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Commentary: Peace
The Idiot's Guide to Protesting
One demonstrator needs a lesson in patriot activism.

feedback (at) pitch.com
Local Laura Bush protester Bill Douglas is getting a lot of attention for his bold stand against the First Lady this past September.

The t'ai chi instructor and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi & QiGong was arrested on September 16 while trying to cross Washington Street on his way to protest Mrs. Bush's visit to St. Luke's Hospital. At the time, he says, he was trying to comply with a KCMO police officer's instructions on where he could go to hold his homemade sign, which read "What Is Bush Hiding About 9-11? Stop the 9-11 Coverup!"

Since then, Douglas' account of his harrowing stint in the city jail has become a staple of anti-Bush Web sites and earned him a mention in the lefty magazine The Nation and a nod from Kansas City Star sermonizer Lewis DoGooder.

On the Internet, Douglas is being touted as a prime example of what's wrong with America since the passage of the Patriot Act. This is fueled largely by Douglas himself, whose strident essay about his incarceration refers twice to the draconian police-powers legislation that allows the FBI to pull school records or library check-out information in pursuit of terrorists.

The Patriot Act blows.

But does Bill Douglas' case have anything to do with it?


The 46-year-old protester admits in his own writings that his arrest resulted from a simple misunderstanding.

Douglas says he had no plans to cause a ruckus that day; he merely wanted to hold his sign in whatever area had been set up for protesters. And as soon as he spotted Officer Anthony Hernandez, he asked the cop for directions. Hernandez pointed to where the protest was going on as well as to a police line he told Douglas not to cross.

But after Douglas stepped off the curb to walk away, Hernandez said to him, "What about what I just told you -- didn't you understand, pal?"

Hernandez, plainly, was surprised to see Douglas heading right for the area he'd just told him to avoid. Douglas writes: "The arresting police officer 'assumed' that I intended to cross a police line ... that he'd told me could not be crossed."

Douglas may have intended to do something else, but thankfully, our police forces don't (yet) have the ability to read our minds.

Not exactly the stuff of Guantanamo Bay.

But even more terrifying moments awaited Douglas. While he was sitting in a holding tank, an unidentified officer asked that he be brought out for questioning. The young, dark-haired interrogator asked Douglas what he did for a living. Douglas said he was a writer.

Douglas says the man then asked, "When I look into your writings, will I find anything subversive?"

Douglas knew he had nothing to hide. T'ai chi may be a bit goofy, but no one's using it to advocate an overthrow of the government.

Sources at the police department tell the Pitch that it's unlikely one of their detectives would have taken the time to question a simple protester faced with minor charges. They suggest that the agent who questioned Douglas could have been with the Secret Service. A spokesman at the Kansas City office of the Secret Service says the agency refuses to comment on matters like this.

Are Secret Service officers known for going a little Agent Smith on people who cause disturbances at events involving the president or the first lady? Oh yes, they are. Just ask the young mother who crashed her car last month near a Bush appearance in Mississippi and found herself facing the gun barrels of a half-dozen men in uniform.

In other words, it doesn't seem unusually suspicious for a Secret Service officer, trained to search for the next John Hinckley, to prod Douglas with obnoxious questions.

Douglas goes on to describe his interminable stay in lockdown. "I sat pondering the dozens of people who have been sitting in American jails for many months now, some with no family contact, and some with no legal representation. Those thoughts give you pause, when you are handcuffed, then unhandcuffed, then handcuffed again ... Once in 'the system' you immediately realize that you are completely isolated, and completely powerless."

Yeow! Two hours in custody and the guy's Nelson Mandela already.

Douglas has asked for a continuance, putting off his next court appearance until February so he can have a chance to depose Hernandez -- an almost unheard of practice in such a minor case. Legal experts say he'll pay up to $3,000 to question the cop. The local ACLU declined to intervene -- it doesn't bother with such trivial matters. But the rights organization, Douglas says, has expressed some interest as part of its national effort against recent anti-protester excesses.

This side of beef fully supports the ACLU's attempt to fight "free speech zones" and other dumbass Bush-era tactics to keep protesters away from the president. But is Bill Douglas its poster boy?

Hardly. Douglas' Internet whining about how shocked he was to find that being arrested meant being handcuffed, booked and held in a cage -- who knew? -- makes this flank steak wonder: When did war protesters turn into a bunch of spineless complainers?

No wonder John Ashcroft is winning the war on common sense. Aren't there any fiery protesters left? The kind who aren't afraid to lock arms in a righteous cause and face the prospect of a night in jail with grim determination and a song on their lips?

The Strip figures those days must be long gone.

But no, this slab of protein suddenly remembers that you can still find those kind of dedicated warriors.

Unfortunately, they're in front of abortion clinics.

pitch.com | originally published: December 11, 2003
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Commentary: Protest Activity
This looks like a smear attempt to take the focus away from the (9-11) message and focus on a messenger.
In case you missed it, here is Bill's message:

Why does this Pitch writer refer to himself as "this flank steak, this slab of protein, The Strip"? What the heck does STEAK have to do with this issue? This apologist Pitch writer would not know the true meaning of courage or patriotism for our country if it bit his "sirloin" rear.

To say that Bill Douglas is a whiner is a ridiculous, blatant mischaracterization. Bill has been protesting on the corners with his 9-11 sign, standing virtually "alone" with this important issue for nearly two years. He has earned the respect of activists and leaders within the Kansas City peace and justice community.

The 9-11 Visibility Project website has just been launched, largely due to Bill's (substantial volunteer) contributions. Read about this 9-11 Visibility Project at this brand new successful website (over 500 visitors a day):

Here is a November 16th interview with Bill Douglas for those interested (perhaps someone at The Pitch took OFFENSE to this opening paragraph):


An Interview with Bill Douglas

In a December 2, 2002 BUZZFLASH.com
Commentary, you stated that,
"The obvious media bias is the most
dangerous threat to US democracy."
Q: Do you still believe this statement to be true?

A: Yes, IF we had a real critical investigatory media
there would be such outrage in this country about
Bush's theft of the election, his deception to get us
into this war, his cover up of the Enron scandal, the
failures on 9-11, etc. It is the failure of U.S. media
that is largely responsible for the disasters facing
America. The Bushes, Cheneys, Rumsfelds and
Wolfowitzes would not have any popular support if
the corporate media did it's job.



Commentary: Peace
The article in no way smears the 9-11 Visibility Campaign regardless of its detracting our focus away from the war and into the realm of conspiracy theories. It does, however, put us back to task in terms of stepping up our commitment to stopping this war.

For those of us who are somewhat tired of the direction Mr. Douglas and the cult of personality surrounding him is taking us, we are reminded that there are people resisting this war and are much more serious about it, serious enough to take actions which might land us in the pen for more than two hours. There were folks in San Francisco earlier this year getting shot at by cops and were rounded up and jailed en masse.

Further, the article appropriately mentions that his arrest has absolutely nothing to do with the Patriot Act. If we insist on assuming every piece of state repression is due entirely to the Patriot Act, it will be even easier for our critics to point to our logical shortcomings.

Commentary: Peace
The writers of this Pitch hit piece use unethical journalism tactics to insinuate, omit explainations, and add unfounded opinions to present their predetermined agenda.

Funny, but I have not seen you at the Iraq Task Force meetings Max. Let me share my observations of the last two meetings that I witnessed. The clear majority of those present expressed (strong) enthusiasm and support for Bill's and the 9-11 Visibility group's efforts.

The one young man always voices the same (divisive and insulting) arguments that you have expressed here, but he was the ONLY one who shared those concerns, at either meeting. So who specifically is this 'cult of personality' that you refer to? Would it include the 200 people who showed up at the November 28th event (a bitter cold day)?

Bill's reference to the Patriot Act has been taken out of context also. Bill has stated that the Patriot Act "creates an environment" for intimidation and makes these type of abuses seem acceptable. Hard to disagree with.

For the Pitch to claim that Bill Douglas lacks backbone or patriotism is incredulous beyond belief. Bill Douglas has more courage, creativity and patriotism than any person I have had the honor of knowing. Bill activly protested the Iraq war, as well as contributed valuable media work in the local Iraq Task Foce effort to try to stop it. Bill has served in Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugee camps as an international observer under the UN in the 80's in war torn
Honduras. Certainly not the picture of a coward that I hold.

On the other hand, I personally doubt that Mr. Ortega (or his co-writer) will ever care enough about their fellow man (or be brave enough) to stand in protest to Governmental injustice.

The reality we face is that the 9-11 Commission expires in May. The current administration has been continually stonewalling and obstructing this 9-11 Committee's Investigation. Public pressure to stop the 9-11 Cover-up needs to be applied now. The 9-11 victim's families deserve the truth about the events.


Commentary: Peace
Also, this author has probably never spent a minute behind bars. If he had he would know where bill is kcoming from in his writing. Imagine being put in jail while holding his 9/11 sign. The second those doors close your mind is racing. How long will I be here? What are they going to do to me? Especially in this Patriot Act era where animal rights protestors in Little Rock and Tulsa have been locked up for passing out flyers as terrorists.


Anyway to then have the cops come in and ask you about your writing!!!!!! That should scare the living shit out of writers everywhere from indymedia to whrereever this slab of beef cooks.

The tender young sirloin that wrote this crap doesn't know the first thing about radical leftism or he would know that Mumia, Peltier, the kids in jail in Miami and at the School of the Americas right now, and the countless others sitting in jail right now as American Political Prisoners have way more backbone and commonsense than the "pro-life or well kill you crowd"

Why didn't this guy write about what Bush is hiding instead of making fun of a true patriot? Typical Blame the victim mentality and it sucks.

Commentary: Peace
In all fairness. I have attended the peace vigils. I have attended kc iraq task force meetings. I appreciate all the work that has been done by them to raise awareness to this unjust war.

However. I think in your own argument Jan, you have pointed out my own reasoning for not returning to meetings. It seems as though there is a sort of a "cult" per say that is leading the task force. If you agree with the main leaders you are encouraged and welcomed to stay. Otherwise, if new ideas are intoduced that person is made to feel isolated and unwelcomed. Not the sort of all-inclusive group that spawns a strong movement.

I do not know anything about the case of young man who attended the meeting. But it seemed as though he had some serious concerns based on what you wrote.

"The one young man always voices the same (divisive and insulting) arguments that you have expressed here, but he was the ONLY one who shared those concerns, at either meeting."

Maybe instead of taking the persons concerns personally, you could try to see if there is some validity. And keep in mind. We are all the minority in this country. If you can easily dismiss a persons concerns because "it is only one person" then you shouldnt be surprised when your whole movement is dismissed because it's only 1% of the population. Sometimes the minority can be right.

sorry for the rant. Good luck Bill.

Commentary: Peace
Atendee writes: "I think in your own argument Jan, you have pointed out my own reasoning for not returning to meetings. It seems as though there is a sort of a "cult" per say that is leading the task force. If you agree with the main leaders you are encouraged and welcomed to stay. Otherwise, if new ideas are intoduced that person is made to feel isolated and unwelcomed. Not the sort of all-inclusive group that spawns a strong movement."

There are a lot more than just Atendee who feel this way and do not attend Iraq Task Force meetings for this very reason.

Commentary: Peace
"Anyway to then have the cops come in and ask you about your writing!!!!!! That should scare the living shit out of writers everywhere from indymedia to whrereever this slab of beef cooks."

It would scare the shit out of political writers, but I doubt that it will intimidate him next time he is writing a Tai Chi manual.

"The tender young sirloin that wrote this crap doesn't know the first thing about radical leftism or he would know that Mumia, Peltier, the kids in jail in Miami and at the School of the Americas right now, and the countless others sitting in jail right now as American Political Prisoners have way more backbone and commonsense than the "pro-life or well kill you crowd"

Completely valid. But Bill was not a political prisoner nor is he really a proponent of 'radical leftism.' Nay, the conspiracy theory crowd belongs in a fringe category of kooks who do not have any part in the tradition of leftist thought in the United States. I really doubt that serious radicals (or middle America for that matter) will have any difficulty dismissing the words of a Tai Chi instructor nor will they have any difficulty dismissing a movement which has selected as its figureheads New Age mystics like Douglas.

Commentary: Peace
Atendee--Please know that the young man has had multiple opportunities to share his concerns, and they have been taken into consideration. He has not been lightly dismissed by the 9-11 Visibility Project, and I'm sure he would agree that we have been respectful of him. There are MANY different thoughts on this issue, and our only goal is to get people to think and question and demand answers.

Those of you who would dismiss the 9-11 Visibility Project as a bunch of conspiracist kooks may wish to check out news coverage outside the U.S. The rest of the world seems to think the 9-11 coverup and recent lawsuit filed against Bush et al. by Ellen Mariani is worth covering. Why is it we have to get news about alleged crimes in our country's government from Canada and New Zealand and Germany?

Perhaps if we could devote half the time we generally spend typing spiteful comments in response to others' valid points, to demanding media coverage of this administration's myriad lies/distortions/coverups, we'd make some progress!

Max, it is my opinion that you need to retract your "new age mystic" comment about Bill Douglas. And frankly, suggesting that those of us who believe that the truth is not being told, "the conspiracy theory crowd [that] belongs in a fringe category of kooks who do not have any part in the tradition of leftist thought in the United States," are invalid is a bit much, too! Are we to understand that only anarchists and those who advocate the violent overthrow of the government are worthy of your designation as worthwhile protestors? In that case, I assume you leave Dr. King out of your list of those who are a part of the tradition of leftist thought. Perhaps you could make a constructive criticism of our efforts and suggest what you see as a valid alternative that will force our media and government to accountability?


Commentary: Peace
The Pitch has taken a "courageous" stand (NOT) taking on an activist working for truth about 9-11, while the Pitch apparently is incapable of finding the spine to take on Bush's 9-11 cover up.

9-11 widow, Ellen Mariani, filed a lawsuit Nov. 26 under the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The suit alleges that President Bush and other officials knowingly and willfully failed to act to prevent the murder of her husband, Louis Neil Mariani, who was a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175, which crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
See Government Executive Magazine http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1203/121203lb.htm

The Pitch didn't cover the Marian suit against Bush. The Pitch's priorities are laudable . . . er, I mean "laughable." (sorry, that was a Pitchism slip) As 9-11 families are screwed, lied to, and manipulated by the Bush Administration for two years . . . the Pitch ignores that, and focuses it's pages on attacking a protester for exercising his LEGAL rights, and fighting for the 9-11 families in their struggle with Bush for 9-11 truth.

That protester was me. I can only take a moment to comment here, because unlike the Pitch, I am working hard to support the 9-11 families, and to call the Bush Administration to task for their failings before and on 9-11, and their false claims that we need endless wars and curtailed civil liberties. See www.septembereleventh.org

On my arrest. The Pitch chose to leave out some CRUCIAL FACTS. This isn't surprising when you realize that Pitch "writer" Ortega asked me over the phone, "You demonstrators expect to get arrested, don't you?" I told Ortega, that his thinking in those terms is a danger to the future of our democracy. SO THE MEDIA THINKS THAT PROTESTERS SHOULD EXPECT TO BE ARRESTED??!! PERHAPS IN THE PITCH'S BUSH/ORWELL POST 9-11 WORLD. But, not in the America I think most of us believe in. The Pitch might want to look up the 1st Amendment, or I could explain it to them if it's too difficult for them to interpret.

I was arrested in a "legal" crosswalk, crossing a "legal/unblocked" street, attempting to get to a "legal" protest area that I had asked the policeman for directions to. The Pitch conveniently failed to mention there were many people wandering around on the "other side" of the "legal" street I was arrested while "legally" crossing, people who were closer to the police line than I was. The only difference between me and them is I had a protest sign, and I got arrested and they were left alone.

It's worth mentioning that it appears likely that Nadia, the Pitch reporter (working with Ortega), infiltrated my defense under false pretenses with the express purpose of creating a hit piece on me. I came to this conclusion when I contacted her after this amazing and even more disgusting Pitch hit piece and she giggled the entire time I talked to her, as if she'd really pulled one over on me. (Some folks are easily entertained I guess).

I should've known something was up, because during interviews with Nadia, time and again, I said this story shouldn't be about ME, but about the 9-11 families struggle to force their own president to provide the full truth about 9-11. Each time I'd bring this up, Nadia would look really bored, and her eyes would glaze over as if she was incapable of comprehending what I was talking about.

I also should have been tipped off when I asked her how she got into writing. Assuming she'd been inspired by Murrow, or some great journalist . . . it was striking when she replied, "Oh I just knew somebody who told me about this job."

So the "journalists" (apparently just hired off the street)at the Pitch don't seem to be driven by much moral force, and they consider it a victory to bamboozle a sincere activist, when the Bush Admin. is getting away with a mass cover up.

I guess in the Pitch's bizarro world this is something to be proud of. Others of us have bigger fish to fry.

If you'd like to join people across the U.S. in demanding the truth about 9-11, visit www.septembereleventh.org

Or if you revel in the thrill of setting up activists for your own trivial entertainment . . . then read the Pitch. They're pretty good at that.

Bill Douglas, National 9-11 Visibility Project

Commentary: Peace
Jan: Focus on something broader, avoid fad issues and stick to the big picture, avoid conspiracy analysis and stick to institutional analysis (see article at http://kcindymedia.org/newswire/display/1132/index.php).

Commentary: Peace
Max, 9-11 Cover Up is the last thing from a "fad" issue. I find it highly suspicious that the Max's of the world want all of us to let Bush slide for bizarrely covering up documents relating to 9-11.

- Bush & Cheney called Daschle and ordered him NOT to investigation 9-11 (this should send up red flags for anyone)
- Bush is illegally blocking the 28 redacted pages of Saudi involvement in 9-11
- Given that Bush ordered the FBI head of terrorist investigations, John O'Neill to "back off" the Bin Laden & Al Qaeda investigations BEFORE 9-11,
- and the fact that Bush allowed a private jet to fly around the U.S. immediately after 9-11 (while no Americans were allowed to fly) to carry the Bin Laden family and Saudi officials out of the country is highly suspicious
- Of course that's only the tip of the iceburg. The CIA Station Chief in Dubai met with Bin Laden just weeks before 9-11 (when Bin Laden was on our most wanted list), and did not arrest him, then the CIA station chief flew back to DC for high level meetings
- the Head of Pakistani Intelligence sent lead hijacker, Mohammed Atta, $100,000 weeks before 9-11, and then the Pakistani Intelligence chief flew to Washington for high level meetings with Bush before and on 9-11
- Why did Aschroft stop flying commercial jet liners weeks before 9-11
- How is it that 7 heads of state and/or their intelligence agencies warned Bush of coming attacks, yet Bush claimed to have been "caught by surprise" on 9-11, and had no interceptor jets available at Andrew's airforce base 12 miles from the Pentagon on 9-11?
- Why did the DOD site show that indeed there WERE interceptor jets at Andrews on 9-11, but the DOD went back and altered their site AFTER 9-11, to make it agree with their story that the planes weren't there.
- Why did all standard flight intercept procedures break down on 9-11 (procedures that are followed routinely normally)?
- Why did the FAA wait an unprecedented 30 minutes to call NORAD on 9-11?
- Why are both the FAA and DOD refusing to turn over the documents on this incident and breakdown?
- Why is Bush ILLEGALLY blocking release of the PDB's (Presidential Daily Briefings) that show what Bush knew of the coming attacks? - Condazeeza Rice says it's because they were SO GENERAL, that they couldn't have told Bush anything important, SO BEST SELLING AUTHOR MICHAEL MOORE, IN HIS LATEST #1 BEST SELLING BOOK, "DUDE, WHERE'S MY COUNTRY?" . . . he asks, "Condazeeza, if the PDB's are SO GENERAL . . . why can't we see them? GREAT QUESTION MICHAEL.

There are MANY more questions unanswered, which is why 9-11 widow Ellen Mariani is turning down the Bush bribe to shut her up, and is going ahead with a RICO raketeering suit against Bush for not preventing 9-11, when he had the warning to do so, and his subsequent 9-11 cover up?

For more information on how you can help demand the truth for 9-11 families and for all of us since Bush "uses" 9-11 as his rationale for attacking the environment, unions, endless wars, and curtailed civil liberties . . . it's in your best interest to demand the truth as well, contact:

[in our first week of releasing this website, we got 76,000 hits. Americans want the truth, and we're gonna get it!]

Commentary: Peace
Too bad the Boston Globe DEFENDS 1st amendment rights, and the Pitch Weeky ATTACKS THEM!! Maybe the Pitch's Ortega thinks we should ALL MOVE TO BOSTON. Might not be a bad idea, eh. Except that I do love the Chiefs. Well we can always just read the Boston Globe, and wrap our fish in the Pitch.

Post-9/11 limits on dissent claimed
Law enforcement cites terror threat
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff, 12/14/2003

WASHINGTON -- Two years into the post-Sept. 11 era, police across the country are cracking down on street protests, and federal prosecutors are invoking obscure laws to punish activists whose aggressive displays of political expression were once more tolerated, according to groups as diverse as Operation Rescue and Greenpeace.

. . . In South Carolina, Brett Bursey held a sign that read "No Blood For Oil" outside the gate of an airport where President Bush was speaking in October 2002, and was arrested for refusing to move to a "free speech zone" a half-mile away out of Bush's sight. After state trespassing charges were dropped, the office of US Attorney Strom Thurmond Jr.charged Bursey under a little-used statute that allows the Secret Service to restrict areas to protect the president. Having documented more than a dozen such recent incidents around the country, the American Civil Liberties Union has recently filed a lawsuit against the US Secret Service for what it says is a pattern of either the selective removal of anti-Bush protesters while pro-Bush protesters are allowed to remain, or the removal of all who are engaged in political speech while passersby are allowed to keep using the sidewalk.

"We have noticed over the last couple of years that protesters are being treated differently than they used to be by the Secret Service," said an ACLU lawyer, Chris Hansen. "We lose liberty bit by bit by bit, so you have to fight even the small erosions of fundamental rights."

A Secret Service spokeswoman, Ann Roman, said only: "We have a longstanding policy of recognizing constitutionally protected rights of the public to demonstrate."

John Noakes, a University of Pennsylvania lecturer who has studied protests, said that he believes a shift in law enforcement attitude began with the violent 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, but that Sept. 11 gave it the financing, justification, and public support to act on its fears that protests had become unpredictable and dangerous.

Civil libertarians and political theorists worry that if law officials have become permanently less tolerant of unruly styles of political speech, both free speech rights and the national political conversation will be diminished in a new post-Sept. 11 "normalcy."

Commentary: Peace
ACLU denies Pitch's assertion that Douglas case is "frivalous"

KC ACLU Atty Dick Kurtenbach denied Pitch claim that Douglas's case is "frivolous" and insists that it has serious 1st amendment concerns that they are looking at.

Kurtenbach plans to write a letter to be published in the Pitch detailing this issue.

So, we now see the Pitch "makes things up" as they go along, so it's safe to say that very little else they had to say on this issue holds much water. The Pitch does make good fish wrap though.

Commentary: Peace
It's pretty sad that the KC Pitch trivializes this blatant assault on our civil liberties. But I've learned from much experience with these so-called "alternative" newsweeklies that their brand of journalism is of the Wal-mart variety, not the Woodward and Bernstein variety. In fact, I've felt better after reading my words misrepresented in national newspapers and magazines than I have about newsweekly articles about activism that focus more on style than substance.

What happened to Bill Douglas is no trivial matter. Police assault on our first amendment rights have been going on for a long time and the Patriot Acy just gives them the green light. My first encounter with this despicable police tactics of keeping protesters away from events was in Chicago during the 1996 Democraic Convention. There the police created a protest corral in a remote parking lot at the United Center. We as free people have a right to protest AT the event, or, at least on the sidewalks and streets outside.

The constant petty police harassment of activists on the streets led a bunch of us to start doing the infamous black bloc tactic in the late 1990s. We figured that if the cops were going to abuse our rights that we might as well band together to assert our rights and defend ourselves from police attacks. Whatever you have heard about the black ignores this crucial reason for why we do the balck bloc: to protect ourselves from police violence and to assert our basic human rights.

The police are a gang of armed thugs who are in league with those rich people who are conducting a brutal class war against us working people. They have been conducting this war against us for centuries, which is why we should view this struggle as a war. Respond accrodingly based on your tactical preference, but keep in mind that the police won't listen and will not stop being a problem until there are no more police.

Commentary: Peace
The Pitch article was pretty disgusting, as well as being quite badly written (what was all that "this slab of sirloin" stuff all about? A journalist-wannabe's cute literary device or what?)

There have been plenty of examples of police abuse in this country's history and I condone none of it. While the excesses in Chicago and most recently the incredible excesses in Miami for the FTAA (funded in large part with an $8.5 million chunk of Bush's $87 billion rebuild Iraq gift from congress for Halliburton) are very troubling, I am not ready to entertain the idea of doing without police altogether.

I have even heard Bill Douglas speak well of the police in Kansas City in other interactions he has had with them. I don't like what I hear about hassling protestors like Bill, and I don't like to hear about police surveillance of the plaza protestors exercising their constitutional right to assemble. If police were out of line, they should be called on it.

I also know firsthand that all cops are NOT thugs.

The major corporate media have failed us miserably - for a long time - but notably in the cheerleading buildup to war. Despite major failure in that arena by a majority of the most prominent "journalists", I am not ready to do away with journalism altogether, and I don't relish living without a police department even if I don't like everything that they do or how they do it all the time. Without in any way excusing any excesses or abuses, when I look at union dockworkers shot with wooden bullets in California and the tear gas and tazers and rubber bullets used around the country, I think the police in Kansas City have shown a lot of restraint. I have no illusions about easily reforming the media or reforming anything else. But what is the alternative? No cops at all? I know some think that would be okay, but I don't think very many people would really care to try that.

Every year there are new young police officers coming out of the academy and most them are not particularly political and have not bought into any tradition of being thugs for the corporate powers. Painting them all with a broad brush and pushing them into an insular culture isn't going to make them better police. One high ranking corrupt corporate lackey thug like Timoney (sp?) in Miami is one too many...

The idea of convincing rank and file cops who do a very stressful and often dangerous job for not a huge amount of money that they should look on us as allies rather than enemies might be quite naive. But that idea has a lot more truth in it in terms of this corporate struggle, and other alternatives strike me as even more hopeless. All I can see the other alternatives leading to is a screwed up French or Russian style revolution to be co-opted by more thugs with worse excesses.

Commentary: Peace
"The local ACLU declined to intervene -- it doesn't bother with such trivial matters."

I called the local ACLU about this Pitch sentence today. The man I spoke with said that he had not even spoken with the writer Ortega about Bill's case. He also assured me that the local ACLU had spent considerable time in discussion with Bill Douglas and his attorney, about this arrest case and that the ACLU would certainly not waste their valuable resources if they considered Bill's case "trivial", as this Pitch article implies. Outragous.

email the editor:
cj.janovy (at) pitch.com