"A lot of emphasis is on the “99%” versus the “1%” in these protests. But who are the 1% and what do they do for a living? Are they all Wilt Chamberlains and Oprahs and other people taking part in the dynamism of the new economy? Nope. It's same as it ever was — high-level management and the financial sector."
After stopping at Tara's sister Stephanie's house in Smyrna to pick up a newly-refurbished Kindle Fire that Todd had put together, we had dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant, Mi Tierra. [Now Chago's] Elizabeth was “dying for refried beans!” Whatever. She's eight.
Mi Tierra is usually good, as it was tonight. What was different this time were its patrons. We sat eating our Burrito Loco, vegetarian fajitas, and enchilada with rice and beans, as what looked like a band of pirates came into the restaurant, six or eight at a time. They kept coming until there were about 50 of them, men and women, some with strangely-painted faces. I decided they weren't pirates — at least not all of them — but were in fact Renaissance festival participants. Never mind that the local Renaissance Festival was two months ago.
They were all young and white, except one black guy dressed as a sheep. Hell if I know. They were weird, but harmless. I told Tara, “I'm from California so none of this fazes me.” Elizabeth didn't understand, so Tara happily explained how California is known for its weirdness. Still, if we'd known these people from the wrong century would be surrounding us, we would have sat outside as Elizabeth originally wanted to do.
We left before the inevitable “grog” drinking and Old-English-speaking began.
"… those 217 “no” voters received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 “yes” voters."
"When the weapons of mass destruction thing turned out to be not true, I expected the American people to rise up. Ha! They didn't.
Then, when the Abu Ghraib torture thing surfaced and it was revealed that our government participated in rendition, a practice where we kidnap people and turn them over to regimes who specialize in torture, I was sure then the American people would be heard from. We stood mute.
Then came the news that we jailed thousands of so-called terrorists suspects, locked them up without the right to a trial or even the right to confront their accusers. Certainly, we would never stand for that. We did.
And now, it's been discovered the executive branch has been conducting massive, illegal, domestic surveillance on its own citizens. You and me. And I at least consoled myself that finally, finally the American people will have had enough. Evidentially, we haven't.
In fact, if the people of this country have spoken, the message is we're okay with it all. Torture, warrantless search and seizure, illegal wiretappings, prison without a fair trial – or any trial, war on false pretenses. We, as a citizenry, are apparently not offended.
There are no demonstrations on college campuses. In fact, there's no clear indication that young people seem to notice.
Well, Melissa Hughes noticed. Now, you might think, instead of withholding her taxes, she could have protested the old fashioned way. Made a placard and demonstrated at a Presidential or Vice-Presidential appearance, but we've lost the right to that as well. The Secret Service can now declare free speech zones to contain, control and, in effect, criminalize protest.
Stop for a second and try to fathom that.
At a presidential rally, parade or appearance, if you have on a supportive t-shirt, you can be there. If you are wearing or carrying something in protest, you can be removed.
This, in the United States of America. This in the United States of America. Is Melissa Hughes the only one embarrassed?"
*Alan sits down abruptly in the witness chair next to the judge*
"Mr. Shore, that's a chair for witnesses only."
"Really long speeches make me so tired sometimes."
"Please get out of the chair."
"Actually, I'm sick and tired."
"Get out of the chair!"
"And what I'm most sick and tired of is how every time somebody disagrees with how the government is running things, he or she is labeled unAmerican."
"Evidentally, it's speech time."
"And speech in this country is free, you hack! Free for me, free for you. Free for Melissa Hughes to stand up to her government and say “Stick it”!"
"I object to government abusing its power to squash the constitutional freedoms of its citizenry. And, God forbid, anybody challenge it. They're smeared as being a heretic.
Melissa Hughes is an American. Melissa Hughes is an American. Melissa Hughes is an American!"
"Mr. Shore, unless you have anything new and fresh to say, please sit down. You've breached the decorum of my courtroom with all this hooting."
"Last night, I went to bed with a book. Not as much fun as a 29 year old, but the book contained a speech by Adlai Stevenson. The year was 1952. He said, “The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live and fear breeds repression. Too often, sinister threats to the Bill of Rights, to freedom of the mind are concealed under the patriotic cloak of anti-Communism.”
Today, it's the cloak of anti-terrorism. Stevenson also remarked, “It's far easier to fight for principles than to live up to them.”
I know we are all afraid, but the Bill of Rights – we have to live up to that. We simply must. That's all Melissa Hughes was trying to say. She was speaking for you. I would ask you now to go back to that room and speak for her.
UPDATE: From Boston Legal (TV show of the 2000s).
"… the average person's cumulative exposure to fluoride from food, beverages, personal care products, and water is up to seven times the recommended maximum level, according to a government-compiled toxicological profile."
Wouldn't it just be easier to change our foreign policy?
"… it would lessen the supposed need to spy on Americans, which is unacceptable under any circumstances, but can only be sold with endless fear-mongering about terrorism. So it's a win-win-win, except for the corporations that profit from weapons, war and global violence.
Then there's the National Security Agency (NSA), doing its typical skullduggery, spying on everyone's phone calls, emails, Facebook posts and other online activity. Our tax dollars pay them to do this to us, supposedly to make us safer, but I don't feel safer, I feel violated and disgusted, how about you? And the alleged trade-off between privacy and security was concocted by forces that want us to have less of both."
"After every non-farm payroll report we provide our own breakdown of what the real unemployment rate is in a country in which the labor force participation rate has not been adjusted to normalize for the Second Great Depression. In the most recent such endeavor we found the “Real Unemployment Rate” to be 11.3%."
Wife and kid are off at this thing called “church.” Maybe you've heard of it. I'm not familiar. Not sure what to make of it. 🙂
I'm basically just hanging out waiting for the new mattress to be delivered. We told the delivery guy, “Anytime!” He sounded foreign. I hope he shows up before 10pm! Never know with “these dang ferners!” Anyway, we went ahead and spent the money on a much-needed new mattress, along with that “under” part that used to be called the “box spring,” though that's not what it's called anymore. Anyway, it's a Sealy king size, and we got it last night at Big Lots during their “20% off everything” sale. With that and all the other stuff we bought, we saved over $200! And it was all stuff we needed. Really!
Also waiting on a few people to call, email or stop by and give me a bid on being my regular yard maintenance guy (or gal, but I've never seen a female doing this). Oh, and I picked some fruit out back.
"Essentially, pretend the Soviets won the Cold War and then conquered the United States — that's how the government is operating."
Conspiracy theorists sane; government dupes hostile
Told ya! 🙂
"In short, the new study by Wood and Douglas suggests the negative stereotype of conspiracy theorists — a hostile fanatics wedded to the truth of their own fringe theories — more accurately describes people who defend the official account of 9/11, not those who dispute it."