The OB Media Rundown for 5/12/12

Boston Police Patrolman’s Assn magazine ‘Pax Centurion’ provides revealing look inside the minds of city police officers

I knew immediately that they all came from Cambridge, Newton, Arlington, Jamaica Plain, and other places where insane people reside. Soon, some sort of strange Native American or Indian music began to fill the air. The assembled idiots began a huge circle dance, back and forth for hours on end. Unfortunately, there were several young children with them, who were also forced to dance with the graying hippies. Those kids represent the next generation of idiot liberals, (they all looked like little Elizabeth Warrens, for some reason) and will be screwed up for life, or attend Harvard. (That’s redundant, isn’t it?)

And to think I actually submitted an overtime slip. For the entertainment alone, I should have paid the city… (Link is to the Nov/Dec 2011 issue pdf. Editorial excerpted is on page A7. This issue and others can be accessed directly from the Boston Police Patrolman’s Assn website

“Occupy Cop” under attack – Retired Philadelphia Police Capt. Ray Lewis could lose his life insurance for wearing his uniform to a protest

Lewis continues to protest. In uniform. Last week he was in Center City Philadelphia, protesting outside police and FOP [Fraternal Order of Police] headquarters. He says that FOP leadership , a major force in city politics, depends on corporate donations to finance its union election campaigns and quarterly magazine.

“The major part of the movement is to hold corporations accountable and to stop them from having so much control over lives and the earth,” he says. “If John McNesby is a receiver of the favors of corporate America, then I’m going to be the number one enemy. Because I’m a tactical warhead.”

Video captures WI gov. Scott Walker describing ‘divide and conquer’ strategy to destroy unions


The video clip shows Walker meeting with Beloit billionaire Diane Hendricks, who has since donated $510,000 to Walker’s campaign. Hendricks asked: “Any chance we’ll get to be a completely red state, and work on these unions, and become a right-to-work – what can we do to help you?”

“Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill,” Walker said. “The first step is we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer. So for us, the base we get for that is the fact that we’ve got – budgetarily we can’t afford not to. If we have collective bargaining agreements in place, there’s no way not only the state but local governments can balance things out…That opens the door once we do that. That’s your bigger problem right there.”

Three former GE affiliate executives convicted of fraud

Three former executives of General Electric Co affiliates were convicted by a federal jury in New York of conspiracy charges related to bid-rigging contracts for the investment of municipal bonds, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

Dominick P. Carollo, Steven E. Goldberg and Peter S. Grimm were convicted on Friday of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to defraud the United States.

“The defendants corrupted the competitive bidding process and defrauded municipalities across the country for years,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott D. Hammond.

Financial crisis redux: Senators slam JP Morgan over London losses and demand tighter regulation

Wall Street must not be allowed to escape tough new laws on trading in the wake of the $2bn loss at JP Morgan Chase’s London-based trading group, leading senators said Thursday.

In a press conference, senators Carl Levin and Jeff Merkley said they drew up the so-called Volcker rule in order to curtail bets like the one made by JP Morgan. But they said financial lobbyists had successfully watered down the rule, which is supposed to be applied from July.

“This really is a textbook illustration of why we need a strong Volcker rule,” said Merkley. “In the words of JP Morgan’s chief executive he had a strategy that was, quote ‘flawed, complex, poorly reviewed and poorly monitored’. And if that sounds eerily familiar, it’s because it is an exact description of the type of risk-taking that got us into this financial crisis and recession.”

Calls to toughen regulation follow JPMorgan loss

JPMorgan Chase faced intense criticism Friday for claiming that a surprise $2 billion loss by one of its trading groups was the result of a sloppy but well-intentioned strategy to manage financial risk.

More than three years after the financial industry almost collapsed, the colossal misfire was cited as proof that big banks still do not understand the threats posed by their own speculation.

“It just shows they can’t manage risk – and if JPMorgan can’t, no one can,” said Simon Johnson, the former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund.

Is the Revolution Really Going Global?

On May 12, demonstrations will be held in cities across Europe and the Americas-from Rio de Janeiro to New York to Madrid-in a declared day of “global revolution.”

The obvious question is: Can one just declare such a thing? In many ways, Occupy and its sister anti-austerity movements have thrived by doing just that: announcing the impossible and then showing up to see if it happens. Last October, demonstrations took place in over 1000 cities in 82 countries on a similar “global day of action.” This time, the day corresponds to the one-year anniversary of Spain’s 15M movement of “indignados” and is also being used by Occupy Wall Street to link the city budget to conditions of austerity around the world.

Occupy movement set for global weekend of action

The Occupy movement, whose ramshackle tented protest demanding greater social and economic justice spent more than four months outside St Paul’s Cathedral, is planning a comeback this weekend which could see camps spring up in London and dozens of cities worldwide.
The 12 May events, marking the first anniversary of the Indignados movement in Spain, the precursor to Occupy, signify a relaunch for the coalition of campaigners whose protests created huge attention in London, New York and elsewhere before being evicted or fizzling out over winter.
In London, protesters are set to meet at St Paul’s, in the City of London, at 1pm on Saturday ahead of action which remains secret. However, given the instruction for participants to “bring a tent”, it seems a new camp is intended.

‘It is Capitalism itself that is not working’

The surprising thing about politicians is not that they are always arguing. What’s surprising is how much they agree with each other.

Think of the budget. Politicians poured into studios for vociferous arguments. But their debates were very narrow. Few questioned the economic system itself. When inequality was mentioned, it led to talk of “social mobility” – allowing a few of the poor to become better off. It was a far cry from the Occupy camps. One of the biggest home-made banners outside St Paul’s Cathedral read simply “Abolish Money”.

Such ideas are dismissed as unrealistic. Many of them may be so, but it’s hard to know if we refuse even to examine them. Any system can be defended by those who dismiss all alternatives as “unrealistic”. The abolition of slavery, votes for women and racial equality have all been labelled “unrealistic”.

The economic crash of 2008 was triggered by banking systems that seemed to operate in a fantasy world of endless money. Some insist that alternatives to capitalism “wouldn’t work”. As inequality in Britain plummets to Victorian levels and the Eurozone spirals out of control, it is capitalism itself that is not working.

Trayvon Martin’s mother appears in gun control video

Noting that “this will be my first Mother’s Day without my son, Trayvon,” Sybrina Fulton asks viewers to urge their state governors “to re-examine similar Stand Your Ground laws throughout the nation to keep our families safe.”

“Nobody can bring our children back,” Fulton says in the video, released on Thursday to several websites by a Bloomberg-led gun control coalition called Second Chance on Shoot First.

“But it would bring us comfort if we can help spare other mothers the pain that we will feel on Mother’s Day and every day for the rest of our lives.”

Judge Deliberates on Whether to Save Earth’s Atmosphere

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Wilkins heard the arguments on Friday in Washington, D.C., and is deliberating now on the question of whether young people can sue to compel their government to take serious measures to stop global warming.

Judge Robert Wilkins is familiar with discrimination, having been the plaintiff in a well-known driving-while-black case of racial profiling in Maryland.  But few of us are familiar with the concept of discrimination against future generations.  We grow easily indignant when living people are unfairly treated.  We grow confused when considering the injustice of depriving our grandchildren of a habitable planet so that we can drive our SUVs and fight our wars.  There’s no living person or group of persons we can point to as being wronged, unless perhaps it is the young.

Judge Wilkins is familiar with, and appreciative of, the role federal courts played in the U.S. civil rights movement.  But a case had been made that certain people’s Constitutional rights were being violated.  Whose Constitutional rights are violated by condemning young people to grow old on a damaged planet turning to desert and barren rock?

Twitter Schools Judge in Social Media

A criminal judge who was disciplined for Facebook “friending” lawyers in his court should not have allowed law enforcement to subpoena the Twitter activity of an Occupy Wall Street activist, the social media site says in a motion to quash.
. . .

Twitter told the judge that his analysis flies in the face of company policy. “Twitter’s Terms of Service make absolutely clear that its users own their content,” the motion states. “The Terms of Service expressly state: You retain your rights to any content you submit, post or display on or through the services.”

Although the judge ruled that Harris did not have standing to protect his Tweets, Twitter countered that courts must grant this ability.

“To hold otherwise imposes a new and overwhelming burden on Twitter to fight for its users’ rights, since the order deprives its users of the ability to fight for their own rights when faced with a subpoena from New York State,” the motion states.

Teenagers Occupy Pioneer Courthouse Square [OR]

A crowd of well-over 1000 filled Pioneer Courthouse Square this afternoon to protest budget cuts to Oregon schools. But unlike other recent protests, this one was composed almost entirely of teenagers. There were also some educators, a few Portland mayoral candidates, and some (notably excited) parents, who beamed with pride as they passed the protest torch to the next generation.

“I wish people would get the idea that schools are actually important,” said Kai Russell, a 17-year old at Franklin High School. Russell was joined by his friend Remi Darr, also from Franklin, who said he was marching because he feared the constitutional law class he was taking might be cut next year. “It won’t affect me because I am a senior, but I don’t want to see it go way for others either.”

NATO summit poses challenge for Chicago police

They didn’t look or act like the police officers in the famous black-and-white film clips, wading into crowds with billy clubs flying. These cops arrived on bicycles in department-issue short pants and quietly endured the taunting of demonstrators.

Chicago police passed that simple test on May Day, when they confronted a relatively small and well-behaved crowd. But the many thousands of protesters expected to gather next week for a summit of NATO leaders could pose a far greater challenge for a force that has embraced new crowd-control techniques but never completely shed its reputation for brutality.

Today, the city’s officers know that if they so much as raise their clubs, the footage will be all over YouTube, reminding the world of what was called a “police riot” during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Any misconduct could revive other embarrassments, too, such as detectives torturing confessions out of suspects and an off-duty officer’s brutal beating of a bartender that was broadcast around the world.

People’s power nabs banksters in their attempted NJ home heist

On May 4, the fraudulent eviction order against Susie Johnson of Orange was cancelled. The eviction order was for May 10. JP Morgan Chase, named as plaintiff in the eviction, was forced to admit it does not own Ms. Johnson’s mortgage. The cancellation came about because of the power of the people.

The struggle shows, and will continue to show, that the power of the people is not just a nice saying. It is a real force in the world.

College students protest debt at graduation [CO]

Traditionally, college graduation caps bear messages to Mom or shoutouts to professors and friends. But this year, some students are protesting their looming debt at commencement by using their hats to show the amount in loans they owe.

At the University of Colorado in Boulder on Friday, Laila Amerman, who attended the ceremony and helped organize the protest on campus, said about 25 students also sported inflatable ball and chains in addition to the decorated caps. The effort is in part to bring attention to rising student loan debt, which recently surpassed credit card and auto loan debt with some estimates putting the total at $1 trillion.

Organizers – which include Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen – say it’s a way to silently protest the rising costs of education without interrupting the ceremony for others and their families.

Occupiers protest fracking near Ranchers Exploration Partners in Greeley

With a light drizzle falling on their heads, 15 people stood on a wet corner near an oil drilling company Friday to protest the way oil companies are using water beneath the fields of Weld County. They held signs to passing cars that read, “Can’t drink oil or money,” “Ban fracking,” and “Stop fracking now.”

Occupiers from Greeley, Fort Collins and Denver gathered at the corner of 4th Street and 71st Avenue to protest hydraulic fracturing, which involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into rock formations to free oil and natural gas, down the street from Ranchers Exploration Partners.

The company was given a cease-and-desist order April 27 in connection with its drilling at a landfill in Windsor. The order stated that Ranchers’ drilling through the landfill and base layers had the potential to cause groundwater contamination. The Greeley office was closed Friday with a note on the door that said workers would return Monday.

Occupy Las Cruces returns to campsite [NM]

The camp tents of Occupy Las Cruces are making a comeback this weekend as activists representing the “99 percent” return to Albert Johnson Park for the first time since folding up their camp site in February.

This time around, the occupiers will only be camping at the park near City Hall for two days, during which they will have a pot-luck dinner, musical performances and discussions on various issues.

Occupy Las Cruces will be having similar events the following two weekends at Young Park and Apodaca Park. The group obtained two-day permits to camp at those parks, said Las Cruces Parks and Recreation Director Mark Johnston.

Cops’ drug program spawns more questions [MN]

The mother of a man who says he was given drugs by a police officer as part of a statewide training program said she suspects it was more than marijuana, as the police officer allegedly claimed.

Christin Olivier said she watched a video of her 20-year-old son, Forest, taken shortly after his encounter with the officer and that his behavior was too jumpy to be the result of marijuana alone.

“We still have no idea what my son was given,” said Olivier, who lives in Minneapolis.

Olivier’s question was just one of many to arise this week after the state Department of Public Safety launched a criminal probe against a Hutchinson officer, placed a state trooper on leave and suspended the state’s Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) program, a staple of law enforcement training that’s been around for 20 years.

‘Occupy Frankfurt’ protesters vow to keep up vigil

Visitors to Germany’s financial capital cannot fail to notice the tented village of the ‘Occupy Frankfurt’ movement at the European Central Bank, Europe’s longest continuous ‘indignants’ protest.

Over seven months, demonstrators have braved the often glacial conditions in their 50 or so brightly coloured tents placed next to a gigantic euro symbol — the logo of the ECB, guardians of the under-fire single currency.

“In Europe, we’re the only major camp in place for so long,” said Thomas, one of the representatives of the movement who, like many of their number, declined to give their full name.

Spain’s “Indignados” Take to the Streets Again

A filthy vacant lot is now sprouting strawberries, tomatoes and carrots. This small community garden in the centre of the southern Spanish city of Málaga was created by the “Indignados” protest movement, which is celebrating its first anniversary Saturday by taking to the streets across the country.

“This urban vegetable garden is a symbol and a space for freedom,” Málaga resident Miguel Ángel, who has been involved in the movement since it emerged a year ago in response to the severe economic crisis in Spain, told IPS.

Organised over the online social networks, the movement spread throughout the country on May 15, 2011 (giving it the name 15M). Demonstrators calling themselves the “indignados” – indignant or angry – occupied the central squares of Spain’s major cities to protest an economic model they perceive as socially unjust and political parties they see as subordinate to the economic-powers-that-be.

Russian protesters change tactics to ‘the people’s stroll’

On the day Vladimir Putin returned to Russia’s presidency, police swept through Moscow clearing streets of protesters, herding away bystanders and detaining people for just wearing white ribbons symbolising the opposition.

Fearful of a new crackdown, activists have since thrown away their banners in a change of tactics intended to get round a ban on unsanctioned rallies and avoid being detained.

A few hundred young people are now in the fifth day of a round-the-clock movement that they call “the people’s stroll”, moving from one place to another about the Russian capital.

Taking a page out of the global Occupy movement, the mostly young, middle-class protesters unfurl yoga mats, sing Russian folk songs and read out passages from the constitution in the capital’s leafy spaces, leaving police uncertain how to react.

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