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AdLib On January - 31 - 2011

It couldn’t have been a more successful day for all of the fantastic organizations and people participating and for Americans who oppose those who are trying to buy this democracy away from the majority.

Here are four videos, they will play one after the other or you can click on the arrows to advance to the next one:

And here are a series of photos, click on them to advance to the next:

[portfolio_slideshow]

I mentioned a number of the specifics about the event in my Live Blog yesterday so I will try to avoid redundancy…let me repeat that…

Before getting to an overview, I will mention one thing that was troubling and validating. While we were protesting in front of the hotel, there was a group of what seemed to be Koch Klan attendees standing in front of the hotel, just watching us. There, safely behind squads of sheriffs in riot gear, they almost seemed to be trying to show us that they weren’t intimidated and that “the people” were just troublesome pests whose protests were gauche little things.

The fact that they could just stand there and watch over 1,000 people rallying against them and be so disconnected from what was really going on, made me think that if Marie Antoinette was around today, she might have attended this conference and been standing right there with them, similarly bewildered why, if they didn’t have bread, the other 99% didn’t just eat cheap beef tacos that didn’t have much beef in them. Andrew Breitbart was there, thinking he was so clever, skating on rollerblades (so he could get away quickly no doubt, the coward) from the hotel and up to female protesters from Code Pink (I guess he thought he could take them…man, he doesn’t know those Code Pink folks!) and grinning while tossing out put downs at them then skating away. Such bravery is rarely seen amongst Republicans. And still is. Meanwhile, from atop the hotel, federal agents and possibly snipers stood watching the crowd. At one point, a helicopter that had been circling all day zoomed down far lower than I would think was legal and buzzed the crowd. It was not marked as a news copter nor a police copter, I have no idea who was in it.

There were many creative folks there who had prepared clever signs and costumes. My daughter was with me and her favorite was the person in the polar bear suit addressing the climate change issue that the Koch’s pro-pollution campaigns are contributing to.

The picture of the polar bear and of the front of the hotel, with sheriff’s in riot gear, Koch guests watching us with disdain and federal agents (and snipers?) on the roof can be seen in the slideshow of photos above.

Despite the seriousness of this moment in American history, it was incredibly energizing and affirming to be with over 1,000 fellow concerned and conscientious citizens, who came from all over California and beyond, to stand up for the principle of American Democracy.

The disappointment and futility that some folks feel out there due to Obama’s not addressing some issues in the way they had hoped or in response to the results of last November’s election is understandable but it was nowhere to be found yesterday, which was about the future.

What this successful action reminds us of is that we can come together and accomplish what we dedicate ourselves to. Dozens of organizations and unions with their own focuses and priorities, came together and united to create in a scant 3 weeks, a well-attended and organized event that earned national news coverage and exposed to many who had never heard of them, the Kochs, their agenda and their cronies.

Many things could have undermined this effort. Egos, apathy, negativism that it simply could not be done but dedication and conscience were what were exhibited. Throughout my involvement in this I witnessed, in each and every discussion and decision made between such a diverse coalition of extraordinary and strong-willed people, a model of how many people can indeed work positively as a team on the goal that has brought them together.

This should mean something to every thoughtful person out there. Yes, there are destructive forces out there that have great wealth and power but in a democracy, when good people have the will to unite and accomplish something, there is a re-taking of power. It may not be as dramatic as what is going on in Egypt right now but it is very meaningful and a valuable reminder of the power there is in unity.

Some may say, “So what, you had a protest, got some press but the Kochs still have all their billions and they still successfully held their meeting to plot how to take greater control of our democracy and economy.” That would be true. But the impact of this protest, which is just the kick off to an ongoing national campaign, is that they no longer have the cloak of invisibility they had previously.

Why does this matter, how does exposing the Kochs to more and more people take any power away from them? How was yesterday a “win” for the other 99%? Consider this, if you learned that Sarah Palin was helping to finance the campaign of a candidate or a state proposition, how might that influence your view of that candidate or initiative?

If the Kochs can be made “popular” enough for people to know who they are and what they have been up to, how might a moderate voter view a political ad or an astroturf “grass roots” group when they learn that the Kochs financed it?

Infamy is not the best advertisement for a product. By publicizing and exposing the Kochs, the Citizens United ruling loses some of its power. Though it will take work on our side, if they can be tied to the Congressional seats and laws they try to buy, their money becomes tainted along with whatever it’s spent on.

So, what happened yesterday was one small step forward in undermining the CU ruling and the domination over our country that’s sought by the Kochs. There may be those who feel that only big steps get one to where one wants to go but small steps in the right direction still move one closer to one’s destination.

It is time to look at physically taking action as a necessary component of empowering ourselves in our democracy. Blogging to get ideas and information out, to come together with others to explore issues and solutions are important ingredients in the mix, as are signing petitions, boycotting products and talking with people one knows. However, in today’s America, with the way our technology and society press us into comfort in our homes and routines, we need to find the resolve to break through all of that and get out of our homes and into the streets. As a community, as a society, as The People of this nation.

Though Twitter, Facebook and emails have played a meaningful role in the revolt for democracy in Egypt, we can all imagine how powerful this revolt would have been if instead of taking to the streets, Egyptians clicked on petitions to sign them and Tweeted to their friends, “We really should take our democracy back, don’t ya think?”.

The last thing that the Kochs and their ilk want is to awaken the sleeping giant, the majority in this nation, to get up out of their La-Z-Boys and throw off their Snuggies. What that 1% of Americans, who have inordinate power and influence over our democracy are afraid of is only one thing…coming out of their homes to find the 99% in the streets.

Much of the campaign of these plutocrats is purposely designed to keep us divided, as long as we are, they are free to do as they please. They whip up social issues, religious issues, hatred of others because they are a different race or unemployed or from a different part of the country. Divided, we fall.

What we can do though is choose not to participate in this game of division because just by playing, we lose and they win. We can be aggressive about confronting the Kochs and Co. but we need to be just as aggressive about seeking unity with as many fellow Americans as we can. Even a simple majority of Americans who are united would have more power than the Kochs and their crew, let alone a far bigger majority.

So, in the aftermath of yesterday’s successful action, there should be enthusiasm about the values we share and our ability to step up in the fight we’re in. There should be a consideration of what our personal responsibility is to continue and win this fight, what contributions of time, energy, resources and sacrifices of comfort should be made to physically participate in our democracy. And, those of us who are parents should consider how much more other generations sacrificed to give us the comfort we have today…and that, if the future under the Kochs is to take away much of that from our children and their children, is putting down the tv remote or the computer mouse to stand against them the least we should expect from ourselves?

The conflict is engaged, we are stronger than they are if we come together but can we? As yesterday proved, I’d say yes we can.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

63 Responses so far.

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  1. Chernynkaya says:

    Beautiful, AdLib. Perfect. Brings tears to these old eyes. I have been reading about the protest on HP and On the Daily Beast. While all the blogs are miscounting the numbers-- as C’Lady pointed out THERE WERE BUSLOADS OF AT LEAST 1500!-- the comments from readers was so supportive! I saved a few from Daily Beast that I thought typified the comments:

    Aslankitten
    Heathen liberal scum trying to silence the voices of great American patriots like the koch brothers! As an educator in the great state of Texas, I learned that climate change was a myth perpetuated by American hating liberals, who put the life of bambi ahead of American business! It’s obvious that the Koch brothers would get no personal gain from trying to stop anti-american, anti-business environmental laws. The Koch brothers correctly see that the hoi polloi deserve no voice in government, because they are unqualified to participate in it. Damn that liberal scum for trying to ruin the pristine beauty of the Koch brothers private retreat…. They are great conservative minds, and rightly deserve to live in pristine beauty, a right that heathen liberal scum does not share. [snark]

    dabouv
    There is one fallacy argument that the right makes over and over. “It is their money, they earned it”. Sometimes that is the case. There are people who invented things, started companies, had a better idea. I don’t begrudge Steve Job’s $0.01 of his money. I remember a famous debate with VP candidate Cheney basically saying that his success (with Halliburton) had nothing to to with the govt. Really, wonder what percentage of his contracts were govt? Dont mistake what the Koch’s want, they don’t want a free market, they want crony capitalism. We have a hedge fund manager who has made 9 billion the last 2 years for what? Has he created anything? The biggest share of boom era profits went to the financial industry for what? The system is rigged, heads then win, tails you lose. They do poorly, they make money. The economy sucks, they have record profits. You do well, they do fabulous.

    The energy industry exploits resources that are the peoples. I have no idea how to judge what is the fair amount they should earn, they definitely deserve compensation for their work, but one wonders how much is fair?

    The other joke is that these people and anything they touch is grassroots. We don’t have an energy plan and have had 40 years of doing little and it is because of people like the Kochs.

    This country needs a game changer and the two biggest areas that are achievable with today’s technology is drastically reducing our oil use (if gas were 6.00 gallon you’d see very different cars on the road..and I’d do it by taxing the fair value based on health costs and need for military to protect supply), more efficient homes, and more hybrids, electrics, and smaller efficient cars. I’d say that 1/2 of our national defense is because of oil. It is the only thing we aren’t self sufficient in. So by getting off our oil habit and not importing 2 billion/day and cutting defense by 1/2 (and still spending 3.5 times as much as the nearest country) we save 1 trillion a year.

    Dontmakemelaugh
    As a conservative I have no respect for those who pay lip service to limited government and free markets and then use big government to plunder the economy and future generations.

    Dick Cheney is a fine example. While serving as Secretary of Defense he commissions a multi-million dollar study on how to outsource the US military and then leaves government to head a company that will feed at the trough of big government outsourcing. He also becomes a founding member of a Neocon think tank to lobby for vastly increased US military spending to project American power abroad under contract to those same corporations. And yes high on the list of Neocon priorities long before 9/11: a war to dispose of Saddam Hussein.

    http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm

    Any coincidence that Rumsfeld, Wolfowich, Kristol and Liddy were fellow Neocons of the Project for a New American Century?

    http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm

    Ever wonder why we as a nation spend more on defense than the rest of the world combined are hard pressed to deploy 200,000 troops?

    Jorgaba
    *Shrug*

    You need money to fight money. So what? The are protesting the pro-corporate and anti-environment assholery of the Kochs’ spending, and their shady attempts to hide it…they are not protesting the simple fact that the Kochs have money and spend it.

    The only response from the Right was, “B-b-but, SOROS.”

    It means so much to regain that activism and idealism of my youth! It is the ONLY antidote to ennui. Thanks to you and C’Lady and others here who got us off our butts.

    • AdLib says:

      You know my response to the boneheads who wail, “But Soros!”

      No self-respecting American argues over which billionaire they want to be owned and dominated by.

      Any genuine pro-democracy people in the Tea Party could be attracted to a anti-plutocrat movement. There will always be those who immovable, those who want to be treated as pets, as 2nd class citizens who live to be patted on the head by their masters. But those who sincerely want “our democracy back” would appear to be available to this campaign.

      The Tea Party is based on a fraud and is already starting to unravel as the Repubs who patronized them to get elected, are quietly drifting back to where they’ve always been. As it degrades and degenerates, those peeling off from them will need a place to go.

      We need to be strategic and not reactive, as appealing as it may be to pound on the illogic, ignorance and hypocrisy of Tea Partiers, battling is exactly what the Kochs would be pleased to see us doing.

      Those who we can talk to, we should. Those who we can’t, we should simply move on from.

    • bito says:

      Cher, those are some excellent comments, as a self proclaimed conservative, Jorgaba gets it, What a great comment. His (?) comment on what we spend on our military to just protect the oil interests was perfect. How much of the nations treasures and treasury will we have to spend for their interests, their livelihood, and yet they complain and work against paying taxes to protecect their interests? What we need is a President to declare that we need to find and use an alternative energy in the interest of national security--Oh, wait, Nixon did that, and Carter, and Clinton and Obama…….. Here’s a thought, what if we spent 10% of the defense budget on developing an alternative to fossil fuels. Think 70 bill would do the trick on a Manhattan type project? Oh wait, that may choke the #Kochs!!!

      (again, I must ask, how many years does President Obama have to be in office before he accepted in spell check? Bugs me.)

      edit: what does that /snark mean?


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