The OB Media Rundown for 1/12/12

Rule of law triumphs in resolution to Occupy Boston

THE RISE AND fall of the Occupy Boston encampment at Dewey Square has been hailed as a model of how police and city officials should respond to peaceful political dissent in the public sphere. Compared with video footage of cops pepper-spraying and clubbing protestors in Oakland, San Francisco, New York, and elsewhere, Boston looked pretty good. After nine weeks of occupation, most of the Boston protesters peacefully left Dewey Square-their statue of Gandhi held high, their message against economic and power inequalities heard by millions. Their banners proclaimed: “You can’t evict an idea.”

Media pundits praised police and city officials for showing “uncommon restraint.” It’s a narrative that, while true in part, misses the real story. In truth, it was a court’s intervention-not benevolent cops -that protected both the peace and the right to protest in Boston. And who brought in the courts? It was the Occupy Boston protesters themselves.

Today is the anniversary of Roosevelt’s ‘Second Bill of Rights’ Speech

[Roosevelt] We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.

Fighting Cynicism Without & Within

Among the dozens of attempts to launch a movement against greed and inequality this year alone, no one will ever know exactly why Occupy Wall Street actually worked. Now cynicism and inequality face hard questions from all corners. The challenges to inequality unfold more publicly than those to cynicism. There are at least three examples of tortured cynicism we can assume with confidence are occurring, even if the actors don’t report to duty in the twitterverse.

1) Established activists, organizers, and the institutional forces of progressivism feel hella butthurt over OWS. We spent decades shouting into the abyss, hoping our shenanigans would spark a national movement for economic justice. Then a movement started without us, and it didn’t even have the decency to give us credit or accept our obviously superior leadership. It turned out we never planned for what we would do if the uprising we always wanted to happen actually happened. We can assume that every union leader, lefty intellectual, or nonprofit operative lingering at the margins is really thinking, “Why isn’t this MY movement?”

Oakland Cops Demoted, Suspended For Covering Name Tags During Occupy Oakland Protest

Do you remember this footage of an OPD officer covering his name tag with black tape (which is a no-no) during the Occupy Oakland general strike? Viemo user BLK PXLS (AKA Terrence Jerod Williams) captured officer John Hargraves masking his name, a common occurrence at occupy rallies around the US so that officers cannot be named or referenced if they participate in police misconduct. Well, both the officer in question and Lt. Clifford Wong, who was in charge of Hargraves’ squad that day, are in a mess of trouble for their actions.

Hargraves ended up receiving a 30-day suspension, and Wong was demoted to sergeant for failure to report said incident.

Conflict between rich, poor strongest in 24 years

Tensions between the rich and poor are increasing and at their most intense level in nearly a quarter-century, a new survey shows. Americans now see more social conflict over wealth inequality than over the hot-button topics of immigration, race relations and age.

The survey released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center highlights U.S. perceptions of the economic divide, an issue that has moved to the forefront in the 2012 presidential campaign amid stubbornly high unemployment, increasing poverty and protests by the Occupy movement.

Nearly one-third of middle class suffer downward mobility

Nearly one third of Americans who were raised in the middle class dropped down the economic ladder as adults — and that’s before the Great Recession hit.

“Being raised in the middle class is not a guarantee that you’ll have that same status as an adult,” said Erin Currier, project manager at Pew’s Economic Mobility Project. “With all the economic turmoil in the past four years, there’s good reason to think that downward mobility is more severe.”

Right-wing documentary targets Occupy

Citizens United, which specializes in making documentaries with strong right-wing messages, is currently in production for a film about the Occupy movement, a spokesman for the group confirms.

Capitalism’s empty promises – Unless banks can better show their usefulness to society, they face a trench-war against new regulation

Three years after taking the world to the brink of economic meltdown, banks remain heavily troubled. Instead of the rebound from losses that would normally have taken hold, they are now confronted with a rumbling debt crisis in Europe.

All the while, the crisis of legitimacy in capitalism has spread, just as Occupy Wall Street has expanded from its original focus on bail-outs and bankers’ pay. Yet it was within banks where the crisis emerged in 2008 and where its heart still lies.

Homeland Security Given Green Light to Monitor American Journalists

Under the National Operations Center (NOC)’s Media Monitoring Initiative that emerged from the Department of Homeland Security in November, Washington has written permission to collect and retain personal information from journalists, news anchors, reporters or anyone who uses “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.”

How LA media conspired with LAPD to invent stories about nonexistent health concerns at the Occupy LA camp

There never was a health situation to begin with, a fact that is not missed by occupiers.

Carlos Marroquin, a homeowner advocate and occupier, said the public health excuse was created to malign the protesters and obtain a political objective. He feels the news media were actively seeking to portray an unstable environment at City Hall to capitalize off of the sensationalism.

Farmers sue former finance company head over missing millions

Montana farmers have filed a class action suit against former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, charging that the failed financial firm run by Corzine stole millions from their accounts to pay off its spiraling debts, and that Corzine’s “single-minded obsession” with making MF Global a big player on Wall Street led to the firm’s collapse.

MF Global’s clients included 38,000 wheat farmers, cattle ranchers and others who “hedged” their crop prices by placing millions in MF Global accounts. Those accounts were supposed to be “segregated and secure,” according to the federal suit, meaning MF Global could not draw on those funds.

Tanks, SWAT Teams, Surveillance Helicopters: Cities Already Turning Into Mini-Police States for the Political Conventions

Two cities have their hands full preparing for the upcoming Republican and Democratic National Conventions later this year. As officials in Tampa, Florida, make plans to manage an estimated 15,000 protesters expected to descend on the city during the four-day Republican gathering in August, their counterparts in Charlotte, North Carolina, are ramping up crowd-control training in the run-up to the DNC.

With the parties gathering just seven months from now, Tampa and Charlotte will spend the next half-year transforming their cities into mini-police states to manage the thousands of protesters who will carry on a long tradition of dissent at the major parties’ nominating conventions.

Credit Card Companies: Ripping Off Small Businesses Too

The story outlines the misfortunes of a successful Park City, Utah restaurant called Cisero’s that is best known for serving the movie stars and film glitterati attending the nearby Sundance film festival. The restaurant is engaged in a legal battle with its bank, but the larger struggle is between the restaurant and major credit cards like Visa and MasterCard.

It’s a complex tale, but the gist of it is that the credit-card companies invoked arcane provisions of operating contracts with the merchant, and unilaterally “fined” the restaurant for enormous sums of money without proving any of the charges. Some of that money was actually debited from the merchants’ account before they managed to close it.

Alan Moore, ‘anarchic visionary,’ visits an Occupy camp for the first time

Channel 4 News decided to bring Alan Moore from his Northampton home, face-to-face with the Occupy protesters who wear his creation. The glances he attracts from passers by on the streets of London are not usually because of his fame; instead they’re attributable to the strange, occult-like and sepulchral, figure he cuts.

He famously objects to his major works (From Hell, V for Vendetta, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Watchmen) being turned into films; but even if he were an enthusiast, this is not a man, you feel, who would happily grace a Hollywood wrap party. But once in the Occupy camp, he fits right in. He’s greeted with warmth, and as much adulation as this odd but compelling experiment in collectivist anarchism can muster.

Sidewalk chalk protester sees charges dropped, freed from jail after 18 days

Within hours, Osmar was back at City Hall, writing messages on the sidewalk about freedom and revolution. Then he went to the Orange County Courthouse and did the same thing.

“I am ready and willing, after a bit of a breather, to do it all again,” Osmar said shortly after his release. “I would really look forward to challenging this in court, to striking the ordinance so people can express themselves with chalk on the sidewalk.”

20 protesters spend night at NYC’s ex-Occupy camp

About 20 Occupy Wall Street protesters spent the night at New York City’s Zuccotti Park after metal barricades surrounding it came down.

Manhattan Councilman Wants to Give Stipend to Occupy Wall Street

Manhattan Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez asked to donate his most recent $5,000 leadership stipend to the Occupy Wall Street movement, according to his letter to the Council Speaker. Rodriguez made the request in a letter to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s office Tuesday.

Rodriguez said Occupy Wall Street will play a large role in the city’s upcoming budget cycle, which kicks off on January 16 when Mayor Michael Bloomberg releases his preliminary budget for fiscal year 2013.

“This movement will play an important role advocating for the working class and middle class so that we don’t get those cuts that we usually get on education, affordable housing, jobs, and other areas,” he said in an interview.

Occupiers ‘mic check’ Missouri congressman at chamber of commerce event for his role in ‘systematic destruction of America’

Congressman Sam Graves’ speech before a business group was interrupted Wednesday morning by a group accusing the lawmaker of the “systematic destruction of America.”

The protesters said legislation and deregulation that Mr. Graves supported had “crushed the working and middle classes.”

Ted Allison, chamber president, took the microphone from Mr. Graves and told the protesters, “This is a Chamber of Commerce event, and your rudeness will not be tolerated. Leave the room.”

‘Disappearing middle class’ disappearing because they’re getting richer [not satire]

The census numbers show the middle class is, in fact, disappearing, but the middle class is moving up, not down, into poverty, as President Obama would have us believe. The “Occupy” movement is all about demonizing the wealthy, and yet, over 31% of Americans are now in that bracket because they have increased their income.

I Am Proud To Be A Member Of The Demonized 1% [not satire]

I am a S.O.B. (son of a butcher). Like most of the 1%, I started out with nothing. I was raised in a blue-collar dead end town on the Bronx borderline. Today I live the American Dream because I worked my fingers to the bone for it, because I risked my own money for it, because I literally willed it to happen, against-all-odds. My story is typical of the 1%.

The fake story meant to deceive you, repeated often in the biased liberal media, is that the 1% is made up of people like Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Warren Buffett, Senator John Kerry, or assorted Hollywood stars and moguls. First, very few of the 1% are filthy rich with private jets and yachts. Most are self-made small business owners like me – the people who create most of the jobs in our economy.

Occupy Chicago Targets Obama Speech

About 90 people confirmed on the “Occupy UIC” Facebook page they would attend Obama’s evening fundraising event at the University of Illinois at Chicago to “hold Obama accountable” for signing the National Defense Authorization Act.

This is the same group who warned they would “have a presence” at a Mayor Rahm Emanuel speech at UIC in November. Emanuel canceled the event a day after the Occupy announcement.

Occupy Pittsburgh takes aim at bank in court

Protesters at one of the last remaining big-city physical occupations in the country, in Pittsburgh, are taking on a large bank in a legal battle over their right to camp in a downtown park.

Pro bono lawyers for Occupy Pittsburgh are in state court today for the second day of a hearing in a case brought by Bank of New York Mellon to evict protesters from a small park next to a BNY Mellon skyscraper. Protesters have used the legal dispute as a way to take aim at BNY Mellon’s business practices and highlight several criminal cases that are pending against the company.

“They’re not the most moral or ethical corporation,” says Jeff Cech, a 28-year-old member of Occupy Pittsburgh. “So what moral grounds do they have to essentially approach another group and say, ‘You’re doing something illegal’?”

Occupy San Diego chorister arrested

[Video of press conference of arrested Occupella singer here:]

Occupy San Diego has a musical ensemble of its own, Occupella.

The group was formed by Women Occupy San Diego, a band of Occupy supporters, to help show that Occupy has non-confrontational, middle-class backers. But their usually cheerful performances took a bad turn last Saturday night when Occupella member Stephanie Jennings was arrested on battery charges at the Civic Center, along with another protestor.

A video posted to YouTube shows Jennings being treated roughly by a police officer. In a public statement, she says she sustained injuries during the arrest and plans to file a complaint with the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices.

Social media inspires Nigerian protests

Follow #fuelsubsidy for just a couple of minutes and you’ll see tweets coming in so fast at times, its impossible to keep up with the conversation. For days now #occupynigeria is trending on Twitter in Nigeria. Bloggers like Sahara Reporters, Gbenga Sesan, El-Rufai and many more have provided extensive coverage, commentaries and documents regarding the ongoing #OccupyNigeria protest on their websites.

Social media, just as it was for people in Tunisia, Egypt or Syria is very important to protesters in Nigeria. Protesters use it to organise, inspire and inform each other. Here are some examples of events evolving.

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