CHICAGO, May 28, 2012 — Should President Obama have condemned the violent protesters last Sunday during Chicago’s NATO 2012 summit?
This was the question posed to me during an appearance on Fox and Friends on Friday.
President Obama lavished gratitude and praise on the City of Chicago. He spouted politically palatable platitudes on the protection of free speech, expression, and assembly. Not one word was said about the violent protest just blocks away from the summit.
The only condemnation came from organizers and planners of the protests who were conveniently nowhere near the action. They condemned the police.
Last Sunday several police officers and protesters were injured. One officer was stabbed in the leg. Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy was on the front lines with his men, guiding, ordering, and boosting their morale.
The violent protesters were professional agitators, anarchists, and wannabe anarchists. They were a minority causing the majority of problems, creating the most mayhem, havoc, and violence.
Their actions guaranteed publicity, and publicity is what the protest game is all about. For professional agitators, provoking, disobeying and attacking the police and the public is exciting.
Damage to property, theft, and other crimes liven things up. Threats of bombs, Molotov cocktails, and other weaponry stir the pot.
They whip up frenzy, especially on the front lines. They generate anger in the crowd, getting dupes and dunces involved in their wanton reckless violence. The peaceful protesters get hurt while the agitators back off to regroup and provoke another violent episode.
Excitement is what news is all about. “If it bleeds it leads,” the saying goes. Protest organizers and planners know this.
There are good reasons why the President and mayor were silent. Organizers of the protests are not just young rabble-rousers, anarchists, or street fighters. They are well-known long time political, community, and union organizers and activists.
They are also politically connected.
Two of them, Joe Iosbaker and Andy Thayer, are well known in Chicago. They are local celebrity activists. Iosbaker is also known due to his constantly publicizing an F.B.I. raid on his home in 2010. He and his wife were arrested, suspected of having ties to Middle East terrorist organizations.
Iosbaker is or was an organizer for SEIU (Local 73), one of the organizations lending major support to the Occupy Movement, the Obama campaign and Democratic Party. He also did political work for a major Hispanic Democratic Machine politician.
Andy Thayer is a long-time peace and LGBT activist in Chicago. He is a person of influence, especially in Chicago’s large gay community, a major voting bloc. Politicians and the media take his calls or show up when he beckons.
For six months Thayer propagandized that the Chicago Police Department would use ruthless brutality and violence to put down peaceful protest and dissent. All the while it seems he was working with the police and city planning the protest activities.
The violent clashes were needed to prove him and other propagandists right. Thayer, Iosbaker, and other organizers may not have planned the violence, but they knew it was bound to happen and they did not condemn it.
While the protesters were violently clashing with police, while the Superintendent and members of his command staff were on the front lines with their men, Andy Thayer and Joe Iosbaker were safely away from the madding crowd of violence and brutality.
They were ensconced in safety talking to the media. They were cool, calm, and collected. They were well dressed for their media appearances.
On that hot humid Sunday when sweat and blood were shed, the men who planned and organized the whole thing condemned the brutality of the police department from a safe haven.
While police and protesters were sweating and battling on the front lines, Andy Thayer and Joe Iosbaker were swanning and preening for the cameras, far enough away that a billy club to their head would have to be sent by mail.
They talked tough. But actions speak louder than words. Their actions were cowardly.
Both men live an alternate lifestyle called mediasexuality. Mediasexuals have a deep-seated, preternatural predilection for microphones, cameras, television, and radio. They cannot control their urges.
They look pretty, comfortable, and self-assured in front of the cameras, safe behind the lines. Cool, calm, and collected, they spew faux rage and anger over police actions. They are all blab and no bravery. All glory and no guts.
During the week covering and photographing the protests, I personally never saw Andy Thayer or Joe Iosbaker on the front lines or in the middle of it all. Andy Thayer was always on the fringe or in the rear. He usually would show up early, talk to the media, and disappear before the marches started.
He would be seen later in some safe venue, just in time to complain about police actions he never witnessed, making love to the cameras and microphones.
Just to be sure, I went through all the photos I took from the front of the marches. I also looked through other media photos. There is not one photo of either of these leaders leading anything.
President Obama should have condemned the violent actions of the protesters.
Mayor Emanuel should have condemned the cowardly actions of the complainers.
Next time the media should totally ignore Andy Thayer and Joe Iosbaker unless they actually do something newsworthy.
Watch as protesters terrorize a Chicago neighborhood.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.
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