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American Flag

I came across this video on Facebook that is a compilation of Black Friday shopping horrors from previous years. I recognize some of the footage while others are new to me. All of them are horrifying. No cheap item is really worth risking your life over. Really, it’s not.

Despite this post, I’m sure there are people who are waiting outside in the cold and darkness for the stores to put certain items on sale in the wee hours of the morning. In the meantime I’ll be sleeping in my nice warm bed under a crocheted afghan or two. (The local weather report is calling for below freezing temperatures overnight.) At least I won’t have to worry about my face showing up in any future “Black Friday madness” videos.

Of course that’s not to mention that this year a number of chain stores (Walmart, Kmart, Target, Kohl’s, Staples) are actually making their employees forgo Thanksgiving altogether by being opened as early as 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Nothing’s sacred in the U.S. anymore.

No amount of bargains is going to get me inside of a store at this time. Especially after not watching this.

Passover

Over the weekend I’ve gotten a few e-mails from various mailing lists that I’m on talking about a series of nationwide demonstrations to take place on Tax Day, Monday, April 18. This e-mail from Michael Moore urged people to take a stand against the outrageous actions that the corporations have been doing (such as getting away with payin little or no taxes even though they are multi-billion dollar corporations). I got a similar e-mail from MoveOn.org urging me to go to a demonstration that’s closest to my home as well as another one from U.S. Uncut.

Even though I’m currently preparing for an upcoming show on May 1, I decided to take some time off and go to the one that was meeting up in Lafayette Square (located near the White House). With my recent diagnosis of potential back problems and the orthopedic specialist telling me that I really need to exercise for 30-60 minutes at least 3 times a week, I figured that I have an incentive to kick-start my personal exercise program.

I’ll admit that I decided to go at almost the last minute and I expected the demonstration to be focused on corporations not paying taxes and the general issue of corporate personhood. I was kind of surprised when I arrived and I found that many of the demonstrators were focusing more on the environment and pollution by the corporations. I decided to stick around since I figured that things like last year’s BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is part of the same continuum that has been having an adverse impact on the United States since the second Bush Administration and the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruiling.

I didn’t know about this until later but this march was part of a weekend convention called Powershift 2011, which explains why I saw so many college-aged twentysomethings at this event.

I didn’t see anyone I recognized so I decided to just pull out my Flip camera and just start shooting. Someone gave me a free green colored hardhat so I was able to wear it and blend in with the crowd. I was also given a map and information about this protest march, which was helpful. I kept on shooting with my camera as the protestors marched to the nearby U.S. Chamber of Commerce and did a rally where the demonstrators used giant-sized puppets that were really impressive looking to see in person. Afterwards the demonstrators walked up H Street, N.W., tuned on New York Avenue, N.W., and walked to BP’s lobbying office.We did some more rallying there then walked back on New York Avenue, N.W. then turned on 13th Street, N.W. until we arrived at GenOn’s main offices. After doing another quick rally outside that building, we turned on F Street, N.W., made our way to 15th Street, N.W., then took New York Avenue, N.W. back to Lafayette Square.

After another brief rally where the giant puppets were displayed outside the White House, the protestors decided to march further down H Street., N.W. At this point I was tired and hungry so I decided to take a break at the Cosi on H Street. While I was waiting in line, I had a guy in front of me asking about my plastic green hardhat. I explained the protest march and he told me that he thought it was pretty cool. He was pretty nice about it.

I had brought my laptop with me so I was making some initial postings on Facebook and Twitter about this event while I was eating my lunch. I dawdled much longer than I expected so I had to figure out where everyone went.

I started to hear music from far away so I walked down 17th Street until I hit the Mall and I found a rave under the Washington Monument. There wasn’t as big a crowd at the rave as at the earlier march. I didn’t stick around long because I was exhausted and there was no place to sit other than the ground, which was totally saturated from last weekend’s violent storms. So I hiked over to the Federal Triangle Metro stop and headed hone.

I spent the bulk of last night editing the raw footage into something usable that I could upload on to YouTube. Since the local media like The Washington Post didn’t even mention this event despite the large turnout, you’ll have to see this video to see what happened since you won’t get it from the mainstream media. Without further ado, here’s the video.

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