Archive for the ‘Smashing the State’ Category

Some like it hot

September 17, 2020

Lessee, there’s freedom of the press, freedom of speech,
and freedom to run like hell from the cops with their heat ray. Got it.

H.G. Wells got it wrong. Mars isn’t the problem.

Before the feds drove protesters from Lafayette Square in June, according to an Army National Guard major who was there, the Defense Department’s top military police officer in the Washington region emailed officers in the D.C. National Guard to ask whether the unit had “a microwave-like weapon called the Active Denial System, which was designed by the military to make people feel like their skin is burning when in range of its invisible rays.”

According to The Washington Post:

The technology, also called a “heat ray,” was developed to disperse large crowds in the early 2000s but was shelved amid concerns about its effectiveness, safety and the ethics of using it on human beings.

Pentagon officials were reluctant to use the device in Iraq. In late 2018, The New York Times reported, the Trump administration had weighed using the device on migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border — an idea shot down by Kirstjen Nielsen, then the Homeland Security secretary, citing humanitarian concerns.

But in the email, on which DeMarco was copied, the lead military police officer in the National Capital Region wrote the ADS device “can provide our troops a capacity they currently do not have, the ability to reach out and engage potential adversaries at distances well beyond small arms range, and in a safe, effective, and nonlethal manner.”

Federal police ultimately were unable to obtain a heat ray device — or an LRAD — during the early days of protests in D.C., according to the Defense Department official.

“During the early days,” hey? Don’t forget to wear your Alcoa cammies when you’re out smashing the state, boys and girls. And spray yourself with a little olive oil, maybe stuff a few onions, taters, and carrots into your undies. The “Martians” are going to need a lunch break at some point.

Dump the bosses off your back

September 7, 2020

 

And a happy Labor Day to you and yours, comrades.

• One Big Union: The Industrial Workers of the World.

• Fascist v. centrist: A new “people’s party?”

• Utah Phillips: The Long Memory.

• New Mexicans on the dole: A Labor Day like no other.

• Lost wages: Income shrinks along with unions.

Good trouble

July 18, 2020

A police mugshot of John Lewis from Nashville, during the Sixties.

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)

“I just happened to be wearing black on a sidewalk in downtown Portland at the time. And that apparently is grounds for detaining me.”Mark Pettibone, a Portland protester snatched off the street by anonymous men in camo who sprang from an unmarked van.

When Mother Jones asked the Homeland Security Department for details of what DHS agents are doing in [Portland], a spokesperson sent a press release in which acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf described nearly 100 incidents allegedly perpetrated by “violent anarchists” — mostly vandalism of the courthouse and other federal buildings. (A typical example: “Violent anarchists graffitied the Hatfield Courthouse.”)Dan Friedman, Mother Jones.

Water logged

June 2, 2020

The rain was bucketing down last night, and we have the bucket to prove it.

It rained like a mad bastard here last night, with lightning strikes aplenty and one thunderclap that sounded like the SWAT team triggering a flash-bang before hitting the door.

The cacti got a charge from the evening’s rain.

The weather probably kept the cops and citizens from doing it hand to hand again downtown, as they did on Sunday night. Call me simple, but I don’t see how setting Dumpster fires and trashing the KiMo Theatre advances the Revolution.

Nor do I believe one achieves peace through superior firepower. The Albuquerque Police Department apparently broke out the flash-bangs, tear gas, and rubber bullets in honor of the occasion, saying some miscreant fired on them.

But hey, this is Albuquerque. If you don’t hear gunfire when the sun goes down, that just means everyone’s busy reloading.

The journalism performed in honor of the hullabaloo was so comically inept that it’s hard to get any sense of what actually went down. Much noise, very little signal.

Why, it’s enough to make a fella open up one a’ them whatchamacallits? Social-media accounts! I hear they come with cute kitten videos and everything.

‘I alone can fix it’

May 31, 2020

“Boy, this must be a really secure location. It doesn’t look like there’s been a janitorial crew in here since … well, since forever.
Smells worse than Pence’s butt-breath in here.”

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Just ask Adolf Twitler, who got going … to the Führerbunker.

Inside the White House, the mood was bristling with tension. Hundreds of protesters were gathering outside the gates, shouting curses at President Trump and in some cases throwing bricks and bottles. Nervous for his safety, Secret Service agents abruptly rushed the president to the underground bunker used in the past during terrorist attacks.

After his evening in the bunker, Mr. Trump emerged on Saturday morning to boast that he never felt unsafe and vow to sic “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” on intruders.

Because of course he did. Right after he changed his underwear.

Masque of the Red … Revolution?

May 7, 2020

¡Viva la huelga!

I’ve been wondering when someone in the mainstream media would write something about the potential for increasing union membership and labor strength in the Year(s) of the Plague.

Here’s a start. It’s short, focused largely on the so-called “gig economy,” and written before a Washington Post-Ipsos poll that indicates some laid-off and furloughed workers may be overly optimistic about whether they will be able to return to their old jobs.

How does an activist pitch a union to a worker with no job? Is a patchwork of small, decentralized, tightly focused labor organizations preferable to One Big Union? Are people ready to rethink their notions of who is an “essential” worker? Will stock clerks trump stockholders?

Nick French at Jacobin gives us a look at the protests that arose shortly after the Great Depression took hold. He argues that radical groups, among them the Thirties-vintage Communist Party, forged a bond of solidarity between the jobless and those still working that helped make FDR’s New Deal possible.

The conditions are different today, he concedes. But the public-health issue may give workers more leverage this time around. Writes French:

By forcing sick people to come to work, or by unnecessarily exposing people to coworkers or customers who might be infected, employers are hastening the spread of the coronavirus and putting everyone at risk. This means that all workers, employed or unemployed, have a common interest in these workers winning their demands.

Boy howdy. Dead broke is bad enough. I hear dead is worse.

• Addendum: As white-collar types join workers from the restaurant, travel, hospitality, and retail industries on the sidelines, experts say there’s no way to calculate how many jobs might come back as states consider lifting shelter-in-place rules. according to The New York Times.

Many businesses, particularly small ones, may not survive, while others are likely to operate with reduced hours and staff. The job search site Indeed reports that postings are down nearly 40 percent from a year ago.

“We don’t know what normal is going to look like,” said Martha Gimbel, an economist and a labor market expert at Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative.

• Addendum the Second: How should unions organize? From The Nation.

• Addendum the Third: Comrades, identities, and attachments. Also from The Nation.

The Peach Mint Lollipop, or ‘Hello, Sucker’

January 22, 2020

Be careful what you ask for, they say.

I asked for impeachment. And now that I’ve gotten it. …

Well, for one, it looked a lot better online.

Two, it seems several sizes too small.

And three, it smells funny, like maybe a turtle dragged it down a toilet.

Nevertheless, here it is. And here we are, striding boldly down the runway wearing yet another fashionable edition of Radio Free Dogpatch.

 

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with a Shure SM58 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder, then edited in Apple’s GarageBand on the 13-inch 2014 MacBook Pro. The background music is “Dramatic Climax” from Zapsplat.com. The party chatter comes from dbspin at Freesound.org with an underlay of “Buddy,” an iMovie jingle. And Nick Danger (“All Things Firesign”), Mark Time (“Dear Friends”), and Principal Poop (“Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers”) appear courtesy of The Firesign Theatre, without whom none of this would have been necessary.

Garbage in, garbage out

September 16, 2019

“Goddamnit, he wants to ‘drive’ again, which means he just sits there, turning the wheel back and forth, making ‘vroom-vroom’ noises and honking the fucking horn. Later he’ll want us to run over a few homeless dudes panhandling in the median, maybe pick up a few hookers down on Central. Jesus. We’re gonna be out here all day.”

Monday is trash pickup day here in the cul-de-sac.

In Rio Gabacho, however, the trash is being delivered.

The good news is, the Mickey D’s on NM 528 is gonna make bank today. Unless he stiffs them, which wouldn’t surprise anyone who’s ever done business with the crooked sonofabitch. One of the SS boys flashes a piece in the drive-thru and that’s that. Another free Happy Meal for ’Is Lardship. So much winning.

The usual protests are planned, of course. Here’s hoping the anarchists stay home, waxing their weasels into their black bandanas and denying the media its both-sides narrative, and that the hippies at Tiguex Park have a couple new chants worked up for the TV cameras. I don’t care how much weed you smoke, that “hey hey, ho ho” shit hit its sell-by date in the Nixon administration.

The indignity of labor

September 2, 2019

Holiday, schmoliday: The trash crews are on the job.

It’s Labor Day, but trash collection continues as scheduled.

This delights the neighbor kids, who jump up and down and shriek at the trash truck working our cul-de-sac until the driver toots his horn a couple of times.

I don’t know how much fun the trash guys are having. But I applaud them for their generosity to a couple of little girls.

We’re told that it’s easy to find a job these days. But what kind of a job? How much does it pay? What are the benefits? Is there a future in it? Will you need more than one of these jobs to make ends meet?

Our cul-de-sac does pretty well for itself. We work for Sandia National Labs, the University of New Mexico, the U.S. Postal Service, and local government. One loser scribbles nonsense for a couple bike mags, but every good neighborhood needs a bad example.

But I expect we all know a few people who aren’t eating quite so high off the hog.

Without even breaking a light sweat I can think of one colleague who hasn’t been paid for a few months while his corporate masters hunt for new suckers … er, investors. They didn’t ask if he’d work for free during the search. They just quit paying him. The work, of course, arrives as per usual.

Another quit a job he hated, only to go back to it for some reason. I expect it had something to do with paying the bills.

I’m a geezer and long since gone from the job market. My little bit of business doesn’t show up on anyone’s statistical radar. But I still identify with the working class, though I don’t work and have no class, and so I agitate, however feebly, on their behalf.

Thus, here are a few Labor Day notes from around the Innertubes. Chime in with your own notions in comments.

And remember, when you’re smashing the State, keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart.

• One job is not enough. From The New York Times.

• Strike! From The Nation.

• General strike! Also from The Nation.

• A different approach to collective bargaining. From The American Prospect.

‘What boots it,’ indeed

July 17, 2019

These boots are made for earning.

In the August 2019 issue of The Atlantic, Michael LaPointe muses at some length on “The Unbearable Smugness of Walking,” as performed by the literati.

Following his examination of two recent books arguing for “walking’s invigorating literary power” and capacity for resistance to “the desire of those in power that we should participate in growing the GDP … as well as the corporate desire that we should consume as much as possible and rest whenever we aren’t doing so,” LaPointe wonders whether, for the writer, walking to work is really nothing more than another day at the office, albeit a larger, airier one.

And he poses the question: “What would it mean, for once, simply to walk and say nothing about it?”

What it would mean, Michael old sock, is that you would not get paid.

“Ah, fill the Cup:—what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet. …