Nov 032011



By Robert Johnson and Linette Lopez

The Oakland protest is underway in California and it’s already causing problems.

Rumors ripped over Twitter that the strike had shut down the Port of Oakland, the nation’s fifth largest port that handled more than 2.3 million containers last year, but those reports appear to be over-blown.

The Silicon Valley Mercury News is live blogging the strike and reports port operations have been considerably slowed, but the port was not shut down as of 9:40 a.m. local time. It’s also reported that a line of trucks one-mile long is waiting in both directions from the SSA port terminals.

The general strike is expected to shut down businesses and schools with workers showing support for the Occupy movement by marching on the city’s plaza in front of city hall.

Calling it a “warning shot to the 1%,” Oakland protest organizer Tim Simons told CNN that the protesters will “take this into the streets and into the workplaces.”




By Jane Hamsher, Firedoglake

Today we started sending out the first shipment of #OccupySupply goods — 500 pairs of UFCW union-made socks made to withstand -40 degree weather.

But that’s just the beginning.  There’s a lot more on the way.

On October 21, the FDL Membership Program started the Occupy Supply fund. At the same time that other organizations saw Occupy Wall Street as a vehicle to reinvigorate their tarnished images and enhance their own coffers, FDL members just wanted to help. And what we saw was trouble on the horizon: the powers that be were clearly executing plans to shut down occupations across the country in the warm weather areas, and hoped to freeze out those in the cold. One day #OWS discussed moving to Atlanta for the winter, and the next day #OccupyAtlanta was raided. It’s no coincidence that Bloomberg seized the #OWS generators the first day it snowed.

We raised over $50,000 in one day for occupations across the country, with 100% of all funds received committed to buying supplies they need. Kevin Gosztola stayed with FDL member Mark S. in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and together they used money from OccupySupply to buy tents, sleeping bags, blankets and sheets. In Bloomington, FDL Member John S. played host to Kevin, and they bought heavy-duty cold weather sleeping bags for 10-30 degree weather. Kevin was the guest of FDL Member Fred O. in Memphis, where they purchased more tents and warm clothing.  FDL member Patty M. and Kevin buy tents, sleeping bags and pizza in Louisville.  In Des Moines, FDL member Angela G helped Kevin buy four generators. In St. Louis, a group of FDL members including Ray, Bill, Harold and Beverly helped Kevin buy tents and sleeping bags. More supplies have been purchased for occupations in Columbus, Cleveland, Madison, Los Angeles and DC. …




By The Bloody Cross Roads

… There is no escaping.  Nowhere to hide.  No time to waste.  The only thing to do is defy.  Resist.  That’s the real meaning of Occupy Wall Street.  You see, when I’m not there with the protestors at Liberty Square I feel I belong there.  Every minute I spend there is an act of rebellion, full of meaning and purpose.

Every day people come to share their personal stories.  A former trader of Treasuries on Wall Street who requested anonymity came to talk candidly about how deeply corrupt and fraudulent the system he once served truly is.  As he puts it, “Wall Street is rife with toll collection, zero-sum gaming, and organized crime.”  They contribute nothing to society, as “securities firms make the most precisely when they do the least,” extracting huge payoffs for meaningless transactions that can be made only through these firms.  Furthermore, the obscenely lucrative salaries divert the country’s talent away from other occupations, luring top graduates to business schools and companies like Goldman Sachs, which “ultimately hurts our nation.”

When he quit his job of twelve years he approached the SEC in the hopes of correcting the wrongs he had witnessed.  He had expected to approach an audience eager to hear his tales of wrongdoing and systematized rape.  What he found shocked him.  Nobody cared.  He couldn’t get anyone to listen.  They were all too busy preparing for the jobs they would attain on Wall Street after they finished serving the public. …




By Dennis Bernstein

… On Thursday, Oct 27, I was contacted in person by Bill Lo, a seasoned security guard and photographer, who was on duty directly across the street from Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza  where the raid on the camp took place. He observed and filmed the entire raid. Lo’s compelling, soft-spoken eyewitness account, contradicts much of what the police said, and local corporate media parroted, about what happened at the camp, and about the dangers that the protestors presented to the city and local residents.

DB:  Today on Flashpoints an exclusive eye witness account of the police savaging of the Occupy Oakland encampment and arresting over a hundred peaceful activists in their heavily armed, pre-dawn raid on that camp last Tuesday in the wee hours.   The testimony comes from a security guard who watched the entire raid from his vantage point on the second floor of a building right across the street from where the police acted.

BL:  My name is Bill Lo.  I work as a security officer in a high-rise building that’s directly across from the Ogawa Plaza.   The reason I came to Pacifica, the word Pacifica means peace.   And what I witnessed Monday night, I witnessed the raid on the Occupation Oakland, at a little bit after 4:30 in the morning, and it was just an outrage what I saw.

Now from my vantage point, well, initially I started from the lobby I was able to see all the police gathering in the middle of 14th and Broadway. From the lobby entrance I have a direct view of that. Then, from there I went upstairs to a good vantage point where I was able see everything that happened from the building across the street.

And it was terrifying to see this because, I mean, there were just so many policeman.  I mean just the numbers were incredible.   And they lined up almost like in a phalanx, on the street, and then they moved in. Now I thought that, I was able to take video of this, so I thought that the video would speak for itself.

There were helicopters flying about and with high beams on the camps.  So, you know, the beams were moving across every which way. Young people were waiting at the entrance to the camp; they were prepared to be arrested.

So then, the police did make an announcement over the horn to disperse in a very frightening manner, of course. But the part that was just so appalling was when they moved in, before moving in they shot these, what I, I couldn’t tell from a distance, I thought they were smoke bombs, later on I found out that it was tear gas.

Now there were young people in these camps and children, infants in a lot of the tents and this was just, seemed like this was completely out of whack with the situation.    These people had demonstrated that their intent was peaceful for the entire two weeks that they were at the camp.

So they shot the tear gas into the middle of the camp, and at the time, there were dumpsters lined up in front, at the entrance, on the corner because the occupiers were trying to conform to the new regulations that the city of Oakland had given to them.  So they were trying to get rid of a lot of junk, in the common area.

So the police moved those dumpsters to the side and then they moved to the next stage of taking the barricades and kicking them down.  And then they moved in and the first thing they hit was the information tent, and they just started just tearing everything down. And then they just progressively moved further and further in, and you saw all the people in the middle ground, young people moving every which way, right and left, and you could hear all the voices.

DB:  And did they begin to make arrests? 

BL:  Yes, they did make arrests of the people who were prepared to be arrested.

DB:  And did it look like a military action?  Was there any….You’re sure, there were kids inside?

BL:  Well, there were kids who were living in the camp, so they were further in.  Make no doubt about it, this was a military type operation, the way they moved in.  It harkened back to old footage I had seen of Nazi Germany where you know you had the Nazis, the SS going in and picking up innocent people.  It had that tenor.  And even the helicopters, and the lights, and the loud speaker, all those were all intended to create panic and terror for the people inside, and it was totally uncalled for.

DB:  And how were the cops dressed and say a little bit more about how they were acting.

BL: It was something like out of a Star Wars movie except instead of being in white they were all in black.  You know they were all in riot gear, you know with the visors, they looked like automatons, that they just moved in, in a line. …




By Anthony Gregory, Consortium News

After the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush’s administration pulled off the shelf dozens of internal security provisions that the Right had long wanted to implement. They were passed as the Patriot Act and have become part of America’s police-state culture, writes Anthony Gregory. …

Today the Patriot Act is hardly controversial. In an era of detentions without trial, assassinations of American citizens without due process, enhanced interrogation techniques, perpetual and expanding wars, unchecked executive surveillance, and federal officials groping and irradiating passengers by the many thousands every day, it even seems a bit quaint, perhaps, to reflect on the Patriot Act, many of whose worst provisions have now become sewn into the unquestioned tapestry of American governance.

Some of the scary parts of the Act would not even elicit the controversy today that they did ten years ago. The American political culture has simply moved in the last decade toward accepting police-state measures as completely normal in modern America.

Barack Obama had called it shoddy and a threat to freedom, but he has renewed it as president. It is part of the bipartisan consensus, like public schools, the war on drugs, or the Environmental Protection Agency.

This is a sad fact, since the Patriot Act was and is such a terrible law, one without any place whatsoever in even a semi-free society. Any program for restoring American liberty must include the repeal of this terrible legislation, and the effective repeal of the 21st Century, the U.S. political history of which has been practically nothing but an unbroken series of egregious and indefensible attacks on liberty in the name of safety.

The Act has now survived for ten years — ten years too long. One can only guess whether the Republic can survive another decade of the destructive war on freedom waged under the banner of anti-terrorism.




By Bob Sloan, Daily Kos Diarist

… Many wonder how Davy Boy and Ol’ Chucky ensure that they get their money’s worth out of the organizations they fund and support.  How do they control the work or dissemination of Conservative “messages”?  I found their operation is much simpler and more effective than many would believe and done through a system that has virtually been ignored by media and most researchers.  Going at it the way I did I also uncovered how they are able to have additional control over what is printed about them in corporate controlled media outlets – print, TV and other formats.

It begins with Koch’s Institute For Humane Studies.  IHS describes their mission as:

The mission of IHS is to support the achievement of a freer society by discovering and facilitating the development of talented students, scholars, and other intellectuals who share an interest in liberty and in advancing the principles and practice of freedom.

“Each year IHS awards over $750,000 in scholarships to students from universities around the world. IHS also sponsors the attendance of hundreds of students at its summer seminars and provides various forms of career assistance, including sponsored internships, to students and recent graduates pursuing careers in academia, journalism, and public policy. Through its programs, the Institute promotes the study of liberty across a broad range of disciplines, encouraging understanding, open inquiry, rigorous scholarship, and creative problem-solving.”

IHS lists 96 – that’s right – 96! organizations that Koch provides “internships” to.  They pay these interns $10.00 per hour each and that helps keep the payroll costs down for the organizations where they’re placed.  It also allows Koch to have direct inside information about the ongoing activities and efforts being conducted in each of those organizations, foundations and “charities”.

The list begins here:….  You’ll notice that all the usual suspects we’ve come to know and expect listed here – plus a few that have so far slipped under everyone’s radar.  Fourth on the list is ALEC:

American Legislative Exchange Council

(Washington, DC) The mission of the American Legislative Exchange Council is to advance the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty, through a nonpartisan public-private partnership of America’s state legislators, members of the private sector, the federal government, and general public. The council works with state legislators from all parties and members of the private sector who share ALEC’s mission. The council conducts a policy making program that unites members of the public and private sectors in a dynamic partnership to support research, policy development, and dissemination activities. The council also prepares the next generation of political leadership through educational programs that promote the principles of Jeffersonian democracy.”

There are page after page of these “affiliates” Koch provides intern staffing to annually. This is bad enough – but as with so much else, it gets so much worse. …




By Matt Taibbi

How about that Jon Corzine, eh? It seems New Jersey’s finest self-bought ex-Senator bet heavily on European debt, got walloped by a cavalcade of AIG-style collateral calls streaming in from outraged creditors, and tried to stave off the inevitable by commingling client cash with his own account.

From what I gather, Corzine essentially reached into the company cash register to pay off his gambling debts. He didn’t have enough money of his own to fight off the wolves, so he took the money he had access to, in a desperate, insane hope that his bets would eventually turn around and he could replace the missing cash later on.

This is the kind of crazy, stupid, panicked, extreme-short-term thinking you might see from someone at the tail end of an epic, Ray-Milland-caliber alcohol binge – when nothing matters anymore, and even concealing the crime effectively is too much of a burden, and the only thing that matters is getting through the next few minutes. …




By Jill Richardson, AlterNet

… The State Department is using taxpayer money to help push the agenda of Monsanto and its friends all across the world. Here’s a recent example: Assistant Secretary of State Jose W. Fernandez, addressing an event of high-level government officials from around the world, agribusiness CEOs, leaders from international organizations, and anti-hunger groups said, “Without agricultural biotechnology, our world would look vastly different. One of our challenges is how to grow more crops on the same land. This is where biotechnology plays a role.”

Many scientists would disagree with these statements, which are more controversial than Fernandez let on. The Union of Concerned Scientists found that biotech crops did not lead to reliable yield increases compared to conventional, non-GMO crops and that biotech crops actually required more pesticides than conventional crops. These conclusions are reiterated by the scientists who authored the “International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development” (IAASTD) report, a 2008 study written by 400 scientists from around the world concluding that agroecology was the best way to feed the world. And a recent 30-year study by the Rodale Institute found that organic methods provided excellent drought protection, whereas drought-tolerant GMOs are mostly still an idea of the future. …




By The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

— Some of the poll highlights include:– Opposition to cutting Social Security & Medicare is strong across party lines with 82% of Democrats, 73% of Independents and 58% of Republicans against cuts to reduce the deficit

— A wide margin of all Americans, 94% of Democrats, 82% of Independents and 64% of Republicans, would prefer to raise taxes on the wealthy than cut Social Security and Medicare

— By a 3 -1 margin, self-identified “fiscal conservatives” of both parties oppose cutting Social Security benefits to reduce the deficit and by a 2 ½ -1 to one margin, fiscally conservative voters oppose cutting Medicare benefits to reduce the deficit.

“The clear truth is that Americans across party and generational lines flat out reject using cuts to Social Security and Medicare – programs they have directly paid into their entire lives – to reduce the deficit. It’s a loud and crystal clear message they have for politicians in Washington : keep your hands off my Social Security and Medicare. They’re prepared to send that message at the voting booth next year if their politicians don’t listen.” Celinda Lake , Lake Research Partners ,Democratic Polling/Research

“Clearly voters are against changes to a system they have paid into their entire lives.  They don’t want the retirement age for Social Security eligibility raised, they don’t want the Medicare eligibility age raised and they reject increases in co-pays for some services.  They believe they have a deal, and they want that deal upheld.” Bob Carpenter, American Viewpoint , Republican Polling/Researcher


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