Tag Archives: Acacia Park

Steve Bass found guilty of camping not occupying, but could jury have ruled otherwise without hearing his defense?


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– You may have underestimated the importance of today’s Camping Ban trial. The local media, social justice community and rights watchdogs missed it. But judging from the police force on hand and the elaborate lock-downs placed on the jury pools, it was evident the City of Colorado Springs thought a lot was at stake. I’ve written already about the draconian motions to prevent defendant Steve Bass from explaining his motives, including a ban of the word “Occupy.” Today the court made audience members remove their “Occupy Colorado Springs” t-shirts, but let the cat out of the bag by the palpable gravitas with which the court officials and police handled jury selection. Except for the absence of TV crews outside, you’d have thought Steve Bass was Hannibal Lector tripped up by an urban camping ordinance at “what happened last year in October at a park downtown.”

Yeah, even mention of “Acacia Park” was giving away too much, the prosecuting attorney preferred to call it “115 W. Platte Ave.” Every so often a prospective juror would stand up and say “I presume you’re referring to OCCUPY WALL STREET?” like he was solving a riddle, but instead of the door prize that volunteer would be dismissed from the pool for knowing too much.

After a trial that lasted one third the length of the jury selection, Steve Bass was found guilty. He offered no testimony, his lawyer, the very capable Patty Perelo, made no closing statement, because what defense could be made? Steve and his council elected not to have him testify, because to begin with, he’d have to swear to tell the whole truth, and if he explained he could only tell part of the truth, he’d be slapped with Contempt of Court.

We thought the jurors might have been curious, after seeing the city’s 8×10 glossy pictures with the circles and arrows telling what each one was and hearing not a peep from Bass, but they didn’t express it, and left after giving their verdict. This is Colorado Springs.

One of the prosecution’s witnesses, the arresting officer, nearly spilled the beans when he identified the defendant as someone he couldn’t have confused for someone else, because he’d said he’d encountered Bass many times in the park and shared many conversations.

“Oh?” the defense attorney Perelo perked her ears and asked, “and WHAT did you talk about?”

“Um… homeless policy, mostly.” That’s all HE could say. He couldn’t explain why he’d encountered the defendant so many times, or what the defendant was doing. Attorney Perelo couldn’t push it, because that would be leading him into forbidden territory. His testimony for the prosecutor was delivered straight from his notes.

There were two police witnesses, a map and several photographs, showing the tent and another showing just the poles. Was this necessary for a conviction? Because it necessitated explaining to the jury that said poles were in their “unerected state”. Not to be confused with the tent which was “fully erected”, which the judge pronounced like expressions which tripped off the tongue in cases of serious crime.

A photo of two sleeping bags required the officer to say he found the defendant sleeping “in the bags in the tent in the park” to prove all the elements of a violation of the camping ban.

The prosecuting attorney summarized it thus: “there was a tent, there was a sleeping bag, looks like camping to me.”

Not according to a dictionary definition of course. But that too had been motioned inadmissible. If you look it up, camping is variously defined as to “Live for a time in a camp, tent, or camper, as when on vacation.” Or as when destitute? Dictionaries don’t go there. That’s more like sheltering.

A couple of other examples: Soldiers sleep in tents. They’re not camping. Mountaineers overnighting on the side of a mountain aren’t camping. Refugees of war and natural disasters stay in refuge camps, but aren’t said to be camping. Anyway.

Steve Bass didn’t get his day in court. Everything he wanted to say he couldn’t. His attorney’s strategy today was to prepare for an appeal, on the grounds that the judge deprived Bass of the ability to defend himself.

Did Bass violate the camping ban as the jury decided? The prosecutor explained that nobody, not the judge, nor police officers or herself or the jury was in the position to decide the law. So Steve Bass has to take his case to someone who can.

Jury Selection
Over four hours were spent on choosing a jury, by far the most interesting part of the day. It took three sets of 25 potential jurors to pick six and one alternate. As the process approached lunch hour, the court was eager to buy pizza for seven instead of twenty five, but they didn’t make it.

As I mentioned, usually a juror familiar with “Occupy Wall Street” was dismissed, whether their opinions were favorable or unfavorable. I saw one juror dismissed because delving further would have meant discussing Occupy too much and would expose the other jurors to more occupy talk than the judge or prosecutor wanted.

On the other hand, many jurors had direct relatives in law enforcement, one juror considered a CSPD officer her “knight in shining armor,” so that was another cause for eliminations.

During the second batch, another juror stood up to say he was a former corrections officer, who wasn’t sure if he might have met Steve Bass “in the course of his duties” which poisoned the entire group by suggesting Steve had spent time in prison. That batch was dismissed. In actuality, Steve recognized him, because they both frequented the Dulcimer Shop.

Though Judge Williams maintained a convivial air of impartiality, he betrayed an awful prejudice. Whenever a juror expressed knowing something of what was in the news in October 2011, the judge would asked them if they could refrain from judging Bass based on the misbehavior of others. If jurors who knew about the protests were let to remain in the running, the assumption the judge offered was that “Occupy” was a taint that the defendant hoped they would overcome.

I don’t doubt that this slant extends well beyond Occupy, because municipal courts are notorious for being rubber stamps of a city’s citation process.

For example, in Judge Williams’ instructions to the jury, he read the sample guilty verdict first, in all its solemnity. When he read the not-guilty sample, he broke character to explain that he was not going to repeat the redundant stuff, etc, etc, and then he told the jury they shouldn’t be swayed by the order in which the two samples were read. The dramatic guilty versus the blah blah not-guilty.

Occupy harassment
Knowing about the prohibition against Steve mentioning Occupy, we thought we’d exercise our right not to be gagged. Could it matter? Should it? How preposterous that Steve was being tried and not permitted to say what he was doing. As if some precedent would be set that a defendant might convince a jury that forbidding a person shelter was a bad law.

So we came to court with t-shirts that read OCCUPY COLORADO SPRINGS. Immediately when we sat down, the judge called the lawyers up and decided we’d have to remove our shirts. We were given a chance to explain who we were, but the choice was invert the shirts, put on new ones, or leave. So we walked out.

I had an extra shirt outside with a peace symbol on it. Admittedly a politically-charged shirt, somewhat iconic locally, because it recalled an event in 2007 when peaceful protesters were forcibly removed from a city parade, one of them dragged across the pavement, an elderly woman who subsequently died of complications. So I knew I might be pushing it.

The point being to give Defendant Bass some context. He’s an activist. Alone without a voice he was a perp. With an audience of protestors he becomes a man of mystery. Every accused person in court is sized up in part based on his relations sitting behind him. Why shouldn’t Steve be allowed to show who his friends are?

As I reemerged from my car, already a police supervisor was yelling across the street to tell me I wouldn’t be allowed to wear that shirt. “Are you kidding?” I asked. I had a bag full of them, prepared for this eventuality if other spectators wanted to show solidarity. He was crossing the street to preempt my bringing the confrontation to the steps of the courthouse.

“Eric, you know the judge won’t let you wear that shirt.”

“I know no such thing. He only forbid things that say Occupy.” I knew this to be true, technically.

But they weren’t budging, they claimed a jury pool was already in the courtroom and they didn’t want to take any chances. Oddly, the officer blocking my way, beside the supervisor, was Good Old Officer Paladino who’d brutalized my friends and me in 2007. So he knew the t-shirt too well. Actually Officer Irwin Paladino’s history of abusing protesters goes back to 2003. I decided to dispense with plan B and invert my black t-shirt so I could go back in.

Did the CSPD make the smart call forbidding my t-shirt? I’ll be the first to admit the CSPD have outwitted the local social justice movement at every turn in Colorado Springs. They’re clever and competent, but they’re in the wrong. The CSPD are stepping on our rights, and overstepping their authority to do it. While it may have been superior gamesmanship, it was wrong.

Have I mentioned that they followed us everywhere? As if we were the accused in need of escort. On the officers’ radios we could hear them narrating our movements throughout the building. When Patrick went to the bathroom, an officer followed him inside and made small talk as Patrick peed. Did they think we were going to Mike Check the men’s room?

At one point we were able to see from a window on the second floor hall that CSPD were conferring with a parking enforcement officer around our cars. She was examining the license plates, getting on her phone, standing by the cars, as if waiting for something. The cars were legally parked, the meters fed, and well within the four hour limit. But who wants to argue with an impound lot? I assure you this intimidation tactic worked very well to send us out of the courthouse to rescue our vehicles.

Meanwhile, another friend came into the courthouse and overheard officers discussing whether to deny us entry again, and by what pretext, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

While watching the jury selection, it was the batch that was being dismissed in full, the court bailiff suddenly bolted from behind where we were sitting and told the judge she’d overheard us whispering about inappropriate subjects, specifically using profanity. This accusation was based on a dear Occupier’s habit of muttering colorful asides. Okay this was true, but in his defense, it was after the jury being spoiled, about the jury being spoiled, but inappropriate none-the-less and he apologized. But to tie all together in the misbehavior was a fabrication. The prosecutor tried to have us evicted, and Officer Paladino chimed in about the confrontation I instigated at the door. That’s when my friend told the judge she’d overheard CSPD officers discussing plans to keep us out, so the bailiff’s actions began to appear a little contrived.

This complaint was finally settled with the judge’s warning that one peep out of us would get us 90 days in jail for Contempt of Court. At this point we knew the pieces of duct tape we’d brought in to use to protest Steve’s gagging were definitely OUT.

Just before lunch recess I was able to clarify with Judge Williams whether the peace t-shirt I had wanted to wear was acceptable to the court. Receiving no objection from the prosecutor, the judge told me it would be okay, and then assured me he’d inform CSPD.

Returning from lunch, once again with the peace shirt, the security screeners nearly didn’t let me pass, but I barreled past with the confidence of someone who knows his rights. This time Officer Paladino came upon me at the courtroom door, swaggering right into my face assuring me he was not going to let me pass. FORTUNATELY before he could wrestle my arms behind my back, another supervisor arrived who’d heard the judge, and I was allowed to proceed. Boring story I know. But the pattern was unsettling.

Then Steve was found guilty, you could feel the city’s giddiness as they discussed sentencing. We’re only talking community service, but Colorado Springs has only one contractor for that, the odious Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful, whose hi profile task is to clean up after the CSPD Homeless Outreach Team scoops up the homeless and puts them in shelters very much in the model of correctional facilities. Steve was able to negotiate a less anti-homeless agency, and that’s the story so far.

Steve Bass to get his day in court, but he can’t say what he was doing or why, & above all he can’t mention “Occupy”


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– Municipal Court Judge Spottswood W. F. Williams heard a final motion today before the AUGUST 10 trial of Occupier Steve Bass, charged with violating the city’s camping ban. The prosecution motioned to forbid from trial, “discussion of political, economic, or religious beliefs or ideology as a purported justification for the alleged acts”, and even “arguments related to the belief that the defendant’s conduct was constitutionally protected”, and in true Colorado Springs fashion, the judge GRANTED the city’s motion! YES THAT’S RIGHT, now if Bass wanted to say he wasn’t “camping,” he can’t say what else you would call it! In effect, Defendant Bass is prevented from explaining WHY he was occupying, or even THAT he was occupying, because saying “OCCUPY” is expressly forbidden. The judge will play it by ear whether to make an exception for himself during “voir dire” if selecting impartial jurors might require asking their opinion of “Occupy”. That’s IF BASS GETS A JURY AT ALL, because next, Judge Williams prompted the city prosecutor to research whether Bass was entitled to a jury of his peers for the infraction of camping…

The issue had already been resolved in an earlier hearing. Unable to find definitive wording on whether a camping ban violation invoked the right to a jury trial, the court ruled to proceed as if it did. But at today’s hearing Judge Williams related that in the interim over a casual dinner conversation, another judge informed him that the law read otherwise. So he put the question again to the prosecution. And again the citations came up inconclusive. This time however, with the clerk advised to continue the search, the decision stands at “pending”.

If Judge Williams opts to eliminate the jury, the forbidding of political or constitutional discussion is a moot point, actually two. There won’t be a jury to confuse, nor a judge either, because Judge Williams decided, by allowing the city’s motion, that the defendant has no arguments to make. Case closed. If the judge gets his way.

The point of today’s hearing was to hear not a judge’s motion but the city’s, a “motion in limine” used to reach agreement about what arguments can be excluded from the trial, often a defendant’s prior convictions which might prejudice a jury.

The core of the city’s motion was this:

…that the Defendant be ordered to refrain from raising the following issues at the Jury Trial…

1. Discussion of political, economic, or religious beliefs or ideology as a purported justification for the alleged acts, or as an issue to be evaluated by the jury;

2. Presentation of facts or arguments related to the belief that the defendant’s conduct was constitutionally protected expressive conduct;

3. Presentation of facts or arguments with the primary purpose or effect of proselytizing for the occupy movement, or otherwise using the Courtroom as a public forum;

4. Any reference to settlement negotiations with the Defendant prior to trial;

The city is guessing that because defendant Bass has passed on all opportunities to dismiss his case on technicalities, or plead for a deferred sentence, that he’s hanging on to get “his day in court.” Whatever that’s going to look like, the city doesn’t like it.

Points three and four were conceded by the defendant. No proselytizing was intended, and of course plea deals are confidential. But the discussion of #3 was amusing, because the city expanded it to mean absolutely NO MENTION of “Occupy.” Even though the defendant was cited in ACACIA PARK, in OCTOBER, under 24/7 media coverage, the prosecutor argued that mentioning OCCUPY “would be unfairly prejudicial to the City.” Further:

To admit evidence related to any political, economic, and religious debate concerning the “Occupy Movement” at trial in this matter would result in prejudice, confusion, and a waste of Court time. By allowing such testimony, the jury would be misled as to the elements of the charged offense which would result in confusion during jury deliberations. Furthermore, the prosecution would suffer unfair prejudice if the jury were allowed to consider the defendant’s private ideology…

Not only did the city fear it would lose a popularity contest with “Occupy”, it worried that the courtroom would be abused by public debate. The point was ceded by the defense because the “primary purpose” would always have been to present defending arguments, not proselytize.

The City’s request is that the Court be treated as a forum for resolving criminal disputes and not as a public forum for debate. Political, economic and religious debate should be restricted to appropriate public forums.

The prosecutor raises an incongruous irony: Steve Bass is on trial because the city doesn’t consider Acacia Park to be an appropriate forum either.

Naturally the defense objected to points one and two, though on the three particular defense strategies the city wanted to preempt, “Choice of Evils Defense”, “Defense of Others”, and “Duress”, the defense ceded as irrelevant. Judge Williams then granted points one and two with the proviso that Steve Bass be permitted to draft his own defense argument, to be presented to the court no later than the Wednesday before trial. Did you know that a defendant must have his arguments approved by his accusers before he’s allowed to make them in court?

I’m not sure it’s accurate to say that Steve Bass is going to get his day in court if he’s going to spend it gagged.

Was Steve Bass arrested for “camping” or was the city trying to curtail “Occupy”? Let’s remember that Jack Semple and Amber Hagan were arrested for taping themselves to a tent, and Nic Galetka was arrested for setting his things on the ground.

But Steve Bass won’t be allowed to mention those details.

———-
FOR REFERENCE: The city’s full motion is reprinted below:

MUNICIPAL COURT, CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO

PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS, Plaintiff
v.
Steven Bass, Defendant

Case Number: 11M32022

MOTION IN LIMINE

COMES NOW the Office of the City Attorney, by and through Jamie V. Smith, Prosecuting Attorney, and submits this “Motion in Limine,” moving that the Defendant be ordered to refrain from raising the following issues at the Jury Trial in the above-captioned matter:

1. Discussion of political, economic, or religious beliefs or ideology as a purported justification for the alleged acts, or as an issue to be evaluated by the jury;

2. Presentation of facts or arguments related to the belief that the defendant’s conduct was constitutionally protected expressive conduct;

3. Presentation of facts or arguments with the primary purpose or effect of proselytizing for the occupy movement, or otherwise using the Courtroom as a public forum;

4. Any reference to settlement negotiations with the Defendant prior to trial;

ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION

1. Discussion of political, economic, or religious beliefs or ideology as a purported justification for the alleged acts, or as an issue to be evaluated by the jury.

The Defendant is charges with violating Section 9.6.110 of the Code of the City of Colorado Springs, 2001, as amended (“the City Code”), entitled “Camping on Public Property.” Political, economic, or religious beliefs or ideology are not relevant to any of the elements of an alleged violation of City Code Section 9.6.110, nor are they relevant to any potential defense to that City Code Section.

City Code Section 9.6.110 makes it “unlawful for any person to camp on public property, except as may be specifically authorized by the appropriate governmental authority.” Testimony or arguments irrelevant to the elements contained in that language should be exclude from trial. C.R.E. Rule 401 defines relevant evidence as “evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probably than it would be without the evidence.” Evidence and argument regarding political, economic or religious beliefs of ideology have no bearing on the offense charged and do not meet the definition of relevant evidence.

Even if some discussion of these issues could be found to be of limited relevance, such discussion would only serve to confuse the issues and waste the court’s and jurors’ time, and would be unfairly prejudicial to the City. C.R.E. Rule 403 allows relevant evidence to be excluded when its admission would cause prejudice, confusion, or waste of time. To admit evidence related to any political, economic, and religious debate concerning the “Occupy Movement” at trial in this matter would result in prejudice, confusion, and a waste of Court time. By allowing such testimony, the jury would be misled as to the elements of the charged offense which would result in confusion during jury deliberations. Furthermore, the prosecution would suffer unfair prejudice if the jury were allowed to consider the defendant’s private ideology, as it is not an element that the prosecution must prove. Time and resources of the Court would also be wasted by allowing such testimony.

Furthermore, this Court denied the defendant’s “Motion to Dismiss-First Amendment,” on June 7, 2012, holding that City Code Section 9.6.110 is content-neutral, and that the defendant did not have a Constitutionally protected right to express his views in the manner that he chose on the date of the violation. Therefore, the sole issue before the jury is whether or not Mr. bass was camping on public property without appropriate governmental authority. Any evidence concerning political, economic or religious views that he was attempting to express through his conduct has no relevance whatsoever to any of the elements of the offense.

Discussion of the “Occupy Movement” as a political, economic or religious issue is also irrelevant to any potential defense which could be raised in this matter. Economic, political and religious beliefs or ideology are irrelevant to the following defenses that the Defendant might attempt to raise:

a. Choice of Evils Defense. C.R.S. Section 18-1-702(1) provides, in pertinent part, that “conduct which would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable and not criminal when it is necessary as an emergency measure to avoid an imminent public or private injury which is about to occur… .” The statute goes on the state in subsection (2) that “the necessity and justifiability of conduct under subsection (1) of this section shall not rest upon considerations pertaining only to the morality and advisability of the statute, either in its general application or with respect to its application to a particular class of cases arising thereunder.” (Emphasis added.) Subsection (2) also states that:

[w]hen evidence relating to the defense of justification under this section is offered by the defendant, before it is submitted for the consideration of the jury, the court shall first rule as a matter of law whether the claimed facts and circumstances would, if established, constitute a justification.

The choose of evils defense “does not arise from a ‘choice’ of several courses of action, but rather is based on a real emergency involving specific and imminent grave injury that presents the defendant with no alternatives other that the one take.” People v. Strock, 623 P.2d 42, 44 (Colo.1981). in order to invoke the “choice of evils” defense, the Defendant must show that his conduct was necessitated by a specific and imminent threat of public or private injury under circumstances which left him no reasonable and viable alternative other than the violation of law for which he stand charged. Andrews v. People, 800 P.2d 607 (Colo. 1990).

There has been no allegation by the defense, and no facts in the police reports previously submitted to this Court, that allege a specific and imminent public or private injury would occur if Mr. Bass had not erected a tent on public property. Furthermore, reasonable and potentially viable alternatives were available to Mr. Bass to achieve his goal, such as picketing and handing out literature, on the date of violation. This was accepted as true and ruled upon by this Court at the motions hearing on June 7, 2012. it should also be noted that no state “has enacted legislation that makes the choice of evils defense available as a justification for behavior that attempts to bring about social and political change outside the democratic governmental process.” Id. at 609; see also United States v. Dorrell, 758 F.2d 427, 431 (9th Cir. 1985) (mere impatience with the political process does not constitute necessity).

b. Defense of Others. C.R.S. Section 18-1-704 describes the circumstance under which the use of physical force in defense of a person constitutes a justification for a criminal offense. Subsection (1) of that statute states, in part, that “a person is justified in using physical force upon another person in order to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by that other person…”. The defense does not apply considering the allegation in this case. There is no allegation that the Defendant was using physical force to protect himself from unlawful force by another at any time during the violation. Furthermore, no unlawful force was used or imminently threatened against any third party that would allow the Defendant to raise the defense.

c. Duress. C.R.S. Section 18-1-708 defines duress as conduct in which a defendant engages in at the direction of another person because use or threatened use of unlawful force upon him or another person. Duress does not apply in this case. There is no evidence that anyone was using or threatening to use unlawful force against Defendant or any third party to cause the Defendant to commit a violation.

2. Presentation of facts or arguments related to the belief that the defendant’s conduct was constitutionally protected expressive conduct.

Any claim by the Defendant that his conduct was protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution is not a proper issue to be raised before the jury in this case. This is a constitutional defense that was already raised by the Defendant in his “motion to Dismiss-First Amendment,” and which was denied by this Court on June 7, 2012. The Court ruled as a matter of law that the Defendant’s alleged conduct was not a constitutionally protected form of expression.

3. Presentation of facts or arguments with the primary purpose or effect of proselytizing for the occupy movement, or otherwise using the Courtroom as a public forum.

It is anticipated that the Defendant will attempt to use this trial as a public forum to assert his political, economic, and religious views on the “Occupy Movement.” Courtrooms are not public forums. People v. Aleem, 149 P.3d 765 (Colo. 2007). This Court has the authority to restrict political speech within the courtroom and preserve its purpose as a forum for adjudication of criminal disputes,m so long as the restriction is reasonable and viewpoint neutral. Id. The restriction requested by the City is both reasonable and viewpoint neutral. The purpose of this Motion is to limit the evidence presented in this matter to the offense charged and potential defenses thereto. The Motion is also viewpoint neutral as the City is not taking a stance on political, economic, or religious issues and would not request that the Court do so either. The City’s request is that the Court be treated as a forum for resolving criminal disputes and not as a public forum for debate. Political, economic and religious debate should be restricted to appropriate public forums. To allow Defendant to raise thee issues would be contrary to legal precedent and the rules of evidence.

4. Any reference to settlement negotiations with the Defendant prior to trial.

C.R.E. 408 excludes from permissible evidence compromise or offers to compromise. Plea negotiations fall under this rule and may not be discussed in the presence of the Judge or Jury.

The Last Girl Scout

Yesterday marked an invigorating shift for me.
 
I’ve been beset by the common malady among Occupiers, wherein the sheer weight of the task at hand and the sly, evasive Jung Fu practiced by the adherents of the Darkness has been a bit stifling. Given the way the City Court in Colorado springs has been summarily dismissing cases arising from the local Occupation, i genuinely feared they would simply drop my camping ticket as a way to sweep the whole business under their now incredibly lumpy rug. After all, when Nic G. was arrested for setting up an occupation at City Hall, his case was summarily dismissed for “lack of evidence.” Nic, Michael, and Kristie then drove to the police station to retrieve the three carloads of evidence they had confiscated and were storing there. It seems likely that the real reason the case was dropped was the lack of any legitimate crime. Nic has reported that none of the cops on the scene for his incident had any clue what they were doing. In fact they are recorded by their own equipment responding with befuddlement when asked for what he was being arrested. No shit. “What am I being arrested for; what are the charges?” “We don’t know.” Apparently even our city’s lawyers aren’t stupid enough to take that one, though it may well have been simply a harassment strategy. If so, its effectiveness is as yet undetermined. No one has set up any tables or anything at City Hall since, but we’ve been busy, many of us simply finding ways to avoid freezing to death. The idea is hardly off the table though, one might say.

Some weeks back we contacted the National Lawyers’ Guild office in Denver and Chuck Nadler from that office sent out a mass email, blah, blah, blah, and i was put in touch with local attorney Patty Perello. Perello had presented difficulty to connect, and in the weeks leading to the rescheduled pre-trial conference yesterday, i developed a sense that she may be of a mind to steer the procedure toward the simplest solution and try to get the charges dropped on technicalities or to persuade me to take one of the cheesy deals the city attorney offered. I was pleasantly disabused of my unwarranted impression when we finally met, 10 minutes past the scheduled moment for the conference to start.

We spoke hurriedly for a few minutes about more or less unrelated topics before they called my name and Perello motioned for me to wait while she conferred in the inner sanctum of banal constitutional deconstruction to be found at any courtroom. I held my previous view at this point, that Perello was likely not so different from other overworked and over-avaricious solicitors with whom i’d had previous experience. When she reappeared with not one but two potential lame-ass deals posited by the city, i knew the moment was at hand. “So,” i say, bracing for the worst, “just how deep into this pond do you want to wade.” “I want to do what you want to do,” Perello says. “I want to take this on as a Constitutional and human rights thing,” sez me. Perello then launches into an enthusiastic rant, peppered with my favorite sort of coarse language, touching on subject matter like appeals, constitutional motions, and hustling for one of our Occupy Colorado Springs T-shirts. Before we were called again, she’s Patty, and one of us.

Patty also agreed to take on Jack’s cases, and Amber’s, too, i think, although our conversation continued to proceed in a fashion too scattered for me to be sure. I still suffer under a preconception about lawyers deep enough to cause lingering doubt, but Patty’s demeanor is so out of place it’s kind of disorienting. After spending an hour and a half or so at the courthouse handling cases for which she actually pulled money from her own pocket for discovery, she offered to give me a ride home in the snow, 12 miles away. During the drive we continued to cement simpatico perceptions of one another. Any other lawyer i’ve ever interacted with would send me a bill for $1500 and then sue me for all my coveted nothing when i couldn’t pay. Patty’s ready to fight the genuine base issues, “All the way to the Pope’s office.”

We’ll keep you posted!

On #D12 #OccupyCS takes on Walmart, company store of the global plantation.

Occupy Colorado Springs in Acacia Park, Sunday December 11, 2011
OCCUPIED COLORADO SPRINGS- Showing the flag today on the Occupy corner of Acacia Park in advance of tomorrow’s 12/12 WALMART BOYCOTT. You might well ask why we passed on a sunny, pre-Chrismas shopping weekend to picket the 8th Street Walmart on a MONDAY. Easy. Our boycott is timed with other OCCUPY actions on #D12, the shutdown of Oakland’s port by #OccupyOakland and #OccupyDenver’s blocking of the Loveland Colorado Walmart distribution center. Solidarity. So we thought we’d dry our new signs today and recruit for tomorrow’s event. The cops came early.


In the interest of FULL DISCLOSURE, here’s the entirety of what was happening on the corner today. Something Native American, related to Hispanic American culture, involving to a troubling degree a number of Catholic clergy, having to do with what, the first occupation? The motorcycle cops were there to escort their procession along Tejon.

Occupy Colo. Springs evicted last night, loses permit and shelter, wins standoff.


OCCUPIED COLORADO SPRINGS- At 11pm came a two-hour warning, at 1am the wrecking crew. By 3am Colorado Springs Occupiers had no place to sleep or warm up in the cold, but carried on their protest. Loring Wirbel has the best local OWS op-ed yet.


Here’s video footage from Patrick Jay.

Whose streets? Occupy Jack spreads COS occupation to parking spots!


OCCUPIED COLORADO SPRINGS- Why stop at protest tents? Jack’s got a protest car, now there are two. Two cars used by Occupy Colorado Springs have now been booted for not paying their way alongside Acacia Park. No homeless allowed, so no homeless cars allowed. The plan? Occupy Cars! Activists are sleeping in shifts, occupying these cars to prevent them being impounded. Did you watch yesterday’s video of the Saturday arrests? Jack Semple is a rockstar. If you can help Jack and his fellow occupiers, figure out something, they can use your help. They’ve already got the outrageous ideas, it’s the run of the mill support that will turn the tide.

#Occupy Colo. Springs Municipal Court

Occupy Colorado Springs arrestees
OCCUPIED COLORADO SPRINGS- Attention local media, if you’re looking for authentic spokespeople for Occupy Colorado Springs, you need look no further than today’s front row. Holding the big sign is first arrestee Steve Bass, to his right: three times arrestee Iraq vet Jack Semple, arrestee Amber Hagen, arrestee Raven Martinez, and arrestee Thomas G.

Also pictured, former Colorado Congressman Dennis Apuan, Occupy founding member Jon Martinez and Socialist activist Patrick Jay. Not pictured, Joel Aigner and Hossein Forouzandeh who were speaking at a UCCS occupy teach-in.


Here’s a video of the Saturday arrests of veteran of Fallujah Timothy “Jack” Semple and Amber Hagen of the 7-11 incident. Worth the watch. ROCKSTARS!

Mark your calendars, upcoming arraignments are scheduled November 21, 29 and 30.

Raven addressed the Colorado Springs City Council today on the unconstitutionality of the no-camping ordinance being enforced to curb the Occupy protest. Here’s what she said:

As a citizen of the United States, one has a given right to life, liberty, & property. These rights are protected by both the 5th & 14th Amendments to the Constitution.

In Bolling v Sharpe, The Supreme Court interpreted the 5th Amendment’s due process clause to include an equal protection element.

The 14th Amendment states:

“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of LIFE, LIBERTY, or PROPERTY, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Knowing that sleep is a necessity of Life, every American citizen has a right to sleep, regardless of status.

“HOMELESSNESS” is considered a status.

The camping ordinance ultimately denies one the right to sleep, therefore the right to live, based on their status. How many people have been arrested for setting up a canopy, with blankets & food, to take a nap or have a picnic on public property.

Now if a homeless person sets up a canopy, has blankets and food with them, will they be told to take down their canopy under the current camping ordinance? If so, then the ordinance is based on status, therefore unconstitutional.

If not, then it leaves too much discretion in the hands of the individual law enforcement officer, making the ordinance over-broad and unconstitutionally vague.

When one is homeless, where can that person sleep? If they set up to sleep on Public property they would be violating the current city ordinance, they will be told to leave and told of a shelter to go to, being their only alternative. This amounts to incarceration in the shelter without a violation of law having been committed. This also violates ones right to due process in that it allows for arbitrary enforcement.

When you criminalize a non-criminal act of necessity, you greatly increase the possibility of that person committing other crimes, as well as decrease that persons ability to obtain employment.

State v Folks, No. 96-19569 MM found that a city ordinance which punished innocent conduct, such as sleeping/camping on public property, violated the defendant’s right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, which is protected under the 8th Amendment.

I ask you to look at the constitutionality as well as the long term effects of such an ordinance, it starts a domino effect that negatively impacts an already hurting economy.

How much does it cost in tax payers money to pursue such a case?

We have to have change! If we want a better economy and overall society, then the government, Federal, State, & Local, must change the way they conduct business. Criminalizing acts of necessity is business, not a way to protect our American citizens.

“Definition of Insanity: Doing the same thing over & over again and expecting different results.” -Albert Einstein

Pass a new ordinance to repeal the current one.

All in

When i first set out to write this blog i had no intention of writing about geopolitics, or anything any bigger than my own little world, or to develop any sort of readership at all, let alone to kick up international interest. Who knew? Since the time i started, Adbuster’s Occupy movement has overtaken the whole world and i’ve become a part of it, along with apparently millions of fellow humans dissatisfied with aspects of the concentric and overlapping political systems that govern and control the minutiae of our daily lives. Occupy has struck a chord that resonates well beyond what seems to have been its original intent as well.

Adbuster asserts in its campaign web-page opener that, “we vow to end the monied corruption of our democracy,” speaking, one assumes of U.S. democracy, even though Adbusters is a Canadian publication founded by Kalle Lasn, an Estonian. Adbusters itself claims to be a, “global network of culture jammers and creatives,” and that their Occupy is, “[i]nspired by the Egyptian Tahrir Square uprising and the Spanish acampadas.” One should note that Adbusters is a non-profit organization with aspirations and effect well beyond the confines of the magazine at its core.

Many of my dear intrepid friends struggle mightily with the unavoidable nature of the movement in which we all participate. Occupy Colorado Springs, (OCS), has garnered a fair amount of attention both because of its early acquisition of a city permit to camp on the sidewalk, and for its fragmentary infighting. Strong personalities have clashed fairly spectacularly for what scale we’re dealing with here, and precisely the same arguments are on display at Occupy web-pages all over the U.S., as well as abroad. Here, many patriotic, nationally oriented players have concentrated on addressing the U.S. Constitution and the influence of corporate interests in Washington, D.C. politics. Others have been caught up in causes of personal concern as the “focus” of the overall movement has grown more and more diffuse. The bickering and difficulty in reaching consensus has been frustrating but, i suggest, not unhealthy or out of place.

Adbusters, following ques from the Middle East and Spain, deliberately set off a “leaderless” movement, and has fastidiously avoided taking hold of any sort of control of what has developed since, refusing even media interviews for fear of exercising undue influence. Occupy remains a leaderless movement. Various groups and individuals have issued lists of demands; the one linked there, “is representative of those participating on this [particular ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Facebook] page.” We Occupiers have much common ground, which has served well to bring us all together, and will continue to serve as we gather to discuss and bicker over issues and particulars. There is plenty to differentiate amongst us as well, on individual and other categorical bases, but we have recognized, more or less, an essential humanity that has us willing to stand in freezing temperatures if we live in the northern hemisphere, and subject ourselves to the slow, often painful process of learning to live together.

Some among us, as we have seen right here in Colorado Springs, are very uncomfortable indeed with the amorphous nature of the Movement. We have seen splintering, censorship wars, general Assemblies that devolve into shouting matches, and the development of personal animosities. These phenomena are repeated on a grander scale throughout the Movement while observers gloat over the imminent dissolution of Occupy unity. Neither we Occupiers nor the Movement’s detractors ought to be misled by these birth pains. Our situation as humans, or for that matter any other creature inhabitant of the Earth has been rendered fully untenable by humans competing for dominance. The upheaval we engage from our Colorado Springs street corner, or from squares in Manchester, Belgrade, Cairo, and etc. is the natural response of rats in a corner. Were it not for the fact that we humans indeed possess reasoning capacity beyond a rat’s we really would be screwed. Fortune, or Divine providence, or evolution, or whatever mechanism or mechanisms turn(s) out to be true has granted us the tools that, utilized with empathy at every turn may–just may–allow us to work our way out of the massive pickle in which we’ve put ourselves. Nothing about this will be easy, quick, or for most, especially comfortable.

The Movement is leaderless. This is an existential fact. No matter how strenuously individuals attempt to grab hold of reigns, or to turn them over to others, there is no authority behind the Movement other than the profound spiritual authority of its essential Idea. The financial disparities that we have focused on here in the U.S. are real, and the supra-national bodies that control our government with full directive power are the same bodies that separate people from power in every nation on Earth. Each issue that has arisen into the Movement’s overall consciousness, from derivative markets, to marijuana law, to camping on public property is part and parcel of the whole thing, which itself amounts to such a gigantic, lumpen juggernaut that we have a hard time gathering our thoughts around the whole thing at once. We must.

Many U.S. citizens, including some prominent in and around OCS, have expressed insistent nationalism. Muslims and Christians around the world have pushed religions agendas. Nationalism is by no means confined to the U.S.A. Our corporate, non-personal enemy and its personal, human operators are Global already, and use these divisions to our detriment! At a Colorado College faculty panel yesterday, much ado was made of income disparities and market finagling by Wall Street financiers. We can isolate our minds all we want, but we can not eliminate the fact that Wall Street, Fleet Street, Singapore, Hong Kong, the House of Saud, whatever, whatever, are already one indivisible entity, operating in opposition to any concern for overall humanity or household priorities for any of us as inhabitants of the planet, including the natural requirements of the controllers. The Idea of competition and profit has acquired an independent life of its own and has prevented even those at the top of the unwieldy pyramid from living lives connected to the most valuable prizes of all, which we humans have recognized throughout our history and recorded in odes, songs, and literature to be transcendent of politics and possessions. The statistics cited by those college economists, and the many Occupiers that mention them in speeches and lists of demands are quite real, and Americans might note that Kurdish, Nepali, and Palestinian Occupiers, for example, skew the stats we’ve been flailing our arms about here even further, and that “First World” exploitation is a very large part of this discussion, indeed.

There can be little doubt that the “Wall Street” entities in control of our various governments have planned for and directed events toward a “New World Order” for decades, if not centuries. Lots of justifiably paranoid conspiracy watchers all over the planet have done their best to alert their fellows to this alarming and unacceptable development for as long as it has been in the mix. The Vatican, a power with negative credibility in its adherence to its own doctrine, has offered itself up as a potential controller of a global banking scheme. Currently entrenched power-brokers will absolutely without question attempt to co-opt and control the current Movement. We humans are not interested in more of the same bullshit, plus the added benefit of still more bullshit! We occupiers are fully Sovereign, each in his or her own right. We are leaderless by design, which is the natural development of the abject failure of our leaders, and in fact of the failure of the very foundation of our interaction amongst ourselves that has developed without much direction for at least the 10,000 year span during which we have written about it. Those who resist this fact will find little more than inversely correlated discomfort in their resistance. One can deny the nature of a rhinoceros till one’s dying day, but the beast remains a rhinoceros, and the denier’s last day may well come on the day he encounters a rhinoceros.

Sovereign consensus building is not democracy. It’s something we humans have never attempted on the scale we Occupiers are attempting now. Broad-scale cooperation as a foundation is against an established competitive approach that we have fallen into by default for a long, long time. Voting one another into submission will not work, simply because we have let the cat out of the bag. We noble individuals are learning a brand-new thing, like it or not, because a rhinoceros has smashed the freakin’ house down. I, for one will not abandon the Liberty of my own Sovereignty, no matter who votes what, nor will i abandon the respect i hold for each other Sovereign in the entire mix. I recognize the differences between whatever groups or persons are in the whole wide world. Categorical observations are real, so far as they go; but i won;t be bound by them. I won’t be forced to fight against the 1% simply because i am a member of the 99%. Rather i will be fighting with every fiber of my being for the 100% of us who will ALL be trampled by the rhinoceros, in pretty danged short order, unless we ALL relinquish our insistence on control, avarice, and irresponsibility of all stripes.

Each of us has a part to play, a purpose to serve. Never abandon what you know. Work hard at open discussion. Don’t be embarrassed by frustrating moments or attempt to hide your own humanity. Withdraw for a moment if you need to to prevent overboiling passions. We’re all in this together. Be patient Brothers and Sisters; this is gonna hurt some….

OWS List of Demands:
www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=157161391040462
Adbusters:
www.adbusters.org/campaigns/occupywallstreet
NPR:
www.npr.org/2011/10/20/141526467/exploring-occupy-wall-streets-adbuster-origins
Middle Eastern origins:
www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2011/apr/09/libya-egypt-syria-yemen-live-updates
Acampadas:
www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13466977

Occupy Colo. Springs suffers SECOND ARREST for camping outside permit

Jack arrested for erecting tent in Acacia Park
COLORADO SPRINGS- Tonight’s 11 O’clock arrest in Acacia Park was the second for #OCCUPYCS. As contentious GAs can attest, the self-delegated city-liaison executive-members are fighting a losing battle with a dissenting membership determined to grow the OWS protest by stressing inclusion and enlarging the encampment to beyond the city-permitted canopies.

Five cruisers and one unmarked vehicle responded to call

Interlude 2

Off to Acacia Park for the night, then Denver in the morning. Occupy! is fully international. We’ll need to come to terms with that in our own countries, cities, minds, and act accordingly, cooperatively, if we are to truly build a thing of beauty without a ridiculous cataclysm. Continue to embrace Humanity in everyone! Cops and soldiers, bankers and beggars–all of us are just working the Gameboard as seems best to us at the time. Pull back. Breathe. Shine the Light! The Game’s over. Learn to Dance!

Legal artistry

(In response to questions received on another forum: “I’m curious as to why, exactly, you feel that you are entitled to stay in a public park at all?”, “What makes you feel that you are entitled to enjoy the ‘right’ of pursuing your happiness — that is, living in Acacia park — without having to contribute monetarily to the upkeep of that public facility.. Furthermore, why is it that you believe that, in the interest of effecting a change in a law which you disagree with, the best course of action is to choose to voluntarily break said law, rather than getting involved in the legal process and effecting a change in the typical fashion? After all, all that really accomplishes is an additional waste of taxpayer-funded services, in this case law enforcement.”)

I’ll reiterate again before i take this on that these are profoundly excellent questions that i think every Occupier, observer, and citizen of any country ought to contemplate deeply before entering the fray–maybe even before leaving the house this morning.

First I should clarify what may amount to a few misconceptions wrought largely by the media of late. As has been reported I am living with dear friends who find my comfort to be a valuable thing and have extended their hospitality freely absent any solicitation on my end. J. Adrian Stanley of the CS Independent has referred to me as a “technically homeless…couch[-]surf[er],” which is true, though only by certain technical legal definitions, which are generally designed to either skirt or address issues involving benefits of some sort. I am “technically” employed as the sole proprietor of the Paint Squad, a remodeling company that has been defunct for practical purposes since the media began trumpeting a new Great Depression, and the guy i had been working with abandoned the project. For the record, i collect no unemployment, disability, food stamps, or any other money or benefits of any kind from the government. Plainly stated, i have no monetary income. This is not meant to offer ethical assessment of my situation nor to elicit sympathy or whatever, but is merely offered to add perspective to my positions, and to rectify factual errors that have made it into the mix. Bear in mind i was camping at Acacia Park not out of necessity, but to effect the specific outcome that you may observe to have been effected. Note that although hundreds of campers are now down along Fountain Creek in violation of the same ordinance, they are not at Acacia Park kicking the bee’s nest with me–they have different and rather more imminent needs than i.

I believe i adequately responded to Mark’s first question by directing him to the appropriate pages here at hipgnosis. The second is a continuation of the first, with the addenda about “contributing monetarily.” A response must necessarily involve the natures of money, property and its use, and our interaction amongst ourselves as human beings. The third involves political processes and movements, civil disobedience, and my own spiritual foundation. I hope those statements enlightens the reader on the length of this post, and Mark in particular on the reason for the time taken for its development.

Some questions in answer to a question: Who owns public land? What does it mean to “own” it? Whence the resources to maintain the land, and what does that mean? We Americans have never adequately addressed these matters, and our ethical foundation for holding this conversation will remain forever spongy until we do. All land ownership in the United States harks back to the arbitrary decrees of that series of monarchies our predecessors here acknowledged to be so corrupt that a bloody war was necessary to shed the influence thereof. Land was simply declared by powerful people to be “owned” by favored sycophants, regardless of the opinions of the contemporary inhabitants. The Founders adopted the same attitudes governing property as had been utilized by their enemies. Every piece of property in the country now, public or private, is viewed through the lens of this fact. Its “ownership” is determined by arbitrary acts of murder and fiat. It’s understandable that this is the case–effecting such jarring and massive shifts in foundational thinking is never blithely easy, though it does appear simple once accomplished.

Having had an ear to the ground for some time on matters such as we are discussing , i am alert to numerous suggestion that “we” give land back to the “Indians.” This idea is as flawed as the other, and the thinking of indigenous peoples advocating it has been corrupted by our Western philosophical bias. The only genuine option uncorrupted by avarice and murder is to revert to a state of ignorance of ownership where the land is concerned. The elaboration of this notion constitutes a genuine system of political economy and i will carry it no further here, (but will link below). This is put in the mix to allow the reader to investigate further, and to establish that the following points are argued from an academic point of view rendered at least partially moot by the actual philosophical basis for the actions in question.

Be alert, Mark, that i have not been a societal parasite. I have worked and paid taxes since the age of 12, in spite of strenuous effort to limit the absurd, onerous, and unethical share the Government has taken through any nefarious means available. Maintenance at Acacia Park is paid out of city sales tax, unless i’m mistaken, which i certainly paid when i bought the sleeping bag i slept in there, the bicycle i rode to the park, the tobacco i smoked while there. Additionally, though i have not camped there in a week or so, one might readily visit the Park and ascertain that it is in a far cleaner state than before Occupiers carved out a space there, the rest rooms were locked coincident to their arrival, and the only maintenance in evidence is a guy that comes around in the morning to collect the bags of trash the Occupiers have gathered from around the whole park, and the sprinklers which still douse the tree lawns where people are camping even though watering season is so obviously over that infrastructure damage is imminent. Regardless, and without additional verbosity, the land in question is public, and we Occupiers clean up after ourselves requiring less maintenance, not more, of the City. Opposition to the notion that smaller contributions in tax payments ought to equal diminished rights to enjoy publicly held assets, with which we are endowed at birth is quite close to the heart of the Occupiers’ battles, whether individual Occupiers have become aware of the idea yet or not. We all pay for it, both monetarily and in karmic debt, or by whatever system of spiritual balance you may care to invoke. Any Rockefeller is welcome to pop a tent next to mine.

Your final point, that is, why civil disobedience rather than ordinary action is yet another that might be expanded at length. In the interest of getting this up i’ll restrain myself from that in hopes that you will recognize that i am not attempting to be glib or brusque with you here, Mark, but merely brief. Additional commentary on all these points is both available and forthcoming. Simply enough–civil disobedience, and in fact in my mind and those of many, many others, full-blown political and ideological restructuring is necessary because no approach within the confines of less strenuous discourse has worked thus far, and people all over the planet have had quite enough bullshit. If you imagine to yourself that this business of mine, or the business of Occupy in general is about camping in Acacia Park, or the stupid camping ordinance enacted but not enforced by the City of Colorado Springs then you have badly missed some very important news. I suggest you follow the links below. Visit the Occupiers, both here and in many other cities around the whole wide World right now.

This’ll do. Ask more questions! Read these links:

I’m not angry, but, hmmm… http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10?op=1

Henry George developed a system addressing this stuff. I can’t say his system is complete, and in fact, i am personally convinced our problem as humans must be addressed spiritually. That’s a topic for another moment, and it does not detract from George’s thesis: http://www.henrygeorge.org/

This strikes me as so obvious that it could be seen as a jab, and almost feels that way, but it’s still the place to go for primary discourse on civil disobedience: http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil.html

This is obviously unnecessary, but i’ll point out once more that the reader will find an abundance of words of my own that bounce around all these topics and more. It’s all the same conversation: www.hipgnosis21.blogspot.com

PPCC Philo Club page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/168063276537761/

Some other discussion and reporting establishing basis: http://wwwwendolbloggercom.blogspot.com/

There’s no end. Keep looking.

CSPD acquires urban assault vehicle. What line have activist informants been feeding them?

COLO. SPRINGS- This image just in from a reconnoiter of the downtown police garage. The CSPD has mobilized an urban assault vehicle, for, I don’t know what, keeping up with the Jones’s? Ever since Springs police decided that the Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission held gravitational pull over all political dissent in El Paso County, the CSPD holds weekly briefings with a PPJPC staffer, and of late they’ve added morning tete-a-tetes with an OCCUPY delegate from Acacia Park. What are those “representatives” telling them? That law enforcement needs bigger ammo? Would now be the time to suggest we call organizers who grease the mechanisms of oppression, however ill-conceived their intention, by a more appropriate term, RATS?

I can understand neighbors with differing opinions about whether cops need more helicopters, or K-9 intimidation duos, but how ever does the ordinary citizen rationalize that their police department needs riot equipment? To protect us from ourselves? We found out a couple years ago that the CSPD has a busload of their own people-suppression gear. Now we have an armored personnel carrier for cops? Because they can’t drag defenseless nonviolent protesters across the pavement without mechanization? The Acacia Park protesters have been happy to seek permits to set up their literature canopies and have organized community service cleanup actions to put a shine on their model compliance, meanwhile the police are arming up…

EPILOG:
Is this a political cheap shot? Yes. It’s trash talk. No argument. Why and when Colorado Springs took delivery of an armored vehicle is entirely conjecture. Maybe it’s the usual cost-plus profiteering scheme. That’s not really the point. The point is, what intelligence is CSPD getting from their de facto adversaries?

The sight of a new armored vehicle to use against civilians should be a major embarrassment to someone who considers themselves tasked with offering assurances to the city that all local protest will be inoffensive and dismissible.

The CSPD needs armor WHY? Not even crime here has ever escalated to a level which would require an armored assault by the police.

I was content to leave it at that, but oh well, some people need it explained.

It is not conceivable that anything public citizen advisers might have whispered at regular meetups would have prompted the CSPD to armor up. But what are the collaborators conferring with police about? We know the why, for a seat at the table, so what goals are they selling out?

It would be false praise to suggest the PPJPC had a role in bringing the armored UAV to town. But the PPJPC cannot escape responsibility for eroding the role and breadth of activism in this city. In particular for playing informant to the CSPD, for being the conduit of intimidation which the police want to push the other way, and for employing an executive director who has a personal resolve against confrontational activism. You won’t see him at protests, organizing protests, or promoting protests. You’ll see him keeping his meetings with other respectable nonprofit heads, and his appointments with the CSPD, and fielding their calls when they catch wind of other dissenters. No surprise that a once energetic PPJPC is now but a social justice knitting circle of communion takers.

Of course it’s worse, because Colorado Springs social circles are small enough that the CSPD only needs one snitch. Not that any illegal activities have been planned, certainly no violence, but the CSPD wants to keep tabs, and the PPJPC is happy enough to believe that if you have nothing to hide, then keeping city authorities informed shouldn’t threaten you.

For those who need this spelled out: civil disobedience is by definition illegal, and benefits incalculably from putting authorities on the spot. Giving them your game plan in exchange for not upsetting the apple cart does not favor those who are protesting the apple cart.

So what is whispered in these regular meetings with the police? Let’s imagine only the most innocent possibilities. Who’s new to town, who’s jumping on this national campaign, who’s retreating from the fallout from that recent action, what’s the scuttlebutt, what’s to these rumors, and what are CSPD’s concerns. It makes me nearly sick to think about. The relationship must be as with a lobbyist. The collaborator is enjoined to take responsibility for keeping the peace. Any surprises and it’s their rapport that suffers. Police embarrassed on the street? No cookie for you.

Occupy Colorado Springs organizers have fallen for the same bait, a quasi permitted stay in Acacia Park in exchange for daily updates with the police. A special relationship is how I believe it’s being billed. You’d probably call it a morning coffee with your boss, with info flowing his way, instructions coming yours.

If you are hoping to reform the system, thinking you have allies among the blimp-necks sworn to uphold it TO THE LETTER is probably wrongheaded.

The ugly arrangement at the PPJPC didn’t begin with Executive Director Steve Saint. The PPJPC sat down in 2003 after an antiwar rally was teargassed, to hash out a code of conduct agreement with the CSPD. Membership balked at such a prospect and the project was abandoned, but left the city with a paper trail with which to claim it believed it had cemented a deal and would consider further trouble to be a breach of the agreement. This came to light after the St Patrick’s Day Parade fiasco of 2007. An event which provoked the larges upsurge in participation in the PPJPC but rapidly dropped off with its failure to capitalize on the visibility.

I know a little about that because I was chairman in that aftermath, fighting an insubordinate staff who only slowly revealed their ulterior motives and stacked the board against me. The rationale? Public protests hurt alliances with other non profits. Being anti-military preempted cooperation with almost all the other social causes in an army town.

It’s of course a long story, but in the end you’ve got a career staff member determined to jettison antiwar efforts for the comfort of taking on the environment, poverty, and whatever causes get a Democratic president elected. Steve Saint very visibly put his name to the letter which invited Van Jones to come speak at Colorado College. Van Jones is as corporate a messenger as Barack Obama, with the same empty promises. This time instead of Hope, he’s selling Green. And it’s just as easy a sugar pill to swallow.

Did you know some disgruntled Dems have set about to form a Green Party? Guess who’s put himself at the center of scuttling that effort by neutering any grassroots platform? I take no pleasure in delivering this punch line.

Of course more than anything the antiwar movement suffered with Obama’s election. Now the hopeful are disillusioned and cynical, and who is the little PPJPC to revive that crowd? But the PPJPC backed Obama, stood in line to see him while their dissenters embarrassed them by protesting outside. Dissenters who ultimately had the police called on them for trying to have a meeting in front of the PPJPC office.

The PPJPC is fully co-opted, fine, but that the organization plays the role of informant to the police is untenable. A historically, unequivocally, uninterruptedly nonviolent activist community provides no grounds for the city police to escalate their crowd-control technologies, and it certainly doesn’t merit full-time paid informants trying to snitch on them.

Colorado Springs issues permit to sleep on sidewalk but without tents. Let Them Eat Concrete

COLO. SPRINGS- I’m not crazy about OCCUPY organizers negotiating with city representatives for a tentative permit to occupy Acacia Park. You don’t need permits for free speech, nor does activism gain by the advice of cops. That said, allowing a protest encampment, even without tents, may grow participation more effectively than outrage over oppressive responses to civil disobedience. So what’s come of this strategy today is the same permission that has been granted to the Wall Street activists in Zuccotti Plaza, sleeping bags but no tents. Doesn’t that seem shamelessly punitive? Shelter is a human right, deprivation of which is a violation of the 14th Amendment. It’s likely the city could be held liable for endangering the health and lives of these activists.

So permits or not? No American citizen needs permission to express himself, and whatever means you have to conspire to shut down Wall Street are not going to be allowed. So should an occupation seek a permit? The physics of military occupation are Might Makes Right, not Simon Says. But military intelligence and diplomats play invaluable roles. Might makes right, but guile and craft save the occupiers manpower and lives. Maybe permits create the beachhead with which the American people get their size 99 shoe in the door.

Holding regular meetups with the police is another dilemma. I know I’m not shrewd enough to go head to head with a police department, its vast intelligence resources, and well practiced dissent-quashing strategies. For me a most significant element of the public demonstration is law enforcement’s incapability of predicting unregulated behavior.

The 14th Amendment forbids the state to “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” So we might well pause to consider another news story which emerged today, that the US citizen assassinated by CIA drones in Yemen, wasn’t riding in a convoy as previously claimed, but at a dinner party with a 16-year-old relative and his friends, all of them killed without trial or even legal charges. At its simplest the 14th Amendment says you can’t punish someone before properly found guilty. Forcing inhumane conditions upon a citizen exercising his rights is punitive, cruel and unusual.

In Denver today a similar delegation met with the mayor, who give his permission for protests to continue, as it was his to give, for his subjects to exercise their 1st Amendment Rights, but abridged to exclude at night, in the cold, or in city park. Specifically the Denver mayor said he’d allow them to sleep on sidewalks provided they’re exposed to the elements. No tents. Let them eat concrete.

The Colorado Springs city attorney gave instruction to formalize the handicap with a permit. They can sleep on sidewalks but no shelter allowed. Want a cold or flu? Have at it.

A provocative thought, however sad: will today’s protesters submitting their bodies to rain, cold and snow, submitting their health and spirits to debilitating hardship, streamed live on the internet, will it have a similar effect as images of water hoses on civil rights marchers?

Should homeless camping ban apply to Occupy Colorado Springs protest? Homelessness is often also protest.

COLORADO SPRINGS- Activist Steve Bass was arrested last night for overstaying his welcome in the city’s Acacia Park, violating the ordinance against pitching a tent in a public park. While the city is asserting that the anti-homeless no-camping ordinance ban applies to overnight free speech and assembly, and the OCCUPY COLORADO SPRINGS protesters argue that protest should be differentiated from the homeless issue, Steve reminds us that for many on the street, homelessness is their protest.

Bass has longtime experience administrating the Sunday morning soup kitchen at CC’s Shove Chapel. According to Bass, it’s not a matter of “To be or not to be” but the unalienable right to be or be somewhere else. Here’s an excerpt from his statement:

A point is advanced during the meeting [Occupy Colorado Springs negotiations with City officials] that separates homeless campers from active political occupiers. As a matter of personal opinion, though there are some real differences in context, the camping ordinance is bad law as yet untested in courts. However, having been involved with the free food biz in Colorado Springs for decades I am confident in stating that many homeless campers are in their position by choice, having opted out of a political system found onerous. I see no legitimate difference between this lifestyle of protest and the pointed expressions of protest embraced by Occupy Colorado Springs.

Other homeless campers are thus because of uncontrolled habits, some of which fall under the label of “diseased” behavior by authoritative bodies in the U.S. or because of circumstances external to their control. There are only two varieties of property in the entirety of the U.S.–public or private. If the continuously burgeoning population of homeless campers is barred from sleeping on public property, and have no means by which to acquire access to private property, they have no option at all. Others are then required by default to put them up, thus far manifest here in conditions both unsanitary and unsavory as demonstrable by the bed-bug ridden Express Inn or the Aztec Motel, or else the Salvation Army–court ordered church. Otherwise, our only other option is to incarcerate them. I maintain that an unmentioned and “unalienable” right of all human beings is simply to be, wherever that being may take place.

To be or to be somewhere else

An attempt to address a few issues presented here in as brief a fashion possible: Re: “Occupy Colorado Springs hits legal wall.” Regardless of the opinions of any observer or participant in any protests currently under way here or across the country, police are likely to follow the direction of their superiors, apart from unauthorized behavior on the part of mavericks or rogues. Jason points out that the Bill of Rights “trumps” city ordinances and statutes, and if that is not true then I am personally inclined to object strenuously and if necessary physically, in the sense that I will camp “illegally” with the occupiers during the course of the current protestations.

A point is advanced during the meeting that separates homeless campers from active political occupiers. As a matter of personal opinion, though there are some real differences in context, the camping ordinance is bad law as yet untested in courts. However, having been involved with the free food biz in Colorado Springs for decades I am confident in stating that many homeless campers are in their position by choice, having opted out of a political system found onerous. I see no legitimate difference between this lifestyle of protest and the pointed expressions of protest embraced by Occupy Colorado Springs. Other homeless campers are thus because of uncontrolled habits, some of which fall under the label of “diseased” behavior by authoritative bodies in the U.S. or because of circumstances external to their control. There are only two varieties of property in the entirety of the U.S.–public or private. If the continuously burgeoning population of homeless campers is barred from sleeping on public property, and have no means by which to acquire access to private property, they have no option at all. Others are then required by default to put them up, thus far manifest here in conditions both unsanitary and unsavory as demonstrable by the bed-bug ridden Express Inn or the Aztec Motel, or else the Salvation Army–court ordered church. Otherwise, our only other option is to incarcerate them. I maintain that an unmentioned and “unalienable” right of all human beings is simply to be, wherever that being may take place.

Jason points out the tenuous Constitutional position of the camping ordinances in a reasonably clear manner. The position of the police is clear and understandable, though I believe they are mistaken about the issues with city statutes; they will do as directed by others. Some of us affiliated with with the Occupiers, including I, believe arrest followed by courtroom examination of these and other questions may be seen as a good thing, and would result in the elimination of obviously untenable, ill-conceived statutes that are currently being enforced only in the most visible and problematic cases anyway.

This describes some of the entanglement of the only somewhat separate matters of Occupiers in Colorado Springs, and campers in Colorado Springs. Without more than this brief mention, it also demonstrates the erosion of liberty in this country that precipitates the protests in the first place.

Finally, to nip a little at Bryce’s bait, his “dismissive” attitude is unnecessary and dishonorable. I would personally love to see the unconstitutional camping ordinances put to the test in court. The U.S. Constitution is NOT an especially arcane piece of work, in spite of generations of lawyers’ efforts to make it seem so. Here’s a copy for you to examine: http://constitutionus.com/ . Have one of these, too: ushistory.org/declaration/document/

As an individual, merely affiliated with the fine and diverse members of Occupy Colorado Springs, I can speak only for my own motivation and opinion.

(Reprinted from Hipgnosis)

Revolution at 2112 RPM

For Tom, the guys at Occupy Colorado Springs, and everyone else:

So, if I sit here and carry on about how we can get out of this grief under which so many of us find ourselves buried by living cooperatively, and no one plays along, it’s like division by zero, an operation that produces no definable solution and the thought of which is so troublesome it caused philosopher George Berkeley to suspect all mathematicians could be devil-worshipers on the side. Seriously. A new friend I met at Acacia Park yesterday asked where the little hullabaloo about banks and bailouts and revolution and such was happening in Colorado Springs was asking the general milieu of rabble rousers where their revolution could be expected to go. (Hi, Tom). Some of the guys there, as one might expect, were so fed up with the obviously unsupportable state of current affairs that they were almost gleefully anticipating violence and war–civil war–right here in the U.S.A.. (Hi, Pat). I certainly can’t blame anyone for thinking that way, given that I hoped fervently for exactly the same outcome from around the 3rd grade til only recently, really.

I’ve already mentioned my opinion of the futility of standard issue revolutions. We’ve tried that. It doesn’t work. We’ve tried Monarchies, ordinary dictatorships, “working-class dictatorships”, Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Ism after Ism–none of what we’ve tried to do has worked, neither for the oppressed nor the oppressors. We’ve been dividing by zero all the while. You should look that operation in the eye some, so you know what I’m saying. It’s the same as proving a negative, or trying to work out the math of the Singularity, and if you find it difficult, one glance at a graph will turn the lights on a little for you. When I was a schoolboy, I always thought it was supremely bogus to respond to any questions about division by zero, (or other imponderables, for that matter), by asserting the answers to be “undefined” just because a conventional answer might be unsatisfactory. I was a weird kid, OK? Look at the link or find something more techie, (a little help, Kathryn?), and then extrapolate the idea to the business of social revolutions and you’ll find my point, or at least one “quantum” facet of it. You could have a look at a representation of the Ouroborus and get the same notion to materialize in your head, maybe.

The shit we’ve been doing has not worked, is not working, and will not work. The answers we’re after will not derive from the operation we’ve been attempting to apply, no matter what.

We compete. That’s just what we do. We compete against one another, against Nature, and maybe against God, though it’s not by any means compulsory for you to think of it in any sort of Divine sense, or wrestle with religious aversions for the thing to work out the same, here. That’s just me. The competition we’ve been so avid to pursue all these generations hasn’t worked any better for the atheists or the religious. If we pursue yet another bloody revolution, we’ll wind up bathing in another absurdly predictable vat of blood, and maybe you super-rich can stretch your inane Grand Game out for a few more years in your bunkers after some of us useless eaters are dispatched and used as semi-organic fertilizer. The snake will still have a mouthful of tail caught up in its throat, if it lives through this one.

Tom was serious about finding a solution when he came by our little protestation yesterday. Pat was just as serious about the blood, I’m afraid. I’ve had enough of blood, so here’s what I’m doing. See what you think. (Here comes the part that might curdle Mom’s blood a bit, but maybe not…maybe not.) I have completely abandoned ordinary reality. It’s never worked so well for me anyhow, and I was already kinda screwed when I came to this notion, so you are welcome to hold on to your own personal misery and think of me as just another hopeless crackpot, if you want–another useless eater. After all, I’m seriously just an 9th grade dropout and unemployed housepainter with bad joints and a broken back, a tragic character out of a Steinbeck novel if you will. Except I don’t feel tragic at all; I’m the happiest guy I know. No shit.

What does it mean to have abandoned ordinary reality? There are lots of angles to that so I apologize up front for the doglegs I’ll be working as I attempt to answer the question. First, I’ve given up looking for a “job”, or the hope of ownership of anything at all, including money. That doesn’t mean I’ve decided to laze around on someone’s sofa til I die of entropic dissipation; I’ve been incredibly busy since this paradigm shift, with no horizon in sight, really. There are millions of people in the shape I was in over last summer, wells running dry and bankruptcy looming while the whole time work to do abounds. I’ve just given up the game those $game pieces$ track, like a chess player laying down his king. Those guys won. It’s OK–it’s only a game, after all. I was never so good at it–never really gave a damn.

Now I find myself in a brand-new and rather sketchily mapped territory where I’m the president of my own head and nothing else, a monarch of abrogation and apostasy. So when Tom asked about a plan, I had to think about it some before I could even say as much as I am right here, right now. The two biggest differences I can define between this new approach and the other are cooperation and good ol’ hippie-dippie, Jesus freak style love and self-abandonment. And not just on my end, see. I don’t own anything, won’t own anything at least so long as I go down this path, and can’t pay for anything or support myself, or anyone else. Well then. WTF?

I’ve always given. Always. I loved Robin Hood as a kid, and I used to do things like stashing random campfire-scented homeless dudes in the back of my room at night, in hope that Mom wouldn’t discover them and put them out in the snow or, even worse, send them packing to jail. (Neither Mom nor Dad ever discovered any of them. Hi, Mom. Hey, Dad ;)) I give away food for…well that’s a fine question. When asked why I spend so much of my time on things like the Colorado College Community Kitchen, the best I’ve been able to come up with in response is that it’s just in me to do. I think it’s been some sort of psychic trade-off for the ethical compromises and outright violations to which I’ve succumbed in my lackluster prosecution of the game of property collection, which I’ve always vaguely known to be a sort of theft, just like the Marxists say. Follow me, though–the Marxists haven’t show me anything not-dysfunctional, either. (Sorry, Michele, Jon).

This new thing is about giving and receiving, and about a different way of seeing the whole picture, like when one of those optical illusions with the hidden horse and rider amongst the trees suddenly becomes apparent. Nothing changes; it’s just revealed–revelatory. I live at someone else’s house. I bring around food for everyone to eat that I never owned. I smoke tobacco that a gracious host brought to me, and hope my phone and broadband will still be operational next week. You’re welcome to pay it for me while I try to figure out how to do this with no game pieces at all. Message me; I won’t be paying for it. I’m living on a prayer, as the song goes, living on Love. You can too, I swear. Quit your shitty job at Wal-Mart’s haircutting kiosk and cut your neighbor’s hair for free. Don’t worry about game pieces. Come down to CC on Sunday and help us give away someone else’s food. Have some! Bring some pizzas from your shop to the protesters. Retire your jersey if you’re a big winner and forget about the conspicuous displays of wealth. We get it. You won! Yay for you! Now put a few families up in your east wing. Love them. Be tender. Let their hapless lost patriarchs know it’s unnecessary to numb the pain with whiskey, or whatever. It’s OK–we won’t call you a wuss, or anything.

Right now there’s Revolution in the wind. I like to read kind of a lot. It seems the handiest way to find out about shit, and I’ve read about a lot of Revolutions. It can make my head spin. If we pursue Revolution we’ll be running in circles. We’ll be eating our tails. The Earth herself is done with our bullshit, and there’s really not any more tail left to eat. Let’s get off the turntable. We’ll be dizzy for a while, but I think we can walk in a straight line if we get our bearings. Get hold of me. I’ve got these words for you all, for free. This is not a trade. I can paint your house, too, or build you a deck or something. If you want to give me something, or give something to my family, or give something to someone I don’t know and will never meet, then maybe you get it. I won’t take it as payment. I’m not in that game.

I hope this works. I’ve had enough tail. How ’bout you?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Division_by_zero

(Reprinted from Hipgnosis)

Ask, Tell, and now, Don’t Go, Don’t Kill

Don't go, don't killDenver’s GLBT parade was this weekend. Was there a Free Bradley Manning contingent? It may be asking this square state too much for a Queers Against Apartheid, as seen at the coastal festivals. We have a month before Colorado Springs’ pride. My idea at left.
 
Others: WE ARE ALL BRADLEY MANNINGALL OUT 4 BRADLEY MANNING, ALLEGED WIKILEAKER, GAY HEROSPRINGS PRIDE SAYS FREE BRADLEY MANNINGBLOWING THE WHISTLE ON WAR CRIMES IS NOT A CRIME!BRADLEY MANNING: ANOTHER QUEER PRISONER WHO TOLD THE TRUTH, HE EXPOSED WAR CRIMES

Frank Bator and Princess Lisa Czeladtko

I went to his memorial service at Marian House 6 years ago. He had died in his trailer home, alone, and the body not discovered for about a week. There were a few people attending, some of the staff at Marion House, a couple of people who knew him casually, his sister and brother… A really cold and rainy day… none of the anti-homeless PEOPLE activists like Patchsi, or Janis, or Princess Lisa. See, Frank was one of those Princess Lisa and her comrades despise for our lack of funds and our extremely distasteful lack of “courtesy” in not remaining hidden from the view of “good” citizens. Like her complaint about New Life church, who are really seriously not a Liberal organization in any way… had a pizza party in a public park and didn’t turn away anybody. Qu’elle Radical!
I think she would have a Shit-fit if she had met any of Jesus’ “council of twelve”. Rough customers, the lot.
Matthew, for instance, a collaborator for the Roman occupation…strangely paired with Andrew, James and Simon Peter, Zealots, revolutionaries who had taken some extremely violent actions against the Romans, like the Taliban and al Qa’eda, they were Middle Eastern Religious Extremists. Peter in particular, when he whacked off the ear of Malchus, Religious Cop from the Temple, he wasn’t aiming for the ear. Malchus ducked. Peter was trying to split his wig all the way down to his neck.
Standing against trained swordsmen. Republicans and Tea Party might not understand the references, they like to use violent metaphor for their sick actions but they won’t get their own delicately manicured fingers dirty.
But if you face somebody who has a sword and is a trained swordsman, and YOU aren’t a trained swordsman, it wouldn’t make any difference if you have the finest sword on the market. Training and above all EXPERIENCE trump all. If you have a sword and no training, and throw down on somebody who has training and experience and no sword, you’re still toast, he’ll walk away as your body is laying on the pavement in a congealing puddle of blood. He’ll have your sword too.
People like that would make Princess Lisa freak smooth out. Frank wasn’t one.
He was a disabled worker, fell from a roof in an incident remarkably like mine. He landed a little tiny bit differently and had compression fractures in his spinal column.

They gave him, according to his family and others who knew him a whole lot better than I did, morphine for the pain. He didn’t particularly like the “trip”, few people actually do. It hurt him spiritually as well as physically and emotionally. So did the hate-filled “bum rush” treatment he no doubt received from Princess Lisa and her spiritual comrades. It’s kind of an “industry standard.”

Much the same way she despised a man she admitted she believed was mentally ill, for daring to be in HER royal presence at the Acacia Park Pizza Party.

Speaking of “parties” her own political faction-party blames the economic crash which really affected the whole forking world… on the visibility of poverty. If only those Bums weren’t where they could be seen, disproving the Lies of universal prosperity propagated by the Republicans and their royalist stuck-up ilk.
She wasn’t there for his funeral, she wasn’t there to share the problems of his life.

She WAS there to cast stones ok maybe not literally, the Hate Freak Leaders in this town, just like Jerusalem AD 33, won’t get their own hands dirty. Instead she casts out insults to drive the hatred from of all people, our fellow working class, those who haven’t (yet) experienced the loving caress of the Invisible Hand of the Free Market and how that Invisible Hand smacks you down repeatedly once you’ve been so injured that you can’t work for it anymore.
I’ll have to say it, any working class person who votes for continuing and even expanding that shit, must be some kind of self-made retard. He would have to turn off portions of his brain deliberately just to accept that. Got Minimum Wage? and now, I too shall be sued by the Dairy Association for stepping on their trademark slogan. Feels really good to be able to survive, sort of, and who really cares if you’re not getting health benefits or any kind of pension As long as you’re still able to work

Once they break you, on the job, that’s it for you buddy. No pension, no health insurance, and they’ll send their cops to arrest you for not being able to afford a home.

And people like Princess Lisa will teach their own children and anybody else to despise you, to hate you and call you a bum or a hobo or “dangerous”, and to deny you even such basic rights of citizenship as going to the park on a sunny afternoon and enjoying a party thrown by a church.

Yet she boasts of her “compassion” for the poor. She lies, smoothly.

She’s had plenty of practice lying. Then she whimpers and whines and threatens (quasi) legal police actions against people who criticize for being a lying, stuck up Rich Bitch, and criticizing her actions oppressing the poorest of the poor.

Neither Franks saga nor mine is really uncommon in the world of Homeless People. Much to the chagrin of Liars like Lisa Czeladtko.

Physical disability is far more common than they would ever admit, because it’s more to their immediate profit to cast away every PERSON afflicted by poverty as being a “bum”.

Part of the formula to succeed in Capitalism is to convince a whole lot more people who have about no chance whatsoever that they, too, are being given by the Invisible Hand a chance to become fabulously wealthy. It’s a lie and the con-artists who run the Capitalist System know it.
They need the believers in it, however many times the system has screwed THEM, to act as a buffer and as shills to convince other people not to revolt against their masters.
The believers in Capital who haven’t become rich themselves, they have to keep themselves convinced that it must be a failing on their own part, not an inherent flaw in the system.

And the System has a priesthood including Lisa Czeladtko to constantly reinforce that belief.

Even at the cost of humans being violently assaulted because of the Hate Rhetoric that comes from her delicately painted lips.
People being arrested, that’s a Violent Act. The Pig Minions of Rich Bitch Lisa Czeladtko and her comrades have to chain people to force them to accept being arrested.
Often they use tasers or clubs or fists or boots or d) all of the above, and the “good people” even if the witness it will believe that the “bum” deserved such violence directed at him.

Because of the skillfully crafted lies of the Rich Bitches like Princess Lisa.

Did Obama hear you on election day?

Here’s a quarter-page size flier you can use to spread the word about tonight’s event. Obama’s announcement will be momentous, no matter which course of action he decides. It will be either the first sign of delivering on his promise of change, or a hopeful public betrayed.
hopeless escalation flier

And thousands more Afghan dead. Let’s not forget who suffers the most from America’s reckless decisions.

Come to Acacia Park tonight at 5pm. Let him hear your voice!

Below is the Coloradans For Peace December 1 press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Colorado Springs peace community urges President Obama to chose withdrawal from Afghanistan over escalation

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, 12/1/09 — Coloradans For Peace (CFP) will gather with area community activists on Tuesday, December 1, at 5pm, in Acacia Park downtown, to urge President Barack Obama: NO ESCALATION OF THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN.

The nonviolent assembly in Acacia Park will be part of nationwide peace demonstrations in response to President Barack Obama’s forthcoming announcement about a new US strategy in Afghanistan. National organizers include CODE PINK, UNITED FOR PEACE & JUSTICE, WORLD CAN’T WAIT, ACT NOW TO STOP WAR AND END RACISM (ANSWER), and many others.

Speculation has been rising that our president intends to increase US troop levels in Afghanistan, but CFP remains hopeful that President Obama will make a decision in the spirit of his presidential campaign. We will assemble in Acacia Park in advance of the televised presidential address, in unison with other US cities, to remind the president of the electorate’s call for an end to our nation’s military conflicts.

The CFP believes the unprecedented turnout for the 2008 election was strongly motivated by the American public’s alarm over the ongoing foreign wars. We believe President Obama would be ignoring a profound mandate given him by his voters if he decided to expand the conflict in Afghanistan instead of bring it to a close.

In urging an end to America’s foreign occupations, citizens can show their true support for the troops. More than ever before, soldiers are contacting antiwar organizations to say that they support the peace efforts to bring them home.

# # #

Obama to announce on Tuesday: surge of 34,000 body bags to Afghanistan

White House spokesmen have announced that President Obama will address the nation on Tuesday, December 1st, to declare his intention to send 25,000-34,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. Join COLORADANS FOR PEACE in Acacia Park at 5PM TUESDAY to show our vehement opposition to this plan. Explained spokesman Robert Gibbs about the week’s time still needed for deliberations on Afghanistan: “It’s not just how we get people there, but what’s the strategy for getting them out.”

8 yrs in Afghanistan, still boot-counting

How is Colorado Springs marking the 8th year of war in Afghanistan? Couple choices. Visiting priest-activist Louie Vitale will speak at Colorado College on the THE MORAL DIMENSION OF DRONE WARFARE.
The moral dimension of drone war
CC students were dissuaded from hosting a peace rally on campus which might have interfered with the week’s homecoming activities. Instead, beginning at 1PM Wednesday, the CC students will chalk the sidewalks of Acacia Park with the names of the 869 US soldiers killed in the Afghan campaign. Coloradans For Peace will join the boot- counting but will commemorate Afghan deaths, whose number is “n/a.”