The OB Media Rundown for 5/14/12

Occupy Clinics appeal in advance of the Chicago NATO summit: Healthcare not warfare!

To all our family from the global 99%, To all those who believe that healthcare is a human right, To all those coming to protest NATO and its wars for profit around the globe, To all those who have struggled with mental illness personally or with loved ones, To all those who have been denied healthcare, To all those who have waited all day in emergency rooms, To all those public servants facing layoffs or cuts to salary and pension, To all those who are sick and tired of being sick and tired, To all those who believe that another world is possible beyond this madness.

The Mental Health Movement calls on all protesters coming to Chicago to join us in the fight for healthcare not warfare. As NATO war-makers come to this city to plan wars that leave people traumatized and cost trillions of dollars, clinics that help people heal from trauma and deal with mental illness are being shuttered for lack of $2.3 million dollars. As our battle to save our clinics has intensified, Occupy Chicago and other Occupy groups around the city have become powerful allies. Now we ask members of Occupy Wall Street, other Occupy groups and all other sectors of the social movements coming to Chicago to protest NATO to join us in occupying clinics by setting up a 24/7 presence outside of recently closed mental health clinics. We will dramatize the contradictions of a system that finds billions to wage NATO’s endless wars for profit but leaves its most vulnerable without basic healthcare.

How to Raise $350 Billion from Financial Transaction Tax

Bill talks to RoseAnn DeMoro, who heads the largest registered nurses union in the country, and will lead a Chicago march protesting economic inequality on May 18. DeMoro is championing the Robin Hood Tax, a small government levy the financial sector would pay on commercial transactions like stocks and bonds. The money generated, which some estimate could be as much as $350 billion annually, could be used for social programs and job creation – ultimately to people who, without a doubt, need it more than the banks do.

Dimon On Whether JP Morgan’s $2 Billion Loss Proves Banks Are Still Too Risky: ‘I Don’t Think So’

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon appeared today on NBC’s Meet the Press, where he was asked by host David Gregory if JP Morgan’s massive loss shows that the banking system – just a few years after a financial crisis that nearly brought the global economy to its knees – is still too risky. Dimon replied, “I don’t think so.”
. . .

Of course, the point isn’t whether JP Morgan, the biggest bank in the U.S., can survive a trade like this. It’s whether the financial system can sustain this sort of trading by all of the big banks, many of which are not in the same financial shape as JP Morgan.

Unions and Occupy continue to build their wary alliance

n its nascent phase, Occupy sites around the world could be seen hosting a smattering of union flags and banners. Ultimately, it was only natural for union members to be drawn into a movement fighting the ills of modern finance.

In fact, groups such as UK Uncut have been enjoying tremendous support from rank and file union members for quite some time now.
. . .

If Occupy activists fear their movement is being usurped by organised labour, unions themselves will be anxious about their traditional role being outsourced. For instance, the successful Occupy Oakland “general strike” called on workers to call in sick, take leave, or simply not go into work. Similar language was used in last week’s May Day protests in the US with the invocation of another general strike.

With their unrestricted ability to call for radical action, the Occupy movement’s tactics could be seen as a re-introduction of “political strikes” in those countries that do not permit unions to do so.

Bush Convicted of War Crimes in Absentia – in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur – It’s official; George W Bush is a war criminal.

In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were yesterday (Fri) found guilty of war crimes.

Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

The trial held in Kuala Lumpur heard harrowing witness accounts from victims of torture who suffered at the hands of US soldiers and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Activists hold their own summit before NATO

Inside a former spice factory on Chicago’s South Side, activists fine-tuned their messages and renewed promises for peaceful demonstrations in the days leading up to the NATO summit.
About 500 activists – about 100 from beyond Illinois’ borders – gathered at Occupy Chicago’s headquarters to attend “The People’s Summit,” two days of workshops and speeches on topics ranging from labor unions to wars abroad.

Occupy UNC holds ‘alternative’ commencement

While Michael Bloomberg was speaking to tens of thousands of graduates and parents Sunday, a smaller celebration held by members of Occupy UNC-Chapel Hill sought to provide a different graduation experience – one they said was more real and less pretentious.

About 100 graduates, professors, parents and children turned out for the “Alternative Commencement” at Forest Theatre. Speakers shared their experiences with Occupy Wall Street and as life-long activists, and sought to provide courage to the graduates to live alternative lives.

2 arrests made during Occupy Denver protest

The Occupy Denver movement protested Saturday night at the Palm Restaurant downtown, leading to two arrests. It is unknown at this time what the protesters were arrested for.  Denver Police said the protest was “overall peaceful.”

The protesters camped all night in front of the offices of the Downtown Denver Partnership – a group of businesses which has supported a bill that would make it illegal for people to camp in the city’s parks. This bill was sparked by the Occupy Denver movement where hundreds of people took over Civic Center Park for months.

Occupy Maine Movement Attracts Local Youth

Members of the Occupy Maine movement want the public to know they’re alive and growing.

This weekend, Occupy Maine members in Brewer held a series of workshops aimed at getting younger residents interested in their cause.

Occupiers from New York and Washington D.C came to town to lead workshops for the group.

‘Occupy the Tri’ holds protest downtown [MI]

Downtown Midland was occupied by a protest Saturday afternoon. The event was organized by Occupy the Tri, an organization that has hosted several protests in the Tri-City area over the last several months.

Among the members of Occupy the Tri is Jeff Liebmann, a pastor at Midland’s Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. He noted that while the church was hosting a pot luck dinner and a general assembly later in the evening for those involved with the protest, the event was not sponsored by the organization.

“It’s about building a community based on love not money or status or race,” Liebmann said of the protest.

La Canada High student wins Law Day competition

In seven minutes, Sam Whitefield convinced a roomful of lawyers to take a different perspective of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Whitfield won over the luncheon voters with an animated speech about protests in the 21st century, using Bob Dylan for his intro music.

He compared Occupy Wall Street to Tienanmen Square, and argued that modern protests have emerged from a long tradition of public unrest.

“Throughout history, protesters have used whatever whatever it was they had available: the Internet, phones, newspapers, telegraphs, pamphlets, books or even – gasp – old-fashioned word-of-mouth,” he said in the speech.

Spaniards lead Europe rage vs. austerity

Spaniards angered by increasingly grim economic prospects and unemployment hitting one out of every four citizens protested in droves Saturday in the nation’s largest cities, marking the one-year anniversary of a spontaneous movement that inspired similar anti-authority demonstrations across the planet.

Protests also took place Saturday in other European cities, and were planned in South American countries including Brazil and Chile.

Malaysia’s Summer of Discontent?

Bersih (clean), an electoral reform movement, surprised the government when it successfully mobilized thousands of people in the streets on April 28. It was reported to be the biggest rally ever held in Malaysia. But before Bersih, there were several “people power” initiatives that deserve recognition, such as the Occupy Dataran Merdeka, the student march against the “inefficient and exploitative” national school loan program, and the popular indignation against the operation of a rare earth refinery in the town of Kuantan.

Bersih has three demands: the resignation of the Election Commission, the cleaning up of the electoral roll, and the presence of international observers at the general elections.

Protesters in mass “stroll” to test Putin’s police

About 10,000 people staged a mass “stroll” through central Moscow on Sunday to test the state’s tolerance a week after police beat and scattered demonstrators upset over Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency.

With few police in evidence, demonstrators gathered at a statue of revered poet Alexander Pushkin and walked down Moscow’s Boulevard Ring to the site of an Occupy-style, 24-hour protest two km (1.25 miles) away. Police took no action.

Occupy protesters take to streets in City of London

Occupy protesters Saturday took to the streets of the City of London, Europe’s financial capital, calling for an end to “predatory capitalism” and joining the global movement’s day of action.

In the heart of London’s financial center, anti-capitalist protesters said they pitched around a dozen tents outside the Bank of England.

Earlier, the group of around 300 demonstrators went on a tour of the City’s banking institutions before stopping outside the central bank, scene of the G20 protests in April 2009.

Have Israelis kicked off a tougher, grittier social protest season?

Although summer, the unofficial protest season, hasn’t quite begun, and the reason for the protest was the international occupy day rather than any fresh public injury – still people turned out in far greater numbers than they had for any other recent protests. Last week’s demonstration against the new coalition deal, the one a few weeks earlier (a sort of message-free general protest march) and the demo against an attack on Iran before that – all seemed to draw more cops and bloggers than demonstrators, who numbered barely a few hundred each. Last night it felt like a storm cloud had exploded without waiting for the thunderbolt at the starting line.

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