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Our jobs are disappearing

Works in Progress - Thu, 09/01/2016 - 11:47am

“We need a new paradigm. We need guaranteed jobs. We need a guaranteed income to ensure that the benefits of 60 years of U.S. prosperity go to all Americans.” — Paul Buchheit

Americans are feeling the impoverishing effects of the shift from middle-income to low-income jobs. The disappearance—or, more accurately, downsizing—of living-wage jobs is documented by numerous reports that reveal the suddenness and the extent of this affront to middle America.

First, the neoliberal explanation: It’s not really happening

Business writer Robert Samuelson calls the post-recession low-wage recovery a “myth.” To support his claim he cites a study from the Economic Policy Institute which, according to Samuelson, proves that “the economy’s employment profile—the split between high- and low-paying jobs—hasn’t changed much since the recession or, indeed, the turn of the century.”

But the EPI analysis is based on average wages within industries, rather than on the median, which reflects unequal growth. If the median had kept up with the average over the past 15 years, the current median wage would be $1/hour higher, or about $2,000 per year. The employment profile has actually changed a great deal since the year 2000.

There’s more. The EPI analyst claims that “jobs are being added relatively in proportion to their share.” But she only considers one year’s data, after much of the damage had already been done. Even so, the EPI figures show that the percentage of middle-wage jobs added in 2014 was 6.3 percent less than the overall percentage of middle-wage jobs (42.7% to 40%)—a rather dramatic change for a single year.

The painful evidence: Middle class jobs are disappearing

The Wall Street Journal, reporting on a Georgetown University study, concludes that “many middle-wage occupations, those with average earnings between $32,000 and $53,000, have collapsed.” Collapsed. High-wage occupations in technology, medicine, and finance are booming, and so are low-wage occupations in food service, retail, and personal care. But middle-income positions are fading away. The only one of the eight fastest-growing occupations that pays over $32,000 per year is nursing.

Manufacturing, once the backbone of mid-level employment, continued to decline in 2015. The Bureau of Labor Statistics determined that 18 percent of all displaced workers in 2011-13 were in manufacturing.

The evidence keeps accumulating. A US Mayors study found that ‘recovery’ jobs pay 23 percent less than the jobs they replaced. The National Employment Law Project estimates that low-wage jobs accounted for 22 percent of job losses but 44 percent of subsequent job gains. Business Insider, Huffington Post, and the Wall Street Journal all concur: the unemployment rate is remaining low because of low-paying jobs.

About that unemployment rate

The true unemployment rate, if discouraged and part-time workers are included, is double that of the official rate. It’s probably much worse. Alliance for a Just Society estimates that there are 7 job seekers for every $15/hour job opening.

No, this is not your 19th Century textile economy

Some analysts use simplistic comparisons with ages-old economies to assure us that everyone will eventually get a good job. The Atlantic spouts: “The job market defied doomsayers in those earlier times, and according to the most frequently reported jobs numbers, it has so far done the same in our own time.” Economist Dean Baker rants about robots: “Large numbers of elite thinkers are running around terrified that we will have millions of people who have no work because the robots have eliminated the need for their labor…We have been seeing workers displaced by technology for centuries, this is what productivity growth is.”

But there are two differences now: (1) In the past technology created middle-class jobs, manufacturing jobs, white-collar jobs, HIGHER-PAYING jobs. Now the jobs are at the extremes, either high-level or low-level, with tech-related jobs on the higher end and service-related jobs on the lower end. And (2) Globalization has outsourced middle-income jobs, not only from rich to poor countries, but also from one developing nation to another, as, for example, from China to Vietnam.

The World Economic Forum suggests we’re “on the cusp of a Fourth Industrial Revolution” in which “smart systems” in our homes, factories, farms, and entire cities will help get our work done.

We can’t wait around for a 19th-century recovery. We need a new paradigm. We need guaranteed jobs. We need a guaranteed income to ensure that the benefits of 60 years of U.S. prosperity go to all Americans, not just to the few who know how to redistribute the nation’s wealth.

Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (,,, and the editor and main author of American Wars: Illusions and Realities (Clarity Press).   

This article is reprinted with permission from the author.

The post Our jobs are disappearing appeared first on Works in Progress.

How to host a sonnet party

Works in Progress - Thu, 09/01/2016 - 11:46am

In the August issue of Works in Progress, the editorial collective was gracious. Instead of haranguing me about missing a deadline, they published my poem “Occupy Sonnet” that they had tucked away in their reserves, perhaps in anticipation of my precise indiscretion. With all of the violence in the world this summer, I’ve opted for a little poetry levity this month, sharing some of what I’ve learned about a timeless poetry classic: the sonnet.

Most associated with expressing the 16th century’s concept of courtly love, the sonnet continues to embody this century’s aspirations for humanity’s elusive quest for peace and love. Two of the most famous sonnet writers, William Shakespeare and Petrarch perfected what we’ve come to understand as the gold standard for sonnets. Shakespeare employed his fourteen lines in a set rhyme scheme of four quartets ending with a rhyming couplet (abab//cdcd//efef//gg), and a metrical requirement, iambic pentameter or ten syllables to a line.  Petrarch’s sonnets utilized an octave with the rhyme scheme abbaabba and a sestet with one of two rhyme schemes, cdecde or cdcdcd. Others over the centuries who demonstrated a compelling knack for the sonnet include Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John Donne, Edmund Spenser, and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Late 20th century American poets Marilyn Hacker, Adrienne Rich, and David Wojohn crafted their sonnets to reflect the world they experienced, often choosing to exercise more than their share of freedom in relaxing the strict standards of the English and Italian sonnets of centuries past. In today’s freer world of verse, sometimes the only thing that distinguishes the sonnet is its fourteen lines.  Still other poets even ignore this rule to make an anti-sonnet statement. This was the case with my “Occupy Sonnet” which inhabited thirteen lines as a metaphorical way to draw attention to the broken state of current American affairs. Inadvertently, the editors of WIP also rebroke a few of my line breaks, hence burying part of the rhyme scheme and obfuscating the form further.  As I write this, I consider whether pushing the sonnet to its almost unrecognizable limits all together like Bill Knott’s “Sonnet” adds to a deeper understanding of the poem’s power.

So how can the sonnet support our understanding of the economy of words? The sonnet requires the writer to lock oneself in a box and partner with the form to assure escape. Every word must resonate because there is no real estate to waste. Working in such tight quarters often will create the happiest of accidents. The rhyme often forces the writer to travel to linguistic places never considered.

For years, I’ve experimented with the form in community, holding sonnet parties with large groups of writers.  This summer produced a serendipitous moment during one such party.  A guest lecturer in Evergreen’s Writer’s Paradise program, I was leading the class through an exercise to choosing the fourteen end-line words that we would each use to write a sonnet.  About halfway through the laboriously fun task of contemplating the nuances of these words, my cell phone rang.  Usually I wouldn’t even consider answering the phone, but it was my Formica table broker calling with a lead on a rare 1950s table with chairs.  My broker also happens to be an Evergreen faculty librarian and a frequent contributor to Works in Progress, so I answered, put Liza Rognas on speaker phone, and explained what we were doing in class.  Liza, never one to miss a beat, played along with us, even daring us to include the word “librarian” in the scheme.

Armed with our fourteen words, the class and I spent the next week grappling with our individual sonnets, and I even cajoled Liza to try her hand at writing one.  The fourteen words couldn’t have produced more diverse poems.  Liza chose to use her words in what she calls “upside down” order — exhale appears in the first line — while in my sonnet exhale is the final word of the poem and anchors the rhyming couplet. Liza’s sonnet “Beyond Reproach” appears with her permission with my “In Praise of Librarians.” I’ve italicized the shared words to demonstrate a little of what you can expect if you choose to throw your own sonnet party:


Beyond Reproach

It’s not enough to exhale and then hold a breath,

as if we feared every face behind a veil could bring death

at any hour of any day, like a librarian

closing a book on our collective power to change.


So don’t use poached rhetoric to sway obtuse and hate-filled hearts

running with chartreuse and vitriolic passion.

Let those forces wither and starve, lacking good words

for patriotism’s empty, war-filled rage.


Peace, a word above reproach, requires hearts to find it.

Compassionate words liberate fault, by guilt

and ignorance bound, removing that which we salt away

to fight for Fear’s best-known cause.


All kind words drown that which hate inspires,

leaving love to tend our wounded.

—Liza Rognas


In Praise of Librarians

I love delicious books because I like to drown

in words. I like the feel of them as savory as salt

water on my tongue. I like that I am bound

to quench my thirst more than I want. Why fault


the inside of these mysteries beyond reproach?

Never-ending questions blossom in chartreuse

bouquets of wonder, similar to the poached

magic of eggs on a July morning or the many uses


of encyclopedias that hold all their power

in their tight fists. And I have longed for that librarian

who lurks in all of us to reinvent me in the restless hours

spent writing poetry. Who wouldn’t want a brain


addled like that? Who wouldn’t want to unveil

that kind of devotion with each raptured exhale?

— Sandra Yannone


What might your sonnet party generate?  Why not gather a group of willing troubadours for a late summer evening and try your minds at coming up with the fourteen words, then writing your individual sonnets, reconvening later to share what you’ve created.  Who knows?  Maybe even a few of your sonnets could end up in Works In Progress and begin the next sonnet Renaissance.

Sandra Yannone is a poet, educator, and antique dealer in Olympia.  She is a Member of the Faculty and Director of the Writing Center at The Evergreen State College. 


The post How to host a sonnet party appeared first on Works in Progress.

Call to oppose military shipments, again

Works in Progress - Thu, 09/01/2016 - 11:39am

The reasoning behind PMR’s opposition

For two weeks in November 2007, anti-war activists organizing as Port Militarization Resistance (PMR) literally laid their bodies in the street, on the ground, and against the gate in opposition to continued U.S. war and occupation when local government attempted to militarize their port and city streets. PMR is a movement with many affinity groups and individuals who joined in 2007 to resist the militarization of our community in our names.

Now, nearly a decade later, the cash-strapped Port of Olympia is again considering military shipments through the Port and city streets. And once again, PMR is organizing in opposition to complicity in the illegal and immoral war represented by these shipments. Some activists opposing port militarization are focusing on transforming the port’s economy to avoid any future such military shipments.

Regardless of affinity, activists emphasize their resistance is not toward service members, but in opposition to the wars that began in Iraq and Afghanistan and that have evolved under the Obama administration to interventionism across the world. PMR strongly disagrees with any suggestions that the wars are “over.”

As the Port of Olympia again seeks to introduce military shipments through this community with a large population opposed to U.S. global aggression, it would seem to behoove the port commissioners to consider the costs incurred in 2007. News reports noted hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on police actions that abused citizens exercising their free speech and assembly rights. The City of Olympia reported police costs amounting to $112,168 with a $42,000 shortfall to be billed to Department of Defense. The city also incurred significant legal costs associated with civil complaints brought by citizens for civil rights violations.

It is notable that prior to com-mencement of the Iraq War in 2001 and continuing through the Bush Administration, social justice and anti-war activists testified in opposition to U.S. war and occupation, marched in protests and held rallies and vigils. They petitioned their representatives, made calls, and held sit-ins. Yet nearly a decade later, the U.S. has expanded its intervention and occupation while thousands of U.S. military lives and millions of innocent Middle Eastern lives continue to be lost. And absent their consent, citizens and taxpayers are in debt for wars costing untold numbers of lives and trillions of dollars.

In 2007, when activists learned the USNS Brittin would dock in Olympia to unload its cargo, activists rallied as PMR with the goal of ending local complicity in illegal and immoral war. The USNS Brittin arrived at the Port of Olympia on November 5, 2007 carrying military equipment from the Iraq War. The equipment belonged to the 3rd Brigade 2nd Infantry Division and PMR learned it was the same equipment that had been shipped out from the Port of Olympia in May 2006 when the initial resistance occurred. Though PMR had earlier decided not to obstruct the “return” of equipment, upon learning it would be repaired at Fort Lewis and returned to Iraq in a revolving door of war support, activists reconsidered. In November 2007 PMR adopted an equipment “containment” policy to block the revolving-door refurbishment process and based on health concerns related to depleted uranium (DU).

Sadly, the troops from the 3rd Brigade returned to Ft. Lewis in October, 2007 minus 48 soldiers who were killed in Iraq. PMR’s goal was to “end our community’s participation in the illegal occupation of Iraq by stopping the military’s use of the Port of Olympia.” From the outset, PMR sought to educate, through rallies, marches, die-ins, and through acts of peaceful civil disobedience, about the war and how the military’s use of the Port supports the military occupation. In November, 2007, after thirteen days of resistance by more than 500 activists, and despite unprovoked police violence, there was a sense that direct action and civil resistance by committed citizens can make a difference.

Then, when Barack Obama was elected there were high expectations that war would end and U.S. imperialist policy would change, but the devastating reality is that along with many other policy disappointments, war did not end. If anything, we’ve seen expanded U.S. interventionism in Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and Honduras.

The Obama administration drew-down troop levels, but expanded private security with public funding, and adopted the use of kill lists and drones. The drone program created by the George W. Bush administration carried out ten times more drone assassination attacks under the Obama administration.  The Centre for Research on Globalization reported a year ago that, “According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the George W. Bush administration ordered 50 drone attacks while the government of current US President Barack Obama has already launched around 500 such strikes. Obama primarily ordered assassination strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.” While the U.S. claims the CIA-led and non-U.N.-sanctioned drone strikes are to kill militants, casualty figures show innocent women and children are often the targets.

The intersectionality of U.S. military imperialism with the social, human rights, and planetary costs of war must be understood to identify the widespread and multiple forms of opposition to it in Olympia and beyond.

First and foremost, the U.S. military is the primary coercive institution utilized to ensure U.S. political and economic dominance throughout the world. This dominance is thoroughly racialized as the non-white victims of U.S. imperialism are dehumanized in some way or another.

Over the last decade and a half, the U.S. military has wreaked havoc on the Middle East as it killed hundreds of thousands of people, annihilated civilian infrastructures, and bred political extremism in response in the region.

Climate justice and anti-militarism resistance is also crucial to addressing climate change as the Department of Defense is the largest institutional carbon emitter in the world.

Another intersection in U.S. militarism and imperialism is integral for expressing solidarity with Palestinian liberation and exposing the cozy relationship between the U.S. and the Israel Defense Forces.

Participating in the anti-war movement is to challenge the internally violent nature of the military, where rates of gendered violence and assault are astronomically high.

Finally, and especially egregious, the inverse of high and ever-increasing military expenditure for death and destruction abroad is austerity and draconian reductions in social spending at home. Funding for bombing homes in Iraq or providing Israel with resources to shell UN schools in Gaza, comes at the direct expense of funding for affordable housing, universal healthcare, education and schools, transportation and utilities infrastructure, alternative energy, and caring for social safety-net programs in the U.S.

According to National Priorities, U.S. taxpayers are paying $8.36 million every hour for Total Cost of Wars since 2001.  And for the Department of Defense, Thurston County taxpayers are paying $320.12 million annually, not including the cost of war.

Here’s what those tax dollars could have paid for instead:

  • 3,802 Elementary School Teachers for 1 Year, or
  • 4,321 Clean Energy Jobs Created for 1 Year, or
  • 5,762 Infrastructure Jobs Created for 1 Year, or
  • 3,201 Jobs with Supports Created in High Poverty Communities for 1 Year, or
  • 31,736 Head Start Slots for Children for 1 Year, or
  • 32,560 Military Veterans Receiving VA Medical Care for 1 Year, or
  • 8,782 Scholarships for University Students for 4 Years, or
  • 13,762 Students Receiving Pell Grants of $5,815 for 4 Years, or
  • 166,211 Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for 1 Year, or
  • 314,820 Households with Wind Power for 1 Year, or
  • 91,032 Adults Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for 1 Year, or
  • 194,462 Households with Solar Electricity for 1 Year

Today’s U.S. military aggression with its secret kill-list targeted drone assassinations eclipses the illegal and immoral Iraq and Afghanistan wars PMR resisted in 2006 and 2007. Therefore, consistent with the UN Charter and the Nuremberg Principles that prohibits acts of military aggression and requires citizens of a democracy to hold their government accountable, PMR will again resist militarizing our port and streets. PMR refuses to be complicit in illegal and immoral war, and activists are prepared to protest, disrupt, and engage in non-violent direct action if the Port of Olympia renews military shipments.

As activists again take to the streets, people of conscience are asked to join the resistance to U.S. imperialism and interventionism. People of conscience are asked to stand up to prevent military and economic power structures to divide and deter us from resisting illegal and immoral occupation in our names.

Some ways to get involved in PMR include attending organizing meetings and forums, testify to the port commission and city council about your opposition to military shipments, contact the Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) and Department of Defense, write or call your congressional representative, write a letter to the editor, report on social media, and join PMR marches and rallies. A newly created Facebook page—Port Militarization Resistance-Olympia—will share information about opportunities to testify to local governmental bodies, and when and where to march, rally, and protest, among other organizing activities. One thing is certain—any attempt to militarize the local community for war profiteers will again be met with non-violent civil resistance.

Again, PMR is not an organization, it is a resistance movement, so there are not formal organizational structures. However, those interested can feel free to reach out to the authors of this article via email.

Kyle Taylor Lucas is an American Indian freelance writer and Indigenous, social, economic, environmental, and human rights activist based in Olympia.

Robert Gorrill is a political activist based in Olympia.

The post Call to oppose military shipments, again appeared first on Works in Progress.

Update on Bryson and André  Chaplin-Thompson case

Works in Progress - Thu, 09/01/2016 - 11:33am

Westside police shooting victims

On May 21, 2015, Bryson (21) and André Chaplin-Thompson (23) were shot by an Olympia police officer after a failed attempt to steal beer from a Safeway grocery store on the Westside of Olympia, Washington. The young Black men are brothers, were unarmed, and while the officer shot at body mass, striking several times (as police are trained to do, in the science of force and Use of Force), Bryson and André thankfully survived the shooting. One of the bullets fired that hit Bryson is still lodged in his spinal column, and has caused paralysis from the waist down. The white police officer, 35-year-old Ryan Donald, was not injured, but did report by radio that he had been “assaulted with a skateboard.” The shooter, Officer Donald, like every single Washington State law enforcement officer (ever) that has used excessive force, was not indicted and was cleared of any wrongdoing. Bryson and André, however, are being accused of trumped-up and very serious charges of assault. Rather than dropping the charges, which was the rallying plea of the Olympia activist community supporting this family, the county prosecutor brought criminal charges against the two young men.

On January 21, 2016 at 10:30am, the Thurston County Courthouse is buzzing with activity. Inside a heavily-monitored, large crowded courtroom, a steady stream of people accused of crimes (and victims of The System), await the next name to be called, taking turns to meet their fate or find out the date of their next appearance. Some people are no-shows. The back of the courtroom is lined with tables as makeshift desks over which check-ins are happening. There is a nearly distracting hum of voices as folks are last-minute prepping to stand before the judge, with mostly white men in suits talking with clients. At the helm of the proceedings is Thurston County “Superior” Court Judge Carol Murphy, a woman, and the most powerful white person in the room, seated higher than everyone else, displaying her power very clearly. Most of the rotating lawyers on both sides are white, while the “defendants” are Black, Brown, Poor and People with Disabilities. On the left wall above the empty jury seats are huge photos of four (presumably very important) white judges who are men. Above the “superior” court judge’s high perch is an embossed gold portrait of George Washington himself, the emblem of the state of Washington, a glaring symbol of colonization.

Front and center of the courtroom, waiting to be called before the judge, are the tight-knit Chaplin-Thompson family. In the aisle in his wheelchair is Bryson, holding a Chicago Bulls hat on his lap. To his right is his sister Jasmine, and next to Jasmine is André, and to his right is their mom, Crystal Chaplin. You can feel the love between this family, they are a unit. There are members of community in support of André and Bryson sprinkled throughout the courtroom. André and Bryson wait patiently for two hours, then find out from one of their lawyers, George Trejo, that they can actually leave without being seen by the judge. Hurry up and wait, and now go home. Papers have been signed and the next court appearance is in April 2016, and failures to appear will lead to warrants.

In the United States there is a nationwide crisis of profiling, police terror and violence against Black people. It is a low estimate that somewhere in the U.S. every 28 hours a Black Loved One is killed by law enforcement, and that does not consider those who “disappear” or who die in custody. In the state of Washington the Black population is 3.6 percent and in Olympia it is 2 percent (2010 Census report). The percentage of Black folks incarcerated statewide in Washington is 18.1 percent (Dec 2015 Department of Corrections). Not unlike other cities, such as San Francisco, where the Black population is 3 percent and more than half the jail’s population is Black, anti-Black racism is alive and well in Olympia, Washington and plays out loudly in the actions of police (Ryan Donald) and the white people who call them (employees of Safeway).

It’s 8 am on July 7, 2016 and Bryson bounces down three steps to the sidewalk in his wheelchair (which has a flat tire); he’s gotten extremely good at navigating using his chair. “I didn’t get much sleep,” he says. André joins him; “me neither,” he says. They both look very tired, and for good reason, as they are about to make yet another early morning, mandatory pre-trial court appearance and they have been mourning the loss of many Black extended-community members recently killed by police. “My mom should be right out,” André tells his friend who has come to help with a ride. Crystal’s car broke down the night before. Bryson lifts himself into the car while André breaks down the  wheelchair and finds room for it in the back of the car.

“Did you hear about the shooting, the one in the car?” Bryson asks his friend. “Philando Castile!” they exclaim. The conversation is solemn as the three talk about the violent lynchings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile—the videos of their executions by police had just been all over social media.

Rest in power Philando Castile.

Rest in power Alton Sterling.

Crystal emerges from the house: “Alright let’s go,” she says.

Today the courtroom is very empty; on the left are four People of Color, attorney (and Woman) Sunny Ko, then André. Next to him is George Trejo, then Bryson. On the right side of the courtroom are the two white prosecutors, Scott Jackson and Wayne Graham. There’s a different judge presiding, white Judge Tabor, who is flanked by a white stenographer and white bailiff. Judge Tabor is very close to retiring, he announces this from his throne.

“This is a status conference,” Tabor announces. He talks about a “3.5 hearing” that happened recently where yet another Judge—Judge Dixon—made a ruling of some sort in this case. What he says doesn’t make a lot of sense to an outsider, and he’s very jokey about it. It does seem strange that this is the third judge involved presiding over the fate of two men, but this guy makes it clear he’s the judge presiding now, and will be seeing this trial through.

“Mr. Rogers, who is not a party to this case, and represents Donald, [the lawyer of Ryan Donald] is not present,” the Judge points out. It isn’t mentioned but Ryan Donald is also not present.

“August 15th is not gonna work,” Judge Tabor says. The prosecutors are concurring (fancy lawyer talk) that maybe August 15th is “too soon.” This is the date André and Bryson’s family and their community thought that the criminal trial was finally set to start. It becomes clear that this court appearance is about scheduling, not dropping charges as what seems an obvious solution. Judge Tabor then addresses the defense, and infers that it is taking the defense a long time; he tells Trejo “this date was set long ago.”

Bryson’s lawyer Trejo tells the judge that this hold-up has everything to do with a defiant and inaccessible officer Ryan Donald. Interviews so far with Donald were unsuccessful. Trejo finds it problematic that when interviewed, Officer Ryan Donald had this “inability to recall disciplinary action” that has happened to him as a police officer.

Donald refused to respond to any questions about racism, having referred to André and Bryson as “thugs.”

Also, on March 1, 2016, a date set for Officer Ryan Donald to be questioned by Ko and Trejo, Donald was a no-show. At that time Donald refused to attend.  He was on paid “administrative leave,”  as he was one of five Olympia Police Department officers present during the  in-custody death of Loved One Jeffrey McGaugh on February 29, 2016.

Rest in power Jeffrey McGaugh.

If André or Bryson hadn’t shown up for a court date, they would be in jail.

Trejo also talked about a “motion to sever counts” under the 8.3 motion, because “the state provided Donald with all the discovery on the case.” This sounds like Donald is being given all kinds of background information and history about André and Bryson, yet Donald won’t even answer direct questions, questions being asked by two People of Color, the defense lawyers Ko and Trejo. It is likely that Donald the kkkop is still writing his narrative of what happened.

Trejo agrees that August 15 is too soon. The reason for this is the lack of officer Donald’s version of what happened the night he shot-to-kill André and Bryson. When Donald finally complies with that requirement, Ko (Andre’s lawyer) explains that expert witnesses will then need time to review his assessment. Ko pushes for Donald’s narrative, and some time to review it before trial. There’s a deadline for the defense team to interview Donald and it is July 29.

Judge Tabor then said something that sounded a lot like someone who thought fairness and justness and truth are irrelevant. From his seat above everyone else, to a mostly empty courtroom, Judge Tabor said “I know this case has high visibility, and people have strong feelings. They have a right to their feelings and opinions about what’s right and wrong. But that doesn’t matter here,” he said. “Legal issues need to be assessed here.”

Then the Judge told the court his scheduling conflicts the coming months, and he excused himself from the courtroom so the prosecutors and the defenders could come to a decision about scheduling.

The scheduling conversation comes off like a strange insider’s theatric performance. It takes place in a bubble of laughter and talk of vacations and other pending cases (so much going on) and talk of more vacations… Even the stenographer gets in on the scheduling back and forth, describing this judge’s jury selection process to be predictable (and hilarious apparently). She described Tabor’s jury selection process as “half hour, half hour, half hour, 20 minutes, 20 minutes, half hour, hopefully done by noon.” And all the lawyers with the stenographer and the bailiff laugh together, because that’s so funny. “Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,” they laugh, like no one else is in the room.

All the while André and Bryson sit there. They are not laughing. They are not in on the joke. They face hard time in prison for failing to steal beer (no beer actually left the store) and for getting almost killed by a racist police officer. Crystal and a few friends, the only other people in the courtroom, also just sit there. They exchange looks, also not laughing. One of them is a child. Even he knows this process is unjust, this Black family’s fate in the hands of these people in this system.

The defense and prosecution, never ever involving André nor Bryson in the conversation, come to the conclusion that October 3 is the date the trial will start. It will begin with jury selection. The Judge returns. It is agreed the trial will likely run 3-4 weeks. After all, these folks are the ones with the power, they know how it works, they are experienced and knowledgeable, they make the decisions. The judge says someone must coordinate with Mr. Rogers (Officer Donald’s lawyer, who is not “party to this court”) to confirm. The judge and Trejo also decide that July 20 at 8:30am is when Bryson must appear one more time, about those motions Trejo had filed.

The community is requested to please attend the estimated 3-4 week criminal trial for André and Bryson that begins October 3, 2016.

[Please read a related article, A Mother’s Cry for Justice by Crystal Chaplin online in the BayView National Black Press at]

Lisa Ganser is a white, Disabled, genderqueer artist living in Olympia, WA, on colonized Squaxin land. They are a copwatcher, a sidewalk chalker, and the daughter of a momma named Sam.

This article was originally published in POOR Magazine, based in Oakland, California. The organization is a poor people led/indigenous people led, non-profit, grassroots, arts organization dedicated to providing revolutionary media access, arts, education and solutions from youth, adults and elders in poverty across Pachamama (Mother Earth).


Editorial note: According to nomy lamm, who attended a packed pre-trial hearing Wednesday, July 20, the judge seemed “annoyed with both lawyers as he used the word ‘puffery.’ ” Officer Donald had not yet given an official statement and Mr. Rogers, Donald’s lawyer, said a statement  would not be given unless one was ordered. Nomy described a back and forth “as to whether it would be an ‘interview’ with Bryson’s lawyer, Trejo, or if it would be a formal deposition, which would be ‘under oath.’ It was a little strange that this would be a sticking point.” The judge put an end to it by ordering a deposition of up to five hours. A “not so cool part” was that they would not be allowed to ask questions “about whether or not Officer Donald was racist, because racism is ‘subjective.’ ”

Also reported was a discussion of whether or not Mr. Trejo needed to issue a formal apology though nomy was not sure for what. “I heard Trejo say that he couldn’t find any precedent of a lawyer ever having to issue an apology and the judge said no, he didn’t need to do that. In addition, Trejo kept saying at this point, with no statement from Donald as to what injuries he sustained, he is not the victim in the case, he is merely a ‘complaining witness.’ ” nomy thought that was “kind of awesome.”

Jury selection will be held September 28 at 9 am and is open to the public. The trial is scheduled to begin October 3.


The post Update on Bryson and André  Chaplin-Thompson case appeared first on Works in Progress.

If you're a Republican in Thurston County, shouldn't all these Independents bother you?

Olympia Time - Tue, 08/30/2016 - 5:38pm

If things go a certain way, it is possible that come January Thurston County will have three commissioners that are not Democrats for the first time in my memory.

But, none of them would be Republicans either.

Admittedly Bud Blake (elected two years ago), Gary Edwards (who was a Republican in the past and might be elected this year) and John Hutchings (also might be elected this year) could easily be Republicans. But, this year they're all Independents. And I don't think I've heard a good explanation as to why.

As much as I'd like to ask Edwards why he ditched the Republican Party, I think I know the cynical answer. Blake showed that a conservative could be elected countywide if they ran without the Republican name.

But, mostly I want to hear from Republicans. And, I know how hard it will be for me in particular to get answers from Republicans given my point of view, but I'm honestly interested. I've spent the last few weeks poking around various online forums and communities for local Republicans and have come up short.

Shouldn't conservative candidates run as Republicans? Even if they disagree with 20 percent of the Republican platform, there is enough "big tent" in the party to contain them right?

If you are a Republican, and feel so inclined, fill out this short survey (LINK).

Wed, 12/31/1969 - 5:00pm
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