Saturday, December 24, 2011

Occupy Albany!!! D Day in America ...

Dateline Albany, New York   December 22, 2011  Day 68 of the Occupation...

An unseasonably warm first day of winter up here in Albany.  47 degrees and partly to mostly cloudy today.  Great weather for a massacre.  Yesterday it was in the high 30s and it rained for much of the day.  An unpleasant day to be Occupying, I'm sure, creating an ambivalence that might have made the Occupiers glad to be put out of their misery.  Since I just got back from Florida, after helping out with my ailing old father for the past 3 weeks, this was my first opportunity to visit the Occupy encampment in a while.  Not much new to see except for a few new signs, a lot less tents and few expectations.

And this guy named Gene, who was making his sign...

Today was an auspicious day to return because the city had gotten a court order permitting them to evacuate Academy Park on December 22 and close down the movement.  Since things had been going reasonably agreeably and peacefully  on both sides, many people  did not take this order all that seriously, especially since it meant dispossessing people just 3 days before Christmas and would be a PR disaster for the city (so they were saying), so there was little preparation for the impending invasion and police action.  Big mistake!!!  The police never like to miss the chance to kick ass and take names, so why should today be any different.  It wasn't...   

I got down to the park at about 12:30,  and was greeted by a quiet and much diminished presence.  Fewer tents and fewer people still.  Some new faces and some of the stalwarts.  Took a couple of pictures, talked to 3 or 4 Occupiers and was thinking of leaving, when much to our surprise, at 1:59 Deputy Police Chief Schultz materialized on the scene

 accompanied by what appeared to be an Armani clad, tassel shod city attorney, entering the park and announcing the court order stating that if the Occupation did not cease and desist within the next hour, proceedings would begin by the Department of General Services, with armed tactical support by the storm troopers of the Albany Police department, to dismantle the encampment.  Surprise!!! surprise!!! to those youngsters who missed the 60's and obviously didn't follow my advice to read the manual.

That said, it all came down real fast and real mean after that, with a menacing police presence descending rapidly on the park on horseback armed with tear gas and clubs hoping for necessary  provocation, followed by a phalanx of neon vested Department of General Services goons eager to wreak havoc on the remaining Occupiers.

Municipally endorsed modern day cossack.  You could feel their aggressive energy in the air and see their drooling appetite for state sanctioned destruction and thuggery.  It  reeked of that 1960's feeling of us against them, the hippies vs the police.  The only difference is that with shrinking state and municipal budgets, the people that are doing the trashing and pillaging today could easily be among the unemployed and disenfranchised of tomorrow and may be under the boot themselves as they themselves stand bewildered and uncomprehending in a motley crowd on the street wondering out loud, chanting, screaming, howling, what became of their livelihood and their portion of the "American Dream".  But in the end, confused by romney-esque rhetoric they don't understand, and addled by drink, they will slink home, drunk and angry, beat their wives and children, and blame the alien hordes that stole their jobs.  Will they wake up and see the truth, or roll out of bed hungover and ready to goose step and  don the brown shirt of fascism?????  What do you think???

With the police presence in place and hungry for blood of any Occupier naive enough to believe that  good will continued on the part of a frustrated city government was sorely mistaken!!!  The invasion began...

Under police protection, they made quick work of it, and despite protestations and pledges to lay their lives down for the cause, the whole thing ended a little after 4:00 with a whimper not a bang, which was just as well for these mostly 20 somethings.  The police did show an initial restraint in the face of an onslaught of profanity laced verbal provocation, turning the other cheek and not responding at all.  An apparently welcome change from the blood lust exhibited by the police in the  60's.  This "benevolence" was no doubt  helped along by the presence of TV cameras from 5 or 6 local stations and a very progressive new police chief and DA who up to this point had shown a surprising degree of tolerance.   And believe me, there was this one guy (the one with the hat and red sign) who tried his level best, short of physical contact to provoke a police reaction.  But as the evening fell the mood got ugly the jack boot police thugs on horseback and foot got busy and began to savage the crowds with pepper spray, night sticks, and profanity, later claiming that this "crowd control" was necessary to protect the Occupiers from greater harm.  In the end, there was nothing but a swirl of frantic activity...

And in the end, there were only garbage trucks to haul away the evidence of this once vibrant village.  

Since the Occupiers failed to have a meaningful exit strategy in place (or did they? we shall see...), it ended as it did.  The energy was gone at that point and the city did them a favor.  They got tons of press, and they will be able to return next spring rested and ready.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20!!!

December 20, 2011, and its been almost a month since my last post.  My father broke his hip down in Florida and we had been down there for the last 3 weeks helping him out.  90 years old and feeling like enough is enough, but we managed to pull him back from the brink in spite of his stubborn nature and he is resigned to following rehab and we are hoping all will be well.   Few if any pictures however.

Did get down to Del Ray Beach and stopped by Doc's, a tropical paradise on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Swinton, that also happens to sell some pretty great burgers.  Some of the reviews I have seen on trip advisor/restaurant reviews were less than complimentary, but don't believe a word of it.  While I was there, there was a table full of city workers enjoying themselves thoroughly, as did we, so res ipse locquitor!!!

Am back home now.  My father is on the mend and we are hoping that he will be back to normal soon.  Back just in time to see what will be happening with the Occupy Albany people.  They are ordered by the city to vacate by 12/22 and it will be interesting to see how they handle it.  Its been cold.  Into the low teens at night so this may be a blessing in disguise for them to bow out with a flourish.  I may be an old wimp, by I think its time to take it inside till the spring.  Will be there with my camera to see how things unfold.  Stay tuned.