Month: October 2011

City Issues Me Citation While I’m Covering Occupy Fort Myers Protest

Posted on Updated on

(Covering the protest tonight I received a citation and this Dixie cup)
No government ought to be without censors & where the press is free, no one ever will.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Washington, September 9, 1792

Right now, I’m very pressed for time. I need to get up in a few hours and drive to North Carolina and help a family member move. Therefore, I can not give the time to this article that it deserves at the moment.  But just a few pertinent things.

Just when I thought that freedom meant something, I was ticketed $130 while covering a protest in Fort Myers, Florida. Just a few hours ago.

Apparently, freedom means you can’t do what the constitution says you can do. I had to find this out by actually trying to cover a protest.

I was there because I had word the police may try to evict the protesters that evening.

I’m no lawyer but here’s a citation for you:
In Lovell v. City of Griffin, 303 U.S. 444 (1938), Chief Justice Hughes defined the press as, “every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.” (source Wikipedia)

Not to give anyone ideas.

Since I was there with the express purpose of writing for this blog, told the officers that was my intention, and even offered to leave why would I be issued a citation for being present?

Of course, the officers were just following orders.  This travesty is originating from the city.  The first thing we were told by the police when they arrived is that they didn’t want to discuss the constitution.
Since I am strapped for time I’m going to let some videos I shot for my YouTube Channel tell the rest of the story below.

However, I want to state that I’m shocked and outraged.  Not only is the city trampling our rights IMHO (and by extension yours) but the local newspaper, the News-Press is tuning out Occupy Fort Myers’ side of the story.

It was written they chose not to purchase insurance while I’ve heard from several sources in Occupy Fort Myers that they were unable to do so.  They couldn’t locate an insurance company that would write them a policy until they were enabled by the local NAACP which policy will become active today from what I was told.

I see no reason to disbelieve them.  At the first meeting I attended, I saw that Occupy Fort Myers was very careful to assemble a team in to make sure they had their bases covered legally.  And they have lawyers advising them.

In the meanwhile, I stayed to see the police response and that’s when all the Occupiers were told their presence would cause them to receive citations whether or not they agreed to leave.

Observe

Overslept Through All Newsworthy Events

Posted on

Like a Bridge Over Bubbling Water

 

So, after descending into a drunken orgy of socialism and atheism, I woke up in the late afternoon and realized I’d slept through the story I wanted to cover.  I only woke up because I heard this blaring noise that I soon realized was probably a symptom of years of punk rock abuse.
Then, it was deadly silent outside.
I decided to make a pot of coffee.  Blood poured from the faucet.  I wondered if there was fluoride in it.
Oh well, there’s always caffeine pills.  I popped several and turned on the television.
Screaming and flames issued from the screen.  It grated on me.  I decided I’d rather listen to Throbbing Gristle, which I had on vinyl.
I went outside to take a walk.  There were footprints that didn’t appear to be quite human crossing my lawn. A set of an obese woman’s clothes right by the mailbox of my obese woman neighbor?  Or should I think thin-challenged?  Must monitor my thoughts better in the future.
Occasionally, a smoking bird carcass fell from a sky which appeared to be a bit bloodshot.
When I got back to my house, I checked my mail.  I’d gotten a book from Amazon.com.  Subsets of the Christ Myth Deconstructed for the Amusement of the Mocking Atheist.  Oh boy, oh boy.
This shadow passed over me and I heard wings flapping.  Oh yea, didn’t that guy, Harold Camping, say something about the rapture occurring today?  Or was that yesterday?  Maybe there was some rational cognate of the Apocalypse that had occurred.  I would think about that later.  I mean, why rush?  It’s not like death is coming like a thief in the night or anything.  And I had a lot of reading to do.
Probably the next phase of evolution had occurred where certain people spontaneously developed the ability to teleport opening a wormhole to another dimension where flappy, scaly beings dwelt who had now traded places with them.  Perhaps I could learn theirlanguage.  Well, I’d leave a slice of pizza that was cut into an equilateral triangle on my front stoop in order to show both friendliness and that I was intelligent life.
It was always nice to meet foreigners.
I wondered about the blood, red sky and dead birds.  Maybe my senses were adjusting to the intrusion of a new dimension and I was seeing things from an alternative universe that were always there but I had tuned out in order to be in agreement with a residual reality that had now worn off since so many people had made the quantum leap to another sphere.  Or maybe I had made a quantum leap and left everyone else behind?  Yes, that made more sense.  I always thought I had an edge over the ordinary man.  Here I was spanning space and time, and yet I was still receiving my Amazon.com orders.  Truly this was another of the best of all possible worlds.
There better be beef jerky.

Further Action Tonight at Centennial Park

Posted on

UPDATE: At 8 PM there was a general assembly. There will be another on Saturday, October 22, noon at Centennial Park and possibly a march. Come prepared.
3 news vans were camped out along with campers.
4 lawyers working on behalf of Occupy Fort Myers.
A second camp at the old courthouse will be erected.
As of 10:45 PM on Oct. 21 it did not appear that police were issuing further citations.–

original story follows

Just when you think you have all kinds of rights you get charged for peacefully assembling.
Last night, October 20, citations were issued to Occupiers at Centennial Park in Fort Myers at $130 each  and at some cost to the taxpayer as well.

I spoke to some people who were there the next day.  As usual, they were incredibly confused, incoherent people who had no idea why they were even there other than the fact that they were spoiled, brainwashed tyrannical socialists and possibly demon-possessed (sarcasm: I can do that, I’m a blogger)…

When did you decide to camp out here?
Lee Rocco:  I decided I wanted to camp down here months ago.  But it wasn’t until Occupy Wall Street that I really got excited, waking up about what was going on.
What attracted you to the Movement?Gosh, everything.  The fact that the majority of people who really didn’t know what happened to them finally realizing what’s going and they’re willing to stand.  I’m not a spokesman for the group but I feel like many here that they’re getting educated about what’s going and becoming part of a movement that hopefully will change things.
How do you feel about the citations that have been issued?
Oh, Mickey Mouse B——-.  I wasn’t surprised that got citations issued here in this part of Florida because I think it’s politics.  The campers will win.  It’s bigger than Fort Myers.  It’ll get resolved legally. But I wasn’t surprised because this area here in general is very harsh on the weak and the poor.  Just go to a courthouse and see what goes on in there.  This is just an example, what they did here.  I don’t think it’s going to work because it will make people stronger.
11 years I worked here as a real estate agent and made a great living.  And now I’m 61 in a couple of weeks and I can’t even get a job as a part time minimum wage dishwasher.  Partially because of my age.

You mentioned you had an apartment for use of the occupiers?

We got a 2 bathroom apartment.  We encourage people to come down. That’s what we can offer.  If I had million dollars we’d offer money.  I going to offer to help in any way I can.
Why do you want to be a part of this?

Gary Lang:  In a nutshell because I’m sick of the golden rule.  Those with the gold make the rules.
Would you be willing to take a citation to camp here?
Well, I didn’t last night.  It’s not that I don’t have the money or that’s I’m afraid of a citation or arrest because I’ve been arrested at demonstrations before back in the day.  I don’t want to do it for nothing.  We’ve already kind of won legally because of the law suit being filed and a pending injunction so I didn’t see a point to paying $130.  I’m not staying here I have a place to live.
The issues we want to address have to be addressed at a national level.  It’s a national problem.  Money in politics is not just a local problem.  Corporate personhood is not just a local problem.   It has to be done way up the food chain.  My own personal belief is if we can accomplish that everything else can flow from that.  If we have true representative democracy that is accountable to the people that isn’t beholden to big business.  That they don’t have to raise money or any of that other crap that they have to do now then I’m perfectly ok with any decision that gets made on a purely democratic basis.  I can live with majority rules.  What I can’t live with is one million dollars equals one million votes.
I don’t believe corporations are people.  Corporations don’t have the right to free speech.  They are entities.  They’re money-making entities.  They’re not evil, they are amoral.  They exist to create profit and they’re nothing wrong with that but bestowing personhood on them and saying they are subject to the same to the same first amendment rights that we are is ludicrous.

 
(Michelle Meyer received a citation from police night before)
Why do you want to be here?
Because corporations shouldn’t have a bigger say in public policy than the actual people and I think that when the movement first started I thought it was really cool that people could unify over something that they  believe in and this is something that’s been needing to be changed for a long time now.
In your lifetime do you think things have been changing for the worse?
Yes.  But I didn’t really follow politics until I was 14.
What triggered you to follow politics?
Actually, punk music.  Like Anti-Flag.  The name is kind of controversial but it’s saying don’t be just a nationalist, we are unified.  Not because you’re against the country but you’re against saying your country is against another country.  You can be patriotic but not to the point that we’re better than you let’s get in a war.
Michelle was camped out since the previous Saturday in between working. 
You just came here from California?
Eddie Castro:   I came here a week ago.  I was living in California for 27 years.

When did work run out?

Last year, in October, was the last day I worked.  October 31st, last year.
I am right there with them (his relatives) and they are giving me a place, but it’s not my home.  I don’t have a home.
Why did you want to be a I part of this?
I know there are a lot of people in trouble in the United States.  Whatever is in my hands, I’m going to do it.  I believe it’s not right.  If I got to come in here, I guess a little work to express something is wrong in the United States.  When I came (from Nicaragua) I had no trouble to get work.
You believe there is less opportunity now than when you came to America in 1984?
I don’t believe that, I am sure of that.
While I interviewed these people 3 news vans had arrived.  They told me to come back at 8 PM tonight to observe further action.  If you’re there, I will appear.

Pep Talk for Negative People

Posted on Updated on

One day I looked in the mirror and I said, this guy’s got problems. Why are you so negative? Why don’t you lighten up? You’ve got everything going for you? Why don’t you do something about it? When are you gonna make your mark? When are you gonna fall in love? When are you gonna get a job?  Aren’t those things that people do?  I mean, you got no gratitude. You’re an ingrate.
You’re always looking to change things outside of yourself and never looking inwards. Didn’t you hear ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country?
Well, I asked my country what I can do for it and it said work for minimum wage, vote Republican, pray and die before retirement. My country said never leave the house and just stay out of our way. It said we’ve got a great loan for you that you’ll never repay to help fill you with useless knowledge. My country murmured violent promises every time I ask for accountability and corporations demanded their rights when I wondered why I was paying a rich guy, who just robbed me with governmental complicity, a giant bonus. My country debated war while I asked for alternatives to the gas pump. My country piss for me in this cup and stop asking for handouts. What have you been doing outside the workplace? We can fire you for having an opinion. Your employer controls your very being, don’t you know that? Who told you you were naked? When you’re naked can you tell how the food has been affecting your body? The genetically modified, fungicidal, insecticidal food? Time and toxins aren’t doing you any favors.  If you think the word union one more time that part of your brain will burst and you will only be able to sputter:  The Nazi says Jeeeewwww.
Perhaps I should start eating all raw, organic food and live off grid? I could pump my own electricity by hand, have an orchard, grow vegetables, farm fish and raise ostriches. Maybe I could move to Colorado and work at a medical marijuana clinic? Perhaps I could walk into my local Wal-Mart and try to get the greeter to join a union? Better yet, I’ll hang out in the Bank of America and ask customers why they would contribute to this financial monstrosity. I demand satisfaction. I’ll go to churches and boo preachers. I will put stickers on gas pumps demanding alternative energy or with photos from Abu Ghraib. I will join the Occupiers and invest in the rhetoric of dissent.
Yes. I will do all these things. Someday. But, right now, I’m not leaving the house. It’s brutal out there. They’ll be charging people to use roads or get police protection soon. Everyone will have to buy police insurance and if you’re robbed, raped or vandalized your rates will go through the roof. Although my house is in foreclosure I’m not leaving. I’ll squat it out for years. They’re not coming. And if they do, I’ll go down with my ship and pray for a sinkhole.
Soon, no one will be able to afford to go to jail. In Polk County, Florida they’re charging inmates for underwear, railroading atheists and no one in jail can play basketball. I used to want to get locked up, just for the free underwear and basketball.  Now, my options are narrowing. I thought the road to Heaven was narrow but the road to the American nightmare is even slimmer. In Arizona, they keep illegal immigrants locked up as long as possible in private jails to bilk tax payers, and we pay oil companies to help them make a bigger profit off of us while they wreck our environment. But the gun industry is doing great thanks to the unreasoning conversative fear of a black President who is dutifully selling weapons to countries we might later need to attack pre-emptively. The top 1% of the population is buying elections, and I can’t wait to work for inadequate pay and lousy benefits in order to make rich people richer.  I want to flip burgers happily for God and country while chewing on pharmaceuticals.
Oh wait, this was a pep talk wasn’t it?  I’m so ADD. Ok, so the bright side is (flash of light)

Reality is Just Kidding

Posted on Updated on

Reality is Just Kidding

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.

Mark Twain

By Carl-John X Veraja

Conspiracy theories and religions are both interesting perhaps more for what they reveal about the believers than about the beliefs.  So, why do people become subject to beliefs that don’t necessarily jive with reality?

Well, maybe we should first define reality for the purpose of this article. I am going to go on the assumption that there’s a real world outside of my senses, my mind and self.  This seems reasonable to me because the explanation that everything is generated by the self seems overly elaborate given the fact that laws govern the perceived universe rather consistently despite my desires.  Logically, you can insist that we can never fully prove that we aren’t just butterflies dreaming that we’re human beings, but this not only opens the door to all manner of equally absurd theories, like reality is a computer simulation or a trance state, etc, and it’s just much simpler to say reality is.  This calls for responsibility: the parakeet I forgot to feed before my trip is dead when I get home.  Perceptions also are governed by certain laws, and unless your mind has been seriously altered, other similar minds are getting more or less the same show.  Possibly my green is your red,  but that doesn’t really change the fact that we’ll both always point to the same thing and call it red until one of us eats certain fungi or has a brain stroke.
Some people will object to this thinking.  That is because they are possessed by the demon of metaphysics.  Don’t question it.

I’m constantly in the process of revising what I think I know and looking into all sets of ideas no matter how they’ve been pre-labeled.  I once operated on the theory that you could only debunk something completely by buying into it.  However, if you try this, make sure you have an exit strategy because deprogramming is a difficult and painful process.  It’s possible to give in to your own brainwashing with the help of others.  So, I no longer operate on that theory.  See, I’m learning.

It seems to me that conspiracy theories are to certain leftists what fundamentalist Christianity is to many right wingers. Of course, it’s not that neat a dichotomy, but both are faith-based phenomenon. The fundies have a paranoid suspicion that there is an unseen authority that we had best do our utmost to follow the dictates of (and that “bad” people are in denial of), and the left wing conspiracy adherents have a feeling there is some hideous authoritarian scam attempting to encroach on our freedoms, the scope, complexity and efficiency of which puts Hitler’s daydreams of a new world order to shame.

There is an explanation for these phenomena that I’ve recently been introduced to by psychiatrist Andy Thomson, M.D.  It’s called hyperactive agency detection.  Basically, we evolved this tendency to intuit that there is an intelligence or intelligent agency behind events prior to actually investigating them.  His example is that we might think a shadow is a thief, but we rarely think a thief is a shadow.  This helped our ancestors survive because of the better safe than sorry principle.  If something goes bump in the night, you are more likely to survive if you assume it might be a threat.  However, you are often going to be wrong.

I don’t doubt that there is an undue influence of big business in our lives and in our government. But does a small group of bankers basically run everything, controlling every aspect of the federal government and every government on Earth, all of which is just a big show to make people imagine they are being properly governed, and that there are heroes and enemies who actually are mere actors on a stage?  Was 9/11 just a Hollywood production along with the moon landings?  According to some of these voices, the Bilderberg Group is the true world government and consists of soulless, evil “lizard” people, possibly aliens, who have built underground bunkers in which they plan to reside while setting off neutron bombs to wipe out most of humanity, so they’ll get lots of juicy real estate for themselves, where they can writhe around on heaps of treasures they’ll guard like dragons.

Marijuana and hemp also spring conspiracy theories, possibly through their psychoactive action.  Legalizing marijuana, for many of the same reasons prohibition of alcohol was ended, could be a good idea. Illegal marijuana just makes criminals rich and criminalizes otherwise potentially productive citizens.  I think it should be legalized, and I hate the effect of smoking or eating marijuana.  Just because I think it should be legalized doesn’t mean I think it will cure all of mankind’s ills.  I’m not quite convinced that it would put big oil out of business while dressing us, reversing global warming and heralding the next golden age, though it may do some of these things to a degree. I think there also may be something to the idea that the government fears it as something that distracts from the capitalist work ethic, but I also know many hardworking potheads.

Global warming has been termed a conspiracy theory.  I don’t believe global warming is the result of a conspiracy of scientists for an instant. That conception is the result of actual action (not so secret) among right wing politicians, the right wing media and big business, who have in fact established think tanks that hire out hack scientists to suggest unscientific findings. The goal is to paint all scientists as mere profiteers and distract from themselves, the actual profiteers, and this sways an astonishing number of people who don’t believe in global warming or evolution who continue to vote. Scientists rely on evidence and, although their ideas change, growth in understanding over time is always the result of evidence and investigation and never the result of hatching baseless theories because of a rigorous system of peer review. In all likelihood, 97 percent of climate scientists don’t believe that global warming has a man made source just because they’re just trying to milk the system.   However, a good point is raised here.  They probably are under funded.

Granted, I can’t completely disprove some of these conspiracy theories in the same way I can’t completely disprove the Immaculate Conception, but I’ve accepted the idea that you don’t need to provide evidence something didn’t happen. It’s the other way around.

I’m not going to accept claims that even sources independent of corporate control don’t accept when they have a rigorous research model. There may be something to such claims, they’re more likely than a pastor making a lame person to leap, but I’m not going to buy into them just because they are backed by convictions, earned as they might be by hardship, disappointment, alienation and being exploited.  Those are actual phenomenon, but the conjecture that arises in response to them must be assayed in the same way as any scientific theory: testing and demonstration and peer review.

There are many conspiracy theories I’d like to buy into.  I’d like to, but then I might as well accept an endless array of unsubstantiated claims.  Then, I’ll have to practice speaking in tongues and praying for the end of droughts.   This seems to get lots of donations from big business…so maybe I should seriously consider that.