Monday, September 26, 2005

A Typical Weekend in San Francisco

The protest on Saturday was incredibly large. The organizers estimated 50,000 and I wouldn't be surprised if that was correct. It was definitely the largest march I've ever been in. The march on March 19th was the 2nd largest, the Millions for Mumia march in Philly in the late 90's was the 3rd largest, then I think either the rally against the execution of Shaka Sankofa in Huntsville or one of the marches before the war in Iraq in Austin tie for 4th. It's too bad we didn't surprise the cops and all march to Nancy Pelosi's office (or Dianne Feinstein's) and take the place over.

Then on Sunday I went to my first Folsom Street Fair. It was a huge, crowded, sweaty, drunken, fetish party. It was a lot of fun. The only problem I had was with the occasional military or police fetish guys - but I guess if they're submissive and being whipped it's o.k.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Right After I Post This I Am Going To March Against War

The Orange County Register wrote about today's upcoming protest in a hopeful yet prescriptive manner. They were hopeful that the marches and demonstrations would be large, but also didn't want them to be full of "fringe" leftists. They should embrace the growing number of Americans who oppose the war and are not "knee-jerk" radicals. They go on to mention Cindy Sheehan and the military families that have been involved in anti-war protests as a distinct difference from the military-hating anti-Vietnam protests. Then they write ...
But Ms. Sheehan's statements have sometimes gone beyond understandable anger about the war to embrace a range of radical causes. We think that is a mistake. Ordinary Americans who love their country and don't see it as the source of most of the evil in the world but are upset about the Iraq war need to see a reflection of themselves, of a broader Middle America, in this weekend's events. Otherwise they are likely to dismiss the protests as the work of people who will leap at any opportunity to "blame America first."
Although they critique the protests of the Vietnam era, they ignore how effective those protests were at radicalizing thousands of "ordinary Americans" and ultimately ending a war that began with little if any American opposition. That should be the goal of today's protests. Not to try and make this idealized "ordinary American" comfortable, but to challenge her or him and make the connections that must be made. More and more people are realizing that as the most powerful nation in the world, the U.S. is to blame for much of the world's problems, especially when you consider what we could be doing to improve things with all of our wealth and power. What the protests should do is make clear that the "ordinary Americans" are not to blame, but only the tiny percentage who own both the Democrats and Republicans, and who fatten their wallets on warfare and plundering.

Then there is this from Tom Matzzie, the Washington Director of who disagrees with the "Troops Out Now" message of this weekend's protests: "As political organizers, we think the best way to bring our folks home from Iraq is to create a political dynamic where Republicans are defecting from their leadership and Democrats are making Iraq a political liability for the Republicans." Again, that certainly is not what worked during the Vietnam era. It seems to me that all wants to do is set itself up to take credit for some future exit plan that comes out of Congress or the White House. It will be growing protests in the streets, frustration with foreign policy, and demands like "troops out now" that will create the pressure from below to get any changes out of our elected officials. But the MoveOn folks will claim that there subtle political strategy and capitol hill connections made the difference. Nonsense! They're just a bunch of tools.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Faith In Galloway

I felt the power of the holy spirit this Wednesday evening in San Francisco. Or rather, I heard an incredible speech by British MP George Galloway at Mission High School that had the packed house rising to its feet a number of times. Although I still have concerns about the man's views on abortion (I've read that he's anti-abortion, but not found a lot more information than that, and with as many critics as he has, who knows what the real story is), it was hard to shrug off the power of his anti-war, anti-occupation message.

Among other things, he compared Barbara Bush's comments in the Astrodome to Marie Antoinette's purported comment "let them eat cake," leading up to the French Revolution. He slammed the occupation of Palestine, but called the whistleblower, and Jewish Israeli, Mordechai Vanunu "brave." He quoted Lenin saying something like, "there are decades when nothing happens, but there are weeks when decades happen," then went on to say that those weeks are coming.

He also has a really cool accent - maybe Irish - with a deep voice. He even rolled his "r"s sometimes.

Anyway, it was pretty inspiring. I wonder when this country will see as outspoken, honest, and brave a politician.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Hugo Chavez - You Gotta Love Him

From today's speech at the UN: "Today we know there were never weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but despite that, and going over the head of the United Nations, Iraq was bombed and occupied. So the United Nations must be pulled out of the United States."

Yes! Why should the United Nations be in a country that has absolute contempt for international law, except when it serves its own imperial purpose? The War in Iraq and the unwavering support for Israel should be sufficient, but the appointment of that freakazoid Bolton as our ambassador should seal the deal.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Winter in San Francisco

O.K., so I suppose it is still summer, but it feels like winter here. The thermometer in my backyard said 57 degrees this afternoon. It was overcast and chilly. I kinda like it right now, but it's pretty crazy. I wore a long sleeve shirt, a jacket and a knitted hat today!

One thing that's cool is that Colby's out here now. Check this kid out ...

Plus I'm sleeping o.k. this week. Here I am wandering around late at night ...

Saturday, September 03, 2005

"This place is going to look like Little Somalia"

A quote by Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, who was preparing a security mission in New Orleans. Do we need any more evidence that race is a factor? Do we need more evidence that the poor in America might as well live in a "3rd World" nation? Does the world need more proof that America only knows how to solve problems with brute force, whether it be by police on the street, or soldiers in Iraq?

Read the Army Times article: Troops Begin Combat Operations in New Orleans.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Empire Struck by Hurricane

To quote my friend David, who was anticipating someone else's writing, "this natural disaster was man-made, and ... the tragedy is really the fault of the government, the capitalists and the wealthy." Our government simply doesn't do things for the poor and the needy, except tax them and make them work with little protection. We are spending billions in Iraq for the wealthy, and a flooded New Orleans simply doesn't light a fire under our political leaders and their corporate masters the way a war for natural resources does. Someone was quoted as saying the situation was like a 3rd World Country. We are the richest, most powerful nation on earth, or in history. Yet our country is full of the working poor, the uninsured, and failing public infrastructure. We can send thousands of troops, ships, missiles, guns, high-tech equipment, helicopters and jets to the other side of the world to fight an unecessary war, but the first food trickles into a major American city devestated by a hurricane several days after the storm.

Loot, loot, loot away! Before the food arrived, Bush did announce a zero tolerance policy on looting. Just as our troops protected the oil wells before anything else after the fall of Baghdad, the first thought of the politicians is to protect property and wealth in this country as well. These people are in the middle of a disaster without power, with the threat of disease looming and with no help from the federal government. They deserve every can of beans, pair of pants, and DVD player they can get.