2012: What’s left to destroy?

August 12, 2012

I squandered my 20s in the terrible 2000s. While I was living it up and wasting my youth in the bottom of beer bottles and glass bongs our leaders were partying like it was 1999. All of the prosperity and peace that had been won by the countless sacrifice of previous generations was completely destroyed in less than a decade.

The decade began with a bang as two jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center and shattered our sense of security. Our illustrious leader, Lil’ Bush calmly read storybooks to school children as buildings burned and lives were lost. When the smoke cleared all he could do was; tell us to shop til’ we drop. By that logic the terrorists would win if we didn’t buy a bunch of shit we didn’t need with money we didn’t have. Like good little children we did what we were told. We bought copious amounts of plastic crap from China at 20% apr.

The terrorists were laughing at us. We played right into their plan. They were, after all agents of terror and we were, and still are terrified of them. The 9/11 attacks were used to justify a war that was worlds away from the perpetrators. We allowed the authorities to completely destroy the Bill of Rights in the name of national security. Habeas Corpus was all but suspended under the atavistic Patriot Act. The DHS, NSA, CIA, FBI, and municipal police forces across the nation were given carte blanche to violate the people’s constitutional rights on a daily basis.

The TSA dutifully stood guard — always at the ready to make your grandmother endure an enhanced pat-down, or to send your perky girlfriend through a porn scanner as they grow a tree trunk in their pants. The Supreme Court ruled that the police may strip search you at any time. According to Justice Stephen G. Breyer the police may strip search you for “violating a leash law, driving without a license and failing to pay child support.” Oh yes, we were ready to bend over for Uncle Sam, and we took it with a big shit eating grin on our face.

Those of us who had jobs kept on sleepwalking off to work — all the while we were living on borrowed money and borrowed time. Our prosperity was false. Instead of demanding adequate wages we accepted the fact that we would have to borrow more and more just to buy the necessities of life; education, housing, healthcare, food, childcare and transportation.

The credit lines couldn’t go on forever. At some point the bottom had to drop out from under the sub-prime basement, and by the time it was all over America was in the toilet. When we were flushed away we sucked the whole world down the drain with us.

The financial crisis of 2008 culminated in a world wide calamity. The meltdown was the result of decades of wholesale fraud and usury. Cities and towns all across America had dried up and gone bust. The European Union was reduced to a sorry mish mash of sovereign debt. The economic rift separating the 1% from the rest of us had grown enormous, and the only class distinctions left were: the working poor and the independently wealthy. Working class salaries had become stipends that could barely support already anemic bank accounts. The once thriving middle class had sunk into the proletariat.

It was a dark time for America and the rest of the world, however a few glimmers of hope could be seen emerging from the darkness. America elected the first African American President who promised us hope and change. The Arab spring took off, and what started as a tinder fire in Tunisia had burned across the Middle East. The mass-revolt promised to bring true democracy to the long oppressed people of the region. Social Unrest was not limited to the Arab world. Here in the states we saw the rise of the Occupy Movement. Americans were finally taking it to the streets and protesting on a scale not seen since the 1960’s. Europeans weren’t taking it lying down either. They literally set the EU on fire in response to draconian austerity measures imposed upon them by banksters and their dim-witted elected officials. It looked as if the peasants were storming the villas of their callus masters, but looks can be deceiving.

Our knight in shinning armor, Barack Obama turned out to be a bright shining lie. HE left us hopeless and on the street begging for change. The Arab spring dragged on and the power vacuums left behind were quickly filled with warlords who were eager to become tyrants. Here in America peaceful demonstrators were dealt with swiftly and violently. Their picket signs and protest chants were met with rubber bullets and tear gas. In collusion with the DHS police departments all across the nation finally evicted the Occupy Movement with cruel efficiency.

Now it’s 2012 and it looks as if the world may very well be destroyed, but this begs the question; what’s left to destroy? The global economy is in tatters, and the will of the people has been broken. There is no hope for the foreseeable future. The threat of recession looms over the US and the thought of choosing between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for the next president is enough to induce vomiting. The EU is falling apart as one nation after another becomes insolvent. Conflict engulfs the Middle East, and tensions with Iran threaten to start World War Three at any moment.

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Charlottetown Rebellion

May 15, 2012

After the Bank of America shareholders meeting protest it is clear to the world that Occupy Charlotte and Occupy Wall Street are alive and well. They never went away. They have regrouped and now they are stronger than ever.

I had the opportunity to catch up with one of Occupy Charlotte’s organizers, Craig Glisson and discuss the recent protest and the future of Occupy Charlotte.

Jeremiah: Last week’s protest at the Bank of America shareholders meeting went very well. I’m counting it as a victory for Occupy Charlotte. In light of this what’s next for Occupy Charlotte?

Craig: That was the first time Occupy Charlotte was involved on a march in the streets so I would definitely consider that to be a victory, but we still have to battle war, injustice and inequality. Occupy Charlotte has several plans moving forward. We plan on being more involved in the community. Occupy Charlotte will be doing a lot more community service and community outreach. We want to be more than just a protest group or a social program. We will be going more into community building. The Charlotte community is the most important thing to Occupy Charlotte.

Jeremiah: Relations between the CMPD and Occupy Charlotte seemed to be tenable last week. How do you think that will effect the upcoming DNC?

Craig: Personally I’m not concerned about the CMPD. I’m concerned with the police around the Charlotte area and also some of the federal agents that will be inhabiting the city during that time period. The CMPD has been very professional with their relationships with activists and protest groups in the Charlotte area. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. I plan on building a more professional relationship with the CMPD so we can work together and so our interactions with the police won’t overshadow the actual events we are protesting.

Jeremiah: During the DNC Obama will be speaking at the Bank of America Stadium. If you could ask him one question or if you wanted him to address one issue affecting  the Charlotte community what would that be?

Craig: There are many issues I would want him to address,but the main question I would ask him is; what happened to the change he promised in 2008 and why did you promote changing the face of Washington when you hired so many Washington insiders to your staff.

Jeremiah: Was there anything else you wanted to add? Did I miss anything?

Craig:The BofA shareholders meeting protest shows that Occupy Charlotte is alive. We were preoccupied with this very important event so that people can realize the problems that the big corporations like Bank of America have placed on Charlotte, North Carolina, the United States, and the world. They’ve had a huge hand in the economic mess of 2008. Going forward we have to stand as citizens so that corporations won’t ruin our future or the present that we live in.

When I asked Craig how people could get involved he directed me to the links posted below.

Occupy Charlotte’s Homepage

Occupy Charlotte’s Calendar

Occupy is going strong but it needs the support of the people to stay alive. I urge all of my readers to get involved. This is our future and together we can make it a brighter one.

(Photos by Cannie Osborne)


Bank of America Shareholders Meeting 2012

May 9, 2012

The annual Bank of America shareholders meeting was held today in Charlotte, NC.  Several hundred protesters showed up and marched from the people’s park to the Bank of America headquarters. Demonstrators came from around the country to show their disdain for the ailing bank.

Several protest groups had their members on the ground including Occupy Charlotte, NC Against Corporate Power, Communication Workers of America, and Occupy Wall Street South to name a few.

As the march began demonstrators chanted “Banks got bailed out we got sold out.”

There was a large CMPD presence at the event. The new extraordinary event rule was in place, but for the most part local police kept their cool and did not silence the voice of the people. The CMPD did make a few arrests, however when a couple of demonstrators attempted to gain access to the shareholder meeting.

Despite the arrests the protest was relatively peaceful. Demonstrators marched without interference from the police or the city. One demonstrator said “It’s protesters vs the bank not protesters vs the police.”

Finally the march stopped right in front of the Bank of America headquarters. Demonstrators were in high spirits as they sat in the shadow of the giant building.

There were a few people at the meeting who were upset. Of course those people are the shareholders themselves. Bank of America has lost a lot of value since the 2008 financial crisis.

Bank of America is such a toxic asset that at this point I’m calling the meeting the Anal Skank of America shitholders meeting. The financial giant has been reduced to a giant debt bomb waiting to go off.

All in all it was a great protest. This demonstration proves that Occupy is alive and well, furthermore it proves that southern hospitality is in effect. When Charlotte protests there is no violence. My faith has been restored and for the first time in a long while I believe that we the 99% can bring down the monster of corporate greed.


Mayday Mayday Mayday

May 1, 2012

May 1st has been a busy day for Occupy Charlotte. Protesters have organized a sit in on the people’s lawn in Uptown Charlotte.

The following text was taken from Occupy Charlotte’s web site.

It’s our MAY DAY GENERAL STRIKE!! — Show the corporations and the elites that we may not run the country but we make the country run! If you are able, don’t work, don’t go to school, don’t buy anything… DO spend time with friends and family on the People’s Lawn!

When I was there earlier today there were a dozen or so people in attendance. The Occupiers were in high spirits. A few cars honked their horns in support of the protesters as they drove down East Trade St.

Much like Craig Glisson who I interviewed in my last post It’s like watching the Sopranos other members of Occupy Charlotte were very much aware of the activities of the corporations in their city, namely Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Duke Energy.

Demonstrations are scheduled this week dealing with Duke Energy and Bank of America.

On Thursday, May 3, 8:00 AM Occupy Charlotte will protest the Duke Energy shareholders meeting. Occupiers are unhappy with the utility companies use of nuclear power and coal which they cite as dangerous energy.

According to the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League Duke Energy has seven coal-fired electric power plants in North Carolina. Burning coal has enormous environmental impacts. The Union of Concerned Scientists puts it like this

Burning coal is a leading cause of smog, acid rain, global warming, and air toxics. In an average year, a typical coal plant generates:

    3,700,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary human cause of global warming–as much carbon dioxide as cutting down 161 million trees.

    10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which causes acid rain that damages forests, lakes, and buildings, and forms small airborne particles that can penetrate deep into lungs.

    500 tons of small airborne particles, which can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death, as well as haze obstructing visibility.

    10,200 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), as much as would be emitted by half a million late-model cars. NOx leads to formation of ozone (smog) which inflames the lungs, burning through lung tissue making people more susceptible to respiratory illness.

    720 tons of carbon monoxide (CO), which causes headaches and place additional stress on people with heart disease.

    220 tons of hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (VOC), which form ozone.

    170 pounds of mercury, where just 1/70th of a teaspoon deposited on a 25-acre lake can make the fish unsafe to eat.

    225 pounds of arsenic, which will cause cancer in one out of 100 people who drink water containing 50 parts per billion.

    114 pounds of lead, 4 pounds of cadmium, other toxic heavy metals, and trace amounts of uranium.

Making matters worse Duke Energy is poised to acquire Progress Energy. If this were to happen Duke Energy would have the largest energy monopoly in the nation further enhancing their ability to gouge their customers with rate hikes.

On Wednesday, May 9, 8:00 AM Occupy Charlotte will be marching on the Bank of America shareholders meeting. Recently the upcoming event has been grabbing national attention.

The group 99% Power has sent Bank of America CEO, Brian Moynihan a strongly worded letter asking for him to meet with them by this Friday. The letter states

It is incumbent on you to ensure that legitimate stakeholders in your company have a seat and that your company does not engage in the same exclusionary practices as Wells Fargo. We want to meet with you by May 4 to confirm that all proxies and shareholders will be seated and present in your annual shareholder meeting.

99% power is concerned that the shareholders meeting will turn out like the Wells Fargo meeting in April where several shareholders were denied entry.

The city of Charlotte has declared both shareholder meetings “extraordinary events”.

According to the CMDP

The City of Charlotte, ordained by the City Council of Charlotte, North Carolina, has amended Chapter 15 – Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions to include a new Sections 15-26, 15-27, 15-28, 15-29, 15-30 and 15-31 to prohibit camping, obstructions, possession/dispersal of noxious substances and other activities on public property, roadways and public right of way.

The new ordinance bans the possession of the following items during an extraordinary event :a bar, chain, shaft, staff, cable, wire, lumber, aerosol container, spray gun, spray paint, liquid paint or marker, etching materials, backpacks, duffel bag, satchel, coolers, a glass container, knives, hammer, crow bar,pepper spray, mace, body armor, shield, helmet, protective pads, gas masks, police scanners, masks, rocks, bottles, objects (the ordinance actually bans possession of objects), bricks, animals, fireworks, smoke bombs, sparklers, stink bombs, and missile weapons.

The ordinance can be found here.

According to the Charlotte Observer

Charlotte City Attorney Bob Hagemann said Monday that ordinary citizens, or people protesting lawfully, do not have to be worried.

This is not the first fishy thing that the CMPD has done since I’ve been in Charlotte. In the article CMPD aka Charlotte’s secret police I lambasted the department for concealing their budget in violation of North Carolina law.

At first glance this vote appears to be innocuous. Unfortunately this is not the case. The city is slated to spend $25 million on equipment in preparation for the DNC. What exactly are they planning to buy no one knows. These purchases are not going to face a public vote.

I will be in Uptown Charlotte for both events, however in light of my mistrust of the CMPD I will be keeping one eye over my shoulder.

Photos courtesy of Cannie Osborne.


It’s like watching the Sopranos.

April 30, 2012

Unless you live under a rock you know that dissent is spreading across America. Occupy Wall Street may have started in New York however it’s spread like wildfire. City after city have revolted against the powers that be.

Unfortunately the DHS in collusion with municipal police forces across the nation have attempted to silence and destroy the Occupy protesters. Demonstrators have been barraged by a wave of police violence and misconduct. In many cases protesters have been told to pack it up and leave. Despite being evicted from their respective cities the Occupiers are far from done.

I caught up with Occupy Charlotte on Saturday, April 28th before their Fight Amendment 1 — Rally, March, and Outreach.

Posted below is an interview with one of their organizers, Craig Glisson.

Blue Scholar Blog: Why should people vote against amendment one?

Craig Glisson: People should vote against amendment one because it is making bigotry and inequality the norm in the North Carolina Constitution. It defines marriage as between a man and a woman. If marriage is a government institution then there should be equality across the board. The amendment also takes a lot of rights away from un-married couples. A couple could be together for 15 or 20 years but if you go by the definition of amendment one they will not receive the same benefits as a married couple. It would mess up the domestic violence laws which would take a lot of rights away from women. If you have a child of two unmarried parents who live together that child will have a lack of resources that would be available to parents who are married.

Blue Scholar Blog: It has come out that the DHS has been working with local police forces on how to deal with and ultimately evict occupiers. What are your feelings on that?

Craig Glisson: I feel that the Department of Homeland Security has a problem with Occupy because we’re actually speaking out against the government. It wouldn’t concern me if I wasn’t an advocate of rights, but since I am an advocate of rights I’m just going to stand up and speak out against atrocities of not only our local and state government but also our federal government. The fact that our federal government is coming in and evicting people who are expressing their first amendment rights, their freedom of speech, their freedom of assembly that is telling me that they are nervous, because what they are doing, the policies they are putting forth, the bills, and the new laws that are being passed show me that they know what they are doing is wrong. If more people speak out and demand change from the government it could change the system. It could change the status quo. Then we could have a system that benefits the majority of the people.

Blue Scholar Blog: Back in January the city of Charlotte evicted Occupy Charlotte. How have relations with the city been since then?

Craig Glisson: Relations with the city haven’t been positive or negative. The city does what it wants and we’re still here being watchdogs over the city. We are aware of what the city is doing. We are aware of what the corporations in our city are doing. They caused a major blow with the eviction. They took our tents but they did not take away our ideology. We still demand from our city, our representatives, and all city employees that they follow their just laws and that they strike their unjust laws.

We have some events coming up soon that speak out against our elected officials and the corporations in our city.

Blue Scholar Blog: What are those events?

Craig Glisson: There is going to be an Occupy Bank of America shareholders meeting on may 9th (Occupy Charlotte’s calendar of events can be found here) . There should be over a thousand people in attendance who have grievances with Bank of America on a national level and we have a lot of people in Charlotte who are coming out on a local level to voice their grievances with what Bank of America has done to the city of Charlotte. They have turned the community into a corporate town that is morally bankrupt.

Blue Scholar Blog: That leads into my next question. How do you feel about Bank of America? They employ a lot of people around here, but they don’t have a good track record with the community as far as fairness in evictions and so forth.

Craig Glisson: I was at a town hall meeting that mayor Foxx set up. Bank of America does employ a lot of people but mayor Foxx made a funny statement. He said that 90% of the people in Charlotte are employed by a small business. Bank of America employs a lot of people but they are not a small business. Not at all. They are a very globalized corporation. They are a multi- national company. They aren’t really Bank of America they are Bank of can we fuck everyone in the whole world. That’s what they are. I’m an advocate of making Bank of America smaller instead of allowing them to consolidate so much power. Bank of America is doing really badly right now. A lot of people are upset with them. We’ve seen the rise of the credit union so a lot of those jobs would be redirected. If Bank of America actually paid taxes instead of being subsidized we would have a stronger community. Citizens wouldn’t be taxed so much and that money could be redirected towards a lot of things. If people have more dollars in their pocket it would stimulate the economy because people stimulate the economy not large corporations. I would like to see Bank of America broken up. We need policies such as Glass Steagall to keep companies like Bank of America from going to the casino with depositors money.

Blue Scholar Blog: Bank of America recently settled with the DOJ concerning widespread mortgage fraud, yet no one has gone to jail. Do you think that justice has been served?

Craig Glisson: Wachovia now Wells Fargo got caught laundering money for drug cartels. Bank of America has it’s own situation going on. Since citizens united corporations are supposed to be treated like people, but they can’t go to jail like people. If I steal a Big Mac and fries my ass is going to jail. They bankrupt our economy and steal the livelihood of millions of citizens and what happens to them? They get a bail out. They get Merrill Lynch for pennies on the dollar. They get subsidies. They don’t pay taxes, and they are allowed to do what they do. That’s just mind boggling to me. No body ever goes to jail. It’s like the BP oil spill. They go after a low level engineer, because the people with the big money can line everyone’s pockets. It’s ludicrous and I’m not talking about the rapper. It’s ludicrous in the sense of what the fuck are we doing. Why are these people still on the streets? The jails are lined with people with minor drug charges and the people who ruined the foundation of our economy are free. Dealing with Bank of America is one of the many steps we need to fight this.

Blue Scholar Blog: Speaking of criminal banksters and the prison industrial complex. What do you think about Wells Fargo investing in private prison companies such as GEO group?

Craig Glisson: That bothers me because prison is supposed to be about reforming individuals. Our prisons aren’t even like that. Our prison system is a business and they are in the business of locking young black men up and using them as slave labor. When a prison becomes a private entity they use prisoners for slave labor. They can pay what people in the third world make like a dollar a day. We are also talking about the contracts people get to build the prisons and to feed the prisoners. There is a lot of money floating around to exploit human life. That’s why our education system is in shambles. That’s why the government only helps you just a little bit and not enough. That’s why they force people to go to prison with their policies and through the stereotypes, the racism, and the classism and through all the fucking isims. They are making money and exploiting people in so many different ways. Wells Fargo wants their cut. That’s basically what it all comes down to. Why is it that Bank of America invests in coal when the people in the area (mining towns) have increased rates of cancer and asthma? There are so many health issues renewable energy would be a way to go, but Bank of America doesn’t want that. Their energy buddies love coal. They don’t have to train people, make changes, or create any high paying jobs. They can keep the same status quo and get their cut. That’s what these banks are. It’s like watching the Sopranos. They just want their cut and that’s all it is. Human life should be more valuable than that.

 

Photos courtesy of Cannie Osborne.


The Walls are Closing in

April 29, 2012

According to MIT we are on the precipice of a complete global economic collapse. A group of researchers at MIT’s Jay W. Forrester’s institute predict that this will happen by 2030 if the world continues to consume resources at it’s current rate. The researchers also predict that there will be a steep decline in population as a result of the economic collapse that is on the horizon.

The Jay W. Forrester’s institute came to their conclusions based on a computer simulation. The simulation accounts for resource usage, farming output, birth control, and pollution.

This research was conducted at the behest of The Club of Rome a think tank that primarily deals with international politics.  According to the Club of Rome’s web site

They created a computing model which took into account the relations between various global developments and produced computer simulations for alternative scenarios. Part of the modelling were different amounts of possibly available resources, different levels of agricultural productivity, birth control or environmental protection. 

 Most scenarios resulted in an ongoing growth of population and of the economy until to a turning point around 2030. Only drastic measures for environmental protection proved to be suitable to change this systems behaviour, and only under these circumstances, scenarios could be calculated in which both world population and wealth could remain at a constant level. However, so far the necessary political measures were not taken.

The report is based on the 1972 book Limits to Growth which states

It is self evident that human resource usage cannot exceed what the globe can provide for very long. The human ecological footprint will have to move back into sustainable territory.  Either through managed decline to sustainable levels of activity or through collapse to the same levels through the brutal work of nature or the market.

I think Serj Tankian said it best when he said

We’re the regulators that de-regulate.
We’re the animators that de-animate.
We’re the propagators of all genocide.
Burning through the world’s resources, then we turn and hide.


Oh Canada

April 24, 2012

Apparently there have been massive protests in Quebec over recent tuition hikes. Like most of you I didn’t even know about the situation until things got violent.

Due to a tuition increase of 75% over the next five years about 170,000 students have been on strike for three months, however things turned sour on Friday, April 20th.

According to the Toronto Sun

Montreal police had to call on their provincial police brethren to help control the protesters, some of whom pelted officers with bricks, rocks, and bottles. Protesters also set up barricades made from construction site materials and restaurant patio furniture to impede the circulation of police.

Officers responded with stun grenades, pepper spray and batons.

Student federation spokesman, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said that violence broke out after the authorities “quickly and brutally” intervened at  the Montreal Convention Centre where the Premiere of Quebec, Jean Charest was scheduled to speak.

According to Montreal police

their actions were in response to protesters who entered the centre through the garage and others who started to vandalize the building.

Montreal police say that two protesters were injured, however the QMI Agency reports that many protesters were beaten with batons and that they were bloody and bruised.

Charest was very nonchalant about the whole ordeal saying “The (event) that we’re holding today is very popular. People are running all over the place to get in.”

Nadeau-Dubois was not pleased with the premier’s antics. He told the QMI Agency that Charest’s comments will likely result in more violence. According to Nadeau-Dubois “After (Charest’s comments), all my calls for calm won’t do anything. He’s laughing at us. I don’t know if he realizes were in a crisis right now.”

The protests have been dubbed the Maple Spring and according to Canadian news outlet the Chronicle Herald they encompass more than dissatisfaction with tuition hikes.

According to the Herald

That point was repeatedly driven home Friday by protesters who signaled that the unrest was about more than university fees — it was about the general direction of the province.

Student protester, Alexis Remartini stated “It’s not just the tuition increase, the movement has grown to include other things we don’t agree with.”

Another protester, Nicolas Moran was bloodied by the police. According to him “I wasn’t doing anything violent.  A police officer hit me over the head… But I doubt the education minister will denounce violence from police.”