I'd always nod along when Randi Rhodes would say that it's not if it'll happen, but when. And I, like she, always wondered what the catalyst will be that finally lights the fuse.
Back in 2011, the spark that begat the Arab Spring was one of those proverbial straws breaking the camel's back-- a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire to protest his government's treatment of himself and his fellow citizens along with its brazen corruption.
Before dawn on Friday, Dec. 17, as [Mohammed] Bouazizi pulled his cart along the narrow, rutted stone road toward the market, two police officers blocked his path and tried to take his fruit. Bouazizi’s uncle rushed to help his 26-year-old nephew, persuading the officers to let the rugged-looking young man complete his one-mile trek.
The uncle visited the chief of police and asked him for help. The chief called in a policewoman who had stopped Bouazizi, Fedya Hamdi, and told her to let the boy work.
Hamdi, outraged by the appeal to her boss, returned to the market. She took a basket of Bouazizi’s apples and put it in her car. Then she started loading a second basket. This time, according to Alladin Badri, who worked the next cart over, Bouazizi tried to block the officer.
“She pushed Mohammed and hit him with her baton,” Badri said.
Hamdi reached for Bouazizi’s scale, and again he tried to stop her.
Hamdi and two other officers pushed Bouazizi to the ground and grabbed the scale. Then she slapped Bouazizi in the face in front of about 50 witnesses.
Bouazizi wept with shame.
“Why are you doing this to me?” he cried, according to vendors and customers who were there. “I’m a simple person, and I just want to work.”
... After the slap, Bouazizi went to city hall and demanded to see an official. No, a clerk replied. Go home. Forget about it.
Bouazizi returned to the market and told his fellow vendors he would let the world know how unfairly they were being treated, how corrupt the system was.
He would set himself ablaze.
“We thought he was just talking,” said Hassan Tili, another vendor.
A short while later, the vendors heard shouts from a couple of blocks away. Without another word to anyone, Bouazizi had positioned himself in front of the municipal building, poured paint thinner over his body and lit himself aflame.
He was subjected to continued indignities, as enumerated in the Washington Post article. For example, as Bouazizi lay dying in the hospital burn unit, Tunisia's dictator, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali arrived, camera crew in tow.
The president made a show of handing (his mother) Manoubya a check for 10,000 dinars (about $14,000). But the mother said Ben Ali’s staffers took the check back after the cameramen were escorted from the room. “I never got any of it,” she said.
Three weeks later, Bouazizi died.
In early January, the policewoman was arrested, but it was too late. The story had spread, and three months later, a revolution that sprouted in a small village in Tunisia and flowered in Egypt has morphed into a contagion that threatens regimes in Bahrain and Yemen, has enveloped Libya in civil war, and is unsettling even the region’s more placid monarchies, such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
And thus, it began. The flame that Bouazizi used to light himself on fire was the spark that lit the fuse of the powder keg that had slowly heating, though decades of injustice, public humiliation and worse. It finally blew.
Revolutions are explosions of frustration and rage that build over time, sometimes over decades. Although their political roots are deep, it is often a single spark that ignites them — an assassination, perhaps, or one selfless act of defiance.
Of course, the word had to spread. Facebook was the conduit and nothing could stop it. And the rest, as they say, is history.
What will be the spark that mobilizes Americans?
Just before airtime this morning I checked the Nicole Sandler Show Message Board to find a new thread titled, "The Fire Has Been Lit! And It Starts In Ferguson, MO."
An 18-year old young man named Michael Brown was walking down the street with his friend Dorin Johnson, headed for Brown's grandmother's house. According to Johnson, a cop pulled up next to them and said, "Get the F--k on the sidewalk." And that's where the details get sketchy.
The police say that Brown jumped into the police car and fought with the officer over her gun. Witnesses say that Brown ran from the car, only to be hit by a bullet, after which he put his hands up in surrender, only to be shot again in the face and the chest before falling to the ground dead.
Anonymous has taken notice, posting this video online today:
This show of police brutality comes only a week after another black man, Eric Garner, was killed by an overly violent show of police force.
The 43-year-old father of six, who was asthmatic, can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” several times in the footage, and the city’s chief medical examiner confirmed that much on August 1, when he ruled Garner’s death a “homicide by chokehold.”
The militarization of the American police was on global display during the Occupy Wall Street protests which began on Sept 17, 2011, when protesters gathered to occupy a park on, as the name implies, Wall Street.
On November 15, almost a year after Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest police and government actions in Tunisia, police in New York City - decked out in full riot gear regalia - descended on Zuccotti Park, which the occupiers had renamed Freedom Plaza, arresting protesters and journalists alike, injuring many in the process.
Just two days later and thousands of miles to the west, a group of students at the University of California/Davis were exercising their constitutional right to peaceably protest by sitting, silently in a row along a sidewalk when a UC Davis cop walked methodically up and down the row, pepper spraying them.
That incident didn't inspire enough nationwide outrage to get Americans out on the streets, nor did the news that said officer, Lt. John Pike, who was
Appropriately?!?!?! How about the fact that he was then awarded $38,059 in a workers compensation claim, because
Pike, 40, had suffered depression and anxiety brought on by death threats to him and his family. The threats followed the 18 November 2011 protest, the newspaper reported.
Or how about Tony Bologna.. you remember him, right? The Manhattan DA declined to press charges, but the cop was docked 10 vacation days or equivalent pay. Plus,
The NYPD officer caught using pepper-spray on two female Occupy Wall Street protesters in September has been transferred to work in Staten Island.
While that might sound like enough torture for some, Bologna is apparently from Staten Island, so the transfer translates into a shorter commute for the 29-year NYPD veteran.
So, what will it take to light the fuse under Americans, to get us to go to our windows and show "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!"?
I don't know, but I guess it hasn't happened yet...
Today on the show
After talking about the shooting by police death of Michael Brown, it was time to talk about our broken political system.
It was an ugly weekend primary in Hawaii, where the "Republican wing of the Democratic party" had a good night. Governor Neil Abercrombie, the progressive sitting governor was
defeated decimated by centrist David Ige.
On the good news side, Howie announced that Blue America formally endorsed Zephyr Teachout in her bid to unseat New York's ethically-challenged Andrew Cuomo. They've even set up a special Gubernatorial donation page here.
And finally, if you're a regular listener of my show, you know that I think many of our problems are caused by the corporate control of our media. That's one of the reasons I'm such a big fan of The Nation magazine. They're truly independent with no corporate overlords or influence.
I was thrilled to welcome Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, to the show this morning to talk about the situation in Ukraine - and the fact that it's nothing like what you're hearing from the TV so-called "news" programs.
Katrina and her husband, Stephen F. Cohen, set the record straight using history and facts about what's really going on over there in, "Why is Washington Risking War with Russia?", a must-read if you want to know the truth. And for some more background, check out Cohen's "The Silence of American Hawks about Kiev's Atrocities."
It was a great discussion that ventured into much more, and fascinating reading from very smart people whose goal is to report the truth. What a concept!
Tomorrow, the return of the Gliberal Goddesses and whatever else the day brings... radio or not!
How hard did we have to fight to get Iraq back to the Iraqi people and clean up a little of the mess behind?
Breech-birth labor at a minimum, but closer perhaps to the horrors of Vietnam (for us geezers).
It was infuriating for the news networks to run the footage of Dubbyah's absurdly quiet and pragmatic address to the nation when he got his lifelong dream of getting to blow shit up in Iraq for the invisible WMD's.
Paging Cat Stevens, Green Day, Pearl Jam, U2, Neil Young, Yoko Ono and Joan Baez on one cool conference call, your president needs you to do some kicking pacifist songs and get America grooving on what is good about liberals and President Obama.
There's too much Iraq news. Blackwater must be licking their chops, as well as the (celebrating) Military Industrial Complex coffer counters.
Let's first have a look at the hepped up gun fondling war-lovin' extremists over at Fvx Nation.
And a peek at La Palin's channel (laughter is the best medicine). As always apologies for the Fvx in the morning egregiousness.
And Morning Joe went there, naturally. The nausea medicine Zofran is third shelf down in the complimentary TPC cloak room. Take two, it's early yet.
How effing long do we have to protest wars?
I feel like I'm going to be 92, in my best gardening hat, carrying a placard (sarcastic, I'm releasing the inner grumpus at 80-85), and botching ourselves about civil rights, gender equality , LGBTQ and guns.
The Right does little but belly-ache and b i t c h about the current Administration and his Pinko Commie, Arugula Munching Lacker of Feck, related non-deserved and hatin' hatin' hatin' on him for being audacious enough to accept being a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Head Satan of Obamacare, Perpetrator o Impeachable Offenses and Unpresident-like.
And they have ruined tea for many a liberal, Independent (we still have those, right?) and common sense voter.
This is excruciatingly embarrassing, even for the Grand Old Party of Tea. Spite evolved to a powerful lotta' hate fer' the spurious, specious even for the Regressive Right and utter Bizarro World Orwellian (h/t to Lucian) … and the marked Dovish Lack of Cajones for passing on the whole GOP (newest)Gun Fondling craze.
#NoTeaForYou … the Do Nothings have made Inactivity the norm, the status quo for as far the eye can see. The GOP was far more tolerant, thoughtful and intelligent in days of yore.
I'm a life-long tea drinker, great-grand-exponentially-mothered, and my corpus hasn't enjoyed the cafè in twenty years so it's even more of a a kick in the old scones. I've not bought Lipton since I started referring to the Tea People as the Lipton Brigadiers. (And that's perfectly fine for iced tea if you add to it or for the odd nut who wants de-caf-wtf. At dawn.
I fear our prime years as bloggers and those who read our scribblings and comment/expand the grass roots enthusiasm and numbers for us. In other words, The Teatonic Era, Doris Kerns Goodwin's granddaughters will analyze it from a woman's P.O.V. Hope she has a Bean clamming outfit and a hose-sprayered gallon or two of our Method™ Troll Spray.
I'll just leave a short quote and some relevant idiot footage here, see you on the other side. Happy Monday Monday.
In an op-ed published Wednesday by the New York Times, columnist Charles M. Blow destroyed the recent assertion by Republican Congressman Mo Brooks that Democrats and President Obama are waging a war against white people. During an appearance on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham’s show on Monday, Brooks claimed that the Democratic Party is using a strategy to divide everyone by race and show that “whites hate everybody else.” After Ingraham had played a clip from Ron Fournier of the National Journal saying that the GOP has a real problem with Hispanics and that it is becoming the party of white people, Brooks made the following comments:
“This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It’s part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things.”
Balderdash. [Re Ingraham. How in holy hades did Olbermann stand dating her more than one time, and presumably, they had conversations? That was leaning forward a slosh too far.
For some audio footage that might best be heard by helping yourself to a sedative of your choice in the TPC walk-in med closet, here 'ya go. From Right Wing Watch via Politics USA.
Obama gets shite if he sends troops anywhere other than American bases, from both right and the deeply pacifist (yay for us) Dems and Independents. The artwork below I found spot on, though I feel Boehner is perhaps more of a fiddle fellow.
The Morning Schmoe Roundtable had their antlers up.
If you look closely you can just spot the tear of lament on Bo(eh)ner's patriotic to the max face.
This video - and the many linked to below the embed - is about the Yazidi aka the Yezidi - who live primarily in northern Iraz and are being attacked by ISIS.
Here's the Wiki: Yazidi
I have not had time to watch all of these, but here are a few more YouTube videos about the Yazidi.
Each Friday morning, we wrap up our broadcast week with a trip into my musical radio past. Believing that music soothes the savage beast, it was especially useful today as the world has descended into savage madness. More on that in a bit.
Today, our Flashback Friday featured my two interview with the former Police-man, Sting!
I first interviewed him at LA's legendary KSCA fm 101.9 in 1996, in conjunction with the release of his Mercury Falling album. As he noted, our "Music Hall" was named with tongue firmly in cheek, as it was actually a hall-way that led from the main studio to the production room and production office. But the sound that came from our "music hall" was magical.
Sting hadn't done a radio station appearance like this in over a decade, but he was so pleased with our session that he began doing more of them.
Three years later, on October 27, 1999, Sting was touring in support of Brand New Day. In the midst of a four-night stand at the Universal Amphitheater, he joined me in studio again, this time at Channel 103.1, also in Los Angeles, this time with some lucky listeners joining us in studio too.
Soothing the Savage Beast
The beasts certainly need soothing right now as the world seems to be a giant pressure cooker ready to blow. Last night, President Obama took to the TV to announce that he had authorized two types of actions in Iraq: the first, air drops of humanitarian had already begun, the second "targeted" air strikes to protect American interests in Iraq.
The need for humanitarian aid is without question.
U.S. aircraft, escorted by fighter jets, dropped 5,300 gallons of fresh drinking water and 8,000 meals ready to eat. The aircraft were over the drop area for less than 15 minutes flying at a low altitude, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement.
The emergency effort is being deployed to help a group of 40,000 Yazidis, a group of ethnic Kurds, who fled villages in northern Iraq under threat from ISIS.
The Yazidis fled to the Sinjar Mountains, in a remote part of northern Iraq near the border of Syria, where they are stuck without food or water while ISIS forces are gathered at the base of the mountains.
As for the "targeted air strikes," which began early this morning, it's not so clear that bombs are the way to go. My friend David Swanson, one of the founders of World Beyond War, explained in a post this morning he titled "Back in Iraq, Jack. (I guess this is the bad kind of flashback.)
Obama promises no combat troops will be sent back to Iraq. No doubt. Instead it'll be planes, drones, helicopters, and "non-combat" troops. "America is coming to help" finally just sounded as evil as Reagan meant it to, but it was in Obama's voice. The ironies exploded like Iraqi houses on Thursday. While the United States locks Honduran refugee children in cages, it proposes to bomb Iraq for refugees. While Gaza starves and Detroit lacks water, Obama bombs Iraq to stop people from starving. While the U.S. ships weapons to Israel to commit genocide, and to Syria for allies of ISIS, it is rushing more weapons into Iraq to supposedly prevent genocide on a mountaintop -- also to add to the weapons supplies already looted by ISIS.
Flash back a bit further - 40 years ago today this happened...
It seems like yesterday...
And finally, I invited my old friend Judge David Young on the show for a couple of reasons this morning. As the first openly gay judge to sit on the bench in Miami, and the first openly gay man with a TV show (The Judge David Young Show), I wanted his take on the progress Florida is making toward marriage equality. He also gave us some advice on how to vote in judicial elections -- bottom line is DO YOUR RESEARCH!
There's no easy way to figure it out, but he'll help you if you ask nicely!
And with that, we're done for the week.
If we're still standing, we'll be back Monday with Howie Klein and The Steve Israel Hour, and The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel too... Radio or Not.
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