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Comment Archives: Stories: News & Opinion: Raising the Bar

Re: “Financing the Destruction of American Lives

Hi michael.sagehorn,

Thanks for the comment. The "deductive leap," as you put it, wasn't ours. It was the members of the two largest teachers unions in California, CFT and CTA, who demanded divestment from firearms companies that manufacture weapons illegal for sale in California by CalSTRS.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Darwin BondGraham on 06/18/2015 at 3:08 PM

Re: “Financing the Destruction of American Lives

How can you make a deductive leap between an investment in a profitable industry (firearms) to a brutal killing? Oh I forgot-it's the East Bay Express logic.

Companies that make firearms are posting record profits in part because folks fear the inability of government to maintain order and protect public safety. As a teacher I expect and demand that my pension fund managers seek to expand my own investments in my monthly pension contributions.

Until the time when thieves, robbers, and murdering thugs are despised and hunted down by society's leaders and punished severely, many people will seek to defend themselves and buy weapons. If the firearms industry is profitable, I would rather have my pension fund capitalize on its earnings.

4 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by michael.sagehorn on 06/17/2015 at 10:05 PM

Re: “The Air Jordan Frenzy

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Posted by Editor on 03/24/2015 at 2:10 AM

Re: “The Real Martin Luther King Jr.

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1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Editor on 01/15/2015 at 3:44 AM

Re: “Why You Should Support the Protests

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Posted by Editor on 12/20/2014 at 8:09 AM

Re: “Why You Should Support the Protests

I support the protests. Cops have long used excessive force, killing old ladies with potato peelers from a distance, and such.

I think the police reform should go even further. The rules should restrict escalation. That is, a raised fist, or even a brick should not be met with a shot to the head. Even further, police should always obey the same rules they enforce against us. For example, no speeding and stop sign running.

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Gary Baker on 12/20/2014 at 4:22 AM

Re: “Why You Should Support the Protests

I like your sentiments, Jay. But, I disagree. Protests do not matter very much. They never have. The civil rights movement was won in courtrooms, with the ballot box, and with economic force (in the form of boycotts) more than by protesting.

Real change on the issue of police brutality requires political action. You dismiss the importance of the vote. You are way off base. You mistake flash for substance.

Example- Ferguson. African-Americans are 67% of the population of Ferguson. Yet, they have about 12% voter turnout (which is likely made up of mostly of older white voters). That is why they have the police force that they have.

The people of Ferguson have been done a disservice. No one helped them organize an effective strategy to achieve meaningful change. First, a massive voter registration drive should have occurred. Then, they should have started recall petitions on the County Prosecutor, mayor, governor, and all the other politicians who have failed them. That nonsense with grand juries and all that would not have happened. Politicians would be doing back flips to prosecute brutal cops if they knew the alternative was their own political suicide.

Likewise in Oakland. If black and brown VOTERS were scaring these politicians with threats of recall. If politicians knew it was the end of their political life if they failed to institute meaningful reforms. If elected officials knew that there would be 90% voter turnout at the next local midterm election to vote their ass out of office. Guess what? Reforms would be happening in a big way. Guess why they aren't? Black and brown people don't vote and don't give money to help finance campaigns. So politicians don't really much care what black and brown people think. Instead they are thinking - I wonder how much longer these stupid protests will last? I hope this winter weather shuts down them down.

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Gerald Bowman on 12/18/2014 at 8:58 PM

Re: “Why You Should Support the Protests

Actually, I don't think there has been much denigrating of peaceful protests in Oakland. What I and many others have criticized is the hijacking of those protests by the so-called Black Bloc, the trashing of businesses which are frequently owned by first and second generation immigrants, the danger to life by shutting down freeways and, perhaps most telling, the very muted response by progressives like you to these attacks on our community.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Thomas Higgins on 12/18/2014 at 8:46 AM

Re: “Why You Should Support the Protests

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Editor on 12/18/2014 at 3:34 AM

Re: “Why You Should Support the Protests

Thanks for the overview and political insight. I thought I’d just add this update about Cleveland:

Last month, twelve year old Tamir Rice, a Black child with a toy gun in an inner city park, was shot down by police within seconds of their arrival on the scene. The cops, having failed to follow even their own police protocols for defusing any potentially harmful situations, then left him to die as they delayed calling the paramedics, instead busying themselves with handcuffing and throwing into a police cruiser Tamir’s 14 year old sister who tried to come to his aid. The city is in mourning and protest, this coming hot on the heels of the Ferguson and NY murders by police.

Here in Cleveland demonstrators shut down traffic on the shoreway two weeks ago in protest of police brutality. Organized groups of students participated from Cleveland State University, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Akron, Kent State University, John Carroll University, Baldwin Wallace University, and other schools, and groups of youth that were hanging around downtown at the start of the demonstration spontaneously joined the protest; a proud moment for Cleveland.

I'm a pediatrician. I practiced in the inner city of Cleveland for 25 years. Tamir wasn’t my patient, but I believe that many children in his extended family were. Though I recently retired, I still read the Cleveland Plain Dealer every day, as I have done for years, partly to see which one of my previous patients or their parents have been murdered or abused. The count is growing. It brutally reflects the hardships and injustice of life in Cleveland, and other cities, for poor people of color.

So I still have one foot in the ghetto (and very well might return to work in an inner city clinic part time after the new year), and one foot… in my privileged life, relaxing and enjoying the fruits of my labor after all these years. It’s a rather schizophrenic sensation at times. But as I recover from years of burn out, having set myself free from the county hospital system that can easily eat up even the most balanced person’s sanity, I’m looking to perhaps raise my voice and become a community activist again, having been well-trained in the antiwar movement of the sixties; years of advocating for my patients notwithstanding. Ah – life full circle. My blood is boiling and the streets are calling.

Besides, I can’t let all the family glory go to my younger brother who was arrested at the recent Cleveland demonstrations. He was held overnight, never charged, and released over 24 hours later. Interestingly, the Cleveland police, deciding to take an unusual conciliatory stance, and therefore claiming that they were respectful of community sentiment and the demonstrators right to protest, repeatedly denied that there had been any arrests; an outright lie.

On that note, I’m hoping for a safer saner new year, but I don’t think that will ever come without some significant struggle. As Jay Youngdahl so succinctly put it: “without street action, change will not come.”

Lisa R. Brand, M.D.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Lisa R. Brand on 12/17/2014 at 1:24 PM

Re: “Why You Should Support the Protests

Thanks for this thoughtful and well written piece, Jay.

I'm not far from regarding the heavily militarized and increasingly well integrated "police" as being an occupying army these days, asking as many have "who is it they are so well postured to go to war against?" Indeed, who do they serve and protect?

With about half the population being thrown mostly out into the economic cold, the answer to this question might seem obvious. Which I will state: Not Us, Usually. (If you haven't read it, you might take a look at this piece from SALON: ONE NATION UNDER SWAT: HOW AMERICA'S POLICE BECAME AN OCCUPYING FORCE)

Largely standing by while this process of "changing everything" moved quickly into our society, we now confront a monster that isn't much interested in what we think about it. They might at this stage not even be much interested in what we do about it.

It is possible to confront their authority and the authority of those directing them in the streets, but that is a conflict they are well enough going to win usually, especially in terms of violent confrontation. No news with that. Of course, they can escalate the street violence at will, as you observe. There's no such thing as playing fair in this.

This aspect of the larger class war is, in the corporate media, mostly colorized as being mostly disruptive, though they do genuflect now and again towards noticing the United States remains a very racist society. No mention of Class War At All. That's as forbidden as using the word "fascist." As forbidden as saying Working Class instead of Middle Class usually is. Changing the way people talk about such things is one thing the internet IS good for...

No mention of people generally being driven to extremes by The New Economy, the one that treats a too sizeable proportion of them as being disposable. Not just ghetto disposable. "Third World" disposable.

How many new prisons will be built to contain all of those millions of people newly criminalized or simply intolerably marginalized once they really step on the gas of the machine they've constructed? Alex Jones sounding stuff I suppose, this kind of thing. Conspiranoid nonsense, we're always being told. Or something like that. And in some constructions, that's mostly just what it is.

However,take a looke at all those fascist cops!


Posted by terrybake on 12/17/2014 at 10:43 AM

Re: “Why You Should Support the Protests

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1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 12/17/2014 at 2:47 AM

Re: “The Age of Fear and Disillusionment

Awesome article! However, in addition to the marijuana and gay marriage conversation in America. The progressives, need to be more mindful to end our own stigmatization of those who are addicted to pain-killers/heroin, those who sell it for economic survival and those who are in/released (from) prisons and jails who are struggling to shake off their past. It's about moving forward together with the spirit of redemption and change. But again, we still hold those people who really want to be forgiven as deviants. For this reasons, these folks didn't see a compelling reason to get out and vote either!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Michael Alan Bailey on 11/17/2014 at 11:30 AM

Re: “The Age of Fear and Disillusionment

Excellent article - fear is an American value that is manipulated by those in power to do as they please.

Posted by Art Zamora on 11/14/2014 at 9:47 AM

Re: “The Age of Fear and Disillusionment


Posted by Alan Lopez on 11/12/2014 at 6:50 PM

Re: “A Message to Readers

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1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 10/24/2014 at 11:59 AM

Re: “A Message to Readers

Good to know that you folks are in no danger of going belly-up. But I disagree about the Bay Guardian, which has been awful for a long time.…

Posted by Rob Anderson on 10/23/2014 at 10:22 AM

Re: “A Message to Readers

Thanks for keeping EBX alive and healthy. I've been reading it since it began publishing--and even contributed a few pieces--and have always appreciated its adaptive and insightful approach to serving the community. Sure, some things bug me (particularly the interaction design of the entertainment section, which got real bad two ownerships ago) but that's quibbling. Keep it up EBX!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by David Livingstone Fore on 10/23/2014 at 5:28 AM

Re: “A Message to Readers

I also disagree with your assessment of The Bay Citizen. (I was a happy employee there, miss it and thanks for remembering us!) TBC merged with The Center for Investigative Reporting and thus it ended. It didn't fold or fail. In my opinion, the most tragic part of the merger was that it cut short an experiment in local, sustainable journalism. It was a bold new venture and a model that never got to fully play out.

At that point, TBC *was* successful and the future looked good. Our membership numbers were growing, income was increasingly diversified, the journalism was strong, staffing was solid. The operation looked sustainable. The industry needs sustainable models and The Bay Citizen was an attempt. I suppose the attempt did fail but not because of the business model. You may believe that ultimately the model was doomed and I disagree, but we can't know because the experiment ended too soon.

One could ask why couldn't it have prevented the merger? That's a more speculative conversation, but it's an entirely different situation from "couldn't make a go of it".

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by J Cotton on 10/22/2014 at 2:29 PM

Re: “A Message to Readers

Thanks for the comment, Sam. The Bay Citizen was staffed, like the Center for Investigative Reporting into which it was merged, with fantastic journalists who do great work. But I continue to believe that the Bay Citizen model was unsustainable which ultimately doomed this noble experiment. - Jay

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jay Youngdahl on 10/22/2014 at 9:18 AM

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