Archive for the Events / Celebrations Category

AMM ALM – ‘All Lives Matter’ Album Series

Posted in Ethics & Morals, POB Audio, Poems, Rhymes, Riddles, Politics, Protests / Riots, Song Lyrics & Analysis, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2020 by Drogo

Skin color is surface, culture is deep.

ALM Album Related AMM (Appalatian Mountain Malitia) Music Sets –

‘ALM Black Light‘ & ‘Black Lives Matter Too; Not Just Rich Lives‘ & ‘No Lives Matter’

All lives matter (ALM), not only RICH lives; no matter the color. RAINBOW power. Black Lives matter (BLM) even during a ‘Trumpster Fire‘ when they are being treated like they don’t matter. All lives matter, even when they are not being respected. This AMM album series was recorded in West Virginia (under-ground) old school; and remixed as live sets during the Covid Crisis Protests, enjoy. The ALM and BLM movements are together (2016). Our current civil unrest is more about working rights for all citizens and races, which worries the 1%. No matter how you identify, here’s rainbow in your eye.

This album series is live FB DJ set recordings from AMM 2006 to 2020, past and present mix. It includes a variety of music styles and voices recorded in the Harpers Ferry, WV area (304). AMM was founded by JB CODIAK and friends. ALM Album themes range from MLK, Black Panther, to Death Rap. Besides being generally anti-racist, because members and associates can be any race combination and identify as whatever they want; AMM supports progressive politics like UBI, UHC, and zero tolerance for police aggression.

All Lives Matter‘ provocative phrase and word semantics regarding racist (human vs ethnic) perspectives:

“According to an August 2015 poll, 78% of likely American voters said that the statement ‘All Lives Matter’ was “closer to their own” point of view than was ‘Black Lives Matter’. Only 11% said that the statement Black Lives Matter was closer. Nine percent said that neither statement reflected their own point of view.” 

President Barack Obama spoke to the debate between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. Obama said, “I think that the reason that the organizers used the phrase Black Lives Matter was not because they were suggesting that no one else’s lives matter … rather what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities.” He also said “that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”

MacHatfield on ALM – “No matter how “woke” a pc person thinks they are, this phrase is not offensive to say it; it is not an “either/or” it is inclusive of all human races (the term “race” being fake or artificial). If people want to say ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) to talk about people who appear or identify as black, they can; but BLM has been used to imply that black lives don’t matter currently (to who?), which is racist because black lives actually do matter, despite how racist the system or individuals are; and no matter how much it makes anyone feel like black lives dont matter, many of us have always felt black lives matter (audience is critical). Black lives do matter (speaking to anyone who thinks they don’t), and the BLM phrase does point out that law enforcement and corporate society treats most blacks (who also, no coincidence to the history of slavery, are often poor) terribly; most of these ‘black’ are people who cannot afford lawyers or the cost of living. There are statistics that show those identified as “blacks” suffer more than “whites”, no matter the actual “racial” mix of the person (see social-racial identity). The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement has been a large part of the Covid Protests, but dividing ourselves by race is what the rich masters always want. The issues affecting “black americans” are class, not just surface racism but systemic economic working-class injustice too; which is sustained by race wars among workers. Minorities feel the oppression by corporate bosses the worst, because they are used as ‘scab-labor’ when the majority (whites) strike. To use the terms ‘black’ or ‘white’ to describe people can be called racist, since it is a surface description that assumes stereo-types belonging to most people who appear light or dark skinned should or should not have any number of cultural attributes which make them another race, other than human. I fucking hate Nazi racists, no matter their color.”

“While the immediate spark for this moment was the brutal murder of George Floyd, his killing was not an isolated event. It is not the first time a black man has called out “I can’t breathe” as he was choked or lynched. We can draw a straight line that runs from slavery, to Jim Crow, to legal segregation, to de facto segregation, to institutional racism, to the killings of so many in recent years – George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, and others.” – MD Senator Van Hollen

Most of us can agree that skin color is superficial. White and Black cultures are actually not as black-and-white as the labels might appear. Cultures are not bound by simplistic definitions of appearance; cultures are complex and overlap as they change. And change they do, despite conservative cores, cultures constantly evolve just as species do. Cultural depth includes problems of poverty, working class racism, public and private violence, wars, family, and plutocracy etc. Racism is used as a tool for warfare against other individuals or groups who appear different, and are blamed for problems; however as a cultural tool racism mainly benefits those in power over the majority, while the masses insult and harm each-other. It is easy to use racial labels to insult people we don’t like, because we want to use anything we can to hurt them; but the more people resort to judging by appearance, the more racism becomes a problem for everyone.

Law enforcement is a class struggle, where oligarchs wage war against the lower classes legally. Racial diversity on police forces has not stopped the war on the poor. Enforcing laws more aggressively against the poor, more than enforcing laws (at least those that exist) against the bigger rich thieves, benefits those running the show. History has shown that companies will break worker unions any way they can, and scab race wars is most effective to keep wages low. General strikes are most effective for equality, when most workers are willing to refuse to work for masters.

RIP M.F. and J.J. on this album. Special thanks to Donald Greene for donating the pre-AMM archives from his personal collection.

‘All Lives Matter’set 1 on FB

‘ALM Black Light – set 2 on FB

Black Lives Matter Too; Not Just Rich Lives – set 3 on FB

‘No Lives Matter’  – set 4 on FB

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Covid Crisis Protests & Solutions

Posted in Cooperative collaboration, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Ethics & Morals, jobs, Military, news, Protests / Riots, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2020 by Drogo

During the Covid Crisis and 2nd Great Depression a series of protests began against government oppression, the largest being ‘Black Lives Matter‘ protests across the USA. The climax of the protests was sparked by the police murder of George Floyd, a poor black citizen of Minneapolis, Minnesota who was non-violent with covid. As protests and riots grew, more cops and the National Guard increased violence to impose martial law in many places; but in a few cities there was a more enlightened civilized response.

My own reflections on the current “all lives matter” protests: in Savannah Georgia authorities allowed us to protest in the streets for Critical Mass biking multiple times. ‘Black Lives Matters’ might be more angry, but they were mostly unarmed and probably would have just marched and got bored if there were no cops acting like bullies in direct opposition to civil rights. Military grade guns and industrial standard-issue projectile weapons shows that only cop’s lives matter because they are the law on behalf of the owner upper-class. If cops were trained to approach as peaceful friends to citizens, it would automatically begin to diffuse, but oligarchs dont want that. Protesters should get smarter and take over government, not play tag with cops. Our rich owners want us fighting each other so they can keep getting richer. 

Boston Tea Party: What did the tea company have to do with the English government? It meant something to our founding fathers as a symbol at least, right or wrong. It was probably wrong that they dressed as tribal natives to blame it on them. Was it wrong to destroy private company property and terrorize loyal citizens just to rebel against the English government? We are taught that those illegal seditious violent actions of the Revolution were legitimate. 

Recently in modern history our national defense budget has increased for covert government agents to infiltrate protests; to sabotage, break windows, and do violence to turn them into riots so there can be conflict and excuses for those with more weapons to crack down as authorities. Police refer to these set-up under-cover actions as “stings”, when they pose as criminals to create crimes and include others or get them to commit the crimes which may not have happened without their budget, false sincerity, and dedication to provocation. Leaders of protest movements usually use non-violent means only, to get goals met; but videos show escalation by the crowds by agents with no goal except to express rage and provoke cops, which makes no sense from the position of the mostly unarmed AND unarmored crowds. Government agents tend to dress in black or tan in the videos, and can be seen acting violently to implicate the mostly peaceful mass of protests; by pushing mobs into police walls and destroying property.

In martinsburg wv there was a violent clash of heavily armed militarized cops against angry unarmed citizens who marched towards them. I’m curious who in the crowd thought that marching towards the police line would do anything but cause a conflict? from a stand point of saving black lives, it made no sense; only if they sang kumbaya or lullabies would it have made a difference with cops trained to be bullies and always escalate when disobeyed.

Cop violence against lower-class citizens and citizen property is worse than property violence against cops, annually. More cops are getting shot by metal bullets than protesters maybe, but more citizens (not just during protests) are being shot and hurt and killed by cops, than cops being hurt overall. Good job Frederick and Germantown cops who are with the citizen covid protests! The cops marching with the protesters and guarding the buildings and vehicles during parades is clearly the answer; not blocking and attacking angry protesters as potential rioters. We are in the 2nd Great Depression, and the way out needs to be better democracy, not martial law. Our military (both active, reserve, and guard) should be used less on civilians (both foreign and domestic), and police should be less militarized and more civil. 

Kyle Kulinski, Krystal Ball, Kim Iverson, and others have suggested great responses for better solutions. Their solutions support civil rights leaders like Sanders, West, Yang, and others; because we need UBI (universal basic income), jobs programs, less lower class taxes, and UHC (universal health care). “We can live in a world where the police don’t kill people by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability.” – Campaign Zero

2020 covid riot

 

 

 

 

SCOD Frederick Library Exhibit

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Cooperative collaboration, Events / Celebrations, Multimedia Communication, Services, Sales or Trade, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2020 by Drogo

SCOD Maryland, Frederick City Public Library Exhibit 

2020 Proposal-Statement

[currently in planning phase]

 

This SCOD (Sustainable Cooperative for Organic Development) group show promotes collaboration more than competition. Being able to exhibit our artistic expressions in public for free is how we win together by sharing. Awards at galleries do not need to be prize ribbons, we can be rewarded with attention and sales. If you like someone’s work, please make a note to find out more about them and contact them if you want to support them by owning and sharing some of their art.

Our goal with this project is to include as many partners as possible, and represent many styles and genres. SCOD art theory strives to remind us that modern art (impressionist to abstract) is not about elitist talent, because it was born from common desperation. The suffering of mental, physical, and economic disabilities caused some to declare “Dada! Art is for all!”. Even today we are realizing that indeed other animals create art to attract attention. As many fish and birds learn, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Arts & Literature Seasonal Gathering

Posted in Education / Schools, Events / Celebrations, Individuals / Members / Monsters / Creative Writing, jobs, news, Services, Sales or Trade, Society Clubs or Social Groups, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2018 by Drogo

Day, Month, Year, Time – Arts & Literature Seasonal Gathering – You are invited to the Victorian Townhouse of the Honorable S.P. (near Market Street) __ Third Street, downtown Frederick, MD; to read anything of your choice for apx.10 minutes, and our informal group will discuss for about the same time as the reading. Tea will be served.

Democratic voting on name of group, which selections to read, whether to record, and date of next meeting.

[for actual current details contact SCOD members]

Drogo’s Funeral Party

Posted in Events / Celebrations, Pagan, Recommendations & Tributes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 29, 2018 by Drogo

Upon the Death of Drogo Empedocles, there shall be a party.

Eventually I will die. When my death comes, I will have a party for friends and family.

The affordable funeral ceremony will be a party at a park, farm, or garden; organized by my PR and any of my close friends (Beamer, Jeffy, Aeyla) that volunteer to help announce and send invitations. My funeral party will be open to anyone who wishes to attend and pay respect to my life and celebrate memories living on in their own lives. The PR will decide on the portion of my treasures (art, books, collections) to present to family and attendees who are minor beneficiaries. Paid live musicians. Fire offerings should be herbs, clothes, and my cremated ashes. If alcohol is not allowed at the property, attendees can have an after-party for toasts. Time: Noon to at least Dusk, and on to Midnight if possible.

(this is part 6 of my Last Will and Testament 2018)

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Solar Eclipse Holiday 2017

Posted in astronomy, Events / Celebrations, news, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 21, 2017 by Drogo

Moon Eclipse of the Sun for Three Hours (apx)

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SCOD Astronomy August 21, 2017, Observations near Washington DC East Coast America

Commentary by Drogo Empedocles as he observed the eclipse disc geometries through special star-net glasses given by Maryland Libraries, and documented in text, audio, and video.

Recorded live from 1-4pm while watching, preoccupied with metaphoric meditation while watching the event (Observation notes corrected in post-production):

“At 1:30 Pm the Sun is traveling (sunwise) clockwise from left to right (to a person standing with their head straight up), and the moon is passing right to left, down-ward, counter-clockwise. 2:16pm Sun is over 1/2 to 3/4 covered by the circular curve of the Moon’s perimeter. Sun-light remains bright, only slightly dim. No sun-rise sun-set color tones, just dimmer. Went back inside, turned off inside house lights, so the light from the windows can slowly show the progress, and i can determine how dark it gets outside compared to enclosed darkness. Sun-light dim, Later at 2:37pm close to total eclipse, curves at thin crescent. 2:52pm Eclipse in decline, passing away, pacman’s mouth headed South…. 3:23 Eclipse in final phase. 3:54 last fragment of the Sun covered, apx. END of eclipse. Interesting how quickly the Moon began to move across the Sun, and yet lingered over for much longer than its’ initial advance seemed, according to observed interaction and clocks. At no time did the sky go black, there was always some day-light to see objects. Life has not changed; but the after effect reflection on Life and Death is much deeper, than the previous excited anticipation of the event. The visual recordings from my cell phone camera do not show much evidence of the event, oddly. Several Neighbors were out-side during the central hour of the Eclipse, also observing.”

Landscape Photos:  Did NOT show significant dimming, despite observation

Soundcloud Audio Recordings:   Verbal Only  /  Reggae Remix

Video Recordings:  Did NOT show the Moon (none of the dark curves of the eclipse are visible in the videos)  Youtube – Start 12:50 Pm  /   12:56 Pm  /  1:06 Pm  /  1:39 Pm

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Fairs as Wilderness Stewardship Sponsors

Posted in Events / Celebrations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2014 by Drogo

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I attended the 2014 ‘Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival’ (HFOF) at the ‘Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship’ (BRCES) because I believe in the concept of celebrating art and sport to preserve wild land and clean water. It is amazing to consider, during a recession based on commercial monopolies, that it is possible to support local talent and save our woods, forests, creeks, rivers, and the wild and free creatures whose lives depend on these environments. During an era where it is common for people to litter on their way to a job that pollutes natural ecology, events like HFOF are truly revolutionary and patriotic in Native American terms.

The BRCES land is beautiful; almost 1,000 acres of wilderness and a small organic farm run by a caring family. Years ago when I visited with my father, BRCES had just begun their mission on the land, and the old white house was over grown and in disrepair. Now the buildings and land are functional again, while being in harmony with the landscape. BRCES is truly a success story for environmentalists.

Volunteers run the show during HFOF. I was lucky enough to be a volunteer under the leadership of President Lisa Cullinane. Lisa is very friendly, kind, and smart; which by the way is my favorite kind of leader. We started preparing a few weeks before the event, and by the event I felt things were flowing well. Vendors are small businesses and non-profit organizations that rent spaces around the field, using tables and tents. I really enjoyed the variety of concessions, and the food and drink was good. There are always tensions and stress involved in any production, but any problems that arose were resolved. Hundreds of people attended the festival; although my non-profit tent for ‘Sustainable Cooperative for Organic Development’ (SCOD), and my fine artist partners did not get visited by many people during the event, so we did not make any earnings. For me it was ok, because I believe in the concept and I was happy to be there.

Camping was easy. I slept in my tent the first night, in the field behind my table. At night the humidity lifted, however this created a dew which saturated my books and artwork exposed to the sky; however items in the tent and oddly enough below the table-cloth were fine. The second day my art partners arrived and set up a tent to shade us a bit; which really helped survive a day of full sun in the field. I also wore sun-block, a large hat, and sunglasses so as to not be sun-burned. Some of us rented the white house for the second night, which was very nice indeed! Staying at the house was a relief from the electric generator that was kept running all night at the main field, to keep their fridge on to preserve the food. Also the best part of the field at the crest, had become over-crowded with vehicles; which in my opinion ruined the very purpose of being there… in other words it turned the perfect camping spot into a parking lot. Despite traffic congestion, most reveled in the mirth, and many stayed up all night with enthusiasm and excitement!!

Bands began playing the first evening, and continued through the night into the next day and night. Some of the bands I had already worked with as friends, so it was a good treat to have them play there. I was even able to deliver my final fan cartoon print-outs to one of the band members that visited my table. Unfortunately I was not able to advertise for the bands, as I had hoped, because like I said very few people came to my booth. Although most of the show revolved around the main stage, my favorite part was the small stage by the grand fire pit. The field has a natural amphi-theater shape around the fire pit; which had just been made formal by Boy Scouts with impressive stone work and movable wood benches. At night the fire pit area hosts musical jam sessions, which embrace the audience, allowing anyone to play with the bands; this is musical freedom and creative collaboration at its finest!!!

Lastly in this article I want to thank everyone that helped make the event happen. Some of my personal high-lights were being with friends, hiking the trails, and witnessing natural phenomena such as the lightning-bug show across the fields, and even into and above the trees!! As I observed the natural light show, I meditated on how often our Nation’s founders enjoyed wonders that surpassed the magic of their technologies back then. Even today many scientists concede that our artificial efforts fail, in comparison to the energy efficiency of the natural world. Thank you also to those that stayed and picked up all the trash! I admit I was tired after the event, and disappointed to once again have to pick up after people that litter. Also the sheer abundance of garbage was not encouraging to my opinion of humanity. However I was pleased there were enough people to pick up all we could find, after many hours of pick-up. I even returned to the site days later to double check that the clean-up was as effective as I thought. Any negative issues did not stop us from having fun, nor did any problems hinder the success of the event as a whole. I definitely want to return next year to BCRES, and be a part of music festivals and sports competitions that donate to wilderness stewardship, and take place within a nature preserve. Please let us get more people to join us!!!!

Rev. Walton D. Stowell II, M.Arch.

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SCOD AWARDS

Posted in Events / Celebrations with tags , , , on September 17, 2014 by Drogo

SCOD Award

criteria: The ‘SCOD Award’ is presented to projects or people that protect natural environments, advocate educational cooperative communication, and create local organic resources or products.

candidates: alternative communities, organic farms, activist artists and musicians, environmental architects, grassroots movements, and the products of these people.

SCOD members decide the award winners among the group in anarchistic democratic fashion. SCOD will attempt to contact the winners, and announce the awards publicly regardless of whether the winners accept the award. Small scale winners can be chosen monthly and large scale winners annually.

Haunted Faery Drum Circle

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Events / Celebrations, Music Reviews, Pagan, POB Audio with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2013 by Drogo

Haunted Faery Drum Circle 2013

Halloween Musical Party in Harpers Ferry, WV

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Held at the Temple of the Four Winds (or Ways), a total of 14 people came together to share good vibes in various styles. Neighbors and friends from the surrounding area met from 8pm-12 Midnight the Friday before Halloween. 3 friends from Frederick Drum Circle stayed up all night around the stone camp-fire ring. telling stories and tending the sacred flame with mighty elm, nutty walnut, and wounded willow wood.

From Frederick Drum Circle came 3 powerful magi; Bran-Don Barn-Yard, Drumwise Ousse, and Drogo Empedocles; with drums, beaters, didges, and flutes. Linda Rago attended because she was a magical neighbor, and author of ‘Blackberry Cove Herbal’. Warren Eng appeared briefly to play Chinese medicine ball chimes. 2 other neighbors across the way showed up for a bit. Princess Puchala of the dark magic band Full Blush brought 2 mighty friends. The famous guitarist Ben Harrison showed up with 2 friends as well. Lastly, the legendary John Brown Kodiak arrived in time to rap some lyrics to a bluegrass-new-age epic jam session. A type of ‘New-Grass’ sound emerged, and resonated through the week to the Holy All Souls Night.

Linda Rago held a ‘Rune Reading’ session in the Temple for half of the gathering. However the half of the gathering remained centered around the Fire Ring, despite that it remained 40 degrees all night. The primal elemental energy around the Fire Pit created a magical energy, which fed all night, resonated and flowed the following week.

Several audio recordings were made featuring various musicians during the night; uploaded to Soundcloud and Youtube. They are simply meant as memory meditation guides, because Night Magick is impossible to capture. Yet somehow we recharge our spirit energy at the Well of Mimir, and the Flame of the Four Ways! Harpers Ferry has remained a favorite haunt of faeries, and to this day you can still hear their music, if you listen for it and follow it in your dreams.

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Sword Jump Wedding

Posted in Events / Celebrations, Pagan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2012 by Drogo

Celtic Pagan Sword Leap Ceremony by Drogo Empedocles

ENTRANCE MUSIC – Procession

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We are gathered here today to witness the wedding of _____ and _____,

and to help celebrate their marriage on this chosen day.

They have chosen to perform a sword ceremony,

where they must ‘jump the sword’.

The edge of the sword is symbolic of the possible dangers of love,

and jumping over it represents that they maintain their own ties to each-other,

during the perilous ‘leap of faith’ required for getting married.

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I will now bless and lay the sword. Here is the sword!

Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad, do chél dénmha

So mote it be, blessed be.

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_____ do you take _____? _____ do you take _____?

Lord and Lady please hold hands.


For marriage you are headed!

Once over the sword,

for evermore you are wedded!

Now Leap Lord, and Jump Lady!

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You have made the leap of faith together, and now you are married.

You may now kiss.

So mote it be, blessed be.

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EXIT MUSIC

Earth Day Report 2011

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Events / Celebrations with tags , , , , , , on April 22, 2011 by Drogo

Earthday Eostre-day Good Friday

SCOD Update April 22, 2011

The BP Oil Spill from last summer is still affecting the Mexican Gulf areas of the South. Japan has been devastated by earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear melt-downs. We are now at War in Libya, besides still being invested in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was a cold Winter in the Washington DC area, but not as much snow as the last Winter.

Cordite makes swords in Wisconsin, Sima Ke makes honey in New York, and Sir Jeffy and Elldinn raise children where they are. Our SCOD Blog has earned 365 gallons of clean water donated to World Communities in Need. And finally some garden plants have returned that were not expected to, and others have not survived.

Despite mixed news of success and setbacks, SCOD has just now produced its first professionally published book “SCOD 2000”. Blessed be. – Drogo

Michael Moore on Worker Rights

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Events / Celebrations with tags , , , , , , on March 10, 2011 by Drogo

Director Michael Moore on the Wisconsin Protests and Politics 2011

I’m sorry to all State workers and Unions that rich politicians are using the Recession to slash you all. It’s bull-shit!!! They are fucking lucky those protests in Wisconsin are peaceful. Personally i dont think those corrupt politicians deserve peace. Although it is a good thing they are peaceful for the sake of the protestors, because law enforcement ALWAYS cracks down harder on the protestors, than any sticks and stones violence by protestors. – Drogo

* here is Moore’s interview on MSNBC
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640


Westboro Church Funeral Protests In Vain

Posted in Events / Celebrations, Military with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2011 by Drogo

How to Fight an Anti-Gay Church Group that Protests at Military Funerals


From what I have seen and heard of the Westboro Church Protests, they are idiots. Rather than just show more of their non-sense propaganda that they crave, I show here how to fight against idiot groups like them, whether they are Nazis, KKK, or just some stupid church. Fight them with their own ignorance!!!

this is an example of when their idiot messages are unchallenged,

but here are more images where they have been challenged!


 


Scott Walker: Bad for Teachers and Other Living Things

Posted in Education / Schools, Events / Celebrations, Politics on February 18, 2011 by eposognatus

Wisconsin is open for Business! So says Scott Walker in his campaign ads and in response to criticism to his increasingly criticized proposals. So far as one can tell, it is open for business, but only if you swear to cling to a fossil-fuel economy, reject proven, efficient technologies, and want to turn back the clock on worker’s rights about 100 years.

All this week in Madison, tens of thousands have been protesting Walker’s “budget repair bill.” You have likely heard that this proposal will increase the amount state employees must pay towards their pensions and healthcare, and this is what many on the right have made all the fuss out to be over. However, the bill would also strip these workers of their collective bargaining rights. You remember collective bargaining, right? That little thing that brought us the weekend and a decent wage?

The events of this week in Madison have played out in extraordinary sequence. A brief timeline to summarize:

Friday, 11th February, 2011: Walker introduces his Budget Repair Bill

The plan calls for cuts to 175,000 state employees, including teachers, nurses, and prison guards… but not Police or Fire personnel (who supported him heavily in elections…).

Walker also announces he has alerted the Wisconsin National Guard, and that they are “prepared to respond wherever is necessary.” He declares that he has every confidence that state employees will continue to show up for work and do their jobs. But he says he’s been working on contingency plans for months just in case they don’t.

Walker says he’s not anticipating any problems…

Sunday, 13th: Protests begin in Horicon.

Monday, 14th: Students and Teachers begin protests state-wide. 400 Gather at capitol for nightime vigil.

Tuesday, 15th: Teachers hold a sick-out. 40% (~1040) of Madison area teachers and staff call out and schools are closed. Teachers and students protest. 3,000 fill the capitol rotunda and an additional 10,000 fill the capitol square. Hundreds testify during 17 hours of public hearings.

Wednesday, 16th: Crowds swell to a reported 30,000. Schools remain closed.

Thursday, 17th: All fourteen Democratic senators walk-out, leaving the senate without a quorum and unable to place a vote on the bill, stalling it. Walker’s attempts to round them up with the State Highway Patrol are foiled when it’s later discovered they’ve left the state entirely. Walker declares he will not concede on collective bargaining.

Friday, 18th: Obama called Walker’s bill “an assault on unions.” Walker tells Obama to mind his own business, saying on Fox News Friday morning, “It would be wise for the president and others in Washington to focus on balancing their budget, which they are a long ways from doing.”

Many here feel this to be a historic moment. Not only because protests of this magnitude have not been seen here in some thirty years, but also because of the unity they represent. Many have joined the protests to support those who cannot go themselves for fear of reprimand or loss of their job. Parents, children, friends. All have come to engage in a clear demonstration of direct Democratic process, which Walker and other state Republicans continue to condescendingly refer to as “disappointing” and “disrespectful,” pointing out how they of course responsibly “showed up for work today” while so many others couldn’t be bothered. Last we checked, Walker’s healthcare was pretty secure, and he probably doesn’t need to worry too much about his bargaining rights.

Walker calls to Democrats to return to session “Out of respect for the institution of the Legislature and the democratic process” yet it is the Democratic process he and his cronies seek to destroy. His threats to use the National Guard to put down rebellion are particularly distasteful, in light of past clashes in this country.

Robin Eckstein, a former Wisconsin National Guard member, Iraq War Veteran from Appleton, WI says: “Maybe the new governor doesn’t understand yet – but the National Guard is not his own personal intimidation force to be mobilized to quash political dissent. The Guard is to be used in case of true emergencies and disasters, to help the people of Wisconsin, not to bully political opponents. Considering many veterans and Guard members are union members, it’s even more inappropriate to use the Guard in this way. This is a very dangerous line the Governor is about to cross.”

We must also asks ourselves, as one protester’s sign does, “Can the National Guard teach Organic Chemistry?”

Exposing the Vietnam War Conspiracy

Posted in Events / Celebrations, Military with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2010 by Drogo

Daniel Ellsberg and his Pentagon Papers

Daniel Ellsberg was a United States military analyst.

While Ellsberg was employed by the RAND Corporation in 1971, he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of US government decision-making about the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers.

He attended Harvard University on a scholarship, graduating with B.S. in economics in 1952 (summa cum laude). He then studied at Cambridge University on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. A year later he returned to Harvard for graduate school. In 1954, he left Harvard for the U.S. Marine Corps. He graduated first in a class in Quantico, Virginia. He served two years as a platoon leader, and was discharged from the Corps as a first lieutenant in 1957. He resumed graduate studies at Harvard, but after two years he interrupted his academic studies again, to work at RAND, where he concentrated on nuclear strategy. He earned a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard in 1962. His dissertation introduced a paradox in decision theory now known as the Ellsberg paradox.

Ellsberg served in the Pentagon from August 1964 under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (and, in fact, was on duty on the evening of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, reporting the incident to McNamara). He then served for two years in Vietnam working for General Edward Lansdale as a civilian in the State Department.

After his tour of duty in Vietnam, Ellsberg resumed working at RAND. In 1967, he contributed to a top-secret study of classified documents regarding the conduct of the Vietnam War that had been commissioned by Defense Secretary McNamara. These documents, completed in 1968, later became known collectively as the Pentagon Papers. Because he held an extremely high-level security clearance, Ellsberg was one of very few individuals who had access to the complete set of documents.

By 1969 Ellsberg began attending anti-war events while still remaining in his position at RAND. He experienced an epiphany attending a War Resisters League conference at Haverford College in August 1969, listening to a speech given by a draft resister named Randy Kehler, who said he was “very excited” that he would soon be able to join his friends in prison. Ellsberg described his reaction:

“…It was the example he was setting with his life. How his words in general showed that he was a stellar American, and that he was going to jail as a very deliberate choice — because he thought it was the right thing to do. There was no question in my mind that my government was involved in an unjust war that was going to continue and get larger. Thousands of young men were dying each year. I left the auditorium and found a deserted men’s room. I sat on the floor and cried for over an hour, just sobbing. The only time in my life I’ve reacted to something like that. Randy Kehler never thought his going to prison would end the war. If I hadn’t met Randy Kehler it wouldn’t have occurred to me to copy and release the Pentagon Papers.”

These documents “demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance”. They revealed that the government had knowledge from the beginning of the War, that the War would not likely be won, and that continuing would lead to more casualties than was ever admitted publicly. Further, the papers showed a deep cynicism towards the public and a disregard for safety of soldiers and civilians.

Throughout 1970, Ellsberg covertly attempted to persuade a few sympathetic U.S. Senators (among them J. William Fulbright, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and George McGovern, a leading opponent of the war) to release the papers on the Senate floor, because a Senator could not be prosecuted for anything he said on-the-record before the Senate. Ellsberg told U.S. Senators that they should be prepared to go to jail in order to end the Vietnam War.

On June 29, 1971, U.S. Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska entered 4,100 pages of the Papers into the record of his Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds, which he had received from Ellsberg via Ben Bagdikian— then an editor at the Washington Post. These portions of the Papers were subsequently published by Beacon Press.

John Mitchell, Nixon’s Attorney General, almost immediately issued a telegram to the Times ordering that it halt publication. The Times refused, and the government brought suit against it.

Although the Times eventually won the trial before the Supreme Court, an appellate court ordered that the Times temporarily halt further publication. This was the first successful attempt by the federal government to restrain the publication of a major newspaper since the presidency of Abraham Lincoln during the US Civil War. Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers to 17 other newspapers in rapid succession. The right of the press to publish the papers was upheld in New York Times Co. v. United States.

As a response to the leaks, the Nixon administration began a campaign against further leaks and against Ellsberg personally. Aides Egil Krogh and David Young under John Ehrlichman’s supervision created the “White House Plumbers”, which would later lead to the Watergate burglaries.

The release of these papers was politically embarrassing to those involved in the Johnson, Kennedy, and Nixon administrations. Nixon’s Oval Office tape from June 14, 1972 shows H. R. Haldeman describing the situation to Nixon:

“Rumsfeld was making this point this morning. To the ordinary guy, all this is a bunch of gobbledygook. But out of the gobbledygook comes a very clear thing. … It shows that people do things the president wants to do even though it’s wrong, and the president can be wrong.”

In admitting to giving the documents to the press, Ellsberg said:

“I felt that as an American citizen, as a responsible citizen, I could no longer cooperate in concealing this information from the American public. I did this clearly at my own jeopardy and I am prepared to answer to all the consequences of this decision.”

He (and his partner Russo) faced charges under the Espionage Act of 1917 and other charges including theft and conspiracy, carrying a total maximum sentence of 115 years. Their trial commenced in 1973, but due to the gross governmental misconduct and illegal evidence gathering, and the defense by Leonard Boudin and Charles Nesson, Judge Byrne dismissed all charges against Ellsberg and Russo.

The Pentagon Papers paint a picture of governmental arrogance, miscalculation, lies and deception. Worse, the McNamara-commissioned study confirmed what many Americans were thinking at the time: They had not been told the truth about the war in Vietnam. Study researchers, reviewing top secret memos, learned that government officials had not fully disclosed the extent of U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia. Even more troubling, official files proved the US Government knew about (at least) the coup d’etat that resulted in the 1963 assassination of South Vietnam’s president, Ngo Dinh Diem, and his brother. The worst was that the incident that our President used to get us into the Vietnam War, the Gulf of Tonkin, was a false-flag non-event (fake). Admiral Stockdale recalled there was no attack the night of August 4, despite our President and reporters telling us there was. The year after Congress passed the Tonkin Resolution, President Johnson joked with reporters about what really happened: “For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there.”

It was the Tonkin Resolution that gave the President powers and public support for any military action against other countries.

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Ellsberg is the recipient of the Inaugural Ron Ridenhour Courage Prize, a prize established by The Nation Institute and The Fertel Foundation. In 1978 he accepted the Gandhi Peace Award from Promoting Enduring Peace. On September 28, 2006 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Award.

Ellsberg later claimed that after his trial ended, the Watergate prosecutor informed him of an aborted plot by Liddy and the “plumbers” to have 12 Cuban-Americans who had previously worked for the CIA to “totally incapacitate” Ellsberg as he appeared at a public rally, though it is unclear whether that meant to assassinate Ellsberg or merely to hospitalize him. In his autobiography, G. Gordon Liddy describes an “Ellsberg neutralization proposal” originating from Howard Hunt, which involved drugging Ellsberg with LSD, by dissolving it in his soup, at a fund-raising dinner in Washington in order to “have Ellsberg incoherent by the time he was to speak” and thus “make him appear a near burnt-out drug case” and “discredit him”. The plot involved waiters from the Miami Cuban community. According to Liddy, when the plan was finally approved, “there was no longer enough lead time to get the Cuban waiters up from their Miami hotels and into place in the Washington Hotel where the dinner was to take place” and the plan was “put into abeyance pending another opportunity”

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“In revealing the workings of government that led to the Vietnam war, the newspapers nobly did precisely that which the Founders hoped and trusted they would do.”

~ Justice Hugo Black