Tag 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

And They Wonder Why We Laugh At Them

Trying hard not to laugh at the pants-wetters at Open Carry Texas who strutted around the state capitol in Austin over the weekend with their guns so they could whine about how THE MAN was hassling them because of their long hair big guns and nobody loves them or the Second Amendment or appreciates their service to humanity by walking around armed. Meanwhile they are apparently terrified of a homeless man with a garden trowel.

I mean, my first thought was that this was a parody. But it appears to be real. SO, kiddos, read, laugh, weep, etc.:

I was approached by another participant at the rally and was informed that there was a homeless man (who seemed to be mentally unstable) walking around waving what appeared to be a knife in people’s faces. While walking back and forth in front of our merchandise stand, he had somehow obtained one of our OCT hats that we hadn’t sold to him. I was told that he was heading up towards the main rally on the south steps of the Capitol. The potential weapon in his hand had a serrated edge on one side.

I told a couple of the closest DPS troopers (they stayed about 30 feet or so away from us) that we had a potential problem. I started approaching them to describe the man and why he might be a threat. I had forgotten that I had my AR-15 on my back (I was wearing body armor and couldn’t feel the rifle against my body), and instead of listening to me tell them there was a potential threat, several troopers began yelling at me to take my weapon off of the capitol grounds. Bear in mind, every single one of those troopers knows who I am, just as they know who Terry is.

You had forgotten you had an AR-15 on your back because of your body armor? Dude. You’re an idiot. But I digress:

I apologized and walked the less than ten feet back inside of the gate. I then asked them to come closer because we had an issue, but they chose to just stand there staring at me. I told them there was a potentially dangerous man at the rally, and that they needed to find him before someone got hurt. They continued to gawk at me. I finally demanded that they find someone else to come speak with me, and that every second they were wasting ignoring my warning, someone could be in danger. One of the troopers finally began be-bopping north towards another group of troopers who appeared to be supervisors.

I couldn’t stand it any longer. I handed a friend my rifle and went in yelling about the lack of urgency displayed by these troopers who were supposed to be keeping us safe, but were ignoring my warning solely because they don’t like us, particularly me. I quickly walked past them and yelled that if anyone was hurt, THEY all have blood on their hands!

A few of us got to the rally on the south steps and began frantically scanning the crowd. We were looking for a man with a camouflage OCT hat, jeans, and not wearing shoes. By this time, a DPS trooper decided I probably wasn’t exaggerating and asked who we were looking for, joining in the hunt.

After several minutes of searching through the mass of people, a trooper informed me that the potential threat had been located and escorted off the grounds. The “weapon” he was holding was a small gardening trowel similar to this:


Before returning to the armed rally, I thanked him for helping and explained how unprofessional it was that his troopers completely ignored a legitimate complaint.

So the guy in body armor with an AR-15 strapped to his back is running around frantically trying to warn state police about a potential threat to public safety: a homeless guy with a garden trowel. And he tells this story as if it were completely logical, not the utterly massive FAIL any sane person would see it to be?

Right. And they wonder why we laugh at them?


Filed under fear, fear porn, gun control, gun violence, Texas

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 Change.org 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 Amazon.com:

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

Occupy Nashville Confronts Rumsfeld At Fundraiser

I don’t think Donald Rumsfeld will be too eager to visit Nashville any time soon, after some Occupy Nashville protesters gained access to a private Heritage Foundation fundraiser here last night and hurled charges of “torturer” and “war criminal” at him.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Security had to escort four Occupy Nashville protesters out of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s fundraiser at the Downtown Hilton on Thursday night.

The four protesters were given tickets and snuck into the $125 per plate fundraiser.

Video sent to us by an attendee, Gretch Steubbel, showed Rumsfeld speaking. Moments after he got on stage, a woman stood up and called him a war criminal. In the photos, she was escorted out of the ballroom at the downtown Hilton.

Three other people from Occupy Nashville got up to speak. After they were kicked out, they uploaded a video to YouTube.

“When I came our time, I got up, I pointed at him, and I said ‘Donald Rumsfeld, you are a war criminal, and you lied to the world’,” the woman said.

They were given tickets to the event by a Vietnam War veteran, which is just so telling. Does the Heritage Foundation assume all veterans support the war machine? Who knows. Video here:

Back in September I saw some amazing video of Dick Cheney’s “welcome” in Vancouver, B.C. Washington and the elites need to remember, we haven’t forgotten the utter lack of accountability over the Iraq War, too. While the conversation has turned to economic inequality and wage stagnation and the need for the wealthy 1% to pay their fair share, we’re still waiting for some accountability on this disaster, too. And this is something that lands squarely in the Democrats’ lap, because when they took power in 2006, they did absolutely nothing in this regard.

A lot of people raked in tons of money off the blood and torture that is our Iraq military misadventure. That just turns my stomach. Hey, Heritage Foundation: if this is the “heritage” you’re so proud of — war profiteering, torture, lies and fearmongering that forced the nation into a needless war so ExxonMobil can grab Iraq’s oil — then I have nothing but contempt for you.

We’re still pissed. I’m still pissed. We want some accountability. Not just on the financial meltdown, but on the Bush Administration’s biggest mistake. How come no one is in jail? How come Rumsfeld and Cheney can walk around raking in money off of book deals and make speeches at conservative fundraisers, as if they didn’t have blood on their hands?

Nothing illustrates the power of the plutcorats more than this.


The comments on the video’s YouTube page are a window into the dark soul of the Freeperati. Some examples:

Too bad security didn’t shoot them in the head.
jasonc32amg 38 minutes ago

Can’t imagine why anyone would call conservatives violent! And here’s this one:

Well, here’s a list of their top supporters. Yep, I’d say communists and socialists.

Communist Party USA
The American Nazi Party
Revolutionary Communist Party
Black Panthers
Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan
qpwillie 35 minutes ago 2

Hmmm, wanna provide any evidence of that, Sherlock? I guess the answer is no, since there was no link to accompany these allegations. Of course, the Occupy movement is a diverse, unorganized, non-authoritarian, grassroots movement. Unlike the Tea Party, which wouldn’t exist without money from various foundations associated with Koch Industries, and constant promotion from Fox News, Occupy represents a diverse set of interests coalesced around the main idea that the majority will no longer be ignored by those who hold all of the power and influence in our country (and in our world). And speaking of the Tea Party, whatever happened to them? Hmm.

Here’s my favorite:

You guys seem a bit extreme. Rumsfeld a War Criminal?

Really? Do you remember 9/11?

How about 3K of our own people that died that day? & thousands more that were injured/currently w/ serious health problems.

Maybe you folks would get alittle more accomplished & people would take you seriously, if you didn’t act like little immature kids outside of a HOTEL chanting like a crazy cult–you realize this was late for some people? My family HAD TO listen to your crazy ass mob chants from outside.

utoobonutoob 1 hour ago

Poor, poor baby. Amazing to me that there are still people out there who believe Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11. Must be a Fox News watcher. As they say, the more you watch, the less you know.


Filed under Donald Rumsfeld, Iraq War, Nashville protest

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

ACLU 1, State Of TN 0

Federal judge issues temporary restraining order halting ALL arrests of Occupy Nashville protesters.

Love this part:

The state did not object to the restraining order and agreed to work out its differences with protesters.

Yes, I think Gov. Haslam realizes he stepped in a big ol’ pile of poo with his cobbled-together curfew idea. State Police arresting a member of the media didn’t help.


Filed under Nashville protest

Gov. Haslam: The World Is Watching

Yes, we hear that statement a lot during protests. But in Nashville’s case, it happens to be true.

You see, a delegation of educators from the People’s Republic of China happens to be in town right now, visiting our schools and taking part in cultural exchange. Some of them were at the Nashville Predators game last night; I saw them on the Megatron, waving little red Chinese flags.

It is conceivable that these people are aware of our protest; it’s quite possible they walked the handful of blocks from Bridgestone Arena to Legislative Plaza and saw the action for themselves last night. Perhaps some other members of the delegation were at “Wicked,” which would have provided them a ringside seat to witness our demonstration of Constitutionally protected free speech, our right of assembly, our display of freedom of the press.

It is shameful to me that any citizens of communist China could witness state police hauling off protestors from the people’s plaza. Or seen a journalist handcuffed in the act of reporting on these arrests, then later accused of intoxication in what is clearly a ham-fisted attempt to justify yet another crushing of a Constitutionally-protected right.

So far we’ve got the governor interfering with the people’s right to vote, their right to peaceably assemble, the rights of a free press … what’s next, Governor?

We never stop boasting about our hard-fought freedoms in America, and rightfully so. China’s human rights record is atrocious, and recent protests there have prompted a crack down on social media by the Communist Party. We all remember Tiananmen Square.

It would be nice if the actions of Tennessee’s governor could provide a stark contrast to the Chinese authorities’ heavy hand, not a muddied reflection of it.

Gov. Haslam, show our Chinese visitors what democracy really looks like. As the protestors’ sign says, democracy is messy. Go with it, that’s the way it’s supposed to be:

This Is What Democracy Looks Like


Filed under Bill Haslam, Nashville protest