Chain Of Command

Where does a Revolution begin?

This one may have begun at the dinner table when a man such as myself realized that it was impossible to put a roof over his family’s heads and food on the table. It may have begun when a student opened his tuition bill for the coming semester and realized that he could not afford to go back to college, and would have to get a job. But there were no jobs to be had. It may have begun when an enterprising employed and valuable commodity of an individual with unique talents who wished to take them to another company but couldn’t…because even if there was an open spot for them, they already had a bad back and that would not be covered by the new medical insurance. (Or the fact that he used to smoke but quit ten years ago and jogs three miles daily, which still counts against you). It may have begun when people were asked to do the jobs of two people while corporations reached their maximum profit line: that is, earning the most they can with the fewest number of workers or benefits paid. And their raises were non-existent. No bonus for Christmas while those in charge reaped the profits, profit sharing, stock options, and bonuses. And they got jack shit.

It may have begun when they shot an ex-Army soldier who fought in Iraq and served his country regardless of the fact that he vehemently disagreed with the war and what we were trying to do. But he was a PATRIOT FIRST, and a SOLDIER and he knew what his duty was and he carried it out to the best of his ability, just like thousands of other Americans everywhere in the world each and every day. They follow the CHAIN OF COMMAND…but when that breaks dows, then that may indeed be when the Revolution started. It may have started when regular Americans were required to show ID (‘vere are your papers, hmmm?) while trying to go to work to make sure they worked in a closed sector of NY City…a public place sectioned off by Mayor Bloombag because he feared more violence…violence that eventually escalated and became a reality while he penned people in. Violence that began when his gang of thugs, “The White Shirts” of the NYPD pepper sprayed the crowd. Then that became commonplace for the police in ANY city to do, because if they can do it in New York, then surely we can do it in Oakland (tear gas canister hits aforementioned Vet in head causing hospitalization and brain damage) or in UC Davis in the most egregious incident caught in video: peaceful students who simply sat, arms locked. There were no weapons worn by them like there were at neither Tea Party Rallies nor signs to kill the President by implication (“the tree of liberty must be cleansed with the blood of tyrants, etc). They were simply SPRAYED IN THE FACE WITHOUT AN ATTEMPT TO MOVE THEM OTHERWISE.

And sooner or later, we will have our Kent State moment…and when that happens, all of the fuel gathered together will explode VIOLENTLY. This will NOT be a people going gently into that good night. This will be a people reacting in a manner of self-defense against a Government owned by the Corporations, for the Corporations and ensuring that it and the crazy Order and Chain Of Command it espouses shall indeed perish from the Earth. These will be ANGRY AMERICANS who were attempted to be SUBJUGATED by their Government, and THAT my friends is when you have a Revolution.

It happened in 1775. It can happen in 2011 or 2012. The people out there now are PEACEFUL. Rest assured, violence will be met with violence after that Kent State moment (God help us all)…and then we will have a hell of a lot more to worry about. Rumors abound about a more beefed up military presence Stateside as the soldiers return from Iraq. I have faith in our military…there is no way in hell they would shoot their fellow citizens, especially since they may be shooting at a fellow Vet AND most importantly because they are sworn to uphold the Constitution. This isn’t about Corporations…this is about freedom. This is about the right to speak and peacefully redress our grievances as guaranteed by the First Amendment. This is a right basically being denied by those who would subjugate the American populace into Corporate submission and domination in every facet of their life…in other words, Fascism.

We have it now, but we are afraid to even admit it exists: you no longer have the freedom to move between jobs because of the benefit situation or the pay is a lateral and not an increase. That is virtual indentured servitude for one corporation, a captive audience quite literally as the rights of the individual shrink while working for a corporation. For example, what you can and cannot say on Social Media…why is a Corporation given precedence over a person…when in fact the Supreme Court just made Corporations persons? Isn’t that discrimination?

The American Public is finally awakening to the fact that we have been a Corporate Democracy…we have ALWAYS been controlled by the Corporations…and I say it’s time to exercise our rights of free speech and fight them if we have to in order to do so. And fight for the freedom of this country. And fight for the Democracy that so many died for on the field of Battle…and 150 years ago, we lost more of our own than in any war. COMBINED. God help us if some idiot tries to have that Kent State moment, or is ordered to…by the Chain of Command…

…the Chain of Command that subjugates your right to work wherever you want to.

…the Chain of Command that controls both Houses of Congress, the Judiciary, and the Executive Branch

…the Chain of Command that denies you free and open access to healthcare and education so you will grow up THINKING and not some beer guzzling guy in a t-shirt in a trailer park with his shotgun and trusty dog Clem by his side.

…the Chain of Command that MUST BE BROKEN.

“Captain Jean-Luc Picard: At the end, he gave me a choice – between a life of comfort… or more torture. All I had to do was to say that… I could see *five* lights, when in fact there were only four.
Counselor Deanna Troi: You didn’t say it.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: No. No. But I was going to. I would’ve told him anything. Anything at all. But more than that – I believed that I could see… five lights.”

-From The Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode, “Chain Of Command”

Precipice

A couple of weeks ago when the Occupy moments started up, I made the suggestion…no, I implored these folks to get their message together, get some leaders to represent those ideas, and go to Capitol Hill, the State Houses, the street corners…whatever it took, to get those messages out there and into action. I also said that Americans do not like a mob, will not listen to a mob, and never have listened to anything that came from a mob. The Civil Rights Protests, the Viet Nam War protests were all organized events that effected change in a positive way and did in fact change the way this nation operates. I also said that they should do this as soon as possible, because they were at the point of having their movement defined for them rather than having them define their movement.

I know I don’t get a hell of a lot of readers over my way (and I do get some cool trackbacks that make their way into the Blogosphere), but these were basic principles that any experienced college organize (yours truly back in the day) or old hippie (was anyone even listening to a few of the voices of 60s reason in the crowd?). Why this never happened is beyond me, but what is happening at this very moment is not only is our movement being defines for you, you are being made out to be traitors and thugs, and anarchists, and moreover…the public opinion which brought you this far is starting to turn against you now.

GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, PEOPLE OR LOSE IT ALL!

Go out there and pull back, regroup, reorganize. Maintain a peaceful presence on the streets…but ensure that it is not threatening. Go back and take all your General Assemblies and elect leadership, take your common principles (which I know you have after watching an economist talk about your VERY impressive sheet of economic ideas on “Countdown” last night) back out on to the streets. Go peacefully into that good night and present a UNIFIED FRONT. No more of this organig BULLSHIT. You want to change the country, the world, the universe…hell, I’m behind of a thousand percent. And moreover, there are thousands of others like me out there who can only watch from the sidelines. We have kids, jobs, responsibilities that need tending to. In my case, I’m disabled but my power is in my pen as my sword. Our Constitution is my shield. I support you in the manner in which I can…and that is by writing a Blog post more and more (it’s starting to become daily as the level of Police Violence escalates) supportive of you.

BUT YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER OR LOSE IT ALL

The police and the Establishment are using tactics that are coordinated from “somewhere”; rumor has it that it’s the White House. These are tactics learned not only from the past ten years via Homeland Security, but years of fighting protestors during the Viet Nam War. There is no way in hell almost every single protest we have seen so far could have almost the EXACT same tactics used. In some cities they are more violent than others; in Oakland you almost expect the violence, but you saw what happened when they tried to do Oakland style control in NYC…sorry Mayor Bloombag, we messed up your haven for the rich. 30,000 people march…30,000 angry New Yorkers. Take into account both the Giants and Jets lost last weekend, and you have some pretty pissed off New Yorkers. Plus you are trying to take away THEIR city. Mayor Bloomerg, NEW YORK CITY BELONGS TO ITS CITIZENS. Not the rich, and certainly not your crazy goon squadrons.

And that goes for ANY of you Mayors or Governors…this country belongs to its people and not it’s Corporations, no matter how much the Supreme court now defines them as a “person”. And now I save my final vitriol in this post for the man who has been conspicuously absent by his silence: The President Of The United States. President Obama, you swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. You have not done so. You have not said a thing outside of the fact that every jurisdiction should handle things as they best see fit. Well, that is pure and simple BULLSHIT, sir. This is a coordinated effort between the Federal Government (who cannot send in the Army into a State unless the National Guard has already been called in and needs assistance) and local jurisdictions.

People are starving; give them food. People are cold; give them shelter. People need medical care; give them medicine and doctors. People need an education; give a free one to every single child in this country. This was the hope we had for you sir when we elected you. You were the savior, like it or not, of the American people…and you have reluctantly refused the mantle. Do we have to offer you this nation as a dictatorship 3 times and have you refuse it like a modern day Caesar? What is it that is preventing you from protecting the RIGHTS of every PROTESTOR down there, and the level of VIOLENCE perpetrated upon every one of them by their fellow Americans whom you refuse to reign in. YOU CAN RESTORE ORDER BY SIMPLY ALLOWING THE PEACEFUL PROTESTS TO CONTINUE. Talk with these guys; have representatives …OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES give a shit for once and show up at that meeting and LISTEN to what is wrong with this country. The hell with the polls or reelection campaigns. You and you ALONE can turn this moment into an historic opportunity to change the landscape of this nation forever.

Just go out there and do what you were elected to do in the first place. Be the man we thought you were. LEAD, DAMNIT…LEAD!

“I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. “ – Thomas Jefferson

“All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.” – Benjamin Franklin

Critical Mass

“And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.” – Aeschylus

I usually end a blog post with something reflective about it and the days events that I spoke of.  Today’s different, because three years ago this became my call to arms in waking up from a very long funk of feeling sorry for myself because of 9/11.  I had just started this blog the day before and had posted what has now become well-travelled piece on the Net…but I owe that post and the change in my outlook to this quote.  Bobby Kennedy used is as a quote at Brother Martin’s funeral, in a way what he was trying to say to the crowd was “We may not understand why this happened now, but in the long run perhaps we will…and no matter, the pain never goes away”.  I looked at that quote and saw it as a means to letting go…of letting my own survivors guilt disappear into the haze of ether in between universes and finally was able to become a bit freer enough to start a blog that I was very consistent at keeping up with originally bus have since posted when the fierce urgency of now warranted.  The events of the past few weeks have finally made it necessary to speak out once again as I believe that our own government is trying to play both sides of this coin and is acting is a despicable (yet not unsurprising manner).

The Occupy movements have grown tremendously in the few short weeks I texted.  Two weeks ago, a former Iraq War veteran was shot in the head by a tear gas canister in Oakland.  He is still in hospital, learning to walk and talk again (he wasn’t badly hurt to the extent that he was like a stroke victim, but badly enough to where he needed some type of therapy).  Since then, the Oakland Police Department have committed atrocities against the crowd; injuring peaceful protestors who offered no resistance and destroying their tent cities.  The same has happened in Atlanta, Oklahoma City and scores of other places that the movement has spread to.  Finally, the other evening the Nazi-like tactics of the NYPD struck again, beating peaceful protestors as they slept, wearing riot gear and destroying what has become the center and symbol of this movement Zuccati Park in lower Manhattan.  To use this amount of excessive force against the populace in such a similar fashion looks as if it almost came out of a playbook.  Well, now we know who’s, and it may be surprising…

The Obama Administration itself.

An Administration Official under strict anonymity told filmmaker Michael Moore that this was organized by the White House.  While on one hand, Obama remains silent (VERY conspicuously absent in the issue, but has called for peaceful protests and for each jurisdiction to handle things in the manner it sees fit); it is also putting out a “playbook” for the coordination of these attacks against the American People and how to shut the protestors down.  It seems as if Obama is now doing the will of his Corporate Overlords and Masters in enforcing destruction of these Occupy events.  Freedom of speech is being suppressed.  The right to have the press cover this was taken away by Bloombag the other night by arresting the reporters ostensibly for their own “safety”.  A No Fly Zone was placed above the area.  A NO FLY ZONE…last time I looked only the FAA could do that, not the fucking NYPD no matter how powerful these bastards think they are.  If that doesn’t lead you down a certain line of reasoning, I don’t know what will.  Supposedly, people will be allowed back into the park with no tends or blankets or any other equipment and will have to pass through 4 “checkpoints” TO GET INTO PUBLIC SPACE.  I find that rather amusing…and the silence from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is just fucking deafening.

A man we voted for change and hope for the future has apparently sold us out and down the river and is kowtowing before the Gods of Wall Street who tell him what to do next.  They’re making him look like fucking “Benson”.

There is going to come a day when the Army is called in.  There is going to come a day when people are killed…and there is going to come a day when this idea which has now become an uncontrollable mass of uranium is about to go critical…you cannot stifle freedom.  You cannot silence those of us who will continue to write and speak up about this.  The sleeping giant has awoken, and we are now pushing the levers of power that we have.  We will not be silenced, moreover I REFUSE TO BE SILENCED.  I will continue to write until they drag me off kicking and screaming for a Cuban vacation.  What I know, I will pass on, what I find out I will pass on.  Consider me an internet conduit in the coming revolution…

…because make no mistake, one is coming.  And it ain’t gonna be pretty.

“Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” – John Adams 

Did You Ever Notice…

I’ve met many famous people in my life; some of them have been wonderful (Musicians Carlos Santana, Jorma Kaukonen of the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna; NY Giants Quarterbacks YA Tittle, Charley Connerly; the toughest man to ever play the game of football, Defensive Master Dick Butkus; and the incredibly gracious and fun ex-Cleveland Browns Quarterback Otto Graham- possibly the greatest QB ever to play the game, along with his lovely wife…who gave me an insight into the game I love so much over several scotches and several hours.  All of those sports figures were at the top of a hotel in San Fransisco after they attended a charity event and my friend his then-wife and I got to hang out with them for a few hours.  What a memorable evening…and of course the batteries in my camera died and the hotel gift shop was closed.  I’ve met Bruce Springsteen a couple of times as he lives in my area and I ran into him on line to get a beer at a bar we both happened to be at in  the area and he just started talking to me.  Great guy).  Others have not been so nice (Sportscaster Sal Marciano, and Ray Davies of the Kinks come to mind immediately).  There were a couple I was in awe of (Cleveland Running Back Jim Brown and Musician Quincy Jones).

And then there was Andy Rooney.

Many years ago, I was the Assistant Manager of a Branch of Chase Manhattan Bank At Columbus Circle.  I got to meet a lot of famous folks; the aforementioned Jim Brown and Quincy Jones among them; but Andy was just a regular guy who’d come in from the CBS Offices just down the block and deposit his paycheck.  No Direct Deposit…he took a check.  Maybe he didn’t trust technology, who knows…but ever two weeks we’d see his slightly rumpled figure and eyebrow (singular) pop in to do some banking.  One day he needed something, and He and I introduced ourselves.  The request was simple, “Did you ever notice there’s no Deposit Slips at the ATM when you really need them?” was  his question.  And yes, he asked/observed that EXACTLY the way he would have told it on TV, and it took all my control not to laugh in the face of this great man.  And that was only because he was right; it was a Rooney observation; and he said it like Andy Rooney could only have said it.  I told him that I’d make sure we’d stock things up and it wouldn’t happen again.

A few weeks later, he came into the Branch, saw me and pulled me aside and said, “Ken, I was here last night at 2am and there were Deposit Slips.  Thank you.”  And I said that it was a pleasure and he made a great point, and from then on we’d see each other every while and stop and chat.  He told me to call him Andy, and I still called him Mr. Rooney regardless.  There was just no way I could have possibly called a man with  his journalistic background and history by anything other than his surname.  Once in a while it was crazy conversations about the winter; other times it was about an event of the day that he was fuming about (or I was).  I told him my background was in Journalism and that’s what my BA was in; he told me to get the hell out of banking while I was still young enough and give it a go as a writer.  He freelanced for a year or two after his stint in the Army reporting for Stars and Stripes, sometimes under enemy fire and had won a few medals for bravery.  He loved Eisenhower because he never believed in censoring Starts and Stripes whereas today everything is sanitized for your protection.  He was a nice guy.  He was also a great tipper for the Teller Staff; because when Christmas time came, they all got cash envelopes that were supposed to NOT be taken, but how do you say “No” to Andy Rooney?  There would be a show on about it in a matter of days.  The Tellers loved him; we all did (Nipsey Russell could be a pain in the ass, but I got along like a house on fire with him…but he was stingy with tipping those guys).  Andy was just a nice man who’d also occasionally talk a bit about WW2 as that was an interest of mine; but he’d have to stop because he reported on the Battle of The Bulge and the Liberation of Buchenwald.  Which I completely understood…but he was a font of great information.

Andy Rooney passed away today at the age of 92; ironically, the age I see myself exiting this plane of existence.  And somehow, I will always remember one of his last words when he was leaving 60 Minutes for good and “retiring”…and that’s what I’ll leave you with today:

“Writers don’t retire…” – Andy Rooney

Rest in Peace, Mr Rooney.