On Monday, Danny Chaoflux and Nova had their home invaded by a man on the run from the cops. Nova escaped with his son but Danny and the other housemates were taken hostage and had to fight their way free. Now their home is in shambles thanks to the attacker’s gun fire and the police’s tear gas canisters.
While there are many good reasons for members of the Occupy movement to related to the rehabilitated image of Guy Fawkes/”V”, I am personally convinced that the image of Krampus could potentially be a much more effective iconic symbol of the Occupy movement, especially in the coming weeks leading up to Christmas which is arguably one of the biggest and most lucrative times of year for large banking institutions and corporations that have been shown to have connections to less-than-equitable business practices. Krampus represents responsibility and accountability for one’s actions while more than willing to punish those who engage in harmful practices – business and otherwise.
The author lists out five reasons that Krampus would be better than Fawkes:
-Encourages radical community involvement.
-Actually aims to punish wrong-doings.
-Horns are much scarier than a mask and pantaloons.
-Makes reasonable demands.
-Hasn’t been usurped by Time Warner and was never a Papist tool.
Last year I participated in KrampusCon in Portland. It would be fun to connect this with Occupy. I don’t think Krampus necessarily has to replace any other mascot or symbol, but it sure would be fun to see a Krampus contingent!
I was out of state when this happened, otherwise I probably would have covered this sooner. As usual, Glenn Greenwald delivers the goods:
It may very well be that the FBI successfully and within legal limits arrested a dangerous criminal intent on carrying out a serious Terrorist plot that would have killed many innocent people, in which case they deserve praise. Court-approved surveillance and use of undercover agents to infiltrate terrorist plots are legitimate tactics when used in accordance with the law.
But it may also just as easily be the case that the FBI — as they’ve done many times in the past — found some very young, impressionable, disaffected, hapless, aimless, inept loner; created a plot it then persuaded/manipulated/entrapped him to join, essentially turning him into a Terrorist; and then patted itself on the back once it arrested him for having thwarted a “Terrorist plot” which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI’s own concoction. Having stopped a plot which it itself manufactured, the FBI then publicly touts — and an uncritical media amplifies — its “success” to the world, thus proving both that domestic Terrorism from Muslims is a serious threat and the Government’s vast surveillance powers — current and future new ones — are necessary. […]
We hear the same exact thing over and over and over from accused Terrorists — that they are attempting to carry out plots in retaliation for past and ongoing American violence against Muslim civilians and to deter such future acts. Here we find one of the great mysteries in American political culture: that the U.S. Government dispatches its military all over the world — invading, occupying, and bombing multiple Muslim countries — torturing them, imprisoning them without charges, shooting them up at checkpoints, sending remote-controlled drones to explode their homes, imposing sanctions that starve hundreds of thousands of children to death — and Americans are then baffled when some Muslims — an amazingly small percentage — harbor anger and vengeance toward them and want to return the violence. And here we also find the greatest myth in American political discourse: that engaging in all of that military aggression somehow constitutes Staying Safe and combating Terrorism — rather than doing more than any single other cause to provoke, sustain and fuel Terrorism.
It’s entirely reasonable to assume that the FBI agent’s recording gear malfunctioned or that someone made an honest mistake in configuring the equipment, as anyone who has worked with recording gear can tell you. But from a strictly legal standpoint, it seems like that should be a big strike against the FBI. Unlike Greenwald, I’m not a lawyer, though, so I don’t know.
From what little I know about the case, it does seem that Mohamud was motivated to commit violence. But the specific plot and access to weapons was furnished by the FBI. Even taking the FBI at its word, its difficult to see Mohamud as a great threat on his own. Still, it’s clear that there are some angry people in this country willing to do violence to our citizens, and as Greenwald points out, there’s relatively little discussion as to why. Regular readers of this blog know that I’m no friend to Islam, but it’s clearer every day that US foreign policy is a bigger driver for terrorism than religion.
Update: My friend Johnny Brainwash has taken a look at the affidavit and has a post on it:
The specific notion of a car bomb was Mohamud’s, but he had no clue how to go about it. Not a single operational detail would have happened without the FBI. He did buy some of the bomb components, sure, but with money and a shopping list provided by the feds. He also provided some Google Maps images and a disguise, both also at the request of undercover agents. Beyond that, he couldn’t even get to Portland if the FBI didn’t give him a ride.
This alleged plot, like nearly every alleged jihadi plot in the US, amounts to nearly nothing. Not that the kid is blameless or should get off scot-free, but he wasn’t much of a threat. Not compared to people who have committed genuine terrorist acts on American soil in the last couple of years, and certainly not enough to justify the feramongering that has gotten an added boost out of this. The story isn’t “OMG America under attack!!1!” It’s more like “look, another dumbass with fantasies of jihad- at least this one didn’t set his nuts on fire.”
He adds in the comments:
I don’t necessarily ascribe such specific intent to individual FBI’ers, or to the agency as a whole. It’s their job to catch criminals, and their budgets and prestige depend on it, so they’re going to catch them even if it takes some wishful thinking to create them. I think lots of law enforcement types, like lots of other folks, buy into the narrative of terrorists lurking under every bed, and so they don’t always realize when they’re going overboard.
I think others of them probably do realize, though.
I’m sort of leery of ascribing intent these days, preferring to describe observed behavior. Remarkable how it untangles things sometimes.
See also Mr. Brainwash on who is and isn’t a terrorist.
The image above was taken by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. In it, Rebecca Wyland is holding Alayna, who has a massive growth completely covering her left eye. The growth, a hemangioma, is a mass of blood vessels. Some infants are born with them, and they are typically corrected while very small. In this case, the Wylands chose not to take their daughter to a doctor. Instead, Rebecca Wyland anointed her daughter with oil and wiped off the discharge from Alayna’s eye each time she changed the child’s diaper.
At this point, the growth has begun to erode Alayna’s eye socket, and may have caused permanent damage to her eye.
Both parents have been charged with first-degree criminal mistreatment, a Class C felony which may earn them each five years in prison.
Meanwhile, the Wylands are trying desperately to regain custody, even offering a plan to ensure the child gets medical care, including such ideas as a live-in supervisor of sorts, or regular visits from state employees to check up on them.
A new report by a coalition of minority groups labels Multnomah County a “uniquely toxic place” for people of color, where minorities consistently lag behind whites on nearly every indicator, from poverty rates to jobs.
Conditions in the county are worse than in other parts of the country and continuing to slide, said Ann Curry-Stevens, the lead researcher and an assistant professor of the graduate school of social work at Portland State University. […]
* About 7 percent of whites drop out of high school, compared with 30 percent of minorities.
* Some 62 percent of whites own homes, while only 45 percent of minorities do. A larger percentage of minorities spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.
* One in three children of color live in poverty, compared with 12.5 percent for whites. The child-poverty rate for Native Americans is 46 percent, for African Americans 41 percent and for African immigrants 56 percent.
* People of color earn about half that of white individuals: $16,636 a year compared with $33,095. Individual income for Latinos is about one-third that of whites.
* Minorities in Multnomah County fare worse on measures such as child poverty, rent burden, incomes and education than minorities in King County, Wash., (home to Seattle) which has a slightly higher number of minorities.
* For the first time, data are available on Slavic and African immigrants and refugees in the county. Education levels are high in both groups, but both struggle with poverty.
* While Asian Americans tend to perform the same as whites in education and occupation nationally, that’s not the case in Multnomah County.
Read the comments on the OregonLive piece for examples of the ignorance festering here.
I knew Portland was far from a progressive-utopia on issues of race, but this report (and the recent shooting of a local anti-fascist activist) make me realize that the problem is much worse than I’d thought.
Via Johnny Brainwash who adds: “I can tell you that I’ve never been jew-baited more than I have been here, not even when I lived in North Idaho. And if that’s the experience of someone like me, white-skinned and crawling with privilege, you can bet it only gets worse from there.”
Klint Finley: What do you think the biggest/most important food security problems we have in Portland are?
Jeremy O’Leary: During the City of Portland’s Peak Oil Taskforce, we had a conversation with the management of Safeway where we learned that, for example, an apple from Hood River would be driven to LA and then back up to Portland. I think this example indicates one of the many problems with the food system. Many of the food issue we have in Portland are similar in other areas.
One of the things we have discussed in the steering committee meetings for the Multnomah Food Initiative is our area has one of the highest levels of hunger.
Which personally I’ve always found odd as we are also one of the leading cities for the local food movement. The following is from Multnomah Food Initiative:
Why a Food Initiative?
Multnomah County is at the epicenter of the local food movement. There are countless food-related, grassroots efforts being made in the community, as well as numerous projects and initiatives led by local government. The prevalence of local Farmers’ Markets and growing interest in organic gardening indicate strong community support for local food, but we must do more. To achieve a truly sustainable, healthy and equitable food system, all partners must help reach a common vision and share responsibility for the implementation of a strategic action plan.
It makes more sense than ever to implement a local food initiative. Despite the energy generated by local food in communities throughout Oregon, statistics show that our food system is broken:
Oregon is ranked second in hunger by the United States Department of Agriculture.
About 36,000 Multnomah County residents access emergency food boxes each month.
Half of all adults in Multnomah County are either overweight or obese.
Chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke are on the rise
Half of all Multnomah County children will be on food stamps at one point in their childhood.
Only a small percentage of the food that we consume is grown locally (estimates indicate 5-10%).
We lack a coordinated strategy to ensure the vitality of our local food system.
One thing I’ve been puzzled by is how if you don’t have food in your house for tonight, it is a social justice issue. However if you don’t have food in your house for 72 hours (standard Red Cross recommendations) it is an emergency management issue.
Just to narrow the conversation a little, as the food system is more than a little complex, just talking about organic food sold at places like People’s Coop, New Seasons, Wild Oats … the fact that stores only have a three day supply of date sensitive food is one aspect that I’m concerned about.
More broadly speaking I sometimes think that the best way to describe our food system is (mind you I have a somewhat dark sense of humor) is Death by Convenience.
How is that even though we’re one of the leading local food cities, we still only produce about 5-10% of the food we consume here?
It is in the same vein as the discussion of Portland being the Greenest City in the US, basically we are being graded on a bell curve. I’m always filled with pride and terror when it is pointed out that Portland is leading the charge on sustainability.
Just how problematic is the fact that we only produce about 5-10% of our own food? Do we export a lot of food? And do you know what they’re counting as local? For example, would they be considering Forest Grove local?
This may seem like an aside but it is related….
In Yellowstone national park, analysis of trees prior to 1850 shows that 50% of the nitrogen was of marine origin. 50% of the nitrogen arrived in the form of salmon. So it is not as if a long supply is necessarily a bad thing.
Efforts like the 100 mile diet are interesting, but it really depends on how the food arrives. Grain shipped in via trains from the mid-west is considerably better then strawberries flown in from Chile.
As for what food we export, I don’t have specific information about that.
Taking a completely different angle on things… I did my own sociological experiment by going to the one of the local gun shows and talking about sustainability to self-described “right-wing gun nuts.”
Basically, if you ask whether it’s a good idea to take a typical single family house and re-design it so you can live without power fairly well for a week if it is January or July, to have a large pantry, rain water cisterns, veggie gardens, fruit trees, … the response to this was basically “duh.”
My conversations with the “gun nuts” led me to the view that it is much better to focus on what you want and stop. The key detail when talking about a problem: you can debate whether that problem is actually a problem then never actually start effectlvely talking about actions.
It seems like the environmental movement has progressed from talking about renewable resources, to sustainability, and now to resilience. What exactly is resilience?
I can’t speak for the environmental movement, just for what I’m focusing on which is community and resilience. I think part of the focusing on resilience is that it is a more accurate meaning of sustainability…. how you sustain yourself/family/community is a rather important detail.
Sustainability seems to have been mostly about a long term vision, which is great, but doesn’t do you much good if you don’t have a vision for tonight or next week.
I think resilience is an example of what folks want.
Based on your experience on the gun show, do you think there’s more overlap between the left and the right if you re-frame what you’re talking about as resilience instead of “environmentalism”?
On the community level, very much so. On the level of Washington DC, I have no idea.
What can individuals do to improve their community’s resilience – whether that be in Portland or elsewhere?
I would suggest one of the 1st steps is to re-enforce the school buildings to withstand an earthquake, use the food certified kitchens in the schools to process locally grown food, and store emergency provisions at the schools.
If you mount solar PV panels on the roofs and place HAM radios there you can be fairly sure of having islands of communication even if things go really sideways.
You would need to have rain water cisterns at the schools, which could also be used for the urban orchards and the veggie gardens.
More broadly speaking, knowing your neighbors and being on good terms with them is possibly the 1st thing to do. It’s only then that conversations about sharing resources can be possible.
It sounds like you’ve picked schools as the epicenter for resilience in communities. Why?
At least in the case of Portland, they are arranged so there is usually a school within a 1/2 mile of you at any point in town. Community centers, churches, a mall…. these would of course work as well.
Transition PDX is interested in applying permaculture principles to the city. Are there good working examples of urban permaculture already?
As applied to dirt, very much so. The Columbia EcoVillage would be a good example that is more or less open to the public. For me permaculture comes down to good design, which translates into other disciplines.
In the case of my backyard, I have things lined up so I’m getting fruit consistently from early may until late Sept. Once the Kiwi matures, I can get another harvest in late November.
People who rent, instead of own, single family houses can have a hard time applying permaculture to their homes. Is there anything at all people who live in multifamily housing can do in terms of applying permaculture?
So what Leonard is doing is also applicable in multi-family housing?
Admittedly I’m not the best source of suggestion around permaculture for folks who don’t have some land to work with. You can do some pretty nifty things with container gardening on a balcony for example. But there are also examples of folks finding ways to share resources or buy things in bulk together.
What is the minimum amount of space needed to grow enough food for one person to survive? And for one person to have a reasonably healthy diet?
I guess we’re just about out of time, so I will ask one last question: If people reading this interview come away with only ONE message, what message should that be?
Using “Maslow’s hierarchy of needs” as a point of reference, society seems to spend the vast majority of our focus on whether we are sufficiently amused. This is an arrangement that by definition is unsustainable.
The federal government plans to plant its own bold garden directly above a downtown plaza. As part of a $133 million renovation, the General Services Administration is planning to cultivate “vegetated fins” that will grow more than 200 feet high on the western facade of the main federal building here, a vertical garden that changes with the seasons and nurtures plants that yield energy savings.
“They will bloom in the spring and summer when you want the shade, and then they will go away in the winter when you want to let the light in,” said Bob Peck, commissioner of public buildings for the G.S.A. “Don’t ask me how you get them irrigated.”
Rainwater, captured on the roof, and perhaps even “gray water” recycled from the interior plumbing are both possibilities, the architects say. But they concede that they are still figuring out some of the finer points of renovating the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building, which was completed in 1975 and is currently 18 stories of concrete, glass and minimal inspiration.
The Church of the SubGenius will present a public “Devival” at Portland’s Ash Street Saloon on October 10, 2009. SubGenius is a meta-parody religion that promotes the all-important concept of slack while satirizing religion, conspiracy theories, UFOs, and popular culture. The church’s founder, J.R. “Bob” Dobbs, was named by Time magazine as the “Fraud of the Century” in its January 1, 2000 issue.
Headlining the show will be Rev. Ivan Stang, High Epopt of the church. As a stand-up preacher, Stang is a regular at various large annual festivals such as Burning Man, Starwood, X-Day, Winterstar, and DragonCon. He is a veteran of over 150 nightclub appearances, some of which have drawn upwards of 750 people. Since 1985, Stang has produced “The Hour of Slack” weekly radio show, which is syndicated on 25 stations nationwide.
Along with Rev. Stang, the show will feature other SubGenius legends such as Dr. Philo Drummond, Dr. Howland Owl, and Rev. Dr. Onan Canobite. They will be joined by local SubGenius performers and several local bands.
The Church has over 40,000 ordained ministers, including David Byrne, Robert Crumb, Bruce Campbell, Jonathan Demme, and the late Dr. Timothy Leary. There are five SubGenius books in print, having collectively sold over 100,000 copies. The first, The Book of the SubGenius, is in its 20th printing.
The show will be at the Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash Street, on Saturday, October 10, 2009. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show begins promptly at 9 p.m.