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.

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.

Corporate Fear Rules Small Minds

Occupy Koch Town protest Feb. 18, 2012I recently had the pleasure of attending Occupy Koch Town in Wichita, Kansas on February 18, 2012. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness about the disastrous effects large corporations are having upon our society, our government, our environment and our general well-being.

Organized largely through a Facebook post made 3 weeks previously, the event was essentially an open invitation for all concerned citizens to march in front of Koch Industries’ headquarters and the Wichita Chamber of Commerce. Anyone was allowed to attend, to have a voice and to play a part if they wanted to.

It worked. People from as far away as South Dakota were there. In fact, more than half of the attendees weren’t from Wichita at all. This is a good sign.

Here are a few photos of my fellow protesters taken by Kansas City photographer Jerry Schmidt to help document our peaceful protest:


I’ve attended about a dozen of these events around the Midwest and one of the things that stands out over-and-over is the unusually broad-based support they achieve. No matter who you are or where you come from, you’ll likely see folks that resemble your friends, family or neighbors; all peaceful citizens exercising their civic duty to redress grievances through peaceful protest.

Unlike what gets reported in the media, these protesters are bona fide “regular” Americans, not satanic anarchists trying to steal your soul and brainwash your babies.

Why do you think there’s such a huge disparity between what actually goes on at these rallies and what gets reported? Could it be that somebody has a special interest in keeping the public fearful and ignorant?

Consider this movie trailer from Citizens United depicting their version of what the Occupy Wall Street movement is really all about:

This is no joke. Citizens United has actually produced this movie and intends to circulate it within echo chamber media outlets like Fox News and other mis-information sources that spread fear and ignorance to an under-informed and obedient audience.

In a little over 2 minutes they identify a dozen boogeymen on which to attach their fear and hatred:

  • Political humorist, Bill Maher
  • Former Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi
  • Documentary filmmaker, Michael Moore
  • Democratic leader, Harry Reid
  • President Obama (black Satan)
  • Internet powerhouse Anonymous
  • Calling Tea Partiers “radical” or “a manufactured party”
  • Drug use
  • Violence
  • Rape
  • Anarchy
  • Militant or war-like tendencies

What’s wrong with these people? Are they so afraid that their ideas can’t stand scrutiny that they feel like they must create an alternative reality for themselves where truth, knowledge and progress are unnecessary and unwelcome?

Compare what is represented in that ominous trailer to this cell phone video clip from our Occupy Koch Town event:

Clearly, there’s a disconnect.

The sad part is that many of those Fox network watching sheeple will believe the garbage they’re fed and continue to support the very people who keep them down.

They’ll continue believing that right-wing nut jobs and corporate banksters are somehow protecting them from these “imaginary threats.”   As long as they obediently watch and obey, it will only encourage more corporate-sponsored fear.

After all, it’s what motivates the sheep.