Friday, January 25, 2008

Stupid Tree-Sits at UCSC and UCB – Part 2

The Santa Cruz tree sit is even more disturbing, because it has taken on an overtly anti-modern and nihilistic tinge. Just look at one of their protest fliers complaining about the growth of the science community at UCSC.

Let’s forget for a minute that UCSC’s science programs are some of the best in the nation, and that these programs bring in a large amount of money that the school then uses to fund less popular programs (I am looking at you “History of Conciseness”). Let’s also forget that the science community is one of the growing academic clusters on campus. What really gets me is the “Science is not the only Truth” line. What does this mean, and what does it have to do with stopping the building of this new facility? Well comrade, let me tell you. These protesters don’t just see the cutting down of a few trees as the problem, but the entire modern world as the source of their disgust. This biomedical facility will be used to develop drugs that will undoubtedly save lives, and as any good anarchist knows, humans are responsible for the destruction of the planet and must be eliminated if the earth is to survive.

Here was a recent news report from the local NBC affiliate about the tree-sit at UCSC.

And another:

So all those folks who could benefit from the development of medicines at this biomedical facility should not live, if you use the nihilistic logic these activists adhere to. That is why they don’t plan to spend their time helping those in need beyond their small bay area towns; it is modern science that can actually help people live longer, and your eco-anarchist is opposed to that very concept.

The general safety of this protest doesn’t stop those involved from making it sound like they are fighting some totalitarian dictatorship. This has been one of my major gripes with this portion of the left over the years: they throw around words like “police brutality” and “oppression” when they simply don’t apply to their situation. Here we have some tree sympathizers gathering around one of the tree-sitter’s trees.

One would think that they would want to go stealth when they are conducting their illegal activities. You know, to stay under the radar of the police and actually achieve their aims. But being stealth doesn’t get you into the papers, and doesn’t bring about the all important police confrontation. Here is a picture of a police officer using “force” (pepper spray) to disperse the group after they refused to leave.

The horror! Those monks in Burma didn’t have it this bad!

How about the protester's argument that they were not included in the development of this site? Well, this specific building has been in development for years now, and they could have certainly gotten involved in the planning stages. The fact that they were not paying attention until actual construction began is no ones fault but their own. But I assume they would not have been involved even if they were aware of the development a few years back. Actually doing the work required to make change is much harder than playing revolutionary in black pajamas. “Direct Action” is a children’s game for youngsters too lazy to get involved with the actual process required to make alterations.

You may argue that I am not present at the university at the moment, and therefore don’t know what’s really going on. Well comrade, I thankfully have a number of friends still present there, and here is an eye-witness account of the protest by a graduate student in the science department.
I work in the building right next to the protest site, so I've had pretty intimate contact with the protest since the beginning. A few days after the start of the protest, some coworkers and I went to talk with some of the people at the "autonomous zone" since we thought it'd be good for a laugh. A group of protesters were more than willing to share their wisdom with us, and with each passing minute, I was almost ready to join the good fight. Well, except for the fact that they had no idea what was going on.

Not surprisingly, they had no idea how old the trees were. When we informed that the University planted a lot of the trees and that it wasn't an ancient majestic forest like they were telling us (how 9 trees in a parking lot could be considered a forest is beyond me), they were undeterred, for even if they were only a few decades old, they still needed saving! They also seemed unconvinced that the University takes some of the stumps and replants them so they can grow again, "that's just propaganda man, you don't know how it really is."

As for what would go on in the new science building, they believed that there would be nuclear research going on. Full blown weapons research, at a building meant for disease research. When we told them what would actually happen in the building, they were undeterred, for it was only a matter of time that nuclear weapons research would start at UCSC! Plus, it seems that by doing research on cancer and other diseases, you're actually giving the world cancer. If only we'd have known!

One of the saddest moments arose when I asked them why they were so lazy about their passion. You see, around the time the protest started, there was a tanker spill in the San Francisco Bay, an honest to goodness environmental disaster only 90 minutes away! Why, surely protesters who claim to care for the environment would be busting down doors to get their hands dirty and help save a bird. But when asked why they weren't up there, without batting an eyelash, one said, "You've gotta pick your battles." Yes you do young one, yes you do.

Oddly enough, there was a new humanities building put up just last year, complete with environmental destruction. Why wasn't that one protested? Some said that it's because it's a building the university needed (hooray relative environmentalism!), some said that they weren't at school last year (hooray 18YOs who know what's best for the campus after only being here 2 months), and some said they didn't even know about it (hooray for being honest! I'll give them that one).

Luckily for those who work here, when winter break hit, the hardcore protesters who were going to fight until the end went home for break and the university cleaned up the trash they left behind. So now we have a parking lot again, but one that gets bombarded every so often with human excrement falling from the trees, for the people getting paid to protest remain in the trees.

Last I heard, groundbreaking for the building isn't even going to be for at least 6 months at the earliest, so they really haven't even stopped anything, but I'm sure they feel like they've stuck it the "man." But only if the "man" are janitors and groundskeepers who have to clean up their excrement from bathrooms when they try and dump it down the toilet and scrub off all the graffiti that's popped up all over campus, or maybe the "man" are all the undergrads who couldn't get into my building to talk with their professors and TAs.

Keep the wind and rain coming,
Cokey McCokerson

Stupid Tree-Sits at UCSC and UCB – Part 1

-This is part one of a two part piece on the tree-sits in Berkeley and Santa Cruz. Part 2 will come tomorrow, and will focus on the Santa Cruz protests.-

UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley love protesting. Some towns unite around a specific sport, some are focused by their observance to a particular religion, and these two Bay Area cities love to “stick it to the man” any chance they get. If you can go through either town any day of the week and not find a protest, you weren’t opening your eyes wide enough.

With earth in a state of peace, and with every individual in the third world full, healthy and content, the activist community in these two lefty areas has taken on the cause of protecting a dozen trees from that ever-so-evil force: growth.

I am not surprised that the activist community has taken this on as its major cause for the year at both universities. Any of you who have spent any time at my blog know that I once ran in these very same circles while I was in high school, and then through most of my university days. I was always more of an ISO Trotskyite type, but since the anarchist circles are the biggest at UCSC, I also spent time with them and their arguments. I know where these folks are coming from, and I can honestly say I understand their arguments and how they arrived at them.

From my time on the loony portion of the left, it doesn’t surprise me that this has become a major cause in these affluent bay area towns. Since standing up for those oppressed under foreign dictators is now just something “Neocons” seem interested in, and saving those dying in Darfur is a “Zionist conspiracy”, hefty parts of the left have slowly abandoned their international principles for selfish and pointless acts that simply make those involved feel as if they are part of a revolutionary vanguard. Zombie, from the always great ZombieTime, had this to say about the Berkeley tree sit last March:
“This wasn't about trees. It was about making a spectacle of yourself. About finding the puniest and most ridiculous cause imaginable and acting like your life depended on it. Genocide in Darfur? Nuclear proliferation? Who cares? We've latched onto an issue that really matters: They might change some of the landscaping around the stadium! Action alert!”

A little background on the current tree-sits in Santa Cruz and Berkeley: UCSC and UCB both need to build new structures on their campuses to accommodate their growing student bodies. UCB plans to build a new stadium, and UCSC plans to build a biomedical research lab. Both of these buildings require about a dozen trees to be cut down so that space can be made to accommodate them. In Berkeley, it is a group of trees originally planted on the ground when the university was built, and in Santa Cruz it is a few older pines on the north end of campus. Both of these projects are important in keeping these schools competitive and accommodating to a growing student body.

The Berkeley University will actually plant more trees than currently sit on the site, but that’s not enough for our tree sitting activists. In fact, it’s not even about the trees. It’s about fighting something, and the university is always an easy, and more importantly, safe target. No one at this tree sit actually believes they will go to jail or be punished in any way for breaking the law. They talk up the rebellious angle of their protest, but rebelling in Berkeley is not just common, it’s institutionalized.

You see, it would be rather easy for the police to round up all the folks in the tree, and start work on the stadium. But this is Berkeley, and the university and its city council treat every protest as if it is legitimate and worthy of discussion.

Not surprisingly, some of the major supporters of the tree-sit are the wealthy aging hippies that own homes around UCB and have always hated having football games on campus.

Environmentalism is the safest of all political causes for limousine liberals. Unlike the millionaires’ who advocate socialist polices and end up looking like hypocrites in the process, the environmental millionaire can safely condemn the expansion of a university (one that many of them attended, and one that most surely removed trees and wildlife to come into existence) and can relive their glory days by fighting the man and protecting their pristine multi-million dollar communities. People's Park (another similar and exaggerated Berkeley event from the 60’s) will rise again! It is certainly what Marx would have done!

Tomorrow, the even more disturbing protests at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The election is over! Rambo has spoken!

Ron Paul has Rogan, Huckabee has Norris, but McCain has the most kick ass action hero of all time on his side: Sylvester Stallone!
“Sylvester Stallone of Rocky fame has come out for McCain.

"I like McCain a lot. A lot. And you know, things may change along the way, but there's something about matching the character with the script.”

Oh goodness... he actually compared the campaign to a movie! This may very well be the most bizarre election seasons of all time. Stallone went on to say: “Do we get to win this time?

(Hat tip Blogs4McCain)

Hitchens on the Withdrawal form Iraq

View Christopher Hitchens on Withdrawal from Iraq on
View Christopher Hitchens on Withdrawal from Iraq on

The End of Biters

From the always awesome Prefuse 73.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

Obama on Reagan

I am not an Obama supporter. I find that he uses a lot of words to say very little, and the fact that he has voted “present” on almost 130 important votes in the Senate says a lot about him not being a principled leader.

But I will give him credit for making a real effort to bridge the gap between Democrats and Republicans (and others) in this country. He has come under fire from fellow Democrats for stating an obvious fact: that Reagan put America on a fundamentally different path, because the American people were ready for a fundamental change in their country. Coming out of the 60’s and 70’s, American’s wanted clarity, optimism and forward thinking. You may hate Reagan with all your heart, but if Democrats fail to recognize why he was so popular and successful, they can expect to be lost in the wilderness for another 10 years.

Just take a look at the victory and concession speeches made by all the Democratic candidates after each primary. Both Hilary and Edwards use the same old tired rallying cry: our party is good, the Republicans are bad.

Obama didn’t. He talked about closing the divide between the two groups, and the obvious point that we are all in this together, that “we are one nation, one people.” To end the politics of division, and instead make it about addition. A positive, and necessary message, and one I wish all politicians adopted.

Hold the Press! Joe Rogan Endorses Ron Paul!

Call off the election! America’s greatest mind has spoken.

Just another has-been comedian for the “only man who can save America.”

And if he doesn’t win, it was a conspiracy against him!

Cute that can Kill

The Hello Kitty AR-15 assault rifle
! This will surely help the United States’ image worldwide, and I look forward to these being used in the streets of Baghdad.