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Nov 302011
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Occupy LA evicted by LAPD – 11/30/11 Photo: newsone.com

Occupy Philly raided a few hours later - with more brutal force

In Los Angeles, the tensions began rising at around 8:30 PM, as word spread throughout the encampment that a raid was imminent. Luckily, some intrepid tweeters and bloggers were on the job… Brad Friedman was tweeting and updating BradBlog.com throughout the night – so much so that he was still awake on the west coast when I awoke on the east coast.

Brad’s updates on his blog ended at 3:30 am PDT (6:30 EDT!) with this entry:

3:31am PT: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck give a verybrief statement to media. Villaraigosa lauds Beck, saying that he’s never seen such a well handled resolution. “This is a man who understands that Constitutional policing is the only way to go,” said the Mayor.

For his part, Beck explained that “60 days ago we started a relationship with Occupy LA demonstrators,” which allowed some 1400 officers tonight to use “an absolute minimal use of force” to clear the park.

Commander Andy Smith answers questions after the Mayor and the Chief leave, says that while dogs are still going through things, he is aware of no weapons or drugs found in the park. He lauds the demonstrators for “A fantastic job as far as the folks in there being non-violent.” He said no pepper spray, tear gas or batons had to be used as hundreds of demonstrators were cleared from the park.

And yes, there are reportedly still four more demonstrators — and one dog — up in the trees…holding the Occupation… :-)

That’s not to say the whole thing couldn’t have devolved into a huge riot.  As you can see from this video, at least some of the cops were ready to kick some protester ass:

There were also some first amendment issues as the city limited the media access, as my friend Lisa Derrick reported at her La Figa blog:

Monday night at 7:15 PT, the Los Angeles Police Department held a lottery to decide which media could be credentialed for the LAPD Occupy LA media pool, in anticipation of the next raid. According to a mainstream media source who was there, the LAPD only wanted to allow one media outlet per medium (print, radio, television), but was persuaded to allow three of each:

the only media eligible for pool were those who were on the LAPD press release list and able to get to headquarters with an hour’s notice. So very few were represented at the meeting. I asked about independent radio/blogs and they said that only media with LAPD-issued badges would be allowed in the vicinity. I asked about those already at the camp, and they said after the unlawful assembly order everyone who doesn’t leave will be arrested, even those who are journalists. Our attorney was looking into whether there were legal challenges to be made.

No independent/citizen media was in the grab bag of media outlets selected. The LAPD Media Relations Department declined to tell me who was in the media pool, saying it was not for publication. Someone had called earlier and had been given the names and told the POI officer that they would not guarantee non-publication, so the officer was very wary. Why doesn’t the LAPD want that information released?

However a media source not in the pool relayed to me:

ABC, NBC and AP Video are the pool.

A print media source whose outlet is in the pool told me that Reuters, the LA Times (whose offices are across the street from Occupy LA, and would likely be within the LAPD’s perimeter, so they sort of have to be included) and

I think, the Daily News.

The source told me his/her employers were consulting with their attorneys and with the LAPD about the police department’s

restrictions on how we would be operating.

He/she said that each outlet is allowed one reporter who must be designated in advance. There is a separate pool for photographers.

There is concern from media that the LAPD may want to review material before publication or broadcast.

Under the LAPD’s guidelines, the OccupyLA media team–which includes photographers, videographers, livestreamers and reporters–is not credentialed.

There is no Spanish-language media in the pool in a city where 4.7 million people are Spanish speaking. As Monday morning’s midnight-plus-one deadline drew near, there were news crews from the BBC and a Tokyo station present, as well as KMEX (Spanish language). I saw KTLA which was live streaming and had a helicopter overhead, KNBC, KABC, KCBS/KCAL and stringers in unmarked vans. Reporters I ran into included ones from the LA Times and USC’s Daily Trojan, and dozens of people live streaming and taking pictures for blogs and independent media. Oh and Andrew Breitbart was there talking to some dudes with scarves over their faces.

The media presence played a huge part in keeping things nice Monday morning. When Occupy chanted

The whole world is watching

they were pretty close to the truth. The revolution is being televised. And if it weren’t being beamed into TV and computers around the globe, would the LAPD have acted with such restraint? One would like to think so, but odds are maybe not so much.

Breitbart photo: Linda Patron, used with permission

In all, there were 292 arrests made last night/this morning during the eviction of the Occupy LA encampment.

In Philly, (moving) pictures speak louder than words.  From the Occupy Philly website and Occupy Philly Media:

and

I think we all get the picture.

On the show this morning, I spoke with David Cobb.  Although he’s best known as the Green Party Presidential candidate in 2004, he’s a lawyer and activist dedicated his adult life to making the promise of a democratic republic a reality in the United States..  For the past year or two, he’s been speaking  on behalf of Move To Amend - a movement working towards a constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling and, once and for all, declare that corporations are NOT people.

On Friday, he embarks on his second Move to Amend speaking tour of Florida, hitting these cities:

Friday, December 2, 7:00-9:00pm – SOUTH MIAMI: Evening Public Talk.

Saturday, December 3, 9:30-11:00am – WEST PALM: Free Public Talk.

Saturday, December 3, 11:00am-5:00pm – WEST PALM: Activist Training. Registration Required.

Sunday, December 4, 4:00-6:00pm – MELBOURNE: Evening Public Talk.

Monday, December 5, 7:00-9:00pm – STUART: Evening Public Talk.

Tuesday, December 6, 7:00-9:00pm – THE VILLAGES: Evening Public Talk.

Wednesday, December 7, 1:00-3:00pm – GAINESVILLE: Afternoon Public Talk.

Wednesday, December 7, 7:30-9:00pm – DE LAND: Evening Public Talk.

Thursday, December 8, 7:00-9:00pm – ORLANDO: Evening Public Talk.

Friday, December 9, 7:00-9:00pm – TAMPA: Evening Public Talk.

Saturday, December 10, 9:30am-6:00pm – TAMPA: Activist Training. Registration Required.

Sunday, December 11, 7:00-9:00pm – FORT MEYERS: Evening Public Talk.

Monday, December 12, 7:00-9:00pm – DAYTONA: Evening Public Talk.

For more information contact Carla Christianson, Move to Amend Florida Coordinator: 386-677-1176, Reclaim4all@gmail.com

Get out to one of those if you can… or check movetoamend.org to find out when he’ll be in your neck of the woods.

I also spent some time on the show today with Cliff Schecter - PR maven, strategist, consultant, columnist and now, media mogul too!  Cliff and a few partners are launching a new radio station in Washington, DC.  If you’re in the area, you’ll be able to hear it live at 1480 AM.  Elsewhere, just log on to WeActRadio.com.

The station will go live on Monday, December 5 – with Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz … and some others including Sam Seder and yours truly!  Stay tuned for more details!

 

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Nov 172011
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Today’s show began with a simulcast of the ustream live video via TheOther99  from Wall Street.  As I noted Monday morning, Mayor Bloomberg’s fascist tactics of having the NYPD raid the OWS encampment at Zuccotti Park in the dead of night would make the protesters even more determined.  As the sign says, “Screw us and we multiply”.

That was evident this morning for tens of thousands who were watching the live streams – and in this photo tweeted by Michael Moore (@MMFlint)

On today’s show, I spoke with Greg Basta of NYCC about the activities planned in NYC today.  From occupywallst.org, here’s the official list of actions:

New York City

BREAKFAST: Shut Down Wall Street – 7:00 a.m.

Enough of this economy that exploits and divides us. It’s time we put an end to Wall Street’s reign of terror and begin building an economy that works for all. We will gather in Liberty Square at 7:00 a.m., before the ring of the Trading Floor Bell, to prepare to confront Wall Street with the stories of people on the frontlines of economic injustice. There, before the Stock Exchange, we will exchange stories rather than stocks.

LUNCH: Occupy The Subways – 3:00 p.m.

We will start by Occupying Our Blocks! Then throughout the five boroughs, we will gather at 16 central subway hubs and take our own stories to the trains, using the “People’s Mic”.

  • Bronx
    • Fordham Rd
    • 3rd Ave, 138th Street
    • 163rd and Southern Blvd
    • 161st and River – Yankee Stadium
  • Brooklyn
    • Broadway Junction
    • Borough Hall
    • 301 Grove Street
    • St Jose Patron Church,185 Suydam St, Bushwick
  • Queens
    • Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Ave.
    • Jamaica Center/Parsons/Archer
    • 92-10 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights
  • Manhattan
    • 125th St. A,B,C,D
    • Union Sq. (Mass student strike)
    • 23rd St and 8th Ave
  • Staten Island
    • St. George, Staten Island Ferry Terminal
    • 479 Port Richmond Avenue, Port Richmond

DINNER: Take The Square – 5:00 p.m.

At 5 pm, tens of thousands of people will gather at Foley Square (just across from City Hall) in solidarity with laborers demanding jobs to rebuild this country’s infrastructure and economy. A gospel choir and a marching band will also be performing.

Afterwards we will march to our bridges. Let’s make it as musical a march as possible – bring your songs, your voice, your spirit! Our “Musical” on the bridge will culminate in a festival of light as we mark the two-month anniversary of the #occupy movement, and our commitment to shining light into our broken economic and political system.

Resist austerity. Rebuild the economy. Reclaim our democracy.

Activities are planned in many of the occupations around the world.  You can watch the goings-on in NY courtesy of the ustream feed from The Other 99 here:

 


Stream videos at Ustream

The Global Revolution stream via livestream is showing Los Angeles right now, but keeps switching to various cities

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

We took a break from the #N17 coverage to speak with Mike Cantone, candidate for Mayor of Orlando, FL. I first spoke with Mike a few months ago when he learned his name and photo were being circulation in a document distributed by an Arkansas congressman as a “subversive” who dared to speak out at a town hall meeting in Florida! Yikes.

As someone who supports the occupations and the “Food Not Bombs” group that feeds the hungry in parks, Mike would make an awesome mayor!

We got back to #OWS in the second hour. I spoke with Greg Mitchell who’s been live-blogging the Occupy movement for The Nation.  He just released an e-book called 40 Days That Shook the World: From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy Everywhere!

And we finished the show with a visit from comedian and co-host of Citizen Radio,  Jamie Kilstein.  His wife (and the other Citizen Radio co-host) Allison Kilkenny has been covering OWS for The Nation and In These Times.  She filed this report this morning, “Occupy Protesters Storm Financial District“.

If you haven’t seen Jamie, here he is on Conan

And just because you must see these, two videos from Countdown last night, as Keith spoke with 84-year old activist Dorli Rainly, who was pepper sprayed by Seattle cops at Occupy Seattle

And he also spoke with NYC Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez

It’s bound to be a busy weekend. I’ll be here posting as often as I can.

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Nov 142011
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Photo courtesy of @LucyKafanov

For an hour or so prior to the start of this morning’s show, I was simulcasting the live video stream from Spencer (@OakFoSho) as the Oakland PD and law enforcement from surrounding cities once again raided the Occupy Oakland encampment at Oscar Grant Park.

My friend Joshua Holland (senior writer and editor at AlterNet) lives in San Francisco and was once again on the scene as the raid happened.  He joined me by phone at the end of the first hour to discuss what went on during the pre-dawn hours this morning, and wrote about it: “Thousands of Riot Cops Descend on Occupy Oakland, 32 Arrested”.

Tina Dupuy is the managing editor at Crooks and Liars, and has visited numerous occupations in a few countries.  She’s in the Bay Area now, and last night visited Occupy Oakland.   She also joined me this morning to talk about this morning’s raid, as well as the other weekend raids – all detailed at occupyamerica.crooksandliars.com.

I told of the Occupy with Aloha “musical occupation at Saturday night’s APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) gala in Hawii, attended by President Obama and a number of other world leaders.

During the gala dinner, renowned Hawaiian guitarist Makana, who performed at the White House in 2009, opened his suit jacket to reveal a home-made “Occupy with Aloha” T-shirt. Then, instead of playing the expected instrumental background music, he spent almost 45 minutes repeatedly singing his protest ballad released earlier that day. The ballad, called “We Are the Many,” includes lines such as “The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw…. And until they are purged, we won’t withdraw,” and ends with the refrain: “We’ll occupy the streets, we’ll occupy the courts, we’ll occupy the offices of you, till you do the bidding of the many, not the few.”

Those who could hear Makana’s message included Presidents Barack Obama of the United States of America, Hu Jintao of China, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, and over a dozen other heads of state.

As she does every Monday morning, C&L’s Nicole Belle joined me in the second hour for our “Fools on the Hill” segment, in which we dissect the Sunday talking heads shows. This week, she gave us these clips:

If it’s Sunday, it’s time for more Republican stupidity. And boy, is there a whole lot of stupidity to share.

Michele Bachmann—who advocated turning this country into China at the foreign policy debate—actually crammed so much stupid into a minute and a half that it’s hard to believe that she hasn’t been marginalized completely off the national stage. When David Gregory asks her about her advocating to bring back waterboarding, she sides with Dick Cheney, saying that she—unlike opponents Colin Powell, John McCain and the generals on the ground—is interested in winning. She also re-asserted that Iraqis need to repay GIs for their service. This time she put a price tag on it: several million dollars each.

Meanwhile, Candy Crowley really, really wants her viewers to blame Democrats for all ills in this country. After asking on a reliably Blue Dog bipartisanship fetishist like LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to comment on national politics and the Super Committee –which he does in a storm of Republican memes of “necessary” entitlement cuts and everyone sacrificing—she asks him what he thinks of the environment in Washington DC (the mayor of Los Angeles, mind you, 3,500 miles away) and he makes the entirely non-controversial statement that it’s the most partisan it’s ever been. Crowley follows up inexplicably with the skeptical “Do you think that the Democrats are blameless in this?”

RNC Chair Reince Preibus also spoke with Candy Crowley and assured us that it’s simply “not true” that the Republicans takes the side of the wealthiest. It’s President Obama that is waging the class war…which Crowley thinks is clearly working.

Bill Kristol—who is never, ever correct—spent a little of his regular air time on Fox News Sunday to trash the Occupy Wall Street movement, because you know, it could hurt liberal causes. ‘Cause he cares.

And George Will—who is actually documented to be the least correct person on the Sunday shows—gets something right when he pronounces Herman Cain a test for Republicans, because those four women (actually, I think it’s five) could mean that there are far, far more.

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Nov 042011
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Note from Nicole … This post was written by my friend Sara Robinson, a senior fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future.   I hope that any assholes who think they’re acting as part of the Occupy movement will read it and take heed….

Eric Thayer/Getty Images -- Anarchists in Oakland, Calif., smash the windows of a bank Wednesday during an Occupy demonstration. The group called for a general strike Wednesday and marched on the city's port later in the day, halting operations there.

 

Occupy’s Asshole Problem: Flashbacks from An Old Hippie

 

By Sara Robinson

November 4, 2011

I wish I could say that the problems that the Occupy movement is having with infiltrators and agitators are new. But they’re not. In fact, they’re problems that the Old Hippies who survived the 60s and 70s remember acutely, and with considerable pain.

As a veteran of those days — with the scars to prove it — watching the OWS organizers struggle with drummers, druggies, sexual harassers, racists, and anarchists brings me back to a few lessons we had to learn the hard way back in the day, always after putting up with way too much over-the-top behavior from people we didn’t think we were allowed to say “no” to.  It’s heartening to watch the Occupiers begin to work out solutions to what I can only indelicately call “the asshole problem.” In the hope of speeding that learning process along, here are a few glimmers from my own personal flashbacks — things that it’s high time somebody said right out loud.

1. Let’s be clear: It is absolutely OK to insist on behavior norms. #Occupy may be a DIY movement — but it also stands for very specific ideas and principles. Central among these is: We are here to reassert the common good. And we have a LOT of work to do. Being open and accepting does not mean that we’re obligated to accept behavior that damages our ability to achieve our goals. It also means that we have a perfect right to insist that people sharing our spaces either act in ways that further those goals, or go somewhere else until they’re able to meet that standard.

2. It is OK to draw boundaries between those who are clearly working toward our goals, and those who are clearly not. Or, as an earlier generation of change agents put it: “You’re either on the bus, or off the bus.” Are you here to change the way this country operates, and willing to sacrifice some of your almighty personal freedom to do that? Great. You’re with us, and you’re welcome here. Are you here on your own trip and expecting the rest of us to put up with you? In that case, you are emphatically NOT on our side, and you are not welcome in our space.

Anybody who feels the need to put their own personal crap ahead of the health and future of the movement is (at least for that moment) an asshole, and does not belong in Occupied space. Period. This can be a very hard idea for people in an inclusive movement to accept — we really want to have all voices heard. But the principles #Occupy stands for must always take precedence over any individual’s divine right to be an asshole, or the assholes will take over. Which brings me to….

3. The consensus model has a fatal flaw, which is this: It’s very easy for power to devolve to the people who are willing to throw the biggest tantrums. When some a drama king or queen starts holding the process hostage for their own reasons, congratulations! You’ve got a new asshole! (See #2.) You must guard against this constantly, or consensus government becomes completely impossible.

4. Once you’ve accepted the right of the group to set boundaries around people’s behavior, and exclude those who put their personal “rights” ahead of the group’s mission and goals, the next question becomes:  How do we deal with chronic assholes?

This is the problem Occupy’s leaders are very visibly struggling with now. I’ve been a part of asshole-infested groups in the long-ago past that had very good luck with a whole-group restorative justice process. In this process, the full group (or some very large subset of it that’s been empowered to speak for the whole) confronts the troublemaker directly. The object is not to shame or blame. Instead, it’s like an intervention. You simply point out what you have seen and how it affects you. The person is given a clear choice: make some very specific changes in their behavior, or else leave.

This requires some pre-organization. You need three to five spokespeople to moderate the session (usually as a tag team) and do most of the talking. Everybody else simply stands in a circle around the offender, watching silently, looking strong and determined. The spokespeople make factual “we” statements that reflect the observations of the group. “We have seen you using drugs inside Occupied space. We are concerned that this hurts our movement. We are asking you to either stop, or leave.”

When the person tries to make excuses (and one of the most annoying attributes of chronic assholes is they’re usually skilled excuse-makers as well), then other members of the group can speak up — always with “I” messages. “I saw you smoking a joint with X and Y under tree Z this morning. We’re all worried about the cops here, and we think you’re putting our movement in danger. We are asking you to leave.” Every statement needs to end with that demand — “We are asking you to either stop, or else leave and not come back.” No matter what the troublemaker says, the response must always be brought back to this bottom line.

These interventions can go on for a LONG time. You have to be committed to stay in the process, possibly for a few hours until the offender needs a pee break or gets hungry. But eventually, if everybody stays put, the person will have no option but to accept that a very large group of people do not want him or her there. Even truly committed assholes will get the message that they’ve crossed the line into unacceptable behavior when they’re faced with several dozen determined people confronting them all at once.

Given the time this takes, it’s tempting to cut corners by confronting several people all at once. Don’t do it. Confronting more than two people at a time creates a diffusion-of-responsibility effect: the troublemakers tell themselves that they just got caught up in a dragnet; the problem is those other people, not me. The one who talks the most will get most of the heat; the others will tend to slip by (though the experience may cause them to reconsider their behavior or leave as well).

This process also leaves open the hope that the person will really, truly get that their behavior is Not OK, and agree to change it. When this happens, be sure to negotiate specific changes, boundaries, rules, and consequences (“if we see you using drugs here again, we will call the police. There will be no second warning”), and then reach a consensus agreement that allows them to stay. On the other hand: if the person turns violent and gets out of control, then the question is settled, and their choice is made. You now have a legitimate reason to call the cops to haul them away. And the cops will likely respect you more for maintaining law and order.

Clearing out a huge number of these folks can be a massive time suck, at least for the few days it will take to weed out the worst ones and get good at it. It might make sense to create a large committee whose job it is to gather information, build cases against offenders, and conduct these meetings.

And finally:

5. It is not wrong for you to set boundaries this way. You will get shit for this. “But…but…it looks a whole lot like a Maoist purge unit!”  No. There is nothing totalitarian about asking people who join your revolution to act in ways that support the goals of that revolution. And the Constitution guarantees your right of free association — which includes the right to exclude people who aren’t on the bus, and who are wasting the group’s limited time and energy rather than maximizing it. After all: you’re not sending these people to re-education camps, or doing anything else that damages them. You’re just getting them out of the park, and out of your hair. You’re eliminating distractions, which in turn effectively amplifies the voices and efforts of everyone else around you. And, in the process, you’re also modeling a new kind of justice that sanctions people’s behavior without sanctioning their being — while also carving out safe space in which the true potential of Occupy can flourish.

 

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Nov 012011
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Today’s reversal by Bank of America on their proposed $5 monthly fee for users of debit cards shows that our voices are being heard.  A few people who know what they’re talking about offer some advice…

Last night, former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer (who probably could have become president if only he could have kept his dick in his pants) appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann and gave the protesters a few ideas:

Rick Perlstein gave some pointers via his blog at Crooks and Liars

An excerpt:

…the reason the Occupiers have changed attitudes in politicians, or at least become a nagging presence in the back of would-be-austerians minds, is a bluntly traditional reason. It is the same reason politicians have always responded to “street heat.” Politicians see a crowd, and count votes. Not just the votes of the people in the protesting crowd—the count two votes, ten votes, a hundred votes for every member in a protesting crowd. They understand people willing to undergo hardship—certainly people willing to make the awesome commitment to keep and hold public space—as people with the motivation to influence voters around them….

…If sustaining a physical presence in public space is your political goal, well, then we can be very, very happy. But that is not my political goal.

If figuring out nifty new ways for large groups to make democratic decisions is your political goal, then we can be very, very happy. But that is not my political goal. My goal is…economic justice.

Change, Occupiers, or die. Scare politicians. Systematically. Do politics—even if it means the messy of forming coalitions with the nasty organizations “that got us into this mess in the first place.” Human beings got us into this mess in the first place. And no one is saying we shouldn’t be working with them. Or if you are, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.

 

And this creative young man shows us how to Keep Wall Street Occupied from the comfort of your own living room:

Today on the show, I pontificated on OWS, tomorrow’s general strike in Oakland, and Saturday’s Move Your Money action.  By the way, should you be in a position and want to donate some needed goods to OWS, all the info is here.  Stay tuned for info on a general fundraising for occupations around the country, and a fundraising effort for Scott Olsen.
I also read Allen West’s latest “weekly wrap-up” – which is misguided in oh, so many ways.  He ridiculed Occupy Ft. Lauderdale for protesting outside the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show.  Read their take on the action at their website: occupyfortlauderdale.org.

In hour two I was joined by The Political Carnival‘s GottaLaff, for our weekly get-together. Today, we talked about these stories and more:

News Corp.’s James Murdoch gets a pay raise

Virginia GOP Halloween e-mail shows President Obama with bullet hole through his head

Why even President Obama’s highest poll numbers ultimately may not matter

VIDEO: Herman Cain sings… again. Also plans to “take a nap” on first day of his administration.

other quotes +VIDEO: Herman Cain on Face the Nation

Herman Cain, who wants to be leader of the free world, keeps admitting he’s ignorant

Republican: “We don’t have much tolerance for too many facts or too much information.”

Occupy Respect

Jesus Ween

 

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Oct 312011
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Policemen in riot gear scuffle with protesters at the 'Occupy Denver' camp on October 29, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Following a march by protesters, police tried to tear down some newly-erected tents at the encampment and and a melee ensued. Police arrested about a half dozen people and pepper-sprayed others before calling for reinforcements. (John Moore/Getty Images)

I’m not nearly as scared of witches, ghosts and goblins as I am of over-zealous police officers following unconstitutional orders to break up peaceful encampments of protesters exercising their constitutional rights of assembly, protest and free speech.

My respect today is reserved for one magistrate in Nashville, TN (Tennessee of all places), where Night Court Magistrate Thomas Nelson keeps letting the arrested protesters out!

Via:

However, in Nashville, a few hours after the protesters were taken into custody Thursday night, Night Court Magistrate Thomas Nelson let them all go.

He did the same thing the next night when troopers brought in another group of protesters, telling the officers “your warrant is denied.”

Nelson released the demonstrators and refused to sign the arrest warrants, arguing that authorities had no legal basis for the arrests.

The arrests began less than 24 hours after Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration announced it was going to impose a curfew in the park due to safety concerns. Nelson said that wasn’t enough time for protesters to get the necessary permits and he told troopers he will not approve any warrants for arrest under the new curfew.

“For three weeks they’ve sat up there and protested, under no admonition whatsoever that they are violating state policy with regard to camping out…or that they are committing a crime,” Nelson told a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer, according to ABC News affiliate WKRN-TVin Nashville.

“When the state issued its memorandum imposing a curfew and changing the rules, right in the middle of a protest, they can do that, but they have to give them adequate time to comply with those rules,” he said.

Unfortunately, things are getting worse in Richmond, VA

Early Monday (this) morning, shortly after 1 am, the Richmond Police Department descended on Kanawha Plaza, where Occupy Richmond has been camped since October 15, 2011.

Shortly after arriving, police cruisers blockaded streets and lines of officers and horses were set up around the borders of our camp.

Richmond Police gave protesters at Occupy Richmond 15 minutes to collect their belongings and vacate Kanawha Plaza. Promptly after the 15-minute waiting period, Richmond Police swarmed the park. All of our property still remaining in the park was confiscated, collected, and designated for disposal. As the city’s dump trucks and front-loaders decimated our community, occupiers forced to watch from across the street joined together to sing the Star-Spangled Banner. We remained nonviolent at all times during the police action against us.

We unofficially account for 10 to 12 arrests. The majority were released with citations around 4 am while the remainder wait patiently at Richmond City Jail until the magistrate can see them.

This weekend also saw police abuse protesters in Portland OR, Austin TX, Denver CO and other cities.

Our friends at Crooks and Liars have been raising money and sending OccuPies (aka solidarity pizza) to occupations around the country.  But as Nicole Belle told me this morning (more on her visit in a moment), they’re stepping up the effort to raise money to help the protesters make it through a long, cold winter.  They will also be raising funds to help Scott Olsen, the Iraq war Marine veteran who suffered a fractured skull in the Oakland raid last week, pay his mounting medical bills.

They’ve also just launched a new section of the site for updates on all things Occupy America.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, the politicians continue to turn blind ears to the suffering of the 99%.  The “Super Committee” (which I believe is wholly unconstitutional – I certainly didn’t vote for ANY of those 12 people to represent us, nor did anyone else in Florida) is spending valuable time coming up with new way to screw the American people who need help the most.

I’m just a mom/radio host and I figured out how to save Social Security and Medicare: Get rid of the damned FICA cap! We poor working schmucks pay FICA taxes on 100% of our income.  Make the 1% (and everyone else who makes over $110,000 a year) also pay FICA on the same percentage of their income.  Problem solved.  I didn’t even need to convene a super committee to figure it out.

OK, I know that’s not all they’re doing.  How about putting the tax rates back to where they were when Richard Nixon was president…. OK, I’ll take the 50% rate the top earners paid under Reagan.  When business owners are taxes at that rate, they tend to put more money back into their businesses (instead of hiding it in an offshore account or socking it away in some other manner).  By being forced to reinvest in their companies, they might actually HIRE some new employees, putting people like me back to work… That’s how you get more of us paying our fair share of taxes (and the wealthy who get even richer by sitting on their asses and collecting capital gains  have to pay the same rate on that money) … VIOLA!  Deficit goes down.

Unfortunately, we get members of the 1% telling us that to bring down the deficit, we have to cut Social Security (which doesn’t add a dime to the deficit) and the rest of the social safety net (Medicare, Medicaid).  They live in opposite world.

This morning, I spoke with Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works about what the committee has proposed so far, and what we can do to stop them (hint: call your congressperson and Senators daily and sound off about it!).

Being Monday, I spent most of the second hour of the show with the afore-mentioned Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars, commenting on some segments from the Sunday talking head shows in a segment we call “Fools on the Hill”.  Here’s what Nicole brings us today:

There is nowhere where the disconnect between the 99% of Americans and the 1% ruling elite is more manifest than on the Sunday shows. Outside the cozy confines of Beltway studios, the 99% are hurting, with high unemployment, record foreclosures, mortgages underwater, crippling debt and yet none of this penetrates that Beltway bubble. Instead, they happily debate their wedge issues, or the bewildering number of flat tax plans—something guaranteed to worsen the situation for 99%ers—instead of anything that helps Americans feel invested in the political process.

Tom Brokaw is a perfect example of the Beltway media insulation. He calls an AARP ad urging politicians to keep their hands off Medicare and Social Security “selfish”. Methinks Tom does not understand the concept of shared sacrifice as well as he thinks he does.

Speaking of unclear on the concept, Michele Bachmann told Christiane Amanpour that her flat tax plan would have “several rates.

And as another example, Bob Schieffer spent time with Herman Cain, asking him about the infamous Mark Block “smoking man” ad, and whether it was responsible to glamorize smoking, something that Schieffer had a personal issue with, having survived cancer. Not that the ad in great taste, but if I got the chance to interview Cain, I’d probably ask whether it was responsible to hire someone as his campaign manager someone who had been banned for three years from running campaigns due to campaign irregularities. However, it looks like Cain has his own campaign issues with which he’ll need to deal very soon.

Cain was also asked to clarify his accusation that Planned Parenthood was carrying out a planned genocide of African American babies. Not surprisingly, he stood by those words, citing PP founder Margaret Sanger’s words advocating decreasing the number of poor black children. But facts are troubling things, since Sanger was advocating community involvement in encouraging the use of birth control

Anti-abortion activists often misquote Sanger as saying, “[W]e want to exterminate the Negro population.”

But in full context, the quote has the opposite meaning. In a 1939 letter to pro-birth control advocate Clarence J. Gamble, Sanger argued that black leaders should be involved in the effort to deliver birth control to the black community.

“We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs,” she wrote (PDF).

Roger Simon was asked about Rick Perry’s ridiculous embrace of birtherism, which in an honest society, should have laughed him out of contention completely. But the media isn’t ready to give up on Perry yet, even if polls show that Americans have given up on him. But the Politico’s Chief Political Columnist thinks a little bit of racism helps in the GOP primary.

And finally, Pat Buchanan, who deserves no platform—either on MSNBC or here on PBS’s The McLaughlin Group—warned the president off supporting the OWS protests because we know those dirty hippies are going to start fighting with the cops. Hate to break it to Hitler’s apologist, but it looks like the other way around.

And just because he might surge again in the polls (God help us all), here’s Rick Perry speaking at some mega-church this weekend:

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Oct 272011
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That was the scene in Oakland last night – following two nights of brutal police action that resulted in one 24-year old Marine, two-tour Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen hospitalized, in critical condition, with a skull fracture and swelling of the brain.  The occupiers in Oakland were not to be deterred.  If anything, this police action probably intensified their resolve.

At this meeting, as AlterNet‘s Joshua Holland recounted on this morning’s show, those present voted in favor of a general strike to happen on Wednesday, November 2.

From OccupyOakland.org:

Below is the proposal passed by the Occupy Oakland General Assembly on Wednesday October 26, 2011 in reclaimed Oscar Grant Plaza. 1607 people voted. 1484 voted in favor of the resolution, 77 abstained and 46 voted against it, passing the proposal at 96.9%. The General Assembly operates on a modified consensus process that passes proposals with 90% in favor and with abstaining votes removed from the final count.

PROPOSAL:

We as fellow occupiers of Oscar Grant Plaza propose that on Wednesday November 2, 2011, we liberate Oakland and shut down the 1%.

We propose a city wide general strike and we propose we invite all students to walk out of school. Instead of workers going to work and students going to school, the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city.

All banks and corporations should close down for the day or we will march on them.

While we are calling for a general strike, we are also calling for much more. People who organize out of their neighborhoods, schools, community organizations, affinity groups, workplaces and families are encouraged to self organize in a way that allows them to participate in shutting down the city in whatever manner they are comfortable with and capable of.

The whole world is watching Oakland. Let’s show them what is possible.

The Strike Coordinating Council will begin meeting everyday at 5pm in Oscar Grant Plaza before the daily General Assembly at 7pm. All strike participants are invited. Stay tuned for much more information and see you next Wednesday.

There’s been a huge outpouring of support for Scott Olsen in the wake of his injuries at the hands of the Oakland PD, and much deserved criticism of the way Mayor Jean Quan handled the situation.  Keith Olbermann was quite clear in his criticism, saying “Quan must repent or resign”:

Thankfully, she seems to have repented, releasing the following statement:

We support the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement: we have high levels of unemployment and we have high levels of foreclosure that makes Oakland part of the 99% too. We are a progressive city and tolerant of many opinions. We may not always agree, but we all have a right to be heard.

I want to thank everyone for the peaceful demonstration at Frank Ogawa Park tonight, and thank the city employees who worked hard to clean up the plaza so that all activities can continue including Occupy Wall Street. We have decided to have a minimal police presence at the plaza for the short term and build a community effort to improve communications and dialogue with the demonstrators.

99% of our officers stayed professional during difficult and dangerous circumstances as did some of the demonstrators who dissuaded other protestors from vandalizing downtown and for helping to keep the demonstrations peaceful. For the most part, demonstrations over the past two weeks have been peaceful. We hope they continue to be so.

I want to express our deepest concern for all of those who were injured last night, and we are committed to ensuring this does not happen again. Investigations of certain incidents are underway and I will personally monitor them.

We understand and recognize the impact this event has had on the community and acknowledge what has happened. We cannot change the past, but we are committed to doing better.

Most of us are part of the 99%, and understand the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. We are committed to honoring their free speech right.

Finally, we understand the demonstrators want to meet with me and Chief Jordan. We welcome open dialogue with representatives of Occupy Wall Street members, and we are willing to meet with them as soon as possible.

Way to go Occupy Oakland! That is what democracy looks like.

This morning on the show, I was also honored to speak with Jim Hightower.  The commentator, author, radio host and all around amazing person told us about a new effort he has embarked on, along with The Nation‘s Katrina vanden Heuvel, and the former publisher of Mother Jones, Jay Harris.  It’s the We The People campaign, and it’s all about getting corporate money out, and people in!

Need more? Watch this:

Today’s show was a busy one, and I truly screwed up. Instead of hitting the button to save today’s ustream video, I hit the delete button. Damn ustream doesn’t seem to realize that we are idiots that I’m an idiot, so doesn’t even ask “are you sure you really want to delete this?” like so many other places do…

Oh well, I promised I’d post this video here, as the ustream audience couldn’t hear it anyway. It’s from yesterday’s public(!) hearing of the Super Committee, figuring out in just how many ways they’ll screw the people in this country who need help the most. Leah Bolger, VP of Veterans for Peace, has been in DC for the past few weeks, taking part in the occupation of Freedom Plaza. She knew she wouldn’t have access to the committee any other way, so showed up yesterday. Here’s what happened:

And finally, because we must ALWAYS call the liars at Fox out for the shit they make up, here’s a whopper. Just yesterday, the fake news channel ran this story: EXCLUSIVE: ACORN Playing Behind the Scenes Role in ‘Occupy’ Movement, and not one single word of it is true.

Greg Basta, deputy director of NYCC (an organization smeared in that piece of fiction) joined me on the show to debunk the bullshit.

That’s it for this week…  talk to you Monday.

Solidarity!

 

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Oct 262011
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So this is what America has come to?   I showed video on the ustream stream this morning of this man (at the time, I believed it to be a woman).  When the Oakland PD fired teargas grenades at the crowd, it scattered.  A few people noticed someone lying unconscious on the street.  He had obviously hit by something…. When a group of them went back to help the injured person, one of the cops took aim directly at them.

There are a number of videos showing the incident.  By the way, the guy lying wounded in the street who was shot – now twice – by the police: US Marine, Iraq War Veteran Scott Olsen.  Here are more pictures and a description of what happened to him.

Now for the videos… if you can stand them.  Seriously, I can’t believe this is happening in the USA.
This one from Think Progress clearly shows the Flash-Bang Grenades hitting the protesters:

And another view, with slow motion… there’s no question about what happened here:

I’m late in posting today’s show and blog, as I was just on the phone trying to get the condition of Scott Olsen.  They won’t tell me anything, as I’m not family.  However, I was told he was still in the ER… I just saw a post that said he’s in ICU.  I’ll pass along any info as soon as I get it.  What I do know is that the City of Oakland has blood on its hands.    Keith Olbermann just tweeted that he’ll have a special comment about what’s happening in Oakland tonight.

***Update – Scott Olsen’s status is serious but stable.  According to @AdamGabbatt, a journalist from the Guardian living in NY, these tweets:

Scott Olsen’s roommate, Keith Shannon, just told me Olsen has “skull fracture, swelling of the brain”.

Scott Olsen is sedated and “waiting assessment by neurosurgeon”, to determine if he needs surgery bit.ly/vUcqgT (end of update)****

This morning, the show began with a call from Van Jones, and a 40-minute conversation that touched on the American Dream movement, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the police brutality against the protesters and, of course, the contract for America.

I also spoke with Will Bunch.  The Philadelphia Daily News and Attytood Blog writer, author of Tear Down This Myth and The Backlash has just released a new e-book called October 1, 2011:  The Battle of the Brooklyn Bridge about the day that will likely be remembered as the flashpoint of the Occupy movement. (At 45 pages, it’s shorter than a book, but longer than a magazine article…  Amazon has it as a “Kindle Single” for 99 cents).  We talked about more than just the 700 arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge that day, but the entire #occupywallstreet movement to date.

On Wednesdays, I speak with my friend Jeremy Koulish at Main Street Insider, talking about this week’s 90 second summary.  This week, it was Herman Cain’s 999 Plan….

Tomorrow on the program, the one and only Jim Hightower will be my guest in the first hour. Don’t be late!

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Oct 252011
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Occupy Oakland 10/25/11

Occupy Oakland 10/25/11 - Your tax dollars at work

As I was preparing for the show this morning, reports started crossing my twitter stream of violent police action against the protesters at Occupy Oakland.   The picture above was taken by someone on the scene… Hundreds of cops in riot gear, including officers from surrounding municipalities as backup… against peaceful protesters.

This video was shot by someone there and posted on the ustream account of punkboyinsf.  At around 16:00 in, you see a citizen journalist thrown to the ground by police;  at around 17:00, tear gas is used;

He was livestreaming via his cellphone (something I’ll have to try one of these days)… but I hope to not get hit by tear gas as he was at around 17:30…  He said the cop tried to tell him it was the occupiers gassing them!   Pretty powerful citizen reporting.

The Occupy Oakland website has lots more on this morning’s pre-dawn raid.

This morning at 5am over 500 police in riot gear from cities all over central California brutally attacked the Occupy Oakland encampment at 14th & Broadway. The police attacked the peaceful protest with flash grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets after moving in with armored vehicles. Apparently the media was not allowed in to document this repression, and the police established barricades as far apart as 11th and 17th. Over 70 people were arrested and the camp gear was destroyed and/or stolen by the riot police.

Contact the mayor and tell her what you think of her actions.

Reconvene today at 4pm at the Oakland Library on 14th & Madison. Occupy Oakland is not finished, it has only begun

If anything, the actions of the police will only make the protesters more resolute in their occupations.

I had already arranged to have Joshua Holland of AlterNet on the show this morning to talk about his coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement.   Joshua happens to live in San Francisco, and was awakened by someone alerting him of the raid at 5am PT…  We talked about the differences of the police response to the occupations between SF and Oakland, and talked about these pieces Joshua wrote in the past week about the movement:

Occupy the Boardroom: 9 Angry, Heart-Breaking Messages to Wall Street’s Elites From the 99%

How Video of Police Behaving Badly Made Occupy Wall Street a Global Phenomenon

Which Bank Is the Worst for America? 5 Behemoths That Hold Our Political System Hostage

We Have a First Amendment Right to Protest — So Why All These Arrests Around Occupy Wall Street?

In hour two, The Political Carnival’s GottaLaff joined in to talk about some of the stories we might otherwise have missed this week, and premiere a new Blunt webisode:

The Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann campaigns are a mess. “Rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel.”

The L.A. Times essentially calls Michele Bachmann a big ol’ liar. TPC provides the bullet points.

Florida teacher could face thousands of dollars in fines for helping students register to vote

Ruh-roh! Romneycare allows free care for some undocumented immigrants!

Chemical bomb tossed into Occupy Maine encampment

Herman Cain the “outsider” was “an ultimate Washington insider: industry lobbyist.”

Eric Cantor: I canceled my speech after learning it was open to the public. University: Um, it always was.

VIDEO and PhotOH! Hey! Eric Cantor!

91-year-old can’t get voter ID because she was too frail to stand in line long enough


And just because everyone MUST see this…Herman Cain’s new TV ad… Warning: This comes from Herman Cain’s campaign; It is not a parody from the Onion, Funny or Die, or even SNL….

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