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Monday, March 20, 2006

Portland's brilliant leftists

Oh sure, this will mobilize the moderates and stop the war.

Comments (49)

Interesting post, Jack. I wonder, out of all the photos you could have selected from the parade, why you chose to print one that illustrated a tiny fraction of a fraction of the participants? I saw thousands of polite people, families with kids, senior citizens walking hand in hand. Why none of those photos?

Dave - You completely missed Jack's point. He wasn't commenting on the march as a whole. He was pointing out an example of self-destructive behavior that makes it easy for moderates to write them off as kooks or morons. Burning the U.S. flag is NEVER something that moderates are going to embrace. Therefore it's just about the stupidest thing you can do if you're trying to send a message and influence policy. Duh.

Way back when, during the first Gulf War, there was a man in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House who had an American flag and a bucket of soapy water.

He spent the day washing the flag, loudly proclaiming, "There's nothing wrong with our flag. We just need to clean it up a little."

It received a lot more appreciative attention.

I'm not so sure that Dave missed Jack's point. I think we can all agree that burning a flag is perhaps the easiest way to piss off moderates. But we could probably also agree that no protest or rally, no matter how organized, can control every participant. It really does a disservice to the event as a whole to highlight the extreme minority who acted in appropriately.

I'm not saying it's wrong criticize those people, I'm just dissappointed that someone reading this post (and others elsewhere less diplomatic in their tone) could get the impression that flag-burning was the main agenda of the day, when it was really more about peace and patriotism.

If you run with dogs, you will get fleas. And, silence means assent. If you tolerate flag-burners in your protests, and you don't denounce them, then you are taking the risk that people opposed to the flag-burners will put you in the same category as the flag-burners.

It really does a disservice to the event as a whole to highlight the extreme minority who acted in appropriately.

But it makes for great TV and radio ratings. And at the end of the day, it's not families with kids walking hand in hand with polite people who make news. Otherwise there would be no Fox 12.

If you tolerate flag-burners in your protests, and you don't denounce them, then you are taking the risk that people opposed to the flag-burners will put you in the same category as the flag-burners.

How do you know they were not denounced?

"It really does a disservice to the event as a whole to highlight the extreme minority who acted in appropriately."

Well doesnt that account for the media's representations of conservatives??

How do you know they were not denounced?

If they were denounced, I'd love to hear about it. Did you denounce them at the march? Did anyone?

To me, flag burning is an old chesnut relished only by people who enjoy stirring outrage and those feining outrage to use it as an election year rallying cry on the opposite side. They deserve each other, really. Both sides waste silly amounts of time and energy when more profound issues remain untouched.

The only reason we're here commenting is because we know the lowest common denominator wins out in today's dialogue. Of course, this will be the new, shameless non-issue (see: 'gay agenda', gay marriage, 'War of Christmas') for the GOP to play to their 'base', otherwise known as the "ignorant 33%".

Comming to talk radio near you...

Forgot to mention... Since the GOP is licking its wounds and worrying about this year's election, images like this will be used to marginalize the opposition. It's like clockwork, really.

That is also what's happening with blogs. The "EXTREME Left Blogosphere" is the discription most often used on network and cable news these days. I wonder why? Is it because the watchdog role of our media has been virtually erased? Folks are bound to find plenty of meaty material out there, sprinked with random points of extremism. Sounds a bit like the flag burning, eh?

One of the speakers yesterday asked: "Where is everybody?" Answer: We're staying home because we're not participating in a demonstration that includes flag burning. Or trashing people's cars, as happened three years ago. You had your little vent, and the Bush machine rolls on. Hope everybody feels better today.

You had your little vent, and the Bush machine rolls on.

And come November 8, the Left will wonder why, in spite of everything, the Republicans still control Congress.

We're staying home because we're not participating in a demonstration that includes flag burning. Or trashing people's cars, as happened three years ago. You had your little vent, and the Bush machine rolls on. Hope everybody feels better today.

I think protest marches are a relic of history, but I hope you realize, Jack, that you slur 10,000+ good people when you choose to illustrate the march with a photo of 8 lame anarchists burning a flag.

Only in your mind, my argumentative pen pal. The nitwits who burned the flag hurt the cause. That's all I said.

You're right, Dave J.,

Jack should self-censor. The photo tells the wrong "truth".

Do you mean that flag-burners are "bad", or just misguided?. Did you denounce them?

Seems to me you should take up the "slur" accusation with them - not Jack.

So if you are upset against the picture and want it censored, what makes you any different then the administration you are protesting??
Whats next you want to tap phone lines and make sure no one is talking about the flag burning??

The great thing about being an individual is that no aspect of yourself can be defined by any aspect of another individual.

A friend of mine did an hour's worth of counting and said 30,000 people would be his estimate on the crowd size so that's hardly a situation of "where is everybody".

I'm not sure where the idea that the point of protest is to convince people to be against the occupation, and that doing so will somehow stop the occupation. The occupation will stop when the Iraqi's kill enough US soldiers that the remaining soldiers no longer feel it's worth their lives to fight. That's the lesson the world got from the US occupation of Vietnam. Nothing else is going to bring the soldiers home; there's too much money to be made at their expense.

And finally, though I tend to agree with TK that flag burning is a non-issue, something I wouldn't do but don't take personally and something I think is not worth becoming upset about for any reason ("hurting the cause", "being disrespectful") I didn't see Jack advocating censorship so I'd caution people against strawmen arguments.

And I meant to add this, as I find it amazing how quickly people can get video together and posted online from events like this, obsoleting the corporate newsrooms at an astonising pace:

So if you are upset against the picture and want it censored, what makes you any different then the administration you are protesting?

Huh? My point was that the choices a person makes with respect to the photos they use says something about how they see the event they are covering. Yeah, a handful of idiot anarchists burned a flag. Those people amounted to 8 out of 10,000 (or 30,000, to use another estimate), a tiny fraction of the people at the event, yet that was the ONE photo used to discuss the event. I wasn't calling for the photo to be censored, just wondering about the reasons for posting it.

You know, Dave, that's enough about me.

I didn't go to this one, but this gives me an idea. Next time I go to one, I'm gonna carry a fire extinguisher and denounce that sort of counterproductive behavior in a most direct and appropriate way.

I'll probably get sued by the anarchists, though. :-)

"Leftists" is also an attempt in this post to skew the ideological balance of the participants in the march to the unacceptable and 'irrational' fringe. Flagburning is not irrational, as Texas v. Johnson showed, and I'd bet that a vast minority, if not the majority, of the marchers consider themselves more 'moderate' than extreme left. A march isn't necessarily one coherent rhetorical device; it's a veritable carnival of many social movements all converging in opposition to the war. If the marchers excluded certain groups that oppose the war just because of their identity or political beliefs, they'd be no better than the Irish American parade organizers in NYC. Of course, dialogue can also happen within a march/parade, and I think that certainly happened here.

"A march isn't necessarily one coherent rhetorical device; it's a veritable carnival of many social movements all converging in opposition to the war.

What a concept - a carnival, complete with clowns. OK, there were no "leftists" at the march and let's not be judgemental or "...skew the ideological balance...".

As for the rationality of flag burning, who's arguing about rationality? If the marchers excluded people or groups that tend to diminish the chances of their message being taken seriously and their march accomplishing their stated purpose, they'd be more effective. But, for some, life is a carnival.

If anyone who was there thinks that only 8 out of 10,000+ (or 30,000 if you were loaded) had motives other demonstrating for peace, then have I got a tram for you.

Agents provocateurs! Must be COINTELPRO plants, which means these are actually right-wing flag burners sent in to discredit the lefties.

The theory maybe a bit tinfoil-hat, but in this day and age, we might all do well to stock up on tinfoil...

You know, we had some pretty huge peace protests, orders of magnitude more serious than anything the modern-day peace movement can produce, back at the height of the Vietnam War.

You know what happened? Richard Nixon, the most demonized President ever, won re-election in the most lopsided non-contest ever.

Keep burning flags. Seriously. I'm looking forward to a GOP landslide this November.

The problem with discussing the war is that it is near impossible to have an honest discussion about the war.

Both sides are up to their eyeballs in propoganda, speaking in hyperbole and absolutes...just as I managed to do in this comment.

Agents provocateurs! Must be COINTELPRO plants, which means these are actually right-wing flag burners sent in to discredit the lefties. The theory maybe a bit tinfoil-hat, but in this day and age, we might all do well to stock up on tinfoil... Posted by Lev Koszegi at March 20, 2006 02:04 PM

That's not so tinfoil-hat, Lev. AP's are de rigeure these parlous days. The only demonstrations I ever attended in my life were the pro-Bush-Cheney ones at Pioneer Square. Guess what? There were agent provocateurs there! I won't mention how I recognized them - it sounds not only tin-foil hat, but commies-under-the-bed nuts!

However,regarding charges in this discussion of people being 'leftists' - I notice the ones that get called that are pretty testy. Could it be because that term is so last decade? Can't even say 'liberal' - that is so yesterday. Get with it, name-callers - these pro-peace folks are 'progressives,' don'cha know?

The march was heavily promoted on KBOO - what else can I say?

My favorite part of the march was the little chalk messages on the sidewalk. I saw "Stop Facism" a number of times.

What is "Facism" anyway?

Ouch. As my friend KE likes to say, "The revolution needs a copy editor."

At this point, if you're still holding out on this president, his ambiguous war, his policies or anything short of outrage, you're not using your head. And you probably see these protests as some fringe act typified by the flag burners or the abu ghrab prisoner imposters (shown in the "O", on the local news, ad nauseum).

I made it a point to catch at least two stations' coverage of the event last night. On KGW, they showed an amazingly diverse crowd. I was amazed how many folks were retirees, pastors, vets or pushing strollers... wide, above-crowd shots seemed to confirm it wasn't editing bias. They mentioned through police statements that patrols only stayed out of the way and everything went unexpectedly smoothly (no arrests?). So I switched over to KATU, where John Cappell stammered and stuttered his weekend news gig into high drama. The video, narrated in red-alert tone, consisted of those jumpsuited abu ghrab prioner-imposters, lots of police in riot gear, up-close shots of german shepherds, and the remaining 143 kids in portland who still wear dreadlocks. Then Cappell pulled his coup, THE MAN ON THE STREET slam dunk. All participants were carefully typecast, er, chosen for a good theatrical responses, including 'requisite burned-out hippie', 'bored skater/street youth from St. Helens', and 'requisite burned-out hipppie- female edition'. I think I threw a sandal at the TV at that point...

The Iraq war is merely the keystone in the great arch of f-ups from the Bush Administration/GOP congress. He has a Nixonian 32%-37% approval rating, and the frame of the debate is still focused on where the 'extreme' line is on the left is??

I said: "...'extreme' line is on the left is??"

Meant to say "'extreme' line on the left is??"

Nevermind "leftists" --

How do we know they were even left-of-center at all? There are plenty of right-wingers who are opposed to the infringements of civil liberties represented by the Bush Administration.

I've tried zooming in on the photos, and there's definitely no "Kerry for President" stickers in sight, or "KBOO monthly donor" t-shirts.

For all we know, they're with this guy.

This talk about denouncing flag-burning is really silly. I was at the rally and didn't even see anyone burning a flag. I would have told them they weren't being helpful had I seen it, but with roughly 10,000 people there, the vast majority of whom were acting civily, I just didn't see those idiots.

And to try and discredit the entire event because of a handful of bozos is really quite a weak rhetorical tool. Whatever side of a debate you are on there will be some morons who agree with you based on a rationale you do not accept.

Some who support the war might think it is good because it is "spreading democracy" - likewise some others who support the war might think it is merely a great opportunity to bomb some A-rabs. Now, I don't ascribe racist beliefs to all who support the war, so please don't paint all who oppose the war as anti-American

Portland brilliant leftists

Are they more or less brilliant than the Christian fundamentalists protesting at soldiers' funerals?

What are these brilliant rightwingers thinking?

Its been an interesting conversation.

Back in the sixties --when I was an anti-war organizer in NYC-- red-squad provocateurs were a reality. I remember one in particular, had his "followers" seize the stage at a peaceful rally, waving the Vietcong flag, which led the news coverage. Later turned out he was a red squad cop, deep undercover. I still smile at the irony of me arguing with this cop that we weren't there to break the law.

Provocateurs aside, any rally is going to bring out folks with their own agendas and ego-trips. And jerks who disresepct the intent and mission of the rally.

Not to hijack the thread...., but-

"...the remaining 143 kids in portland who still wear dreadlocks."

If only, TK, if only.

I know there are more than that, because I see them whenever I travel. I'll be in some airport somewhere, and see a dreadlocked, tie-dyed and sandaled person strolling by. Invariably they end up at the same gate as I, headed back to Portland...

I think Jack's point is that burning flags is like chumming the right wing sharks. It hurts the message just like when Pat Robertson speaks out on an issue hurts most conservative policy issues he touches.

A friend had what I thought was a good alternative, just carry the flag flown upside down. This is the universal sign of distress, and clearly gets the point across without the chum.

The problem with all these movements is that they alienate reasonable people who are not fringe, and don't want to be associated with irrational people that just appear to be in it for the personal entertainment value.

Groups need to take responsibility to censure and distance themselves from extreme views because most of the time they are undefensable and all they do is alienate the mainstream that can be swayed to change the tide.

This is not just in the Anti-war movement but also in other things, union issues, where the old 80-20
rule seems to prevail. Where the majority of the efforts and resouces are focused on defending the fringe when the battle is being lost for the majority of the men and women who depend on the union to maintain their rights and heathcare.

We should commend the thousands of folks that showed up on Sunday to peacefully demonstrate, and the thousands of union workers, but somehow we need make sure while we are on a peaceful fishing trip there isn't someone chumming sharks off the back of the boat.

Thank to these nuts I was stuck in a parking garage for an hour but during that time I walked up and watched part of the circus. Some great pro-american pro troops signs (read the sarcasm)... Stop funding are miltary, and plenty of Bush is hitler signs and shirts. And Im suppose to by the support our troops? They can hate the president all they want (Im not a huge fan either) but no way do you compare any president to Hitler. What the anti-war protestors accomplished... pissing off thousands of motorist, making a guy behind me in the parking garage fall asleep. And what happened when us motorist were able to go... we gave you guys the horn and middle finger. Way to ruin peoples day idiots. You guys should be treated like circus animals.

You deleted my post?


I didn't think my comment was disrespectful, unlike some of the others posted here. I guess it is OK for people to call each other names but a sincere comment of disappointment is inappropriate.

The organizers of this march had about as much influence to stop the AFTER EVENT flag burning as you have to limit people from posting comments on your blog which is to say not much. At least the coverage I saw did not make THE STORY about flag burning. The far bigger story on the news coverage side is that The Oregonian actually reported that a march would be happening on the front page of Saturday's paper and then showed a macro crowd photo on the front page of Monday's paper. I don't ever recall that kind of coverage of a protest in the 'O. It probably stems from the 64% of Americans now disapproving of how Bush is handling Iraq.

Does flag burning hurt the effort to dissuade folks from continuing to drink NeoCon Koolaid? Yep, it does, and I bet 98% or more of folks at that march including me would have critized the flag burning if they had seen it, but they didn't see it because it happened AFTER the march. The March was a family friendly event. We brought 3 generations from our family and enjoyed a walk in the Sunshine with some good folks from the NAACP and the Unitarian church as well as those funny cheerleaders.

Funny how some folks get their panties in a twist because of one silly flag burning.

But when TIME magazine prints images of two dozen dead Iraqis, including kids and babies, gunned down by our pissed-off Marines, My Lai-style, some folks do like to forget about it and take a walk in the park to smell flowers.

Beats reality, huh sister?

If your country were to have, say, a reckless, lying, thieving, kidnapping, warmongering, torturing, murdering government, then burning the country's flag might seem like a -- relatively -- benign way of expressing your dissatisfaction with those qualities. Hypothetically.

One could burn paper money instead. At least there would still be the thrill of criminality in protest, quite apart from the fire business.

Since August 15, 1971, the gold standard has been replaced by a de facto oil standard, in the international arena.

Or . . . you can use that paper money to buy oil to burn instead, and thus contribute to the destruction of someone else's Fort Knox. Even Saddam knew the symbolism of setting fire to the treasure back in 1991, and later the threat to price oil in the euro rather than the dollar.

The flag burning is just pointless idiocy, and it is not even courageous.

Bush is already burning the dollar. Illuminating that economic issue might have some value.

I've always maintained that any country that embraces free speech so much that it allows its flag to be publicly desecrated, thereby provides its citizens with the strongest moral argument against doing it.

Grouch Marx once said that he wouldn't join a club that would have him as a member.

Similarly, I'd never join in the flagburning of a country that recognizes my right to do so.


Funny how are troops are getting their throat cuts in the name Of Allah, funny how american contractors are getting burned and hanged from bridges.

The funnier thing that people think they want peace HAHA

Even funnier the people marching in the protest with the Stop torture at gitmo well ignoring worse torture... throat cuts, burned alive, decapation. I guess panites on the heads of poor insurgents is worse.


Well, are the panites on decapated heads or not?

Perhaps the flag loving patriots that participate in anti-war rallies should carry fire extinguishers?

Then when somebody trys to burn an American Flag they would be prepared to demonstrate their love of country and concern for the well being of all those who might get burned or inhale toxic fumes.


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Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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