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Charlotte to Suspend Constitutional Free Speech and Assembly Protections to Help Bank of America, Duke Shareholder Meetings

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It has become pretty routine for local police to engage in thuggery and run roughshod over Constitutional protections in the name of maintaining order, which increasingly means not annoying big companies.

With habeas corpus suspended, our own Attorney General maintaining the Administration has the right to kill suspected terrorists (ie, pretty much anyone) without a trial, and electronic surveillance ever on the rise, it might seem hard to get worked up about small minded suspensions of the right to make a political point in public of the sort planned in Charlotte, NC.

As recounted in the Charlotte Business Journal, the City Council passed strict (meaning of questionable legality) security rules for the Democratic convention this summer. Natch, some of the big local companies seem to have gotten to the city manager, who designated the annual meetings of Bank of America and Duke Energy (May 9) the sort of “extraordinary event” that merits intrusive searches:

Law enforcement will be given broader powers during these events to search backpacks, coolers, satchels and messenger bags. That includes briefcases and carry-on luggage — the kind with wheels often used by lawyers to transport reams of documents.

The new ordinances also detail a list of items that are grounds for arrest. Among them: spray paint, permanent markers, hammers, crowbars, box cutters, utility knives, chains, padlocks, lumber, plastic pipe, pepper spray, mace and police scanners.

Note that this list omits mundane items that are forbidden, such as masks and scarves. So protesting anonymously is against the law too?

The ACLU is not happy, particularly since the city council never contemplated nor approved having shareholder meetings deemed “extraordinary events.”

It’s pretty clear what will happen. The searches will be used to establish a cordon sanitaire to keep the demonstrators away from the corporate headquarters. And it isn’t hard to imagine that agit-prop toys not on the official list will be confiscated too.

Notice how no one questions this use of public funds? Why should local governments pay for this sort of thing? Big rich companies are perfectly capable of hiring their own security goons, if safety were really an issue. It isn’t. This is all about demonstrating who really wields clout in the social order. The police are visibly aligned with the 1%. That’s the real message here.

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32 comments

  1. Middle Seaman

    Note that Obama decided to hold the Democratic convention in a right to work state, i.e. North Carolina. Obama lacks the decency not to stub labor, which helped him be elected, in the heart. On the street we call it low life.

    1. hondje

      Obama has little to do with selecting the party location, and the last convention was held in Denver which is also in a right-to-work state.

      1. digi_owl

        The US President seems to be nothing more than a figurehead these days. With Bush jr. it was Cheney that pulled the strings. I do wonder who it is this time round.

        1. propertius

          Only a figurehead, except when it comes to blowing you to red mist without benefit of trial. He’s friggin’ omnipotent in that regard.

    2. pebird

      Not only a right to work state but the company town of one of the most corrupt financial institutions in our globalized world.

    3. C

      Take a look back at what happened in Pittsburgh when he had it hosting the G20 or Chicago which is about to do so. In both cases the 1% panic in their desperate efforts to prevent anyone from spoiling the parade, innocent citizens get rounded up, rights get crushed, and we all are expected to pay for the privilege.

      I have long ago given up on Obama to do anything like what he said he would. This is just par for the course.

      1. propertius

        I have long ago given up on Obama to do anything like what he said he would.

        Some of us gave up on that before he was elected. Better late than never, I suppose.

  2. Woodrow Wilson

    “The police are visibly aligned with the 1%. That’s the real message here.” -

    If that is the opinion, then go around them, not through them.

  3. James Cole

    Someone can file a lawsuit against the City Manager for conversion of public funds, or waste, or similar, which would at least be a headline and maybe raise the question in some folks’ minds.

    But this is a country where local governments routinely and visibly subsidize wealthy owners of athletic franchises by building stadiums at public expense, so you might say the populace is conditioned to accept this type of crap.

  4. sissy

    We have a one party system. It was Gore Vidal who said that. The two party’s just pass the power and money back and forth. They both support the Military industrial complex and the Medical industrial complex. No difference. The USA and New Zealand are the only two countries in the entire world that allow drug companies to advertise on television. I was poisoned with a drug called Levaquin. There are thousands of class action suits all over the place now, and the FDA knew about this drug for years and years. Don’t take this drug or Cipro or Avelox if you value your life. Levaquin is deadly. It causes severe insominia and my feet blew up to the size of 10 when I were a size seven. Many people die in the emergency rooms in hospitals when given this drug. I beat it in six months. Many are incapcitated and thrown out of their own homes. If you value the people you love, warn them about this drug.

  5. PQS

    Notice how no one questions this use of public funds? Why should local governments pay for this sort of thing? Big rich companies are perfectly capable of hiring their own security goons, if safety were really an issue. It isn’t.

    A… Men….

    Point to Yves.

    1. Wat Tyler

      A few students protesting bankers is the least of Charlotte’s problem. Take away a few gated communities and golf courses and the Charlotte region is what was the center of textile and furniture mills and the associated working classes who are now under employment stress. These ex-mill workers are very white, very religious, very conservative, and very well armed. This is not the area I would want to hold a left-wing party convention. I live on the coast but am aware of two right-wing militias in the Charlotte area- there are probably more. I will be holding my breath this summer.

      Jim

      1. Larry Barber

        “This is not the area I would want to hold a left-wing party convention. ”

        Then its a good thing that it’s the Democratic Party that’s holding its convention there, I guess.

      2. SidFinster

        An NRA-type once wrote that the queen of all weapons is the rifle, because when a population is armed with rifles, it becomes impossible for anyone to tyrannize that population for very long.

        However, the NC reader should be careful what he/she/it (expressed in a totally non-gender or species normative and politically correct way) wishes for.

        That person might just get it.

  6. Fat Redneck

    Dallas Fed excorciates Bank of ‘Murica:

    “The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas said taxpayer aid to failing banks should come only after the voiding of all employment and bonus contracts and the removal of chief executive officers and boards of directors.”

    1. F. Beard

      Not enough. What about the stock and bondholders?

      What is it with banks that they should get special treatment!?

      They are just a bunch of gamblers who borrow short to lend long. Gamblers lose. End of story.

  7. chitown2020

    There are now 80+ stupid things that we can be arrested for that most people don’t know about. Google it. I think the number is 84. Google 84 things that can get you arrested….you may be shocked.

  8. Richard Davet

    BAC has always attempted to arrest shareholders asking tough questions.

  9. chitown2020

    The FED banksters most dangerous weapons are their weapons of mass deception. Bloomberg reported several months ago THE FED collects TRILLIONS of dollars a month in mortgage money yet we are still bailing them out..? Millions of Americans do not realize QE…and FED MONETARY POLICY and the NATIONALIZATION of the GSE’s are some of their sneaky tools of mass deception….These are just a few of the sneaky class warfare tactics the 1% are using to bankrupt us right under our noses. Then we have the States robbing us via taxation. We keep complaing but we keep paying them for all of their fraud and corruption. That is how they will bankrupt us and steal our National Sovereignty. Wake up America and stop paying and buying from them. People use the excuse that people will lose their jobs but the result of the ongoing ponzi scheme will be we will lose it all. By buying foreign goods from foreign owned multinational corps and using foreign owned banks and paying a mortgage to an unknown we are NOT spending into the U.S. economy. The 1% are flattening America because We The People are aiding and abetting the very crooks who set us up to fail and
    robbed us and are still robbing us. We don’t even ask where the tax money is going…. !

  10. Jeff N

    no plastic pipe, utility knives, or hammers? sounds like a bad day to be a plumber.

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