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Occupy - The Daily Occupation

Keeping you up-to-date with the #Occupy movement.

Archive for the Occupy Category

Twitter forced to reveal Occupy tweets; Twitter “disappointed”

Despite a long legal fight, Twitter has been ordered by a Manhattan judge to turn over tweets from Malcolm Harris, an Occupy protester whom police accuse of knowingly disobeying police orders. Harris was among the hundreds of protesters arrested last November for marching across the Brooklyn Bridge.

According to a spokeswoman for the social networking company, “Twitter’s Terms of Service have long made it absolutely clear that its users own their content. We continue to have a steadfast commitment to our users and their rights.”


Read the full story here.
http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Occupy-Wall-Street-Protester-Malcolm-Harris-Tweet-Ruling-Judge-Subpoena-Prosecutor-161089825.html

Oglala Sioux, Occupy Lincoln blockade White Clay, Nebraska

There’s something strange about the town of White Clay, Nebraska. It’s not that the town only has 14 people, though that makes it one of the nations’ smallest. It’s not even its proximity to Native land — barely 200 feet away from the Pine Ridge border.

What really sets White Clay apart is that it has four liquor stores — that’s 3.5 per resident. The entire town seems to be little more than a sick and predatory scheme to prey upon poverty and addiction, and skirt Native laws on alcohol consumption. The stores have been caught, repeatedly, selling to minors and intoxicated individuals.

Providing an ‘eviction’ notice, and blockading the town, the Oglala natives, environmental groups and Occupy Lincoln members have successfully called for an investigation of the liquor stores.

Videos of the protests are here and here, and lawsuits are underway:

Learn more:
Save Pine Ridge
Battle for White Clay

Finally, this is the request for help from Pine Ridge reservation on general matters.
Finally, this is the request for help from Pine Ridge reservation on general matters.

Tribune Company Moves to Seize Occupied Chicago Tribune’s Website (Firedog Lake)

A newspaper launched by activists from Occupy Chicago and journalists loosely associated with the Occupy movement in Chicago face the possibility of losing the website for their newspaper. The Tribune Company has submitted a complaint to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to force the transfer of ownership of two domains from those involved in the newspaper to the Tribune.

Journalists involved in the newspaper, which is called the Occupied Chicago Tribune, found out the Tribune was going before the Geneva-based WIPO to have the domain transferred last week when they received a solicitation email from a New York law firm. It said the Tribune had filed for a “Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) proceeding” on May 24 because the Tribune believes the Occupy newspaper is using the domain—OccupiedChicagoTribune.org—in “bad faith.” It also said that the name of the newspaper is “confusingly similar” to the Tribune’s newspaper, the Chicago Tribune.

By Thursday, the Occupied Chicago Tribune must submit a response to the Tribune’s complaint. A single-member administrative panel will then do a review and decide in favor of one of the parties. If the Occupied Chicago Tribune loses, an appeal can be filed. An appellate panel will hear the case. If they lose at this level, there is a possibility the case would end up in a court in the jurisdiction of the party that is the subject of the complaint.

Read the full article at Fire Dog Lake.

OCCUPY CARAVAN

EMERGENCY FUNDS NEEDED! Hi Brothers and Sisters – we really need your support. As it stands RIGHT NOW over 45 people want rides on the Occupy Caravan to Occupy National Gathering we CAN NOT provide from both the LA and San FRAN launch locations! For the START!!! The Caravan was founded at Zuccotti and both the Caravan and the Occupy National Gathering have been endorsed by Occupy across the country! We are hopeful in ONE DAY we can raise a minimum of $4,500. so NO ONE gets left behind!
The caravan starts in 1 DAY!!! Today is our last chance to get those funds and rent passenger vans!!! PLEASE HELP US!
 Newsweek, The New York Times and PBS are all ALREADY following us!!! HELP US SHINE A POSITIVE LIGHT on OCCUPY and bring Occupy’s power of presence to local Occupy’s across the country then to #natgat!!!

 EVERY PENNY will be spent on this action. No salaries, no per diem…only 100% transparency & 100% LOVE!

 Please donate to the VAN FUND! 
and SPREAD THE WORD! Repost!

http://occupycaravan.webs.com/apps/donations/

for more info visit www.occupycaravan.com or email info@occupycaravan.com

It’s a bit late, but hopefully any additional funds will help, here.

Minnesota: Protestors vow to reoccupy foreclosed home

Activists from Occupy Homes Minnesota are vowing to reoccupy the Minneapolis home where a confrontation with police Wednesday night led to 14 arrests.

The group sent out an email Friday morning informing the media and authorities of their intentions. It reads, in part:

We will reoccupy the Cruz home AGAIN tomorrow at 2pm on the one month anniversary of our 24/7 eviction blockade at the Cruz family home. Freddie Mac, PNC Bank, and Mayor Rybak have a choice to make: waste more city resources arresting peaceful protesters, or work to keep the Cruz family in their home. WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED.

On Wednesday nighty an estimated 100 protestors gathered at 4044 Cedar Avenue outside the Cruz home, which had been secured by authorities for foreclosure after the family was evicted.

According to demonstrators dozens of police arrived around 10:30 p.m. to break up the protest. They allege that officers, including Minneapolis Chief Tim Dolan, carried large batons and used physical force to arrest the protestors. Ten were arrested at the scene.

“Today’s (Wednesday) police violence shows Rybak and his police protect and serve the banks, not our communities,” said Martha Ockenfels-Martinez an organizer with Occupy Homes MN and representative of the Cruz family.

A spokesman with Minneapolis Police says he saw no overuse of force or officer misconduct in the time he was on the scene.

Read the full article at KARE 11.

Occupy convinces Buffalo City Council to ditch JPMorgan, transfer $45 million

So, the city of Buffalo decided to Move Its Money from JPMorgan (recently shamed by a multi-billion dollar loss resulting from risky trading practices) to a local bank.

As the article mentions, “The move follows concerns about JPMorgan raised with the Common Council by members of the Occupy Buffalo movement, who asked that the city withdraw its deposits from the institution.”

The Huffington Post also has an article on the transfer:

JPMorgan’s $2 billion trading loss was bound to have big consequences but few could have guessed the fallout would reach all the way to the Buffalo Sewer Authority.

City Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder has agreed to transfer $45 million worth of Sewer Authority funds from a JPMorgan Chase account to local bank First Niagara Financial Group after Occupy Buffalo raised concerns about leaving the money at JPMorgan, the Buffalo News reports. The move comes with a number of benefits, including a higher interest rate and more local branches that make it easier for employees to cash paychecks (h/t ThinkProgress).

“It also sends a crystal-clear message to JPMorgan Chase that the City of Buffalo is not happy with their business practices,” Schroeder told Buffalo News.

The city’s decision to transfer its money comes just weeks after JPMorgan’s $2 billion trading loss, which caused significant damage to the bank’s reputation. It’s also a victory for Occupy Buffalo, which has been demonstrating against JPMorgan for months. The group organized a protest in front of a JPMorgan branch back in October advocating customers withdraw their money from the nation’s biggest banks.

The Occupy movement has had success in getting other cities to loosen their affiliations with big banks. Both Los Angeles and Kansas City have approved measures that deter officials from doing business with banks that have been accused of predatory lending.

Six arrested at Minimum Wage protest in Albany

Occupy Albany + clergy

Occupy Albany, clergy try to force NY to hike minimum wage

ALBANY, N.Y. — A push to raise the minimum wage despite a political stalemate brought the Occupy Albany movement to New York’s Capitol on Tuesday while dozens of clergy statewide pressured the Senate’s Republican majority and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“A living wage is possible, this movement is unstoppable!” chanted 40 demonstrators from the Capitol’s ornate Million Dollar Staircase. “It’s shameful and outrageous!”

“We feel it is repugnant morally and reprehensible for persons who work every day to have to raise a family in poverty,” said the Rev. Kevin Agee, pastor of the Hopps Memorial CME Church in Syracuse, a congregation of Christians, Methodists and Episcopalians.”

Continue reading Six arrested at Minimum Wage protest in Albany

Why Unions lost, and Walker Won

In the following editorial, Doug Henwood makes the case that unions lost not primarily because of being outspent 7:1 by conservative groups and the fallout from Citizens United, but because labor unions have become narrow, self-interested organizations too closely intertwined with Democratic Party establishment. Henwood argues that, rather than focusing on improving the lots of say, autoworkers at a specific plant, or just teachers, the labor movement needs to represent the working class as a whole:

“Suppose instead that the unions had supported a popular campaign—media, door knocking, phone calling—to agitate, educate, and organize on the importance of the labor movement to the maintenance of living standards? If they’d made an argument, broadly and repeatedly, that Walker’s agenda was an attack on the wages and benefits of the majority of the population? That it was designed to remove organized opposition to the power of right-wing money in politics? That would have been more fruitful than this major defeat.

And as much as it hurts to admit this, labor unions just aren’t very popular. In Gallup’s annual poll on confidence in institutions, unions score close to the bottom of the list, barely above big business and HMOs but behind banks. More Americans — 42% — would like to see unions have less influence, and just 25% would like to see them have more. Despite a massive financial crisis and a dismal job market, approval of unions is close to an all-time low in the 75 years Gallup has been asking the question. A major reason for this is that twice as many people (68%) think that unions help mostly their members as think they help the broader population (34%). Amazingly, in Wisconsin, while only about 30% of union members voted for Walker, nearly half of those living in union households but not themselves union members voted for him. In other words, apparently union members aren’t even able to convince their spouses that the things are worth all that much.

A major reason for the perception that unions mostly help insiders is that it’s true. Continue reading Why Unions lost, and Walker Won

Texas Schools and The $5.4 Billion Bake Sale

With massive budget cuts crippling Texas schools, a somewhat ingenious way to protest has been devised by the communities hurt by such measures.

They’re going to have a bake sale, of course!

How many cupcakes does it take to close the state’s structural deficit?

As part of our “Days of Action” around the state starting on May 8, Save Texas Schools will hold “Billion Dollar Bake Sales” in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and other cities across Texas. The goal is to educate the public about the ongoing effects of the state’s structural deficit on school funding cuts and encourage voters to support pro-education candidates in the May 29th state primaries.

While the bake sales provide a humorous angle, the education cuts could hardly be more serious. In 2011, the Texas Legislature slashed $5.4 billion from public education, forcing crowded classrooms, shuttered schools and over ten thousand classroom teachers laid off statewide. Dallas alone will close 11 schools this fall and other districts are considering charging students up to $100 per semester to ride school buses or participate in extracurricular activities. Tiny Premont ISD did the unthinkable for Texas, canceling its football program to save costs.

State education cuts are no laughing matter to Texas families and our point is you can’t make this up with bake sales. At 50 cents apiece, we’d have to sell almost 11 billion cupcakes just to cover last session’s cuts – if the next legislature can’t find the political will to fix the structural deficit they created in 2006, we can expect another $5 billion (or 10 billion cupcakes) more in school cuts for 2013

Where does one hold a bake sale big enough to fill these cuts?

We did the math using 3-inch cupcakes and realized we’d need more than 676 million square-feet of table space. That’s over 4800 Astrodomes put together, so we’re going to have to up the price on our cupcakes. Those who can’t afford a billion dollar dessert can get a copy of Save Texas Schools “Building Support for Public Education” (Click here to download a pdf copy).

Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. executives to go unpunished

A saddening non-surprise, from the Bloomberg:

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigators have concluded their probe of possible financial fraud at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. without recommending enforcement action against the firm or its former executives, according to an excerpt of an internal agency memo.

Lawmakers and investors have pressed the agency for more than three years to determine whether Lehman misrepresented its financial health before filing the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history in September 2008.
Enlarge image

Lehman Brothers company sign at Christie’s auction house in London. Photographer: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Under a heading reading “Activity in Last Four Weeks,” the undated document reads, “The staff has concluded its investigation and determined that charges will likely not be recommended.”

SEC officials didn’t dispute the authenticity of the memo or its contents.

Pressure on the agency to punish any wrongdoing related to Lehman’s collapse escalated after Anton Valukas, the court- appointed bankruptcy examiner, found the firm misled investors with “accounting gimmicks” that disguised its leverage.

Senior SEC officials have been reluctant to formally close the matter even though investigators found a lack of evidence of wrongdoing, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter. The officials have weighed issuing a public report on their findings that would stop short of an enforcement action while highlighting the firm’s questionable conduct.

For a recap of how Lehman Brothers severely damaged the people during the financial crisis, the Daily Reckoning has a good summary.

Bahrain: hundreds of thousands protest King, proposed Union with Saudi Arabia

This video has to be seen to believed.

For over a year now, Bahrain’s Shi’ite majority has been protesting against the oppressive Sunni regime of King Hamad al Khalifa. Despite protesters being beaten, jailed, tortured and even killed by Bahraini authorities, the United States still supports al-Khalifa and gives him weapons. Why? Because the U.S Navy’s Fifth Fleet is stationed in Bahrain.

Despite sending in Saudi soldiers to beat up protesters, al-Khalifa knows his grip on power is weak. Now, he is considering a union with Saudi Arabia. Will the USA continue to arm and support dictators?

Quebec approaches martial law in response to the student movement

On Friday, May 18, the Québec legislature signed a special “emergency law” to “restore order” in the province following three months of student protests in a strike against the government’s proposed 80% increase in the cost of tuition. A legislative debate lasted all night and resulted in a vote of 68-48 in favour of the legislation. The legislation has three main focal points: (1) it “suspends” the school semester for schools majorly affected by the strike, (2) it establishes extremely high fines for anyone who attempts to picket or block access to schools, and (3) it imposes massive restrictions on where and how people may demonstrate and protest in the streets. The law is set to expire by July 1, 2013.

On Tuesday, May 15, protests continued in Quebec, with about 100 riot police called in to break a student strike blockage of a community college in Montreal. Students were told that “all necessary force” would be used to ensure that classes would resume, in line with a legal injunction obtained by 53 of the school’s students to return to class. … The injunctions are backed by the power of the state, and so the riot police are called in to pepper spray, tear gas, and beat with batons those students who form picket lines blocking access to the schools. On May 15, parents and teachers of striking students were involved in helping organize the picket line which ended with the riot squad using tear gas and arresting several people. …

Read the full article at the Media Co-op.

Tim Pool handcuffed by cops, raided

Well-known independent journalist Tim Pool (who has covered just about every Occupy event since it started back in Sept. 2011) was evidently handcuffed, had a gun pointed at him and searched. Seems like a pretty clear case of intimidation.

Tim’s Twitter initially said:

“We may have been raided, suspicious circumstances. Talked to NLG [editors note: National Lawyers Guild], more info soon.”

It was later confirmed with the following tweets:
“WE HAVE BEEN RAIDED SOS
Calming down, still paranoid after being cuffed at gunpoint. #nato #nonato”

Watch the video here: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/22716864

In case they try to take the video down , please download the raw FLV here: http://upmv07.xo.upmv.ustream.tv/0/1/22/22716/22716864/1_9824271_22716864.flv
and upload it to Youtube.

Unconfirmed reports allege that the LivesStream equipment was intentionally damaged by CPD.

A partial listing of arrests in or involving the Occupy Chicago/NATO protests

Eight Catholic Workers’ Movement supporters, peace activists arrested after occupying an Obama campaign building.

Four immigration rights activists, including a priest, were arrested for not leaving a courthouse.

There is also the heavy case of the #Nato3; for further illumination on the case, read the National Lawyers’ Guild statement against the charges, and the Rolling Stone’s article discussing the frequent abuse of arrests and charges in this style.

A few arrests occurred on Friday as some protesters split off from the Nurses’ protest.

(Ed. note: submit other arrests if you know of them or as they come up, please.)

NATO protesters get stage, microphone, in preparation for Sunday

According to CBS:

With just five days to go, the protests are getting louder, with a total of 12 arrests over the past two days.

CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports the biggest anti-NATO march got a big boost on Tuesday, as city officials authorized setting up a stage near McCormick Place for Sunday’s protest rally during the start of the summit.

The agreement means thousands of demonstrators will not only be allowed to march to a point near where the NATO meetings will take place, they’ll also have a stage and sound system to help anti-war veterans get their message out.

A dense but very well detailed list of reasons for protest has been offered by natoprotest.org.

And of course, sound canons may well be used against the protestersChicago police just spent a million dollars on anti-protest equipment.

“The business end of the LRAD looks like a mid-sized satellite dish emits high-intensity sound in a 30-degree arc that seems to victims as if they just opened the door on a tunnel of sound as loud as 150 decibels up to 1,600 feet away from the LRAD. Noise louder than 120 decibels, which is about equivalent to a jet taking off, causes pain in the ears, according to the Toronto Star. Sustained noise louder than 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing damage according to the U.S. National Institute on Deafness. ”

Learn more and get involved:

http://www.facebook.com/ResistG8NATO

http://occupychi.org/events

Chicago: Nurses’ rally to draw thousands, Tom Morello to draw even more

Nurses Rally, Tom Morello to draw crowds

CBS reports:

National Nurses United officials have said they expect about 2,000 nurses to attend a rally Friday, where they will call for a tax on financial institutions’ transactions to offset cuts in social services, education and health care. But city officials are expecting more than 5,000 because of a performance by former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello.

Anti-war protesters gather on Thursday:

On May 17th, 75 anti-war activists protested outside of Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters :

Continue reading Chicago: Nurses’ rally to draw thousands, Tom Morello to draw even more

Did the White House Direct the Police Crackdown on Occupy?

A new trove of heavily redacted documents provided by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild makes it increasingly evident that there was and is a nationally coordinated campaign to disrupt and crush the Occupy Movement.

The new documents, which PCJF National Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard insists “are likely only a subset of responsive materials,” in the possession of federal law enforcement agencies, only “scratch the surface of a mass intelligence network including Fusion Centers, saturated with ‘anti-terrorism’ funding, that mobilizes thousands of local and federal officers and agents to investigate and monitor the social justice movement.”

Nonetheless, blacked-out and limited though they are, she says they offer clues to the extent of the government’s concern about and focus on the wave of occupations that spread across the country beginning with last September’s Occupy Wall Street action in New York City.


Read the full article at Counterpunch.

Russian Court Orders Removal of ‘Occupy’ Protest

As an international movement, Occupy meets different challenges in different countries. One problem they all face, however, is a political and legal system that’s none too happy about people making themselves heard and refusing to be ignored.

The protests in Russia, sometimes known as Occupy Abai (named after the statue of Kazakh poet at the center of their camp), are in their second week against inequality and political corruption, especially the disputed “re-election” of Vladimir Putin.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

MOSCOW—A Russian district court ordered the removal of an opposition protest encampment from a park in downtown Moscow, signaling an apparent end for the capital’s first Occupy-style protest. Ilya Yashin, one of the opposition leaders, told the demonstrators that Tuesday’s court order mandates they vacate the park by noon Wednesday, according to a copy he said he was shown by police.

Demonstrators voted later to hold out until police move in to break up the encampment, then relocate to a different part of the city. The camp at a park in the Chistiye Prudy area of central Moscow sprouted spontaneously in the wake of protests last week against Vladimir Putin’s inauguration for a third presidential term.

Continue reading Russian Court Orders Removal of ‘Occupy’ Protest

Chicago police spend $1 million on anti-Occupy Gear

In preparation for the antiwar protests and Occupations taking place this month, the Chicago Police have gone on a million-dollar shopping spree, getting new riot gear and even directed-sound weapons (LRAD) designed to disperse crowds.

The Guardian reports:

“Police in Chicago have spent $1m on riot-control equipment in the last few months ahead of next month’s Nato summit, which is expected to attract thousands of anti-war protesters. Protesters from a coalition of organisations including unions, anti-war and Occupy groups are expected to descend on the city. National Nurses United, the largest nurses’ union in the US, is providing free buses to Chicago for activists from across the country even as its own plans to demonstrate were vetoed by the city of Chicago on Tuesday.

While protesters insist demonstrations during the Nato conference – the main action is planned for Sunday 20 May – will be peaceful, police appear to be leaving nothing to chance. Records show that since it was announced the Nato conference would be held in Chicago, police have purchased improved riot gear for both officers and horses. Officers are also preparing to use the controversial long-range acoustic device, or LRAD, during the operation.

Chicago police confirmed to the Guardian that they will have a LRAD available at the 20 May protest, “as a means to ensure a consistent message is delivered to large crowds that can be heard over ambient noise”.

LRADs have been purchased by the US army and navy, and have also been used in commercial shipping as an attempt to drive away pirates. The device was first used at a protest in the US at the G20 Pittsburgh summit in September 2009, however there are ongoing complaints that its use there caused some people to suffer permanent damage.

Karen Piper, a university lecturer, claims she suffered irreversible hearing damage that day, and is currently bringing a legal case against the city of Pittsburgh. “This is a device that has the capability to inflict permanent hearing loss on people,” Piper’s lawyer, Vic Walczak, told the Guardian, adding that the device is “more dangerous than a Taser. We don’t believe it should be used against demonstrators. It should not be used outside the battlefield.”

…..

John Beachan, the Chicago co-ordinator for the anti-war group Answer, is involved in organising the protest against the Nato conference. He criticised the police spending as “quite striking. It shows what they’d prefer to spend money on.”

“People are coming out to protest Nato because they want wars to end and they want the money spent on public services, not on bailing out the banks and not on more wars,” said Beachan, a 44-year-old community college lecturer.

“Why is it that the state is spending so much money on arming the police here supposedly in response to what is being planned as a peaceful protest?”

Salon: “Occupy” Cop under attack, may lose life insurance for protesting

Retired police Captain Ray Lewis, famously arrested for protesting alongside Occupy, may be kicked out of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, losing his benefits and retirement security. As Philadelpha journalist William Bender notes, getting kicked out is not easy:

It’s usually tough to get kicked out of Philadelphia’s Fraternal Order of Police. You really have to screw up. Worse than, say, the cop who allegedly beat his girlfriend with a closed fist and left her a voice mail threatening to ‘stomp your f—ing heart out.’ Or the officer convicted of child endangerment for pointing a loaded Glock at a kid who changed the radio station in his truck at the Police Academy.

Or the cop who allegedly forced a suspect to perform oral sex on him in his police cruiser.

All three got support from the F.O.P. throughout their arbitrations. Yet, Captain Ray Lewis, respected veteran of the Philadelphia police force, may lose his membership — and life insurance — for supporting Occupy and protesting. At issue? Capt. Lewis’s wearing of his own uniform, despite being retired. The Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police considers this “impersonating a police officer.” Only problem? According to the police, it’s not:

“[Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 president] McNesby even continues to insist that Lewis should be arrested, even though Commissioner Ramsey has long since clearly acknowledged that one is not “impersonating a police officer” if they are “not pretending to be a cop.”

Lewis, however, won’t back down: “Lewis continues to protest. In uniform. Last week he was in Center City Philadelphia, protesting outside police and FOP headquarters. He says that FOP leadership , a major force in city politics, depends on corporate donations to finance its union election campaigns and quarterly magazine.”

Read more about the contrived charges at Salon.

Hundreds protest at Bank of America

Bank of America, infamous for backdoor bailouts and insulting debit fees, is being protested by several groups under the Occupy banner. From CNN:

Hundreds of protesters decamped outside Bank of America’s corporate headquarters in downtown Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday for the bank’s annual shareholder meeting.

We see Bank of America as the worst of the worst,” said Amanda Starbuck, a director at the environmental advocacy group Rainforest Action Network, which organized the protests. “There’s a lot of momentum around Bank of America.

Additionally, members of the 99% Power Coalition said that Bank of America paid for additional security around the meeting. The bank hired off-duty Charlotte police officers to sit inside the meeting, as well as a private security firm to work outside.

Bank of America declined to comment on the hiring of private security. A spokesperson for Charlotte’s mayor said that off-duty police officers can be hired by private companies.

Photos of the protests in Charlotte, NC from Reuters, and video of the protests, provided by the Washington Post.

Top Five Reasons to Occupy Bank of America

Think Progress has put together a neat little list of why Bank of America is Bad for America. It’s reproduced in an abridged version below:

“1) Cruel and unusual foreclosure practices: Bank of America’s foreclosure practices are something out of a science fiction novel. There’s the case of the woman and her disabled daughter who were foreclosed on, even after they’d received a loan modification; there are the homeowners that BofA offered loan modifications to if they erased mean things they said about the bank on Twitter….

2) Bank of America places Bank of America over its customers: Serious accusations leveled against Bank of America include the claim that Bank of America intentionally blocked its customers from seeking mortgage help (“The bank and its agents routinely pretended to have lost homeowners’ documents, failed to credit payments during trial modifications and intentionally misled homeowners about their eligibility for the program, the complaint alleged”), and that they allow homes to fall apart in areas that are heavily populated by people of color.

Continue reading Top Five Reasons to Occupy Bank of America

Op-Ed.: The Possible Voter Referendum on Medicaid Funding

In today’s Decatur Daily, there is an article entitled ‘Voters may decide Medicaid funding’, in which we are told that ‘the proposed Senate version (of the budget) allocates $418 million to Medicaid and is dependent on voters approving in November a constitutional amendment to allow the state’s Education Trust Fund to pay about $184 million a year for three years to Medicaid.’ (1)

So we voters will be faced with a stark, double-edged sword of a choice in November. Either vote to remove hundreds of millions of dollars from the future education budget of this state’s children, or de-fund a program that ‘is the foundation on which we build health care in this state’, according to Dr. Don Williamson, who is leading the state’s Medicaid agency (1). Dr Williamson goes on to state that ‘(he) thinks there’s a high chance we are going to get sued in federal court (for the lack of basic care)’, and that ’43 percent of all Alabama children are insured by Medicaid’, and that ‘it will only get worse, especially in rural areas. “You’re going to lose doctors, you’re going to lose hospitals, you are going to lose nursing homes…”’

Also, if I may interject a brief economic lesson, cutting Medicaid funding is NOT a cost saving measure in the long term, either financially or in terms of human suffering. As I stated in a prior paper, people will end up in emergency rooms, at a cost of thousands of dollars per visit that they are unlikely to be able to afford to pay, for want of the basic preventive care afforded by Medicaid. This only SHIFTS and INCREASES the costs, not decreases it. In extreme cases, such as with the proposal to limit Medicaid reimbursement to 4 medications (3), people will have to prioritize their physical and mental illnesses to see which they are most able to withstand without dying or winding up in a mental institution. Someone even mentioned Medicaid funding being cut or removed for dialysis patients. That would only mean a slow-to-moderate length agonizing death for the affected patients.

Continue reading Op-Ed.: The Possible Voter Referendum on Medicaid Funding

Occupy NATO on May 18th to 22nd — Free Bus Trips

A flyer for this is provided here.

With the NATO conference coming up in Chicago — the G8 conference was scared into moving their conference to Camp David — Occupy and affiliated movements are kicking into full gear, planning protests and more. Their grievances? Out of control military spending (nearly 700 billion per year), civilian deaths in unaccountable drone strikes, the military industrial complex and war in general. They will hold a “People’s Summit” to counter the G8 and NATO summits.

A group calling itself 99% Solidarity is planning to bus protesters to Chicago to join in on the action. The buses will leave on the 14th or 15th. From the website:

Currently, buses will be leaving from the following cities in time to arrive in Chicago on May 17.
Portland
New York City
Washington DC
Boston, MA
Providence, RI
Burlington, VT
Salem, NH
Philadelphia, PA
Atlanta, GA
Oakland CA
Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco, CA
Continue reading Occupy NATO on May 18th to 22nd — Free Bus Trips

Daily Beast: Occupy Wall Street Has Seized Control of Political Debate

…OWS already has had a clear and demonstrable impact on both the Obama and Romney campaigns—arguably becoming the most important outside influence so far in this year’s election campaign dialogue.

President Obama and the Democrats have been increasingly echoing the central themes that OWS introduced last fall—emphasizing unfairness in American society, income inequality, and the need to redistribute wealth. Mitt Romney—who has struggled throughout this campaign on how to address questions surrounding Bain Capital, his overall wealth, the tax rates he pays, and what role Wall Street and business should play in promoting economic growth and job development—sought to tap into OWS themes at a rally in New Hampshire on April 24 with a speech centered around “the unfairness of America today.”

Moreover, the themes and rhetoric that Occupy Wall Street introduced have captured enough attention to go beyond the political hemisphere, to influence Wall Street itself. Nowhere was this clearer than last week when for the first time in Wall Street history, Citigroup shareholders united in opposition to a proposed $15 million pay package for its chief executive, Vikram S. Pandit. The shareholder vote, which comes amid a rising national debate over income inequality, suggests that anger over pay for chief executives has spread from Occupy Wall Street to influence actual behavior on Wall Street as well…

Editor’s note: Shifting the window of dialogue is great, and a necessary first step. But if pressure does not sustain itself – and continue to build in favor of practical change – the effects such as those described in the article will be merely isolated events.

Read the full article at the Daily Beast.