* RAHM’S CHICAGO CRACKDOWN AIMS AT OCCUPY
Is the Chicago mayor protecting his city? Or his former boss?
By Natasha Lennard, Salon
The stage is set for dramatic street scenes in Chicago this May during the G-8 and NATO summits. The actors are ready: Mass actions in Oakland, Calif., on Saturday, followed by solidarity marches across the country Sunday indicate that Occupy is far from stagnating. Occupy Chicago has called for a “Chicago Spring” to coordinate protest groups and actions during the summit, while Adbusters, the Vancouver-based culture jamming magazine, last week implored 50,000 people to descend on Chicago in May. Seasoned summit-hoppers from around the world have had their planners marked for months.
Then there’s the backdrop: Chicago, the site of the notorious 1968 Democratic National Convention and police riot. The city of Barack Obama’s election night rally in 2008 — when a politician could still pull off a slogan like “hope” and it didn’t seem to everyone like a cruel joke. And, as of this month, a Chicago where protest rules and punishments for dissent are stricter than ever, thanks to ordinances recently passed through the city council.
“The ordinances, combined with Chicago’s history of spying on political activists, do not bode well for how the City will treat protesters at the upcoming G-8/NATO summits,” Heidi Boghosian, director of the National Lawyers Guild, told Salon. […]
* JUDGE: OAKLAND POLICE IN “SERIOUS VIOLATION” OF COURT ORDER
By Paul Rosynsky, Oakland Tribune
OAKLAND — A federal judge found the city’s police department in “serious violation” of court-ordered standards and procedures related to a decade-old misconduct scandal for allowing one if its officers to cover his name badge during an Occupy Oakland protest and then not reporting the act to Internal Affairs.
U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson ruled late last week that Officer John Hargraves and his supervisor, Lt. Clifford Wong, were in serious violation of a negotiated settlement agreement created in 2003 after the city was forced to pay millions of dollars to West Oakland residents who were mistreated by a band of rogue police officers.
That agreement, which stemmed from the “Riders” police misconduct scandal, mandates certain policies and procedures that must be followed to ensure the department does not repeat the misconduct it allowed in the past. The city has struggled to comply with the agreement and is on the cusp of having its police department taken over by the federal government.
Hargraves concealed his nameplate with black tape during a Nov. 2 Occupy Oakland protest. […]
* AFTER MASS ARRESTS, NEW CRITICISM OF OAKLAND POLICE
Occupy Oakland demonstration sees the most Alameda County protesters jailed in 30 years
By Aaron Glantz, Bay Citizen
Two days after police arrested 409 Occupy Oakland protesters, sheriff’s deputies were still in the process of booking suspects into county jails Monday afternoon, Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern said.
According to Ahern, 354 demonstrators were taken to two county jails Saturday, where most were booked on charges of obstructing officers and remaining on the scene of a riot, then released, sometimes after lengthy delays.
Most of the arrests happened Saturday evening after a small group of protesters broke into the downtown Oakland YMCA. Earlier in the day, officers used tear gas to disperse demonstrators who Oakland police said tried to tear down fences and destroy construction equipment near the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center. […]
* FROM THE ARCHIVES: MIAMI MODEL AT THE G20
* AT HEARING ON “FRACKING” CAPITOL POLICE ARREST DIRECTOR OF “GASLAND”
By Sari Gelzer, Truthout
At a hearing on Wednesday, House Republicans ordered Capitol police to arrest Josh Fox, director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “Gasland,” along with his crew. The group was attempting to film a hearing on “fracking.” Read more about this attack on first ammendment rights, here.
After an Oscar nomination, an Emmy win, a Special Jury Prize award at Sundance and many other accolades, “Gasland” director Josh Fox considers his greatest prize to be the fact his “homemade documentary” – a term he loves to use – may just change the political climate and environmental stance this country is about to take on fracking. If you don’t know what fracking is you’ve obviously never watched “Battlestar Galactica” and have been living under a rug this past year. Fracking according to Wikipedia is a common name for hydraulic fracturing “the process of initiating and subsequently propagating a fracture in a rock layer, by means of a pressurized fluid, in order to release petroleum, natural gas, coal, coal seam gas, or other substances for extraction” but if you’re a “Galactica” fan, you’ll know it as the show’s replacement word for what Fox says we will all be if we allow the natural gas companies to continue fracking.
Impassioned and driven, Fox is known as much as an environmental activist as a filmmaker. Before shooting “Gasland,” he had spend the previous 16 years of his life as a playwright and theater director, but those facts are easily forgotten as he battles with Congress and makes regular appearances on television news shows. He splits his time between discussing the pitfalls and ominous track natural gas companies will lead us down and defending the truth in his filmmaking as “Gasland” experiences an all-out assault on its presentation of the facts. […]
* SHERROD BROWN: TIME TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT CLEANING UP THE SENATE
By Greg Sargent, The Washington Post
Sherrod Brown is calling on his fellow Senators, Democrats and Republicans alike, to take a stand on a simple question: Should Senators be allowed to own stock in companies whose bottom lines are directly affected by their votes?
Senator Brown tells me he is introducing a measure in the Senate today that would require all Senators to divest themselves of any stocks in companies that are impacted by their actions as a Senator. The idea is that members of Congress — who are suffering historically low approval ratings while enjoying historically high levels of personal wealth — have some work to do in building confidence that the institution is representing the public interest, rather than the interests of the wealthy and well-connected, some of whom are, well, them.
“Members of the House and Senate should not be voting on issues that affect their financial investments,” Brown told me. “We have the privilege of holding these jobs.There should be no perception that we’re benefitting. We need to show the public we mean business.” […]
* DAILY SHOW CO-CREATOR MOCKS KOMEN CHARITY’S KAREN HANDEL
By Eric Dolan, Raw Story
Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show, on Wednesday mocked Karen Handel of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure after the charity cut off all grants to Planned Parenthood.
Nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams performed by Planned Parenthood were supported by Komen grants.
“I think she said it herself when she was running for governor, when she said, ‘I don’t support the mission of Planned Parenthood,’” Winstead said on Current TV’s Countdown.
“And the mission of Planned Parenthood is to provide affordable health care for low-income women. And if you don’t support that mission, I don’t know how you can call yourself pro-life in the least.” […]
* HUNDREDS OF SLAUGHTERED CIVILIANS ISN’T A ‘HUGE NUMBER’ FOR OBAMA
On Monday afternoon, Barack Obama became the first president to host a virtual town hall live on the Internet.
While that might be a feat worthy of the record books, President Obama did something else during his address that America has become accustomed to: he lied to the world.
Speaking Monday during a live web-chat hosted by Google, the president took on a series of issues submitted by the American people. Over the span of 45 minutes, President Obama addressed the Stop Online Piracy Act while refusing to side with either end of the argument, admitted to the world that he isn’t all that swell of a dancer and took a query from a professional puppeteer. In between ignoring the real issues or offering any sort of solid solution to the nation’s biggest problems, the president did put something rather important out for the world to ponder: America’s ongoing drone missions aren’t really all that bad.
If you ask anyone outside of the Oval Office — or especially America — they might tell you otherwise. […]
* THE GIRL KILLED BY BARACK OBAMA – SHE NEVER SAW IT COMING – VIDEO
* U.S, BRITAIN, FRANCE PREPARE FOR WAR IN PERSIAN GULF
[A] concentration of military forces in the Gulf creates an explosive situation in the region. One accidental shot would be enough to trigger fire on both sides.
All countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization share Russia’s concern. China is yet another major international player opposed to a military campaign against Iran. Unfortunately, neither protests from China, nor warnings from Russia have had any effect on the allies as they step up preparations for a new Middle East conflict.
The United States, Britain and France have begun to deploy troops in the Gulf in a move which experts say suggests preparations for a war with Iran. The first strikes could be carried out at the beginning of the summer, media reports say.
According to reports, troops are arriving at the Masirah Island in Oman which is located south of the Strait of Hormuz where a US air base is deployed. Two American strike groups are currently stationed in the Gulf. […]
* GREECE’S HOMELESSNESS SPIKE
By Nick Malkoutzis, The Daily Beast
Until recently, homelessness was a foreign concept in Greece. It was something that Greeks discussed after visiting other European cities, where they were shocked by the sight of people sleeping in the streets. Since the economic crisis struck in 2009, however, Athenians have become far more used to the sight of fellow urbanites living on the sidewalks.
It is impossible to step out of a metro station, bar, restaurant, or cinema in the city center and not come across a homeless person. Sleeping in doorways, on welcome mats and over subway grates, these people are now one of the most visible symbols of Greece’s perilous economic situation. A nongovernmental organization estimates that there has been a 25 percent increase in Greece’s homeless population since 2009. More than half of these 20,000 are on the streets of Athens.
Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing over the next few days, with gale-force winds whistling through Athens’s narrow streets, in what is due to be the coldest week of the winter thus far. Authorities are struggling to provide blankets, medicine and food to the unsheltered exposed to these nasty conditions. […]