A bunch of things going on in the news today could impact all our lives and determine which direction to run before it’s all over. They all have to do with power and powerlessness in some way.
More than two weeks since the tunnel boring machine Bertha was restarted, and all is going well. She’s been making her way through about 35 feet of dirt per week.
We are promised she’ll be done boring in about a year.
So, besides biting our knuckles until Inauguration Day 2017 over the future of the country and worrying some nut gets into the White House who will continue the U.S. rush to Third World status, we also get to wake up every morning for a year wondering if Bertha has crashed again while we slept. As people, we seem to be powerless to stop Bertha, which has a wall of money driving it forward. Only dirt can stop her.
The most interesting headline I’ve seen lately said, “Anonymous demands solution to Sacramento homeless issue.” Sacramento has been doing sweeps, or cleanups, or cleansings, of homeless camps such as I have recently written about happening in Seattle. So people protested and some got arrested. Anonymous put out a video saying they didn’t appreciate that and promised to bring the formidable talents of the legion of Anonymous to the city.
Or to the city’s computers? The threat was vague.
Needless to say, Anonymous could be anyone. Ha ha, I’ve always wanted an excuse to say that. No, it’s the Anonymous who run the YouTube page Anonymous ★ Legion, accept no substitutes.
The video is fairly reasonable apart from the veiled threat to bother Sacramento city councilmembers or to disrupt computer usage.
It is true that sweeps of homeless encampments violate the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, the one that forbids cruel and unusual punishment.
It is in fact cruel to punish human beings for sleeping.
Sacramento is not the only city that needs to hear that message.
Anonymous is a vigilante group. It’s interesting how people’s view of vigilantism depends on the politics of the vigilantes.
Speaking of protest groups and collective political actions, how about those people in Oregon?
You know who I’m talking about, because they have had excellent press coverage. The guys calling themselves militiamen/ranchers who occupied a vacant federal building at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, in a seeming attempt to recreate the Battle of Little Bighorn with them in the role of American Indians.
I have to note the irony implicit in the occupation of a national wildlife refuge by some of our nation’s wildlife. But the refuge was intended for birds.
I also have to think ranching must be a better business than I thought it was if ranchers can drop everything and leave the cows and sheep or whatever it is they ranch and vacation for weeks at a bird sanctuary in the boonies of Eastern Oregon.
It all reminds me of a collective action that was taken back in my days as a student at the University of Washington. A building, Thompson Hall, was briefly occupied by a couple of student groups in March 1970. While it was being occupied, I watched firearms being smuggled into the building in anticipation of a possible shootout with the police.
As it happened, the protesters at that occupation decided that was not the time or the place to die, so soon after the police arrived they announced a tactical success and retreated from the building.
I seem to recall that they released an announcement of their decision to depart containing the phrase “Ha ha, made you flinch!”
If the federal government still hasn’t used force to try to remove the occupiers at Malheur, maybe it will be because the Obama administration will still be calculating whether or not the occupiers have any desire to live, or whether the whole thing is a mass suicide-by-cops à la Waco.
Is the Force weak with the militiamen?