photo by Sheri Dixon

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Comparing Movements

Mirror images, or stark contrasts?

Remember Occupy?

Now look at the Bundy situation.

Remember those people who felt so strongly about the over-reach of the corporations and banks and the government's lack of oversight and regulation of those entities that it broke out in a show of frustration all over the country? ALL over the country?

A rancher who has been illegally grazing on public land garnered the sympathy of a handful (compared to Occupy) of supporters, who gathered from all over the country, armed and ready to 'protect his rights'.

Mothers, fathers, grandparents, kids, teens, people from literally all walks of life gathered together in peaceful protest to show that they were tired of the status quo and knew they were being duped and formed a solid block of citizens for each other and against a common cause.

Mostly male, 100% white and 100% armed, the protesters cowboyed-up to form their own little militia and admitted on-camera that they were willing to kill and die for an old man they'd never met over his rights to cheat Americans out of lease fees.

Remember what happened to them?

And what happened to them?

First of all, the media (the corporate owned media) pounced on them and made it look like it was a buncha homeless welfare-sucking dope-smoking hippies just looking for a free ride and some loose-lovin'. Little mini-Woodstocks, if you will.

Well, the Right-wing media went wild with passionate devotion. They did everything but issue a Tiger Beat style magazine with pull-out posters of ol' Bundy and his posse...

As in any huge group of people, there were a few there just to stir things up, and again- all over the screens of America we saw trash on the ground, broken windows, reports of rapes and attacks and pooping on police cars. Oddly enough, rarely well-documented, though. And oddly enough, there was never any footage of the daily meetings among Occupiers designating responsibilities and schedules to keep the ever-changing amorphous crowd informed, and organized, and above all peaceful and good citizens to those around them.

Oh, there were planning sessions, alright. They planned (again- verified by TV interviews with the planners) that if push had come to shove, they were willing to put their wimmenfolk out front to be shot by the Feds. Awesome. Human shields. And as an aside, where WERE these brave little Rambo/John Waynes pooping?

The areas occupied were public spaces and the Occupiers were exercising their First Amendment rights- that Amendment that gets skipped over and covered in dust as the Second one is polished and vaunted and paraded around.

Federal land...armed 'militia' hero.

First. First Amendment. The Founders thought that was the most important one of all, yea verily MORE important than the Second one, even though today's proponents claim that the Second is the one that protects all the others. How convenient for them.

Because rushing across country to the aid of some guy you know nothing about except what FOX News' Hannity squawks about is the American Way. Also guns, horses, flags and stuff.

And what happened to those people, most of them employed and protesting on their off-time, a lot of them retired after a lifetime of gainful employment or in college looking towards being employed responsible adults?

How DID these guys afford to desert their families and jobs? Some are still there. Playing cowboy and keeping an eagle-eye out for injuns the Feds.

If you recall, they got arrested, herded like cattle, detained, tied up, knocked down, punched, dragged, and in some cases pepper sprayed. A large number of these were women and retirees.

Nothing. Not one arrest. Not because they were armed and the Feds were afraid of them and their awesome show of firepower, but because the Feds recognized that they are mostly unbalanced and twitchy and were just itching to Blaze of Glory.

And how did the media respond to this assault (because there is no other word for it) on American citizens?

So what's the media response to the Showdown in Nevada?

With glee.

Glee. They're a gleeful bunch.

"What do I think of Occupy? I think they need to take a shower and get a job!" one of the yammering heads of Right Wing media crowed to huge cheers and applause.

So where WERE these guys showering...and pooping? And again- what kind of job allows them to just saddle up and mosey over to Nevada for a month or so?

Be assured that Occupy didn't disappear. It's morphed into other venues and is working mostly behind the scenes- The Rolling Jubilee is one. Ensuring that enlisted men and women don't have to worry about their family home being foreclosed on is another.

Be assured that this is not the last you'll see of 'armed citizenry'. The Southern Poverty Law Center, who keeps track of hate groups in America, says that this is a growing movement- people ready and willing to take up arms against any perceived attack on their own personal freedom. That those generally do not square with the majority of Americans and sometimes even squelch the freedoms of other citizens apparently is not an issue for these brave vigilantes.

Occupy protests were an awakening for those who didn't buy into the media-tainted propaganda of it, very tangible proof that what a lot of people are feeling today is not just in their heads- things are very wrong in this country and something needs done about it. It was a springboard for civic awareness and action.

This should be a very real wake-up call to Sane America. Allowing the gun lobby to fan the flames of suspicion and hatred has come to this in real life. Don't like the law? Forget the voting booth. Forget peaceful protest. Forget organizing in a civil manner to affect change. Just saddle up your horse, or pickup, or 4 wheeler and cash your (government issued) unemployment or disability check for gas money! NOW is the time to use all that camo-wear and ammo you've been buying up at the Walmart! Because as one of the interviewees said, looking straight into the camera, and referring to Bundy- who he'd never met and lived 1,000 miles away from- "Everyone's gotta die sometime. I'm OK dying for this".

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Criminal Cowboys and Idiots One, Great-Grandmothers and American Landowners Zero

Cliven Bundy is the new hero for the Far Right.

Cliven is a rancher and the story goes that the mean old environmentalists were insisting that he can't graze cattle on land he's been grazing them on for YEARS because 'it might hurt a tortoise'.

He 'stood strong' and defied the bad old government and thousands of armed citizens held a tense stand-off, all to defend HIS right to graze HIS cattle on HIS land.

Except that's not what happened.

It's not his land. It's federal land.

And he hasn't been paying his $1.35 per cow/calf lease fees for TWENTY ONE FUCKING YEARS. He owes the American taxpayers, including the idiots who were defending him, over a million dollars.

Meanwhile, the Keystone pipeline has been laid over land seized by eminent domain...PRIVATE land seized by eminent domain that is now used to bisect our nation over aquifers that supply millions of people with water and millions of acres of farmland with irrigation with a pipeline that is already leaking some of the dirtiest, foulest sludge imaginable and piping it (mostly) down to the international port of Houston.

It has to get to Houston for processing (taking billions more gallons of fresh water- something drought and fire-ridden Texas can CLEARLY spare)because it's not staying here. 100% of it is being sold overseas. Oh. And the pipeline itself is owned by a foreign corporation.

Where the FUCK were the thousands of armed citizens when THAT happened???

Nowhere. Families took the corporation to court and little old lady landowners handcuffed themselves to bulldozers and protesters were arrested and hauled away and all were berated and belittled and it was labeled some sort of ridiculous granola-crunching falderal by the far right ignorant, belligerent, incessantly yammering honking heads.

This was THEIR land. Not federal land. Taken. By a foreign entity. With the help of our government.

And yet...even here in gun-totin' gubment-hatin' Texas...NOTHING.

Just to the north of here- land that'd been in a family for generations, huge trees, pecan orchards (do you know how long it takes for a pecan tree to get to production age? A SHITLOAD longer than for a cow and calf to get eaten, Cliven)...all ripped out and replaced with that pipeline.

But where were the thousands of armed citizens to protect great-grandmother Eleanor Fairchild, who got hauled off to jail for trying to defend her property and her orchard? WHERE???

Guess she just wasn't 'cowboy' enough to warrant their attention.

Rather they make a big fucking deal out of an old criminal in a cowboy hat who cheated them out of one million tax dollars.

Way to pick your battles, assholes.