The OB Media Rundown for 3/25/12

Law that enabled Trayvon Martin killing: ‘Hard to imagine a more radical attack on the justice system as we know it’
Florida lawmakers and the NRA are operating within a broader ideological framework. As NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer put it: “Through time, in this country, what I like to call bleeding heart criminal coddlers want you to give a criminal an even break, so that when you’re attacked, you’re supposed to turn around and run, rather than standing your ground and protecting yourself and your family and your property … Taking away the rights of law-abiding people and putting them in jeopardy of being prosecuted and then sued by criminals who were injured when they were committing crimes against victims is wrong.”

This rationale has several key hallmarks of conservative ideology: It adopts the liberal language of rights – but only to take them away from some, while turning them into privileges for others. It also pretends to be protecting the law-abiding against the criminal, and to oppose the erosion of traditional rights by the presumably liberal “bleeding heart criminal coddlers”. But the reality is exactly the opposite. Outside the home, the duty to retreat is the traditional common law doctrine. Hammer and the NRA are the ones radically altering the law. And the second prong – prohibiting criminal prosecution – goes even further.

“As the law stands, it contradicts the entire purpose behind the justice system. It takes the decision out of the hands of the jurors,” said Brian Cavanagh, head of the state attorney’s homicide unit, commenting with regard to a Broward County case in December 2011. It’s hard to imagine a more radical attack on the justice system as we know it.

Mass state senator’s proposed legislation resembles  FL ‘Stand Your Ground’ law at issue in Trayvon Martin’s death

Under the legislation by Sen. Stephen M. Brewer, a Barre Democrat, the state would expand its current “Castle Doctrine,” which says a person has no duty to retreat from intruders at home before using deadly force.

Brewer’s bill would expand that Castle principle to using deadly force in public anyplace the person has a right to be. The principle is called the Stand Your Ground Principle. More than two dozen states have passed either the Castle Doctrine, Stand Your Ground or both, according to the Associated Press.

Florida’s “stand your ground law” is receiving new scrutiny after a 17-year-old, unarmed black man was shot to death by a neighborhood watch captain in a gated community. The captain is claiming self-defense during a confrontation.

What is at the core of Occupy Wall Street movement?


Obstacles to unity between Occupy and US blacks ‘a political cultural problem.’

Wall Street Wage Gaps Give Women Yet Another Reason To Occupy

“Women who want to earn more on Wall Street than their male colleagues have one reliable option. They can set up a shoe-shine stand in Lower Manhattan.”

So concluded Bloomberg reporter Frank Bass after crunching Census data on the gender wage gap in various professions. His findings: Out of 265 major occupations, service work such as shoe shining and personal care was the only one in which women earned, on average, more than men ($1.02 to every $1). And the high-paying jobs of Wall Street had the biggest gap:

The six jobs with the largest gender gap in pay and at least 10,000 men and 10,000 women were in the Wall Street-heavy financial sector: insurance agents, managers, clerks, securities sales agents, personal advisers and other specialists.

‘Occupy’ the Ed Department starts Friday

A group of activists is planning a four-day protest event starting next week called “Occupy the DOE in D.C.” that is aimed at alerting the Obama administration to growing unhappiness with its education reform policies.

Obama Endorses Keystone XL Pipeline, Native Americans Forced to Protest from ‘Cage’

Today, President Obama has endorsed a southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline. “As long as I’m president, I’m going to keep encouraging the development of oil and gas infrastructure,” Obama said in a speech in Cushing, Okla.

As the president spoke, Native American pipeline protesters were ‘caged’ miles away from the event.

Native American activists in Oklahoma have expressed outrage at the proposal of the pipeline as it will “desecrate known sacred sites and artifacts” on its path to refineries in Texas, in addition to the evident environmental degradation involved.

Why Occupy Needs to Start Making Demands

Those Occupiers who favor articulating specific goals for the movement like to quote the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who famously said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” “Demands are for terrorists,” their opponents quip back. One Occupier lately canvassed by the New York Times dismissed demands as “disempowering because they require someone else to respond.” Others object that goal-setting forces people to think small. In any case, the exercise requires some degree of top-down discipline, which Occupiers reject. (In Zuccotti Park last October, an attempt to form a “Demands working group” fizzled, in part because Occupiers thought it was “not open-source” and did “not act by consensus.”) The influential social theorist Judith Butler recently wrote that to submit demands is to grant “legitimacy to those who have the power to satisfy the demands” – which “would be giving more power to the very sources of inequality.” The draft of one Occupy manifesto, the Liberty Square Blueprint, insists, “Demands cannot reflect the time scale we are working with…. Demands imply conditions, and we will never stop.”

Well, maybe those guys will never stop. But it will take more than those guys to win. It will take all sorts of people to sustain Occupy – including, in big numbers, the less radically committed. Given that, here’s something else to consider about demands: When met, they can become the fuel that can keep a mass movement from declining in the face of ordinary human impatience.

To the NYPD Officers Reading My Emails

Have you sworn an oath to defend the Constitution with or without the Fourth Amendment? Have you sworn the law enforcement oath of honor? It reads:

“On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character or the public trust.  I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions.  I will always uphold the Constitution, my community, and the agency I serve.”

Do you mean that?  Then who read my email? Why? Justified by what Constitution? Do you have the courage to hold yourself and/or others accountable for your actions?

Arrests at Occupy Wall Street Rally

The police arrested about a dozen people on Saturday during an Occupy Wall Street march that organizers said was meant to protest police tactics and brutality. In part, protesters said, the march was meant to object to the police decision last Saturday to close Zuccotti Park and arrest more than 70 people gathered there.

The first arrests took place shortly after about 300 people left Zuccotti Park and began marching north, accompanied by police on foot and riding scooters. On White Street, many of the marchers abruptly turned onto Lafayette Street, breaking away from the attending officers, and running north. Some of them unfurled yellow flags and others a long orange net resembling nets the police have used in the past to corral protesters.

Occupy Flint members take to street in solidarity support of national Occupy Wall Street movement

Members of Occupy Flint took to the streets today showing solidarity with the national Occupy Movement.

The Stop Police Brutality Solidarity March began shortly after 1 p.m. with the small group walking from its camp on the corner of King Street and Second Avenue to City Hall. The march was in support of the national movement protesting arrests and claims of police brutality in New York and St. Louis last week.

Portland joins cities across the US in outcry over Trayvon Martin ‘tragedy’

Hundreds of people gathered in Peninsula Park Saturday morning to show their support for the family of Trayvon Martin.

The rally, organized by Occupy Portland, engaged the talents of Marilyn Keller to “unify” the group with the song ‘Lift Ev’ry Voice.’

North Carolina town officials struggle to understand what’s an Occupier and what’s an anarchist and whether they can be the same

In interviews last week, Hutchison and Lt. A.L. Westbrook, a criminal investigator, defended deploying 22 officers in light of commune members’ illegal February occupation of the former WCOM radio station building on the CVS property and because of a growing concern about anarchists locally and elsewhere.

“A lot of folks see this as ‘Occupy,’” Westbrook said, referring to the local and national Occupy Wall Street movements that have peacefully demonstrated against corporations. “This is a completely different group. These people are anarchists.”

Occupy Boulder helps bring renewed focus on the homeless

Thanks to Occupy Boulder’s highly public encampment last fall, a highly contested housing project in north Boulder and the enactment of a new law that prohibits people from being in city parks overnight, Boulder’s homeless population has found itself in the spotlight over the past few months.

Some of the recent issues surrounding the homeless have brought up a broader question of whether Boulder is a city that is friendly to the nearly 1,000 people every night who have no place to go. Opinions on the matter range from those who feel Boulder does more than its fair share to those who feel the city doesn’t do nearly enough.

Occupy Martha’s Vineyard presents ‘Eyes wide Open’

This afternoon, the Empowerment & Education Working Group of Occupy MV is presenting the first “Eyes Wide Open” event at the Chilmark Community Center. This free community dinner and a movie event will introduce The People’s Kitchen who will start serving at 5:30 pm. A highly enlightening documentary film about the Federal Reserve, the IRS, and the alleged income tax law will be shown at 7 p.m.  A brief Q&A and a community discussion will follow focusing on what you can do to make a difference in your life and community.

Anti-racists, ‘white pride’ groups clash in London

An expected ‘white pride’ rally outside London city hall drew a large crowd Saturday afternoon – but one marching under an anti-racism banner.

About 100 people from various activist groups, including Occupy London members, converged at 300 Dufferin Ave. in a kind of counter-protest to the pro-white event that had been planned.

“We’re here to say you’re not welcome in our community,” said one member of the group, whose face was bandana-clad and gave his name only as Jake.

Occupy Christchurch group apologizes for problems caused by some people living at its South Hagley Park camp site

Occupy Christchurch spokesperson Rik Tindall says the apology is for the conduct of a group of people who didn’t come to the camp for a political protest.

He says they are predominately young people who came to party and became out of control.

Portuguese Workers Strike Over Austerity Cuts

Sunrise over the Portuguese capital Lisbon heralds a general strike called by the country’s largest workers’ union.

Ports were shut, trains halted, and most public transport in the capital brought to a standstill in protest at austerity measures and labor reforms imposed as part of the 78-billion-euro bailout.

Striking under the slogan “Occupy the streets, block everything”, workers say the reforms turn the clock back on employment rights, ramp up joblessness, and erode living standards.

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