Category Archives: protests

Trump In Nashville

You Are My Hero

What a bizarre event.

Trump’s campaign started robo-calling supporters in a four-county area 48 hours ago offering free tickets. The optics they were going for, of course, was, “thousands of people lined up to get in,” which isn’t as hard as it sounds when your venue is the Municipal Auditorium, not exactly the largest rink in town. However, they got the crowd they wanted: thousands of people were, indeed, lined up … all the way down James Robertson Parkway, all the way up to the state capitol, all the way around the building. I’m guessing there were 15-20,000, but I’ve heard other figures that are higher. Let it be said: most if not all of these folks could have fit inside the Titans’ football stadium. But that wouldn’t have provided Trump with the necessary ego-gratification that comes with a “standing room only/thousands turned away” narrative.

Several protesters made it inside the Municipal Auditorium, by the way. Some chanted “no ban, no wall,” and got tossed out. Some turned their backs and left. One, a doctor, unfurled a banner and was ejected (but not arrested). Unfortunately, the coordination of the protest was poor so I’m afraid the message got watered down. Watching the televised speech, you could see something was happening that Dear Leader didn’t like. Maybe other cities can learn from our experience and do a better job of planning and coordinating ahead of time.

As for me, I was out on the street with both supporters and protesters. Any delusions that this wasn’t garden-variety bread-and-circuses were dashed by the dozens of pro-Trump merchandise tables outside (and huge Trump/Pence merchandise BUS, yes, it was a bus.) And from the looks of those selling the merchandise, not everyone submitted a head shot and full body shot.

As for the protest, again, there didn’t appear to be a lot of coordination. Protesters were scattered until around 5:00 or so, when the protest crowd really started to swell. It’s frustrating to me that there were so many different groups doing so many different things — there was the immigrants’s rights group, the #Resist group, the women’s group … people, can we not all talk to each other? Because nothing looks lamer than 30 people in pussy hats carrying Planned Parenthood signs through a crowd of 10,000 Trump supporters — especially when there were a couple hundred other pussy-hatted folks just a few blocks away, unaware of the march. Would have been nice if we all could have marched together, you know?

Also, it seems I must remind people once again that staying home and Tweeting about a protest is not, you know, the same as actually protesting. And here’s a fun fact: you can Tweet from a protest! Really!

So I was a little disappointed in the protest, but I left around 5:45 pm. At that point I’d been walking around in the freezing cold for 2 hours and had a nasty windburn. I understand good vibes were shared later in the evening.

Below are some more pictures from the event:

Some Slogans Never Get Old

Some Slogans Never Get Old v. 2

Great Sign!

Random Shouty Guy

Random shouty guy, religious edition


Filed under Donald Trump, Nashville, protests

I Don’t Understand This Activism


So here’s the beef:

“Every time race is brought up, he pivots to the economy, which obviously a lot of racial disparity comes via economic means, but some of it is just flat out racism and discrimination,” Morrow said. Sanders’s view that “if we had more jobs in Ferguson, this wouldn’t have happened, I’m not sure that is valid. I mean, Mike Brown was on his way to college. It’s not just a jobs thing.

I missed the part where Bernie Sanders said it was just a jobs thing. Sorry, I’m just not seeing it.



As always, John Cole put it much better than I ever could.


Can someone explain to me why the Black Lives Matter movement has been targeting Bernie Sanders? This is the second time that Black Lives Matter groups have shut down one of Sanders’ rallies:

Event organizers allowed the period of silence, as some in the large crowd booed and shouted for the protesters to leave the stage. Afterward, Marissa Janae Johnson, who identified herself as a leader of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Seattle, asked the crowd to “join us now in holding Bernie Sanders accountable for his actions.” She motioned for Sanders to join her at the microphone.

After several minutes of frantic conversations, Sanders left the stage and greeted people in the large crowd who had turned out to see him. Many chanted his name.

In the hours that followed, several activists took to social media to question whether Johnson was speaking for the broader Black Lives Movement.

The tense scene in Seattle was reminiscent of one July 18 in Phoenix, when a larger group of Black Lives Matter activists disrupted a Democratic presidential forum at the liberal Netroots Nation gathering that featured both Sanders and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley.

I don’t get what specific actions Sanders needs to be held accountable for. Have I missed something? Why aren’t they targeting Republican candidates? Republicans are still steeped in denial that racism even exists in America, and that police brutality unfairly targets people of color. Why pick on Sanders? He’s not in denial about systemic and structural racism in this country. He’s no Scott Walker, saying police brutality is just a matter of a few bad apples that can be corrected with “better training.”

I don’t understand a movement that seems all too ready to alienate allies.


Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, protests, racism

Rallying For GunSense

What a gorgeous day for a rally in Nashville today! The Moms Demand Action group was here and it was great to get together and hear from such powerful speakers as Richard Martinez, Shannon Watts, and Lucy McBath. It wasn’t a huge crowd — maybe 175 or so — but I didn’t expect it to be. It was a nice gathering and a beautiful day.

Many people had signs honoring those who had been lost to gun negligence and gun violence. I saw just one troll, a pretty wacko guy who kept saying his “Ban All Cars” sign had nothing to do with guns (although the back read “Kiss My Green Tip”). He said he just wanted to make sure we were all real careful crossing the street, and I told him thanks, since my dad was killed in a crosswalk years ago (he was). I tried to ask him if he wanted everyone to have a license to use a gun, like how we all need a license to drive a car. Or if he wanted us to register guns, like how we need to register cars. Or liability insurance. Or … or …. he got kinda incoherent at that point. They always do. He said I could take his picture but then he kept getting too close and I had to tell him to back away. It was a weird encounter.

One thing that I wanted to say about the Moms Demand Action group is that they’re always stressing that they’re not anti-gun, to the point where I find it almost annoying. Every speaker had to give their pro-gun history: “I grew up with guns,” “I hunt,” “I have a carry permit,” etc. That’s fine but after a while it got old, and I’m not sure how useful it is, anyway. The other side still refers to us as “gun-grabbing Mommies,” forever and ever, amen. Anyone advocating common-sense gun control will forever be labeled as a gun-grabber or anti-gun. There’s simply no middle ground with these folks, zero. If asking for universal background checks or promoting initiatives that educate people about safe gun storage makes you a “gun-grabber” and “anti-gun,” then there’s not much room for discussion.

I suppose the point was to stress to the media in attendance that the group is not anti-gun, perhaps strike a reasonable counterbalance to the extremist rhetoric happening just a few blocks away at the NRA convention. But I suspect a lot of that is lost on our clueless media anyway, and the constant reminders of everyone’s pro-gun bonafides weakened what I think is the most important message, which is how gun violence and gun negligence damages American society. Just my .02.

Below are some photos from the event. Enjoy:





Group photo: I'm in the back.

Moms In Nashville



Filed under gun control, Guns, Nashville, protests

Email FWD Electric Boogaloo BS

Comments now closed. Too much ignorant RW propadanda which, I might add, has absolutely nothing to do with the post. Yes, everything is always Obama’s fault and Bush The Lesser was wonderful. Fuck off, Jim.

Apparently this photo is making the rounds of Uncle Ernie and Aunt Bertha’s email:


It purports to show 73-year-old Bill Moyer attending a VFW speech by President Obama. The funny thing? The picture’s been ‘shopped. It was actually taken at a speech made by President George W. Bush in 2005.


Apparently the picture has made the rounds, photoshopped to allegedly be taken during speeches by Sen. Ted Kennedy, Vice President Joe Biden, and Nancy Pelosi.

This reminds me that a lot of the anti-Obama bumper stickers I’ve been seeing are clear rip-offs of anti-Bush stickers and memes we libs sported during the last administration. Last week I saw a car with a sticker reading “Somewhere in Kenya a village is missing its idiot,” which of course first appeared as an anti-Bush sticker, with “Texas” in place of Kenya.

Some of the right’s attempts to co-opt liberal slogans are a little odd and seem to miss the point. I’ve seen a few “1-20-17 End Of An Error” stickers around. We liberals sported those same stickers under Bush, the date of course reading 1-20-2009. The point of “end of an error,” naturally, was to reference the Supreme Court decision. Conservatives don’t seem to get that.

You guys need to get your own memes. You’re sorta looking like you don’t have any of your own ideas.


Filed under George W. Bush, internet, President Obama, propaganda, protests

Vets Tell Palin, Cruz To STFU

Well, they told someone to STFU. The Million Vet March on the Memorials didn’t quite draw a million veterans — more like 500, according to someone who was there (she even posed for a picture with Ted Cruz, imagine that!) — but the vets who organized the event are none too happy about the Confederates and Oath Keepers and other weirdos who “hijacked” their event and made them look like a bunch of racist loons. Seriously, smokers against Obamacare? That’s got Darwin Award written all over it. (Photos here, for a laugh.)

Anyway, if you go to the Vets’ website, you’ll see this:

vets rally

Good luck stuffing that toothpaste back in the tube, fellas. You know the old saying about lying down with dogs? Yeah, that.


Filed under politics, protests

Positive Activism

While Tennessee’s Republican-dominated state legislature tries to portray Occupy Nashville as a bunch of dirty fucking hippies who urinate on legislative staffers, in reality the group has been a little more productive than that. Just ask 78-year-old Helen Bailey, who has the Occupy protesters to thank for saving her home from foreclosure:

Helen Bailey, a Nashville homeowner who was threatened with foreclosure, got a reprieve Monday after thousands signed an online petition hoping to help.

Bailey, 78, who participated in local civil rights marches and taught developmentally disabled children, will now be able to stay in her home until she dies. She only will be responsible for the property taxes and homeowners insurance, her attorney said.


Occupy Nashville started an online petition on and gathered more than 79,000 signatures protesting the pending foreclosure.

More on Bailey’s situation here.

This is why when Rep. Eric Watson accuses Occupy Nashville of exploiting the homeless and makes the absurd claim that “Jesus would not approve,” I’ve just got to wonder what Tennessee’s legislature has been doing that gets that savior-stamp-of-approval? While Occupy Nashville was keeping one elderly woman from becoming homeless in the middle of winter, the TNGOP is pushing displays of the 10 Commandments in our state courthouses. Which one makes a bigger difference in the lives of real people?

There’s really nothing more to say. Our legislature is more concerned with playing politics than trying to help people in need. Maybe until they get their priorities straight, Tennessee Republicans should just leave Jesus out of it.


Filed under protests, TNGOP

Pepper Spray Cop Gets Pop Culture Treatment

The UC Davis pepper spray incident has spawned a lot of hilarity (check out the “fun with Photoshop” gallery over at Wired, where this Edvard Munch image came from). But one of my favorites are these bogus customer reviews for pepper spray over at

149 of 153 people found the following review helpful:

1.0 out of 5 stars Product Warnng: This procuct multiplies protesters
I casually used this product to try to disperse a small band of non-violent campers who had locked their arms together. Although initially it seemed to be effective, it took two applications! The worst part is that the next day they multiplied exponentially! Now what?

One positive outcome, I did receive a paid vacation for my efforts.

Hilarious! Here’s another:

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Tastes like heaven, feels like angels :-), November 22, 2011
By Juanpi – See all my reviews
WOW. After being pepper sprayed by this sensuous essence, I’m not sure I ever want to be pepper sprayed by any other brand ever again. Seriously, the smoky chipotle combines perfectly with the subtle “spray” flavors. Really, an excellent and delicious tool for capitalist repression. Don’t commit police brutality without it.

Sometimes you’ve gotta laugh, or you’ll cry. If you are crying, let’s hope it’s not because you just got a faceful of Defense Technology 56895.


Filed under fun and games, pop culture, protests

You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ’til It’s Gone

One issue which the various Occupy movements have brought to light is the vanishing commons, and what that means for our democracy. It all comes down to who owns what: protestors have a right to assemble on public property (as Gov. Bill Haslam and the Tennessee Highway Patrol found out last month). But private property is another matter entirely: your constitutional right to free speech (and 2nd Amendment rights and everything else) are at the pleasure of the property owner. We learned this in Nashville when anti-war protesters were arrested at then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s office here. Although Frist was a public official, his office was on private property. The landlord called the cops.

Zuccotti Park is a hybrid: a privately-owned public space, or POPS. We have these in Nashville, too, or something pretty much like them.

See if you can tell which of these pictures shows a public street, i.e. public property, and which one is private property (no cheating if you live in Nashville!):

I call them ersatz public spaces; most people don’t even know they’ve stepped onto private property when they’re walking on what looks like any other sidewalk, or slipping a quarter in what looks like any other parking meter (but look closely: that silver meter isn’t for parking, it’s to make a donation to the YMCA). Most of the time it doesn’t even matter … until it does. And when the time comes that it does matter, as the protestors at Zuccotti Park have discovered, it’s already too late.

Far smarter people than I have written about this. But I bring it up now because I don’t think the message has sunk in with the public at large. To me, this is all yet another sign of what we’ve lost — no, scratch that, what we’ve given away over the past 30 years. Like the song says, you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. Public streets, public sidewalks, public parks: doesn’t seem like such a big deal, until suddenly it’s all gone and you have no place to peaceably assemble or petition the government for redress of grievances. You have no place to protest a corporation’s misdeeds, because that corporation is located on a private street that looks just like a public one. The media could be prohibited from reporting on activities happening on these fake public places. You could be prevented from circulating a petition against something the property owner might disagree with. You cannot hold a voter registration drive without the property owners’ permission. In short: your constitutional rights stop at some invisible line.

You Libertoonians blithely hammering your Ron Paul signs on every utility pole and street lamp: do you know who owns that street light? Are you so sure you have a right to hammer that sign to that utility pole? Your ideology which worships free enterprise, you phony radicals who support the interests of the power elites and ownership class: this message hasn’t applied to you yet. Why would it? But someday it will. As surely as the sun rises in the east, the day will come when your message is suddenly at odds with what the Koch Brothers and U.S. Chamber of Commerce want to hear. And when that happens, and you suddenly find yourself with nowhere to use your right to free speech because years ago you thoroughly vilified the idea of public anything .. what will you do then? Go buy a park?



Filed under privatization, protests

Suffering Succotash!

Warning to all teachers: apparently grading papers in public is now a subversive act.


As we left we stopped by a group of teachers who were doing a grade-in in an open plaza across from the park.

Grade-ins have become common in cities across the country as teachers gather in public spaces to do work that usually gets done at home, off the clock and unrecognized: prepping for classes, grading papers and doing the unending paperwork that the school bureaucracies demand.

Since there was no open space in Liberty Square, this group of teachers gathered across the street. A few minutes later two uniformed New York cops arrived on the scene.

“What’s going on.”

“We’re grading papers.”

“Can’t do that here.”

The cops disappeared for a few minutes and suddenly there were a half-dozen more New York cops.

“Can’t do that here,” they repeated.

“Thank you, officers,” one of the teachers politely said. And the teachers gathered their tests, folding chairs and hand-made cardboard signs and moved across the street, disappearing into the crowd.



Filed under education, protests

Occupy Everywhere

This photo made me laugh:

The Occupy protests have truly gone worldwide, now on every continent: including Antarctica! There’s just something about this message — no to oligarchy, no to income inequality, no to corporate hegemony and a broken, bought governance — that resonates with people everywhere:

Looking at the images of the protests that occurred in 81 countries around the world Saturday, the visuals are strikingly similar. In Tokyo, cardboard signs read “We are the 99 percent.” The tent cities look the same in London, Toronto and Washington. U.S. dollar bills cling to a man in Stockholm.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I’m trying to remember all of those Tea Party protests in the UK, Europe, Japan, Australia, etc. Oh right, they didn’t happen. Oh I know, there were a handful of people in London in September 2010, but the UK events were all astroturfed by the same right-wing think tanks and dirty Koch money that flogged the big U.S. events. They went away pretty fast, too. I guess “protesting” to support the ownership class just doesn’t seem to be a winning message with the masses.


Filed under protests, Tea Party