Monsanto’s mutations of nature’s genetic structure represents one of the greatest threats to the planet. Does anyone really think that people, especially corporations have the wisdom to be playing with this fire?
2 out of 3 corporations pay no federal taxes. Some of the biggest tax evaders include Exxon, Verizon, Bank of America, Boeing, CitiGroup, among others. These corporate executives sit there with their “patriotic” flags on their lapels, while they scheme how to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, cut deals to ship American jobs overseas, and setup tax havens in the Caribbean. Is it any wonder that the rest of the country is mired in this economic misery while they prosper?
We don’t have a budget crisis in Washington. We have a MORAL CRISIS. When Congress can seriously debate forcing veterans into homelessness, cutting early childhood education, Pell grants for our students, heating assistance for the elderly, and cutting food aid to pregnant women and children, while giving tax breaks to billionaires and large corporations, something is very, very wrong.
If these corporations paid their share, we would not need to be cutting these programs. So on Friday April 15, 2011 hundreds of people met at Union Square Park in New York to protest this fact. This event was called the Sounds of Resistance and the target was Bank of America. While this bank received $billions in taxpayer funds, it made $billions in profits, it was busy foreclosing on millions of homeowners, all while working very hard to create over a hundred foreign tax havens to avoid paying taxes on their profits.
This video by EndTheIllusion highlights this event.
Our nation’s founding fathers understood well how governments can become coercive and self serving, so they were very careful to include a Bill of Rights into our constitution to prevent this. The most fundamental of these rights is the belief that holds that a person is innocent until proven guilty. The Sixth Amendment was written to give the accused the right to a “speedy trial” and the Eighth Amendment was written to prohibit excessive bail, excessive fines, and cruel and unusual punishment.
In the United States, our government is holding a prisoner, Bradley Manning in detention for over 9 months, in solitary confinement in a 6 by 12 foot prison cell, where he is being stripped naked, forbidden to exercise, despite the fact that he has never been convicted much less even charged with a crime.
Put aside any assumptions of guilt or innocence, or whether you believe Manning is a traitor or a hero. An American citizen has the right to a speedy trial and to not be held in a punitive detention for so long a period of time without being charged with anything. Even a member of Congress has been unable to obtain “permission” to meet with the prisoner.
This violation of our constitution is what brought hundreds to the Quantico Marine Base in protest. Hundreds of protestors were filing in to voice their displeasure that the laws in our nation’s Bill of Rights were so blatantly being disregarded.
However, the focus of this video is not about the protest itself, but rather the government’s overwhelming response to the protest and the unfolding of a darker subtext evolving in our society.
We drove past the rally as we arriving and saw people holding signs and chanting. Once our vehicle was parked in the approved parking location, we started walking towards the rally site. I was amazed at the extent of the forces that the government had brought to this event. We passed literally dozens of police cars in the parking lot, large police command stations, trailers, horse trailers, as well as prisoner busses. As we walked towards the protest site, we viewed dozens of riot police hidden in the woods. These were the first disquieting signs of the enormous level of the police presence for this event. Further down the road there were police mounted on horses, police with dogs, and dozens of other police manning a barrier designed to funnel the protestors into a small area.
After a few speeches, the protesters formed a line to march and place flowers at the memorial statue that commemorates the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima during World War 2. It was at this time that it became very apparent that the police were going to control every aspect of the event and to choreograph this event to their will. Daniel Ellsberg and other military veterans were not allowed to go to the memorial and were told they had to throw the flowers through a gate at the statue.
You could hear the police saying what the people with the flowers should do, where the crowd should move, and where the media should go. The demonstrators were actually trapped inside these barriers and were completely penned in and were unable to either enter or leave the protest area. Only those with press credentials had some freedom of movement. It was as if a director was controlling a script. There is a marked difference in laying flowers respectfully at the foot of the monument and throwing them through a gate. This subtle difference was obviously lost on the police who were choreographing the event so thoroughly.
Suddenly, in the distance you could see a large number of riot police assembling and forming a line with intersecting shields. This phalanx looked like the Imperial Storm Troops from the Star Wars movie series. The riot police gathered their forces, started advancing, and pushing towards the crowd. Questions arose in the crowd as to what precipitated this aggressive stance. Chants and protest signs are hardly a cause for such a strong reaction. It was obvious that the intent was a preemptive move to intimidate.
This protest began as a respectful and reserved event, but this trapping of the crowd, the choreographed directions, and the riot police pushing into the crowd infuriated the protestors. You could feel the energy level of the protest rise to a whole new level in response to these police strategies.
So why are they trapping the demonstrators?
What is it the police were trying to protect?
Why are they pushing into the crowd?
Do we really need such overwhelming force with helicopters circling overhead?
Then I spotted troops with automatic rifles. You could clearly see that they had large capacity magazines that were doubled up to increase the number of rounds they carried. Why do they need automatic rifles for a group of peaceful protestors? Do they really need AR-15’s for AARP members?
Again, this was certainly done to intimidate the crowd. No one in the crowd we spoke with expressed any fear of this show of overwhelming force. However, the irony is that this did show the fear that our government has of its own people and that fear was clearly being displayed here.
The police closed the road off completely, despite the fact that traffic had been flowing in the earlier part of this event without any problems. There was no need for the police to block the traffic except for perhaps the short period of time (minutes) when the flowers were being placed by the small group that was “approved” by the police.
Questions circulated among the protestors as to why the road had been blocked. Why were motorists being forced to wait in long lines only to be turned around?
Was this an attempt to prevent people from seeing this demonstration?
Nothing to see here, turn your car around and just go back where you came from.
Was this an attempt to aggravate the local people?
Perhaps. Or perhaps they did not like the fact that much of the earlier traffic expressed support for the event by honking their horns, revving their engines, or giving thumbs up as they drove past.
I left the rally with an uncomfortable feeling about the overwhelming force that had been brought to bear at this event. This was overkill designed to subvert the voices of the people.
I left the event with a new found respect for the people of Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia when they stood up to this same type of overwhelming force protesting the wrongs of their governments.
On the ride home, we tried to distill the events of the day. How the government tried to unnecessarily instill fear, when there was no need to. How many of us can relate to such situations in life and work where authority oversteps and exerts its control and leaves us feeling powerless while you know your convictions are right?
We thought about how we would feel as parents if it was our child whose rights were being trampled.
We thought about how we feel as citizens as the rights our founding fathers fought so hard to give us are being dismantled.
We thought about how we feel as human beings and how torture and degrading detention by any government insults our sensitivities.
In this time of economic stress and great change on our nation, isn’t it time to become involved and influence the direction of those changes.
This video by EndTheIllusion highlights the event.
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