A major American city is on fire – pandemic is raging still – and the fiddler on the roof is fanning the flames instead of soothing frayed nerves.
We’ve always said that Trump doesn’t plan on stepping aside regardless of outcome in November’s election. First, we saw Jared Kushner’s trial balloon of putting off the election and now, we are seeing something else:
The Insurrection Act of 1807 is a United States federal law (10 U.S.C. §§ 251–255) (until 2016, found at 10 US Code, Chapter 15, §§ 331–335, renumbered to 10 USC, Chapter 13, §§ 251–255) that governs the ability of the President of the United States to deploy military troops within the United States to put down lawlessness, insurrection, and rebellion.
Under this act, the President may deploy troops as a police force during a natural disaster, epidemic, serious public health emergency, terrorist attack, or other condition, when the President determines that the authorities of the state are incapable of maintaining public order. Interestingly, action taken under the Insurrection Act, allows the President to bypass the Posse Comitatus Act – which limit’s the President’s ability to use Federal troops on U.S. soil.
The Posse Comitatus Act allows governors to deploy National Guard and keeps them under State control. The Insurrection Act is a very different story.
Be prepared to be occupied by the armed forces of the United States – in the United States.
Here are a couple of other articles that might be of interest to you:
Today more than ever, the workers of the world need to unite. As billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk try to force their workers to return to factories despite the COVID-19 risks (and without additional pay or benefits) and as Donald Trump and Republican governors try to re-open their states and ‘send people back to work’ without understanding the risks, and as Wall Street bails itself out using money for small business and the US Congress chooses to bail out billionaires over working moms – all of these things should be revitalizing the labor movement. Today, we should be looking at the gross inequities that have made ‘essential workers’ some of the lowest paid with the least benefits while ‘non-essential workers’ have the cushion to sit out this crisis with no risk.
The capitalist USA political machine has always been scared of organized labor, they’ve always been scared of workers organizing, and they’ve always been scared of the workers controlling the means of production. They’ve labored such things as red, communist, socialist, or anti-American. The reason is capitalist class have always depended on the slave labor of the workers to make themselves rich. There has been a war against organized labor in this country for a long while and the capitalists are winning it even as 30 million US workers suddenly find themselves unemployed due to COVID-19..
Gone are the days when unions were controlled by the workers, gone are the days when there were calls for shorter work days, shorter work weeks, higher pay, better benefits, or lifetime security for loyal workers – instead we live in a country where companies are immortal and workers are hired as ‘contractors’ which is a fancy way of saying they have no job security and no benefits they don’t provide for themselves. Those contract workers, by the way, have been sidelined and for the most part have not received any sort of bailout or unemployment yet – although the government (to it’s credit) has set about creating a bailout for them – but most regular unemployed workers are either still waiting for unemployment or haven’t been able to log in to overwhelmed state systems.
In 1886, on May 4th, following organized labor activities and protests (on May 1st – the real labor day) which followed demands for an 8 hour workday – police killed several protestors and riots ensued – culminating in protestors bombing the police with dynamite and the police killing four more and then seven being sentenced to death for conspiracy. This, many say, is the origin of the world’s labor day on May 1st ( though actually, MayDay goes further back than that) – in a sense – one could argue that communism has it’s militant roots in this American event – thus is an American institution which has been villified and made to appear foreign and anti-American.
President Grover Cleveland feared that MayDay celebrations would be used to commemorate the Haymarket Massacre and celebrations were banned. After the Pullman Strike where Federal Marshalls and U.S. military killed workers demanding safer conditions, the government rushed to create a National ‘Labor’ Day – but designated it be in September to avoid remembrance of government brutality towards workers demanding better conditions and safer work environments. The choice of September 1st was blatantly political and championed by President Grover Cleveland to disempower nascent Communist, Anarchist, and Syndicalist movements which used MayDay as a rallying point to bring workers to a more empowered system.
The United States has defeated organized labor. They have villainized labor as mobsters, communists, and criminals. They have created a holiday that disempowers workers from solidarity with workers in other countries, and they have impovershed workers to the point where we are working longer hours, getting less benefits, and earning less money or we are not working at all. There is no need to outlaw labor organizations because they are already frequently working against labor.
You (and everyone) need to look at this and scroll through the whole thing – it will take you 10-15 minutes, but it may be the best chance to ever understand just how obscene the inequality of wealth really is.
We would love to congratulate Hannah Roemhild on a spectacular operatic performance yesterday at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida (There is a marker on the Iwahai Map at Mar a Lago where you can hear a bit about this property). Ms. Roemhild showed great courage and a remarkable resilience as she was hailed with bullets from police and secret service agents. Her ‘Dance Atop the SUV’ was perhaps the most memorable moment of the night but the repeated and surprising power of ‘Smashing the Checkpoints’ left everyone stunned. Prior to the finale, she drove the utterly smashed and bullet scarred SUV to the airport where she showed that a daughter’s duty to her mother is more powerful than ugly nationalist acts – she picked up her mother at the airport before the drama finished. Her powerful performance ended with a show stopping rendition of ‘Surrender at the Inn’ that literally brought down the law.
For those who are unfamiliar – Ms. Roemhild is a the founding genius behind ‘Hannah Supranah’ and is rumored to have studied radical philosophy with Oscar Wallace at Western Connecticut University.
Personally, we find it funny that the media is talking about her big anti-Trump stance based on two social media posts from 2017 – one of which simply said “Not my President” and another that showed that remarkably, Donald Trump looks very similar to Donald Duck upside down. Personally, we also think that dancing on top of an SUV should not be a crime and that smashing a civilian’s car window should not be acceptable action from police unless there is a clear and present danger.
Frankly, this looks like the start of pogroms designed to dis-empower, imprison, and limit the liberty of critics of the antichrist.
You heard it here first.
Lobsters generally don’t know the water around them is getting hotter until it is too late.
Look, I admire entrepreneurship. I think that the marketplace of ideas and products is a wonderful thing. I am a firm believer in the idea that if you work hard, make sacrifices, and tread carefully – you should be able to enjoy life more than those who don’t do those things.
But, but, but ….
This American capitalism thing is way out of hand. There used to be this American golden story about how we take care of each other, lend a helping hand to others, and are all willing to work hard so that the world can be a better place for ALL the future generations. Somewhere along the line, this got buried under the idea that YOU deserve to have the opportunity to be the next Oprah, Bezos, Gates, or Trump.
There are literally miles of homeless encampments under freeways in Seattle, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. There are even more people like me who can’t afford a dental insurance plan (or other insurance or medical treatment) and go through each day dealing with excruciating pain because they are putting every penny into keeping a roof over their head, paying back student loans, or some other expense deemed more important. And make no mistake – not becoming homeless is worth the pain – that’s a spiral that is incredibly hard to escape.
Somewhere along the line it became more acceptable to be greedy than to be altruistic. And at the same time it became less acceptable to be needy than to be dead.
Hey, I’d love to be a billionaire and if the opportunity came, I would take it – and then I would use the wealth and power that came with that to fight against the existence of a billionaire class at all. There should be a limit. I’m willing to give up the opportunity to become a billionaire but only if we can collectively agree that no one ‘deserves’ this opportunity in the first place.
You know what people do deserve? All people deserve to know that they will not starve or die from the elements. All people deserve to know that they can get medical treatment, dental treatment, a meal, a bed, school for their children, the ability to get to and from a job, a job interview, the grocery store, or a sick relatives.
When did what I just listed become something bad? When did treating every human being with decency become ‘socialism’ or ‘communism’ – I can pretty well pinpoint it to the election of Ronald Reagan and the rise of the ‘compassionate conservatives’, the ‘free market republicans’ and the greedy sons of bitches who deregulated Wall Street, gutted the unions, created a culture of shame around being in need, and in general led the way to what seems to be the ugly conclusion of the United States of America.
What is that ugly conclusion? Look around. A lying and greedy sociopath manipulating markets, discounting injured servicemen and women, insulting honored veterans, and running a sham trial in a bought and controlled senate where the outcome is already known before the evidence is presented.
The Manifesto of a Cultural Terrorist by Oscar Wallace
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, or so it is said. Though, in some cases, the squeaky wheel inspires just enough annoyance and loss of sleep that it brings the victim to an epiphany – an idea that might not otherwise seem worthwhile, rational or possible. It may be that the role of violence and fear in terrorism has been vastly over rated by those who use it. Terrorism, after all, is simply a course of political action where no other means is available. Yes, violence is one means – but not a very good one because as the Buddha said – there is no cure for violence except an act of love – and in our world – acts of love are nearly never adjudicated, legislated, or ordered. So, violence, as we have seen countless times simply begets more violence – and those who have the most power usually have the ability to enact the greatest violence leading to spirals of genocide like we’ve seen burst out in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Make no mistake – these are acts of genocide. The bombing and starving of a million Iraqi children is not ‘peace keeping’. We see that which you worship and we despise it.
There is no such thing as an absence of worshiping. Everybody worships. The atheist worships their life. The deist worships their god. The capitalist worships their power. The masses worship their masters. The only choice we get is what to worship. The most compelling reason for choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship is that anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already – it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness. We believe that the sacred cows must be slaughtered.
However, our goal here is not to rationalize violent terrorism. Our goal is to present an alternative: Cultural Terrorism. I am a cultural terrorist and thus far – no one has died because of my acts – nor do I expect anyone to. I certainly hope that no life is lost in the pursuit of a better world.. Cultural Terrorism does not kill people, it simply confuses them and causes them to consider ideas that might not otherwise seem worthwhile, rational or possible.
A terrorist who hijacks an airplane or plants a bomb in a crowded shopping center apparently doesn’t care who gets hurt as long as they achieve their aim. That innocent people are turned into bloody corpses or maimed for life is not a concern. The cultural terrorist is no different. The cultural terrorist, an assassin of the future, an executioner of obscene morality. Cultural terrorism, an attitude, a state of mind – not a set of values to be dogmatically followed. Cultural terrorism is a celebration of the power of the individual to affect the future from the present.
Our aim is to pollute the minds of the public, to sow the seeds of sanity into an insane society. The victims are of all ages – everybody from the cradle to the grave – and we aim to liberate them. Man cannot bear too much reality and as a result of this the cultural terrorist is in the business of providing a reality attack. An over exposure of reality that brings down the curtain- the dirt behind the day dream. No subject is taboo, all must be exposed. No one is sacred. Everybody as well as everything should feel the wrath of the cultural terrorist. The object of cultural terrorism is to exploit situations and people in order to cause a change that no one sees coming. Our aim is to make war upon the concepts and foundations of civilization itself. We will tear into the heart of all that is considered normal but which is truly foul. We are the white blood cells that would painfully destroy bio-toxins even if it destroys our host culture. We are working to erase the conforming instinct. To prevent humanity from ever acting with a lemming’s will.
The cultural terrorist’s weapons are a digital media, film, video, audio cassettes, music, photocopiers, printed words, pictures – any media whatsoever is acceptable as long as it achieves the objective. We are little concerned how much our material appeals to the very lowest of emotions, or how much the material twists and pollutes controlled minds. We believe nothing is impossible, there is no god stopping us, there is no morality compelling us, so we manipulate our environment to its fullest extent. Plagiarism is not only acceptable it is preferred. We believe that you should not be afraid to steal from anyone and that property itself is an affront. Our way is that of the liar and trash receptor. We know that the bigger the lie the better the chance of people believing it but also know that small lies sometimes carry a heavy load. Undercover communication is the enemy of crime not politics.
Elaborate safeguards may be placed at airports to separate would-be terrorists from their weapons. But we, the cultural terrorists are free to distribute our soul confusing information to whom and where we choose. The cultural terrorist is neither benevolent nor evil. Pull the wool over your own eyes in a call to arms. We feel vehemently that an active role of participation should be taken in this struggle by people already interested in this form of warfare. The cultural terrorist is involved in every act of revolutionary suicide while protesting the conditions of an inhuman world. Cultural terrorism is the antidote to this society and our thought-bombs will tear open wounds that may never again heal. Tomorrow belongs to us. Confusion as a weapon. Confusion as the word.
Confusion sparks the need to question. Confusion calling the adrenaline to flow, the blood rush and the life force to sit up and take a break while the soul of present civilization floods. Confusion making us question everything in search of (un)sense. Everything deserves to be probed into. Indulging in whatever subjects we are attracted to. Making our lives more interesting while stripping false meaning from the lives of those surrounding us. No subject holds a taboo. Unrecognizable confusion superimposed on boring reality.
We stand everywhere and nowhere. We wade in cool rivers and do forced marches through waves of dogshit. We provide the tickets for a mindfuck to oblivion … A disjointed, chaotic and rapidly decaying globe is our target. Gladly we take our part in the ejaculation of war in a heedless way. Ours is a wide open mouth sucking the balls of a busty woman. Ours is a wide open gut-wound wrapped around a throbbing shaft of capitalism. Ours is the shitting of the junk food you line up to consume. This stink and defiance of dead unicorns wrapped in bloody blankets protesting too much free candy and not enough mescaline. We face backwards to fuck off from “peer group pressure”. No attempt is made to conform, no attempt to speak explanation or confront truth nor power in the manufactured words that decry consent. Their words and our actions. We fight against those who would control our minds and our bodies, we offer hope to those born into chattel information slavery, and we offer our bodies as the bullets that will destroy your mental infrastructure. In this our weapons are our very lives.
We smash and we run but only to smash and run. We leave the capitalist control systems unable to conduct business and yet uninjured but totally useless. We remain uninjured and leave the looting for those who don’t know any better, stuff is a burden we do not need for fulfillment.
There has certainly never been anything like this before in America. I love that they are
moving into action immediately and doing it via the most effective way the world has produced. http://www.change.gov
It almost makes me wish I’d voted for them, but then there is that Emmanual guy…ick.
U.S. intelligence sources say that prospective Barack Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has an active FBI counter-intelligence file maintained on him. Emanuel’s rise to the Chief of Staff position may pose a significant security problem for President-elect Obama if the FBI insists on conducting the full background security investigation normally required for senior White House officials.
Questions about Emanuel’s links to the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad, were allegedly so great that President Bill Clinton was forced to dismiss Emanuel from the White House staff in 1998.
First of all, let me posit, that our society gives those with wealth a definite advantage over those without. This isn’t news to anyone, but let me give an example that you may not have thought of. To break free of a background in poverty, one path is that of achieving a higher education. Getting a degree is an expensive proposition in time, labor, and effort. Yet, many, like myself willingly choose this path out of the cycle of poverty. And now, I move into my example of how the wealthy are favored: those who have their education paid for by parents or others, do not have to deal with the complexities of financial aid. It is only those of us who are poor that are forced to deal with the entrenched bureaucracy, paperwork, and jumping through hoops that is required in order to get loans, scholarships, and grants.
I have been poor for all of my life. As a child in Oregon, I was a recipient of free lunches and a staple of my family’s diet at home was the government subsidized cheese, powdered milk, and peanut butter. As an adult, I have worked in minimum wage service industry jobs that allow me to pay the rent and make just enough income to live at or slightly above the national poverty line. I escaped from the backwater town my parents lived in by joining the Marine Corps right out of high school. In 1996-1998, I used my G.I. Bill to get an Associates Degree. A few years later, I realized that a two year degree gave me scant advantage over a high school diploma. I was still working in service industry jobs. At this point, I decided that the best course to follow was to embark upon achieving a Bachelors Degree and so I gave up my full time job in order to become a full time student at the University of Hawaii.
In order to pay for school, focus on my studies, and manage to pay living expenses, I needed financial aid. In order to get financial aid, I had to provide a slew of tax forms, documentation, proof of residency, and more. Applying for school was easy, getting accepted was easy, getting financial aid was time consuming and difficult. When I provided all of the documentation, I was told that it was a random process and it was unlikely that I would need to provide so much information again. Apparently, the odds have been against me as I have had to provide the same information every semester without fail. Tax returns, documentation of veteran’s benefits, and further proof that I am who I say I am.
This process has been, without question, the most stressful part of achieving my dream of a higher education. It has taken more coordination, more running in circles, and more angst than writing my B.A. Honors Thesis. It’s the money, you see. Without the money, I remain an uneducated guy suited to work in the service industry, regardless of what I have learned or what I know.
With this, hopefully my final semester, I knew there would be challenges and trials, but I thought that I had figured out how to give financial aid everything they needed. Imagine my surprise when the semester began and I was told by Financial Aid that my aid money had been reduced by nearly $5000 because they had determined I was receiving benefits from the G.I. Bill. Especially, considering that not only was I not receiving benefits, but that my benefits had already expired and couldn’t be used!
This was especially traumatic as I had counted on the aid money to pay rent. Without it, I would be homeless. So, I jumped through the hoops they required by going to the V.A., a bureaucracy that is noted for it’s glacial pace, and managing to get them to certify that I was not receiving the G.I. Bill. When I returned to the aid office, the surly counselor looked at my paperwork and told me that even though I had rushed to solve the problem, it would still be a month before they could process it and correct the error. So, I sold my tools, I sold my books, I sold my movie camera, and I did yard work for my neighbors so that I could pay that months rent. All of this while I was still taking three writing intensive courses and two more upper division classes. Oh, and I was working as a tour guide whenever I wasn’t mowing, selling, or writing.
Thankfully though, I didn’t have to move out of my apartment, and after a month, Financial Aid resolved the issue. The surly counselor didn’t apologize, instead he said “It’s not our fault.” Of course, they might have seen that I had never received the GI Bill at UH and confirmed with the VA, but why would they do that, after all, I need them, they don’t need me.
I thought that was it until I got a letter on Halloween that said an audit of my account had shown I had been overpaid and that if I wanted to graduate I needed to pay $1500. This was $1500 that had already been allotted to rent for November and December. The alternative to paying it back was to not be allowed to graduate.
I called the Financial Aid office to determine what had happened and the girl on the other end who I later found out was on her last day there, was hostile and uncooperative as I tried to explain that they had misplaced the paperwork when she told me I was receiving VA benefits. She put me on hold for fifteen minutes, told me the corrected form I had turned in was not there, and told me that I would need to go back to the VA to get another copy of the form, or pay $1500, or not graduate. I lost my temper but managed not to cuss at her.
Come Monday morning, I decided to go to the Financial Aid office to resolve the issue and make sure that getting the VA form would solve the issue. The student worker was friendly but solving the problem was beyond her authority level. She asked me to sit, she explained that the problem was the Scholarship I had been awarded that they hadn’t known about (when I knew that they had), and finally told me to sit and wait for a Counselor. At this point, I had had enough. I refused. I told her and the people who had formed in a line behind me that I refused to leave until the problem was resolved to my satisfaction. She asked me to sit and wait and again I refused. I apologized to the people behind me, but the time had come for action. The time had come for non-violent civil disobedience and I had decided that the only way I would leave was if the problem was resolved or if the police came to take me out of the building. I called my friend Taylor, the Editor in Chief at Ka Leo, and told him I was staging a one man protest at financial aid and that he should send a reporter. I refused to move. I stood there, wearing my Ralph Nader t-shirt and told the student worker that I was sorry, but that I would not budge.
At this point she went in the back and interrupted the meeting of Counselors. The first truly competent person I had been allowed to speak with, Ku’u, came out and pulled up my file. She immediately found the updated VA benefits form, saw clearly what the problem was, told me that the girl I had spoken with on Friday no longer worked there, and amazingly, she fixed the problem. It took her only a few minutes.
And that brings me to how I started this story. The amount of stress that this situation caused me from Friday to Monday was incredible. I saw ahead of me a future where I had earned a degree and didn’t get it or where I screwed up my final semester because I was homeless. I saw three years of work going down the drain and I saw that all of it was a result of me needing to get financial aid rather than having my education paid for by someone else. It’s something I hadn’t really considered before. Maybe as you read this, you think it is trivial, but I can tell you that it’s not. The extra hurdles that the poor have to face in our society to achieve an education, to break free of the cycles of poverty, or to do any of countless other necessities are not easily leapt. Our society is designed, however subtly, to keep the poor in poverty. Whether it is through the people they know, the education they get, or the work they are able to find.
Take a moment with me and consider what the results would have been if I had not stood up this morning, if I had listened to the petty bureaucrats telling me what I needed to do, or if I had simply given up. Is it any wonder that sometimes people simply split at the seams, explode, commit suicide, or worse? I don’t have the answers to our societies problems, but I do know this, if we don’t take a stand, nothing will change. A simple stand, like refusing to leave or sit down, not moving to the back of the bus, or refusing to fight in an unjust war makes the difference. I know that my stand is of seemingly marginal importance to the world, but imagine if everyone took the same respectful, non-violent, and non-compromising position when faced with even the most trivial of unjust situations. Please, think about it and the next time you are in one of those situations, refuse to bend. Thank you.
Extraordinary to reflect that I have lived long enough to see communism die and then the capitalism that replaced it too; to see the nation state and the empire wither away in Europe, and now to return in Asia, and that I have managed to do this without getting very old at all.
― Andrew Leonard
Battle in Seattle out today in Theatres
How incredibly strange to see that a movie is being released today about the WTO protests/riots in Seattle. To watch the trailer is bizarre as the memories of being there don’t include Ray Liota. It was a remarkable time and the fact that a movie is being made about it and that it was nine years ago blows my mind. It doesn’t feel like it was nine years ago. It feels like it was yesterday. To my mind, this was the beginning of the destruction of civil liberties in the United States. We were all there to show that we could make a difference and to show that we were serious about the changes we saw our country making and that we wanted them to stop. We wanted our country to be ours again. It was in Seattle that they began the process of taking it from us. First the right to gather and protest, next the right to vote when the Republicans stole the election in 2000 through voter disenfranchisement, next our right to privacy, then our right to live in a peaceful society that refuses to torture…and on and on. I hope this film does more good than our protests did, I hope it doesn’t get gassed and rubber bulletted the way we did.