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This site Censored

Censorship Causes Blindness

Image by Antoon's Foobar via Flickr

 

I’ve censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet–a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit: http://americancensorship.org/posts/29014/uncensor

██████████ is sad to ██████ you ████ if ████████ ██████ #████, ████ ████ we ████ ██████ so ████ on ████ █████. █████ us █████ we are █████ ████ ████://██████████.████████.com OR ████://█████.li/█████/██████████ #██████

Uncensor This

This site has closed

Before the Holidays we posted we were moving content to Occupy!con.
The articles were moved by hand and are live. We made the move to decrease the confusion between OccupyGR.org and our site. If you are looking for Grand Rapids Michigan specific content, please use this link.

We wish you Peace on Earth and a Just New Year!

We are moving: OccupyIcon

We have a new name;

OccupyIcon

occupy: transitive verb
  1. to engage the attention or energies of
a : to take or hold possession or control of <enemy troops occupied the ridge>
b : to fill or perform the functions of (an office or position)
c: to reside in as an owner or tenant
icon: noun
  1. a usually pictorial representation : image
  2. [Late Greek eikōn, from Greek] : a conventional religious image typically painted on a small wooden panel and used in the devotions of Eastern Christians
  3. an object of uncritical devotion : idol
  4. emblem, symbol  the house became an icon of 1960’s residential architecture — Paul Goldberger
  5. a : a sign (as a word or graphic symbol) whose form suggests its meaning
              b : a graphic symbol on a computer display screen that usually suggests the type of object represented or the purpose of an available function
We chose this naming convention to alleviate any confusion between us and the Grand Rapids Michigan occupy movement. We also admit to some subtle tongue-in-cheek . . . cheekiness.
The existing content on this site will be archived  by hand due to the  incompatabe export/import between the two blog platforms.  In the meantime, the new site is taking shape.
You can take a peek under the shiny paper here: occupyicon.blogspot.com.
There is also an exhaustive magazine format publishing a morning and evening edition with 40 journalists, photographers and videographers publishing an astounding 100 or more content items per day.
OccupyIcons magazine went live yesterday, December 11, 2011.
This site will be vacated by January 1, 2011.

 

Emergency Managers coming to a city near you

Location map of Michigan, USA

I make no pretense of journalistic neutrality;  I have a dog in this fight, ME an American citizen, resident of Michigan, The Great Lakes State. Proud granddaughter of a U.S. Navy Chief who served his country before and during WWII. Daughter of a woman who worked all her life to acquire medical benefits in the state of Michigan to sustain her in her retirement; those benefits are in jeopardy.

The Emergency Managers, unelected officials tasked by Governor Snyder, have the power to assume control of any city or school district in Michigan so deemed near insolvency, regardless of plans in action to resolve financial problems. Those powers granted to the Emergency mangers include but are not limited to; disbanding city councils, hog-tying the hands of city managers, mayors and other officials charged with the well-being of their respective municipalities and re-negotiating or nullifying any contract.

For those of you pressed for time, Rachel Maddow lays it out succinctly in her video piece entitled Michigan Emergency Managers: the most under-reported story of the year. For the rest of you, I got off my soapbox for most of this article and behaved as a journalist should.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
Rachel Maddow: Mich Emergency Manager: The most under-reported story of the year, posted with vodpod

First on the block: Benton Harbor.

In MCL 141.1501 the act spells out the whys and wherefores of the Emergency Managers act revised, 2011. Joseph L. Harris was appointed to Benton Harbor, Berrien County Michigan. WJSM reported the following on April 15, 2011 of Harris’s actions the previous evening;

“Harris had issued an order on Thursday stating that the elected leadership of the city may no longer hold votes on any matter, other than to start a meeting, adjourn a meeting, and approve a meeting’s minutes. Issuing such an order is allowed under Michigan’s recently updated emergency financial manager law, and this is the first time an EM has actually used that authority. Harris could also suspend the city commission altogether, but he told us previously that he wasn’t planning to take that step.”

The apparent reason Harris did not take the next step is outlined in the Emergency Manager City of Benton Harbor Berrien County Michigan order no.: 11-32 which details Harris’ re-writing of the Benton Harbor city charter.

Next on the block: Flint

Chris Savage (aka Eclectablog) reported on December 6th, 2011 the following;

I said that he was “essentially firing the the Mayor and City Council”. This is 100% true. He cancelled all future City Council meetings until further notice, eliminated their benefits and stopped paying them. That’s firing the city government, no matter how you slice it.

Those actions taken by the Flint Emergency Czar Manger Michael Brown are what field crisis mangers like to call “escalation.”

Pontiac acquired Emergency Manager Lou Schimmel in September.  He previously served in the same capacity in Hamtramck and Ecorse. One of his questionable actions was to outsource policing to Oakland County.

And then there is Detroit

Detroit Public schools Emergency Manager Roy Roberts took over in May, 2011. This sets the precedent in real time, of putting every public teacher and employee, in jeopardy of loosing their job. It also puts the retirement packages of every current and former school system employee in jeopardy as well.  Remember the Emergency Manager has the ability to re-negotiate or nullify existing contracts, including those of retirees. In that light, let us look at a financial fact regarding the cost to the taxpayers of the state of Michigan.

Parents have been concerned for their children’s safety for years in Detroit; however Emergency Manager Roy Robers has no such concerns. According to a report by channel 7 Action News (ABC) reporter Ross Jones on December 8, 2011:

“For the first eight months of the year, district police officers racked up more than $80,000 just in overtime to protect Roberts and his predecessor Robert Bobb. Bobb left the district earlier this year.

Roberts’ two guard routinely work long nights that sometimes stretch into the next morning.  They even provide weekend protection.  On a Saturday in October, one guard’s day started at 7 AM, and didn’t end until 12 hours later.  He wasn’t alone. Roberts’ second security guard was working that Saturday, too.  He didn’t leave until 12:30 the next morning—logging almost 17 hours of overtime.”

U.S. House Representative John Conyers has finally weighed in. According to David Shepardson/ Detroit News Washington Bureau who filed a report two days ago, Conyers asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to review the constitutionality of the Emergency Mangers. From the article by Shepardson:

“Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter Dec. 1 to Holder asking him to review whether the state’s emergency manager law is constitutional and to intervene, if necessary, to block it. ‘(Holder) told me he got the letter and he’s going to act on it.'”

And finally, Mayor Dave Bing who has been tasked with cleaning up the mess former Mayors Colman Young and Kwame Kilpatrick made of the already ailing city of Detroit;

“I didn’t come into this position to be an emergency manger. I was voted in to be mayor, but I do think the team that we have, including myself, are the best team that we can put in city government to get us out of this situation today.” Johnathan Oosting, MLIVE Friday December 9, 2011

As an independent journalist, I will continue to beat the drum for public awareness and direct action on this issue until those Occupiers in Michigan: Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Midland, Bay City, Saginaw, Clair, St Ignace, Mackinaw City, Escanaba, Monroe, Detroit, Jackson, Ann Arbor, Muskegon, Lake Shore, St Joseph, Grayling, Alpena and my hometown of Rochester wake UP and stand UP to Gov. Snyder to say NO! to the existing Emergency Managers as well as all future plans to preserve any type of EM in this state.

To the rest of the country:

Pay attention, you will see this again and again and again unless you stand UP.

The Curious Lyrics and a Venn Diagram

There are curious parallels between the Talking Heads hit “Burning Down the House” and world-wide unrest. As yet these parallels have gone unnoticed. However, if you take a second look at the gripes of the former Tea Party and the Occupy movement in light of the lyrics – well let us just do that.

Talking Heads “Burning Down The House”

Songwriters: BYRNE, DAVID / WEYMOUTH, TINA / FRANTZ, CHRIS / HARRISON, JERRY HARRISON
Watch out, you might get what you’re after
Cool babies, strange but not a stranger
I’m an ordinary guy
Burning down the house
Hold tight, wait ’till the party’s over
Hold tight, we’re in for nasty weather
There has got to be a way
Burning down the house
Here’s your ticket, pack your bags, time for jumpin’ overboard
Transportation is here
Close enough but not too far, maybe you know where you are
Fightin’ fire with fire
All wet, hey you might need a raincoat
Shakedown, dreams walking in broad daylight
Three hundred sixty five degrees
Burning down the house
It was once upon a place, sometimes I listen to myself
Gonna come in first place
People on their way to work said, “Baby what did you except?”
Gonna burst into flame, go ahead
Burning down the house
My house is out of the ordinary
That’s right, don’t want to hurt nobody
Some things sure can sweep me off my feet
Burning down the house
No visible means of support and you have not seen nothin’ yet
Everything’s stuck together
I don’t know what you expect staring into the TV set
Fighting fire with fire
Burning down the house
Burning down the house
Burning down the house
The forum on the source site debates nuclear war as the inspiration; however the writer David Byrne tells a much simpler tale. Nevertheless, the content in each couplet could just as easily apply to the twin gripes of the two movements; big government and corporate greed.

From the British Guardian via kasamaproject.org. Photos by Jay Finneburgh.

Add to the mix the outcry against police in half a dozen cities for brutal crowd handling and the imminent mobilization of 20,000 troops on American soil by the Commander-in-Chief, President Obama and a very volital mix is brewing that winter may not quell. Sadly, this last bit is old news from the previous administration. While we were distracted and sleeping two administrations have slipped this one in under our noses.
In no way are the comparisons meant to motivate escalation on any side of the equation; however it is something to think about.

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