Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Profits over free speech

Free speech? Are you kidding me?

We've got the annual shareholders' meeting for Bank of America this week and the Democratic National Convention in August. Do you seriously expect us to allow the unwashed masses to yell and scream and protest the actions of Bank of America and the United States government?

What planet are you from?

It's government of, by and for the people. Well, to be a bit more exact it's of, by and for the corporate person as declared by the nine in black gowns.

From the Huffington Post:
Charlotte City Manager Curt Walton said Monday that citizens would be banned from carrying a host of commonplace items, including bicycle helmets, padlocks and permanent markers, along with weapons, mace, pepper spray and pipe. The rules also ban any animals that are not part of an official parade or working as service animals during the protest. Since violation of the ban within a designated protest area would be considered grounds for arrest, local citizens could be jailed for simply walking their dogs on May 9. Anyone carrying a backpack or a briefcase with the intent to hide any prohibited items can also be searched or arrested, as can anyone wearing a scarf or a mask with the intent to hide her identity.
That's right. We can't possibly have people around the country think a bunch of long-haired radical hippies live in Charlotte. This is America, baby. We're all red, white and blue and supporting big corporate banks and our government's desires to kill innocent civilians abroad in the name of drumming up political support for a re-election bid.

We're all for capitalism here. And not just that Adam Smith-style capitalism. That's too damn quaint and old-fashioned. Nope. We're in favor of global corporate rape of people and resources for profit. We're all for bundling up bad mortgage debt and unloading it on unsuspecting gamblers investors. That's what made this country great, you know. We need more ruthless industrialists who are willing to get rid of anything standing between them and a pot of gold.

And so fucking what if these little whining malcontents can't bang their drums or blow their horns or scream their heads off. What's the big deal, anyway? They need to be reasonable. We can't have people in the streets protesting around the clock. I mean, people have to get to work and shareholders and delegates have to get back to the important business of screwing everyone in sight. Get a job for chrissakes!
The new anti-protest rules were originally approved by Charlotte City Council in January in preparation for the Democratic National Convention, but also include a ban on public camping which resulted in the eviction of the city's Occupy demonstrators. The council granted the City Manager the power to designate any event an "extraordinary event," which the ACLU worries will chill free speech. The police response to the May 9 protest will prime expectations for the September National Convention, which is expected to be the focal point of much larger demonstrations. While the rules state that people arrested at protests can be exonerated if found to be possessing items "legitimately," or for never using the items violently -- intensive searches and arrests could nevertheless stifle protests.
Oh that First Amendment can just be so damn inconvenient at times, can't it? Cities such as Charlotte are willing to bend over backwards to protect the image and interests of corporations and politicians at the expense of the people. The idea is to present this picture to the world that we all think (and look) alike. We're all on the same team, you know.

Except that both the Bush and Obama administrations were all too willing to hand out bags of cash to the banks to keep them from going under (and so the folks running the show could afford to pay themselves their huge bonuses for running their banks into the ground) but no one could be bothered to lift a finger to help the millions of Americans drowning in mortgage debt. Debt that was thrust upon them by the banks we bailed out. Bad debt that brought down the economies of the western world.

Best not to remind the people out in TV land that the economy is screwed up beyond belief because the federal government decided to let the corporate interests do whatever the hell they wanted to do. All that campaign money rolling in from the very corporations that sank the economy. And let's not beat around the bush about it - they were bribes. Corporations don't fund campaigns because they think Mr. Smith will do some good in DC; they fund campaigns because they want something back in return.

And you know that we can't possibly allow their choreographed shows to be ruined by those people in the streets pointing out that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes.

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