Feb. 2nd, 2017

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Kerry and I watched a live broadcast of it from some reporters standing in the midst of the protesters. It was a legit news channel though I forget which one. We heard the helicopters circling overhead, as our little house is only about a mile away from the Berkeley campus.

We were both more amused than anything. My reaction was, "hey alright, more authentic free speech!", as I cut farmer's market leeks into sections for the soup I was making, and Kerry fed the cat.

Most of the news organizations that reported it did a responsible thing - they pointed out that the demonstration was peaceful and orderly for hours up until a smaller group of individuals showed up, with covered faces and black clothing, and began tearing down the police barricades and throwing fireworks and flares. That group was clearly intent on causing such a disturbance that the whole event had to be cancelled. Not a move I would have made, but that's often the way it is with protest crowds. Less responsible people use them as cover. The same way wild-eyed vigilantes accumulate guns and training in the cover provided by hunters, patriots, and veterans.

The police also acted very responsibly here as well. Their attitude was "better a few tens of thousands of dollars in property damage than a million-plus dollars in medical attention and lawsuits against the city". They hung back and acted as protection - and a strong defense - for everyone there. No one from any side said a word against the police.

Of course, our dickhead in chief fanned the flames, and even floated the idea of defunding the lab system because of it. I mean wow, could he be any more utterly out of touch with American principles? What a dickhead. I never expected I could loathe him even more than I did last year, but boy oh boy, I do.

On the internet, of course, the whole thing is being discussed as though the students were devouring live babies and screaming "HAIL SATAN" and burning copies of the constitution in great heaps. This is by and large all anyone outside the city limits of Berkeley will hear of it ... and with fake-news editorials "covering" the incident with all the impartiality of a lynch mob, I expect the stink will be intense, and circle the Earth.

Raising hell when a well-established hatemonger tries to hold court in your home town, is not a "violation of free speech". Why would anyone claim that it is? Because they think they have a "right" to keep other people silent while they bloviate? The mind, it boggles.

So yes, comment boards all over are exploding with messages claiming that the entire city of Berkeley is "whiners" and "babies" and "against free speech" and "violent thugs" and so on and so on. But to me, these commenters are just angry, scared people, venting spleen from the safety of their dens. Lacking the sheer guts that the Berkeley people demonstrated by actually showing up, in person, and putting themselves in the situation. As I said before, and will keep saying, the only way to win is not to play.

This brouhaha will last about a week and they’ll move on to some other thing to spray down with misguided vitriol, and we’ll all carry on.

Hey! Spot poll! Who thinks Trump will actually be president for 4 years?

To tell you the truth, I’m actually getting a bit worried that in about a year he is going to start a war. North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, perhaps some kind of scuffle with China. And missiles will fly, and planes will start ramming buildings again. And of course it will all be more and more proof of how necessary the war is, and how the inhuman "other" must be exterminated, and we better not vote against a sitting president during wartime, because that would send the wrong message to The Enemy...

Ugh. I tried to stop watching internet news. I've already abandoned Facebook. Every time I lift the lid, nothing but hate comes screaming out. Is this the future of information warfare? Dump toxic waste in the community pool, so the effort of cleaning it out serves as a distraction, and you can move funds and pass laws while backs are turned?

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