Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Olympia Protesters Earn Richly Deserved Pepper-Spraying

Hundreds of protesters in Olympia demanded to be taken seriously this week by breaking in to the port of Olympia, disrupting traffic, destroying gates and fences (public property), tresspassing, and assaulting 60 - 70 police officers by throwing bottles and rocks at them. 22 were arrested, and many were pepper-sprayed for their efforts. Having been pepper-sprayed myself, I can attest to its painful effects, and I can think of no group of people who deserve this treatment so richly.

For what noble cause were these people acting so violently? Peace, of course. You see, the port was being used to onload equipment to ship to the deploying Ft. Lewis Stryker Brigade. They had to stop the baby-killers from murdering the Iraqi Minute Men, after all.

It's interesting that two of the criticisms on the left against President Bush's handling of the war on terror has been that he (a) hasn't gotten troops necessary equipment, and (b) that port security is inadequate. And yet these protesters are (a) trying to disrupt supply flow to the troops of their necessary equipment, and (b) are making the port less secure and criticizing the police who are trying to keep it safe. Oh, well - no one has ever accused violent protesters of being smart, consistent, or logical. I can't wait for the loud denunciations from the pro-troop Democrats about this. (Cue the crickets chirping.)

And really - is there any possible way to have a less effective protest? Really? I mean, do they seriously think the longshoremen are going to look at them acting like imbeciles, get out of their cranes, and say, "Gosh, those guys are right." Do they think the master of the ship is going to look at them and say, "Man - why didn't I think about this before? I'm helping the imperial fascist Bush sell blood for oil. That's it - shut down the engines. We're not going anywhere."

One of good folks who felt the cyan pepper burn was Olympia City Councilman T.J. Johnson (no relation, thank God). Mr. Johnson was the troop-supporter who drafted a resolution in 2004 to block the USS Olympia, a fast attack submarine named for our capital city, from docking in the Port of Olympia for a port visit. The resolution was successful, not through any force of law, but because the Captain of the boat canceled his request for the visit. Nice. But don't you dare question his patriotism...

The protesters, including Councilman Johnson, say they're just trying to stop the war as soon as possible. Well, then, how about let's all push for victory together? What these red-faced fools don't understand is that every one of these demonstrations gives hope to the enemy that our government will capitulate and leave, and allow the rape-room aficionados back into power. The fascists we fight have continually told their people, devastated by our military might, that if they just hold on a little bit longer, the protesters will win, the weak Americans will get bored, and they can go back to oppressing women and reversing the tide of freedom in the Middle East. So the reality is that their protest activities will actually prolong the war and cause more deaths.

But dissent is the highest form of patriotism. And they're committed to peace and freedom. Got it.


Orrin Johnson said...

I found a website frequented by a bunch of these protesters. I have to share some of their gems of wisdom - they're just too funny to pass up:

"Dock workers in Seattle began the General Strike of 1919 when they refused to load weapons to fight workers in Russia. We urge local dock workers now to refuse to load military equipment to fight workers in Iraq."

"They put me in the car, deciding whether or not to arrest me for damaging private property (I didn't scream that the notion of privately owned property is horrifying and erroneous)."

Awesome. You can't make this stuff up.

Rick said...

I'm not exactly sure what you find so hilarious. The first is just a fact. Not really supposed to be humorous. The second is funny because it was meant to be. I'm not sure if being a Federalist means that you have to check your sense of humor at the door, but reading the quote in context makes it clear that it was supposed to be funny.

Orrin Johnson said...

It's funny because the "workers in Russia" were communist would-be-dictators who then went about slaughtering millions of people (especially political dissenters and protesters like yourself). It's funny because it makes it SOOOO painfully obvious that whoever said it clearly doesn't understand what it is they were fighting for. It's funny because it reinforces the stereotype of protesters as patchouli-scented commie hippies ensconced in the Evergreen Echo Chamber without any kind of fundamental understanding of what makes our society great - and what makes socialist states fail.

But as a former sailor who had a bounty on my head from Saddam because I was working to enforece the post-Gulf War sanctions, I can tell you what IS funny. Seeing hippies pepper sprayed when they commit vandalism and assault and rage against people risking their lives to fight fascists, all while spouting a continued stream of socialist slogans - that's extremely funny.

Welcome aboard, Rick. See our links on the main page for more information on what it means to be a Federalist.

Rick said...

I'm afraid I'll have to side with the tree-huggin', patchouli-smellin', sprout-eatin' dirt hippies on this one. You see, they know something that you seem to have overlooked -- time is one-directional. Thus, we know NOW that communism metathesized into totalitarianism, but the IWW didn't know that then (and I'm sure would have been horrified if they had). You see, communism and totalitarianism are two different, in fact opposite things. I also like the tree-huggers more because they're nicer. They don't enjoy seeing other people in pain.

PubliusRex said...

Tree huggers don't like to see people in pain?

Tree huggers would prefer that third world denizens remain in hopeless poverty rather than allowing them to put to work the natural resources of their lands (see Amazon).

...And communism is inherently totalitarian. One cannot maintain "to each according to their needs" and "from each according to their ability" without constantly interrupting liberty.

Orrin Johnson said...

Communism is profoundly anti-freedom. It is totalitarianism embodied. It always has been. It always was. It is the font of tremendous evil and oppression, and is the enemy of liberty. No one actually listening to Lenin at the time could have thought differently. How do you think Vlad dealt with his political enemies, even in 1919?

The fact that you cannot or will not understand this is WHY no one takes you people seriously, and why we chuckle at your self-induced misfortune. You are the friend of mass murderers. You are the tool of the evil men who know you will hobble freedom's defenders in the name of "peace," leaving them free to slaughter millions. You allow people to die by the cattle car load with your childish foolishness, while you live safely under the aegis of your betters who stand bravely to protect you from harm.

And if you folks are anti-violence, why are you throwing rocks and bottles at cops? Do you not know how unintentionally funny and ignorant you sound?

But after re-reading your comments, only these words from a great movie can adequately respond...

"[W]hat you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

Rick said...

You're really into this name-calling thing I see. I'm afraid that reflects badly on you. Didn't your mother teach you any manners?

OK. For starters, communism isn't a political system, it's an economic system. So, you're going to have to work a bit harder to identify the two. Secondly, Karl Marx is the guy you want to look at, not V.I. Lenin. Russia (and China) are both examples of how not to have a communist system, being both agrarian at the time of revolution (something Marx would have found deeply puzzling). Finally, there's this intermediate stage, called socialism, which is a sort of hybrid system that has capitalist and communist elements. It seems to be working out pretty well for some of those other democracies around the world (e.g., longer expected lifespan than U.S.).

Drop on by at OlyBlog if you'd like to continue the conversation. We'd be glad to have you. Only, try to cut back on the name-calling. It's not becoming of someone from such a fine institution (UW, Ph.D., '95).

Orrin Johnson said...

Ah, yes. "Communism just hasn't been tried right yet." Clearly, your Ph.D was not in political science, economics, or history. (And if it was, oof - I'd demand my money back.)

The fact that any American can, in this day and age, seriously think communism is or ever was not inherently totalitarian, anti-liberty, or political (even as Marx and Engels outlined it) reflects poorly on our education system. "For starters," a properly educated person would understand that Marx wasn't in charge of the Soviet Union in 1919 - police state communists led by Lenin were. Hence, dock workers striking in support of them in 1919 were, in fact, supporting a totalitarian police state already in existence abroad that they knew about at the time, all the while hurting their free homeland. Kind of like Olympia protesters supporting the anti-American police state that would emerge in Iraq if they had their way. (Hence the dark humor I found in the reference.)

Rick, be sure to enjoy the view from the high road the next time you assault cops, destroy public and private property, block roads, waste police and USCG time and resources best used elsewhere, and fight to make the world a safer place for the Islamo-fascists who have sworn to kill you. If that's what you consider "becoming," then man, I'll stick to my lack of couth.

If you don't want to be called fool or a tool of evil, stop playing the part. Frankly, I assumed you were a wide-eyed ESC student, pure of guidance from any responsible adult influence. That would have been bad enough. But the fact that you're old enough to know better makes your actions unpardonable.

Not only are you overtly and vocally rooting for the failure of freedom (and our troops) in Iraq, you are actively taking part in fighting for a return to dictatorship there. You are functionally no different from the Ba'athist who plants an IED, except maybe as a matter of degree - your policy goals are the same. (That's not name calling, those are just the unpleasant facts.) That's why this method of protest and those who engage in it are so reviled. It's beyond anti-war. It's beyond liberal. It's simply unconscionable. Pepper spray is the very least of what it deserves.

In their own words. You just can't make this stuff up, folks.

Rick said...

So you bought that whole line about the clash of civilizations. I think you're going to find that it doesn't exactly play out that way. History will not look kindly on Bush for his total alienation of moderate Islam by his polarization politics. Plays well at home in the short term, but long term consequences kind of suck.

The thing that is so interesting about your rhetoric is how people that ostensibly are committed to freedom and liberty (i.e., you) are gleefully cheering the implementation of the police state right here and now under the banner of anti-terrorism. You're being played by Bush and you have no idea. So, laugh while you still can -- it may be a while before you laugh again.

Orrin Johnson said...

You do, of course, understand that publicly and fearlessly decrying a "police state" while bragging about committing illegal activity (including posting pictures of yourself doing it), and planning future illegal events, all on-line, out of jail, and using your real name, is a self-contradictory statement.

I'll worry about an American police state when socialists come to take my property away, or when a group of vandal thugs succeed in achieving policy that they could not persuade their fellow voters to adopt democratically.

Considering the veracity of your previous historical ruminations, you will, I trust, forgive me for being unpersuaded by your dire socio- and geo-political prophecies. But just because I think it will be a howler, maybe you'd care to explain to us what you actually think you accomplished last week, or how Iraq's democracy (or moderate Muslims) will survive if we leave? While you're at it, perhaps you can explain to us rubes without linguistics Ph.Ds how it is that blaming the US for 9/11 is NOT like blaming a rape victim for wearing the wrong dress, or how all military folks are ignorant dupes tricked into war by sinister recruiters, and how denying them their equipment while screaming slogans at them is "supporting them." Failing that, maybe you can simply explain what the police SHOULD have done when you were in the process of destroying private and public property, and what you would have done had they not been there.

Rick said...

I appreciate your questions. I think that is a perfect place to begin a more fruitful discussion.

First, let me clear up a misunderstanding: I guess you're using the collective "you" to refer to "the protesters." While I support their goals, I was less positive of the specific strategy of blocking the convoy -- I think it leaves open the interpretation that the protesters were trying to undermine the troops rather than the war. I understood that the gesture was purely symbolic, but I think it was a poor political choice to engage in that particular action -- although it has succeeded in generating a lot of interest. Bottom line -- there is a diversity of opinion among people who are opposed to the war. How could there not be? -- it is more than 60% of the population.

Orrin: "perhaps you can explain... how it is that blaming the US for 9/11 is NOT like blaming a rape victim for wearing the wrong dress"

Rick: Who said anything about blaming the US? I think 9/11 was perpetrated by a group of psychopathic religious extremists who should be caught and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Period. But I also think that Bush has cynically exploited fear surrounding this event to manipulate the public, neutralize opposition, and push through a horrible foreign policy program that has exacerbated the already bad situation in the Middle East. If religious extremism was one of the fundamental causes of 9/11 (as seems also to be the case with the London bombings), then we've just created a lot more of it. Instead of supporting moderate Islamic ideals and letting them sort out the tensions caused by rapid modernization by themselves, Bush has tried to short circuit the problem, with disasterous results.

Orrin: "...or how [are] all military folks are ignorant dupes tricked into war by sinister recruiters?"

Rick: Do you mean like the autistic boy that they recently signed up? I personally know of several young men that have been lied to directly about their education and placement after training. Apart from the issues that the poor are disproportionatly targeted by recruiters, the tactics bring into question whether this really is an "all volunteer army" anymore.

Orrin: "...and how denying them their equipment while screaming slogans at them is "supporting them."

Rick: I believe I addressed this above. I don't think it was a wise political move to focus on the troops. But it was clearly a symbolic act. The ship was not delayed one single second.

Orrin: "...maybe you can simply explain what the police SHOULD have done when you were in the process of destroying private and public property, and what you would have done had they not been there."

Rick: The protesters removed a gate off it's hinges. That is the extent of "destruction of property" that I witnessed or have heard of. I actually think they were surprised when it came down. (Aside: it doesn't reflect well on port security; where are all those homeland security dollars going anyway?). I suppose that if the protesters had been able to enter the port, they would have tried to occupy it peacefully.

Orrin Johnson said...

Your assertions that you didn't support the targeting of the ship is disingenuous at best, as a quick perusal of your blog makes clear. Not only did you clearly and unequivocally support their actions with the hope that the Port of Olympia would be closed to military traffic (making it more difficult and costly to get troops their supplies), but you set up and surely contributed to a legal defense fund. It was a "symbolic act" only because the police were there to prevent it from becoming more invidious and destructive. You morally, monetarily, and vocally support their actions. You, Rick, personally, bear responsibility for what happened there, and for making it easier for it to happen in the future.

Religious extremism and its spillover effects into the civilized world is nothing new in the Middle East. The idea that it would have stayed contained if not for Bush is so monumentally wrong and ahistorical that it's simply laughable. Kind of like the idea that communism is or ever was compatible with freedom. OBL didn't wait for Bush to plan 9/11, or to plan and execute the ever increasing and audacious attacks on US soil that you must have forgotten about.

The only difference is that with Bush, people are voting in Afghanistan and Iraq, Lybia has revealed and shut down their WMD program, Fascist Syria was forced from Lebanon, and Pakistan's nuclear Wal-Mart is out of business. Disasterous indeed. If we'd listened to you, none of those things would have happened. That's why "peace activists" like yourself are responsible for so much pain and misery in the world, like the millions of people murdered by communists in South East Asia after we left Vietnam. I suppose if you saw a woman being raped in an alley, you would leave her alone to let her and the rapist "sort it out on their own." Unbelievable.

Rick, I spend 6 years in the Navy. 6 months of that was in the Gulf (most pre-Bush), under constant threat from Saddam (fortunately I didn't pilot the planes there at the behest of the UN that he shot at daily, except that I forgot - Saddam never attacked Americans.) Before that, I lived in a trailer park. I am exactly the kind of person you claim to feel sorry for. Don't. It was a tremendous opportunity educationally, financially and professionally - I'm glad it was an option, and that no one tried to "protect me" because I didn't know better. I've served with thousands of people, and not one of them has been autistic, abused, or otherwise been a victim like you describe. Occasionally, yes, a recruiter lies, but it is rare. On the other hand, lies about the military in general from anti-war activists are far, far more common. Military recruits are, in fact, disproportionately middle class. In other words, your assertions about the military and its people are factually wrong, insulting to those of us who have served, and in no way reflect "support" - although it is extremely typical and was exactly what I expected you to trot out. And that doesn't even go into the humanitarian efforts world wide of our military.

Besides - the alternative to recruiting is simply to reinstate the draft. Can I assume you would support that, then, if you oppose recruiters? I certainly would not, if only because people like those protesters would be foisted upon the good people already bearing the burden, making their job harder, not easier.

Tearing the gate down is not, in fact, all they did. (And I frankly don't believe you that they would have stopped there.) They attacked police. And "peaceful occupation" - what the hell does that mean? Docks aren't safe places. Work would have had to stop while the "occupiers" were removed. And it wouldn't have been the protesters donating money to fix the gates or to pay the overtime for the police and longshoremen.

Actually, I think the security did a pretty good job. They prevented anti-US troop invaders from tresspassing, destroying port property, and disrupting its operations. The only problem is that, as Americans, you made the port security harder and more costly, which is inexcusable. There are enough terrorists out there willing to try - America doesn't need you to add to the problem. How dare you cluck about where the HS dollars are going. They're going to clean up YOUR mess.

Rick said...

You seem to find a lot of things laughable. You also make a lot of assumptions -- most of which are not true. But, they fit nicely into your world view, so you seem disinclined to examine them. That's fine. Time will tell how well your assumptions hold up. I'm guessing not very well.

Here's a question for you: How do you feel about the fact that the NSA has tapped into the main trunk of several communication hubs such that it can now collect virtually all domestic phone and internet data?

Orrin Johnson said...

At any and all times are you welcome to point out which of my assumptions are untrue. All I ask is that you perhaps... cite some sources behind your facts to back up outrageous statements like the ones you make about military recruiting. (Vague and forboding statementsabout what I don't know, although seriously funny, don't count.) Since essentially every assertion you've made here so far has been demonstrably wrong, once again, you'll forgive me if I'm unimpressed with your predictions of how history will judge us.

Am I safe to assume you thought similarly about Ronald Reagan? Would you have "struck in support" of Lenin's communist murderers in 1919?

Talk about assumptions strained beyond the point of credulity in order to fit a world view. Once again, such a statement is unintentionally funny.

I feel pretty darn good that the NSA is keeping us safe. Let me counter - were you one of the hoards lambasting "intelligence failures" and failing to "connect the dots?" Do you have any concept of what intelligence entails? Were you one of the people in the '80s decrying increased funding of the CIA? Did you protest when Clinton eviscerated our HUMINT capabilities?

Also unintentionally funny is your concern about your privacy after voluntarily posting and bragging about your illegal activity on line under your real name. We didn't fall into a police state after Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, we didn't fall into a police state after FDR had every ounce of overseas mail read and/or censored in WWII, and France and the UK (along with most of the rest of Europe) didn't fall into a police state despite the fact that they've been using a similar but far more invasive and unchecked datamining system for decades. Not only that, but I can (again using data you voluntarily put out) track your usage as it pertains to this site, know that you use a Mac, what web browser you use, find your place of employment, full name, etc. The government has known your phone number, social security number, address, familial and demographic info, car make and model, and employment history your entire life. So no. Not too worried about this. I would be far MORE worried if I had to fear terror attacks daily. And it's not the "I have nothing to hide," it's that it's a reasonable police tactic and within the bounds of the Constitution. I wish it didn't have to exist, but then, I wish bin Laden wasn't trying to kill us all, too. Despite what apparently is taught at ESC, wishing bad things away is an ineffective defense policy.

There ARE times when I think Bush has pushed too far. Some of the more libertarian amongst our membership think those times are more frequent and more troubling. But no reasonable person thinks for a minute that Bush is doing all of this as part of some Orwellian comic-book plan. I felt the same way about Clinton, despite seeing the futility of his policies close up. Presidents have an enormous responsibility you clearly cannot fathom, and I believe every last one of them has merely done what he honestly thought was best to keep our country safe. In Bush's case, so far it's worked pretty damn well, considering all those people in the ME now voting, all the Afghani women who can now go to school, and all the Americans NOT dead because we've been able detect, foil, and destroy so much of the al Qaeda network. No thanks to you, of course, as you are responsible for diverting those resources to have to deal with your petty protests. You can't even pick up the trash from them after you leave.

Because, based on your previous mis-statements, I think you probably are as uninformed about the legality of (or the facts behind) the NSA program or Constitutional law as you are about history or U.S. military culture, here's some background.

Orrin Johnson said...

Perhaps more to the point, this is what I think about the NSA tracking internet use.

Rick said...

Obviously, there is no expectation of privacy for the kinds of information you mentioned. But what about the information that courts have ruled we can expect privacy for? If you're so concerned about rule of law, what about the specific statute set up by the US Congress under which domestic spying is permissible?

At what point do you join your friends and become uncomfortable? When there's a national ID? When you have to register at the local police station when you move or travel? When extensive files are kept on large numbers of people because they might commit crimes in the future? Where's your threshold?

Orrin Johnson said...

Well, for starters, I'll be more uncomfortable when the fascist terrorists stop trying to murder us. I want the government connecting the dots. That's what these programs do.

There already is a de facto national ID in the form of drivers' licenses subject to federal standards. I'm not a huge fan, but it hardly equals fascism. Most European democracies, including the socialist paradises you've indicated a fondness for, have a national ID. No, I don't want to have to register with the police when I move, but in the highly unlikely event that day comes, then I'll oppose it. (Keep in mind, however, that you already report to the government when you move - via the IRS, through property taxes, via the census takers, etc.) Until then, I'd like to focus on the reality on the ground: Bush ISN'T subverting the Constitution, and fescists ARE trying to kill us. Right now. Not in the future. In the present. Today.

The highest law of the land, the Constitution, gives the President warfighting powers. Those are strengthened when he is acting with the support of the Congress (keep in mind all the programs that keep you awake at night were vetted by Dems on Intel Committees). Both the Iraq war and the wider war against AQ fall into this category as well. The domestic programs were within the President's powers, and the statutes have been updated to reflect 21st Century technology.

Let me ask this, Rick - do you think Chamberlain was right, or Churchill? Since most Germans weren't Nazis, was FDR's "saber rattling" just alienating all the "moderate Germans" out there? Would the world have been better off if the Allied countries would have resisted Hitler in the Sudentenland, or waited until he was strong enough to attack and oppose all comers?

Rick said...

Sorry. Wrong analogy. Criticism of an ill-conceived attack against Iraq on false pretenses bears no resemblance to appeasement. Very revealing question, though. It suggests that you are under the misconception that we're presently fighting an entity like a nation state (one that we could negotiate with, make treaties with, etc.). If so, I'd be interested to know which one. Do tell.

Orrin Johnson said...

Are you saying that Iraq was, before the war, NOT a nation state with a leader and the ability to enter into treaties or be negotiated with? All leftist claims of Iraq being an "illegal war" revolve around the idea that they were sovereign.

The only relevant difference here is that it's a lot harder. Instead of one Nazi Germany, there are dozens of them throughout the region who can and do provide geurrilla support, and they don't bother putting on uniforms or taking prisoners. Even the Nazis were good enough to do that. Do you not see the evil we face, the difficulty of dealing with it, or the astonishing success we've had fighting this war on our terms? (If not, it's not surprising, given your historical background.)

The nation states we currently are fighting in Iraq include principly Iran, Syria, and now the new quasi-nation of Hamas led Palestine. Without them, the insurgency would not still survive. Other nations in the regions such as Jordon, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, while not providing overt support, are willfully ignorant of the terror bases operating within their borders.

If we left, we would be appeasing those forces. They would not go away. Our defeat would embolden our enemy, and they would carry their advantage here. We don't have to guess at that, they've already demonstrated that as their tactic after the first Gulf War, anfter Beruit, after Somalia, after the ineffectual Tomohawk strikes of the Clinton years. They did then, and would again consolidate their position, and continue to attack us at home on Aemrican soil, all the while returning to the mass torture and abuse of their people as a matter of policy.

Nice try, though, to convince yourself you're on the right side history, or that you wouldn't have been 70 years ago, or that you understand this conflict. Care to try again?