The OB Media Rundown for 3/1/12

MBTA Riders Express Anger, Offer Solutions At Latest Hearing

The meeting began with chaos; after a very short speech about the building’s emergency exits and the translation services available, the MBTA’s Assistant General Manager For Development, Mark Boyle, was speaking about the availability of assistive listening devices and an older woman in the front row yelled, “This is our time to talk!”

She continued to yell the phrase repeatedly, which resulted in a standing ovationand some boos from the crowd as MBTA employees tried to restore order and keep her an appropriate distance from the seated panel. MBTA GM Jonathan Davis then took the microphone and said that they would get started hearing from community members. The crowd soon quieted when the microphone was given to Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone.

New documentary ‘The Occupiers’ focuses on camp community from start to eviction

The Occupiers, premiering tomorrow morning at Emerson College’s Bill Bordy Theatre, captures the Occupy Boston movement from its impassioned beginning to its controversial eviction. Co-directors John Forrester and Joseph Leahy spent months filming — and even occasionally sleeping — in Dewey Square.

“For me, it was one of the most fascinating things I’ve seen come out of our generation,” Forrester said. “[Filming at the camp] was exciting — frightening at times — but it was definitely something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Occupy Boston: the movie!

John Forrester spent the past five months filming and editing two terabytes of raw digital Occupy Boston footage, captured between late September and December 2011. The result is The Occupiers – a feature-length documentary of the rise and fall of Camp Dewey.

Occupiers rise again as Wall Street suffers losses

The same day Occupy Wall Street rallied against corporate excess, a new report shows New York’s once booming financial sector has not yet fully recovered from the 2008 economic collapse.

The city’s securities industry shed 4,300 jobs across the board between April and December last year, according to a report released yesterday by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Occupy Wall Street Rallies Monitored by Dow Chemical

Dec. 9, 2011: Stratfor e-mailed a monitoring report to Dow Chemical noting that Bhopal activists had rallied with Occupy Boston members, passed out literature, and hosted a film screening. Activists discussed how Dow is “avoiding responsibility for remediation of_former UCIL factory site and compensation to gas accident victims, and greenwashing its image with the London 2012 Olympics sponsorship.”

Protestors Rock Novartis on Eve of Annual Meeting – Decry Novartis’s Court Challenge to India’s Strict Standards of Patenting Medicines that Increase Access to Affordable Generics

Fifty AIDS activists, students, and community group members protested at Novartis’s Institute for BioMedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on February 22, the eve of the Swiss pharmaceutical company’s annual shareholders meeting in Berne Switzerland. The protest was part of two days of global action drawing attention to the pharmaceutical giant’s pending lawsuit against cancer patients and the government of India, aiming to reinterpret India’s strict patent standards.
. . .

Demonstrators in Cambridge tried to deliver a Silver Urn (for the ashes of people who would die if Novartis’s court challenge is successful) to Novartis officials, but they were barred from the building and ordered off the premises by Cambridge police. Demonstrators in Washington D.C. delivered an “indictment” against Novartis’s CEO and other protesters in New York City also occupied Novartis offices. These protestors organized by Health GAP, Student Global AIDS Campaign, Occupy Boston Health Justice Group, and others were joined by a larger group of protestors at the annual meeting in Basel. There, activists from Act Up Paris, Act Up Basel, MSF, Oxfam, the Berne Declaration and others showed videos and interacted with shareholders, many of whom were sympathetic to the campaigners_ protests against Novartis’s lawsuit.

Stockton could become biggest city to go bankrupt

Officials say this river port city of 290,000 is on the brink of insolvency and could become the nation’s largest city to fall into Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

Towards a Creditor State: 1 in 7 Americans Pursued by Debt Collectors

Increasingly, creditors are coming to set up the institutional structures for financial surveillance, state-sponsored enforcement of their claims through tightened bankruptcy laws and the selective use of jail, and the denial of economic opportunity based on one’s interaction with the financial system.

This is part of the new social contract. The sheer percentage of consumers with third party collections in pursuit is striking. Additionally, the uptrend through both Bush boom and Obama bust years of the percentage of people being tracked down by third party collection agencies suggests we live in a different country than we did just ten years ago.

Again, ten years ago, one in fourteen Americans were pursued by debt collectors. Today it’s one in seven. I suspect this number will keep going up. And though debt collection is a highly competitive field, it’s also a growth industry.

South Carolina sells out its citizens by letting BofA send out tax refunds on their pricy, fee-intense debit cards

Here’s another income stream for the banks that has opened up in the past few years. Call it another “financial innovation.” I’m talking about debit cards to deliver benefits. Banks issue the debit cards, which allow recipients to access welfare or unemployment benefits, and they make a small profit on fees from the services. This service doesn’t work for people who live many miles from an ATM of that particular bank, but they often have no recourse. And now, the system is expanding, at least in South Carolina, into tax refunds:

Top Wall Street investment advisor: ‘Marx was right – Capitalism threatens our existence’

Already, capitalism is proving that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were at least partially correct. They “looked forward to globalization and the supranational company because they argued it would make capitalism even more powerful, overreaching, and eventually reckless,” Grantham writes.

Globalization “would … offer the capitalists more rope to hang themselves with … rope … bought from briskly competing capitalists, eager till the end for a good deal.”

Grantham, who is British, studied economics at the University of Sheffield and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. He started his investment career as an economist with Royal Dutch Shell before starting GMO in 1977.

Occupy Vigilantes Write New Volcker Script

It isn’t every day that a reporter gets to sit in on a high-stakes policy meeting in New York’s financial district, but that’s exactly what I did on a balmy evening in late February at 60 Wall Street, the U.S. headquarters of Deutsche Bank AG.

No, the bank didn’t lose its institutional marbles and give me clearance to scribble notes while its cognoscenti mapped out corporate strategy. The confab I dropped in on was taking place under potted palm trees in the bank’s ground-floor public atrium, and the participants were 13 members of Occupy the SEC, a spinoff group of the Occupy Wall Street movement. I can’t help but conclude that their plans for petitions, marches, op-eds and sit-down meetings with banking regulators will be inflicting Wall Street with a long, nasty attack of agita.

The End of College Tuition? Some Students Hope So


That’s what the annual tuition bill will read for a student in the University of California system if school administrators adopt a controversial new proposal.

A student group called “Fix UC” designed the plan, called the UC Student Investment Proposal, which would replace tuition fees with a payment system wherein students give 5 percent of their future income to the university over 20 years.

So, it turns out feminism is a CIA plot to undermine the left – My eyebrow-raising encounter with a media studies professor at Occupy Wall Street

My favourite part of the clip is what the other three panellists do when Miller launches into his eyebrow-waggling rant about how ‘identity’ politics is a plot to distract white male academics from doing the real work of talking about class and economics whilst entirely ignoring the race and gender issues with which they are inextricably intertwined. Mirzoeff looks away. Graeber picks awkwardly at his shirt. Ross writes in his notepad, possibly the words ‘honestly, I’m not with this guy.’

The next day, I had a Twitter exchange with Miller, in which he directed me to the theory he was referencing, which is apparently the work of someone called Daniel Brandt. In the essay in question, Brandt’s groundbreaking ideas about the duplicitous, damaging role of women’s rights on the left include frothing paranoid spittle-flecks like this:

Occupy Wall Street In National Day of Protests

Washington, Feb 29 (Prensa Latina) Hundreds of activists of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement participated on Wednesday in peaceful demonstrations against capitalism in Washington DC, Denver, Los Angeles and New York, among other major U.S. cities.

Demonstrators marched in the Big Apple under police surveillance and gathered outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company and the Bank of America to celebrate a national day of protest against corporations.

Matt Taibbi Joins Occupy Wall Street for Anti-Corporate Protest

When the marchers returned to Bryant Park, Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi delivered a lecture explaining the origins of the mortgage crisis and the role played by Bank of America.

Taibbi said the financial industry sowed the seeds for the economic crisis when it began repackaging high-risk mortgages into triple-A-rated mortgage-backed securities.

“That’s what these guys did,” Taibbi said. “They turned a bunch of oregano into high-grade weed and they sold it all around the world.”

Occupy Portland: About 1,000 march in downtown, shut down several businesses; seven arrested

About 1,000 people marched Wednesday through downtown in an Occupy Portland demonstration against corporate influence in politics, setting off bits of street theater in opposition to the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The march was peaceful with only a brief confrontation with mounted police officers and riot-geared state troopers outside the Wells Fargo branch in the Wells Fargo Center.

Occupy Portland came up with the F29 protest against the council, and the idea spread to at least 70 cities in the United States. Marchers defied a driving rain for much of the afternoon, and some carried yellow umbrellas provided by the Portland Action Lab, which helped to organize the march.

Portland action: PDX Bike Swarm, the ‘Occu-cavalry’ – pumps up awareness at ‘Tour de Petro’, then provides support to anti-ALEC F29 march

Despite weather that mixed freezing rain with strong winds, the PDX Bike Swarm was out in force this morning with a protest action they dubbed “Tour de Petro.”

The idea was to draw attention to the vast subsidies the U.S. government hands out to oil companies and the alignment between those companies and the powerful non-profit American Legislative Exchange Council that represents their interests. ALEC has come under scrutiny for its close connection between state legislators and its corporate and billionaire benefactors.

Black Bloc, Occupy split over bank vandalism in Portland

Vandals broke windows Tuesday night at a Starbucks and three banks in Portland, then the group that took credit for the crimes said it was a message for the Occupy movement. The credit included the following statement:

“We chose a bank because banks have upheld the sanctity of capitalism, making it possible for a few people to accrue copious amounts of wealth. This was also for the role the banks have played in the current financial crisis and the level of environmental destruction they have supported. These banks are responsible for throwing poor and oppressed people the world over under the bus of extreme poverty and destitution.

We also did this to remind #Occupy to keep its horizons open. Rather than resort to the gory analogy about cats, we prefer to say they’re more than one way to shut down a corporation. Parades through the city may be able to accomplish this task on occasion, but at the end of the day there’s really no replacement for a few dozen folks in masks with rocks. We don’t know whether this will be taken as solidarity or antagonism by the core of Occupy, but frankly that isn’t worth dwelling on for us.”

On their twitter account, Occupy fired back Wednesday morning at the vandals. “To the rock tossers: Thank you for not hiding behind Occupy and forcing peaceful marchers to take a beating for you this time.”

Occupy protesters arrested outside Pfizer [CT]

The protesters were part of a contingent of nearly 100 people that marched around Pfizer’s largest worldwide site Wednesday morning, Feb. 29, 2012, demanding that the pharmaceutical giant renounce its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is an organization that brings legislators and corporations together to write new laws that protesters say favor corporations over working people.

Corvallis [OR] Occupiers Protest Wells Fargo

Corvallis protesters hit the streets Wednesday in solidarity with occupiers across the country. It was all part of F29, the February 29th rally.

The Occupy Corvallis movement stopped by the local major banks, making its way to Wells Fargo to protest. Occupiers say they just want the community to know that they are still here, and they’re not stepping down until change has been made.

Occupiers rallied against Wells Fargo’s ties to the conservative group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group they claim is controlling our government.

Occupy Santa Rosa protesters stage brief demonstration in Wal-Mart

More than two-dozen Occupy Santa Rosa protesters staged a brief demonstration inside the Wal-Mart store in Rohnert Park on Wednesday, seeking to call attention to the political influence of the world’s largest retailer.

The group gathered in an aisle near the electronics department around 3:45 p.m., chanting, “Attention, Wal-Mart shoppers and employees.”

The demonstration was part of a nationwide day of protest targeting companies that belong to the American Legislative Executive Council, organizer Carl Patrick said.

Occupy groups protest corporations and Walmart in Eastvale

A few hundred Occupy protesters from as far north as Oregon and as far south as San Diego converged in a Riverside County industrial area Wednesday to disrupt the operations of a Walmart distribution center.

Several hundred protesters succeeded in disrupting or blocking the flow of traffic during the morning rush hour as they marched and chanted down several blocks of Hamner Avenue, just south of Riverside Drive. Protesters also said they caused the closure of the Walmart warehouse on Wednesday.

Occupy Salt Lake protests at Utah Legislature in evening wear

Occupy Salt Lake protesters are donning evening wear to criticize corporate influence at the Utah Legislature.

Organizer Justin Kramer says the group is using humor to mock lawmakers who they say are beholden to special interests and corporations.

Approximately two dozen protesters are attending the rally Wednesday in the rotunda of the state Capitol. The protest includes cross-dressing performers wearing garish costumes. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers are being pilloried by the activists.

Denver protest targets Wells Fargo

A group of about 30 protesters marched through the lobby of the 1700 Broadway building in downtown Denver Wednesday afternoon, banging handmade drums and protesting Wells Fargo & Co. and the bank’s involvement with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The protesters said they were members of the Occupy movement, as well as and other progressive organizations.

Top UC Santa Cruz officials criticize Occupy plans to shut down campus Thursday

A group called Occupy Education plans to block entrances to campus beginning early Thursday morning, only permitting emergency vehicles and residents. They have planned rallies for 4:30 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. at the base of campus, where they plan to erect a “Tent University” designed for teach-ins and discussion about public education and the university administration.

OccupySF Prepares for Direct Action Rally to Restore Education, Social Services Funding

On March 1, 2012, San Francisco occupiers, educators, students, community members, and unions will unite for a Statewide Day of Action to demand that the California Government fully funds public education and social services for the 99%. The Statewide Day of Action will lead to a five-day “99 Mile March for Education and Social Justice” from Oakland to Sacramento, and a convergence of hundreds of people on March 5th to nonviolently occupy the State Capitol in Sacramento.

Protest rallies planned at college campuses around the state

Rallies at college campuses throughout the state are expected to draw thousands of students and faculty Thursday, part of a national day of action denouncing cuts in higher education.

Marches, teach-ins and protests against tuition increases, class cuts and other issues were scheduled at Cal State campuses in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Dominguez Hills and Fullerton and at UCLA and other University of California campuses. Most are allied with the Occupy movement.

Occupy Louisville Demonstrates At KFC Yum Center Wednesday

Demonstrators occupied part of the main plaza of the KFC Yum Center Wednesday evening.

It was the first protest from Occupy Louisville after a weekend confrontation with police.

As thousands of Louisville Cardinals fans headed inside the arena for the basketball game with South Florida, demonstrators used it as a chance to make their voices heard.

Occupy Bozeman forms picket line outside Wells Fargo

Members of the Occupy Bozeman movement picketed outside the downtown Wells Fargo this afternoon to convince customers to remove their money from the bank.

Their efforts were part of a national protest today against large banks.

Kurt Dally, an Occupy Bozeman protester, says they feel the banks have caused a lot of harm, and the protesters are looking to hold them accountable.

Occupy805 stages protest against Halliburton

If the environmental, anti-war and anti-corporate movements have a common public enemy No. 1, it’s Halliburton, the oil field services company once run by former Vice President Dick Cheney.

So picketing an actual Halliburton office in Oxnard on Wednesday was a cathartic experience for about 25 people from Occupy805, an alliance of Occupy Ventura, Occupy Oxnard and other Occupy groups in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

Police arrest four at Occupy KC event protesting ATT’s support for ALEC

Wednesday’s event in Kansas City was part of similar actions around the country described as “standing up to the corporations and legislators involved in American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).”

AT&T is among the corporations that provide financial support to ALEC, according to Occupy’s news release.

Occupy Charlottesville Holds ‘Corporate Greed’ Protest

Occupy Charlottesville was back on the picket line Wednesday, this time going up against cell phone giant Verizon.

The group gathered on Pantops Wednesday afternoon in a “protest against corporate greed” with police watching closely nearby. Those holding signs and speaking up claim Verizon is one of the companies that meets behind closed doors and rewrites laws in its favor.

Protestor David Swanson said, “They are completely unaccountable to the rule of law. They help the NSA spy on us without warrants. They’re given government contracts after that, no questions asked. And they are part of a trend that’s corrupting our state government as well as our federal government.”

Occupy Dayton targets bank, post office


Occupy Dayton protested outside PNC Bank and the Dayton Mail Processing Center Wednesday afternoon. Protesters said their goal is to continue to draw attention to economic issues.

“These big banks and corporations are hurting the average person,” Shawn Cassiman said.

Cassiman said the group was also upset about news that the mail processing center might close.

Occupy New Brunswick Protesters Take on ALEC

In the shadow of Johnson & Johnson’s main corporate offices, protesters from Occupy New Brunswick called for the pharmaceutical giant to end its involvement in the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC.

ALEC is a lobbyist group that includes both politicians and corporations and allows those corporations influence in drafting laws. Johnson & Johnson is part of the group, as are Monsanto, Bank of America, Pfizer and Wal-Mart.

Monsanto Trial Verdict Leads To Protest In Washington, D.C.

Protesters assembled in front of the Washington, D.C. offices of agricultural biotech giant Monsanto Wednesday, in response to a federal judge’s dismissal of a class-action lawsuit against the company.

Chanting phrases like “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Monsanto has got to go!,” 40 to 50 members of Occupy D.C. gathered in the rain in front of the I Street office building, reported DCist.

MTA workers, riders ask the agency to restore service cuts, hire back workers [NY]

Transit union members, straphangers and Occupy Wall Street protesters angrily confronted the MTA board Wednesday morning, demanding that the agency restore service cuts made in 2010 and hire back laid-off workers.

“Many of us who ride the system have the perception that your employees care more about safety than you do,” he said. Several employees who were given pink slips in 2010 when the MTA eliminated two subway routes and dozens of bus lines asked the board to rehire more than 100 workers. The TWU says the MTA has money to add back service and workers, but is saving it instead.

L.A. council endorses watered-down bank accountability plan

Months after activists with Occupy L.A. demanded an aggressive crackdown on misbehaving Wall Street banks, the City Council approved a watered-down proposal to obtain yearly reports from financial institutions that seek to do business with the city.

On a 13-to-0 vote, the council voted to draft a law requiring those banks to disclose information about the number of foreclosures, small-business loans and other activities in local neighborhoods.

Council members dropped plans for having the city rate the banks after being told that such a move would be too expensive. And they took no action on a proposal, offered months ago during the Occupy demonstrations outside City Hall, to sever the city’s ties with financial institutions found to have committed wrongdoing.

Occupy Galway to host national assembly of Irish occupy camps this weekend

Occupy Galway will host the fifth national assembly of the Irish Occupy Camps this Saturday at the camp in Eyre Square at 1pm.

Camps from Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, and Belfast will attend. The national assembly, held each month, gives the demonstrators an opportunity to share experience and knowledge with the aim of initiating nationally co-ordinated campaigns and actions.

‘Spy firm’ included on Auckland City Council’s Occupy security bill

A security bill accumulated by the Auckland Council has been found to include payments to several private investigators and a security firm following the recent Occupy Auckland protest.

The firm in question has a history of ‘spying’ on activists, including cases of paying students to infiltrate activist groups to extract potentially valuable information.

The Auckland Council’s $126,673 security bill spent on monitoring and evicting Aotea Square’s protesters includes a $38,000 payment to Auckland-based security firm Thompson & Clark, one of a trio of security firms hired to manage the ‘uprising of the 99%’.

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