First of all, I am dedicating this Blog article to my buddy Jim. It is to honor his gumption to get out of bed and make his way to an Occupy Portland demonstration last Thursday. Jim and I worked together as Epitaxial Reactor Operators for more than an half dozen years. And when I found out what he did last Thursday, I was totally blown away!
I am so proud to have Jim as one of my buddies.
We elect senators and congressmen to represent us in those two great Houses of deliberation, debate, and decision-making; the Senate and the House of Representatives. Furthermore, when these people run for office, they vow and affirm that they will protect the Constitution, and give everyone an equal voice to be heard without bias and discrimination.
They do not have to agree with us, but they do have an obligation to listen to us. Sounds good in high school civics (if they even teach civics anymore) but the sad reality is, that as the world watches, the United States Houses of deliberation are disintegrating.
And "Occupy Now," is a direct result of the disgust, disdain and repugnance for elected officials for the mess the country and economy are in.
This is my gripe with New York Republican Representative Peter King. He epitomizes our decomposing politics. King sullies the system with his wicked, evil distortions and characterizations about citizens participating in "Occupy Now," and it's various permutations, instead of "listening to the Citizenry."
I found no evidence that King had visited the "Occupy" groups in New York. King has never met with any leadership from the "Occupy" groups. So how does King conjure up such negative impressions about them? Remember, this man has a fiduciary responsibility to listen to the concerns of people within his district!
As reported in the Huffington Post, the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee was asked "if he had an obligation to hear out what the protesters are saying."
King slammed the cause, pointing to crimes taking place within Occupy encampments.
- "First of all, you try to listen to them and they make almost no sense," King said.
- "These are people who were living in dirt, these were people who were involved with drugs, there was violence, there was rape.
- "How do they achieve anything by living in dirt for two months? You can't say this is only a few people.
- "The fact is these people are anarchists," the congressman said.
- "They have no idea what they're doing out there," King said.
- "They have no sense of purpose other than a basically anti-American tone and anti-capitalist. It's a ragtag mob basically."
Peter King's outright fabrication of lies is precisely the dismissive mind-set reflected by many republicans. King's stridently arrogant, condescending, superior attitude, epitomizes precisely what the 99% find frustrating with our dysfunctional government.
A few days ago, I received an email from my buddy Jim. It took me a moment to process what I was looking at. But there he was, standing in the front ranks of an "Occupy Portland" demonstration, taking taking these photos Thursday morning, at the east end of Portland Oregon's Steel Bridge.
The Union Pacific railroad owns the bridge and leases the traffic lanes (upper deck) to the State of Oregon. The bridge carries foot traffic, motor vehicle traffic, and Portland's Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) light rail system, on the top deck, Amtrak, BNSF & UP on the lower rail deck. The lower deck can be raised independent of the top deck, or, for maximum opening, the bottom deck slips under the top deck, with both lifting together.
The gathering was in response for a call to "Occupy the Banks." The group my buddy Jim was in consisted of members of the SEIU - Service Employees International Union, Portland (OR) Local 503.
In their call for action on Occupy Bank Thursday, the Local 503 selected the Steel Bridge because of its deteriorating condition. Their point being, to put people back to work by repairing the aged structure.
The group my friend was in numbered around 1,000. They chanted:
"Wall Street got bailed out!
We got sold out!"
We got sold out!"
"Who has the power?
We have the power!
What kind of power?
We have the power!
What kind of power?
I asked Jim how it felt being face-to-face with Portland's finest. He said that being in a group who feel the same about the situation "emboldens" one! One fellow Jim talked with has four kids at home, and wants a better future for them. Far from being a "Peter King urine and feces anarchist," he has a Masters degree in Geology.
According to Jim, there was no conversation between the demonstrators and the cops an arms length away. I would love to know what that young cop was thinking about as he stood there, trying to avoid eye contact.
At first he felt a little reluctant to join the protest. But he felt "someone" has to do it, so away he went. I am so proud of my buddy!
MAX had slow orders on the bridge area passing the demonstration, but was never stopped from delivering passengers to and from downtown Portland. The cops made a "tactical" decision to halt motor vehicle and foot passage across the bridge. Foot traffic and train passage was never impacted on the lower level.
Every confrontation between Police and the Citizens they are sworn to protect, results in an "Kodak" moment as police protect our rights to assembly and free speech!
Thursdays march on the banks in Portland was no exception. The photo of a young woman being pepper spayed directly into her mouth and lungs was captured by captured by veteran Oregonian staff photographer, Randy L. Rasmussen. It has, as they say, become a web sensation.
In Seattle, Seattle's finest pepper sprayed 84-year-old Dorli Rainey. Apparently the riot geared cops perceived the 4-foot something Dorli as presenting an emanate threat, and blasted away! Actually, the SPD had a pretty good evening. In addition to nailing Dorli, cops also bagged a priest and a 19 year old pregnant woman.
Some final thoughts on Lt. John Pike, video taped and photographed as he casually pepper sprayed a group of passive students. In one account, "Bull" Pike stated, "Better than having to drag them away!"
WTF? The cops still had to drag the students away, because they were blind and in pain! So who is responsible for this latest crop of robo-cops? Alexis Madrigal, senior editor for Atlantic Weekly, offers some insight.
You do not have to agree with the views expressed by the growing outcry for change, but perhaps you need to educate yourself as to what their concerns are, before you make "Fox Judgments." These are your friends, your neighbors and they are hurting!
Ironically, as the economy continues to stagger along, many of these cops may be getting layoff notices in the not too distant future. Bet they have not thought that far ahead!
And to potty-mouth Pete King, you owe my friend an apology. He is not a "urine and feces covered anarchist."