And so they left.

What frustrates me about protests is that when the public is challenged, unlawfully and unconstitutionally challenged, they always back down. The police know that, the city knows that. That's how they get away with denying permits, and that's why protests have been otherwise kept in "freespeech cages" or otherwise left impotent in too many cases.

Watch the video, it's frightening. But they should have stayed.

Deny, Dismiss, Ignore.

After watching the G-20 protests and all that encompasses them unfold I am forced to ask the question..."Why?". Why do towns, cities and police departments create the escalation of tension and violence at protests when these things could be avoided, to the best of everyone's ability?

Case in point: Pittsburgh went on lock down for the G-20. Before the event was to take place, they set up perimeters, deputized additional police from other towns and states, had their riot gear ready to go, warned locals, and a myriad of other G-20 preparations. And rightfully so, as historically speaking there is a very large turnout for the Summit.

However, reports from many a source are now indicating that protest permits were summarily denied, dismissed or ignored with no grounds, and no logical explanation as to why. They were prepared for large crowds, and knew that people would turn out regardless of permits. Why not simply approve the permits so that people could demonstrate and protest and march to their hearts content, and the police could focus on people who were actually breaking an actual law?

Of course it also begs the question, why do we need permits to protest, anyway? Certainly I do see some instances where coordination via the use of permits is a valuable tool, but in a case such as this, really why bother? They clearly prepped themselves for large crowds and days of protests, riots even, even though they only approved one or two permits. This happens to be one of those instances where the city should have just said, OK - let's prepare for a mass turnout, don't worry about permits, just keep things orderly.

I'm reminded of a time when I lived elsewhere. Every year there was a big, ginormous bike run that ended in our little city. 50,000 bikers easy would stream in, and partake of the festivities that the city and locals prepared for them. One year, the city decided they were not going to approve the permit. They wanted to shut the event down. They went to the guy that ran the event, a local business man and fellow biker, and told him under no circumstances was the run going to happen this year.

He said "Well OK, I won't organize it or run it, but the bikers are going to show up, permits, bike run, or not. And if they find out it's canceled this year, and there is no one to coordinate the event, they're going to be mad and all Hell will break loose."

The city rethought their position, and allowed an organized event to take place. Smart move on their part.

Pittsburgh should have done the same. If they had, the protesters would have marched, the events would have gone off pretty smoothly. I'm sure someone, somewhere would have smashed something, and been quickly arrested - but I doubt any escalation would have occurred beyond that. This would be a media non-event, and everyone would feel somewhat satisfied. Instead, they created a monster that only emboldened those who already oppose authority, oppose the G-20 and all it stands for, and oppose capitalism.

They see it - and the conspiracy theorist in me does as well - as an intentional move so as to arrest as many people who oppose the powers that be and the WTO as possible by forcing them into a spot between free speech and arrest. Then putting a lock down on a city that already has natural barricades so that the people will not be heard. In other words, they forced the situation. And of course, many media outlets are already placing the blame on the protesters. Sure, they marched without a permit...see my above comments on that idea....

The marches were otherwise peaceful until the police decided that they were there illegally. Really? I was unaware that the First Amendment required permits before use. Of course you also have the police who attacked University students on their own campus, and in their own dorms and campus buildings. Smooth move, Pittsburgh. You can't require residents who aren't protesting to "go home" when they are already "home" and then punish them for not going to some other place of residence.

No wonder the Uni students got violent. I would too under those circumstances.

And just a note about said First Amendment right. It's not just free speech, but also the right to assemble. The "they got what they deserved" and "They have the right to speak freely, not to march without permits" crowd seems to be missing that part. We have the inalienable right to assemble, and to speak our peace.

Cities and areas that readily deny, dismiss or ignore the permits filed by people trying to do things in an orderly, lawful fashion have only themselves to blame for what ensues.

More videos:

Riot police VS University students and the Student Union.
Footage of the PEACEFUL assembly, and the not-so peaceful response
Alex Jones Video of the peaceful protest, the police response, includes links to other unprovoked attacks against protesters.


Footage from the G-20 in Pittsburgh

This video is one of many videos coming out about the G-20 protests in Pittsburgh currently underway. It is, by far one of the more powerful clips of footage I have seen as of yet. You should watch the entirety of it, but if you skip ahead to the time stamp 3:33 what you will see are protesters marching down the street, peacefully, and the police reaction to it. It is chilling in all respects. It is yet another example of how the police, protecting capitalist interests and the status quo escalate the situation into one where violence occurs, and inevitably the unarmed protesters are blamed in the eyes of the media, and society.

If you are wondering where you've heard that song before, it's from a movie, The Last of The Mohicans. I don't know if the movie maker knows the significance of the song, and how it relates to the clips being shown here. I can only imagine he or she does, otherwise it would not have been used. It is the pivotal moment where after one Native American tribe sold their souls and turned on there fellow Native Americans for money and power - the Mohicans decide to stand, fight, or die instead of caving into the greed and fear of their own demise.

They chose death over oppression.

While this certainly is not as dramatic as the cinematic event, it is no less potent in it's ideas. There is a reason that when the "Left" marches they are met with hostility, criminal punishment, and "less lethal" weapons. (Yes, that is what the police in the video call them, and it is accurate as the weapons are not non-lethal).

It is not because they fear violence from the left, although there are some factions that are into destruction of property. It is because they fear our lack of fear. We march, regardless of our circumstances to stand up and fight for what we truly believe in. We do so without arming ourselves with AR-15s and assorted assault weapons. We do so without riot gear and protections. We do so knowing we can be hurt, detained, or killed should the situation escalate.

Our seeming inability to cave into the pressures of society that dictates we hand over our minds and souls for the sake of a greasy buck and marginal protections terrifies those who already have. We do not fear what life would be like without capitalism, we do not fear what our lives would be like without the daily constraints of modern soci-economic policies. We do not fear real work, that is to say collaborative work that requires skilled labor, time, and sweat equity.

There are too many who do fear life like that. They have become complacent, soft, and fearful of having to actually work, contribute, and participate in their own lives and the lives of others. They fear having to make decisions for themselves. They fear, in a word, actual....freedom and all of the responsibilities that comes with it.

And so we are a threat. Far more threatening than the right wing wind bags with their gun toting rallies and cries of revolution. Because they know that when we have the chance, we will follow through, and not be placated by the promise of creature comforts.

And that, my fellow readers is truly a threat to the powers that be.


If We Forget About Faeries, Humanity Will Be Lost

Yes, I said faeries, and no I don't mean Tinkerbell. Although if I had a faerie saint, Tinkerbell would be it. What with her particular brand of fire and stubbornness I think we can all learn from the most beloved faerie of all time. But no, I do not intend to create a belief in the tiny winged creatures from our childhood dreams.

Faeries are the bits of magic and whimsy present in our lives every, single, day. They are the weavers of daydreams, the muse of our inspiration, they are the carriers of hope and creators of glee. They are the sunset when the sky is ablaze with color, the moment of awe that stops you dead in your tracks. They embody the sense of true pride - not the false ego based pride we are told we are entitled to - but real pride. That moment of self realization when you feel you will burst at the seams if you don't whoop or leap to release the abundance of energy permeating every fiber of your being.

They are the gentle breeze sent down to calm your anxieties, a ray of light gleaming through the clouds to illuminate your soul. They are the flash of a smile from a dear friend, the glimmer in the eye of a newborn child.

They are the spark of invention, of strength, of will.

When we ignore faerie magic, when we suppress it's existence, when we forget how to believe we open ourselves up to hopelessness and despair. We become vessels for resentment, hatred, and anger. We deny compassion, wisdom, and empathy. We lose our will to create, and to build. We know only then, how to destroy. When the last faerie is forgotten, humanity will be lost. Our souls no more than empty shells.

It is unfortunate that so many today have forgotten about faeries.

But we are the instruments of faerie magic! So buck up you believers of faeries, there's work to be done!


How Many Jobs Equal a Living Wage?

In recent surveys the number of Americans living paycheck to paycheck has increased to 61% from 43% just last year. Of course, seeing as this is an economic recession small depression that comes as no surprise to many. However, it wasn't the numbers that shocked me. It was some of the more callous and otherwise ill informed opinions on one website that caught my attention, and is worthy of my ire tonight.

According to some popular and over simplified opinions as of late, if you can't make ends meet you are either living above your means, or simply not working enough jobs.

How many jobs are enough to make ends meet?

Now, don't misunderstand me, there are people who live above their means. Many American families do. In fact there are two types of people who live above their means. Those who do so buy making wildly expensive purchases and pursue non functional items on credit just so they can have them, and those whose "means" can barely afford basic living expenses such as housing, food, clothing, and medical care.

In a former post I quoted that 91.5 million Americans are living at, below or just above the national poverty threshold. That would be approximately 1/3 of our population, or just over 30%. So of that 61% nearly half of the people are "living above their means" because their "means" do not comprise of living wages.

The other half were living within their means, but have suffered job loses or pay-cuts, meaning that they are no longer living within their means. Of course of that 61% I'm sure that some have hit hard times for other reasons such as identity theft and medical catastrophes.

But first, let's talk about employment. Underemployment, over employment, or no employment. The idea that if one who cannot afford to live should just "pick up another job" sounds logical, but generally isn't. Particularly not for those who are already employed full time. Let's look at some hard numbers:

There are 168 hours in the week. Of that, one needs 56 hours per week to sleep (8 hours a day, 7 days a week). A "full time" job is usually between 40-60 hours per week. Typically 40 for hourly wage workers unless they are allowed overtime, and 60 for salaried workers. Let's look at the average salaried worker - 60 hours per week (or 8.5 hours per day 7 days per week), plus 56 hours a week to sleep is 116 hours of 168 already consumed. That leaves 7.5 hours in a day to do something other than work or sleep.

Now, if you figure 2 hours in the AM to groom yourself, eat breakfast and wake up for work, and an hour at night to eat dinner you have 4.5 hours left in the day to work your second job. Any job, part time or otherwise has an average shift of 4 hours minimum. So if you work a part time second job at 4 hours per day (28 hours per week 7 days a week) you have exactly one half hour to commute each day from your home, to you first job, from your first job to your second job, and then home again at night. If you only work 50 hours per week you would have a commute time of 1.8 hours, and at only 40 hours per week, you'd get about 3 hours of commute time.

Let's recap: for the average American working 60 hours per week you would have to wake up at 6AM, work and commute until 9PM, then have dinner, and pass out at 10PM in order to work 1 full time job, and one part time job.

And those numbers are spread out over a full 7 days.

Assuming that anyone thinks that's reasonable, you have to ask, is it even possible? If you are childless, and happen to live within minutes of both of your employers, and never have a need to go grocery shopping, to the bank or do your laundry, sure.

Then again, many people do work 2 jobs. How do they do it? Well, those who do are usually hourly wage employees who are not allowed overtime pay (more than 40 hours per week) and often work one or two part time jobs that are less than 20 hours per week in order to make up the difference. For all of their work, however, they are often paid very little and wind up working an 80 hour work week and still can't make ends meet.

Which brings up another point about "just get another job". Not only are humans not machines with finite amounts of energy and time - jobs are also finite, as are the funds paying for said jobs. There aren't enough jobs for everyone to have one job, how does anyone expect people to have more than one and not cause a shortage elsewhere?

Something, at some point, will have to be cut. Be it jobs or salaries - if everyone tries to work multiple jobs we will perpetuate the already defunct employment system even further. For example:

If a company has $100 per hour allotted for employee pay it can hire two people at $50 per hour, four people at $25 per hour, eight people at $12.50 per hour, 16 people at $6.25 per hour, 32 people at $3.12 per hour, and now we're into serious poverty wages. So let's say there are two companies with 10 job openings each, (20 jobs) and 25 people who need employment. Based on the $100 per hour allotment, the company's initial offer is $10 per hour.

Already we see five people who will be unemployed, unless they up their job openings by five. By doing so, they will have to cut salaries accordingly, to $8 per hour. Now five people state that they can't live on $8 per hour, and ask for additional employment from the other company. In order to accommodate the additional five jobs, the company has had to cut everyone's salary to $6.67 per hour. Which means that more employees will have to get more jobs, at even lesser payrates. You see what I mean? It's a self perpetuating cycle.

Of course the alternative is to keep the wages at $10 per hour, and simply give the jobs to those who qualify regardless if they already hold one or more jobs. By doing that you've upped the unemployment rate substantially.

In other words, for every second and third job a person takes, someone, somewhere loses the opportunity to work or gets a pay cut.

And furthermore, who thinks working 16 hour days just to make ends meet is even reasonable, anyway?

How about this: How about we re-engineer the system so that one job pays each employee enough to live reasonably, all while cutting the average cost of living instead of treating hard working individuals like wage-slaves with boundless energy and unlimited time to do a company's bidding for pitiful pay?

How can we do this? Well for one, we need to stop being greedy. Companies do not need to make or retain a profit. A company is not a person. It is an inanimate object, an idea, a building. Any profit above and beyond the cost of operation (including a specific amount of "cushion" money) should go directly back to the people who actually make a company a company - the employees. That also means that the big boys at the top will have to take a pay cut. While they make their $40 mill a year, their employees are living hand to mouth, working just as many hours if not more, and are working harder for less. Not to mention that a company can run perfectly fine without an overpaid CEO. It cannot function without all of the "underlings" that actually do the work.

And I challenge any CEO, and their cronies to fire all of their employees on a Friday and still have a company on the following Monday.

Not gonna happen.

But back to my original point - which is the ideology that if you can't live comfortably on the paycheck from one job, you should just get another one and keep working until all you do is work is unreasonable, unrealistic, and illogical.

Furthermore, yes we can cut back. We can all cut back. But you can only cut back so much before you start cutting necessities, and start negatively affecting the economy as a whole.

Now I'm stating this as an Anarchist looking at people who wish to live in a capitalist economy. But if everyone simply stopped buying all of the "extras", then millions more people would lose their jobs, because those "extras" create funds that create jobs that people need to buy food, shelter, and clothing.

So while I would love to see the demise of many a corporation due to the outright boycott of their products and services, I dread to see the actual financial repercussions of such an act. Regardless of how I personally feel about our economic system it is the reality I live in. And it relies, entirely, on the purchasing of all of those little unnecessary items that everyone proposes we cut out to better "live within our means".

For example, cable TV was brought up. It's not necessary, that's true. It's a frivolous cost that millions of Americans pay every month. If the 61% of the citizens living paycheck to paycheck suddenly canceled their cable, that would mean that the cable companies would lose 183 million customers, all at once. They would then go out of business. If the cable companies go out of business, who will TV stars work for? Actresses, actors, producers, writers? The millions of people who work as crew members for each TV show and commercial? They will be out of work, entirely.

And that's just one industry. Imagine if it were cable companies, gyms, cell phone providers, dealerships, gas stations, toy stores, clothing stores, malls!

It's an unfeasible idea bantered by unrealistic capitalists who have been spoon fed the ideology that humans are bred to work for companies, and should do nothing else but work. And anyone who doesn't subscribe to that, or anyone who can't do that are somehow "less than" those who enjoy being wage slaves.

I see it the other way around. I see that people who feel that their only worth is wrapped entirely around their work or bank accounts actually have very little to offer besides their bodies for the purpose of rendering a service for a fee.

Otherwise known as prostitutes.

And how pimps corporations love a brothel full of low wage prostitutes at their disposal.


My Experience at a Town Hall Meeting...

Last night I had the opportunity to go to one of the infamous town hall meetings that have been happening all over the country. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to speak or ask any questions, as the room was packed and my raised hand was overlooked the entire night. So my apologies to Antics, Agit, Liberty, and Missy for not being able to ask your awesome questions. I did however submit them in writing directly to my Congressional Representative. We'll see if I get a response. I also taped most of the meeting, but my battery ran out and I was unable to tape the best part of the night - the last half hour. As soon as I can figure out how to get the video from my camera to the computer, I will post it up.

Now, on to the meeting. Suffice it to say that I had a raging migraine by the end of the night. When all was said and done, I wanted a stiff drink, what a lousy time to quit drinking! I'd first like to address the level of intelligence in the room. And I am not exaggerating when I relay what I witnessed, not even an iota....

First and foremost - upon being allowed entrance into the auditorium, everyone was asked to put their signs away. Either outside or in their car, the volunteers didn't care, so long as no signs were brought in. Fair enough, right? Well, the entire row of people behind me in the auditorium spent probably a good 15 minutes struggling to understand why they were not allowed to bring their signs in, when all these people had "signs on their shirts". Meaning...stickers. I had finally had enough, and didn't mean to be rude or to interrupt them, but I finally turned around to explain to them the difference between a sign and a sticker, and further explained why signs were not allowed in the auditorium.

I actually had to explain, to a row of full grown adults, that stickers are not signs, and all the signs in the room would obstruct people's ability to see, while stickers on a shirt did not. And they still struggled with the concept.....

Oh Boy.

Throughout the meeting there were people who could not understand the concept of a time limit. Now I don't mean that they were speaking, and ran over - I mean that when we started one of the organizers announced that the meeting could run no longer than 8PM, per school requirements that all people be out of the school building at that time. The boos and outrage and questions of WHY?!?!?! WHY??!?!?!?! cost us about 20 minutes of meeting time. Is the concept that difficult? Really? We also had the "Get your hands off my medicare!" crowd, the "Get out of the country!" in response to immigrants comparing the US health care to their health care crowd, and my favorite of the night....

The "I can't read the bill because it's too long and complicated why can't you just make it simple for us?" crowd.

Really? It's about the length of a Harry Potter book. And yes, the bill uses some big words, and of course legislation isn't exactly geared towards the "See spot run" reading level, but do we honestly need to dumb down bills and legislation because some moron can't be bothered to read it?

I felt like I was in the movie "Idiocracy".

And the later it got, the worse the crowd became. I don't know why most of the people even bothered to go save to make noise and yell obscenities. Every time a question was answered they all yelled "LIAR!!! WE DON'T BELIEVE YOU!!!!"

Well, we already figured that, didn't we. Why bother asking questions if you already know you won't believe the answer?

Of course we had the "We didn't read the bill but we know that's in it because Fox News said so!" crowd. And our Representative, who is usually quite relaxed and laid back was even getting frustrated. He had to keep saying "But that's not in the bill. It's just not there - it doesn't exist. Honestly, read the bill for yourself!" To which replies were screamed "It's too long to read! We can't read it! It's too haaaaarrrrrddddddd."

Oh Christ.

Our Representative did actually answer the questions asked, to the best of his ability. He had to explain how it would be funded at least three times, and people still didn't get it. "I know you explained it already, but I don't understand how we're going to pay for this...". When he tried to answer questions that required complex answers, because they're complex issues he was accused of dodging. One lady nearly assaulted one of the organizers because she felt that he hadn't answered her question. He did answer her question, she just didn't understand the words coming out of his mouth.

He might as well have been speaking Greek.

Some people had really good questions, others simply made statements, while the majority repeated Fox news rhetoric about death panels and the like.

And by the way, my interpretation of the bill regarding end of life counseling was 100% correct. All it means is that counseling, along with mental health care and addiction rehabilitation are now legitimately covered under health care. Of course the crowd booed, and accused him of trying to kill them off in their old age.


I did however catch a great deal of shit from the row behind me because I refused to stand and pledge allegiance to the flag. First, we only had to do it, because some flag pin obsessed person whined that we didn't say it at the beginning of the meeting - second, I don't pledge my allegiance to inanimate objects. Now if we were talking about pledging allegiance to the people of the country - I'd have something to stand for. Alas, I was told I didn't deserve to be here, was an asshole, and "Look there's the future of our country" snide remarks.

Then again, consider the source. They couldn't even figure out the difference between a sign and a sticker, nor why they wouldn't be allowed into the meeting - and complained constantly that the bill was just too hard for them to read...but were 100% certain that everything Fox news said about it was the truth, facts be damned! (And yes, they constantly yelled out 'Fox news said it! Watch Fox News!!").

Upon reaching my car afterward, I found a pamphlet about how Obama was a Socialist dictator. I rolled a cigarette, sucked it down like a whore on a $1,000 cock, and drove home to my blissfully quiet, logical, educated husband.