The OB Media Rundown for 2/8/12

Somerville among suburbs where Occupy movement goes grass-roots

”We need to build a mass movement in order to change things,” said Rob Talbot, who regularly holds an Occupy Salem sign in downtown Salem on weekends. ”People in the suburbs are realizing that they have to be involved, too. Right now, the corporate influence over politics is extreme and human needs are not being met, and they won’t be until the people stand up together and say we need a change of course.”

UK austerity movement succeeds in cutting disability benefits with a hate campaign

The government’s focus on alleged fraud and overclaiming to justify cuts in disability benefits has caused an increase in resentment and abuse directed at disabled people, as they find themselves being labelled as scroungers, six of the country’s biggest disability groups have warned.

Some of the charities say they are now regularly contacted by people who have been taunted on the street about supposedly faking their disability and are concerned the climate of suspicion could spill over into violence or other hate crimes.
. . .

Scope’s regular polling of people with disabilities shows that in September two-thirds said they had experienced recent hostility or taunts, up from 41% four months before. In the last poll almost half said attitudes towards them had deteriorated in the past year.

Some disabled people say the climate is so hostile they avoid going out, or avoid using facilities such as designated parking bays if they “don’t look disabled”.

What the Boomers economic war against the Millenials has wrought

Way back in 1892, Friedrich Engels knew that success was the real curse of the USA. And that a powerful, anti-capitalist left could never take off in this country until the game stopped paying out: “Only when there is a generation of native-born workers that cannot expect anything from speculation any more will we have a solid foothold in America.”

Sound familiar? That’s what Occupy is for most of us-a guttural roar that capitalism will not do. The Boomers are right that it all smacks of entitlement. We are entitled. The world, and this country in particular, is awash in capital. With the billions floating in and out of this city every day, it’s amazing that you can walk around Manhattan and not end up with at least a grand worth of cash sifting around in your shoes like beach sand. The big lie is that the coffers are empty and budgets must be balanced. What a fucking joke. American workers have spent hundreds of years building this country and amassing this wealth, and it’s about time we claimed the vast majority of it.

But batten down the hatches, because if there’s one thing they’ve made abundantly clear, the Boomers are going to cling to life and power until the very last EKG blip, fleecing us all the while. Conservative apostate David Frum recently characterized the contemporary GOP’s platform as “a going-out-of-business sale for the Baby Boomer generation.” Which is pretty much the Democrats’ platform too. They just have better table manners.

Modified Crops Tap a Wellspring of Protest

SILENT in flannel shirts and ponytails, farmers from Saskatchewan and South Dakota, Mississippi and Massachusetts lined the walls of a packed federal courtroom in Manhattan last week, as their lawyers told a judge that they were no longer able to keep genetically modified crops from their fields.

The hearing is part of a debate that is coming to life around the country, in courtrooms and Occupy sites, in boardrooms and online, with new petitions, ballot initiatives and lawsuits from California to Maine.

Last year, according to the Department of Agriculture, about 90 percent of all soybeans, corn, canola and sugar beets raised in the United States were grown from what scientists now call transgenic seed. Most processed foods (staples like breakfast cereal, granola bars, chicken nuggets and salad dressing) contain one or more transgenic ingredients, according to estimates from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, though the labels don’t reveal that. (Some, like tortilla chips, can contain dozens.)

Occupy Portland decries violence at march

Members of Occupy Portland spent Tuesday trying to distance their movement from the march that turned heated along SE Belmont the night before.

Police arrested 10 protesters after cars and businesses were vandalized.

Socialist Randy Blazak said this could mark a turning point for the local movement.

Portland Postmortem: The Simmering Battle Between Occupy and the Black Bloc

Last night’s anti-police-brutality march-a chaotic brew of nuisance vandalism, bickering among participants, and, yes, reports of heavy-handed arrests-was maybe more useful than it seemed in the dim glow of all the talk of smashed windows and hyped news releases.

It’s brought back to light, on a local level, questions about the permeability of Occupy’s message and massing-and the relative ease in which groups whose aims run counter or even merely neutral to the movement’s overall focus on economic inequality can wind up distorting public and media perceptions of all the inchoate aims the Occupy movement is actually all about.

More info about counter-protester group that held a rally in Oakland after the Jan. 28th action in that city

Whether one agrees or not with these characterizations of Occupy Oakland and its internal dynamics, what is apparent is that the pro-police, conservative, and business lobbyists at the forefront of Monday’s “Stand For Oakland” rally do not speak for, nor do they even understand the alienation and miscommunication that is affecting Occupy Oakland’s relationship to many Oaklanders today. They are attempting to capitalize upon it, however.

Occupy’s organizers, especially those who were central to planning the January 28 actions that were subject to intense police violence and media disinformation, should attempt to better understand this popular dissatisfaction lest more reactionary, anti-democratic voices take the lead as they did on Monday.

The difference between Occupy Oakland and Occupy San Francisco is the police

. . . what critics often miss is that the same people who carried barricades at Move In Day go to Occupy events in San Francisco empty-handed. When I went to Occupy Wall Street West in San Francisco on 20th January, I didn’t see any barricades or riot shields, and very few gas masks. The reason for this is clear: activists don’t expect to be teargassed, shot with rubber bullets and beanbag guns, maced, and beaten in San Francisco.

Idaho Lawmakers Demand Occupiers Remove US Flag Buttons

“I think it’s really worth noting, and I think the general public needs to understand, the Senate just decided that the American flag is indecorous. The actual wearing of the American Flag, as a legitimate part of patriotic groups, which we’re permitted to do,” said [Occupier] Gunderson. “The Senate decided that that was inappropriate.”

The Senate returned to business, but adjourned once more at about 11:20 a.m. Sen. Stennet and Sen. Malepeai again huddled with Occupiers on the fourth floor of the Rotunda.

“We have no legal right to tell you not to wear the flags,” Sen. Stennett told the Occupiers. “[Sen. Hill] just wants it to be quiet, and he wants it to be respectful.”

“Occupy CPAC” [Conservative Political Action Committee] – Will usually timid unions join Occupiers for more direct action?

“We will have actions on Friday at noon and 5pm (for Scott Walker’s speech at the Reagan Banquet), and on Saturday we will meet at Malcolm X Park at 16th and Euclid at noon to march to the Marriott.”

These actions come with the endorsements of the AFL-CIO, the SEIU, and other groups not usually into disrupting CPAC. What do those endorsements mean?

“We are inviting folks from the AFL-CIO headquarters to go out on Friday to the two events,” said AFL-CIO spox Ja-Rei Wang. “There may be other members doing more. I know that I got an invite to join.”

Ocupados To Terrorize CPAC To Its Bitter Core [satire]

The DC-area Occupy people, having been kicked out of their park this weekend, have a fun new thing in the works: Occupying CPAC. It’s just around the corner, so why not? According to the Occupiers’ website, they will “march to the Marriott” to “create as much non-violent resistance as possible, and make this a conference the attendees will never forget.” So they want pictures with Sarah Palin, got it. But what if this non-violent resistance descends into a bit of the ol’ Ultraviolence? That’s what’s going to happen, according to a hysterical pants-wetting Heritage Foundation blog post.

A nerd named Lachlan Markay at the Heritage Foundation’s blog, “Scribe,” has found a source who is probably just the guy sitting next to him. The source tells Markay that the occupiers are going to bomb Mitt Romney and everyone in attendance and then blow up the building with C4 and then nuke DC. And did you know that the Africkans will be involved?

Journalist recovers video of his arrest after police deleted it

A Miami journalist has recovered video of police officers arresting him after it was deleted from his camera. The man was covering a police effort to evict Occupy Miami protestors. He plans to file a complaint with the police department and with the United States Department of Justice.

Big News on Bank Transfers

A new analysis from the firm Javelin Strategy and Research found that, in the last 90 days, Americans changed banking providers at three times the normal rate, with 5.6 million people moving their money to a different bank.

Bank Transfer Day wasn’t the first major effort to get people to ditch Wall Street banks, but it was the first to have this level of impact. Arianna Huffington spearheaded a 2010 mobilization, the Move Your Money Project, to move customers to community banks (“Our money has been used to make the system worse-what if we used it to make the system better?” she wrote). While the project gained a fair amount of interest, Javelin reports that the actual bank defections it prompted failed to register on its surveys.

So why was 2011′s exodus so much bigger? Eleven percent of those who moved their money-some 610,000 people-reported that they did so directly because of Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day. The Occupy movement helped bring corporate power to the forefront of national discourse; Bank Transfer Day offered a clear, practical way for people to send a message-a chance to turn the mundane question of bank choice into a stance about their personal economic values.

Protestors Voice Disapproval for Corbett’s Budget [PA]

On hand for Governor Tom Corbett’s budget address Tuesday in Harrisburg were several hundred protesters, mostly with the occupy movement.

They went to voice their disapproval of the Corbett administration and its proposed budget.

Even before the governor’s budget address, protesters from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh lined the hallway in the capitol waiting to let members of his administration hear what they have to say.

Occupy Nashville petitions bank to stop foreclosure on elderly Nashville resident

More than 37,000 people have signed an online petition calling on JP Morgan Chase & Co. not to foreclose on an elderly Nashville woman.

A news release from petition website says Helen Bailey is a 78-year-old homeowner who has paid her mortgage for years. It says she fell behind on payments due to medical bills.

Letter to the editor: Society for corporate elites (Canada)

These words: “Harper doesn’t want ideas. . . He has a parliamentary majority” jumped off the page for me. Less than 40 per cent of the popular vote permitted Stephen Harper to dismiss the protocols demanded by a democracy, and to continue the construction of a society for oligarchs and corporate elites; the working class to be dispatched to neo-feudalism.

The Occupy Canada protesters should target the incumbents of Harper’s government, particularly the dissatisfied back-benchers, persuading them to take the honourable walk across the aisle to a welcoming opposition. With enough pressure we might get a government that gives a damn.

Letter to the editor: We need to save good jobs [Canada]

The attack on public employees’ job security, proposed cuts to OAS, the lockdown by Caterpillar, and threats to health care are aspects of one story: the steady deterioration of working people’s livelihood for the sake of higher corporate profits. If this were better understood, the Occupy movement would have more power than the Tea Party, and outside city workers could count on massive public support.

Bankers, bond traders, corporate elites and their entourage of pundits and politicians preach austerity to the victims of cutbacks while gorging on greater untaxed wealth.

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