Category Archives: Resisting

Earth 2100 – Believable until the end

Earth 2100 is a depressing and dark vision of the future of human civilization as we know it. Everyone should definitely watch it. I was particularly impressed by the fictional story’s means of addressing capitalist “green” technologies. We see a USA that has engaged in many large-scale sustainable energy concepts. They are magnificent and truly works of wonder.

However, I was pleased that, in the end, they acknowledged that this will really do very little to stop the impending doom of civilization. They (rightly) knew that human kind (in this case, mainly just Americans are addressed) just will not be receptive to changing their current ways of life. Instead, they wait for technology to come along and save them. They address Bush 1’s quote “The American way of life is not negotiable” to explain why we would drive the earth off a cliff.

Then, at the very end, they give like 10 minutes of some bull about buying electric cars and how that is going to save us all. It felt like this was forced onto the end by NBC execs who didn’t want to scare people too much. When Bob Woodruff was on the Daily Show talking about the show, he seemed to steer clear of offering too much hope. I don’t think he believes any of the stuff they said in the last 10 minutes, and the hour and a half before that supports my theory.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

There is no capitalist solution to our global problems. Capitalist media might be afraid to show us that, though. I am glad this show aired on network TV. Skip the ending, and it really is the most radical thing I’ve seen on a network, maybe ever.

(full disclosure: I downloaded it and watched it at my leisure without commercials. I will not be sad to see ABC go under…)



Filed under Resisting, Things That Interest Me, Uncategorized

Trying to make sense of the Colorado 2008 ballot initiatives

Maybe I’m jumping the gun on figuring out these November 2008 Colorado ballot initiatives, but I love amendments and initiatives. It almost feels like a taste of what democracy must feel like.

I found the full texts of the ballot initiatives at the state’s site, but some of them are confusing as hell. When an issue boils down to some kind of republican/democrat bickering, it can be hard to tell. Then I found this kind-of-sort-of “progressive” site called that helped me out a lot. It’s not that I agreed with them (in fact, I may have ended up about 50/50), but they did a good job, as far as I can tell, of putting the measures into language and state politics contexts that make sense to me. Their conclusions are definitely pro-business and capitalistic, though.

One big advantage of starting this process early is that I have plenty of time to get feedback from people and adjust my decisions (and endorsements) as need be. So please, help me research these ballot measures. I am not completely informed, but I plan on being so by November 4. Leave a comment if you have any additional information or arguments on any of these issues. I am not set in stone about my answers yet.

Anything in the 40s -NO

These are what I am going to call the conservative douche bag core of initiatives. Here you have:

46: End affirmative action by calling for “equality”. You can tell a conservative douche bag wrote this because they use “sex” instead of “gender” or “gender identity”.

47: End union dues. As much as union dues kind of suck, you can’t make union dues optional. Why would anyone pay them if they didn’t have to? Maybe some union workers believe they have a duty to the whole, but the rest are struggling to buy $6 cauliflower. Enforced dues are important if we do not want to be reminded what happens to workers without a union.

48: Outlaw abortion. Or, even better, make anyone who gets an abortion (and the doctor) murderers. Or better yet, outlaw some forms of birth control in which eggs may be fertilized before being expelled from the body. I don’t really need to explain this one.

49: Do something that makes unions mad. I don’t really get this one yet. I could use some help. It sounds kind of bad, but I don’t really know. Something about reinstating something Bill Owens instated in 2001 that Ritter overturned in 2007. If Owens was for it, it probably sucks, right? Anyone else know anything about this one?

50 – NO

Increase the hours of operation for casinos, allow roulette and craps and increase the maximum allowed bet. Yeah, exactly what we need when the people are about to enter hard economic times. How about, we’ll increase all of this when all casino profits go to feeding and housing people in Colorado. I’d vote yes on that. Though to be fair, the line bet in craps is supposed to be one of the most fair bets in the whole casino, so I hear.

51 – YES

Increase taxes to help developmentally disabled. Here is where and I part ways. I don’t really care how developmentally disabled people and organizations get money. If it’s a constitutional amendment (SEE EDIT BELOW), then so be it. They need money. I have a very good friend from Colorado who is facing the harsh realities of low funding for developmentally disabled Coloradans, and she is very excited about this issue. I trust her, and I trust the way the amendment is worded. I am open to suggestion if anyone knows something I don’t. But the fear of other special interest groups trying to get their own amendments on the ballot to increase their funding is not something I fear. I would embrace that. The people could decide what we should pay for. Imagine that!

EDIT: It would appear that Amendment 51 is an amendment to the Colorado Revised Statutes, not a constitutional amendment. So not everything that says “amendment” is a constitutional amendment. How interesting/confusing … So basically, I don’t know what the drawback to this amendment is. So, VOTE YES! Thanks for the help, yeson51!.

52 -NO

Increase some mineral and mineral fuel extraction tax to concentrate funds on the I-70 corridor. Well, I don’t really care about I-70, and it seems stupid to tax environment destroyers and then put that money into a project that will make it easier for others to also destroy the environment. Put the money towards public transit and we might have a YES vote. Again, though, I am open to new information and arguments here.

53 -YES

Criminalize actions (or inactions) by executives for law broken by their companies. Hell yes I am voting for this. It is so freaking impossible to get retribution for the wrongdoings of these executives. If you reap the benefits of exploitation, then you will take the punishment when you are found out for it. I don’t care if you were evil and did it on purpose or if you were stupid and had no idea your company was doing it. You are still a criminal. Some are worried this will keep businesses from coming here. Well, if they are coming here to exploit us, then I am very happy to send them somewhere else. This is a statutory amendment, not a constitutional amendment.

54 – YES

Banning contractor companies who receive non-competitive bids from the government from contributing to campaigns, and banning companies who contribute to a ballot issue from receiving contracts related to that issue. I need some help here. While this sounds really good, is convinced that this is just a way to keep unions from contributing to Democrats. If so, I don’t really want to help in dumb ass party bickering. So I need some more information on this one, I think.

55 – YES

Requires private employers to have “just cause” to fire a full-time employee. Sounds good to me. What just cause means can be argued out in court later. But too many people get fired for no other reason than employer greed. Want the company to make a little more money? Cut your executives’ salaries, don’t fire the woman with two children at home. thinks this will be devastating to businesses because they won’t be able to fire people. But union businesses have these “just cause” clauses and they seem fine. But I am open to new information and arguments, of course.

56 -YES

Requires employers (20 or more employees) to offer health insurance to employees. Honestly, I am a little torn on this one. I think yes because people just need freaking health insurance and I don’t care how they get it. But I am not sure this is a burden the employer needs to take on. After all, will this just keep them from hiring people or giving people raises? I’m not sure it would “decimate entire sectors of the economy here in Colorado“, but it doesn’t seem like a measure that is really going to end up putting more money in employee pockets, either. Does anyone have any ideas on this one?

57 -YES

Companies liable for employee injuries. Awesome. Too many companies get away with way too much. Worker’s Comp. just is not enough many times, especially if the injury is long-lasting or psychological. The courts will define “injury” later. For now, if a company does not want this to affect them, they better not let their employees work in a toxic, dangerous environment. This is a statutory, not constitutional, amendment.

58 -YES

Take money from oil companies and use it to fund higher education. Uh, duh. This is a statutory, not constitutional, amendment.

59 – YES

Remove tax rebate in order to fund pre-K-12 education. This sounds good to me. It’s good, right? Are we OK with leaving future education funding increases up to the state legislature instead of guaranteeing they will grow with inflation?


Lower the age requirement to serve in the Colorado General Assembly to 21. Definitely. Hey, maybe I’ll run next campaign …

M and N – YES

Remove obsolete provisions. Sure, why not? These are of little concern.

O – NO

Make it harder for citizens to put a constitutional initiative on the ballot, but easier to put a statutory initiative. I would be for this if I trusted our “elected” officials. But they can’t touch constitutional amendments (in theory), so in a nation where the people have so little power, being able to directly change our state constitution is incredibly important. And, hey, wake up. HAVING THIS MANY BALLOT INITIATIVES IS A GOOD THING!

Like I said earlier, this almost feels like a hint of democracy. Almost.

Please submit comments and I will make sure to keep this article updated as new information arrives. I have  a feeling some YESes may turn to NOs…

To sum up:

46 – NO

47 – NO

48 – NO

49 – NO

50 – NO

51 – YES

52 – NO

53 – YES

54 – YES

55 – YES

56 – YES

57 – YES

58 – YES

59 – YES




O – NO


Filed under My Life, Resisting

#Open the Twitter elections page to alternative parties!

Before the first debate, Twitter launched a new page on their site dedicated to a constant stream of twitter posts related to the 2008 election.

Honestly, I am kind of excited about it. It’s interesting to watch (even though it goes faster than I can read, usually). I guess I should say, actually, that I am excited about it’s potential.

Twitter is a very big change in the way media is experienced, yet their site only includes tweets about McCain, Palin, Obama or Biden. This seems like a lost opportunity to make a gesture towards making our American democracy a tiny bit closer to the supposed democracy it claims to be.

Twitter should add filters for all candidates for president who have gained ballot access on enough states to theoretically win the election. This means a filter for Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party, Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, Bob Barr of the Libertarian Party, and Ralph Nader as an independent.

In order to voice this opinion on the election page, I had to make a tweet with the word “palin” in it.

The capitalist press does not give any coverage to these candidates because, well, they’re capitalists. At worst, they are in cahoots with the major parties, and at best, they don’t want to dedicate the time and money to these candidates who can’t win and who don’t poll well (of course, that’s because they don’t get press…chicken and egg). They do not even cover the hardships candidates have to go through to get onto ballots (my candidate is not even on the ballot in my home state of Missouri) or their calls to be included in the debates. Of course they don’t question these things. These news corporations make a freaking killing on the two party system pageant as it is. Why do anything that would make it less of a pageant and grand illusion of choice?

But Twitter can make a small gesture to change this. They can continue to lead a change in media by questioning the idiotic standards set by these old-fashioned conglomerates. Twitter should not simply aim to be a new way to look at the same old political and news landscape set by corporate media. It should be a breath of fresh air for voices who can’t get a word in on those other mediums.

Don’t worry, Obama will still dominate the elections page, even after these other filters are added. Most conversation will still be about the two major parties. But every once in a while, you’ll get news or commentary on Cynthia McKinney riling up a bunch of angry, disillusioned people at a rally with her logic and desire for actual justice. And some people will stop and think, “Why am I not voting for her again?”

A quick note about Cynthia McKinney. I was at the rally above in Denver before the DNC, and it was really great to see a presidential candidate who I really felt compelled by. Also, Rosa Clemente, her VP choice, was even better to listen to. During a quick set by Dead Prez, McKinney was in the crowd dancing with the rest of us. I decided right then that I cannot vote for anyone who does not dance to hip hop. Later, after a long day of protests and a very successful reclaim the streets march, McKinney was hanging out with us at Food Not Bombs in Civic Center Park just talking and chilling. She was just about everything I wish our democracy could be.

So tweet your support of the inclusion of alternative parties on the twitter elections page. Maybe use the hashtag #open in the post. And work in either biden, palin, obama or mccain so that it ends up on the actual elections page feed.

Our democracy should not, after all, look like this:


Filed under Resisting, Things That Interest Me

Denver cops sell t-shirt bragging about their police brutality during DNC

I wish I were making this up. But see for yourself.

Photos courtesy of the Colorado Independent.

This t-shirt comes as the district attorney declined Tuesday to prosecute this brutal cop who slammed a Code Pink protester with his over-sized riot stick while yelling, “Back it up, bitch!” during the DNC.

This of course raises the question: What exactly is grounds for prosecution then? I guess he could have shot her. Is that what it would take?

Will these cops be punished for killing a man with a taser just today in New York?

I bet they won’t. That man died. I know I am not the only one who thinks using a paralyzing “non-lethal” weapon while someone is on a 10-foot high ledge will obviously result in that person falling the 10 feet to the concrete. But he’s a naked crazy man, so who cares, right?

There is no accountability in any of this. Law suit will not help. The government gave them $50 million! Obviously the lost funds will not hurt them. Our only other recourse is to punish the individual officers (though, of course, the cops are just players in a violent, brutal system. Zimbardo’s prison experiment and such).

“That line between good and evil, which privileged people like to think is fixed and impermeable, with them on the good side and others on the bad side, I knew that line was movable and was permeable.” – Phillip Zimbardo,

But we are denied even that inadequate form of recourse now.

All you “peaceful” liberals need to wake up. What are we supposed to do when faced with such violence and control? What are we to do when the soldiers hired by the American government (both halves of the capitalist party) to suppress the American people are so proud of their violent repression that they make a t-shirt about it to rub it in our faces.

Don’t judge the kid with the black bandanna for smashing some windows. Maybe that didn’t fix the problem, but what else are you going to do when the powerful remove all means of recourse for their abuse? It should not be surprising when people want to smash your windows (notice the protesters targeted Macy’s, not Mom & Pop’s Neighborhood Shop).

If you still don’t believe me, listen to my boy Elliot Hughes just last night. It takes all of his strength to tell about the torture he received at the hands of the Ramsey County cops while in prison during the RNC.

Really fucking funny, huh?


Filed under Resisting, Things That Interest Me

Redefining citizen press at the RNC

I wrote previously about The Uptake and their amazing live video Qik coverage of the RNC. But the citizen and independent press at the RNC was even more impressive the more I got into it.

I am a regular user of Twitter (@tfooq), and I’m intrigued by the medium’s potential. But following users like @notq, @theuptake, @coldsnaplegal, @webster and @mnindylive completely opened the RNC to me in a way no live media experience ever has.

Many users around the protests, mostly interested in keeping track of police brutality and helping the protesters keep track of police movements, would send out Twitter posts with bits of information or commentary on experiences. Nathan Oyler (@notq) was one of the best people to follow because, sitting in his Arizona home, kept track of the massive amount of RNC protest-related posts (while also watching the live video from The Uptake) and re-posted each interesting bit. When the action on the group heated up, this was not a small task. Here is an example of just a couple minutes:

The following are posts by Twitter user @notq:

Shot after shot protestors being pounded with gas. Cannot see close enough to give details.

“Firebombs! They grabbed me and said move!”

hitting us over and over. Split us up firing flashbangs into other group.

Chants are back..”who’s streets..our streets!”

people are starting to not be able to see to tweet.

A friend emails: “isn’t using snowplows to block peaceful protesters the mn nice version of tiananmen square?”

tear gas all around the capitol. stay safe.

crowd mostly scattered. They are firing grenades at individuals.

Reporters form the Daily Planet and the Uptake in custody at Ramsey County detention center

cpatton this is fucked no reason for this

Are we no longer Americans? Are we no longer people?

“It’s all happening in the Sears parking lot right now”

i’m just putting in reports, none of this is me, this is all people on the ground.

is natl media covering this?? THIS IS A BIG FUCKING DEAL

police calling for more masks! They are gassing he small peacful crowd. More flashbangs.

Uptakers minus Corrine and friend in car and safe in sears parking lot. Attempting to get to the office.

Ppl are told to go on bridge..everyone is afraid if they do they will be arrested

Several people have been writing about @notq (including this one by Nancy Scola at What fascinates me is not just the insight it gave me as a follower of the events from my home in the then-recovering Denver, but also the ability of the medium to help those on the ground.

As a protester of the DNC in Denver, I remember turning around to suddenly find a large group of riot cops trapping us into a city block around 15th and Colfax. The first thought I had was, “Man, we should have radios.” After all, they not only have the weapons, but they have the radios. We can have radios and still be peaceful protesters.

But what about iPhones or BlackBerries? I guess it’s kind of unlikely for an anarchist to have a $100/mo data plan and an iPhone, but they proably should. If we had the kind of information delivered at the RNC, maybe we would not have been taken down so quickly.

But who all is following the tweets? Besides medics, protesters and journalists on the ground and people like me following from home, surely the cops, FBI, Secret Service, Halliburton, whoever cares are following also. Like ideal journalism, very good, specific, live citizen journalism like this puts information into the open. It makes the events transparent to all with access to it (so, people with fancy phones or computers). I felt that between The Uptake and the people I followed on Twitter (and my personal experience in Denver) I really had a good grasp on what was happening at the most intense events of the week as they happened.

This brings me to corporate “journalism”. I did like some of the coverage coming out of the Pioneer Press (but the Star Tribune had no concept of what was happening). The PP really seemed to want to get the word out to their readers (which would have included the Republicans at the convention) what was happening in the streets while they were schmoozing at some expensive party or doing whatever it is they did in the Xcel Center. Sure, they trusted the police more than I would have liked them to (they lie constantly, after all), but I guess that’s standard “balanced” journalism or whatever.

But other corporate press had nothing. More coverage inside the staged, phony convention, and no or next-to-no coverage of the real people in streets getting their asses blown up by a $50 million army of violent, heavily armed police. But Cindy McCain’s outfit totalled $313,100! (OK, that is pretty ridiculous. Didn’t they just get ripped on about some houses they lost count of?) Oh, and Sarah Palin. Do you think she has enough experience?

What a joke.

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Elliot Hughes tortured in jail during RNC

I don’t even know what to say about this. I am seriously shaken up by Elliot Hughes’s account of what happened to him in a Ramsey county jail after being arrested during an RNC protest. Just, listen: (video courtesy of The Uptake)

That is way worse than even I thought was going on, and I thought they were doing some fucked up stuff. But torture like this is insane and unbelievable.

I can’t help make the link to the John McCain video showed later at the Convention. It spends a lot of time talking about McCain’s torture experience during Vietnam. All this while an American prison tortures a 19-year-old after arresting him at a protest so that John McCain’s video about him being tortured could be shown without interruption by concerned Americans demanding freedom and democracy.

I don’t know what more to say about it. It really does not need explanation.

UPDATE: Help the abuse get attention by Digging the video.

Also, here is the video of his arrest. As you can see, the cops ran into him, knocking him off his bike, then arrested him for assaulting them…

UPDATE 2: Here is another video of people who experienced police brutality at the RNC along with Elliot.


Filed under Resisting, Things That Interest Me

Protest planning is now a felony

Free Robert Joseph Czernik, Erik Charles Oseland, Garrett Scott Fitzgerald, Max Jacob Specktor, Monica Rachel Bicking, Nathanael David Secor, Luce Gullen-Givins, and Eryn Chase Trimmer!

These eight protest organizers, arrested before the RNC even got started, have been charged with “felony conspiracy”. Here are some of the things they did to receive this charge, according to the Pioneer Press:

  • One of the pieces of literature found at the office used by the group, at 627 Smith Ave. in St. Paul, read, “Okay, here’s the plan, it’s really quite simple: On September 1st, don’t let them get to the convention.”
  • When officers executed the search warrant on the office, they found 68 people, most from out of state, along with sector maps of St. Paul, flares, PVC pipe, slingshots and a 6 foot by 10 foot map with color-coded entrances and exits to downtown.
  • At 3:25 p.m. on Monday, as clashes between violent protesters and police raged, an informant told police that Czernik was inside a rented office at 287 E. 6th St. in St. Paul monitoring activities. When they arrived, officers found six police scanners, and they believed Czernik fled out a window.
  • Several of the eight went on tours to numerous cities and attended dozens of meetings to plan the protests.
  • That all sounds an awful lot like … protest planning!

    Let’s see, rounding up support in other cities, organizing with interested Americans all across the U.S. That sounds like an excellent protest planning strategy. Actually, that’s above and beyond what your standard American would do for his/her beliefs. Political action from the ground up…isn’t that a good thing?

    They were listening to police scanners during a protest. Is this illegal? The dude at the gas station down the street from me does this all the time, and the media has those things going all day, too. If I had friends who were trying not to get shut down by police, a police scanner would be a great tool to help them out. Hell, if the reports generated from the police scanner move a crowd before cops get there, isn’t that a good thing? Less clashing means less violence, right? Oh wait, these cops love throwing their concussion grenades and tear gas. So charge them with conspiracy to prevent a cop from having fun by hurting a bunch of protesters and press with mass crowd control weaponry.

    When the officers executed their illegal search warrant, they found maps marking different entrances and exits to the city and a bunch of smelly kids who were staying there. No crime yet (unless you take fire codes really seriously in the Twin Cities. Even then, it might not even be against fire code). Oh yeah, and some PVC pipe. You can see that in action holding up banners in just about any protest video or photo. Just a tool of the trade for protesting. Nothing illegal yet.

    They had some literature that read, “Okay, here’s the plan, it’s really quite simple: On September 1st, don’t let them get to the convention.” Here’s a good question, what law protects this convention, anyway? I’m sure there is a law about it, since the people going make the laws, but why should people be allowed to get to the convention? Sure, any person should be free to go wherever they want, but is that worth an army of cops to protect? I say, if your political party has pissed people off so badly that they are willing to risk their bodies shutting down every entrance to an entire city in order to keep you from getting to your big bash, then you don’t deserve to go to your party. Big deal. If you want a party next year, don’t piss the masses off. Democracy in action.

    All this aside, I am confused how having literature that talks big really counts as illegal here. Literature ain’t illegal. If I want to write something that gets people wanting to do something illegal, that is not illegal (unless it urges violence against a group). Shutting down every single entrance to a city with a mass of protesting bodies is not violent, no matter how you spin it. They are not throwing people from cars or anything. They are stopping traffic with dancing and a sweet marching band. (video courtesy of The Uptake)

    So, give them tickets for conspiring to commit a traffic violation, charge them $25 each and let them go. Anything more than that, and the cops will officially be declaring protest planning illegal.

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