Off the keyboard of Steve from Virginia
Published on Economic Undertow on January 14, 2013
How Hwee Young, EPA-Al Jazeera, what the end of the World looks like: midday pollution in Beijing … the Chinese accept this as an integral component of ‘progress’.
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasbord inside the Diner
On Sunday, the monitoring center released data showing particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM 2.5), had reached more than 600 micrograms per square meter at some monitoring stations in Beijing and was as high as 900 on Saturday. According to the World Health Organisation, the recommended daily level for PM 2.5 is 20, and the high levels in Beijing has been identified as a major cause of asthma and respiratory diseases.Air quality in Beijing showed airborne particles with a diameter small enough to deeply penetrate the lungs at a reading of 456 micrograms per cubic meter, the warning center said.The quality is considered good when the figure stands at less than 100, but a reading shown on the website of the US embassy in the city was above 800.
Beijing only measures up to a maximum value of 500, with the US embassy tweeting that their own readings were “beyond index” (“Crazy bad!”).
Beijing is located within the Chinese rust belt. The districts surrounding the city are filled with coal-burning heavy industries … Citizens are placated by the infinitesimal likelihood that they themselves might become tycoons. To tend the tiny flame of possibility the citizens endure every abuse. A number the Chinese need to keep in mind is 12,000 … Londoners who perished as a result of a similar coal-driven smog event that occurred in the UK from December 4th onward, in 1952 (pdf alert).
No telling how bad Chinese pollution will become as managers frantically aim to increase output and boost precious GDP. As usual, nothing will be done until there are dogs gnawing corpses in the streets …
No telling the effect of more Chinese pollution on the world’s climate … the prospect of more pollution is not something to look forward to. It is likely the Chinese will endure more extreme weather … more GDP … more pollution … more floods and blizzards … more dogs, in a vicious cycle.
The Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice (PHP) and the Committee on Population (CPOP) has issued a lengthy report on the comparative fatality rates for different countries broken down by cause. Wolf Richter has filtered the report so as to bring forth information. From ‘Part One’ of his analysis:
How Americans Stack Up In Dying From Violence, War, Suicide, And Accidents … the first thing I did was check out the category “deaths from intentional injuries” and its three subcategories, “self-inflicted injuries,” “war,” and “violence.” Grisly statistics, all of them.As expected, the US has the most violence among the 17 “peer” countries in the study with 6.5 deaths per 100,000. Almost three times the rate of Finland, the next most violent country in the group with 2.2 deaths per 100,000 people, and over 15 times the rate of Japan with 0.43 deaths per 100,000 people. The third most violent country, Canada (1.6), is practically a bastion of safety for those Americans who make it across the border.The apparently permanent element of US foreign policy, “war,” killed 0.44 Americans per 100,000 in 2008. It killed a lot fewer people in the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and France, and none in the remaining peer countries.
Deaths from self-inflicted injuries are an immense cultural tragedy in Japan—and its literature is replete with it. But the Japanese rate of 19.8 suicides per 100,000 people is not that much worse than that of the Finns (17.7). Americans are in the middle of the pack (10.3). The least suicidal are the Italians (4.5).
Combine the deaths from all intentional injuries—violence, war, and suicide—and the leader of the pack is … drumroll … Japan! With 20.2 deaths per 100,000 it is a hair deadlier than Finland (19.9), somewhat deadlier than the US in third place (17.3), but 3.6 times deadlier than the country of the Mafia, Italy, where people are least likely to die of intentional injuries (5.6).
Humans are violent, machines make violence more efficient while denaturing it at the same time. Denature means altering fundamental characteristics, ordinarily to render unpalatable. Industry denatures violence into an anodyne ‘process’ that runs quietly in the background, outside of control. By this process violence becomes unremarkable, ordinary. Industry and its fetishes alter the style or ‘fashion’ of violence, giving it respectability then promoting its usefulness.
Managers strive to increase efficiencies … to inform company narratives so as to gain- or maintain credit flows … there are unintended consequences. Non-natural death can be considered a form of industrial pollution … Alternatively: accidents, disease, war and other forms of violence are all waste products of the industrial system. Violence-waste is a component of an efficiency-limiting negative feedback loop, a kind of cost. Waste increases along with efficiencies until the system modifies itself or is overwhelmed.
The managers demand others absorb the waste … or ‘adjust themselves’ to it. This is what happened after Chernobyl, is happening post-Fukushima, is happening now in Beijing, what has taken place after millions of car crashes and fatalities … what will happen after Newtown. The costs are agonizing … but not yet high enough to cause the system to modify itself or blow up.
Finance is subject to the same dynamic. Corruption and theft are the waste products of debt-money and finance speculation. The waste is denatured … in order to permit greater efficiencies and ‘finance innovation’. For the system to behave otherwise … to corral corrupt managers and reform the system … is more threatening than breakdown.
In this way, all of our human problems are larger or smaller versions of the same problem. As with fractals, our waste-cost dilemma scales. What this means is contriving strategies to cope with problems at one level would also produce workable strategies at other levels at the same time. This is something to think about when analysts insist that ‘this or that problem cannot be solved’ (except to give bankers more of the citizens’ money). Our problems aren’t irremediable predicaments. Rather, solutions are unpleasant to business tycoons who would be required to sacrifice for others than themselves.
Even if you’re white, insured, educated, or in upper-income groups and live a healthy lifestyle, you’re still getting the short end of the stick … Americans under fifty are paying the price. We don’t know exactly why. Even the panel of experts that authored the massive report, U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health, admits that it can’t entirely pinpoint the reasons. But we do know how Americans under fifty, particularly males, are paying the price: with their lives.The US health disadvantage, as the report calls it, is more prevalent among “socioeconomically disadvantaged groups.” But even if you’re “white, insured, college-educated, or in upper-income groups” and live a healthy lifestyle, you’re less likely to make it to 50 than your counterparts in the other 16 wealthy “peer” countries of the study …The report, based on mortality studies for the years through 2008, carves out three categories, “Deaths from Noncommunicable Diseases,” “Deaths from Communicable, Maternal, Perinatal, Nutritional Conditions,” and “Deaths from Injuries.”
“Deaths from Communicable, Maternal, Perinatal, Nutritional Conditions” is divided into dozens of categories and subcategories, and every country has its own nightmare. In Portugal for example, 7.4 people per 100,000 die of HIV/AIDS, more than double the rate of the country next in line, the US (3.4), and 246 times the rate of Japan (0.03).
“Something fundamental is going wrong,” lamented Dr. Steven Woolf, who chaired the panel. “This is not the product of a particular administration or political party. Something at the core is causing the U.S. to slip behind these other high-income countries. And it’s getting worse.”
The panel tried to nail down the culprits: a health-care system that leaves millions of people uninsured, the highest rate of poverty, education, eating habits, socioeconomic and behavioral differences, cities built for cars not pedestrians…. But it determined that these reasons cannot adequately explain the differences—because even wealthy, educated, insured whites with healthy lifestyles are getting the short end of the stick.
Numbers lie, so do reporting agencies, particularly if the numbers make bureaucrats look bad. Malnutrition will not appear in statistics from Greece, Spain and Portugal. The 1,000,000+ radiation deaths over the next 20 years are not going to show up in Japanese databases … If spent fuel pool in Fukushima Daiichi reactor number four collapses a large part of the country will receive lethal doses of radiation … any deaths that result will not be tallied. Keep in mind there are only 128 million Japanese so there is an upper limit to the body count.
Americans die like rats because we live like rats: the infernal car business has turned what was once a nice country into an ironic, Beelzebub-ish hell hole. To live in the US of A is to camp out in a cardboard McBox under a freeway overpass. To cope, a large segment of the population continually self-medicates: peeps abuse prescription drugs, over-consume alcohol, refine/manufacture street drugs like crack, crank, PCP and meth, import cocaine and heroin. Shifting to pot puts the medicant into prison. All this is ‘Life-enhancing’ … right?
Add to this is ordinary stress … the constant fear-mongering which has become the thump-and-drag of US advertising- and political business, the effects of pollution and radiation, the toxic chemicals in food and water, pharmaceutical misdeeds and medical incompetence … the breakdown of families and supportive communities … isolation and withdrawal into ‘self’ and entertainments. Humans are not adapted to this, modernity is ‘too new’ … there hasn’t been enough time for evolutionary process to work nor is there likely to be.
The Council report does not list ‘death by ignorance and greed’ … the two categories are all-inclusive.Our incredible consumer economy with all its various cogs … drives people insane. We’ve gained a lot of worthless diversions that have big costs that are shoved off onto those least able to bear them. Consumption is layered over with a fetishist obsession with images associated with militarism … not militarism itself. We’re cowards addicted to death porn.
We aren’t in the hands of evil men … we are the evil men and we cum all over ourselves in our ‘righteousness’ and ‘progress’.
The unraveling is underway, the proposed solutions are cosmetic, (Center for American Progress):
Preventing Gun Violence in Our Nation Neera Tanden, Winnie Stachelberg, Arkadi Gerney, and Danielle BaussanAfter last month’s senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut—in which 20 children and 6 adults were shot and killed—we need to immediately address the gaps in our current law that enable mass shootings, as well as the everyday shootings that on average claim the lives of 33 Americans each day.In this issue brief we recommend 13 legislative proposals and executive actions to prevent gun violence in our nation. These actions are targeted in the following three key areas:
– Better background checks
– Taking military-grade weapons off the streets and out of criminals’ hands
– Better data, better coordination, and better enforcement …
It’s most likely that the ‘modernized date (gathering) systems’ … would be used to snoop on Occupy Wall Street- and anti-nuclear activists, persecute organic farmers, harass and infiltrate climate groups … that is what ‘modernize’ means in the 21st century. Controlling firearm violence will be difficult and costly. There are no easy ‘user pays’ solutions. Keep in mind, firearm manufacturing is Big Business. The imperative is to sell products, it is the same for all industries at all levels. Selling firearms is a cycle: the first round of sales justifies successive sales of ‘better quality’ materiel so that the buyers can maintain a (illusory) qualitative advantage. This requires additional rounds of sales. The enterprise is self-perpetuating as long as it can be fed money. For example, sales of military goods are a way to direct funds sent to oil producers back to the United States.
Military sales are another ‘nothing for something’ trade. If the material is not used it is useless in a practical sense. If it is used it is likely damaged or destroyed and must be replaced.
The way to sell firearms is to sell fear first. The way to ‘un-sell’ firearms is to stifle the fear and make firearms unfashionable:
– End the war on drugs and de-fund crime organizations thereby. Prosecute high-level criminals such as Jon Corzine. The issue is lawlessness and the perceived (real) breakdown in the social order. Lawlessness starts at the top. Prominent figures in and out of government and business need to be held to account!
– Treat gun violence as a public health issue. Expand the concept to include all forms of mental illness and suicide prevention. If the current healthcare infrastructure cannot manage the task (it can’t (it is hopelessly corrupt) a parallel provider system needs to be installed …even if it is hated ‘single payer’.
If the government or lobbyists aren’t willing to extend themselves in this way they should simply shut up.
– Increase employment by creating non-industrial jobs … ! A 21st century Civilian Conservation Corps would cost little, employ many and money spent would flow into the economy rather than to banks’ reserve accounts or to offshore tax havens. Employment would reduce poverty and the incentive to commit crimes. Conservation is capital husbandry, an exotic concept that needs to be revisited in a period of runaway insolvency.
– Improve veteran mental health services including in-service care. How the govt treats its veterans is a national disgrace. Lurking in the background are the endless, pointless wars-for-profit. There is a connection between the wars and turmoil across the country: one is the cause of the other.
– Close Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and shift investigative services to FBI. End the ‘terror war’. Paranoia feeds violence, we are consumed by it.
– Crack down on private armies of all kinds: contractors, paramilitaries, ‘patriot’ and other neo-nazi & similar hate groups.
– Hold firearm manufacturers liable for damages.
– Further down the road, with less fear and more confidence steps can be taken such as to nationalize the entire defense industry complex and repeal the 2d Amendment … the same way the US repealed the 18th Amendment. By doing so the baleful consequences of these industries’ influence would be reduced.
Figure 1: How little time in one chart (click on for big), Brent crude amalgamated futures contracts (from TFC Charts). The top line represents the high price of crude oil beyond which the economy contracts. The bottom line represents the price required by the so-called ‘producer’ to bring each barrel of crude oil to the marketplace. This price relentlessly increases because crude oil becomes more difficult to extract with each day … and every 90 million barrels removed then wasted.
By the end of the year the price that triggers deflation will decline to less than $120 per barrel while the price that drillers will need to stay in business will exceed $100 per barrel. The endgame is when the price of crude cannot be met by wasting the fuel or borrowing against the wasting process. We’re almost there …
Off the keyboard of Michael Snyder
Published on Economic Collapse on December 16, 2012
Discuss this article at the Fifth Horseman Table inside the Diner
Society Is Crumbling Right In Front Of Our Eyes And Banning Guns Won’t Help
What in the world is happening to America? I have written many articles about how society is crumbling right in front of our eyes, but now it is getting to the point where people are going to be afraid to go to school or go shopping at the mall. Just consider what has happened over the past week. Adam Lanza savagely murdered 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 42-year-old Marcus Gurrola threatened to shoot innocent shoppers and fired off more than 50 rounds in the parking lot of Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach, California. After police apprehended him, he told them that he “was unhappy with life”. Earlier in the week, a crazy man wearing a hockey mask and armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire on the second floor of a mall in Happy Valley, Oregon. He killed two people and injured a third. On Saturday morning, a lone gunman walked into a hospital in Alabama and opened fire. He killed one police officer and two hospital employees before being gunned down by another police officer. So have we now reached the point where every school, every mall and every hospital is going to need armed security? How will society function efficiently if everyone is constantly worried about mass murderers?
In response to the horrible tragedy in Connecticut, many in the mainstream media are suggesting that much stricter gun laws are the obvious solution.
After all, if we get rid of all the guns these crazy people won’t be able to commit these kinds of crimes, right?
Unfortunately, that is not how it works. The criminals don’t obey gun control laws. Banning guns will just take them out of the hands of law-abiding American citizens that just want to protect their own families.
Adam Lanza didn’t let the strict gun control laws up in Connecticut stop him from what he wanted to do. Connecticut already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, and Adam Lanza broke at least three of them.
However, if there had been some armed security officers or some armed teachers at that school, they may have had a chance to protect those dear little children from being brutally gunned down.
If gun control was really the solution to our problems, then cities that have implemented strict gun control laws should be some of the safest in the entire country.
But sadly, just the opposite is true.
For example, Chicago has very strict gun laws. But 10 people were shot in the city of Chicago on Friday alone. Chicago is now considered to be “the deadliest global city“, and the murder rate in Chicago is about 25 percent higher than it was last year.
So has gun control turned Chicago into a utopia?
Of course not.
And it won’t solve our problems on a national level either.
You can find more statistics about the futility of gun control right here.
Well, how would things be if we did just the opposite and everyone had a gun?
Would gun crime go through the roof?
That is what liberals were warning of when the city of Kennesaw, Georgia passed a law requiring every home to have a gun. But instead of disaster, the results turned out to be very impressive…
In March 1982, 25 years ago, the small town of Kennesaw – responding to a handgun ban in Morton Grove, Ill. – unanimously passed an ordinance requiring each head of household to own and maintain a gun. Since then, despite dire predictions of “Wild West” showdowns and increased violence and accidents, not a single resident has been involved in a fatal shooting – as a victim, attacker or defender.
The crime rate initially plummeted for several years after the passage of the ordinance, with the 2005 per capita crime rate actually significantly lower than it was in 1981, the year before passage of the law.
Prior to enactment of the law, Kennesaw had a population of just 5,242 but a crime rate significantly higher (4,332 per 100,000) than the national average (3,899 per 100,000). The latest statistics available – for the year 2005 – show the rate at 2,027 per 100,000. Meanwhile, the population has skyrocketed to 28,189.
When criminals know that everyone has guns, they are much less likely to try something. And often armed citizens are able to prevent potential mass murderers from doing more damage. You can find several examples of this right here.
But of course most of our politicians are not interested in common sense. Instead, they are obsessed with the idea that gun control will make our country “safe” again.
Senator Diane Feinstein says that she is ready to introduce a strict gun control bill in January that will “ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession” of many types of firearms.
Will such a law keep the criminals from getting guns?
No way. Just look at what is happening with the cartels down in Mexico. The criminals are always able to get guns.
If our “leaders” were really interested in stopping these mass murders, they would take a look at the role that mind-altering pharmaceutical drugs play in these incidents. If you look at the mass murders that have occurred over the past several decades, in the vast majority of them the murderer had been using mind-altering pharmaceutical drugs…
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has raised concerns about severe acts of violence as side effects of anti-psychotic and antidepressant drugs not only on individuals but on society as well.
Just a month ago PRWeb described drug induced violence as “medicine’s best kept secret.”
And the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHRI) is calling for a federal investigation on its web page which links no less than 14 mass killings to the use of psychiatric drugs such as Prozac and Paxil.
And guess what?
According to the Washington Post, one neighbor says that Adam Lanza was “on medication”.
But will our politicians ever consider a law against such drugs?
Of course not. The big corporations that produce those drugs give mountains of money to the campaign funds of our politicians.
So the focus of the debate will remain on guns.
And a lot of liberals would have us believe that our society could be transformed into some type of “utopia” if we could just get rid of all the guns.
Unfortunately, that is simply not true. Our society is in an advanced state of moral decay, and this moral decay is manifesting in our society in thousands of different ways. The corruption runs from the highest levels of society all the way down to the lowest.
For those that believe that gun control would somehow “fix America”, I have some questions for you…
Down in Texas, one set of parents kept their 10-year-old son locked in a bedroom and only fed him bread and water for months. Eventually he died of starvation and they dumped his body in a creek.
Would banning guns have kept that from happening?
A pastor in north Texas was recently assaulted by an enraged man who beat him to death with an electric guitar.
Would banning guns have kept that from happening?
Police up in New Jersey say that a man kept his girlfriend padlocked in a bedroom for most of the last 10 years.
Would banning guns have kept that from happening?
A 31-year-old man up in Canada was found guilty of raping an 8-year-old girl, breaking 16 of her bones and smashing her in the face with a hammer.
Would banning guns have kept that from happening?
According to the FBI, a New York City police officer is being accused of “planning the kidnap, rape, torture and cannibilization of a number of women”.
Would banning guns have kept that from happening?
A Secret Service officer that had been assigned to protect Joe Biden’s residence has been charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.
Would banning guns have kept that from happening?
Over in Texas, a very sick 29-year-old man stabbed his girlfriend to death and then burned his one-year-old baby alive because she had gone to court and filed for child support.
Would banning guns have kept that from happening?
Over in Utah, a 21-year-old man is accused of stabbing his grandmother 111 times and then removing her organs with a knife.
Would banning guns have kept that from happening?
There are more than 3 million reports of child abuse in the United States every single year.
Would banning guns keep that from happening?
An average of five children die as a result of child abuse in the United States every single day.
Would banning guns keep that from happening?
The United States has the highest child abuse death rate on the entire globe.
Would banning guns keep that from happening?
It is estimated that 500,000 Americans that will be born this year will be sexually abused before they turn 18.
Would banning guns keep that from happening?
In the United States today, it is estimated that one out of every four girls is sexually abused before they become adults.
Would banning guns keep that from happening?
If there was a way to take all of the guns away from all of the criminals, I would be all in favor of it. Unfortunately, no government on the planet has been able to do that.
Instead, we have seen that criminals thrive whenever gun bans are instituted and the guns are taken away from law-abiding citizens.
But the bottom line is that our social decay will not be solved either by more guns or less guns.
Our social decay is the result of decades of bad decisions. We have pushed morality out of our schools, out of government and out of almost every aspect of public life. Now we are experiencing the bitter fruit of those decisions.
And this is not a problem that our government is going to be able to fix. Violent crime increased by 18 percent in 2011, and this is just the beginning.
As our economy gets even worse, the rot and decay that have been eating away the foundations of America are going to become even more evident. The number of Americans living in poverty grows with each passing day, and millions upon millions of people are becoming very desperate.
Desperate people do desperate things, and crime, rioting and looting are going to become commonplace in the United States in the years ahead.
So you can pretend that the government is going to be able to keep our society from crumbling all you want, but that is not going to help you when a gang of desperate criminals has invaded your home and is attacking your family.
We definitely should mourn for the victims in Connecticut. It was a horrible national tragedy.
But this is just the beginning. The fabric of our society is coming apart at the seams. The feeling of safety and security that we all used to take for granted has been shattered, and the streets of America are going to steadily become much more dangerous.
I hope that you are ready.
Off the keyboard of RE
Discuss this article at the Fifth Horseman Table inside the Diner
I’ll begin this article with a few of the posts I’ve made so far on the Fifth Horseman thread, concerned with the most recent Postal Event of Adam Lanza.
The Amerikan Love Affair with Guns goes back beyond the Constitution and the 2nd Ammendment which Guarantees the Right to Bear Arms, which many Gun Freaks hold up as the primary Legal Justification for Gun availability to the general public.
In fact, in the colonial years, it is unlikely the FSofA could have been settled at all without Guns available to all settlers. While a few dummy Injuns made friends with the Colonists at the beginning, they pretty quickly realized these folks were none to friendly and they were AT WAR with them for the land they lived on.
Though the Smallpox wiped out many, it is still unlikely that without the advantage that Guns gave them, few settlers would have been able to defend their Doomsteads from the Locals they were dispossessing. Besides that, they needed the Guns for Hunting in the early years before major Ranching got up and running. Hunting for Animal Protein was common right through the Civil War really anywhere west of the Appalachian Mountains.
Besides this, as I have noted in some of my monetary threads, the 1800s were quite Wild and Crazy times with many Money Panics, and even once the Injuns were mostly Genocided out, Outlaws were common and “Justice” such as it was was pretty rudimentary. Generally speaking, any community and individual was mainly responsible for protecting themselves. So really in this environment, everybody needed Guns and everybody had guns, outside of a few early Big Shities like NY and Philly and Boston. These places got “Police Forces” fairly early on in the 1800s and Property Protection began to become mainly a Goobermint function.
However, as the Gang Wars during Prohibition in the 20s&30s demonstrate, Guns were still ubiquitous in Big Shities like Chicago right through the 1930s. Really only in the aftermath of WWII did Da Federal Goobermint of the FSofA begin to become powerful enough to begin limiting somewhat individual access to Guns, but eventhere they faced the Gun Lobby of the Sellers of Guns who did not want to lose such a big market for their weapons. Besides, even though nobody really needed to Hunt for food anymore, Hunting was truned into a “Sport” for the Nouveau Riche, as it has been for a long time for the Illuminati. We are all KINGS in this land as the meme goes, and the King’s Fox Hunt was for everyone!
There have been all sorts of compromises and kludges here, you can OWN a Gun, but you can’t CARRY the gun without special permits. Though the technology allows for rapid automatic fire, common weapons only are capable of semi-automatic fire. This BTW is easily overcome by a decent Gunsmith, even at the amateur level.
As our society spins down here, pretty obviously the Pyschos our society creates along with the just plain old PISSED OFF J6Ps are likely to use the MILLIONS of guns floating around the FSofA in various Nefarious ways, of which the CT Shooting is just an example really.
Thisone is sufficiently egregious and arrives at a time the Fascist State really NEEDS to control Guns in the society if they want to retain control overall, but this is an exceedingly hard thing to do at this point. Trying to COLLECT all the guns already out there would cause more than a few Gun Freaks to Go Postal in and of itself. The Gun Lobby STILL doesn’t want to lose the market of all those folks looking to have a Gun for Self Protection and Sport Hunting and Target Shooting, a fabulous WASTE of copious amounts of Ammo. You can get decent good target shooting with an Air Rifle really. Principles are all the same, just you don’t have the range.
Anyhow, no matter how many kids end up as Target Practice for Sociopaths with Asperger, it is very hard for me to imagine how Da Goobermint could get Alaskans to hand over their Rifles and Handguns. Hunting is a way of life up here, many Guides make a living off this. Take away their means of making a living, I GUARANTEE few of them will go Postal, and this is not a bunch you want to see Going Postal, because they HIT what they Shoot at.
I see more restrictions coming down the pipe, more difficulty buying guns and higher prices for ammo, but a Gun Ban is about impossible politically here for many reasons. I for one don’t think such a ban is a good idea anyhow, despite all the Dead Kindergartners. Take away the guns we still have, and ALL Deadly Force is in the hands of Da Goobermint and Criminals, mutually interchangeable entities really.
Far as my Guns are concerned, as the saying goes they will have to pry them from my Cold, Dead Hands. My guns most surely will not stop the Gestapo from taking me out, but long as I got them I got the chance to take a few with me to the Great Beyond. Its about the last vestige of Freedom left. There are sacrifices that are apparent and coming ever more rapidly now for this freedom, but the alternative is WORSE. The alternative is a Boot Stomping on the Face of Humanity FOREVER!
In the aftermath of the Adam Kindergarten Shooting Spree, it is pretty evident that the Pols are making a big PUSH now for an Assault Weapons Ban.
Precisely what will end up being defined as an “Assault Weapon” is pretty hard to determine here, since if you call Semi-Automatics Assault Weapons, that includes nearly all handguns sold. Most people don’t buy Revolvers for personal protection anymore, and Cops don’t carry revolvers anymore either.
Trying to imagine how Da Goobermint could get even just all the legal holders of Semi-Automatic guns to turn them in is impossible. Even if you just kept it to the rifles its pretty hard to imagine. Some Hunters still use Bolt Action rifles, but I don’t think the majority do anymore. In any event, I know plenty of guys with Gun collections in the hundreds, worth of course 10s if not 100s of thousands of dollars. If they turn them in, will Da Goobermint reimburse them?
I imagine a majority of Gun owners would turn them in if faced down with Jail Sentences and so forth for Possession of such a weapon, but I don’t imagine ALL will do that. Some percentage will elect to go down with their guns battling with the Gestapo when they come to take them away. If there is anything that could get a full on Civil War going here in the FSofA, an attempt to confiscate Guns would almost surely do it.
TPTB have to realize this, so they will probably try to make some kind of new laws without going down the road of confiscation. I can imagine Gun Owners being required to drop in at the local Gestapo Headquarters on a weekly basis for a Psychological Test to be deemed Stable Enough to own a Gun. After a few weeks of doing this, the Gun Owner would either get tired of it and hand over the guns, or stop showing up for the testing, in which case of course you get the Gunfight at the OK Corral around his McMansion when the Gestapo show up.
meanwhile of course, in the Drug Gangland community, Guns will continue to flow back and forth across the border with Mejico, and I sure can’t imagine most Texans on the Border will be amenable to handing over their Guns. So this would likely push the Secession Movement in TX which is pretty strong already over the edge.
The Gun Battle Begins.
speculated in a prior post on this topic that Adam Lanza might have been Greenbaumed, and I don’t discount that as a possibility/probability here. However, the revelation that Mom was a DOOMER SURVIVALIST makes some other possibilities more likely now.
Adam Lanza was only 20 when he went Postal. Assume Mom became a Full On Doomer 10 years ago, and began Prepping and talking about Zombie Hordes to her kids. So starting around age 10 Adam is being bombarded by Mom with the End of the World coming in his lifetime. How does this play in the mind of a growing Preteen/Teenager?
Even if he was a fairly “stable” and “normal” kid on the Biochemical level, this would be very depressing to grow up with. Reports are though that Adam had Aspergers Syndrome and wasn’t all that “normal” even had Mom not been a Doomer.
GO made the speculation that perhaps Mom was a Lurking Diner, I suppose it’s possible but not likely. Anyhow, so far the Black Cadillac Escalades have not shown up at the Cabin. Not even an Email from the NSA! We are way down the Alexa list, so we don’t get any attention. lol.
This isn’t the first Doomer to go postal, we had that guy a while back who blew away his wife and daughter before offing himself in his Bunker. And of course legions of other Doomers have gone Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs in other ways, notably Matt Savinar going full tilt Astrology of course.
Obviously, living life as a Doomer is pretty stressful overall, and a percentage of Doomers crack under the pressure. The growing child of a Doomer, particularly one with some genetic/environmental development issues is clearly at high risk for cracking.
If/when a few more Doomers get Trigger Happy, you would have to expect a general backlash against Doomers, something to consider here. In communities chock FULL of Doomers like places in MT and ID, the Doomers start to have to worry about EACH OTHER. Is my Doomstead Neighbor a “Normal” Doomer or is he on the verge of becoming a RAMPAGING Doomer?
All in all, it’s looking more like a “Children of Men” endgame here all the time. Things haven’t even really got that bad yet, the SNAP Cards are still working and the lights are still on in most places most of the time. When TS REALLY HTF, its gonna get mighty ugly out there.
Many issues are rising to the surface with the Adam Lanza Postal, Gun Control being the most clear one on the Political Level. Beyond that though is the clear RAGE bubbling just beneath the surface of our society, acted out in general here at the beginning by people identified as “Psychologically Disturbed” or unstable. Then there is the additional issue that such psychologically disturbed people are being PURPOSEFULLY used to provide grounds for restricting further any Freedoms we still have left here, which are few and far between these days.
The “Gun Battle” on the Political level now will be to escalate the effort to criminalize the possession of guns by the general population. Given that ever more people are likely to “Go Postal” here as time goes by, if you could in fact remove Guns from the society then your average Postal probably could not do so much damage as say an Anders Behring Breivik or Adam Lanza.
Thing is, one group of people and their apparatchiks will NEVER let go of their Guns, that is the Military and Police forces which serve to Enforce the Order of TPTB. Disarm the entire population, the ARMED group has Absolute POWER, and as we all know, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.
In any event, disarming the entire population of the FSofA at this point is a logistical nightmare, well more difficult than the confiscation of Gold was in the 1930s. Guns have been manufactured by the millions, they are all over the place here in the FSofA.Gangs have tons of them, and do you think they will show up at the local Gestapo Headquarters to turn in THEIR guns? I highly doubt that.
As I see it, the Gun Battle at the Political level is a reponse to the Gun Battle going on in the streets, Post Offices and now Elementary Schools of our society. Lotta ANGRY, disaffected and now PSYCHOTIC people are out there, making Gun Play more prevalent all the time. How can the average J6P defend himself and his kids from the EVIL out there that HAS Guns, the Military, the Police and the Drug Lords if he gives up his own Guns?
It is of course sad indeed that our “civilization” has spun down to this point already, but you know the invention of the Gun to begin with let the Genie out of the Bottle here. As a Civilization, we used Guns to rid the planet of numerous people who had no Guns to defend themselves. We STILL use superiority in weaponry to enforce our Will over everyone else, that is what the Drone Aircraft do now.
There is no “Safety” in a collapsing civilization, and even though your Neighbor might be the one to Go Postal next, giving up your right to keep and bear arms is about the LAST thing you want to do here. Rather, EVERYBODY needs to be Packing Heat now. Teachers for sure. Even the kids.
Off the keyboard of Jason Heppenstall
Published on 22 Billion Energy Slaves on September 22, 2012
Discuss this article at the Epicurean Delights Smorgasboard inside the Diner
- A man was murdered with a single shot to the head outside the office I work in. The attack was thought to be a revenge attack for a hit on some people walking out of a mosque a year ago (also next to my office) which I heard. At the time I had thought somebody was throwing heavy things into a skip – that’s what it sounded like.
- A couple of days later I went running at night. On a particularly dark street near the beach a car pulled up next to me and a man yelled something obscene at me. I ignored him and he drove off. Ten minutes later the whole place was full of police cars and it was on the news later that a man on that street had been randomly cruising around and stabbing passers-by. One victim was stabbed in the chest but managed to walk to hospital.
- I also went running the next night and surprised two men doing something suspicious at a deserted building site – they didn’t take it well and I had to put a sprint on.
- Three nights later I encountered a gang of youths, one wielding a metal pole outside a grim local shopping precinct. They were dressed in the American ‘gangster’ style of pants hanging down and covered in bling. They were also smashing the place up and again I had to sprint to get away from them as they shouted after me.
- Then last night – the final night I went out. Half the police force of Copenhagen descended on the island of Amager where I live after violence flared up between the two main Hells Angels gangs who are Denmark’s de facto mafia. One man was thrown out of a moving car, and another was found kneecapped in the back seat of another. Just another night in Copenhagen.
- A cold blooded murder of a Somali man who was leaving his flat for work and was gunned down from a passing car in front of his children.
- A local bar (very close to my flat) invaded at night by a machine gun wielding gang hunting for junior members of a Hells Angels club. After shooting up the bar they dragged one unfortunate punter outside, pulled his trousers down and put the gun up where the sun don’t shine. I photographed the blood spattered plants pots and gore covered latex gloves of the paramedics.
- The assassination of a powerful Chinese businessman in a restaurant outside the office.
- The aftermath of a drugs turf war related grenade attack on some people enjoying a quiet beer in the alternative commune of Christiania. The grenade landed on the table and blew a young man’s jaw off.
- The attempted assassination of a biker leader as he sat in a Joe and the Juice café drinking a milkshake. The bullet went through the window into his back, where he was sitting, although he didn’t die.
In the scheme of things, the politics of Occupation occur on bigger stages than Norfolk, VA. Better known and noisier Occupations on Wall Street or Oakland, even Richmond, make the news and earn the headlines. Yet the fact that several groups of Occupiers maintain a presence and effect actions here in the heart of East Coast military might, and continue to bear witness to the abuses of the combination of state and economic power even here, has seemingly rattled the judgement of the stewards of that power here in southeastern Virginia.
Later she told me, “Right before it happened, I had a moment of clarity: that this was going down, and I could choose to go through with it, and if I did there could be repercussions. And I decided then to do it. And while they were arresting me, I felt pity for them.” The pretrial thoughts ofCarmen, my 20-year old daughter, the “littlest Occupier.”
The case of three of the Norfolk Occupiers for “obstruction of justice” by the police of the city of Norfolk went to trial today in General District Court. The three, Angela, Tess, and Carmen, had charges dismissed by the judge.
The judge found the charges overdrawn and that the behavior in question failed to rise to the standards required of obstruction in the statute, which was it itself clarified in a 1925 Virginia state decision cited by the defense.The charges were dismissed even before the defense attorneys mounted their defense of their clients. As the judge said, “Had the City pursued tresspass or even resisting arrest charges, they might have made a case. But they didn’t bring it to court.”
The issues were several: 1) there was no evidence that a lawful order to clear the park had ever been given; discovery produced no order; 2) there was no clear indication why the three women were even arrested, where it was clear that people that were in the park at the same time were not arrested; 3) the arresting officers failed to bring those arrested before a magistrate, violating procedures. From the cheap seats, it was pretty clear that the City might have made a trespassing charge stick, but the requirements of obstruction were too high a judicial hurdle to clear.
The defendants’ behavior didn’t even belong in the same zip code as obstruction: the accused were at all times peaceable, linking arms and engaged in chanting and prayer. At no time did they so much his raise their voices. They simply linked arms.
Given the events of this morning, one has to wonder why the district attorney even brought these charges, knowing that she had such a weak case with so many holes? If doing this was an attempt to send a message to the burgeoning Occupy movement, I have to think the message was marked as “not received.” That doesn’t mean that civil disobedience does not and will not have its costs.
On this day, justice was served. There will be other causes, other days, and we must remain ready.
UPDATE March 9: Yesterday, three Norfolk Occupiers, Anna, Tess, and Aliaka had a court date in room #6 in the General District Court Building downtown. They faced the heinous charges of “desecration of a monument” for having written in CHALK messages of peace, love and hope on the base of the Confederate monument opposite Commercial park (where the encampment had been.)Yes, you read that right: the messages were in chalk.
Their cases were dismissed. Nothing in their actions, as in the case of Carmen, Tess and Angela, rose to the level required by the definition required by the city statute.
So what you see at work is the same phenomenon at work in other places, that of the local police being enlisted to “crack down” on Occupy using trumped up charges. In Norfolk, the authorities are 0 for 4; the first set of cases for obstruction (Anita, Angela and Geoffrey) when the park was shut down were nolle prosequi’ed; Joelle’s arrest for trespassing, for simply sitting in the park, was dismissed; and both my daughter and colleagues’ case and the case described above were both dismissed.
One more court date remains, for a separate action on December 17. Ought to be interesting.
Update: The Truth About Violence at Occupy
I get a lot of crap from right wingers about supposed violence at Occupy gatherings. from first hand experience, I can say that I have never met such a fine and peaceable group of individuals. There are those, the younger, less patient “black bloc” crowd who want more confrontational direct action and to mask themselves, etc.
For my part I want them to know who I am, for better or for worse: I own a home, have raised a daughter, pay taxes and have had a career and a public life of sorts in this community, and I withhold consent from the entire rotten edifice of fixers and thugs.
In any event, it comes to this: a definitive look at the record of Occupy’s supposed record of lawlessness in the face of multiple police riots, by Rebecca Solnit, one of the most inteligent observers we have.
When you fall in love, it’s all about what you have in common, and you can hardly imagine that there are differences, let alone that you will quarrel over them, or weep about them, or be torn apart by them — or if all goes well, struggle, learn, and bond more strongly because of, rather than despite, them. The Occupy movement had its glorious honeymoon when old and young, liberal and radical, comfortable and desperate, homeless and tenured all found that what they had in common was so compelling the differences hardly seemed to matter.
Until they did.
Revolutions are always like this: at first all men are brothers and anything is possible, and then, if you’re lucky, the romance of that heady moment ripens into a relationship, instead of a breakup, an abusive marriage, or a murder-suicide. Occupy had its golden age, when those who never before imagined living side-by-side with homeless people found themselves in adjoining tents in public squares.
All sorts of other equalizing forces were present, not least the police brutality that battered the privileged the way that inner-city kids are used to being battered all the time. Part of what we had in common was what we were against: the current economy and the principle of insatiable greed that made it run, as well as the emotional and economic privatization that accompanied it.
This is a system that damages people, and its devastation was on display as never before in the early months of Occupy and related phenomena like the “We are the 99%” website. When it was people facing foreclosure, or who’d lost their jobs, or were thrashing around under avalanches of college or medical debt, they weren’t hard to accept as us, and not them.
And then came the people who’d been damaged far more, the psychologically fragile, the marginal, and the homeless — some of them endlessly needy and with a huge capacity for disruption. People who had come to fight the power found themselves staying on to figure out available mental-health resources, while others who had wanted to experience a democratic society on a grand scale found themselves trying to solve sanitation problems.
And then there was the violence.
The Faces of Violence
The most important direct violence Occupy faced was, of course, from the state, in the form of the police using maximum sub-lethal force on sleepers in tents, mothers with children, unarmed pedestrians, young women already penned up, unresisting seated students, poets, professors, pregnant women, wheelchair-bound occupiers and octogenarians. It has been a sustained campaign of police brutality from Wall Street to Washington State the likes of which we haven’t seen in 40 years.
On the part of activists, there were also a few notable incidents of violence in the hundreds of camps, especially violence against women. The mainstream media seemed to think this damned the Occupy movement, though it made the camps, at worst, a whole lot like the rest of the planet, which, in case you hadn’t noticed, seethes with violence against women. But these were isolated incidents.
That old line of songster Woody Guthrie is always handy in situations like this: “Some will rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen.” The police have been going after occupiers with projectile weapons, clubs and tear gas, sending some of them to the hospital and leaving more than a few others traumatized and fearful. That’s the six-gun here.
But it all began with the fountain pens, slashing through peoples’ lives, through national and international economies, through the global markets. These were wielded by the banksters, the “vampire squid,” the deregulators in D.C., the men — and with the rarest of exceptions they were men — who stole the world.
That’s what Occupy came together to oppose, the grandest violence by scale, the least obvious by impact. No one on Wall Street ever had to get his suit besmirched by carrying out a foreclosure eviction himself. Cities provided that service for free to the banks (thereby further impoverishing themselves as they created new paupers out of old taxpayers). And the police clubbed their opponents for them, over and over, everywhere across the United States.
The grand thieves invented ever more ingenious methods, including those sliced and diced derivatives, to crush the hopes and livelihoods of the many. This is the terrible violence that Occupy was formed to oppose. Don’t ever lose sight of that.
Oakland’s Beautiful Nonviolence
Now that we’re done remembering the major violence, let’s talk about Occupy Oakland. A great deal of fuss has been made about two incidents in which mostly young people affiliated with Occupy Oakland damaged some property and raised some hell.
The mainstream media and some faraway pundits weighed in on those Bay Area incidents as though they determined the meaning and future of the transnational Occupy phenomenon. Perhaps some of them even hoped, consciously or otherwise, that harped on enough these might divide or destroy the movement. So it’s important to recall that the initial impact of Occupy Oakland was the very opposite of violent, stunningly so, in ways that were intentionally suppressed.
Occupy Oakland began in early October as a vibrant, multiracial gathering. A camp was built at Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza, and thousands received much-needed meals and healthcare for free from well-organized volunteers. Sometimes called the Oakland Commune, it was consciously descended from some of the finer aspects of an earlier movement born in Oakland, the Black Panthers, whose free breakfast programs should perhaps be as well-remembered and more admired than their macho posturing.
A compelling and generous-spirited General Assembly took place nightly and then biweekly in which the most important things on Earth were discussed by wildly different participants. Once, for instance, I was in a breakout discussion group that included Native American, white, Latino, and able-bodied and disabled Occupiers, and in which I was likely the eldest participant; another time, a bunch of peacenik grandmothers dominated my group.
This country is segregated in so many terrible ways — and then it wasn’t for those glorious weeks when civil society awoke and fell in love with itself. Everyone showed up; everyone talked to everyone else; and in little tastes, in fleeting moments, the old divides no longer divided us and we felt like we could imagine ourselves as one society. This was the dream of the promised land — this land, that is, without its bitter divides. Honey never tasted sweeter, and power never felt better.
Now here’s something astonishing. While the camp was in existence, crime went down 19 percent in Oakland, a statistic the city was careful to conceal. “It may be counter to our statement that the Occupy movement is negatively impacting crime in Oakland,” the police chief wrote to the mayor in an email that local news station KTVU later obtained and released to little fanfare. Pay attention: Occupy was so powerful a force for nonviolence that it was already solving Oakland’s chronic crime and violence problems just by giving people hope and meals and solidarity and conversation.
The police attacking the camp knew what the rest of us didn’t: Occupy was abating crime, including violent crime, in this gritty, crime-ridden city. “You gotta give them hope, “ said an elected official across the bay once upon a time — a city supervisor named Harvey Milk. Occupy was hope we gave ourselves, the dream come true. The city did its best to take the hope away violently at 5 a.m. on October 25th. The sleepers were assaulted; their belongings confiscated and trashed. Then, Occupy Oakland rose again. Many thousands of nonviolent marchers shut down the Port of Oakland in a stunning display of popular power on November 2nd.
That night, some kids did the smashy-smashy stuff that everyone gets really excited about. (They even spray-painted “smashy” on a Rite Aid drugstore in giant letters.) When we talk about people who spray-paint and break windows and start bonfires in the street and shove people and scream and run around, making a demonstration into something way too much like the punk rock shows of my youth, let’s keep one thing in mind: they didn’t send anyone to the hospital, drive any seniors from their homes, spread despair and debt among the young, snatch food and medicine from the desperate, or destroy the global economy.
That said, they are still a problem. They are the bait the police take and the media go to town with. They create a situation a whole lot of us don’t like and that drives away many who might otherwise participate or sympathize. They are, that is, incredibly bad for a movement, and represent a form of segregation by intimidation.
But don’t confuse the pro-vandalism Occupiers with the vampire squid or the up-armored robocops who have gone after us almost everywhere. Though their means are deeply flawed, their ends are not so different than yours. There’s no question that they should improve their tactics or maybe just act tactically, let alone strategically, and there’s no question that a lot of other people should stop being so apocalyptic about it.
Those who advocate for nonviolenceat Occupy should remember that nonviolence is at best a great spirit of love and generosity, not a prissy enforcement squad. After all, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who gets invoked all the time when such issues come up, didn’t go around saying grumpy things about Malcolm X and the Black Panthers.
Violence Against the Truth
Of course, a lot of people responding to these incidents in Oakland are actually responding to fictional versions of them. In such cases, you could even say that some journalists were doing violence against the truth of what happened in Oakland on November 2nd and January 28th.
The San Francisco Chronicle, for example, reported on the day’s events this way:
“Among the most violent incidents that occurred Saturday night was in front of the YMCA at 23rd Street and Broadway. Police corralled protesters in front of the building and several dozen protesters stormed into the Y, apparently to escape from the police, city officials and protesters said. Protesters damaged a door and a few fixtures, and frightened those inside the gym working out, said Robert Wilkins, president of the YMCA of the East Bay.”
Wilkins was apparently not in the building, and first-person testimony recounts that a YMCA staff member welcomed the surrounded and battered protesters, and once inside, some were so terrified they pretended to work out on exercise machines to blend in.
I wrote this to the journalists who described the incident so peculiarly: “What was violent about [activists] fleeing police engaging in wholesale arrests and aggressive behavior? Even the YMCA official who complains about it adds, ‘The damage appears pretty minimal.’ And you call it violence? That’s sloppy.”
The reporter who responded apologized for what she called her “poor word choice” and said the piece was meant to convey police violence as well.
When the police are violent against activists, journalists tend to frame it as though there were violence in some vaguely unascribable sense that implicates the clobbered as well as the clobberers. In, for example, the build-up to the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, the mainstream media kept portraying the right of the people peaceably to assemble as tantamount to terrorism and describing all the terrible things that the government or the media themselves speculated we might want to do (but never did).
Some of this was based on the fiction of tremendous activist violence in Seattle in 1999 that the New York Times in particular devoted itself to promulgating. That the police smashed up nonviolent demonstrators and constitutional rights pretty badly in both Seattle and New York didn’t excite them nearly as much. Don’t forget that before the obsession with violence arose, the smearing of Occupy was focused on the idea that people weren’t washing very much, and before that the framework for marginalization was that Occupy had “no demands.” There’s always something.
Keep in mind as well that Oakland’s police department is on the brink of federal receivership for not having made real amends for old and well-documented problems of violence, corruption and mismanagement, and that it was the police department, not the Occupy Oakland demonstrators, which used tear gas, clubs, smoke grenades and rubber bullets on January 28th. It’s true that a small group vandalized City Hall after the considerable police violence, but that’s hardly what the plans were at the outset of the day.
The action on January 28th that resulted in 400 arrests and a media conflagration was called Move-In Day. There was a handmade patchwork banner that proclaimed “Another Oakland Is Possible” and a children’s contingent with pennants, balloons and strollers. Occupy Oakland was seeking to take over an abandoned building so that it could reestablish the community, the food programs and the medical clinic it had set up last fall. It may not have been well planned or well executed, but it was idealistic.
Despite this, many people who had no firsthand contact with Occupy Oakland inveighed against it or even against the whole Occupy movement. If only that intensity of fury were to be directed at the root cause of it all, the colossal economic violence that surrounds us.
All of which is to say, for anyone who hadn’t noticed, that the honeymoon is over.
Now for the Real Work
The honeymoon is, of course, the period when you’re so in love you don’t notice differences that will eventually have to be worked out one way or another. Most relationships begin as though you were coasting downhill. Then come the flatlands, followed by the hills where you’re going to have to pedal hard, if you don’t just abandon the bike.
Occupy might just be the name we’ve put on a great groundswell of popular outrage and a rebirth of civil society too deep, too broad, to be a movement. A movement is an ocean wave: this is the whole tide turning from Cairo to Moscow to Athens to Santiago to Chicago. Nevertheless, the American swell in this tide involves a delicate alliance between liberals and radicals, people who want to reform the government and campaign for particular gains, and people who wish the government didn’t exist and mostly want to work outside the system. If the radicals should frighten the liberals as little as possible, surely the liberals have an equal obligation to get fiercer and more willing to confront — and to remember that nonviolence, even in its purest form, is not the same as being nice.
Surely the only possible answer to the tired question of where Occupy should go from here (as though a few public figures got to decide) is: everywhere. I keep being asked what Occupy should do next, but it’s already doing it. It is everywhere.
In many cities, outside the limelight, people are still occupying public space in tents and holding General Assemblies. February 20th, for instance, was a national day of Occupy solidarity with prisoners; Occupiers are organizing on many fronts and planning for May Day, and a great many foreclosure defenses from Nashville to San Francisco have kept people in their homes and made banks renegotiate. Campus activism is reinvigorated, and creative and fierce discussions about college costs and student debt are underway, as is a deeper conversation about economics and ethics that rejects conventional wisdom about what is fair and possible.
Occupy is one catalyst or facet of the populist will you can see in a host of recent victories. The campaign against corporate personhood seems to be gaining momentum. A popular environmental campaign made President Obama reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from Canada, despite immense Republican and corporate pressure. In response to widespread outrage, the Susan B. Komen Foundation reversed its decision to defund cancer detection at Planned Parenthood. Online campaigns have forced Apple to address its hideous labor issues, and the ever-heroic Coalition of Immokalee Workers at last brought Trader Joes into line with its fair wages for farmworkers campaign.
These genuine gains come thanks to relatively modest exercises of popular power. They should act as reminders that we do have power and that its exercise can be popular. Some of last fall’s exhilarating conversations have faltered, but the great conversation that is civil society awake and arisen hasn’t stopped.
What happens now depends on vigorous participation, including yours, in thinking aloud together about who we are, what we want and how we get there, and then acting upon it. Go occupy the possibilities and don’t stop pedaling. And remember, it started with mad, passionate love.