Month: January 2012
I was wearing a t-shirt with a red star on it and going to a Mitt Romney rally in possibly the most conservative county in the United States.
Having recently attended a Newt Gingrich rally at which scuffles broke out and an arrest was made, I was somewhat concerned about the possibilities of repeat performances at a Mitt Romney rally in Naples, Florida. Added to this was the news of violence out of Oakland, California.
As I drove down 75 from Fort Myers, I listened to Joanna Newsom and tried to find a calm, spiritual center in my being. That utterly failing, I reminded myself that I lived in the country with the best health care going and that I had no health insurance.
Since I had just missed Occupy Fort Myer’s spokesman Matthew McDowell’s arrest at the last rally, I decided I’d be following him around this time. However, in the interest of being fair and balanced, when I first got on the scene, I interviewed a Republican and made a quick movie. He said he was a former Cuban national who was concerned that business regulations instituted under Obama’s presidency were equivalent to socialism or paving the way for it.
The wait for Romney’s speech did not take long after that. Wowing a crowd of over 1000 in Sugden Plaza, Mitt Romney presented his plans for turning the government into a business where profit is the bottom line. He touted his former experiences running a business and claimed this qualified him to be President. He repeatedly reminded the crowd that you can’t expect someone with too much experience as a politician to be able to fix political issues, this required someone with experience turning a profit.
The more I heard it the more it made sense. Yes, the primary function of government shouldn’t be to protect rights, provide for education, defense or the common welfare, it should be for the government to make a profit. Romney was saying the government should itself be a corporation, unless I missed something. Also, since government would now be a corporation, the only right would be that the boss is always right.
Anyway, a business major I am not, but this is how my mind processed Romney’s pitch while I paid attention.
However, I soon saw some of his supporters acting up and became distracted. In fact, one Romney supporter, with what I supposed was his wife and a baby in carriage, said I was instigating by bringing a camera and that that made me somewhat responsible for the crumbling economy.
Not for the first time, I was somewhat surprised that someone got so aggressive with me while they had their offspring with them. Back in 2004, I was chased by a hysterical Republican while I was jogging. She was in her car with her toddler, and accused me of stealing her Bush sign. I must look like a really nice guy. If I had children to worry about, I don’t think I’d be grabbing strange men’s cameras or chasing them down streets in the dark.
Soon thereafter, I saw the emblematic black fist of Occupy Fort Myers at the far side of the crowd and made my way toward it. Turns out, it was carried by none other than Matthew McDowell of Occupy Fort Myers, who was now gagged with a dollar bill. In addition to the fist, McDowell carried this:
McDowell, when asked what the sign meant, used the black fist to point at its various elements and grunt. McDowell’s signs inspired such fear, they were attacked by a seemingly overmedicated woman who implied he was also Satanic.
Many onlookers asked me what this sign could mean or why McDowell was gagged with a dollar. As a member of the freer press, I welcomed the paradigm shift.
Although I made it clear I was not there as an Occupier, and that the red star on my t-shirt indicated my fondness for Macy’s, I was asked if I’d rather have communism.
I said I didn’t think it was either communism or the rule of the rich.
“Pah!” he retorted.
“That’s what you call a false dichotomy,” I explained.
He wasn’t having it, but didn’t assault me. So, I was grateful.
The woman who had hit McDowell’s sign declared I was “one of them” which apparently gave her the right to seize my press pass, which I had to wrest from her grip.
“Violence is the tool of the ignorant,” I told her.
“Oh, ho ho,” she exclaimed, lowering her glasses and raising her eyebrows devilishly.
She chased me around for some time, and I considered purchasing a Taser in the near future. Finally, after I loudly questioned her sanity in front of others, she relented.
I suppose she had a point, I was “one of them” if you mean was I part of the 99 %. And this meant that the rich might target me at any time.
After these shenanigans, the crowd had begun to disperse. The police had not bothered to interfere in any scuffle of which I was a part and, as it turned out, it seemed I was the subject of more hostility than anyone else. However, I considered that perhaps I was “playing the victim.” Maybe others had gotten as much grief as I had, but I’d been too distracted to notice.
As things wound down, several Occupiers provided entertainment on the sidewalk, singing political parodies. The Occupiers seemed in high spirits, but I felt defeated. Clearly, I was “one of them.” There was no getting around it. And drunken and pharmaceutically-impaired rich individuals might violate my person at any time.
Someone asked me to get a job. I asked him if he were a job creator and. if so, to please create one. This only inspired enigmatic anger.
Everything you read in the newspapers is absolutely true, except for that rare story of which you happen to have first-hand knowledge. – Erwin Knoll
By Carl-John X Veraja
Having followed the GOP presidential primaries with a fixation born of dread, amusement, and disgust, I was somewhat intrigued when I heard Newt Gingrich was coming to my stomping grounds in the wake of the news of the unusual twist in Iowa and Gingrich win in South Carolina. Florida had opted to change the date of its primary, believing that they could possibly provide momentum to the winning candidate. Now that Gingrich had had a surprise win in South Carolina, would this turn out to be the case? Mitt Romney must be dreading the possibility of losing again, given that McCain upset him here 4 years ago.
When I arrived at the Newt Gingrich rally in Fort Myers, Florida, I realized I didn’t have any of my business cards left. So, I was forced to use an expired Geico insurance card as a press pass, hoping this would counterbalance my Murder Junkies t-shirt.
A crowd of hundreds was assembled. Several vendor stands hocked pins and t-shirts. There were also t-shirts featuring certain profound principles like America is good. Something was missing though, and I didn’t know what.
A stage had been set up for camera crews and I flirted with the idea of mounting it, flashing my insurance card as my credentials, but I really had no idea how long Newt would be in coming.
So, I wandered about, taking pictures, and flashing my winsome grin at Republicans. Some of them stitched their brows. I had had very little sleep the night before and I didn’t feel inspired.
I decided to interview a random person. I approached a senior woman who seemed lonely and detached. Her name was Beverly Llewellyn
“I think they are a good conservative party and I think they have the best interests of the country and I think Newt is the most knowledgeable, the most capable person,” Llewellyn said. “If someone else gets the nomination I’ll support them.”
I asked if she was part of the middle class and she said, “A little better than that.”
Eventually, I found some union members in one corner of the assemblage. Soon enough, a heated exchange took place, started by a gentlemen who appeared as if he’d been drinking or was medicated, you decide. I somewhat sympathized with him, as I have also fallen from a more monied state. He was momentarily entertaining.
Several members of Occupy Fort Myers were present, and when they attempted to move forward in the crowd of onlookers a brief scuffle broke out. The police, lead by Sargeant O’Reilly, who had previously issued me a citation for covering another Occupy Fort Myers event, restored peace. The citation was thrown out of court.
Matthew McDowell was soon in engaged in a series of discussions with Newt supporters. Corporate person and money as speech were the most common topics. Highlighting the themes was a woman dressed up as a corporation.
At one point, the police conferred with McDowell, asking him to move away from the main body of the Newt supporters. After the confrontation, one of the officers slapped me on the back and told me they appreciated my camera work.
- It was around this time that I started to feel dizzy. I decided to see if anyone was selling water.
Alas, that was what had been missing earlier. My throat was dry and I felt anxiety coming on.
A sense of unreality descended on these Republican faces as sleep deprivation and dehydration set in.
After having determined there was no water to be had, and cursing these capitalists for not acting like capitalists and seizing on the opportunity to rip me off for water in the hot Florida sun, I returned to where Occupy Fort Myers was making its stand.
“Independence Day,” by Martina McBride played. Then, the music was momentarily lowered and a speaker with a bullhorn told everyone that Newt was the most honest person they had ever known. You could trust him.
McDowell showed me a scratch on his arm he had received at the behest on a long-nailed onlooker who thought he was pushing his luck trying to get to the front of the crowd.
Another speaker informed us that a highly respected doctor had informed her that Obamacare would lead to something akin to death panels. A hopeless moan fluttered through the crowd.
“Occupy is here being a presence in everything dealing with the political system right now,” said McDowell. “He’s been in the political system for nearly 30 years now. He’s done a lot to protect the 1 percent and we want to make sure his family values are not pushed on everyone else.”
Another speaker lead us in prayer and then the Pledge of Allegiance.
“Sheep,” I shouted grumpily.
Eventually, Gingrich’s bus arrived. A speaker told us how special this was. It was a bus, after all.
Occupy Fort Myers informed me they were moving on to Gingrich’s next stop to interact with the crowd there. Gingrich began to complain about the cost of gas under Obama, which wasn’t surprising given his bus probably gets about 2 miles to the gallon.
As he droned on about the foolishness of not approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, which act would lead to an unholy alliance between Canada and China, I found myself very desirous of some ice cream. I realized I was coming down with something and was done for the day.
I started for my car, Gingrich voice following me. Obama was wrong, foolish, and possibly an infiltrator. Regulations were the problem. We needed to repeal Obamacare, overturn Sarbanes-Oxley, get things back to how they were before the recession–
I got in my car, shut the voice out, and headed home. I mean, there was a State of the Union address to watch.
However, before that could occur, I was informed McDowell was arrested right after I left. According to what I heard, McDowell was defending another Occupier who had been pushed to the ground when he was seized by police.
So, with a sense of foreboding, I awaited Obama’s speech…
One day, back when I was in high school at my part time job, I was wondering what the true nature of being and time was, so I asked a customer because they’re always right.
“I have been standing here for some time without a pickle,” said the customer.
This was astounding. Was he positing that time itself had rendered here to be other than here? If time suggests direction and change, does here even begin to exist as a static indicator or is it but a leaf rushing down the stream of existence? Aren’t we all without a pickle? Innuendo aside, isn’t the intellect castrated by the context of reality in which it grew? The moment we affix a name to anything and define it haven’t we blinded ourselves to the possibility of truth? Namely, that time exists as a delusion stitched from the wet needle of consciousness, a simulacrum dictating our wages, whereas the true article independent of ourselves resembles mashed potatoes. Could this have occurred by chance? Wasn’t I merely an overcomplicated clock with knees and thumbs made for the pleasure of a creative intellect desirous of worship? Bengay? Do I smell Bengay?
“Um…,” I said.
“Didn’t they teach you how to speak in school?” asked the omniscient cheeseburger-eater.
“Helen Keller, ha.”
“What? Can I speak to your manager?” the customer huffed.
This required subtlety. Wasn’t it clear to this man that the manager wasn’t concerned with his welfare? If a tree falls in the forest on a deaf man, was this by the design of a loving god providing free will to deaf people? Why would he bring Helen Keller into this? That’s sort of rude. I had cigarettes to smoke.
“Look, thousands of innocents are daily swept into the abyss by starvation, and yet here we stand parlaying the existence of a piece of vegetation lacking all nutritional content,” I exhorted him. “The largesse of the cheeseburger will be disrupted if we engineer an artificial implantation. Perhaps it is time to set our minds to higher matters? Also, I’m about to go on break.”
At that, he spun on one heel and muttered something about my desire for members of my own sex under his breath before storming out the door. I considered the source. Motivations were like punchlines that are never delivered. What was the motivation for the appendix? Perhaps so that it could be removed. It was an easy target. Practice.
By The Demagogue
It doesn’t matter what they pull. They can shut down the internet. Still, the word of the Lord shall be heard.
It could have been the beginning of a year of promise. Tough anti-terrorism measures were prepared to be signed into law, internet thievery was about to become extinct, and a spate of good Christians were in place to occupy the Oval Office. They were committed to removing hindrances on free enterprise, strengthening Israel, encouraging children to find the lord in school, halting gays from taking away our rights, stopping public employees from robbing taxpayers, bombing Iran into the Mesolithic, and preventing condom-assisted sodomy of all varieties.
But the Beast is alive and well. He is legion. And his sway on the Earth in still at hand, in which he will have an allotted time to manifest himself before Jesus returns, creating tsunamis of gore in his glorious day of judgment. What more proof do you need that Occupy Wall Street is the handmaiden of the dark one than that they have had so much sway upon the vastly corrupted machinations of the government and the election cycle. Time and time again, President Obama, his opaqueness, has bowed to their wishes, threatening to veto legislation that would protect the United States of God from her enemies and from legalized and even mandatory wickedness.
This is bad. And, remembering that God is in control and all powerful and that everything is going according to His plan, we must do everything in our power to stop them. Start with prayer and then consider encouraging the police to increase their supply of pepper spray.
We have seen dastardly deeds done by Mitt Romney in the name of his false messiah. Taking a hint from Obama’s propaganda henchmen, Romney started using the term “middle class” in the debates while Ron Paul, who may be anything from a Quaker to a Wiccan, started touting his peacenik pandering. Meanwhile, the candidates who stood firm on Christian principles like corporate personhood, the abolition of minimum wage, and money as speech, have dropped out of the race or been stripped of support by demon-inspired propaganda in the form of Super PAC commercials that, like religion, have been misused. Every man of the true faith knows that the garrulous snake, Satan, can use scripture for his own purposes. In the same way, Romney has seized on this new instrument of democracy, the Super Pac, to besmirch a strong man of the Lord, Newt Gingrich, who sees the needs to turn the military might of the United States of God against the men, women, and children of missile-crazy Iran and the invented nation of Palestine.
Corporations must stop feeding Restore our Future and begin funding the righteous Super PACs. You can not Restore the Future. It hasn’t even happened yet. And yet, they are pouring millions into this enterprise.
The times are not changing, but space could be as Obama talks of granting land to the invented, terrorist peoples stippling the borders of the Holy Land. The lines on the map of Israel must not be moved in the wrong direction. This is the time for progress, bombings, and the loosening of the secularized poverty state. The Dark One is trying to create a self-fulfilling prophecy based on a false reading of scripture. Armageddon must not happen until the Lord is good and ready. Where Harold Camping failed, I shall succeed, for I am employing the telescope of my patented Holy Spirit Ordained Apocryphal Reading System, which you can learn too at Demagogue U (funding available).
I thank you, and Jesus thanks you. Amen.
By Carl-John X Veraja
Having survived crackdowns by the police, infighting, and bureaucratic entanglements in the justice system, Occupy Fort Myers showed it was still kicking at the Old Courthouse ( 2120 Main Street 33901) as twilight set in. It was there to host Awake the State, which is touted as “an organic, grassroots movement of everyday Floridians fighting to reject devastating budget cuts, stop the assault on middle class families, and invest in Floridians again.” This is the second year for Awake the State, which was formed in reaction to the anti-education governorship of Rick Scott.
Fully casting off its former media-sponsored image of un-showered, park-dwelling malcontents spontaneously voicing grievances, these Occupiers sported clean, white t-shirts (which were also for sale), prepared signs, rested eyes, and shiny, luxurious hair (when possible)–and they meant business. About 60 attendees watched Matthew McDowell as he introduced several polished, powerful speakers. It was clear the unions and other progressive forces were part of the well-staged presentation now as a crowd consisting of all age groups looked on. Included were TALC/SPALC, the Democratic Executive Committee, Charlotte County teachers, Occupy Fort Myers, firefighters, public employees,and some local candidates.
Speakers included Rev. Farnham (of the Unitarian Universalist Church), Neal Bowles, and several educators.
They addressed the need for citizens to participate in the political process by understanding issues, voting, and motivating politicians–or driving them out of office. Repeatedly mentioned was the personhood of corporations and the evils of Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which opened the doors to the use of unlimited corporate money to influence elections. Several educators spoke about how the moves to privatize education include attempts to break the will of teachers through grueling assessments, longer hours, more days, and less benefits and pay. The effects on students was also addressed. Teachers said that standards have been implemented removing the teaching of the Socratic method from education, and the focus was now on producing obedient subjects.
One speaker, Holley Rauen, addressed the loss of 500 healthcare workers and bragged about her participation in Code Pink.
“I really wanted to support all the other speakers,” said Holley Rauen. “I also wanted to talk a little bit about healthcare in Lee County because there are so many people that are suffering without the care they need. We’ve got one of the highest rates of diabetes, of heart disease, of many chronic diseases including early onset alzheimers, and obesity. And because of the funds that Rick Scott has cut back from the Department of Health, our health department here can’t meet the needs of the people that need it the most here.”