The OB Media Rundown for 4/11/12

Letter to the editor: Dig’s costs surface

Camp Charlie seems to be the only place to call out the Big Dig culture that will cost you and I another $54 million due to corrupt cronyism, no bid contracts and incompetence (“Occupiers take over State House,” April 5). Big Dig debt should get a separate line item that we all can track and be taken off the back of the MBTA, the disabled and the students. They did not sell out the taxpayer, Beacon Hill did. (Boston Herald)

Winchester residents gather to discuss Occupy movement

More than six months after the Occupy movement began, one group of Winchester residents is still discussing its meaning and impact.

Seventeen individuals met at the Winchester Unitarian Society April 1 to screen film clips about the Occupy movement and discuss how they applied to Winchester residents and society at large.

The group, which counts about 40 members on its email list, has been meeting about once every two weeks since October 2011. It began after Darcy Roake, the intern minister at Winchester Unitarian Society, began noticing that more and more congregants were attending worship services with buttons saying they were “the 99 percent,” showing their support for the Occupy movement. (Winchester Star)

Occupy Boston protesters move ahead of Brazilian president’s State House visit

State police say about 40 Occupy Boston protesters who were camped outside the State House have moved to Boston Common so that security can be tightened for a visit by the president of Brazil. (Associated Press via WWLP)

Occupy Boston’s Camp Charlie Temporarily Evicted From the State House Steps

Just shy of a week into their protest of the MBTA’s recent fare hikes and service cuts announcement, Occupy Boston’s camp on the State House steps was evicted by federal authorities last night, according to the Occupy MBTA website. Called Camp Charlie, the group had vowed to occupy the State House until April 14th; however, their plans were thwarted last night, when “Massachusetts State Police officers told the protesters that the Secret Service had taken jurisdiction of the State House and surrounding area ahead of a visit from the President of Brazil,” according to their site. (BostInno)

Occupy and religion stories

Occupier talks about #OccupyBuddhism

Buddhism relies on society for its continued existence. Even monastics, who intentionally withdraw from social institutions, depend on lay disciples for their physical needs. Dharma centers depend on their members for financial support and volunteer work. Teachers depend on students for their livelihood. In order for Buddhism to be healthy, society has to be healthy. It cannot exist in some rarified spiritual bubble that’s isolated from society’s problems. If we want the seed of the dharma to sprout and grow in the West, then we have to plant it in good soil.

This is basic interdependence. It’s why the Buddha often gave financial advice to his lay students. It’s why the Buddha and other teachers who came after him so often advised kings on what social and economic policies would be most virtuous. We don’t often hear about these teachings on politics and economics, but there are just tons of them in every school. Buddhism also preserved and transmitted a lot of medical knowledge as it moved throughout Asia. This is because people have always recognized that you need a healthy body and a healthy society to practice the dharma. This body, this society-there’s nowhere else for us to practice, nowhere else for us to escape to, nowhere else for us to go.

Occupy Sravasti: Little known Buddhist text inspires to action

Such a senseless manifestation
Who is monstrously greedy
And amasses riches insatiably
Is called the poorest of all.

Your Majesty, you levy harsh taxes
And punish the innocent for no reason.
Infatuated with your sovereignty,
You never heed_The future effects of your actions.

While you enjoy power in this world,
You do not protect your subjects,
And have no pity
For the poor and suffering.
. . .

When [Saint] Surata barged into the treasury [to deliver the words above]  it was unbelievably kind, but there was hardly anything polite about it.

Neither were many of the social movements I idolize nearly as genteel as I’d like to imagine. The marches, boycotts, and sit-ins that marked the Civil Rights Movement may have been nonviolent, but they were also meant to disrupt the ordinary patterns of day-to-day life. People couldn’t go out to lunch with friends because the lunch counter was blocked by a sit-in; or their hours were cut because none of the black people in town were riding the bus they drove for a living; or they were inconvenienced in a thousand other ways big and small. In fact, Martin Luther King Jr. often referred to nonviolence as “creative maladjustment,” with the idea that those who practiced it must be maladjusted to society’s injustices. And we know that maladjustment always creates friction.

Occupy Catholics to Cardinal Dolan: We Aren’t Protesting, We’re Advertising Love

The Catholic bishops haven’t had much to say while their co-religionist Paul Ryan pushes through his budgetary assault on the 99%. But if they won’t speak on behalf of the Catholic social justice tradition-much less the ancient prophets’ blistering cries against injustice-others will have to do so instead.

Many of us wore, safety-pinned to our clothes, Occupy Catholics patches designed by RD contributor Mary Valle: a haloed bird nesting-occupying, that is-for the sake of new life. That’s why, on Good Friday last week, I was among the group of Occupy Catholics who stood in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City singing, “Were you there when they crucified the poor?” and carrying an enormous banner to that effect.

Occupy foreclosure stories in the media

Occupy activists take on foreclosure fight


Occupy Atlanta fights foreclosures in Vine City

Occupy Atlanta has swept into Vine City to fight Bank of America over the foreclosure of Pamela Flores’s house. La’die Mansfield, spokesperson for Occupy Atlanta, led a press conference Monday in front of Flores’s nicely kept red brick home across from Kennedy middle school in Vine City. Mansfield announced that Occupy Atlanta would set up tents at Flores house and that her home would become a “hub” to fight foreclosure in Vine City. For the press conference, OA brought together a city councilman, a pastor from a local church and a certified mediator to join the fight.

Occupy Atlanta has fought several battles this year, building coalitions and bringing attention to issues that negatively effect Atlanta: the foreclosure crisis, economic disparity, job layoffs, and the anti-first amendment SB469 bill. They have done so by setting up camps in various places and occupying them to raise awareness of the issues and to try to bring about change. All the while, putting their lives on hold, risking arrest, and sleeping in the most uncomfortable of situations.

Occupy Homes Protest Forces Delay of Sheriff Sale

After a week of escalating pressure demanding US Bank postpone the sheriff’s sale of John and Lucinda Vinje’s home, Occupy Homes won another 11th hour victory today. John Vinje led a contingent of 50 Occupy Homes MN supporters into the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Civil Division where the sale was to take place at 11:00am this morning. Speeches, chants, and song filled the marbled hallways in the ground floor of city hall. No potential buyers were seen entering the courtroom the entire time, and just after 11:30am it was announced that US Bank had delayed the sale to May 29th.

Following the victory, John said: “This shows that the power is now with the people, and not with large, monolithic corporations, like US Bank. Homeowners throughout Minnesota facing foreclosure, facing sheriff’s sales, should get together with their community and demand a postponement and renegotiation. They should get connected with Occupy Homes because we can save homes throughout the state of Minnesota when we all work together.”

San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passes foreclosure moratorium resolution

Supervisor John Avalos’ resolution calling for a suspension of foreclosure activities in the City and County of San Francisco passed in an 11-0 vote at the Board of Supervisors. This resolution signals the City’s resolve to protect homeowners from unfair and unlawful actions by banks, trustees and mortgage companies until protections at the state and federal level are in place.

Occupy and police and government repression stories

Occupy demonstrators meet with Rybak, demand answers for treatment [MN]

About three-dozen members of the Occupy protest movement met with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and Police Chief Tim Dolan Tuesday afternoon at city hall to discuss allegations of excessive force used on protesters.

Protesters say police officers used excessive force when they arrested 12 demonstrators at a gathering Saturday night in Loring Park and Peavey Plaza near downtown Minneapolis.

Rybak declines to condemn police actions toward Occupy protesters

Despite the demand of Occupy protesters, Mayor R.T. Rybak refused Tuesday to issue a blanket condemnation of the police department’s handling of an Occupy demonstration on Saturday night where 12 people were arrested.

But he encouraged the activists, who are part of the nationwide movement that has opposed Wall Street, the banks and big business,  to provide information on specific incidents that the police will review. About 75 protesters who packed into a room at City Hall to meet with the mayor, generally left unsatisfied with his remarks and those of Police Chief Tim Dolan who stood by Rybak’s side as the two men responded to questions.

Community colleges back off on protest restrictions following Seattle Central hearing

he chancellor of the Seattle Community Colleges system has backed off of the controversial set of rules revisions that had been proposed as a solution to the problems encountered last fall in removing the Occupy Seattle camp from Capitol Hill’s Seattle Central campus. In a statement released Tuesday, chancellor Jill Wakefield said she is pulling the proposed rule set “off the table” and is instead proposing a limited set of updates governing hours of protest, camping and trespassing. Last week, CHS reported on Thursday’s hearing at the Broadway Performance Hall that included dozens of students, faculty and Occupy representatives testifying against the proposed updates which sought to restrict areas of the campus where protest could occur, limit signage and require outside groups to get permission from the administration before holding rallies or protests. Seattle Central’s campus — and especially its brick plaza — has been a regular gathering point for rallies and protests on Capitol Hill for decades.

Protesters Gather Across From Stockton City Hall

A group of protesters gathered across from City Hall, prompting a strong police presence in Stockton on Tuesday but no reported incidents

The group was apparently rallying against the outbreak of violence in the city, including some recent officer-involved shootings.
. . .

As of about 4 p.m., Stockton Police Department spokesman Officer Pete Smith said there were about 150-200 protesters gathered across the street from City Hall at Martin Luther King Plaza and some were carrying “Occupy Oakland” signs. But by 6 p.m., the situation appeared to be under control as protesters were allowed into the City Council meeting in groups of five.

Trayvon Martin stories in the media

Allentown protestors take to streets about Trayvon Martin shooting (PA)

What happened to Trayvon Martin in Florida could just as easily happen anywhere else in the country, including the streets of Allentown.

That was among the messages conveyed today by some of the 25 people who marched along city sidewalks today in protest of controversial Feb. 26 shooting death of 17-year-old Martin.

Occupy fights back against lawless finance stories

Occupy takes protest to street — the one near Bank of America

Over the weekend, Occupy D.C. activists established what they hoped would be a permanent camp outside a Bank of America branch near the White House. There was but one tent — and it was purely symbolic, with protesters sleeping on the street instead.

Occupy and human rights stories

Radical Feminists of Occupy San Diego organize protest to call attention to human trafficking and child prostitution

On Saturday, April 7, human trafficking was the focus of a local awareness event and day of action. It was organized and presented by the Radical Feminists of Occupy San Diego. It began with a march from 30th Street and El Cajon Boulevard, continued down “the blade” (El Cajon Boulevard), and culminated at the bus stop at 40th Street where guest speakers discussed different aspects of the problem that affects our local residents and our children. The most riveting speech was delivered by a young woman – a survivor of human trafficking. It was her story that compelled me to write this article.

Human trafficking is, depending on the source, the second or third most profitable criminal activity in the world. It is an estimated $9 billion dollar per year industry.

According to event organizer Cathy Mendonça of the Radical Feminists of Occupy San Diego, the term “human trafficking” pertains to the use of human beings as a commodity for the profit of others, a modern day form of slavery. Total profits from human trafficking are around $44 billion. Currently there is an estimated 27 million people trapped in slavery around the world and 13 million of them are children. Human trafficking includes forced labor, forced servitude, forced sexual exploitation, human organ sales and illegal adoptions. Mendonça states that every day there are more than 1.3 million teens who are homeless or runaways and who are vulnerable to sex exploitation.

SOS and Occupy groups ask Muskegon officials to slow down Sappi redevelopment decisions [MI]

Members of the Save Our Shoreline and Occupy Muskegon groups told Muskegon city commissioners to slow down on decisions concerning the redevelopment of the former Sappi paper mill site.

The local environmental group and local outgrowth of a national economic justice movement asked city officials to declare a “moratorium” on decisions on the future use of the property.

Leaders of the groups said they want to give the public more time to consider what will be “100-year” decisions on the critical Muskegon Lake waterfront property. They also asked that city officials pressure the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Sappi Fine Paper and current owner Melching Inc. to environmentally clean up the property.

Occupy resurgent stories

Postcard from Occupy Wall Street (NYC)

As a visitor, you quickly realise that New York City is unsentimental. New Yorkers are always looking forward.

It’s in the nature of Wall Street. No wonder the Occupy movement started here in downtown Manhattan, the financial district.

As in all other US cities, there is a dramatic contrast between rich and poor, a Third World within the First World.

As warm weather returns, Occupy activists heat up

Before Occupy Minneapolis protesters marched into City Hall and up to the mayor’s office this week, they stood waving signs in the street. Familiar ones_ “We are the 99 percent!”_bobbed among newer ones demanding the city “Stop Attacks on Occupy!”

The new signs referred to arrests of a dozen Occupy activists on Saturday on charges of public nuisance and obstructing traffic. The activists say police treated them brutally and the arrests were unwarranted. But the incident has remobilized the group, leading to a public meeting with Mayor R.T. Rybak and bringing them closer to a top goal as the weather warms: being seen.

Occupy in other countries stories

Four Arrested as UK Police Evict Olympic Protesters

British police trying to evict protesters at a London Olympic site say they have arrested four people.

Metropolitan Police said Tuesday that officers faced about 30 protesters blocking access to the building site of a basketball training camp in Leyton Marsh, northeast London.

Beat the rich: the class war comes to Canadian politics

New tax proposals from U.S. President Barack Obama and Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath target some of the richest people in North America, and results of newly released poll suggest Canadians overwhelmingly support the measures.

The poll, commissioned by the Broadbent Institute, found more than three-quarters of Canadians support raising taxes on the rich.

Last week, Horwath said support from her Ontario New Democrats for minority Premier Dalton McGuinty’s budget would only come if he included a new levy on those earning more than $500,000 per year.

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