While We Were Sleeping… Congress Outlaws Protesting

protect-and-serve

On February 27, 2012, Congress passed H.R.347, also known as the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011.

That’s a nice name. It sounds like with its passage there should be lots of pretty flowers blooming all over Washington, DC this Spring.

Here’s what H.R.347 really does:  it makes it illegal for anyone to protest in or near any government building or at any location that is deemed to be hosting an event designated as having national significance.

If that sounds a little vague and open to interpretation, that’s because it is. The “grayness” of this description is the loophole needed to circumvent the First Amendment rights of We the People.

Here are the relevant excerpts from the actual bill:

`(a) Whoever–

`(2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions;

or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

`(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is–

`(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both, if–

`(A) the person, during and in relation to the offense, uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm; or
`(B) the offense results in significant bodily injury as defined by section 2118(e)(3); and

`(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in any other case.

`(1) the term `restricted buildings or grounds’ means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area–

`(B) of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or

`(C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance; and

`(2) the term `other person protected by the Secret Service’ means any person whom the United States Secret Service is authorized to protect under section 3056 of this title or by Presidential memorandum, when such person has not declined such protection.’.

Under these guidelines, acts of civil disobedience, gathering for redress of grievances and who knows what else could be punishable for up to 10 years if any violence breaks out and up to 1 year if it doesn’t. Judging from the willingness of many police departments to administer full-on beat downs of unarmed, peaceful protesters, I’m going to wager that a charge of violence will be present even if it’s perpetrated by the police.

Why is an ill-worded, unnecessary law like this on the books? Why did it pass 388-3 in the House and with unanimous consent in the Senate? Could it be that Congress doesn’t want to know what lobbyist-free citizens have on their minds?

Something smells a little fishy here.

Alan Grayson vs. Death, Inc. (AKA, the US Military-Idustrial Complex)

Representative Alan Grayson has introduced HR 5353, a common sense bill that would cut separate funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Co-sponsors of this bill include Ron Paul, Walter Jones, John Conyers, Lynn Woolsey, and Dennis Kucinich.

The $159 billion saved by this bill will be used to eliminate federal income taxes on every American’s first $35,000 of income.

HR 5353 would help re-invigorate our economy so quickly I guarantee that you will not hear a word about it through any mainstream media outlet.

Power-mongers and war profiteers depend on Americans feeling desperate so Death, Inc. will not allow their Republican puppets to vote for it during an election cycle.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes for this bill to simply vanish.

There’s No Tomorrow – A Sober Look at Energy, Lifestyle and Economics

There’s No Tomorrow takes a sober look at what it means to stake the survival of our species (and ultimately the entire planet) on a paradigm of infinite growth while living on a finite planet.

In just under 35 minutes, practically all of the issues concerning energy, economic growth, politics and the environment are laid out plainly for consideration.

This is not easy information to digest since each of these areas overlap one another in inextricable ways. Solutions will not be simple because improvements in one area often produce negative ripples in another.

Even so, it’s time to start having new conversations; conversations that rise above antiquated economic theories, indistinguishable political parties and imaginary national borders.

Perhaps Henry David Thoreau  was right – it’s time to “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”

This Is What Democracy Looks Like (Why Citizen Media Matters)

Rise Like Lions: OWS and the Seeds of Revolution (2011) is a film that documents Occupy Movements around the world and acknowledges the awakening of Earth’s long silent populace.

Humble and heroic, painful yet empowering, this film bears witness to the power of ordinary people armed only with  Truth. If you want to know what heroism looks like, look no further. (There is a scene at around the 1 hour, 23 minute mark that may be the single bravest act of courage ever filmed).

“Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number –
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you –
Ye are many – they are few.”

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

How does mainstream media fail to cover this? Are the crowds too small? The message too unimportant?

Or is it more likely that corporate-owned media suppresses coverage because it doesn’t want the “many” to understand that they are not alone.

One thing is clear; the beginning is near.

ALEC = Cash for Legislation

voter-id

ALEC is an acronym for the American Legislative Exchange Council and it is an exclusive membership organization of global corporations and local legislators that meet privately to draft “model bills” that effectively hijack our laws for the express purpose of increasing their revenues.

ALEC-approved “model bills” are passed along to cooperative politicians (read: paid off) eager to push the corporate agenda of the 1%.

ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these “model bills” introduced to Congress by legislative members each year with one in every five of them enacted into law.

Once legislators return to their state with corporate-sponsored ALEC legislation in hand, the legislators themselves become “super-lobbyists” for ALEC’s corporate agenda, effectively cutting out the middlemen (traditional lobbyists and voters).

Even so, ALEC enjoys a 501(c)(3) classification, which allows it to keep its tax-exempt status while accepting grants from foundations, corporations and other donors.

ALEC consists of 2,000 legislative members and 300 or more corporate members. The unelected corporate representatives (often registered lobbyists) sit as equals with our elected representatives on 9 task forces where they have a “voice and a vote” on model legislation.

It should come as no surprise that more than 98% of ALEC’s revenues come from sources other than legislative dues, such as corporations, corporate trade groups and corporate foundations.

ALEC member corporations number into the thousands with an elite Corporate Board comprised of the largest corporations in the world including: Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Kraft, UPS, Johnson & Johnson, Koch Industries, ExxonMobile, Pfizer and AT&T among others.

Here are some of the nifty bills they’ve recently introduced in my home state, Missouri:

MO House Bill 1104 – Changes the laws regarding elections by requiring a voter to provide photo identification. This is a clear case of voter suppresssion, which is fear-based on non-existent voter impersonation fraud.

According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office, an estimated 250,000 legally registered Missouri voters don’t have a government-issued photo ID. The Missouri voter ID bill, in conjunct with HB 1147, which requires that driver’s license exams only be given in English, would effectively revoke non-English speakers’ right to vote regardless of their legal citizenship status.

MO Senate Bill 590 – Would require K-12 schools to verify the immigration status of all students, essentially turning already underfunded and overburdened school districts and police departments into immigration agents.

In a state where many districts are facing budget crises, SB 590 creates overwhelming requirements on administrators’ time and energy and it alienates Missouri’s hard working immigrant families.

These unnecessary provisions are already an expensive enforcement nightmare elsewhere (Alabama, Arizona) and are currently the subject of intense litigation efforts for repeal in those states.

MO Senate Bill 592 – Is a “simple” re-wording of a current anti-discrimination law that would effectively give employers a broader range of exemptions in terminating employees for questionable reasons.

The bill makes it substantially more difficult for employees to protect themselves against workplace discrimination based in their religion, race or sexual identitiy. SB 592 is yet another ALEC-sponsored bill intended to suppress the rights of the working class in Missouri.

Though only a small sample of “model bills,” these shed light upon the basic operations of ALEC.

NOW is the time to stand up and fight this corporate legislation without representation!!!

One thing that Missouri voters can do is to vote out the slimy bastards who are in bed with ALEC corporations. Here is a current list of offending politicians and their districts in Missouri:

House of Representatives

Walt Bivins (R-97) – Stanley Cox (R-118) – Ed Emery (R-126) – House Majority Leader Timothy Jones (R-89) – Rodney Schad (R-115) – Jason Smith (R-150) – Vicki Scneider (R- 17) – Steven Tilley (R-106) – Andrew Koenig (R-88) – Shane Schoeller (R-139) – Cole McNary (R-86) – Darrell L. Pollock (R-146) – Shelley Keeney (R-156) – Donna Lichtenegger (R-157) – Ellen Brandorr (R-160) – Eric Burlison (R-136) – Keith Frederick (R-149) – Sue Allen (R-92) – William White (R-120) – Jerry Nolte (R-33) – Scott D. Diekhaus (R-109) – Bill Lant (R-131) – Sandy Crawford (R-119) – Mike Kelley (R-126) – Barney Fisher (R-125) – Dave Hinson (R-198) – Sue Entlicher (R-133) – Tony Dugger (R-144) – Noel Torpey (R-55) – Paul R. Curtman (R-105) – John J. Diehl, Jr. (R-87) – Zachary Wyatt (R-2) – Therese Sander (R-22) – Doug Ervin (R-35) – Mike Colona (D-St. Louis)

Senate

Jack Goodman (R-29) – Brian D. Nieves (R-98) – Robert Mayer (R-25) – Jim Lembke (R-1) – Mike L. Parson (R-28) – John Griesheimer (R-26) – Jane D. Cunningham (R-7) – Ron Richard (R-129)

ALEC’s Missouri State “Chairmen”

Rep. Timothy Jones (R) – Rep. Jason Smith (R) – Rep. Jim Ellington (R) – Tom Krewson (Comcast) – Mary Scruggs (Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives)

Does it seem like there are an awful lot of Republicans on this list?

Click this link to learn more about ALEC from the ALECExposed.org website