *summons* tonight, only to be repeatedly

told that the Jury is 'full.' First and second times I could believe, but after a 3rd and 4th isntance, I'm smelling a bug.

Not sure if this is the best venue to post. Perhaps if someone knows how to contact the DBA or site admin, they could do so.


June 6, 2012

Analysis: Why did Barrett lose and Walker win?

I frequently come to DU to read my fellow DUers' opinions before forming my own, especially on matters of close electoral combat. So it is with the recall election in Wisconsin yesterday and the reasons for Walker's victory and Barrett's defeat.

Selecting a poll option is of course useful, but even more useful to me personally and to DU at large will be an explanation of the reasons for your choice, provided you have the time and are so inclined.

Thanks ahead of time to all who participate. This is only my second DU poll, so please let me know if I need to tinker with the choices and\or their wording.


ETA: I chose option #8 ("I don't know why&quot , because I'm still gathering information.

ETA: I added a new option #7 ("Wisconsinites felt a recall was inappropriate&quot to give voice to several responders' choice of "Other" as explained.

June 6, 2012

One small victory tonight. In the race for Los Angeles County

District Attorney, Chief Deputy D.A. Jackie Lacey won an upset victory over establishment pol Carmen Trutanich and will not be meeting him in the General Election. Instead she will face County Deputy D.A. Alan Jackson (who prosecuted Phil Spector) in the General Election in November.

Trutanich is the current City Attorney for Los Angeles who gleefully and arrogantly presided over the prosecutions of Occupy Los Angeles Occupiers last December and January for failure to disperse from the camp at City Hall. Trutanich was widely expected to win tonight, had won the endorsement of LA County Sherrif Baca (another anathema to OLA). No matter that Trutanich was in the back pocket of some of the big real estate developers who are behind the NFL stadium, nor that his ambition caused him to backpedal from a promise not to seek higher office until serving 2 full terms as city attorney (in other words, lieing his ambitious ass off).

Fox 11 interviewed Trutanich on the late-night news and he came across as boorish, a sore loser and someone who could not even summon the grace to congratulate Lacey. If she wins in the General Election, Lacey will be LA County's first female DA (and first AA DA also ). She'll be great! And Trutanich would have been a throw-back to the storied days of Darryl Gates and his like.

For Occupy Los Angeles, this is some sweet vindication

June 6, 2012

It is absolutely disgusting that the mainstream media call an election

while the polls are still open. It is friggin' obscene. Calling an election while people are still standing in line to vote desecrates the memories of those who died for us to be able to vote. And it should be against the law for any company using the public airwaves to do so.

Hearing reports that NBC called the election while the polls were still open in Milwaukee and people still lined up to vote.

My post has nothing to do with the fascist who 'won' in Wisconsin tonight. My post has to do with the soul of 'one man, one vote.'

June 4, 2012

What is your favorite rationalization for the U.S. drone killings of civilian non-combatants?

This is the first time I've posted a poll on DU and I'm clearly trying for an ironic effect.

Inspiration for this came from reading Greenwald's latest piece on "The Authoritarian Mind" and remembering Milgram's Stanford experiments back in the late 50s.

May 31, 2012

PSA: Please do not apply for any jobs at wiredtalent.com - really poor

HR practices, as evidenced by this snippet from a tech support help wanted ad on craigslist.org:

Pre-Employment Requirements
o 7-Year Comprehensive Background Check Required and Credit Check Required. DO NOT Apply unless you can pass both a criminal check and a credit check (i.e. your credit is free from current collection accounts)



I emailed to tell them they are insane with their credit check B.S. and that I was going to trash their rep as an employer wherever and whenever I could.


ETA: Got an email auto-response saying they were reviewing my resume. Ugh and double-ugh

May 30, 2012

Another question for Obama and\or his supporters here:

Since my first such question about Obama and the bank bailouts stirred such controversy and lively debate (http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002718381), I thought I would venture a second question:

Does Obama approve or disapprove of the nation-wide crackdown on Occupy that has occurred in the past six months?

My wife and I have discussed this and have arrived at 3-4 possible scenarios:

1) Obama approves of crackdown and has directed DHS and other security organs to cooperate in it.

2) Obama approves but there has been no nationally-coordinated crackdown

3) Obama disapproves of crackdown but has no power to stop it. (Perhaps Obama has even lost control of the levers of the national security services.)

4) Obama disapproves of crackdown in private and is taking private steps to stop it but cannot go public with them.

My wife leans toward #1, while I lean toward #3

Again, I'm not asking this to snark at Obama or his supporters. Were Romney or McCrazy president, Occupiers would no doubt have died by now. And I plan to vote for Obama in 2012 because I've come to hate Romney with a visceral passion.

But I like knowing who my friends are. And I have a hard time seeing Obama as a friend to Occupy, his populist campaign rhetoric notwithstanding.

May 23, 2012

A question for Obama and\or his supporters here:

Why did banks (meaning share- and bondholders) get bailed out but not other segments of and participants in this economy?

I ask this seriously. There must be a reason why a subsection of our society got a bailout that no one else received. Was it to keep the economy functioning? Was there a general fear that without the too-big-to-fail banks, the whole capitalist edifice might totter and collapse?

I ask this question not to snark at Obama or his supporters but out of genuine curiosity. Why did a subset of society get special treatment that the rest of us did not? Seems really unfair and unjust, but there may be reasons of state that I'm msising or failing to understand.

May 21, 2012

Chicago: You've made me ashamed to call myself American

Tonight, as the blood of our patriots flows down the drains of Chicago streets, I must say that I am deeply ashamed to call myself American. I am deeply ashamed that I once called myself a Democrat. I am deeply ashamed that I once saw Obama as representing any kind of substantive change to all the horrors of the years that preceded him.

To the heroes and heroines of today's protest in Chicago, I tip my hat to you. You represent the best that humanity has to offer and I hereby resolve that your bloodshed shall not have been in vain, that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

May 14, 2012

The Empire Flails Back - Reflections on Occupy Los Angeles General Assembly -- May 12, 2012

There are times when I really hate Los Angeles. Locked in traffic on the 405 during rush hour, going to a bar or restaurant filled with hipster posers, watching the drivel that passes for local TV news. You can now add to that catalog going to Occupy Los Angeles (OLA) events at Pershing Square downtown. Oh, not because of the occupiers, a valiant group of Children’s Crusaders and ancient 60s hippies, the only groups left in our society with the guts to say the emperor has no clothes. No, I hate going to Occupy Los Angeles events because the Los Angeles Police Department are, well, pigs. Yeah, the waste of taxpayer dollars involved in the ongoing petty harassment of Occupiers, well it finally starts to get to you. You realize there’s a machine out there, a grinder up of anything decent and human. You might have told yourself the LAPD are simply working class stiffs, 99%ers forced to enforce the will and whim of the 1%ers. You might have said that, until you saw what they did on Saturday. And the LAPD had to retreat, cowardly vermin that they are. But not before they had revealed themselves as the class traitors they are. Every taxpayer in Los Angeles should be seriously pissed off that his or her tax dollars are being wasted.

Alma and I had received an invitation via FaceBook to attend a ‘themed General Assembly’ on Saturday afternoon at Pershing Square. Although OLA has regular Gas on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, it holds a themed GA on Saturdays. The theme for the May 12 GA was ‘Alternatives to Capitalism.’ It sounded like it would be an interesting event and, as both Alma and I fashion ourselves Socialists, seemed like an event right up our alley.

For non-Angelenos, Pershing Square is a one-block urban park in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, located about mid-way between City Hall and the financial district on Bunker Hill. Mostly paved concrete with a couple grassy patches, Pershing Square hosts some really cool urban art, as well as a collection point for the derelicts and cast-offs of post-modern capitalism. Since November, Pershing Square ahs served as Occupy Los Angeles’ site for its GAs, now that the camp at City Hall has been violently destroyed by the LAPD.

We arrived right about 1 p.m. and parked in the underground parking structure. When we reached the surface, a group of about 75-100 activists was already there. Tables were set up offering food and various publications and clothing. This was a faint echo of the vibrant barter scene at the original OLA, but it is important to note that no money changes hands at these tables. Goods and services are freely offered and nothing is asked in return. (I always admired OLA’s valiant efforts to feed all comers at its pre-raid City Hall location, in the face of Public Health Department obstructions and more mouths than food.)

The GA began with a few ritualistic invocations offered by Karoline and Elena, the two moderators. Esteban kicked off the GA proper with a brief reading of a definition of capitalism as an economic system where the means of production are privately owned for personal profit. And then the GA was asked to do breakout groups on various questions like whether bosses should be able to terminate workers and whether the current system could be fixed. (I played Devil’s Advocate and answered ‘yes’ to both questions, for the purposes of stimulating debate.)

Various speakers then addressed the GA on the topics of dialectical materialism, on what was wrong with the current system and what if anything should replace it. It was interesting hearing the various socialist and communist organizations’ speakers. I personally overheard representatives from the Freedom Socialist Party, the International Communist Workers’ Party, the International Socialist Organization and the Revolutionary Communist Party (the latter a group I had a passing acquaintance with back in 2004-5). There is as much doctrinal disagreement among these various factions as there is between the Democrats and Republicans. As one example, the ICWP does not believe in evolving from capitalism through socialism to communism but instead jumping straight to communism and abolishing money, whereas the Freedom Socialist Party seems to follow more closely the traditional Western European Socialist tradition of a gradual evolution from capitalism to socialism to communism. When I spoke briefly, I said that the new system needs to be founded on the principle of organizing itself to meet people’s needs rather than satisfying people’s greed, a message that was warmly received probably because I kept it vague as to specifics. I did mention one specific need that capitalism has failed to meet, hunger and used it to take a few shots at the Republican assholes and bullies who would cut children off nutrition assistance in the interest of balancing their budget, while not raising taxes on the rich or cutting the military budget.

In the midst of these discussions by the various attendees, the proceedings were disrupted when a phalanx of LAPD officers entered the park in wedge formation and tried to break down the various tables and tear down the erected banners. Their rationale: OLA had no permit to be selling goods and services. Well, here’s where the ‘communalist’ aspect of OLA becomes pertinent. NO MONEY WAS CHANGING HANDS. Likewise, Los Angeles has an ordinance prohibiting hanging banners from trees on city property. But the banners in question were hung from concrete pillars, not from trees.

As the phalanx first made itself known, the assembled crowd hummed the Star Wars Empire Strikes Back theme -- "Dum, dum, dum, dum da-dum, dum da-dum" and several started chanting “We are not the droids you are looking for.” As the phalanx started trying to remove the banners, the occupiers began chanting at the LAPD, “Racist, sexist, anti-gay. LAPD go away.” I was concerned that the riot squad would be summoned and heads bashed in under the pretext that we were some sort of ‘unlawful assembly’ (the same rationale used when busting up the camp in late November). The 25-30 LAPD officers were easily outnumbered by now by 10-1, as attendance at the GA had grown. While I did not see any officer unholster a firearm, I did see a few officers put their hands on their batons in a rather threatening manner. However, after some heated words between various occupiers and LAPD, the LAPD phalanx retreated back to the street the way it had come. Cost to the taxpayers for this petty harassment: easily $5,000 in wages and overtime, I’m guessing. On the plus side, no occupier was arrested and no one got his or her head bashed in.

I don’t honestly know if the politicians and LAPD leadership are aware that many of Los Angeles’ future political leaders, its current occupiers, are starting to detest the LAPD. At some point, Occupiers will hold the fate of LAPD’s budgets and pensions in its hands and LAPD will have to pray for the very charity and magnanimity it has failed to display. After so much repression, it’s an open question now whether LAPD rank and file will be able to depend on that charity and magnanimity based on its behavior.

When the GA resumed after the LAPD’s harassment had ended, a gentle soft-spoken young man with a British accent made an observation that I found incredibly empowering and liberating. Alluding to the Eastern European literary figures like Kundera and Havel, this gentleman noted that they had always written as though Stalinism was already dead, even when faced with its worst repression. He suggested that Occupy act and communicate as thought the old system is already dead and we merely await the birth of the new system that will take its place. This was said with such a quiet, soft-spoken eloquence and confidence and you had to be listening closely to catch it. But if we stop responding to the Pavlovian stimulus-response pattern offered by capitalism and start modeling the new system, whatever that system may be, the old system will start to lose its power to inflict its horrors upon us. Stirring eloquent stuff – won’t exactly pay our mortgage or keep the deputies from our door if and when BofA forecloses, but still something to think about.

The GA concluded around 4 p.m. when a papier-mache piñata of an ATM machine was attacked by blindfolded OLAers whacking at it with a stick. I was standing on the outskirts of the crowd and only vicariously experienced the catharsis as the ATM piñata withstood several hearty blows before finally disintegrating and disgorging its stash of balled-up colored tissue paper. I’m not sure what all that symbolizes but the crowd clearly got a huge kick out of destroying such a symbol of post-industrial capitalism.

That afternoon, we met many occupiers whom we had known before the raid: Karoline, Elena and Ruth, erstwhile moderators of the GA and stalwarts of the Facilitation Committee, Colin and his K-99% pit bull companion Duncan who unfailingly manned the Welcome Tent before the raid, Gary the indefatigable Labor Committee agitator, Anthony the young occupier still trying to enforce committee accountability – these reunions were like a camp meeting revival in that respect. My heart was again seized with admiration for this group that has sacrificed and suffered so much in pursuit of its dissent with the status quo and vision for a better, alternative future. It is safe to say that, for the most part, those who remain are the serious ones, the most dedicated and the most committed. Gone are the attention seekers, the latter-day Dionysians concerned with drumming their way to paradise. Those who remain constitute a hardened core of visionaries and prophets.

For everything I hate about LA, OLA gives me reason to hope and to hang in here, even when it often seems we have been largely abandoned by our government and left to fend for ourselves. The LAPD and city leaders can harass OLA, it can jail them, it can bash their heads in. But it has not silenced OLA. For how can you silence an idea whose time has come?

Profile Information

Member since: Mon Aug 2, 2004, 02:31 PM
Number of posts: 14,180

Journal Entries

Latest Discussions»coalition_unwilling's Journal