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I usually post fun stuff here. Photos, Instagrams, and things relating to fountain pens, papers, inks, and handwriting. But I thought this might fit here. I thought of a clever (IMHO) sign to protest the repeated police raids and property seizures on Occupy Honolulu which is just down the block from my apartment. The only problem is that I’m very inept at sign making and they always end up looking like the product of deficiency rather than intent.

But I found some foam core poster board with a grid mark on the surface. Along with stick-on vinyl letters, I can almost manage a decent sign. And to make its point to those who walk by and are close enough, I penned a little essay at the top. Very difficult because of the angle it imposed on my writing hand. So the handwriting is not up to standard, but what the heck.

(And for the pen and ink obsessed, I note that the handwriting was with a Pilot Fermo using a Richard Binder .5mm cursive italic. Ink was Rohrer & Klingner’s most excellent Salix, a permanent iron gall ink. The color saturation was boosted in the photo — in real life the handwriting is rather muted.)

[Transcription of the panels on the next page:]

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“Don’t we already have free speech? Doesn’t the Constitution prohibit ‘Abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for the redress of grievances’? Is this freedom to openly ctiricize the government real or just a comfortable fantasy?

“The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) signed by President Obama on December 31, 2011, allows the government to indefinitely detain citizens without charge or trial at the government’s own discretion.

“HR 347 signed by President Obama on March 9, 2012, empowers the government to arrest citizens who unknowingly trespass on areas the government can move and designate at will. Protest can be suppressed in areas it (the government) doesn’t want protest to occur.

“Aside from these new laws that limit the ability of the people to criticize the government, another limitation is imposed by the interpretation of the courts. At the time of this writing (March 23, 2012) The Occupy Honolulu Six are still in trial over their arrest on November 5, 2011, at 10pm at Thomas Square Park where they were petitioning the government for the redress of grievances under the protection of the First Amendment and the Kanawai Mamalahoe, the Law of…”

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“…The Splintered Paddle. The prosecution is trying to make the case that the First Amendment guaranties can be abridged after 10pm, and further the right to protest does not include the right to be heard or seen so the protestors should have and could have gone somewhere no one could see or hear them.

“During the hearings on Bill 54, the ordinance that allows the police to seize protestor’s possessions, attorneys, for the City of Honolulu argued that the First Amendment is about speech and not about possessions such as tents and signs.

“So the government says the Freedom of Speech allows you to speak and criticize the government where you can’t be heard.

“But there is one more thing. The above paragraphs follows the path of the law from its creation to its interpretation by the courts. The actual implantation happens on the streets by “law enforcement” personnel paid by the City of Honolulu. Would it surprise you to learn that the implementation of the law is different for the rich than it is for the poor? The rich live under the protection of the law while the poor live under its boot heel. How much justice can you afford?

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“I have been criticizing the ‘government’ here but aren’t ‘We the People’ supposed to be the government? If a candidate can’t be elected without taking the money, and can’t take the money without drinking the Kool Aid, then you have created the perfect mechanism for selling government to the highest bidder, the corporations who can now donate limitless amounts to the candidates they choose. The presidential candidates of the 2012 elections are prepared to spend $1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars) each to become president.

“Is the question: How much democracy can you afford?

“Let’s talk about how to change this. What do you think?”

H. Doug Matsuoka
March 24, 2012

 

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