Archives for category: Revolution

riot gear evolution

Protesting is not new to Berkeley California.  The protests of the 1960’s made Berkeley and the campus of the University of California at Berkeley infamous for putting the spotlight on government abuses.  As the protests of police injustice and brutality from the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases are spreading across the country, it is not surprising that once again  Berkeley  is stepping up to add its voice to the protest.

Abuse of power is not new to history nor is the revolt of the people against it.  Although we may believe that society is improved by laws and constraints on human behavior by those in authority, the reality is that the progress of democracy and freedom has always been sourced from a grass roots uprising of the people and not grand gestures by those in power.

The roots of our freedom as Americans goes back to our Anglo-Saxon roots from our mother country -England.  The abuses of British Monarchs sparked revolts that lead to documents securing liberty for the people from the Magna Carta  to the Declaration of Independence.

These revolts have continued throughout our history to move us to a freer society.

If we look at the protests of Berkeley California and the results of those protests, they are a testament to the power of the people.

In May 13, 1960:  Several hundred Berkeley students protest the hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in San Francisco. When the demonstrators are barred from the hearing room, a loud scuffle breaks out. The police turn on high-pressure fire hoses and blast the crowd down the marble steps. Officers arrest 64 people, including 31 Berkeley students, but instead of discouraging the protest, the confrontation becomes a call to arms. The next day 5,000 people protest the HUAC hearings at San Francisco City Hall. [Rosenfeld, 2002] http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/MRC/pacificaviet.html

These protests lead to the end of the communist witch hunts allowing for freedom of thought and organization of even those who might hold to un-American beliefs.

From 1960 through 1972 nearly every year there was at least one if not more organized protests spear headed by the University of California at Berkeley students and in some cases faculty.  These were directed at the Vietnam War, The draft, and yes, racial injustice as well, like the current protests.  What were the results of the actions of the people? They were the end of the war in Vietnam, the end of the draft and improvements in race relations.

In the 1970’s Berkeley’s activism included the women’s movement beginning with a protest calling for child care on campus for faculty and students.  In 1986 Berkley protests sparked divestment of University holdings in South Africa -a large step in ending  Apartheid .  Both of these efforts caused a shift in society towards more freedom.

There is a place in Berkeley called   People’s Park .  It was the gathering place for activists in the sixties that offered more free speech than the steps of UC- controlled Sproul Hall. There was a battle over the property and Governor Reagan tried to fence it off, but the People prevailed and the development of the property was halted.  It has fallen into disrepair but continues to be a reminder of the Power of the Berkeley rebellions and the Power of the People.

So, now as we issue in a new era of protest and the beginnings of a new revolution, we can be assured that the people have spoken and abuses will end, and as with those of the past we will move one step closer to a freer society.

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We seem to be on the precipice of another World War thanks to the crisis in the Ukraine.

In my previous blog “Tarnished Olympic Rings Sochi 2014” I ranted about the hypocrisy of the Olympics (a symbolic effort towards world peace and harmony) being held in Russia, while a mere 866 miles away a revolution was in full force in Kiev, Ukraine.  This revolution was based at least partially on the doings of Vladimir Putin’s Russian Regime.

Since then, certain evidence has come to light putting partial responsibility for the revolution to the encouragement and support of the United States. http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/03/andrew-p-napolitano/us-machinations-in-the-ukraine/

Now my interpretation of these events and the Olympics is different. In the same way Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron’s army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring, in The Return of the King, Putin’s gaze was drawn to the Olympics.  With Putin’s attention otherwise engaged, the revolution faced no intervention from him, and therefore the success of the pro-democracy, pro-EU/Western protestors was guaranteed.

The President of the United States is known for saying in his bid for re-election in 2012 in response to Mitt Romney’s assertion that Russia was our #1 threat, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because … the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/030414-692064-russia-and-china-unite-over-ukraine.htm#ixzz2vDEfwpsk

Not only is the Cold War not over but it would appear that the U.S. is stirring the coals and fanning the flames. The good news is that at the height of the Cold War in the late 80’s Russia peaked at 45,000 (wikepedia) nuclear warheads and is currently down to 1720 that are operational. (http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2013/03/world/nuclear-weapon-states/#usa)

The US peaked out at about 30,000 weapons in 1955 and is currently down to 2,150 that are operational.

I am not sure what comfort these numbers are considering the fact that the detonation of 2 nuclear warheads in Nagasaki and Hiroshima resulted in the deaths of over 200,000 people.

The fear of these armaments keeps us in a perpetual game of chess.  It is this fear that diverted intervention in Syria as the Russian bear put its paws in place to step in.

George Orwell was the first to use the term “cold war” and his quote aptly describes our current state of enslavement to this fear.

For forty or fifty years past, Mr. H. G. Wells and others have been warning us that man is in danger of destroying himself with his own weapons, leaving the ants or some other gregarious species to take over. Anyone who has seen the ruined cities of Germany will find this notion at least thinkable. Nevertheless, looking at the world as a whole, the drift for many decades has been not towards anarchy but towards the reimposition of slavery. We may be heading not for general breakdown but for an epoch as horribly stable as the slave empires of antiquity. James Burnham’s theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications—that is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a state which was at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of “cold war” with its neighbours.[1]( “You and the Atomic Bomb”, published October 19, 1945, in the British newspaper Tribune.)

We can only hope and pray that the war between Russia and the US stays “cold”. Any heat in this conflict will surely be the end of civilization as we know it.

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I have noticed a disturbing trend on TV in the new fall season. There is an increase in the kind of graphic violence being portrayed.  The show The Walking Dead is gaining a growing following.  The premiere show of the season had a viewership of  over 16 million viewers.

I saw The Walking Dead display at Comic Con San Diego 2013.  It was a replica of the prison enclosure used in the show complete with barbed-wire fence and zombies walking within the enclosure.  Unlike the TV show, this enclosure was built to keep the zombies in.  In the TV show the enclosure is to protect the unaffected humans from the growing population of zombies in the world outside.

Because I am a student of popular culture, I decided to watch the premiere episode.  I  recently saw the cast on an afternoon talk show and found out that one of my favorite actors was on the show.  This also increased my curiosity about the show.

In the episode I watched, from what I can put together, there was a young boy who had some type of compassion for the undead and was feeding them rats and other small animals.  In the process, he became infected with the disease that created the zombies.  Once he transforms he immediately starts feeding on the closest live human being who is asleep on the cot in the room with him.

As he feasts, we are witness to a grisly scene full of lots of blood and gore as he tears at the man’s flesh with his hands and disembowels him so he can feast on his organs as well.  Somehow the man is still living when he is found by some of the unaffected humans.  They realize that he is now infected with the zombie disease so they must stab him in the cerebellum to destroy his brain and end his undead existence.

There are several more gory bloody scenes in the show, but that was probably the most disturbing.  The Walking Dead is on the AMC channel.  The shows on AMC are known for breaking tradition with the kind of censorship that the so-called Network TV shows have.  It boasts Mad Men and Breaking Bad which both push the limits of what is acceptable viewing on TV-Mad Men for its sex, Breaking Bad for its violence and both for their storylines of depraved humanity.

I must say though, that in watching the new shows on the Network channels, I have to wonder if the censors are on hiatus based on the kind of violence I have seen. The Black List  is a new show on NBC about a criminal operative who turns himself in to the FBI. He gains immunity by helping to expose the list of criminals that he formerly worked with.  The two shows I have seen included stories about a serial killer and an assassin who used gruesome techniques of torture and murder on their victims. In these tales we view these acts in bloody detail.

Another popular show on NBC is Revolution.  It is a tale of a post-apocalyptic America full of brutal violence and torture as well.

The increase in graphic violence and its subsequent increase in popularity among TV viewers cause me to ask the question “Is violence the new porn?”  Is there a growing addiction among Americans for blood and gore and violence? Some of this, I am sure is influenced by the increase in graphic violence in video games and their influence on the culture.  But I have to wonder where will this addiction lead?   There is no question that there is an increase in violence in the real world as well, perhaps as a result of the virtual violence that is experienced in video games, TV and movies.

2012 showed a 1.1 increase in violent crime and a 11% increase in violence against property for the first time in 6 years.  As the violence portrayed for us increases so does the violence we experience.  The greed of network producers causes them to refuse to accept responsibility for how they are affecting society, but continue to increase the dosage to increase the addiction and the dependence of the audience.

So I for one say no.  I will break the addiction and choose more positive influences.

And as the Bible teaches

Philippians 4:8

[ Meditate on These Things ] Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.