The OB Media Rundown for 1/15/12

Harvard Administration seizes, dismantles Occupy Harvard domeOn Day Sixty-Six of the longest occupation in Harvard’s history, and in a direct reversal of their previously stated commitment to ensure free speech in Harvard Yard, university administration removed and dismantled Occupy Harvard’s geodesic dome this afternoon at 4:55pm.

MLK anniversary inspirational reading: Posthumous letter from an assassinated journalist (2009)

In the course of the last few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print institutions have been burned, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories, and now especially the last.

New York Times editor asks public: ‘I’m looking for reader input on whether and when Times reporters should challenge ‘facts’ that are asserted by newsmakers they write about’

The comments at Brisbane’s blog post are blistering. . . I will just quote one to give you the tone. Matt Talbot in California: “That this should even be an open question is a sign that our supposedly independent press is a cowed and timid shadow of its former self.”

Bus drivers’ union wins historic contract

Following nearly a year of bitter struggle, the 800 members of the Boston School Bus Drivers’ Union, United Steelworkers Local 8751 rang in the new year, having won a successful contract. It contained the first-ever “Retirement with Dignity” package for those who have served the city’s schoolchildren and the cause of equal, quality education since 1974.
. . .

The union rallied daily with the Occupy Boston encampment at Dewey Square and Occupy the Hood in Roxbury’s Dudley Square. They led militant marches with Verizon and hotel workers, set up sound trucks for anti-war and labor marches, and participated in teach-ins, community speak-outs and veterans’ demonstrations.

The bosses noticed, even docking union officers’ pay when they left a meeting early to join the occupation, hoping in vain to slow the workers’ momentum. The union gained the upper hand in the yards, on the streets and in the communities.


‘You people’: California Occupy protestors stranded in Texas after bus driver kicks them off bus

Occupy protestors from California are stuck at the Amarillo Greyhound station as of Saturday night after they say the bus driver kicked them off because he didn’t approve of the Occupy movement. They were on their way to DC for a rally.

They say he called them “you people” and said they were not welcome in DC or anywhere else.

Elites Occupying Elites

Most students involved in the Occupy movement can’t just pick up and leave for Wall Street. So some at elite colleges have been letting Wall Street come to them. Taking advantage of their special access to investment banking firms such as JP Morgan-Chase and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which have long sought employees from those campuses (and been eagerly received), Ivy League students crashed a handful of December recruiting sessions, leading the firms to cancel other scheduled visits, and making for some seriously awkward first impressions.

Unsurprisingly, the incidents got a lot of attention on campuses – even when the job market isn’t dismal, finance recruitment sessions are major networking opportunities for elite students. The tactic also marked a shift, however small, for the college Occupy movement, which up to this point had primarily targeted either their institutions or Wall Street as a whole. And while some non-occupiers may have found those rallies annoying, they didn’t disrupt valuable job-seeking time.

Rallies planned for four Cape Cod towns against Citizens United on Jan. 21

Saturday, Jan. 21, rallies will be held in four Cape towns Cape Cod sponsored by Move to Amend and Occupy Cape Cod to commemorate the second anniversary of the Supreme Court decision overruling federal campaign funding regulations for corporations.

The rallies will be held in Falmouth, Peg Noonan Park at 10 a.m.; Hyannis, Village Green at 12 noon; Orleans, Route 6A and Main Street at 2 p.m.; and Eastham, Samoset Road and Route 6 at 3 p.m.

Occupy The Courts set for Jan. 20, 2012

Occupy Grand Rapids is going to Duluth on Friday, Jan. 20 to join the Occupy the Courts demonstration, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., against the U. S. Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission. That decision, on Jan. 21, 2010 changed the political process, taking democracy out of the hands of ordinary citizens and into the hands of the powerful and wealthy.

That ruling allows unlimited and anonymous dollars to pour into superpacs on behalf of political candidates. Truth becomes a victim when our highest court equates money with speech but demands no accountability from the groups that often function under the guise of patriotic fervor.

Miss America contestant asked ‘if Occupy protesters have a point’

Miss New York Kaitlin Monte: “If they’re going to come up and complain about a problem, they have to come up with solutions, too.”

85 Bank of America ATMs In San Francisco Turned Into Truth Machines

RAN activists took to the streets of San Francisco last night and turned every Bank of America ATM in the city into an Automated Truth Machine.

The activists used special non-adhesive stickers designed to look exactly like BoA’s ATM interface. But instead of checking and savings accounts, these new menus offered a list of everything BoA customers’ money is being used for, including investment in coal-fired power plants, foreclosure on Americans’ homes, bankrolling of climate change, and paying for fat executive bonuses.

San Diego Occupy Activists Charged With Felonies for ‘Mic Checking’ City’s Mayor

In a twist of the law, disturbing an official meeting or speech is a misdemeanor. But if one conspires to commit a misdemeanor with others, that’s a felony. It’s a stupid law, but one that has been on the books for a long time. So, if two people enter a store to stage a petty theft – misdemeanors – and they conspire to do it – it’s a felony.

Keegan Kyle, of the Voice of San Diego, called our well-known by now assistant police chief, Boyd Long, to ask why. Long has been the top commander of the SDPD dealing with the occupy movement. He has been responsible for leading the 3 month long period of undue and unconstitutional harassment of the activists, arresting and detaining people for such heinous crimes as registering voters, sitting in a chair, for bumping into an officer, for carrying signs and flags, and for erecting a Christmas tree.

Kyle reported: Long said the police kicked in the felony charges because the four protesters had identical scripts of the chant. He said the group had also made comments in an elevator with police “indicating they had all conspired before going to the meeting.”

Protesters demonstrate on roof of bank in SF

Protesters calling for an end to home foreclosures from the roof of a bank in San Francisco’s Mission District were arrested this afternoon. Police around 1:45 p.m. arrested five protestors who had climbed on top of the roof of the Wells Fargo at 16th and Hoff streets more than an hour earlier as about 200 people gathered on the streets near the bank.

Event organizers say that today’s demonstration is a primer for the larger event on Friday that aims to shut down the city’s Financial District.

Demonstrators chanted, “What do we want? No evictions!” and “They take our roof, we take their roof!”

Romney’s Bain made millions as S.C. steelmaker went bankrupt

Boston-based Bain Capital LLC more than doubled its money on GS Industries Inc. – the former parent company of Georgetown Steel – under Mitt Romney’s leadership in the 1990s, even as the steel manufacturer went on to cut more than 1,750 jobs, shuttered a division that had been around for 100 years and eventually sank into bankruptcy.
. . .

[Former steelworkers' union president James] Sanderson said Bain Capital replaced longtime managers who had built Georgetown Steel with bean counters looking for ways to cut costs. They demanded increasing financial performance with little idea of how the daily operations were run, he said.

“They were investors. They weren’t steel mill operators,” he said.

America Isn’t a Corporation

There’s a deeper problem in the whole notion that what this nation needs is a successful businessman as president: America is not, in fact, a corporation. Making good economic policy isn’t at all like maximizing corporate profits. And businessmen – even great businessmen – do not, in general, have any special insights into what it takes to achieve economic recovery.

Bill Moyers: Occupy a Cause

In this premiere Bill Moyers Essay, Bill talks about their anger – not at the concept of wealth itself, but at the crony capitalists who resort to tricks, loopholes, and hard, cold cash for politicians to make sure insiders prosper… and then pull up the ladder behind them.

Cop watchers: Anonymous vs. police

“Expect us” is the favorite tag line for an endless stream of Web videos posted by the Internet collective known as Anonymous. It’s a promise and a threat. In 2011, galvanized by the national Occupy movement, Anonymous delivered.

“This is what happens when the people have had enough,” said “Troy,” a member of the collective who joined the street protests in New York. “This is what happens when greed goes unchecked. It’s the closest thing to a global revolution we’ve ever gotten.”

From the inception of Occupy Wall Street, Anonymous has had a powerful impact on the movement, promoting it tirelessly through social media in the early days; driving it forward with Internet campaigns, known as “ops,” targeting bankers and politicians; and ultimately acting as a savage and effective counterforce to what the group sees as a militarized police state.

Boots Riley on black bloc tactics

An extended series of Tweets from Mr. Riley from Friday, 11/24:

Not that we need that, but some dedicated non-violent folks in the movement should know that u have2work with others to make change. Folks dedicated to blac bloc tactics shuld understand working w/others as well. We can’t be dedicated2a tactic. We must b dedicated2winning.

Income now the big divide in US

CONFLICT between rich and poor now eclipses racial strain and friction between immigrants and the native-born as the greatest source of tension in US society, according to a new survey.

About two-thirds of Americans now believe there are ”strong conflicts” between rich and poor in the US, a survey by the Pew Research Centre found, a sign that the message of income inequality brandished by the Occupy Wall Street movement and pressed by Democrats may be seeping into the national consciousness.

In Wisconsin, group says it has enough signatures to recall Fitzgerald

The committee to recall Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald announced Friday it has the signatures to force an election.

The petitions will be turned in Tuesday, along with those to recall Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three other Republican senators.

In Wisconsin, after the Koch brother operatives are tossed out, is it back to the same old, same old, crappy Democrats?

Then there’s Kathleen Falk. Kathleen has run twice for state office, once for Governor and once for Attorney General, both unsuccessful, sometimes not even able to gain support from her own Dane County constituents. During Kathleen’s time as County Executive she slashed funding for disabilities and related services, long before the recession. But the real reason she shouldn’t run is that she is just not that strong of a candidate. This is why we keep losing. We vote for whoever the unions throw their money behind (which will likely be Falk, just judging by the media hype around her already) and just expect a good candidate.

Congressman tells constituent to join the military instead of using Pell Grants to pay for college

When a mother with two children and two jobs expressed her concern about Pell Grants, which she relies on to pay for college, during a town hall held by Republican Congressman Steve Womack in Arkansas last week, she probably didn’t expect his reaction.

According to Blue Arkansas, Kelly Eubanks asked Womack about the Pell Grant program which she uses to attend college. Eubanks, who has to work two jobs to take care of her two children, was concerned about his vote to slash Pell Grants for 100,000 low income students. She expected an explanation. Instead, Womack avoided her question and callously told her that she should “join the military” to pay her own way like he did. When she tried to press the congressman for a real explanation, Womack refused and told her to “be quiet and listen.”

Christians to resist eviction of Occupy London with ring of prayer

Christians who support the ‘Occupy’ movement have pledged to form a ring of prayer around the camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral if it is threatened with forced removal by bailiffs or police.
Labour MP Helen Goodman and Church of England priest Chris Howson are among the people who have committed themselves to joining the ring of prayer. A court ruling on eviction is expected within days.

Seven days and seven nights – the #Occupy Nigeria timeline

Emergency session of the House of Representatives is called on Sunday afternoon; the outcome is a proposed suspension of removal of fuel subsidy. The National Assembly management website is hacked and defaced.

In Niger State, Muslim brothers circle a church to protect the worshippers while they have a service; an exact reverse of the situation at the Silver Jubilee Square, Kano a few days earlier.

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