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.
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.
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.
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.
Two Voter ID laws have been either paralyzed or effectively shut down for the time being, in Texas and in Wisconsin.
From the Texas article:
Washington (CNN) — A controversial new Texas law requiring voters to present personal identification before going to the polls has been blocked by the Obama administration. [...]
The Justice Department, relying on statistics provided by the state, said Hispanics in particular would be negatively affected by the Texas law.
“Under the data provided in January, Hispanics make up only 21.8% of all registered voters, but fully 38.2% of the registered voters who lack these forms of identification. Thus, we conclude that the total number of registered voters who lack a driver’s license or personal identification card issued by (the state Department of Public Safety) could range from 603,892 to 795,955 … Even using the data most favorable to the state, Hispanics disproportionately lack either a driver’s license or a personal identification card … and that disparity is statistically significant,” Perez said.
A similar voter ID law in South Carolina was blocked by the Obama administration in December.
And from the Wisconsin article, a short, sweet quote detailing the ruling from Judge Richard Niess, who has effectively ruled the law unconstitutional:
Continue reading Voter ID Laws – Texas, Wisconsin, Virginia and Pennsylvania
Chris Hedges has a well-crafted, pitch perfect, and damn passionate op-ed over at Truthout that is quite worth the read. Some excerpts:
I spent Friday morning sitting on a wooden bench in a fourth-floor courtroom in the New York Criminal Court in Manhattan. I was waiting to be sentenced for “disturbing the peace” and “refusing to obey a lawful order” during an Occupy demonstration in front of Goldman Sachs in November.
[...] The country’s most egregious criminals, the ones who had stripped some of those being sentenced of their homes, their right to a decent education and health care, their jobs, their dignity and their hope, those wallowing in tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, those who had gamed the system to enrich themselves at our expense, were doing the dirty business of speculation in the tall office towers a few blocks away. They were making money. A few of these wealthy plutocrats were with the president, who was in New York that day to attend four fundraisers that took in an estimated $3 million. For $15,000 you could have joined Barack Obama at Daniel, an exclusive Upper East Side restaurant. For $35,000 you could have been at a gathering hosted by movie director Spike Lee. Most of those sentenced in that courtroom do not make that much in a year. It was a good day in New York for Barack Obama. It was a bad day for us.
Hedges goes on to address the frustration of voters towards the available candidates, voting third party, and why and how OWS will ultimately succeed. The piece is incredibly well written and, in our humble opinions, deserves a look, as it touches on many subjects and themes central to the Occupy movement.
A lot has gone down with Occupy Toronto in the last week. Here’s a basic timeline that traces the events in play:
- Jul. 22nd, 2011
- After “guaranteeing” during his campaign that he would not cut “services,” newly elected Mayor Rob Ford immediately turns around and—you guessed it—proposes $700 million in cuts, including programs for student nutrition, AIDS prevention, and community drug prevention.
- Jan. 17th — Part 1
- Hundreds of Occupy Toronto protestors gather for a demonstration against Ford’s proposed budget cuts. The response was about what we’ve come to expect from the police, and it’s sad to see it’s not just limited to America. Samurgen Coplander has an interview with protestors here.
- Jan. 17th — Part 2
- In a squeaker of a vote (23-21), the proposed budget cuts go down in flames. Interestingly, the cuts were enough to polarize center, left, and right on the council. Also interesting was the story of two conservatives who jumped ship: “[The coalition against the cuts] reached right to conservatives and got a hearing from many and eventual support from two: Gloria Lindsay Luby, whose residents had given hear an earful about cuts, including mechanical leaf collection in her ward, and James Pasternak, a usual Ford ally worried about the budget’s impact on the poor.” (Emphasis editor’s.)
- Jan. 19th
- Occupy Toronto protestors are delivered a letter telling them to GTFO.
- Jan. 20th
- And, predictably, the occupiers aren’t going to take it lying down. They have filed an injunction against the city to fight the eviction notice.
(So, let’s go over this again. Protests turned violent by police? Check. Massive outcry taking down a hugely unpopular proposal? Check. Trying to disperse the protest not two days after their proposal goes down in flames? Check! Seriously, it’s like this stuff is working off the same script, city after city. —ed.)
The Stop Online Piracy Act would effectively kill the free Internet. It has enjoyed near-universal support in Congress, but the American people are not nearly as keen—and now, their voices are being heard.
The public outcry over the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act seems to have gotten so loud that even members of Congress can hear it. On Thursday we covered the news that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was expressing second thoughts about SOPA’s DNS provisions. He said he changed his mind after he “heard from a number of Vermonters” on the issue.
On Friday, several Republicans started backpedaling as well.
SOPA sponsor Lamar Smith (R-TX) announced that he would be pulling the DNS-blocking provisions from his own bill. “After consultation with industry groups across the country, I feel we should remove Domain Name System blocking from the Stop Online Piracy Act so that the Committee can further examine the issues surrounding this provision,” Smith said in a Friday statement.
Meanwhile, six GOP senators who served on the Senate Judiciary Committee (which unanimously approved the legislation last year) wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asking him to postpone a vote on PIPA to give them more time to study the legislation.
“We strongly believe that the theft of American intellectual property is a significant problem that must be addressed,” they wrote. But since the Judiciary Committee last considered the legislation, “we have increasingly heard from a large number of constituents and other stakeholders with vocal concerns about possible unintended consequences of the proposed legislation, including breaches in cybersecurity, damaging the integrity of the Internet, costly and burdensome litigation, and dilution of First Amendment rights.”
[...] Another member of Congress that has been feeling the heat from voters is Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). After reddit members raised $15,000 in 48 hours for his anti-SOPA challenger, Ryan came out with a clear statement of opposition to the legislation.
“It appears that lawmakers are beginning to realize how much damage their anti-’piracy’ bills could cause to the Internet and to Internet-related businesses,” said Public Knowledge’s Sherwin Siy in a statement. “While we are pleased that some progress is being made, we are also firm in our opposition to both bills because some very bad provisions remain.”
Emphasis copyeditor’s. Read more at Ars Technica.
(Not specifically Occupy-related, but this pushback is very much in the spirit of the protests. —Ed.)
Happy new year, everyone. Let’s take a look at what’s going on around the nation:
- New York: Two protestors were arrested in Grand Central Station during a demonstration against the NDAA. The video is available on YouTube here.
- Los Angeles: Protestors arrested for expressing their right to free speech are now being allowed to avoid court if they… take “classes” on free speech. If this doesn’t make your blood boil, you may want to check your pulse.
- Iowa: Matt Taibbi, he of the “vampire squid sucking on the face of America” fame, has a new article out about the recent Iowa primaries. Taibbi blasts both the 2012 primaries and the presidential race as a “limp” farce. The money quote: “[T]he ugly reality [...] is that the candidate who raises the most money wins an astonishing 94% of the time in America.” All emphasis Taibbi’s.
- On that note, in New Hampshire, Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney got a rather chilly response from his home state. Huffington Post notes that, “[T]hree of the first four questioners were openly hostile to Romney, although one of them was an Occupy Manchester activist. And even the endorsement and appearance of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) failed to arouse much of a reaction from the Granite Staters in attendance.” (Not really sure what “although one of them was an Occupy Manchester activist” was supposed to quantify there. I guess it’s supposed to explain away the hostility as an outlier? Very poor wording. —ed.)
- And finally, in New York again, city council members, state senators, the New York City Civil Liberties Group, and a host of others are planning a rally for NYPD accountability. The rally is take place Jan. 7th at Grand Army Plaza, 1:00 PM. (That’s today, folks! Spread the word! —ed.)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) now has an online petition supporting his “Saving American Democracy Movement.” According to the senator’s website, the proposed amendment states that:
- Corporations are not persons with constitutional rights equal to real people.
- Corporations are subject to regulation by the people.
- Corporations may not make campaign contributions or any election expenditures.
- Congress and states have the power to regulate campaign finances.”
The petition is available here (on the right of the page), and at the time of this writing has nearly 110,000 signatures. We highly encourage you to add yours as soon as possible!
Things are a little slow due to the holidays, but here’s some items to tide you over for the new year!
- South Bend: Occupy South Bend is officially rolling. Welcome them into the movement by checking out their website here.
- Berkley: As of Thursday, Occupy Berkley’s camp is no more. Read the details from an eyewitness here. Mercifully, the removal seems to be free of the brutality other camps have faced.
- Montana: Courtesy of Daily Kos, Montana citizens have decided to reward Sens. Max Baucus and Jonathan Tester for their vote for the NDAA “indefinite detention” bill by organizing a recall for both senators. The money quote? “[I]n a New York Times op-ed piece by two retired four-star U.S. Marine generals, Charles Krulak and Joseph Hoar, Krulak and Hoar said that ‘Due process would be a thing of the past.’” Yikes. If you’re similarly outraged, the article has a great place to start to force a recall of your own senator(s).
- Belgium: Finally, Business Insider reports that, after a huge bailout that left Belgium’s entire economy reeling, the parties responsible are finally facing legal action, albeit of the tort variety. Both Dexia SA and former CEO of Dexia, Pierre Mariani, are accused of “‘spreading false and misleading information’ and ‘market manipulation.’”
You may remember, way back before all this started, the original protests in Wisconsin against Gov. Scott Walker’s naked union busting. Well, he and his remaining Republican supporters have since followed it up with a law making it illegal to vote without a Wisconsin license. You can’t use a license from any other state, mind—just Wisconsin. From Talking Points Memo:
Wisconsin’s voter ID law imposes the equivalent of a poll tax on individuals with out-of-state drivers licenses and discriminates against the poor, students and the elderly, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday.
ACLU lawyers argue in a 54-page lawsuit that the law “imposes a severe and undue burden on the fundamental right to vote under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution; violates the Twenty-Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution as an unconstitutional poll tax; and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in arbitrarily refusing to accept certain identification documents.”
The suit argues that the law would force individuals to “choose between surrendering their driving privileges to obtain a free Wisconsin state ID card, paying a fee for a Wisconsin driver’s license, or losing their right to vote.” They argue that the requirement to surrender an out-of-state driver’s license “constitutes a material requirement imposed on an eligible voter who refuses to forfeit his/her right to vote without paying an unconstitutional poll tax.”
TPM goes on to note that Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to give a speech on protecting access to polls at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Libary and Museum in Texas. Full article is available here.
It’s sad that things like this are no longer surprising, but the reward for writing up SOPA is… You guessed it, a paid job helping to get SOPA passed!
Allison Halataei (former deputy chief of staff for House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)) and Lauren Pastarnack (former senior aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee) have cool new jobs. Having written the Internet-destroying Stop Online Piracy Act for their bosses while drawing a salary at public expense, they’ve now accepted massive raises to go work for the entertainment companies who stand to benefit from the law they wrote. Their new job? Helping to run the campaign to push their law through.”
Information courtesy of BoingBoing.
(If you haven’t been following it closely, the Stop Online Piracy Act and its Senate partner, the PROTECT IP bill, are attempting to grant large and unchecked swaths of power to copyright holders, essentially allowing them to shut down any site they vaguely suspect of infringement with very little due process or recourse. We mention it here not only because it deeply affects the Daily Occupation—without the ability to repost content, we’re more or less crippled—but also OWS as a whole. Once you start shutting down sites with content you don’t like, it’s not that hard to start shutting down sites with opinions you don’t like. —ed.)
Here at the Daily Occupation, we’ve reached the point where keeping you up to date on all national events would end up flooding our feed, pushing articles that deserve singular attention out of the way. To counteract this, we’ve switched to a “news roundup” format for when our queue gets particularly dense. We’d hate for these items to have less attention than they deserve, though, so make sure to check them out!
- New York: Occupiers “squidded” outside of Goldman Sachs yesterday. Essentially a combination of protest and parody of Goldman-Sachs, the name refers to Matt Taibbi’s quote from Rolling Stones that Goldman-Sachs was “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Gothamist has the full roundup.
- Orlando: A “People’s Convention” was held to discuss resolutions on a variety of state issues, including health care, labor laws, and education funding. The proposals will be sent back to individual Occupy groups for ground-testing before they are presented to Florida Governor Rick Scott in January. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “more than half the crowd was from out of town,” and the convention was extremely well received by both protestors and local union leaders. Read the original articles here and here.
- Palm Beach: Occupiers seem to be getting on well with the city after it offered up its old city hall. The protestors were bizarrely evicted when a trapeze artist rented the space they were occupying to give classes. They (the protestors, just so we’re clear) expected the eviction for weeks and are fairly pleased with the new space, so everything seems to be going along smoothly so far. The full article is available here.
- Finally, Occupy D.C. picked up the support of Rev. Jamal Bryant and Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., who will join with clergy and civil rights leaders to start up “Occupy the Dream.” Both Bryan and Chavis have excellent bonafides—Bryant has past experience with the NAACP and Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple, and Chavis previously worked under no less than Martin Luther King, Jr. The original article is available at the Washington Post.
(The last article’s claim that OWS is a mostly white movement makes me a little uneasy, but if it does have merit, “Occupy the Dream” can only be a good thing. As the article says, African-Americans are most definitely part of the 99%. —ed.)
Via Care2, it appears the city of Cleveland has passed Resolution 1720-11, on a vote of 19-1, expressing support for the Occupy Wall Street movement:
WHEREAS, Cleveland community members, like others across the United States, are frustrated by the continuing economic crisis that threatens individual, family, small local business and City finances, and our community’s quality of life, and are participating in Occupy protests to make their voices heard; and
WHEREAS, the economic roots of these protests are varied, including sustained unemployment, growing income disparity, banking system failures, stalled earning power, and unjust tax systems, that all contribute to ongoing wealth disparities; and
[...] WHEREAS, over the past 30 years, gains in our economy have accrued largely to the top1% of Americans, who now control 43% of the total net wealth, and to the next 19% on the top that control 50% of the wealth in the United States (top 20% controls 93% of wealth with the bottom 80% controlling only 7%) due in part to public policies that can be changed…
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CLEVELAND:
[...] That this Council recognizes and supports the principles of the Occupy Movement and the peaceful and lawful exercise of the First Amendment as a cherished and fundamental right in the effort to seek solutions for economically distressed Americans at the federal, state and local levels.”
Care2 notes that Cleveland joins Seattle, Chicago, and Los Angeles in support of the movement.
This just in: Apparently Pittsburg joins Cleveland in expressing support for OWS. Keen!
Voting 406-17, the House has closed off meetings about the Defense Bill reconciliation from public scrutiny. The big problem with this, as OpenCongress.org points out:
As you can read for yourself here, Section 1031, affirming the “authority of the armed forces of the United States to detain covered persons…” does not contain an exemption for U.S. citizens. Section 1032, mandating the military detention authority be used for terrorism suspects, does[.]“
Still, at least the Obama Administration has pledged opposition and threatened veto because of those provisions—right? Not so fast:
Contrary to popular perception, the Obama Administration is not strongly opposed to the provisions in the bills that would authorize indefinite military detentions for U.S. citizens. [...] [T]hey’ll take it and recommend that Congress passes clarifying legislation in the future, which, of course, will never happen. What they oppose is the provision that would mandate that power be used for all terrorism suspects besides U.S. citizens.
Section 1032, mandating the military detention authority be used for terrorism suspects [...] is the section that the Obama Administration says must be removed or else he will veto. The Administration has been stressing the need for flexibility in their powers to collect information and incapacitate terrorists, which likely means that they want to retain the power to detain suspects outside the context of war and the Geneva Convention protections that would apply. The secretive conference committee may still be able to overcome Obama’s veto threat while also codifying the power to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without having to charge them or give them a trial.”
This bears repeating—President Obama is not expressing strong opposition to indefinite military suspension.
Emphasis editor’s. Full text available here. In addition, we must mention how impressed with are with OpenCongress.Org, and how much we highly recommend them.
Well, whaddya know! It’s almost like all this protesting stuff is actually working!
After facing repeated protests over his resistance to raising taxes on wealthy New Yorkers, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo relented on Tuesday, striking a deal with legislators that will boost state revenues by $1.9 billion while simultaneously dropping the middle class tax rate to the lowest it has been in 58 years.
New York citizens earning $20,000 per year or more are currently taxed at a rate of 6.85 percent, as are married couples earning more than $40,000 per year. The new tax brackets would drop tax rates for the lowest incomes to 6.45 percent, while increasing the rates for higher earners. Couples with incomes between $150,000 and $300,000 will pay 6.65 percent; households that earn $300,000 to $2 million will pay 6.85 percent; and incomes over $2 million will be taxed at 8.82 percent, the Times noted.
The change represents the lowest middle class tax rate New Yorkers have seen in 58 years, Cuomo said in a prepared statement.
The arrangement represents a significant turn for the governor, who had adamantly opposed raising taxes on his wealthiest constituents. [...] It also flew in the face of public opinion: not only do most New York voters support keeping the tax, a huge majority of Americans and even a majority of Republicans support higher taxes for top earners.”
Full article available here, from Raw Story.
This is absolutely huge, and between this and the state amendments to revoke corporate personhood, everyone involved with OWS should be patting themselves on the back right now.
(But not too much. The fight’s not over yet! —ed.)
Kevin Zeese of Salon.Com has a particularly illuminating editorial about the democrats’ attempts to co-op the Occupy Wall Street movement:
In fact, [former Obama administration official Van] Jones, who received a golden parachute at Princeton and the Center for American Progress when he left the administration, is doing what Democrats always do: trying to co-opt the movement. Jones sees the energy of an independent movement and is racing to the front of it, in hopes of leading it down the familiar dead end path of electoral politics and essentially destroying it.
[...] As Glenn Greenwald noted in a recent Salon article, “White House-aligned groups such as the Center for American Progress have made explicitly clear that they are going to try to convert OWS into a vote-producing arm for the Obama 2012 campaign.”
Before the Occupy movement emerged, Jones said the first task of Rebuild the Dream was to elect Democrats. Now he urges the movement to make a “pivot to politics,” claiming there will be 2,000 “99 percent candidates” in 2012. These Democrats will be rebranded as part of the 99 percent movement, just as Republican operatives rebranded corporate Club for Growth spokesmen as Tea Party candidates in 2010. (Exhibit A: Sen. Pat Toomey before and after.) Even the Rebuild the Dream website has been rebranded as an Occupy movement site.
Jones’ call for the movement to “mature” and move on to party politics would only make us a sterile part of the very problem we oppose. As I learned working on Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign and running for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, the electoral system is a mirage where only corporate-approved candidates are allowed to be considered seriously.
[...] Democratic operatives want to steal the energy of the Occupy movement because they do not have any of their own. [...] Democrats need to derail and co-opt the Occupy Movement because it calls attention to their failure.”
Emphasis editor’s. Full text available here.
(It’s important not to let someone else control the People’s Mic. Both parties have failed spectacularly and are now beholden to corporate interests. —ed.)
Who needs the Sixth Amendment? Not Americans, according to the U.S. Senate:
Here’s the best thing that can be said about the new detention powers the Senate has tucked into next year’s defense bill: They don’t force the military to detain American citizens indefinitely without a trial. They just let the military do that. And even though the leaders of the military and the spy community have said they want no such power, the Senate is poised to pass its bill as early as tonight.
[...] So despite the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of a right to trial, the Senate bill would let the government lock up any citizen it swears is a terrorist, without the burden of proving its case to an independent judge, and for the lifespan of an amorphous war that conceivably will never end. And because the Senate is using the bill that authorizes funding for the military as its vehicle for this dramatic constitutional claim, it’s pretty likely to pass.
It would be one thing if the military was clamoring for the authority to become the nation’s jailer. But to the contrary: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta opposes the maneuver. So does CIA Director David Petraeus, who usually commands deference from senators in both parties. Pretty much every security official has lined up against the Senate detention provisions, from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to FBI Director Robert Mueller, who worry that they’ll get in the way of FBI investigations of domestic terrorists.”
Courtesy of Wired magazine. Wired also goes on to note that President Obama has vowed to veto the bill.
(The bill passed the Senate 93-7 after this was written. Yes, you read that correctly: 93% of the Senate voted to outright ignore the 6th Amendment. —ed)
The internet has become the printing press of our generation.
I realize it sounds like hyperbole, but I really do believe it. The internet has opened possibilities and changed organizational landscape within the course of a single generation. Information flows freer than ever, huge crowds can communicate and organize nationally within seconds, and it’s very difficult for any central body to shut down concentrated swarms.
But not impossible.
Continue reading [Op-Ed] Internet Censorship, the First Refuge of Scoundrels
On the heels of mass evictions through the major protests, smaller OWS camps are getting tossed out as well, such as the one at Seattle Central Community College. According to the Seattle Times, a judge has ruled the college may post an eviction notice for the protestors, giving them three days before the police is called. The judge cited “health and safety risks” as the reason for eviction but did not limit the protestors’ ability to come back and protest.
Full article available here.
(Ah yes, the nebulous “dirty hippie” defense. Looks like OWS’ opposition has found their line of attack, since this is happening nationwide. I still have yet to see any eyewitness reports of the supposed filth, just the rulings of judges afterwards. Great reporting, everyone! —ed.)
Xpress has obtained 270 emails from city of Asheville staff concerning Occupy Asheville. The emails reveal law enforcement considering their approach to (and surveillance of) the protests, as well as city staff and Occupy representatives debating freedom of assembly.
The emails are available to the public in a searchable list created by Xpress, and more emails will be added as soon as they are released. On Oct. 25, Xpress made an open-records request for this material. City staff estimate there are more than 2,000 emails pertaining to Occupy Asheville. Xpress will add the additional email to the database as we receive them. However, city staff have withheld some emails, citing legal grounds. Open records law does allow for some exemptions, including personnel issues and ongoing legal investigations.
Read the full story here.
(There isn’t much definitive to take away from these emails, but it is an interesting look into one city government’s internal thoughts on its local Occupy, how to police it, the legality of it, conditions of the camp, trying to find a leader in a leaderless group, etc. —ed.)
It’s been said before but bears repeating: OWS is not left or right in affiliation.
More than 100 Occupy Wall Street protesters marched to a Midtown hotel on Wednesday night to protest a fund-raising event for President Obama.
Escorted by police vehicles as they helped snarl traffic across the Times Square area, beginning at Bryant Park, the group settled in front of barricades on the southwest corner of 53rd Street and Seventh Avenue, in view of the Sheraton hotel at which Mr. Obama was expected to appear by 9 p.m.
Demonstrators held signs that leveled some of the Occupy protest’s most pointed criticism to date of the president. “Obama is a corporate puppet,” one said. “War crimes must be stopped, no matter who does them,” read another, beside head shots of President George W. Bush and President Obama.
One man, wearing a mask of the president’s face and holding a cigar, carried a sign that read, “I sold out!”
Ben Campbell, 28, one of the march’s organizers, said he hoped to prove to skeptics of the protests that the demonstrators were political critics of equal opportunity.
“President Obama is coming to town solely to raise money from the richest of the rich,” Mr. Campbell said.”
Emphasis editor’s. Read the full story here.
(Anecdotal, but I’ve heard this refrain often from OWS supporters. While I realize Mr. Obama has a hostile Congress working against him, he also has a tendency to tilt right before negotiations even get under way. Remember the disaster that was the debt ceiling debate? I sure do. —ed.)
If you need to measure Occupy Wall Street’s effectiveness, look no further than Republican strategist Frank Luntz. As reported by Yahoo! News:
The Republican Governors Association met this week in Florida to give GOP state executives a chance to rejuvenate, strategize and team-build. But during a plenary session on Wednesday, one question kept coming up: How can Republicans do a better job of talking about Occupy Wall Street?
“I’m so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death,” said Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist and one of the nation’s foremost experts on crafting the perfect political message. “They’re having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.”
The article goes on to list 10 bullet points Luntz presented to the Governors’ Association to avoid conflict with OWS. Among them are “don’t say capitalism,” “always blame Washington,” and “the three most important words you can say to an Occupier: I get it.” Read the full article here.
(I doubt very seriously OWS will care about being pandered to, as they’ve seen it all before. How about actually doing something instead of just saying you will? —ed.)
Occupy San Francisco‘s general assembly has officially rejected a city proposal from San Francisco to move the site to an approved area. The GA eventually rejected the proposal for many reasons, not the least of which were safety and visibility:
City officials would have paid the district $2,500 a month plus utilities to use the site at 1950 Mission St., a decrepit-looking lot with portable buildings and bathrooms surrounded by a chain-link fence.
“They want us out of sight, out of mind,” said Karen Schieve, 64, of San Francisco, who was among about 50 Occupy protesters debating the proposal.
[...] “They can’t tell us how to protest, or where to protest,” Schieve yelled to the crowd.”
(Courtesy San Francisco Chronicle, emphasis editor’s)
You can see the area proposed by the city here. According to CrimeMapping.com, the area has a noticeably elevated crime rate:
Crime Map of Mission Street Area (CrimeMapping.com)
Some are not so obvious, such as “!” (for disturbing the peace) and “F” (for fraud), but we assume you can work out what the guns, ski masks, fists, and spray cans mean.
Here’s the Google street view of the proposed site.
In the wake of violence on UC campuses, Gov. Jerry Brown today asked a statewide law enforcement commission to review guidelines for crowd control and “without delay” make “whatever changes are necessary to ensure compliance with First and Fourth Amendment protections against excessive force.”
[...] “I am seriously concerned that the rules governing the use of force, in particular the use of pepper spray, are not well understood in the context of civil disobedience and various forms of public protest,” Brown wrote to Paul Cappitelli, director of the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. “The recent ‘occupation’ protests in cities throughout California and on campuses of the University of California underscore the urgency of articulating guidelines that are crystal clear and comport with constitutional requirements.”
Full statement available at Fresno Bee.
(Hard to see how there was a misunderstanding rather than blatant disregard, but a good first step. —ed.)