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“Who are you protecting?”…

… was the chant of Occupy Oakland protestors to police during the police riot last night.

Who, indeed?

Meanwhile, a former Marine (“once a Marine, always a Marine”) is in critical condition in an Oakland hospital with a fractured skull after being hit in the forehead with what may have been a tear gas cannister.  Twenty-four-year-old Scott Olsen, who served two tours in Iraq, is a network administrator in Daly City and is now in critical condition in Highland Hospital in Oakland with a fractured skull. TV news tonight on CBS showed ANOTHER police projectile, a flash-bang grenade landing among a group of protesters who gathered to help Olsen. (Oakland police have denied using flash-bang grenades, but they have also denied using rubber bullets. Demonstrators showed TV news reporters HANDFULS of rubber projectiles gathered from the gutters. There were 15 law enforcement groups involved. SOMEBODY was shooting rubber bullets…. Now you see why the presence of cameras EVERYWHERE is a “two-edged sword.”) Olsen had joined a group of protestors who were marching toward City Hall last night after the tent city of Occupy Oakland was destroyed by Oakland police before dawn yesterday. Olsen was a member of the Iraq Veterans Against the War, and that group alleges that Olsen was hit with a police projectile.

(Interim :-) ) “Police Chief Howard Jordan says an internal review board and local prosecutors have been asked to determine if officers on the scene used excessive force.

Multiple attempts by The Associated Press to reach the Oakland police were unsuccessful ahead of a news conference late this afternoon.

International coverage by The Guardian in the UK includes a video of a flash-bang grenade exploding.

Well, there should be even BETTER TV coverage tonight, as demonstrators gather on the steps of City Hall to protest the over-the-top display of force last night. “Chopper 5” from KCBS was circling overhead in the area tonight, just waiting for something to happen.

CNNMoney :-) has a article today about “the 53% percenters” (Who KNOWS what percent of Americans their opinions ACTUALLY represent?) who say that the “Occupy” movement does not represent THEM! I read the article because I thought that the 53% number actually had some SIGNIFICANCE (it is the percentage of Americans who pay taxes.) I’m one of those who pay taxes, and I am one of the 99% who has made little financial progress since 1980. I am also one who supports the “Occupy” demonstrations.) It looks like “53%” was splashed in the title of the CNNMoney article to convince members of the 99% that a majority somehow do not support the “Occupy” movement. :-) Nope. Just another “BS” number being tossed around for propaganda purposes. It looks like the uppermost 1% of income earners have RETAINED their contacts in the traditional media.

What can I say? The 99% of Americans who have made little or NO financial progress since 1980 includes both intelligent people and stupid people. :-)

On my short motorcycle ride to an assignment this morning at 45 degrees Fahrenheit, I spent a little time (all that was really necessary) to answer a question that has somehow PUZZLED some linear thinkers in the media, “Why does the Occupy Wall Street movement have no unified message?” It must baffle “thinking-judging” types because they spend too much time “judging” and not enough time “thinking.”

The answer is very clear.

The “Occupy” movement actually DOES seem to represent the 99% of Americans it claims. There are former students, without jobs, who cannot repay their student loans. There are the homeless, who have LOST their homes in the financial meltdown and recession. There are the ill, who suffer in the totally inadequate health care system that exists in the U.S. There are the aging and the retired, who are concerned that politicians will GUT Social Security and Medicare systems to which they have paid money all of their working lives. There are veterans, like the young former Marine who no longer supports the war in which he risked his life.

In short, and depending upon the city in which the protestor resides, there are a range of people of all ages with a wide range of concerns that have affected each differently – hence, no unified message. The collection of people ARE, however, a strong political force that politicians will ignore at their own peril. :-) They are a collection of people who suddenly came to the realization that their most cherished “Rights,” including those of freedom of speech, freedom of peaceful assembly, the right to keep AND BEAR arms, the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, have been largely STRIPPED from them during their own lifetimes, and they are not quite sure HOW.

The police force is watching The People, and The People just can’t understand.” – Steppenwolf, “Monster” (1969)

As for the question, “Who are you protecting?” that demonstrators chanted to Oakland police – it recalls those scenes from films of revolutions past, in which a police officer or soldier realizes that he is protecting a few of the rich and the powerful and is pointing a weapon at friends, family, and other ordinary people, like himself.

At that point, at least in fiction, the officer or soldier leaves the ranks to join the other side.

-Bill at

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