Archive for August, 2008

Leaving Denver Disgusted - The Night Watchman Indifferent To Jailed Protestors

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Last night, Wednesday August 27, I was at the Nader event. Ralph spoke, as did Cynthia McKinney Green Party Presidential candidate who gave a speech that was pre-recorded and displayed on screens. The Green Party vice presidential candidate, Rosa Clemente, was also allowed to speak live, along with an activist from Utah; a couple of folk songsters and Jello Biafra hobbled up with a cane and spoke about the need to participate in the process. There was even a movie star, or perhaps two there.
Shawn Penn was mobbed by photographers while he read from a speech he or someone he likes wrote for him. He said some weird things equating animal rights activists with Moslem terrorists and the actions of the US Military. He seemed to be implying that the actions of the US government were providing the role model for such diverse parties as the animal rights activists who allegedly attacked research scientists in Santa Cruz and the Moslems who use themselves as human bombs. He had an attentive audience, but it seemed to this attendee that his speech was meant for his fellow wealthy liberals concerned about violence that seems to be breaking out all around them. There would be some alienated animal rights activists in the audience, but then how many of them were going to vote for Nader?
Jello seemed to recovering from whatever caused him to be walking with a cane and his rhetoric seemed to be geared for the liberal crowd. He did mention the march that afternoon but not the seemingly invisible protests at which something like 100 persons were arrested. Approximately half of them were still being detained as of Wednesday night.
When Tom Morello came on with his IWW hat on and looking like a version of Woody Guthrie as played by David Carradine in that 70’s movie about Guthrie, Bound For Glory, I figured this would be my chance to get an announcement made about the demonstrators who had been busted Monday night. I was standing just in front of him. I had managed to get up there with my Indy Media press pass. Morello refused to make an announcement about the prisoners. He said it was his show…I could not understand what he meant by that. I was not trying to hog his show, this was legitimate information about real political activists who had become the victims of the police state that he ostensibly was opposed to also even if he called himself an unaffiliated socialist now. What would have been so hard to break into the raps he gave between songs to tell the audience that persons were detained because they could not make bail? Thousands of dollars were raised for the Nader presidential campaign but none was available for the protesters who risked their necks in the street. It seemed strange to me. This was something that would have been announced automatically at an anti-war rally. Was he an anarchist or simply a poser who happened to like dressing like an Anarcho-syndicalist?
It has been my experience that when demonstrators who held the same political beliefs as you were arrested in the attempt to express those beliefs, that the artists and other persons who felt solidarity with those who were arrested, would come to their aid, writing letters to the local paper, raising money for bail, providing legal aid etc. It is not something to be expected when you are told to go away like a little kid causing a nuisance. It made me wonder about this disconnect between the activists in the streets and these comfortable liberals watching Nader. However, some of them had been in the streets with me, some had been sprayed with pepper spray; others had just been released from jail only hours ago. Why was I the only one saying anything? Why were people with Rage Against the Machine tee shirts shushing me? In addition, why were people treating these speakers and singers like gods? Were we not the people that they were here to support and motivate to further efforts? I began to suspect that this was not the case.

I was so pissed off that I left the show when I got a call from a comrade, the Pieman, who was stranded at Civic Center Park and needed a ride. I told the Nader fans who had ridden to the event with me at Denver University that I was leaving, they wanted to stay. These were people who had just been in jail and they were totally immersed in the cult of personality around Nader. It was ok; I needed to get away from there before I did something to upset people.
I drove to the Civic Center, and there met my anarchist friends from LA who had driven up with me to Denver. I told them about how Morello, this so-called ‘Night Watchman’, had rejected any attempt to interject some real life anarchist activism into his preprogrammed entertainment.
Aaron, the Pieman, did not need a ride. I was even more pissed. I had wanted to listen to Nader, but my bozo Yippie comrade had taken me away from the event. Just like the night before another Yippie, Dean had asked me to help him when I had wanted to talk to Mark Rudd who was speaking at the City of Cuernavaca Park. It was like the Yippies to insist on their agendas, and as both Dean and the Pieman had disabilities, I felt duty bound not to refuse them.
This is an important point, when you are part of a group, in this case the anti-war, anti-capitalist movement for freedom and the liberation of the peoples of the world from ignorance and oppression, you are loyal to your comrades. Just like in any army, if one falls, or calls for you, you come. We had been on the lines together, fighting Nazi’s, the Klan, the police, whatever agents of repression we had to confront, we confronted them, and we still do as best we can. Someone may be a bozo, but he is a comrade and I will be there for him or her, just as I would expect him or her to be there for me, no matter how many years it has been. Someone like Nader may be a god to some, but he is just a politician to me, and my comrades come first. Always. Any young activist has to learn that, it should be instinctive. When we are tight and love one another like brothers, like family, then the man cannot destroy us. He can infiltrate and try to mess us up, but if we stay true to our vision of human liberty and justice, then we cannot be defeated, not unless we give up ourselves. That is why when a phony comes along wearing the same hat as me, a union cap that says on the back Solidarity, it burns me up when that so called brother looks at me like I don’t understand, its show business, well buddy fuck show business, we are here to change the world not entertain some rich liberals.
My anarchist comrades and I were concerned about the attempted raid on the Convergence center earlier in the day and I had heard that the Long Haul in Berkeley had been raided. Apparently, an animal rights activist had sent emails from their computers. We went to the convergence center and on the way up; they told me how they were not having luck getting rides to Minnesota. I was so upset, and wired, I decided on the spot to go myself. When we got to the center, I announced that I was fed up with the bullshit in Denver and was leaving ASAP. I got two more riders and the five of us left that evening. It took about 15 hours and my riders and I were there after a night of Midwestern corn.
The convergence center in St Paul was a very different trip. The computers had internet access, unlike the ones in Denver where I had to beg Indy Media to let me use theirs. It was a big space, with a second floor movie theater. It had a large kitchen, a medical room and space where several meetings could happen at the same time. In wealthy Denver, only a tiny space in an industrial neighborhood could be afforded. Here in St. Paul we were in a residential neighborhood, it had a nice park only two blocks away and we had places to sleep in friendly liberal’s homes within hours of arriving. Denver was a constant hassle to find housing and I had to pay for a crappy motel a couple of nights.
Over all we could see that the activists in Minnesota had their acts together. I only wished I could stay. It was like a radical heaven after the Denver Police State hell where over 52 agencies had been involved in policing the protests, the city spent $50 million dollars on security, and the only legitimate threat came from Aryan Nation speed freaks out to kill Obama. They were accidentally busted. We, the peaceful protestors of American policy were treated like enemies of the state. We felt we were, but in reality, we were only unarmed peaceful protestors, with conviction and righteous anger as our only weapons. They saw the anarchists, middle class kids mostly, as armed and dangerous terrorists. Someone had their priorities mixed up. The Bush war on Terror had come home and we were its victims, people out to exercise out first and fourth Amendment rights. They should be thankful we do not go for our second Amendment rights.
Someone from the jail support committee could have called the Nader people and asked permission through channels for permission to speak about the prisoners. Nobody did, they didn’t think of it, or whatever. When I was there I realized that this was an opportunity and my sense of being part of a movement overcame my individual sense of being just another guy in the crowd. I realized that if I didn’t act nobody would. It may have been insignificant, but it reawakened in me a passion for righteousness akin to religious fervor. This was just as important as being on the line in the streets. This was a place where the important would have to face the poor and oppressed and I was the man to do it. I failed in that task. But I learned a lesson, we need to not take anything for granted and we have to realize that if we don’t seize the day, it will pass us by and we will wonder why nothing happened.

Denver Democratic Convention Daze Two

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

As I sit here in the Indy Media Center in Denver, across the hall from my radio alma mater KGNU, I am recovering from my morning as a jail support person, helping the people busted Monday upon their release from County Jail. However, let me back track and explain what happened.
I left off with the Food Not Bombs on Monday; I was with my friends who had just come back from getting supplies from the thrift stores of Denver. We were preparing for the evening march that was set to begin at 6 pm; police in marching squads had surrounded our encampment in the Civic Center Park.
At about 6:45 we entered Bannock Street headed in the direction of downtown. I joined up with a group dressed in black. We linked arms and formed lines as we marched north chanting, “Who’s Streets, Our Streets” and “Atika, Atika, Atacka the Capitalistas”. We were in good form, and I was in the second line. The police formed a line and as we approached them they raised their batons to mid chest level. They were not ready for what happened next. We charged them full on arms linked. At that point the police panicked and started spraying us wildly with pepper spray, there was no warning, no dispersal order and they freaked.
I was pepper sprayed and I remembered to put on my goggles. We all ran. Several of us got a full blast in the face with the burning chemical. One woman had to spend the rest of the evening in the medic tent. That is something I have to mention, the medics of the Unconventional Denver, the direct action coalition that has coordinated the medical care and jail support have done a good job.
After the police brutalized the demonstrators, we were able to keep a line of them occupied while the main body of protestors marched up Broadway headed for downtown. As a black block, protestors marched en masse. The TAC squads came up in SUV’s and quickly surrounded the marchers. Police who drove an armored car up through them on 15th street broke the demonstrators into two groups according to a friend who was there. Trapped, the demonstrators shoved up against the wall. The cops were pepper spraying them and shooting rubber bullets. A rubber bullet hit at least one person in the face. Another person was part of an attempt to break out of the protests. He had his head split open by cops who surrounded him and had to have four staples in his head.
The rest of us ran over to 15th street to attempt to rescue our trapped friends. The police formed a double line keeping those of us on the outside away from those trapped on the inside. The media came up and we began to chant.

BREAKING STORY POLICE RAID “RECREATE 68, UNCONVENTIONAL DENVER, CONVERGENCE CENTER”

We are waiting to hear if they are shutting it down or not. As I write, the police arrested two persons and detained two others. The police are attempting to get a warrant. Apparently, they have confiscated supplies to make banners.

More later, anyway the end result on Monday night was that one batch of protestors, about 200 were released and a second group were arrested, 91 in total according to last count. After the march which turned into a stand off we were supposed to go to the parties of the Democratic Party, unfortunately too may people were arrested and distracted by the confrontation, by the time it was over at about 9:15 people were drained from the battle.

Denver Democratic Convention Daze

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Here I am sitting in the main library in downtown Denver writing to you dear readers about my adventures to date. I picked up a couple of Anarchist Youth on Saturday in Long Beach and I drove, they paid for the gas, all the way to Denver. We made the trip in 24 hours including a stop at the Colorado River for a dip in those pristine catfish filled rapid currents. I was almost swept away but managed to dog paddle to an island in the middle of the river. We then drove to Miami where we ate at a decent mexican restaurant. I tried to convince the city pool people to let us take a dip, the temperature had gone down to 105 from a high ok 110 in Phoenix, they said no way and so we drove on into Apache country where we cooled our heels in the White River where we saw giant spiders.
That night I got pulled over by the New Mexico highway patrol where I got a $110 fine for going 85 in a 65 mile zone. The cop was a polite native american, but ouch, there went my gas savings. We pulled into Denver about 9:30 am, went to City park, didn’t see anyone, I called my buddy Dean, who had flown in from Bellingham, Wa. He told me to come down to the State Capital steps were there were people giving speeches. After staying up all night driving I was not to thrilled about that, but shortly after that I ran into the local Wobblies. Being a member myself, albiet a not very gung ho one, I marched with them in the hot Denver sun to the rally point in front of the Pepsi Center where the Democrats were having their convention. This was the kick off march for a series of events that are supposed to be taking place all this week. Mostly there were liberals and communists of the trotskyest and maoist stripe, some recently arrived anarchists, the handful of wobblies and a bunch of liberal, pacifist anti war types.
We stood around the Pepsi center and I wondered why we were in this isolated god foraken spot. It was isolated, hot as hell and a perfect place to be trapped. The CNN building was there, an armoured encampment surrounded by protestor proof barricades. After waiting around for almost an hour for our Wobblie driver I decided to walk back, I was thirsty as hell and needed some water bad. The walk was my own personal Denver Death March. Right through downtown I struggled with my personal masses, finding not a drop to drink for the 16 or 17 blocks back to Civic Center Park. Fortunately the Obama fan club had a sweet water give away and I drank a bottle there on the spot, I didn’t care that it tasted like bad gatorade. I needed a drink like an old alcohalic fresh out of a night in the drunk tank. I swore off mid day marches after that. The Denver sun is hot and that uv radiation is a killer at 5000 feet.
That evening there was a successful action where the anarchists and friends ran down to the 16th street mall. It was only a couple of blockes away but I was so incapacitated by lack of sleep and my little death march, that I had to pass on that bit of fun. According to my car mates, who did go, it was a fun event, mostly chanting, knocking over a couple of trash cans and scaring the cops who followed in SUVs full of tac squad guys dresse in their own version of Darth Vedar Black. The protestors, probably a couple hundred of them got away, although before they left on the march one kid was busted on Broadway across the street from the Obama liberal market that filled the area near the wading pool. It got a little tense there when a batch of anarchists pulled a couple of cardboard tanks with FAI/CNT logos on them, the initials for the united Anarchists and Sydicalists during the Spanish Revolution of 1936. The cops must have thought they were bombs because they chased us out of the street. But that distraction gave the main body time to get to the 16th Street Mall withoug getting stopped.
That night I was so exhausted that I decided not to camp out but to go find a cheap motel room on East Colfax. $43 a night a room where I had to provide my own soap. At least it had a new hot shower. I fell out for about 5 hours but I was so tired that I couldn’t sleep much. I got up at 4 am and proceeded to drive my trusty Camry to the Mercury Cafe where I was assured by the Indy Media guy at the 5 Points Media center, that I could find allnight internet access. There was only a cleaning crew, the place was not open.
The evening before I had gone to the convergence center where the demonstrations were being coordinated by the Repeat 68 people. They had no internet connection. But they sent me to the Indy Media Office in the Media building where I med the guy manning the Colorado Free TV project. He gave me a media packet, told me to sign up for a shift and gave me the bogus info about the Mercury. I was now officially media and had a badge on a lanyard to prove it. The good thing was I got to say hi to Amy Goodman as she was walking into the TV center.
So I was out at 4:30 am, no internet access, so I went to the City of Cuernavaca Park where there was supposed to be a tent city. I only found a bunch of empty booths, a couple of dogs and a lonely security guard who wondered where all the campers were. I wondered also. I drove on to the 16th Street Mall hoping to see what damage had been done earlier in the evening but I was blocked by the police who were doing something suspicious there in the middle of the night. I went to a 24 hour cafe for some breakfast, read about how polite the demonstrators were in the Denver Post and then I went back to the motel> I wrote my first impressions on my trusty laptop and went back to sleep for another hour.
It was now Monday morning August 25th. I went back to Civic Center park where I arrived intime for a lunch being served by Food Not Bombs, Denver chapter. Those gusy can cook. Best Food Not Bombs food I had ever had. My riders were there and they told me about the meeting they had been to the night before at the convergence center. We were going to have a massive black bloc that evening and this time we were going to not be polite. hell, we might even cross the streets against the lights, that was how dangerous we were thinking we could be.
But first we would have to get some supplies, so off we went to look for goggles at Target, then to dumpster dive at the south Broadway thrift stores. We found a really cool african one where they let us have all kinds of stuff. Then we went to Goodwill where the anal volunteers kicked us out, but not after we had liberated a few choice items. Then on to the army navy store where I got a helmet and talke to the register girl about my rabbits in Long Beach and she told me about the cows in the parking lot where she went hiking.
Back to the civic center we ripped up old tee shirt to make bandanas and soaked them in vinegar to protect from mace or gas. I put on my goggles and helmet and got my press pass and camera out. We were ready to do our duty as demonstrators in the true american tradition of the Boston Tea Party, we were going to fuck things up. But first another fine meal served by Food Not Bombs. As we prepared so did the cops, by the hundreds they came and started to push through our intreped band’s staging area. This was going to be serious, they were ready for us and we had to assess if we were ready for them. This was going to be a night to remember.
To be continued.

A Few More Words

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

I am leaving for Denver, I don’t know if I will have access to a computer, I am going to camp out, maybe see a few old friends, and join my Yippie protest buddies.
It is a chance to right some wrongs, perhaps, make a few amends, get some fresh air, whatever, think, breathe, relax perhaps. Enjoy the sight. Oh, there is my girlfriend and she is calling me, wiggling her ass like there is no tomorrow. Later.

Sweating The Little Stuff/Debt Trap

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

It is amazing how much time is wasted on the little details of life and if I was to let myself I would be totally swamped by that crap. In fact it is my contention that the powers that be have complicated life to the extent that you are expected to spend all of your waking hours taking care of details. For instance, credit card bills, people are supposed to read each bill to make sure some asshole hasn’t slipped in an extra expense, and the fine print on contracts, you are expected to have a lawyer or be one yourself. Naturally most of us are not and that means we are either rich and have lawyers and accountants or we are poor and are too busy and get taken advantage of by people who are.
For years and years I was smart, I did every thing in cash. I had almost nothing, a few books, some clothes, a music collection and an old car. I rented a small place and paid cash when I traveled or did anything. My big extravagance was my party favors, my music, my books, my trips to Europe to see my son and going out for breakfast on the weekend.
But then I fell in love. I spent all my savings on her, got credit cards and spent them to the limit, moved to a bigger apartment, got an almost new car and basiclly lived large for about 4 months. That was it. Since then I have been in debt. I pay outrageous interest rates and have most of my excess cash going into trying unsuccessfully to lower my debt.
The American consumer, here I am in my middle ages, caught in the debt trap and I have not a dime in savings. Love will do that to you. Not that I regret being in love, but I do regret leaving my old spend thrift ways behind. But short of leaving my love behind, there is no solution but to keep on paying this usurious debt and hoping there is no end to my income stream or major crisis.
I am going to Denver to protest, and like a teenager with no cash, I will have to camp out. I can’t afford to do this in any style, not unless I intend to feed the debt monster…And I have no idea how this will end, badly or perhaps all us debt ridden Americans will rise up and just say no. Declare a debt jubilee. Like that the pope and others are pushing for the third world countries. Each and every one of us who is not a creditor is in the same boat; most of America at least is in debt to the tune of most of the rest of their lives, when will it end? Never unless we rise up like the French in 1789, the first thing they did, go to the local hall of records and burn the contracts with all the debt that each peasant farmer was in, and if they were really pissed they would tar and feather the local sheriff and his henchmen and perhaps burn down the local gentries castle or town home for good measure. Ah those were men….
The economy requires consumption and the mechanism of debt is used to get us to consume, that keeps the rich getting richer, and they get us hooked by pretending it is our fault when we get in over our heads. That is what we are supposed to do. Otherwise the economy collapses and we go into recession.
Extravagant interest rates are what keep the rich, rich and the rest of us enslaved to this wheel of consumption. One illness, or a bad couple of weeks at the job and there you go, you are a bad debtor and your credit rating goes down and you have to pay even higher interest. It is a racket. The sooner we get hip to it and pull a fight club, the sooner we will be done with it and have a chance to start anew. Until then, see you on the treadmill.

Pakistan Celebrates and America Bemoans Loosing Musharif

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

You got to love Americans. We.they love to get in there and fuck shit up. Look at Pakistan, we had a dictatory there, he was our man, but the American way was not the Paki way and the people got riled up at haveing a dictator propped up by Americans. Even when that dictator gets lots of money from America to do not much except make friendly noises.
But that is tanatmount to my saying I don’t like hippies. And I don’t, not much. I came shortly after them and because I am going to Denver to protest this weekend and you are sitting on you fat ass and not, that gives me the right.
I work my ass off, I even paid taxes for the first time in like 20 years and now I feel like I have earned a little slack.
Lee Harvy Oswald was a marine, Charles Whitman was a marine, Captain Kangaroo and my nephew was a marine. I was not, I joined the protesters before I was old enough to join, fuckin’ Vietnam, ruined my career in the miltary.

Ever Wonder Why Time Doesn’t Go Backwards?

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

I used to want to be able to go back in time. I was convinced as an early pubescent teen that I could find a time portal and go. I was convinced that ancient Crete had one, That was why the Minoans seemed to be so advanced with running water no need for walls around their cities, seemingly amazing atheletic skills (bull leaping as a sport) and what seemed to be a feminist religion. The Etruscans of a generation later seem to have inherited some of their same talents, and bequethed much of their skill in architechture, the arts and divination upon the Romans who seemed to be positioned to get it from all sides, the Greeks to the east, Etruscans to the North, Phonecians to the south and Iberio-celts to the west. But I am diverging from my story.
Ever since those days in the flying saucer, I felt different in a new way. I mean I always felt a little different, what with us having a horse stable in the middle of a growing New York suburb, with all the challenges that farm life brings while being enticed by the wonders of modern civilization. I felt like I grew up on the cusp of two worlds. The saucer experience made me feel like an agent of change, I was fed information that went directly into my subconsious mind. I was barely aware of what was happening over those three nights. The days passed like a dream and as soon as I could I would go home and to bed so that I could continue my experience with those cartoon people who were joking with me and then making me watch those videos, or whatever they were since they were not in any language that I could understand. Images with herioglypic symbols beamed into my brain. I doubt if I was litteraly transported into a space ship, Most likely I was in some kind of a trance and was taken into some other plane of existence in an etherial body, My normal body was probably simply in bed. But I was not aware of that, I was aware of being in some kind of easy chair and being in a round room with seats on the edges with a bunch of people who looke like cartoon charactors. I was strapped in, not litteraly but I could not move, and I watched what they fed me through some kind of light beam, although from time to time they would make reasuring noises to make sure I was not freaking out. Then in the morning I would get up and go to school and it was like I was not there. I remember one game of dodge ball were I barely made the effort to dodge, it simply didn’t matter to me, all I wanted was to get back home so I could go back and I did for three nights in a row and then it was over and it simply became another one of those strange memories.
But that is not what I want to write about. I am interested in time travel. And when I was about 11 or 12 that was what I wanted to do, go back in time. So I lived and breathed ancient Crete for weeks on end, thinking if I focused enough on it, that it would happen. Or that I would discover a path. I read a lot of ancient history and science fiction and devoured encylopedias and dictionaries and year books at that time. I remember there was a show called the Sons of Hercules on around that time and I freaked myself once while watching it. I was sure I was entering that world. It was about the same time as the Minoans, a little after, just before the Trojan Wars, probably in about 1200 BC or there abouts, and as I watched this show, they were fighting a Hydra or some such creature, I felt like I was becoming drawn into the action…it was almost like the experience of the UFO a couple of years earlier, but this was scarier. I remember I ran outside to reasure myself that this world was still here, and went up to my mom to make sure she was here, she was cleaning up the tac, the saddles and bridals we used when riding horses.
I then returned to watch the show and felt this erie feeling again, like I was being pulled apart molecule by molecule so that I could be reassembled in another world. It was like entering a cavern, or a twilight zone and everything was drained of color, simplified into black and white patterns. I became afraid and resisted. I ran outside again and then the spell or whatever it was lifted. It was the regular world again, more or less, but it took a while before I was able to forget that experience.
After my dog was hit by a car while I was in Catholic Catechism class training for my Confirmation, I quit the Catholic Church, I felt that if the Catholic God could not watch my dog while I was in their class, then it wasn’t much of an omnipotent god. I took stuff like that personally.
Later I developed a series of practices, exercises and rituals that I would use to attempt a more controlled movement but nothing happened.
I then developed my own sex magic, inventing a narative about a post nuclear holocaust world in which i was some kind of slave, while I masturbated. Sometimes it would go on for hours.
At that time I discovered a talent for telling run on stories of the top of my head. It would be called rap now. Other kids thought it was cool. Parents thought there was something wrong so I quickly learned not to do it in front of them.
Not long after that, when I was in 8th grade I made my break with the military and decided that the bombing of North Vietnam was wrong. I had been keeping a scrap book of newspaper clippings about the war there for about 3 years by then and was pretty knowledgeable. I made my declaration at the bus stop in the morning when Johnston made it public. That was my first overtly political act. By the time the events of 1968 were exploding I was an avid would be participant. But I was too young and the best I could do was read the books I found at a newly opened head shop/book store next to the train station and my junior high school. I remember being most impressed with the Marquis De Sade. I read as much of his unexpurgated Grove Press Editions that I could. Mostly in the store since I didn’t have money to buy them.
I was only looking for an avenue. In the fall I joined a group that was attempting to start a school sponsored underground paper. It hadn’t got off the ground by the end of the school year and I realized that the school was simply stalling us.
When I discovered a tutorial group in the spring of 69, I joined them. It was started by a rich senior, Miles Garrety, who had just come back from France where his parents were diplomats. We wer supposed to teach inner city kids in the projects. It was a liberal group and lots of cute girls were involved. I thought I might get lucky, but all I did get was intimidated by the older ghetto kids who threatened us when we were waiting for our rides back to the suburbs.
That summer I was turned on to pot and hashish and heroin. I went to NY City on my own and wandered the west and east village, mostly on 8th street and St Marks Place. I saw chanting Hari Krishnas for the first time and was hussled of all my money by scam artists. I ended up sleeping on the roof tops and missed out on Woodstock. I could have gone there instead but I wanted to be where the action was in the city,,, if I had only known.
The next day I learned to pan handle and met a girl fresh off the train from California. I had my chance, but I ended up going home. I had pockets full of what I thought was acid and pot. It turned out to be water purification tablets and oregano with a tiny bit of pot mixed in. I was able to trade it with a pot desperate musician who kept a horse at our place for a duce bag of smack. My first experience was riding stoned on smack galloping across a field. I felt like Persus on Pegasus. I had just turned 15.
When I returned to high school I was ready for action. I felt like I was not a little kid anymore. I had been to the city. A gay son of a cop that kept a horse at our place had fronted me hash to sell for him in school and I hooked up with a kid who had just moved from the city who was serious about starting a real underground paper. He got me connected to the local radical group in Bridgeport, AIM, American Independent Movement, a collective of communists and independent radicals. They gave us access to the radical media, and most of all a press willing to print underground paper.
We started a student union, pressed for changes in the dress code, a smoking lounge and freedom of speech. We helped organize the Moratorium against the war and participated in that demonstration. We got our paper out “Glass Onion” with the first cover story about the murder of Fred Hampton, a Black Panther in Chicago.
A controversy over that issue came up over the use of the word “MotherFucker”. The liberals thought it was too strong a word. The Radicals thought it was only appropriate in the face of murder. The split came and the liberals got the student union, the radicals the paper. I was with the radicals, along with my buddy from the city, Glenn Davis who later joined the Communist Party and Jay Gilden, whose dad had written the book “Hurry Sundown” while working as a steel worker. He was able to move to the suburbs with the success of that book. Jay and Glenn were my inner city buddies who taught me the ropes. Bill Ard was the leader of the AIM Chapter in Bridgeport, he later became active in one of the Maoist groups CPML, in the later seventies. I remember he told me once on one of my trips back from Colorado, that at some point I would have to settle down and take a stand. He was also convinced that the CPML was the party to bring about the revolution. By that time, the late seventies I could tell he was clearly delusional. But we all had our dreams.
I wanted to change the world. I was introduced to the little red book by mao and we had classes in womans liberation, in gay rights, and in maoism at the AIM house in Bridgeport.
My family was forced to to move that winter, from Fairfield on the commuter line to NYC. to Monroe, a little country town 30 miles from nowhere. We lost the lease on our farm, my uncle was forced to sell the place by his greedy wife, who soon thereafter divorced him and took the money and ran. We took the horses to a small farm in the country town and I experienced the cultural shock of stepping back in time. Here was a place where there were guys dressed straight out of Rebel Without a Cause. They were greasers as we called them because of the pomade they put in their hair to make it stick up in a point like Elvis in the 50’s. They hated hippies, blacks and were in favor of the war in Vietnam. They drank beer and hung out at a hamburger joint on the road to the hinterland city of Newtown where a mental institution was that radical kids and dopers were taken by their parents in leu of reform school or juvenile prison.
It was in this town a working class suburb where steel workers, and cops lived. It was a place where the hich school had a bomb scre almost every day, not because anyone was particularly against anything but because kids liked pranks. It was fun to disrupt there were very few students there tracked for college, most kids expected decent paying factory jobs that demanded only a modicom of education. When I led the students in a fish cheer they happily went along. We were in the auditorium to get our lecture about how bomb scares were not funny when the administrators were taking too long, I asked the other kids if they wanted to do it, most were up for it except the ones I most counted on, my artsy hippie girlfriend and her friends. They thought it would go on their permanant record and make it hard to get into college. A quick lesson in class.
Later that year I got in trouble with the greasers when I gave a Black Panther newspaper to the girlfriend of the leader of their gang. They grabed me on the way to my nightly detention, I had a years worth after about a month, and threw me in the mens room where three of them trounced me. I went home that night determined to study Karate and Judo. I also quickly discovered that the faculty was divided between the left and the right even more than the student body. In a town that size the heads and liberals partied together, teachers brought the alcohal and students brought the pot. We would go to a teachers house and as long as we didn’t tell the parents who would rat out the teachers it was cool. And it was.
When the greasers started turning on the next summer they let their hair grow long, and I became their buddy. The closer some of them came to draft age, the more they thought about the war in Vietnam and begain to think about how they were not getting student deferments, they where not fortunate sons like the Creedence Clear Water Revival song said. I reviewed them for the underground paper we put out there called “Creation”. It had to have an uplifting name to get the artsy types on board. We used the same press in New Haven where my AIM buddies had a chapter. My spanish teacher’s husband was head of that chapter. I was invited to parties at thier house. They had the good acid and it was at a party in Long Island where we went to the McKnights summer home, and I had my first DMT trip where I was truely out of my body for about 3 hours.
I had been invited by my spanish teacher/lover, who because she was in an open relationship with her husband, I could be with her openly and it did not bother him. He was the first hippie I met who would keep the toilet door open so you could talk while he took a dump. Modesty was decadent and counter revolutionary. I was learning from these true members of the sixties generation. I barly had time for the kids my own age except to recruit them to go to the panther trials in New Haven. We would skip school and a couple of car loads of kids would drive down there, Pete Seeger would sing folk songs to us like “Which Side Are You On” Arlo Guthrie would serenade us with his Alices Restaruarnt and we would sit in the court room and watch the battle between rival lawyers.
When at that party in Long Island, Alan McKnight, the husband of my lover, was also a descendent of the family and filthy rich, he didn’t have to work, so I played the professional radical game, with a house in the suburbs, his wife taught Spanish in my High School and he taught revolution at the radical printers in town, and we all partied at their house and at their summer home.
Someone passed around the pipe full of DMT and I got enough to send me to another world. I watched this universe disolve into a tiny ball and then go pop. When I came out of that I was floating about 5 feet above my head and the clock was merrily spinning backwards and fowards. I was adrift on the eddies of the time river, in a whirlpool where I was watching things that happened later in the day and things that happened earlier. It was a bit confusing and when someone handed me a plate of chicken necks and pig feet, I had to play with my arms like a pupeteer, to get them to work. It was like there was one current that brought me back to the morning when people were going to the beach or the sauna. Then there was another current where they were going to the beach again or repeating what I had seen before or were doing it backwards. It was not scary but it was confusing and I do remember when I finaly was able to walk I asked people if it was now or then or to be…They understood I was tripping and didn’t mind, although when I asked if we were in the land of the gods, some thought that was too much. They never would give me the good acid. I had to go to other sources for that. Probably because they did not want to be responcible if I flipped out. I was still 15 at the time.
Those were some fun times. Back in the primitive back woods of Connecticut.

The Way Of The World

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

That is the name of a Flipper song that I particularly like. They were and apparently still are a neo-psychedelic punk band from San Francisco. I first heard of them playing at a Rock Against Work concert being put on by a fellow anarchist, Bob Black.
That would have been back on Labor Day in 1980. They were on my shit list because while we were putting on a Rock Against Racism show at the Native American Center in the Mission, they were stamping their name and that of their buddies band “Toiling Midgets” all over the books in the Indian Center Library. Asheah and the Rastas from Ashkenaz were supposed to be doing security but they were sort of in and out. I was supposed to be keeping an eye on the equipment in the band room, but well you know it was a good show. So we all fucked up a little, that must have been in the spring of 1980, because I just got there in March. I had left the Yippies in NYC, and the Rock Against Racism group I had led there, a couple of weeks before. I had just spent 4 days in the city jails of for trespassing on our own property. We had a club called Studio 10, and the Fire Marshals kept shutting us down because we wouldn’t pay off the inspectors. Anyway we refused to leave when they shut us down. We had an article in the next Village Voice, about harassment from fire pigs, but we had to wait for it to come out before we went to court so we stalled by refusing to give our names for 3 days. The cops thought they were being smart by making us sit in stir until we broke, when we heard the article was out, we cooperated, Bill Kunsler was our lawyer, the famous defender of the Chicago 8 back in the 60’s. He showed it to the judge, mentioned that we had been kept from a judge for 4 days which is illegal and noted how notorious the Fire department was in its corruption. It was brilliant; the fire marshals were given a restraining order to stay away from our club for a year. My deal was after I did that I would be free to travel and that is what I did. I had been invited by friends to come to visit in San Francisco.
Anyway I was a bit peeved with Flipper, and their high school kid buddies, the Toiling Midgets. But they agreed to play the Rock Against Work show as a way of atoning, and that was good and I started to like them a lot. They were sort of a role model for the grunge sound of the northwest that came later with bands like Nirvana.
This brings me to the reason why I am writing this. There is a new book called The Way of the World by Ron Suskind that has been promoted on Democracy Now. It is about the threat of nuclear holocaust from terrorists or unfriendly powers getting access to fissionable Uranium and making a bomb. He claims that there has been a channel through Georgia that existed in 2003 and that the Russians are supposed to have stopped it but then may not have. This is the dirty little secret that is being obscured by the war in Georgia and South Ossetia, it is that there has been a smuggling ring stealing uranium and bringing it to… well I guess we have to read the book.
There was an original Way of the World. A play by William Congreve in 1700, it was a play in which a marriage must be contracted for the hero to gain an inheritance, a capitalist comedy of errors. Not my cup of tea.
But I have a world weariness that is evident in the Flipper song, a state of nausea at the way the world has become so that we perhaps enough of us are fed up to make a change. Change for the better, not just for green capitalism, so we can be exploited by solar powered wealth, but an end to business as usual and that to me means an end to capitalism.
Obama, as much as he is a symbol of a willingness for change on the part the liberal power elite, but how much change? Will they end the ridiculous war in Iraq, only to fight another war in Afghanistan with an ass backwards strike at the central Asian oil fields? This is more ‘Great Game’ nonsense. It was out dated when the British and Russians failed in the 19th century and it certainly is outdated in today’s world.
We don’t want a market driven system of caps and pollution trades. That is not ending the massive destruction of the planet. It is only prolonging the misery and extending the life of capitalism by turning the environmental cleanup into another source of profit. What we need is not more wealth extraction but a realignment of priorities.

Wierd Shit Indeed

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Victory at last. I am free of the immediate sin of bad formatting. I thing it came from my habit of saving my postings in my MS Works, editing and spell checking there and then copying and pasting into my blog site. Because I no longer am hosted by Proud Domains directly, they are only renting me the space now, or at least that seems to be the deal when you give up having their banner. I was surprised to see all this code pop up and I made mistakes, sinning ever further until it seemed that there would be no end in site. I begged my guardian angel to come save me but she was nowhere to be found. I was in the devil’s domain for sure. Being tired and it was late I gave up the ghost and departed for parts unknown in the dreamosphere instead of the blogosphere.
Now I am feeling like I am some kind of hero realizing that all I had to do was delete the offending code, get thee behind me satin. and it worked. The devil that hides in the details had left me a moments respite. Praise the god of cyberspace.
How do I do spell check now? I guess I will have to learn some code after all. Oh the misery of it all. I have hated code ever since they tried to tell me it was good for me to learn in college. I had classes in FORTRAN and COBAL and had to learn to use those paper punch cards they had for writing code back in the seventies. It was sheer hell. Probably sounds like stories of elders talking about walking to school. I had to do that too.
I transferred out of that campus to another at the University of Colorado and took a philosophy class. I thought it would get me away from programming hell. Not a chance the teacher had a buzz cut and worked at NORAD. He had us writing code in long hand, while others had to check it and others had to enter it on those damn punch cards. He was trying to tell us that they were writing logic programs to prove that philosophy was practical. I could see pretty quickly that we ware doing some defense contract work and undergrads were being used as slave labor. Hell with that I thought. My paying job was feeding student pilots up and the Air Force Academy, no way I was going to do freebees for those assholes. So I decided to transfer out of Colorado Springs where I was living and go to the main campus in Boulder, after a detour hitching across Europe with my buddy Keith.
Once I got up there I wanted to take linguistics, and lo and behold what did I find, they were writing code to determine the root of all languages, they were going to find a computer program to determine why we spoke at all. I was totally disgusted. What was it with academia, where was Plato’s Republic? Why were all the undergrads being used as slaves for free code writing? All I knew was it was not for me and I got out of it and into journalism. Here at least they were still using old fashioned typewriters. Thank the gods of typography. But I had an Achilles heel. I could not spell. Rewriting an entire page because of one typo was another hell. That plus I couldn’t type worth a damn. So I ended up in radio, no typing, no computers, just a microphone and a turntable and all the vinyl I could eat. But then I discovered the rules of what could not be said on the air and what was considered proper radio etiquette. I was not prepared for that, I was prepared to push the limits and proceeded to get kicked off the radio 4 or 5 times until I decided hell, that might not be the path to enlightenment either. And so I ended up doing graphics…punk graphics… and that is another story.

God Loves Wierd Shit

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

I was trying to get into my blog and all of a sudden my password didn’t work and my name was wrong and I couldn’t do shit. I ended up contacting what I thought was the Word press people but it was the Proud Domains people who actually are supporting the domain but not the software. Whatever that means. I ended up getting rid of the ad for Proud Domains but now I have to pay them every month to support my site. Nothing is ever 100% in this world you pay to play no matter what. A friend from the blogosphere offered to set up my site for a low rate but since I already paid for this blog for until 2010 I wondered why I needed a new one. But after the hassle I just went through, I am about ready to tell him, hell yeah, just make my problems go away, so there you have it. The internet is a hassle. Back in the old days you typed on a typewriter, and your expenses were ribbons and paper. That was maybe $5-10 a month. But then you had to go to a newspaper editor to publish your work and they would want you to rewrite. But other than the effort at typing at least then you got the satisfaction of seeing your words in print. Some people still do. Not me I am committed to this technology, I type and there is a host for the site proud domains I pay them $5.00 a month, then there is the site itself that was $50 for two years, and then there is this word press which as far a I know is free. But what does that mean?
     I was going to write a long piece on the existential problems I was having with god today. I made the mistake of listening to Christian Radio because my Radical station was interviewing lesbian Chicana artists having an exhibit somewhere, yawn, I mean this is radio and they are talking about paintings. So that was out. Then I went to ‘National Put you to Sleep Radio’ and they were talking about some body’s cousin in Mobile, Alabama who was making a movie about the ball rich white people have for Mardi Grais another sleeper for me. This is radio and they are talking about a documentary about some bodies rich relatives. Jazz station has somebody doing that tinkly irritating dinner Jazz you hear in elevators and the other National Lets Take A Nap station was doing a fundraiser, the oldies station was playing “Genius Of Love” for the twelvehunded Millionth time and the classic Rock station was doing a tribute to Eddie Money….and the rap stations were all locked up with Lollypop and tales of Lil’ Somebody’s baby girl killed in a drive by or something. So there I was nothing on but Jesus…it started out ok, tales of Paul and the Episcopalians or something, and then it went into Adam and Eve and the Choice you have to make. I was like stuck on this choice thing, he was telling a story about some kid who lost his virginity in the girls room at church the night before that he was listening to on a radio at the gym he worked out at while he was flashing back on this to his audience in his own church and on the radio himself. But he was all upset at the guy at the gym who made him listen to this story about a 16 year old who lost his virginity in church and the punch line of the story was the DJs asked the kid if he used protection and he said hell yes and they cheered and this preacher was so mad he got up and turned the radio off at the Gym. Then he ranted about how that kid had a choice to make and he made a bad one and it would haunt him for the rest of his life. It made me think, so this preacher thought he should not have used protection. Hmmm.  

That is all I have to say tonight.


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