Nov 172011


* Occupiers Occupied: The Hijacking of the First Amendment

by Robert Reich, Huffington Post

…First things first. The Supreme Court’s rulings that money is speech and corporations are people have now opened the floodgates to unlimited (and often secret) political contributions from millionaires and billionaires. Consider the Koch brothers (worth $25 billion each), who are bankrolling the Tea Party and already running millions of dollars worth of ads against Democrats.

Such millionaires and billionaires aren’t contributing their money out of sheer love of country. They have a more self-interested motive. Their political spending is analogous to their other investments. Mostly they want low tax rates and friendly regulations.

Wall Street is punishing Democrats for enacting the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation (weak as it is) by shifting its money to Republicans. The Koch brothers’ petrochemical empire has financed, among many other things, candidates who will vote against environmental protection.

This tsunami of big money into politics is the real public nuisance. It’s making it almost impossible for the voices of average Americans to be heard because most of us don’t have the dough to break through. By granting First Amendment rights to money and corporations, the First Amendment rights of the rest of us are being trampled on.

This is where the Occupiers come in. If there’s a core message to the Occupier movement it’s that the increasing concentration of income and wealth poses a grave danger to our democracy.


* What Do Democracy, Civil Disobedience and Police Brutality Look Like? A Photo Essay.

by jpmassar on DailyKos

…See if you can determine, from each set, which picture falls into which category.

READ and Photo Essay @,-Civil-Disobedience-and-Police-Brutality-Look-Like-A-Photo-Essay

* Robert Reichest: “The days of apathy are over”

by Peter Finocchiaro

… I urge you to to be patient with yourselves, because — with regard to every major social movement of the last half-century or more — it started with a sense of moral outrage. Things were wrong. And the actual coalescence of that moral outrage into specific demands, or specific changes, came later. The moral outrage was the beginning. The days of apathy are over, folks! Once this has begun, it cannot be stopped, and will not be stopped.


* Judge Temporarily Bars Eviction of Boston Protesters

by Jess Bidgood, New York Times

… Judge Frances A. McIntyre, citing the protesters’ right to free speech in her decision, said the city would need a court order in order to evict protesters, unless there are emergent circumstances like a fire, medical emergency or outbreak of violence.

“What the plaintiffs can point to is that abridgment of First Amendment rights is irreparable harm,” Judge McIntyre said.

While police officers have raided protest sites in cities like New York, Oakland, Calif., and Portland, Ore., law enforcement in Boston has been relatively tolerant of the original encampment, although an attempt last month to expand the camp there was met with more than 140 arrests. City officials say that, although they are monitoring the demonstration daily, they have no plans to move in on the camp in Dewey Square, which is a public park.

But after hearing of the New York Police Department’s raid on Occupy Wall Street on Tuesday morning, Howard Cooper, a lawyer working in cooperation with local chapters of the National Lawyers Guild and the American Civil Liberties Union, filed for a temporary restraining order and a more permanent injunction that could prevent a similar surprise raid.

“Looking around and seeing what’s going on around the country, we just worry that something might happen here in Boston,” Urszula Masny-Latos, executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, said on Tuesday.

A lawyer for the city, William F. Sinnott, argued that it needed to be able to evict protesters without warning because officials did not want to give protesters a chance to mobilize.


* Exclusive Video: Inside Police Lines at the Occupy Wall Street Eviction

by Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones

… A few yards away, the last occupiers took turns waving a large American flag. Huddled inside the park’s makeshift kitchen, they seemed as diverse as Occupy Wall Street: There was a shaggy punk in a spiky leather jacket. A young girl in a red sweatshirt that read “Unity.” Clean-shaven guys wearing glasses. A shirtless occupier named Ted Hall, who has led an effort to hone the movement’s “visions and goals.” All of them surrounded a smaller group of occupiers who’d chained their necks to a pole.

A white-shirted officer moved in with a bullhorn. “If you don’t leave the park you are subject to arrest. Now is your opportunity to leave the park.”

Nobody budged. As a lone drum pounded, I climbed up on the wall to get a better view.

“Can I help you?” an burly officer asked me, his helpfulness belied by his scowl.

“I’m a reporter,” I told him.

“This is a frozen zone, all right?” he said, using a term I’d never heard before. “Just like them, you have to leave the area. If you do not, you will be subject to arrest.”

By then, riot police were moving in, indiscriminately dousing the peaceful protesters with what looked like pepper spray or some sort of gas. As people yelled and screamed and cried, I tried to stay calm.

“I promise to leave once the arrests are done,” I replied.

“No, you are going to leave now.”

He grabbed my arm and began dragging me off. My shoes skidded across the park’s slimy granite floor. All around me, zip-cuffed occupiers writhed on the ground beneath a fog of chemicals.

“I just want to witness what is going on here,” I yelped.

“You can witness it with the rest of the press,” he said. Which, of course, meant not witnessing it.

“Why are you excluding the press from observing this?” I asked.

“Because this is a frozen zone. It’s a police action going on. You could be injured.”

His meaning was clear. I let myself be hustled across the street to the press pen.

“What’s your name?”

His reply came as fast as he could turn away: “Watch your back.


* Surprise, Homeland Security Coordinates #OWS Crackdowns

by Wonkette Jr., Wonkette

… Rick Ellis of the Minneapolis edition of has this, based on a “background conversation” he had with a Justice Department official on Monday night:

Over the past ten days, more than a dozen cities have moved to evict “Occupy” protesters from city parks and other public spaces. As was the case in last night’s move in New York City, each of the police actions shares a number of characteristics. And according to one Justice official, each of those actions was coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies.


According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.

Well gosh, that’s exactly what happened. Good to know the FBI and DHS are “always there to help a brother out.” (This is their motto, in Latin.)

(And for those who are understandably doubtful about as a news source, here’s an AP story from a couple hours ago that verifies everything except the specific mention of DHS coordination.)

Meanwhile, according to the steady stream of insanity on the Twitter, the Seattle riot cops just “maced a pregnant woman, a kid, a priest, and a blind woman w/ a fucking cane!” We know a version of this with a rabbi and Batman and Jesus and a grasshopper ordering a Grasshopper at a bar, we think? But nothing about riot cops spraying a pregnant woman with mace.


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