Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 25, 2009 2:06PM

David and Goliath at the G-20 - updated

Rate: 21 Flag

Update: Luke Rudkowski, the boy with the bullhorn, was arrested Friday night for failure to disperse. He spent the night in jail.  

 Second Update: See bottom of this post for embedded video from wearchange.org for footage of events leading to Luke's arrest.


bullhorn protester 

  After a long day of collecting pictures in Pittsburgh, Julie and I were finally sitting down in a restaurant near the Pirates Stadium. We were watching the television coverage of the G-20, including NBC's story about how thoroughly the security forces outnumbered the protesters. It's true: Despite anything you've seen so far about the summit, there just wasn't a whole lot of chaos, especially downtown, which was essentially deserted except for an orderly march of Tibetan monks (whose saffron robes would have made a great photo, but alas, we missed it), some flag-waving Tibetan protesters, and media of all stripes, including average citizens out with their camcorders hoping for a shot of the President arriving at the William Penn Hotel. East of the city--about three miles out in Lawrenceville--were the more serious protesters who were affiliated with the G-20 Resistance Project. Later at night there was some dramatic action in Oakland, the artsy area of Pittsburgh that houses the museums, two major universities (Carnegie-Mellon and Pitt) and Phipps Conservatory, where the dignitaries had dinner. Most of that crowd consisted of curious students, who were nevertheless OC-vapored, rubber-bulleted, and generally made to disperse. 

           But back to our dinner at Atrios Restaurant near PNC Park: Eating our salads (to make up for the junk we'd had the day before), we suddenly realized that Brian Williams of NBC was standing in front of one of the two bridges right outside the stadium. And there was clearly a protester interrupting his broadcast. Whoa--the news had come to us!

          Picture this: a ground floor, makeshift, outdoor, NBC studio on the banks of the Allegheny River right between the Roberto Clemente Bridge and the Andy Warhol Bridge. 

          We raced outside thinking the little gathering of people and lights on the Roberto Clemente Bridge was NBC. Silly us. They required tons more equipment and technical support. The people on the bridge were the protesters who were interrupting the broadcast, shouting from a bullhorn over the railing.  They are from the the organization We Are Change, and their views are radical; they hold just about every conspiratorial theory out there, from the threat of One World Government and currency to the massive government complicity and coverup of 9/11. Obama is just a puppet, as was George W. Bush, and they are equal opportunity scorners of the two major US political parties. Still, not everything they say is crazy (I'm thinking here of some of their complaints that the media spend too much energy on Britney Spears and not enough on important matters), and I found myself charmed by their earnest efforts, however misguided their beliefs.

          First, a glimpse of Brian Williams' broadcast from somebody's TV (obtained from youtube). At around 1:19, you'll hear the protester disrupt the broadcast and note the exasperation of all concerned. 



            Now for our original footage. A few important points:

1. There are at least three young men involved with the group who take turns using the bullhorn. The one in the light blue shirt is Luke Rudkowski, and he happens to have been featured in this very broadcast of Nightly News when Brian Williams went to footage of the protesters in Lawrenceville. (That footage is edited out from this youtube broadcast, but you can see it here on the 2:11 mark of NBC's own footage.) I find it gloriously ironic that during this whole scene, Brian Williams and the NBC people do not know that the person interrupting their broadcast is someone they've just shown pictures of from across town. 

2. All during the protest, NBC executives made their way from their makeshift studio to the little encampment on the bridge, appealing to the protesters to stop their disruption. In this relatively long video of ours, look for the short woman in an aqua sweater who negotiates with the boys and for the big man in white shirt and tie. They are both NBC execs, and the man in particular threw around the word "assholes" pretty frequently when officiously spewing to higher ups into his cell phone. I was enthralled with the power these twerps (and I use that term affectionately) had over national media.

 3. The protesters hadn't planned this. They were trudging across the bridge when they saw the lights of the studio and began their impromptu siege. They figured out soon enough that they were dealing with NBC, and they even discerned from afar that when the green light was on, the anchor was live and when when it was off they could take a little break. One thing they didn't know was the anchor's name, and I violated a big rule of journalism by supplying it for them. I did it without thinking; one of them said, "Does anyone know who this dude is?" and I just blurted out, "Brian Williams." Oops. Sure enough, all their subsequent bull-horned shouts included appeals to Brian Williams himself. 

 4. Except when they started attacking FOX. That's because the NBC execs came up and told them--falsely--that FOX was broadcasting down there too. What a brilliant tactical move. At this point, the protesters laid off Brian Williams and started into Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Bill O'Reilly. (They didn't have any trouble with that network's big names).  At least NBC's Nightly News was featuring rants against their competitors rather than themselves!

          We've edited tons out, but here's a glimpse. We asked Mr. NBC for comment but he wasn't interested.

            Link to the next G-20 post, a retrospective look in pictures.


 This video is from wearechange.org, and it shows the events of Friday night that led to Luke's arrest. I found the drumming of sticks on shields by police particularly chilling:

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lainey....did you read naomi klein's book that inspires many of the WTO protestors--no logo? did you see the documentary, battle in seattle? I find a lot of this interesting but which beliefs do you think are misguided...or do you just find the spirit of the protestors misguided? (sorry just curious!)....

(and I hope this makes the cover. )
Hi dolores, I think the idea that Bush, Clinton, and Obama are all in cahoots with the Bildeberg Group to take over the world and that they orchestrated 9/11 are misguided. I agree with some of their stuff, but not the core of it. I suppose if I were pushed, I might say I was actually in favor of a world government. I like the idea of the World Court and the United Nations. Groups like this one, We are Change, hate the idea of giving up national sovereignty. I'm not a fan of nationalism. Sorry this isn't a comprehensive look at either the kid's views or my own--I'm kind of in a hurry.

by the way, I mention Mr. NBC in the white shirt, and I'm just noticing that my sister edited him out. Oops.
PS Einstein said that the only hope for world peace is if the powerful nations relinquish some of their power, and many of these conspiracy groups cling to national sovereignty.

I want to say again that I respect these kids enormously. In fact, I spent a lot of time talking to a boy from Carnegie-Mellon earlier in the day spouting the same philosophy, and I specifically noted that the world would be a better place if everybody were as informed about history and as serious as him. But I do think he's paranoid. He thinks, in addition to what I just mentioned, that the stock crash in 1929 was deliberately created by Rockefeller and Mellon.
lainey....sorry because I know you're in a hurry so I'll play devil's advocate....the battle in seattle happened way before 9-11 so it wasn't about conspiracy theories (or that one) then...I know protestors can be kind of inarticulate, but if I were going to sum up the protest movement (from what I know if it...now from being on the street there but in past protests) it's not so much the idea of nationalism as the idea that the world bank and other economic entities are not helping third world nations but they are exploiting them particularly in labor sweatshops "free trade zones" around the world....and damaging the environment in the process.

there were also in the past an amalgam of protestors, some for the environment, some for labor. it's too bad of they are mostly a bindenberg crowd. I'm not a conspiracy theorists (or not exactly one) but I do think naomi klein's book gives you pause before you intellectually write off the people who object to the way rich nations have divied up the spoils of third world resources and sweat. and there could even be some amount of conspiracy in the way its done since these rules aren't voted on but decided by certain powerful entities behind closed doors.

Just sayin'.
and cover! yea! bump! =)
"he's paranoid. He thinks, in addition to what I just mentioned, that the stock crash in 1929 was deliberately created by Rockefeller and Mellon."

I agree with you that this is a big problem with them. They are thinking that some kind of conspiracy has been there already at least 50 years...

I agree with them that GWB and Obama are merely puppets of powerful people behind them. But I think that 'secret society' is not so secret. Everybody can see that munition industries have got much more power in America than presidents.

Everybody can as well see that Obama extended the war in Afghanistan as he actually promised during his election campaign, he is following the same politics as GWB. Killing people all over the world in the name of 'the war on terrorism'.
the 60's aren't coming back, but the nutters are here. we had them then too. the truth is they listen to no one but themselves. good work lainey.
good point Hannu, "Everybody can as well see that Obama extended the war in Afghanistan as he actually promised during his election campaign, he is following the same politics as GWB. Killing people all over the world in the name of 'the war on terrorism'.

and 4000 + police officers per 1000-2000 protestors....
cool coverage. that kids sounds so damned earnest.
Thanks for being there, on the ground, Lainey!
The hard left come off as intelligent and articulate and make some excellent points; however as slippery as the truth can be, I prefer it to all of the conspiracy theories. Some of these people that I know personally have likened FDR to GWB. I cannot go along with that in any way shape or form. That being said, I was delighted when this young man said, "You were a real journalist once." Someone needed to say it and make it known that they're not fooling anyone, like that woman tried to do.

You are doing great work, Lainey. I'll never have anything, might as well chuck it all and become a professional protestor. Thank you so much for the narrative and the footage. It's inspiring.
Congrats on the EP and thank you for this first hand account of the G20. Interesting to see a group of protesters that aren't just screaming "My god, my guns, and my healthcare".
Good coverage, Lainey. Right place at the right time, and all that. Thanks for the video.
Really cool! Congrats on the Editor's Pick! (That's even more cool!)
Hi everybody--thanks for stopping by!

Dolores, I don't tend to see all the protesters as the same, and in fact Julie and I today tried to get the message of each different group. (Hopefully you can see some of those pictures and video soon). We figured that the whole goal of protesters is to have their voices heard, so we're going to try to put that together. Although I editorialized a bit about this particular group, I tried to include enough footage of their views to have them speak for themselves.
To be clear, in answer to an earlier question from you, I don't have a problem at all with the spirit of protest--in fact, I have kind of a thing for protesters--but it's this particular one whose views I got in more detail when off camera. I would characterize him as hard right rather than hard left, if I had to put him into that hazy paradigm, although truthfully those labels kind of meet if you go full circle.

I know what you're saying about globalization--and I have skimmed Naomi Klein's book--but my views have become more nuanced since reading the work of the Swede Johann Norberg, who thinks a global economy is the best hope for the developing world. Have you heard of him?

Anyway, I adore free speech and felt that the police presence was intimidating here in Pittsburgh today. I enjoyed talking with all the demonstrators I came into contact with. The funny thing is, I enjoyed talking to all the police officers as well.
Lainey I think the best part of this story is how you got in using OS as your press credentials. I love that. thanks for doing such a wonderful job. I agree with stella that citizen journalist awards are in order. I'll check out the book you mention, but as a traveler to third world countries I'm skeptical.....like latethink there's a part of me that would love to become a professional protester as well.

great job on reportage! keep 'em coming...
Rated, great reporting.
Great coverage here.

I will say though, I think that it's unfortunate that demonstrators against the G20, WTO, IMF, etc are lumped into a crowd of misinformed conspiracy theorists or anarchists or bilderberg "nutjobs" and what have you (not saying that you're one of those people lumping folks together - it's just a general sentiment I see).

When you look at the sheer amount of resources and knowledge put into the politics of questioning world capitalism, it becomes pretty evident that something's amiss with the power structure in the world. It's a well documented fact that a small minority of people have the majority of the wealth and that plenty of people benefit off the blood and sweat of the poor. Republicans and Democrats alike couldn't care less - which becomes pretty obvious when you look at something as benign as the health care debate. I say benign in comparison to say something like the plight of sweatshop workers in Taiwan or farmers in Latin America.

I also think that the core of arguments against Bush, Clinton, Obama, etc aren't based in 9/11 or Bilderburg group conspiracy theories. These kids you talk about might have been folks interested in national sovereignty, but plenty of people out there aren't fans of nation states at all. Of course, one could argue that anyone who supports the various wars and actions the US military is engaged in could care less about national sovereignty - after all, our government routinely violates it.

Anyway, the arguments brought to the table at demonstrations of large power brokers are mainly based in the idea that we ("the people") don't get a say in any of these policies. Groups like the G20, WTO, IMF, World Bank, etc routinely engage in practices that prop up corporations and big business while destroying local environments, violate workers rights across the globe and make the poor of any country poorer.

It's been David vs Goliath for more than a few decades. The only thing that changes are the names and faces, the oppression remains the same. The rich and powerful profit off the poor and powerless.
Thanks, blue, for stopping by, and Aaron for your extended comments. You're right that this particular protester does not represent the views of the other protesters at the G-20. I am trying to make it clear that I'm not lumping them all together but am looking at this particular group. Thanks for recognizing that. It just so happens that they and another person I talked to were of the conspiracy-theory, intensely nationalist variety, but I would say that a decided majority of the protesters I spoke with were leftists. The pictures you see in my subsequent post are almost all of those protesters. I also have some amateur videos where they tell their views, but unfortunately my sister, the techie, is out covering all the football games that were postponed during the summit days (her real job), so I can't get that video uploaded right now. Please check back to see their views. I will probably do a separate post for the videos. I appreciate your thoughts.
You guys did a great job on this reportage. Thanks, Lainey.
The big older guy with the bullhorn is Alex Jones, I think. He's the guy saying "Shame on you... You were a journalist once." He has a show on talk radio, do a google search on his name and you'll find it. It's kind of hard to characterise his politics as "hard right" or "hard left" or anything else, really. If you came right down to it, he'd be closest to being an anarchist, maybe a cross between a libertarian and an anarchist.

He is a conspiracy theorist and gets out on the nutty fringe that way, but the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, and the Trilateral Commission do exist, and the people in them share a common interest. That common interest is to increase their share of wealth and using governmental power to do it.

The mistake that people make is that the CFR, Bilderberger Group, and Trilateral Commission are somehow monolithic and that there are no factions within, fighting for more power. The way people got in those groups was by getting rid of their opponents; the urge doesn't stop just because they got into a position of power. If anything, the urge to power gets more intense as they get more power.

It's kind of like greed, it's a sickness of the soul, none of them can get enough power to satisfy the urge. It's like the billionaire who was asked how much money he wanted, and he replied, "I only want my fair share." When asked what his fair share was, he replied "Everything I have, plus everything you have, plus everything everyone else has - that's my fair share."

Obviously, this mindset is diametrically opposed to freedom and liberty for others, and to the values which underlie a free society. It's what the G20 are fighting out amongst themselves.
streamfortyseven, I think I need to research that Bilderberg Group, because there were a select few who used it constantly, including the boy in the yellow "Don't Tread on Me" shirt in the second last post. He was terribly polite and informed about history. I told him my biggest problem with any conspiracy theory--from the 9/11 thing to someone framing OJ Simpson--is that they all require too much discipline from the people involved. I can believe anything about human greediness, but where it all falls down is the notion that the participants are in lock step and are not leaking. My knowledge of human nature tells me otherwise.

I had trouble characterizing the people in this group and that other boy. I asked him if he could be called a Constitutionalist, and he very agreeably thought that might be the closest thing to his beliefs. He was very concerned about loss of national sovereignty too.

What would you call yourself, if you don't mind my asking?
finally, the editors picked one.
Thank you Ben :) You didn't pay someone, did you?
Where do I stand politically? By profession, I'm an attorney. I do criminal defense, and I've defended anarchist protestors before (the jury found my client not guilty, charges against the remaining protestors were dropped, and the DA lost her next election).

I'm sworn to uphold the Constitution and when I see police/military do what they're doing, assaulting, battering, and arresting people using excessive force, when their victims are doing little more than cussing at the police and yelling slogans, I'm offended rather more than you could imagine.

I hope the City of Pittsburgh gets nailed with lots of 42 USC 1983 lawsuits, as well as lawsuits against the police force for assault, battery, use of excessive force, and other such torts... so you might call me a bit of a "Constitutionalist" as well.

So far as the right to keep and bear arms goes, I'm a Life member of the NRA, so you could say I'm in favor of retaining that individual right, too.

I tend to be in favor of devolving as much power as possible to the states, and to localities, but there are some things that are in the category of "common good" and should be taken care of by states or nationally. Some examples of things that should be regarded as "common good" are interstate highways, railroads, utilities such as water, electricity, and internet connectivity, and the provision of a basic level of preventive and emergency health care.

After seeing the massive abuses of power endemic corruption in the Federal Government, I think it should in large part be abolished. The way things are going, with all these bailouts and transfers of wealth to the "financial services industry", with the increase in national debt to unsustainable levels, the Federal Government may well have to raise taxes to confiscatory levels at the same time that the value of the currency suffers a drastic decrease due to the monetization currently occurring (that's what happens when the Federal Reserve buys US Treasury bonds that can't be sold to private investors). If this comes about, and the Obama Administration does nothing to stop it, and there's no indication that they will, then we may see a collapse similar to what happened to the USSR back in 1989.

For that reason, although I'm in favor of a basic version of Single Payer, it won't happen, at least not on a Federal level. In fact I see a systemic collapse already occurring in our "health care delivery system". Hospitals are getting to be very dangerous places to go to, due to low-paid support personnel (janitors, cooks, etc) who have to come in to work even when they get sick, unchecked incompetence and malpractice by physicians, and treating the patient as a "profit center" to be milked for as much money as possible and then cast aside. I've seen examples of this latter practice in the course of my law practice. There are far too many people in medical practice who are out to make a fast buck, and the quality of care has declined precipitously. The best thing to do with the American healthcare system is to stay as far away from it as possible.

I'm in favor of abolishing "corporate personhood" and the "business judgment" rule. If corporations should be chartered at all, their directors should be held liable for the torts which arise from their decisions and actions, and their charters should be revocable for good cause shown, such as criminal activity and civil wrongs.

So that's a bit of where I stand politically.
One more thing, then that's all for the evening... You write "where it all falls down is the notion that the participants are in lock step and are not leaking". If the participants are military or civilian intelligence personnel, and they're involved in a classified operation, and they've got security clearances at that level, they don't leak.

Even if they leak, the information they have is fragmentary, and established media won't touch it, so they end up relegated to fringe media, and end up discredited in the eyes of the public, with any careers that they might wish to have foreclosed to them. Or the Government can cite them with violations of the national security statutes or the USA PATRIOT Act, all of which are felonies, and even if they get probation, not even WalMart will hire them. They also lose their pensions, their health insurance, and all other benefits.

Greed isn't necessarily a factor, simply the desire to keep on living a comfortable life is enough to keep most people quiet. The risk is far too great to justify the minimal reward which might be gained.
Thanks for articulating your views so clearly, SFS. I can see why it's difficult to label your beliefs. Maybe you can help me understand why national sovereignty is so important to people--assuming you are in that camp, too. I've always been more idealistic on that front, thinking that the boundary should be "humanity" rather than "American" and so forth. What's wrong with that thinking? What's wrong with an international currency, a World Court, the United Nations?

PS I agree with your outrage at police attacking students for just yelling and congregating. What do you think about throwing rocks at police or windows? I don't mean in retaliation for police misconduct, I mean as instigation.
Lainey - Really, really good stuff here. You and your sister rock!
As for "national sovereignty", I'll give the "lawyer's answer": It depends. Are we talking about immigration, or are we talking about governance?

If the concern is immigration, if people want to come to the US to become citizens, I'm OK with that. If they have ideas about some sort of Riconquista or al-Islam/al-Hajj, where they refuse to assimilate, refuse to learn to speak English, drive non-members of their group away, and bring their own notions of law (like, say, Sharia law) into force and thus abrogate our laws and our Constitution and the like, I'm against it.

The kinds of laws and governance that I'm concerned with are laws that impose religious hierarchy and that establish a given religion as the sole religion to be practiced, and which put clergy in judicial roles (Sharia law). The country from which most of the Riconquista people come from is Mexico, which for years has suffered under "strongman" rule, where 95% of the people are ruled by an oligarchy of patrician families who steal, brazenly, the wealth which the rest of the country produces.

It's kind of getting to be like that in the US, what with the revolving door between Goldman Sachs and the US Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank, and what seem to be hereditary seats in the US Congress (Bush, Kennedy, Gore, ...) but I don't want it encouraged. I'm more along the lines of a Jeffersonian classical liberal in that regard.

Now, on the other hand, we as Americans should learn and know the Spanish language and culture, because here in the US we're missing out on an incredibly interesting culture in South America, because we don't know the language... just look at some of their websites down there... it's more culturally advanced in a lot of ways than the US, about on a par with Western Europe.

Also, if we were able to speak and communicate in Spanish as well as English, I think that the Riconquista might go another way, and encourage the Mexican people and others suffering under "strongman" rule to overcome and if necessary, overthrow their systems of governance, and adopt systems which have as one of their chief aims the preservation and encouragement of liberty and freedom.

It won't happen, though, as long as we have the sort of corporatism we have now in the US, which the current government exports to the Hispanic countries. To some extent, the US (through "The School of the Americas') has exported and supported dictatorial rule in Latin American countries, for the benefit of US corporations which get cheap raw materials and cheap labor. I think if the US stopped supporting dictatorships in those countries, we'd all be better off in the long run.

I'm for Jefferson's idea of "free trade with all, entangling alliances with none". So, as for national sovereignty, I'm OK with immigration as discussed above.

On the other hand, there have been numerous international treaties which the US Government has approved, through actions by the Executive Branch (which runs the State Department and the Foreign Service) and the Congress (which ratifies treaties), which abrogate and deny essential rights and liberties to US "natural" citizens - but which have the opposite effect for US "artificial" citizens, i.e. corporations.

In essence, these treaties establish a sort of rule of "artificial" persons over "natural" persons, and thus abrogate and destroy rights enumerated in the Constitution inherent in natural-born persons. If this is the "national sovereignty" under discussion, then yes, of course, I'm against violating it - and this is one more reason to abolish the judicial doctrine of "corporate personhood" which created the legal fiction of "artificial" persons.

Not only should the aforementioned doctrine be abolished, but all treaties which abrogate individual rights enumerated in the Constitution should be rescinded, and rendered void and of no effect, as well. So these are my thoughts about "national sovereignty"...

And I find that I still haven't answered your specific question: "What's wrong with an international currency, a World Court, the United Nations?"

1. International currency - the first question is, how do you value it with respect to the currencies of the individual countries? what happens if your country has a national debt? Can your country's central bank inflate the currency, can it monetize debt? what happens if your country tries to spend it's way out of a recession (and thus inflates the currency)? can the world body in charge of regulating the currency say "no, you can't do that"?

If there's only one "world currency" and all other currencies are abolished, then whoever controls that currency controls your economy. You can enact all the laws you want, but you may not get to enforce them. On the other hand, if your country doesn't comply with the policies set by the currency authority, those policies are effectively abrogated. Just look and see what effect the IMF "austerity policies" have had on the nations which have had to rely on IMF and World Bank loans: their governments are told which laws and regulations to enact and have had policies set by the outside body, which effectively negates all individual rights in those countries and renders any attempt at representative government meaningless and irrelevant.

I think it would be reasonable to conclude that I'd be against the idea of an "international currency".

2. As for a World Court, again, whose laws are enforced and which legislation is overturned? Who decides what the law is? Should power become this centralized, bearing in mind Lord Acton's maxim that "Power tends to corrupt, but absolute power corrupts absolutely", where "absolutely" means "without a doubt"?

Who has the greater voice, an individual who may have to travel thousands of miles and spend him or herself into bankruptcy and devote months of time to his or her defense, or a corporation which can staff a local office with counsel across the street or in the same building?

I'd be against a world court as well; I'd prefer to decentralize political power as much as possible, so that the majority of power resides in the same county or township that a natural person is domiciled in - and the courts in that place exercising the most power.

3. As for the United Nations, if it's meant to encourage and support communications and cultural exchange and international understanding and communications, to provide a neutral ground for nations to mediate disputes amongst themselves and thus avoid armed conflict, and to serve as a coordinating point for world disaster relief and public health missions, I'm all for it. Anything else, such as might involve UN troops, I'm against.

As for protestors who decide to damage or destroy someone's property during the course of a protest, then they're responsible for making the person whole whose property they damaged or destroyed. Now, if the person (say it's a bank) whose property got destroyed foreclosed on the protestors' landlord and got them kicked out in the street with no place to go, and since it costs money to hire an attorney, they've got no recourse against the bank or their landlord, I could see why they'd be mad at the bank. Frankly, I'm surprised at how docile American taxpayers are, in light of the robbery of their future and their childrens' futures by the likes of Goldman Sachs. If there were justice in the world, GS would have plywood windows for the next century or so. Of course, most people haven't quite figured out the full implications of the $24 trillion in bailouts for their future... but this isn't instigation, it's revenge, where no other effective recourse exists.

As for throwing rocks at police to get them to beat people up and arrest them, or arrest them and beat them up, it's quite effective. If you hit a cop with a rock, there's a good chance the cop (or his buddy) will beat you to a pulp with his nightstick. You'll get to spend the night in jail, too. And the court will have bad words for you, not the cop.

The person who throws the first punch in a fight should be held responsible for the outcome, either for the damages he or she causes, or for the injuries he or she suffers. Of course, if a cop hits a person with no provocation, or pepper-sprays a person who is not a threat, then that's an equal breach of the peace. Cops don't get a special privilege to injure citizens just because they're agents of the State.
SFS, if I'm reading you correctly, you like decentralization of power because any consolidation of power, whether in the form of government or corporation, will lead inevitably to corruption. I think that sounds really reasonable on the face of it, but then it seems extreme when it comes to some of the libertarian or anarchist views that seem to me to invite the wild west. Is that desirable to you? (I'm really asking. I actually don't know much about the "wild west" and all of a sudden it occurs to me that many libertarians might actually desire it, the actual historical American West.) Are you a disciple of Ayn Rand? Again, my knowledge is so superficial of these ideas.

I think my own notion is that the worst of all worlds is a tag team of government and corporations, which brings the Republican party to mind. I like the idea of the two struggling for power, each balancing the other.

Would you say that your beef with the left is its trust in government?

(Don't feel like you have to keep coming back. I just enjoy this sort of conversation; it's how I learn stuff.)
back at it... with regard to decentralization of power "it seems extreme when it comes to some of the libertarian or anarchist views that seem to me to invite the wild west."

The "Wild West" wasn't quite as wild as the Hollywood movies would have you believe. I've got some personal knowledge about this, inasmuch as my ancestors settled in Kansas City, Missouri between 1852 and 1865, where they practiced law. Almost everyone carried a gun, and that included women as well. That meant that if you tried to stick someone up, chances were they'd have a gun, and you'd end up dead. Horse thieves and bank robbers got hanged, and quickly, too. As for murder, " [i[n Abilene, Ellsworth, Wichita, Dodge City, and Caldwell, [Kansas] for the years from 1870 to 1885, there were only 45 total homicides. This equates to a rate of approximately 1 murder per 100,000 residents per year. In Abilene, supposedly one of the wildest of the cow towns, not a single person was killed in 1869 or 1870." (Frontier Violence: Another Look, by W. Eugene Hollon). The murder rates in Washington, DC, New York City, and Baltimore are at least 30 times as large as this, in the last year. The fact is, is that even though these Kansas "Wild West" towns had no gun control and no police force, they were still far safer than the nation's capital is today, with its multiplicity of police forces and security contingents and its draconian gun prohibitions.

Of course, there's a downside to libertarian ways of doing things, too. There are certain things that people have come to realize lie in the area of common good, such as safe drinking water, sanitary sewers and sewage treatment, the founding of charity hospitals to give people who could not afford to be nursed at home access to a basic level of emergency and preventive medical care, public health clinics, protection from fire, free public education and free libraries, and in some places, access to telecommunications networks and the internet. People are by and large willing to pay taxes to support these things, although public education tends to be an area of contention due to the large amounts of tax money which go to support it, and also due to controversy over the subject matter. Quite a few of these services, such as waterworks and fire departments and sewer departments and municipal power and light plants got their start in the 1870s and 1880s, when there were epidemics of typhoid and cholera due to polluted drinking water, and the scourge of fires grew greater, due to the emergence of cities and high-density wooden housing coupled with the use of oil lamps for illumination. The same analysis goes for the US (and State) Public Health services, which grew out of the Sanitary Commissions started up in the 1860s in the Civil War.

I'm not a disciple of Ayn Rand. I don't think she had a notion of "common good"; I think her philosophy is rooted in an extreme form of Social Darwinism.

The people who tend to be drawn to her brand of libertarianism are "self-made" men and women, who fail to realize that their monetary success rests largely in the fact that they were able to live in a society where such a thing as "common good" was a part of the foundations and basic assumptions of government. In other words, they forget that the costs of their success were socialized, underwritten by the broader society which gave them the opportunity to achieve their wealth, in their quest to totally "privatize" their gains. It's the same trick that Goldman Sachs, AIG, Chrysler, and GM have played on the taxpayers: Socialize the costs and losses, privatize the profits.

As for "the worst of all worlds is a tag team of government and corporations, which brings the Republican party to mind...": that's exactly what we have now. It's the combination of a consolidated Federal Government and large corporations. It calls out for a Republican solution, actually... I'm thinking of Theodore Roosevelt, whose BullMoose Party in 1912 advocated unionization, worker's rights, a living wage, a 40-hour week, and national health care, free to citizens, amongst other things.

It really doesn't matter which party label gets used, they're both in bed with the mega-corporations, both Republicans and Democrats. Remember, it's Obama's Secret Service which is arming the police and directing their use of force against people exercising their First Amendment rights; there's no difference between this abuse of power and what happened at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis under the Presidency of George W. Bush. So it really doesn't matter which party it is, they work together for the megacorps which fund them and against the interests of the citizens of the US which elect them.

Both the Left and the Right are concerned with seizing governmental power and using that power to their own ends, and it really never works out for the good of the American people. It's Lord Acton's maxim about power tending to corrupt and the fact that the greater degree that power is centralized, the more likely that corrupt ends, rather than the good ends sought in the beginning, will be served. In decentralizing power, and bringing it back to communities, maybe there's a chance that things might work out to the benefit of the local community, rather than to some far-off power broker or corporation. Left and Right and Republican and Democrat are getting to a point where they don't provide any sort of useful information about the intentions of the people who label themselves as such. Centralist vs Decentralist, that seems to be the difference here.
re: Alex Jones

well, I didn't listen to his radio show long enough, or I would have figured out that he's no anarchist and no libertarian. It was the ads that really turned me off the first time I tried to listen to the show, I think I lasted until the first commercial break and that was it. Anyhow, here's a report from another page about Alex Jones and what he talks about, and it's true, just tune in sometime and listen:

* In the face of courageous proletarian mass-uprisings in '05, Jones penned a piece entitled French Riots: Plan Engineered by Globalists, a racist tirade which claimed that "the mainly Algerian Muslims causing the chaos hate the country that has afforded them a greater living standard than their birthplace ever could", and that "the melting pot of multiculturalism does not work, it has never worked and it was never intended to work. The Algerians in France do not want to be part of the Western fabric because they fundamentally hate it to its very core. This is not helped by promotion of decadent and hedonistic lifestyles pumped out from every cultural and media orifice."
* Time after time, Alex Jones has pushed the white nationalist line on U.S.-Mexican immigration, siding with the Minutemen over anti-fascists, featuring Lou Dobbs and other "MSM" anti-immigrant gate-keepers on his website, claiming that "the elite are using the enraged Mexican mobs as a weapon of conquest to slit America's throat and sacrifice its sovereignty on the altar of globalism" as well as implement a "blueprint for race-based genocide directed against blacks and whites in America" in order to turn the U.S. into "a third world cesspit", falsely claiming in order to generate white supremacist angst and terror
* Alex Jones charges $1500 a month for advertising on his various websites. Among his past clientele include "Scriptures for America", an organization headed by notorious "Christian Identity" pastor Pete Peters, who once asked, rhetorically:"Is there a Jewish conspiracy against America? Do Jews control America's media? Do Jews have a death grip on America's government? [...] Do Jews prevent a free press in America? Are Jews against freedom in America? Do Jews want total people control? Are Jews liars? Do Jews want to put America under tyranny? Must Jews leave America if America is to survive?" Book titles available on the Scriptures for America online catalog include Martin Luther King, Jr.: His Dream, Our Nightmare, Death Penalty for Homosexuals is Prescribed in the Bible, Interracial Marriage - Right or Wrong?, My Personal Experience with Jewish Power, and Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel's The Six Million Holocaust. that the sell-outs and bureaucrats at La Raza are "reconquista" radicals, updating his website with headlines such as "Illegals targeted South Carolina sheriff as gang-initiation", and so on. (Rest assured, we at Rocktown Rebel are playing the world's smallest violin for the South Carolina sheriff)
* On one episode of his radio show, a caller stated "It it is incorrect to call a modern day Jew an Israelite. They are not Israelites, they are 'Israe-Lies'. [...] The 'true Israel' is ' the Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, Germanic and kindred people, commonly called the white race, which has been demonized." Alex concurred, explaining that it's "true that about 80-85[%] [...] of Jewish people are Khazarian", and that"80% of Jews are a mix of Germanic and Asian, whereas your mainline Semitic Arabs are a mix of Negro, Caucasian, and Asian", going on to explain that " you have the Caucasoids, the Negroids, the Asians, and those are your three major groups".
* Other featured on Jones' various websites include "6-Year-Old Boy Raised By Homosexuals Wants to Kill Himself", "Playboy and the (Homo) Sexual Revolution", and "Unmentionable Vice [referring to homosexuality] Goes Mainstream".
* Jones has professional relationships with Holocaust denier Mike "whatreallyhappened.com" Rivero and anti-Semitic fascist pastor Texe Marrs
Wow. I have looked at pictures of Alex Jones, since you mentioned him, and he does look like the guy in this video.
Well, I'm a little late, but not too late to enjoy NBC's ruse on FOX.