Nov 182011


*Former Police Captain and Current OWS Protester Ray Lewis Arrested

By Drew Grant, New York Observer

…From an email we received from OWS, titled “Thousands Occupy Wall Street; All Entry Points to NYSE Blockaded” (Emphasis their’s):

At least 200 people have been arrested so far for peaceful assembly and nonviolent civil disobedience, including retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis. “All the cops are just workers for the one percent, and they don’t even realize they’re being exploited,” Mr. Lewis said. “As soon as I’m let out of jail, I’ll be right back here and they’ll have to arrest me again.”

A NYPD spokesperson was unable  to confirm individual arrests, they did comment that “multiple arrests have been made in relation to the protests” and the charges were still pending.

Fox29 in Chicago was able to confirm the arrest, which happened earlier in the morning. A photo emerged on Twitter, via user @AdamGabbatt, showing Mr. Lewis in dress uniform, arguing with an officer.



*Wall St Protesters Clash With Police; 250 Are Arrested

By Cara Buckley, New York Times

…In Lower Manhattan, protesters tossed aside metal barricades to converge again on Zuccotti Park after failing in an attempt to shut down the New York Stock Exchange. In Los Angeles, more than 20 protesters were arrested after ignoring orders to vacate downtown streets. In Denver, 100 protesters marched by government buildings and intersections, bringing traffic to a standstill.

Organized weeks ago, the so-called day of action came two days after the police cleared the Occupy Wall Street encampment from Zuccotti Park in Manhattan in an early morning raid. Ousted from the park that had become their de facto headquarters, protesters looked to Thursday to gauge the support and mettle that the movement had retained.

“We failed to close the stock exchange, but we took back our park,” said Adam Farooqui, 25, of Queens. “That was a real victory.”

Throughout Manhattan on Thursday, about 250 people had been arrested by the evening, many after rough confrontations with the police. The police said that 5 protesters were charged with felony assault, and that 7 officers and 10 protesters were injured.

In more than a dozen cities, the demonstrations included marches across bridges, which protesters said were emblematic of a deteriorating public infrastructure. The largest of these marches was to take place across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Shortly before 6 p.m., about 80 protesters, including a New York City councilman, Jumaane D. Williams, were arrested for blocking a roadway that leads to the Manhattan side of the bridge. Protesters, many carrying candles, later filed across the bridge’s pedestrian walkway and crossed the East River.



*OWS-Inspired Activism

By Glenn Greenwald

…The reason the U.S. has para-militarized its police forces is precisely to control this type of domestic unrest, and it’s simply impossible to imagine its not being deployed in full against a growing protest movement aimed at grossly and corruptly unequal resource distribution. As Madeleine Albright said when arguing for U.S. military intervention in the Balkans: “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” That’s obviously how governors, big-city Mayors and Police Chiefs feel about the stockpiles of assault rifles, SWAT gear, hi-tech helicopters, and the coming-soon drone technology lavished on them in the wake of the post/9-11 Security State explosion, to say nothing of the enormous federal law enforcement apparatus that, more than anything else, resembles a standing army which is increasingly directed inward.

Most of this militarization has been justified by invoking Scary Foreign Threats — primarily the Terrorist — but its prime purpose is domestic. As civil libertarians endlessly point out, the primary reason to oppose new expansions of government power is because it always — always — vastly expands beyond its original realm. I remember quite vividly the war-zone-like police force deployed against protesters at the 2008 GOP Convention in Minneapolis, as well as the invocation of Terrorism statutes to arrest and punish them, with the active involvement of federal law enforcement. Along those lines, Alternet‘s Lynn Parramore asks all the key questions about the obviously coordinated law enforcement assault on peaceful protesters over the last week.

But the same factors that rendered this police crackdown inevitable will also ensure that this protest movement endures: the roots of the anger are real, profound and impassioned. Just as American bombs ostensibly aimed at reducing Terrorism have the exact opposite effect — by fueling the anti-American sentiments that cause Terrorism in the first place — so, too, will excessive police force further fuel the Occupy movement. Nothing highlights the validity of the movement’s core grievances more than watching a piggish billionaire Wall Street Mayor — who bought and clung to his political power using his personal fortune — deploy force against marginalized citizens peacefully and lawfully protesting joblessness, foreclosures and economic suffering. If Michael Bloomberg didn’t exist, the Occupy protesters would have to invent him.



*Idaho Man Charged With Trying to Assassinate Obama

By Jessie L. Bonner and Jessica Gresko, Associated Press

…In Idaho Falls, where Ortega is from, a computer consultant told The Associated Press that the two met July 8 after Ortega asked for help editing a 30-minute infomercial. Monte McCall said that during the meeting at Ortega’s family’s Mexican restaurant, Ortega pulled out worn sheets of yellow paper with handwritten notes and started to talk about his predictions that the world would end in 2012.

“He said, `Well, you know the president is getting ready to make an announcement that they’re going to put GPS chips in all the children, so they’re safe,'” McCall said. “… And then he said, `That’s just what the Antichrist is going to do to mark everybody.'”

Kimberly Allen, the mother of Ortega’s former fiancee, said he had been well-mannered and kind in the four years she had known him. But he recently began making statements to her daughter that were out of character, including that he believed he was Jesus. Allen said the family was worried when he went to Utah recently, where he said he had business, and didn’t come back. Ortega’s family reported him missing Oct. 31.

Allen said they were flabbergasted to hear he was wanted in Washington.

“I believe that the boy needs help,” said Allen, of Shelley, Idaho.

Her daughter, Jessica Galbraith, was engaged to Ortega and is the mother of their 2-year-old son. She declined to comment Thursday except to say: “I love him, and I’m here for him.”

It was unclear why or when they split.

Reached by the AP on Thursday, Ortega’s mother said she didn’t have anything to say. She earlier told the Post Register in Idaho Falls her son has no history of mental illness.

“He has different ideas than other people, just like everyone, but he was perfectly fine the last time I saw him,” Maria Hernandez told the newspaper. “He might be saying weird stuff that sounds crazy, but that doesn’t mean (he) is crazy. He might be confused and scared.”

At his first appearance in court in Pennsylvania, Ortega sat quietly, his hands free but his feet shackled. He said only, “Yes, ma’am” when he was asked if he understood that he would be going back to Washington to face the charge.

According to a court document released after the hearing, authorities recovered nine spent shell casings from Ortega’s car, which was found abandoned near the White House shortly after the shooting. An assault rifle with a scope was found inside.

A person who knows him subsequently told investigators that he had become increasingly agitated with the federal government and was convinced it was conspiring against him, the document said. Others told investigators that Ortega had reportedly said Obama was the Antichrist and the “devil.” Ortega also apparently said he “needed to kill” the president.

Authorities said Ortega was clad in black when he pulled his car within view of the White House on Friday night, fired shots and then sped away. The White House has not said whether the Obamas’ daughters, Sasha and Malia, were there at the time or commented on the shooting.

Ortega was questioned by police on Friday morning, before the shootings, just across the Potomac River from Washington in Arlington, Va. Police said they stopped him after a report of suspicious behavior, but let him go after photographing him because they had no reason to make an arrest.



*One Person’s View From His 1% Perch

By AZ Desert Rat, Daily Kos


1. Loss of income mobility (the Income gap per se is not the problem – the social contact works, and its ok to be rich, as long as everyone else has had a fair chance as well) – trickle down is not working in America – giving money to “job creators” has only created low paying service jobs in America, real jobs abroad and more money in top management’s pocket. Only 6% of those born into poverty reach the top level of earners compared to 39% of the children born to that level.    Said differently, if you are born rich you have seven times the chance of attaining that level yourself compared to someone born poor.  That is not the meritocracy this country is supposed to be.

2.  A separate issue is the attack by Republicans against the progressive income tax and inheritance tax , – In addition to raising revenues, they were imposed for the specific purpose of lessening the impact of raw capitalism by keeping the very highest earners from becoming effectively a ruling class.  Guess they want those royal purple robes.

3. Poor education – our education system rates just above Kenya’s on one scale, and generally mediocre compared to most advanced countries.  I’m not kidding.  This isn’t a racist point, with me having a fair amount of African blood in me.  But Kenya? Really? Poor education = poor job prospects = limited upward mobility.  My inner city education in the 1970’s was superior to public suburban schools today. WTF?

4. Poor health – The US is the only advanced country without a comprehensive public health system. Our mixed public/private system is twice as expensive as the next most costly country.  Our life expectancy is only 36th in the world.  Enuf said.

5. Economic stagnation, high deficits, high unemployment, high debt –the hard truth that everyone is in denial about is that economic growth in this country over the past 30 years has been more mirage than reality for all but the economic elite.

Inflation-adjusted income for the lower 95% of earners has shown almost no growth in 30 years.  No economic growth = no income growth = limited upward mobility.  While incomes were flat, consumption increases could only come from increased consumer debt – which, of course is exactly what happened.  And, not surprisingly, consumer demand fell off a cliff when the reality of the debt load hit home.  Demand will stay suppressed as consumers pay down their debt loads.  Debt driven demand is also the cause of large boom and bust cycles – cycles that have put homeowners under water on their mortgage and workers unable to retire on their 401k.

6. Wars of aggression under the oxymoronic term “preemptive war ”. How can you stop war by starting a war?  Yes, we were attacked and were justified and tracking down and killing (what everyone really means when they say “bring to justice”, lets be honest with ourselves) those responsible.  That half-justifies one of the wars (we could have stuck with a war-by-proxy) but the second was pure folly at best, at worst an extreme example of everything that is wrong with today’s society.


If our problem is the search for short-term gratification and willingness to be led around by others promising such, then the solution is to take charge of our lives, and plan from here to death and beyond accordingly.  As a country we can debate the size and role of government in those plans, but we will surely continue to fall short of our expectations if we continue to make decisions based on what we get out of it now.

Given we are in a hole that took 3 decades to dig, it is unrealistic to assume that the problems we face can be solved in less than a generation.  Yes, as a country we’ve lost a generation to progress we could have otherwise have had.  Accept it and start planning based on the reality of our current situation.  To wit:

1. We really do have too much debt, although we’re in pretty good shape compared to the rest of the world.  Reducing that debt to manageable levels is important so that we have government funds available for health, education and infrastructure.  Fortunately, we can solve much of our debt problem by getting back on a normal growth curve for the country without devastating our social safety nets.

2. Drive the major party behavior with coalitions with right leaning groups around common issues.  If we on the left were to just stop and take a breath, we’d realize that some of the most strident voices on the right are saying very similar things to #OWS.  Opposition to wall street and big Pharma might be just the ticket to open eyes to other progressive issues.  We need to reach out and make new friends.

3. We must fix education or all other efforts will fail.  To succeed we’re probably going to need to kill sacred cows on both the right and the left.  Teachers need to be trained more, paid more and fired more, and in that order.  Parents need to be involved more.  The community needs to be involved.  If we on the left were to offer up our sacred cows on education, I really think there’s a deal here.

4. Start an aggressive campaign to break up the real Axis of Evil consisting of Big Pharma, Big Defense and Big Banks.  We need as aggressive a trust busting approach as was taken early in the 20th century to break up these bastions of a failed status quo.  All three of these industries extract multi hundred-billion dollar monopoly rents while driving political decisions that fly in the face of consumer (voter) interests:

• Big Military is the worst of a bad bunch.  Our non-war defense spending has doubled since 9/11, so that now the US represents over half the world’s military spending and six times the spending of the next largest country.  We could cut this 33% and still be the preeminent world military power.

• Big Pharma bankrupts us with its prices, kills us with its side effects and stifles us by limiting competition from alternative solutions.

• Big banks have been, well, big banks.  We really don’t need them in their current structure and are foolish if we don’t force restructuring to reduce the systemic risk large diversified banks pose to the whole financial system.


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