The OB Media Rundown for 5/24/12

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel not pleased with activists spreading photos of undercovers

Screen shot 2012 05 23 at 10.36.36 PM The OB Media Rundown for 5/24/12
[Photo at left released by the National Lawyers Guild of 'Mo' and 'Gloves' - link here. More photos released by can be seen here.]

Occupy Chicago protesters have put up on the internet photos of two individuals they say are undercover Chicago police officers who supposedly entrapped them.

Mayor Emanuel is not pleased.

“If what has been reported is happening – any issue that deals with what police are doing on a professional basis, more than just upsets me. Second is – ah – I’ll just stay with that.”

Occupy Providence plans sidewalk Occupation outside Netroots Nation in June

Occupy Providence, which occupied Burnside Park for three months, plans a “sidewalk occupation” outside the R.I. Convention Center during the four-day Netroots Nation conference, June 7-10.

Robert Malin, a member of Occupy Providence, said many members of the Occupy movement came to it from Netroots Nation, an organization of liberal and progressive bloggers.

“This is not protesting them,” Malin said. “It is to draw attention to the Occupy message during the convention and have the dialogue that the Occupy movement came out of Netroots.”

Photos from the Copley Square NATO protest solidarity rally

Over 40 Occupy Boston activists held a rally in Copley Square in solidarity with the No NATO protests in Chicago on Sunday. Several attendees spoke on themes ranging from government repression of dissent to the need to support the Montreal student strike that has been going on for the last several weeks. There was a light police presence, no incidents and no arrests.

‘Predator Nation’

The “Occupy Wall Street” protests that began in New York in September 2011, and then rapidly spread around America and the world, were initially somewhat unclear in their goals. But the protesters were deeply right about one thing: over the last thirty years, the United States has been taken over by an amoral financial oligarchy, and the American dream of opportunity, education, and upward mobility is now largely confined to the top few percent of the population. Federal policy is increasingly dictated by the wealthy, by the financial sector, and by powerful (though sometimes badly mismanaged) industries such as telecommunications, health care, automobiles, and energy. These policies are implemented and praised by these groups’ willing servants, namely the increasingly bought-and-paid-for leadership of America’s political parties, academia, and lobbying industry.

If allowed to continue, this process will turn the United States into a declining, unfair society with an impoverished, angry, uneducated population under the control of a small, ultrawealthy elite. Such a society would be not only immoral but also eventually unstable, dangerously ripe for religious and political extremism.

‘Occupy Graduation’: Student activists broadcast debt owed with ball and chains

A handful of student activists are expressing their displeasure at the rising cost of college by wearing inflatable ball and chain accessories over their graduation robes. The props state the amount of debt with which they’re graduating. The silent commencement protest, dubbed “Occupy Graduation” by its organizers, is taking place at seven universities around the country.

This Is What Tyranny Looks Like

Remember when police beat Tea Party activists with batons, raided homes without warrants, unjustly arrested and strip-searched Tea Party protesters, or attacked and intimidated journalists covering Tea Party rallies?

Me neither. But then again, the Tea Party took to the streets in favor of higher profits and less regulations for the richest 1 percent, whose ranks they hope to but will never join. The media is more than happy to inflate their crowd estimates, and police are more than happy to let pro-status quo protests take to the streets undisturbed. The Tea Party has since phased out street protests to take over a major political party and make it bend to their every radical whim.

While it hasn’t yet taken over a major party, the Occupy movement has successfully exposed the oppressive, fascist police state that has reared its ugly head in the past year. If you want to see what tyranny looks like, consider what happened to the estimated 75,000 protesters who took on the military-industrial complex at last weekend’s NATO summit in Chicago, after the mayor revoked protesters’ attempts to lawfully assemble.

Only North American middle class to grow in last 30 years was Mexico’s

Only Mexico’s middle class has grown over the past 30 years in North America, while income disparity has increased in Canada and the United States, according to a study here out Tuesday.

“Mexico’s middle class has benefited from urbanization, greater female employment, improved education and better social programs,” said economist Lars Osberg, the author of the report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

In the study Osberg, a professor at Dalhousie University, tracks the rise and fall of income inequality in the three North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners.

We’re Going to Run Out of Fish

The amount of fish we harvest each year has skyrocketed (from 19 million tons to 87 million tons), but with improved techniques and increased production we’re now in danger of depleting fish stocks all around globe. Some major commercial fish, like the bluefin tuna are being pushed to the brink of extinction and many others are near “collapse,” which means a catch dropping to less than 10 percent of peak catch. We’re eating them faster than they can replace themselves and our propensity to harvest fish at the top of the food chains, trickles down to affect the entire ecosystem of our water.

‘Stroller Brigade’ rolls out for Safe Chemicals Act

Moms, a few dads and some children gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to urge Congress to strengthen the federal government’s powers to regulate harmful chemicals.

The group of almost a hundred activists, which included registered nurses and cancer survivors, came from across the country to support the Safe Chemicals Act, which if passed by Congress would create a new process to monitor toxic chemicals used in consumer products.

The chemicals, which are common in furniture and baby products, have been linked to neurological defects, cancer, developmental problems and impaired fertility.

The Rise of the New Economy Movement

Just beneath the surface of traditional media attention, something vital has been gathering force and is about to explode into public consciousness. The “New Economy Movement” is a far-ranging coming together of organizations, projects, activists, theorists and ordinary citizens committed to rebuilding the American political-economic system from the ground up.

The broad goal is democratized ownership of the economy for the “99 percent” in an ecologically sustainable and participatory community-building fashion. The name of the game is practical work in the here and now–and a hands-on process that is also informed by big picture theory and in-depth knowledge.

Thousands of real world projects — from solar-powered businesses to worker-owned cooperatives and state-owned banks — are underway across the country. Many are self-consciously understood as attempts to develop working prototypes in state and local “laboratories of democracy” that may be applied at regional and national scale when the right political moment occurs.

The movement includes young and old, “Occupy” people, student activists, and what one older participant describes as thousands of “people in their 60s from the ’60s” rolling up their sleeves to apply some of the lessons of an earlier movement.

Occupy Wall Street Movement Gets By With A Little Help From Its Musical Friends

Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, David Crosby and Graham Nash spent their early careers soundtracking a revolution – and they’re ready to do it again.

Baez, Nash and Dylan – via documentary director Michael Moore’s cover of “The Times They Are A-Changin” – are helping to soundtrack the Occupy Wall Street movement, via the new compilation Occupy This Album (released May 15).

The album’s executive producer, Jason Samel, says that the support of legacy artists has helped OWS gain steam among an older crowd.

Occupy St. Louis Now Older & More Diverse

Women, women of color, retirees and currently-employed college graduates are joining the ranks of Occupy St. Louis protestors.  The movement was previously thought to be dominated by college co-eds.

Female retirees said Occupy St. Louis protests are not just for college guys.

“My grandfather,’ 67-year-old Trudy Carroll smiled proudly.  ‘Back in Germany, was involved in forming unions under Hitler, so I think it’s in my blood.”

One union organizer said women of color have always had a stake in the Occupy movement. “With the African-American workforce, the majority of that is women,’ said Sonja Gholston-Byrd.  “There’s so many cuts, there’s so many slashes, there’s so many tax breaks that we suffer even more so.”

With new allies at their backs [like Occupy], Chicago Teachers Turn Up the Heat on Rahm Emmanuel

Don’t take your eyes of Chicago yet. The NATO protests may be over, but city politics are heating up. Chicago’s Public School teachers are negotiating a new contract, and an impasse could lead to the first teachers strike in the city since 1987. The target of the teachers’ ire is Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and a regimen of change that dates back to the days of now Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. A strike before November? Teachers say they are ready for it. Their union is under new leadership and new allies, like Progress Illinois and Occupy Chicago, are at their back. Immediately following the NATO protests, the CTU is holding what it says will be a historic rally and march on the city Board of Education.

Like teachers across the country, the Chicago Teachers Union has come under attack for years. Schools have seen layoffs, new standardized tests and no end of complaints about performance. (Some of the best-and the worst-public schools in the state are in Chicago.) Now Mayor Emmanuel and his superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard are demanding (among other things) a roughly 20 percent longer school day and a new, merit-based pay system-along with a 2 percent pay raise. It’s not enough to win over the Chicago Teachers Union. In fact, it has fired them up, and their allies too.

Letter to the editor: Protests shine a light on problems [MI]

You may have driven by the boardwalk in downtown Coos Bay on any Wednesday afternoon and wondered what those sign-waving folks were all about. Perhaps we are old hippies, or career protesters, or just a ‘disgruntled about everything mob.”

Or it could be, like the sign says, Occupy Coos Bay — we are the 99%. We are the people who have embraced a growing awareness that life for the majority of us, is getting harder, while life for the have-alls is getting better — much better. Perhaps you are one of the majority of people who have been affected by an economic system benefiting the few at the expense of the rest of us and a political system unwilling, or unable, to represent us, We the People.

Were you caught off-guard and unaware that life was getting harder? Probably not. Harder to get and keep a job. Harder to prevent the bank from foreclosing on people’s homes. Harder to pay medical bills or that all-so-important medical insurance premium. Harder to make sense out of what your elected representatives are doing. Harder to understand why you pay close to a third of your income in taxes while the top 1 percent pay less than 20 percent of their income.

Efforts to evict Woodland family from foreclosed home delayed for now

All that stood between the Ponce family from being evicted Tuesday morning was paperwork – and perhaps the support of a dozen members of the anti-foreclose groups Occupy Woodland, Sacramento and UC Davis.

By Monday evening Ponce was surrounded by 12 Occupy supporters who had camped out on the couple’s front lawn in preparation of the morning’s scheduled eviction at 6. By 7:30 a.m., however, there was no sign of sheriff’s deputies knocking on the family’s door.

The home had been transformed from a typical neighborhood house to a display of signage blasting banks for unlawfully taking people’s homes, such as “Prosecute Banksters,” “Foreclose on Banks, Not People,” and “Houses Are For People, Not Banks.”

“Their home was illegally taken,” said April Junio, an Occupy Sacramento supporter on the scene. “They’re just one of many American families who have been distressed by illegal banking practices.”

Occupy Tampa protesters start five day occupation/rally

“It’s time to remind the City of Tampa that we are still here, and we are not going anywhere! Let’s dedicate these 5 days to staying 24/7 and fly signs, go on marches, and remain seen on the busiest road in town, Ashley Drive! This is not illegal so no need to fear arrest,” wrote organizer Tim Sommers, of the “5 day protest at Curtis Hixon Sidewalk.”

Jackson County [NC] commissioners vote down resolution to reduce corporate influence and re-establish democracy

Jackson County commissioners butted heads with local activists at a meeting this week, refusing to lend their philosophical support to a movement over whether corporate power should be reined in.

A local offshoot of the Occupy movement called on commissioners to pass a resolution of support for their cause – namely to reduce corporate influence and power and instead make government beholden to the common man. But, commissioners voted 3-2 along party lines not to sign on.

The group has been taking their message on the road, visiting town and county boards, as part of the nationwide Move to Amend movement. Their goal, along with other chapters across the nation, is to spark a groundswell of support that could ultimately prompt Congress to pass a constitutional amendment limiting corporate spending in the electoral process. The Supreme Court ruled that corporations could spend unlimited amounts in campaigns, prompting fear that politicians will become even more indebted to corporate money.

Occupy Spokane gets a clubhouse

The Occupy Spokane group has started its own “Occupy Spokane Clubhouse” on East Sprague. It’s open for business and is looking for volunteers and donated second-hand items.

It’s renting a storefront at 1808 E. Sprague. The goal is to raise some money for Occupy events through sales of second-hand items as well as new T-shirts.

Quebec premier postpones Vermont visit to attend national assembly debates

Quebec Premier Jean Charest (“sha-RAY”) is postponing his visit to Vermont where he had planned to meet with Gov. Peter Shumlin and other business and government leaders.

Shumlin’s office says Charest will remain in Quebec City so he can attend debates in the national assembly.

Occupy Burlington and other groups had planned to protest Charest’s visit in solidarity with Quebec students demonstrating against university tuition increases.

Former Occupier alleges police interference cost him his job [UK]

[Former security guard Rob] Bazinet approached London Community News with his allegations and a reporter posing as his girlfriend accompanied him to a meeting with Morton on May 3.

During that meeting, which Bazinet recorded without [security supervisor Matt] Morton’s knowledge, Morton reiterated the firing was due to alleged police pressure.

“Robert doesn’t have a very good relationship with the London police and we do,” Morton claimed in the recording. “They were not keen on having him working here.”

He added the police officers allegedly told management the good relationship between the bar and police could be jeopardized if he was kept on as an employee.

“I’m not supposed to be telling you all this,” Morton claimed. “It was just purely based on a request from the London police for us to re-evaluate whether we had made the right choice.”

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