The May Day celebrations here in NYC were full of joy!
To give you just a taste of what transpired, many Occupiers helped organize and took part in a Free University in Cooper Square Park, outside of Cooper Union, the art school besieged by their greedy and inept Trustees who have decided to charge tuition for the first time since its founding, against the express conditions under which Peter Cooper set up the school. Courses included “Organizing a NYC Student Movement,” “Understanding Basic Economics and Finance,” “Imagining a Student-Worker Run University,” “Climate Debt/Climate Justice,” and “Building a Commons in NYC.”
The OWS Screenprinters Coop were busy at work in Union Square during the May Day rally, screenprinting t-shirts and upcycled materials brought by the public. The design, from the 1968 French student riots - “Beauty is in the Street.”
This is your Moment of Clarity #221: Large corporations and factory farming are responsible for more animal cruelty than just about anything else. Just wait until they get their hands on free range chickens and their eggs...
A day after President Obama called for broad new gun laws, the White House published on its YouTube channel videos of four children reading their own letters about guns.
The videos are part of what the White House promises will be an all-out effort by Mr. Obama’s administration to pass his gun proposals, drawing on the emotional reactions to the school shootings in Newtown, Conn.
Of course the videos have generated criticism from conservatives -- yet it's our children who are dying at younger ages than their counterparts in 16 other nations according to a recent study from the National Academy of Sciences -- and one of the most glaring reasons for this is children in the US are 20 times more likely to be killed by a gun.
The children in these videos are worried enough about the gun violence that they have written letters to Obama, they wanted to be heard, and they damn well deserve to be heard. So let's hear more:
In “A letter from Hinna,” Hinna Zeejah, 8, reads aloud what she wrote to Mr. Obama in the wake of the shootings.
“Mr. President, can we do something which will stop all of these terrible problems,” she says. “Can we stop using guns? I think if they are no guns on the street, no one could get hurt. Bullets don’t have eyes. It can hurt anyone.”
In another video, titled, “A letter from Julia,” Julia Stokes, 11, tells Mr. Obama that guns should be “very hard for people to buy.”
“The only thing they do is harm or kill,” Julia said. “I know that laws have to be passed by Congress, but I beg you to try very hard to make guns not allowed.”
On Jan. 11th, the Idle No More Global Action Day held 265 events around the world: Australia, Chile, Columbia Egypt, Finland, Germany, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand. Nigeria, Poland, Sri Lanka, UK and about 80 throughout the US. Here's the J11 video of the Idle No More events to give a sense of the diversity and energy of the movement.
Bill McKibben tweeted this video of his 11-year-old friend Ta'Kaiya Blaney. She's a remarkable orator, singer, song writer and environmental activist. You can hear more of her music here .
Here's a snippet from the beginning of Ta'Kaiya's speech:
"In my culture, it's a fact, it's an understanding of our way of life that everything is connected, the fish and the eagle, the herring and the whale. Each and every species plays its part in the circle of life. And we were put on this earth for a reason, so we could be the caretakers, and the healers, and the speakers, and the warriors for Mother Earth. And we were given a voice for reason, to speak out for those who have no voice, like the whales and the salmon. Our responsibilities as humans, as indigenous peoples, are for this earth, and of this earth."
Idle No More grassroots Founders and Organizers from across Canada, in Solidarity with Common Causes - a new initiative bringing together social justice, environmental, labour and other Activist Groups…
- UNITED we are planning IDLE NO MORE WORLD DAY OF ACTION on January 28th, 2013 #J28.
This day of action will peacefully protest attacks on Democracy, Indigenous Sovereignty, Human Rights and Environmental Protections when Canadian MPs return to the House of Commons on January 28th. As a grassroots movement, clearly no political organization speaks for Idle No More. This movement is of the people… For The People! #IDLENOMOREFTP
The Vision of IDLE NO MORE revolves around Indigenous Ways of Knowing rooted in Indigenous Sovereignty to protect water, air, land and all creation for future generations.
The Conservative government bills beginning with Bill C-45 threaten Treaties and this Indigenous Vision of Sovereignty.
The Goal of the movement is education and the revitalization of Indigenous peoples through Awareness and Empowerment. IDLE NO MORE has successfully encouraged knowledge sharing of Indigenous Sovereignty and Environmental Protections.
This message has been heard around the world and the world is watching how Canada responds to the message sent by many INM Supporters.
INM urges the government of Canada to repeal all legislation; which violates Treaties, Indigenous Sovereignty and subsequently Environmental Protections of land and water.
INM is grateful to many leaders who have supported this vision and the movement of the grassroots people. “The Treaties are the last line of defense to protect water and lands from destruction,” stated Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs.
A Portland gun rights activist and a few of his friends decided to roam the streets in Portland on Wednesday in order to "educate the public" on their second amendment rights, with their AR-15s slung over their shoulders.
Medford police have received at least 67 complaints about Warren R. Drouin openly carrying a semi-auto rifle or handgun in a wide range of public settings between June 2011 and December 2012, according to agency records. One episode generated more than two dozens calls to police. At least one Medford business barred him from the property because of his behavior.
The 22-year-old Medford man is so familiar to police in the southern Oregon city that top officials in the 103-member police force refer to him simply as "Warren" when describing their interactions with him. Officers receive training specifically on how to approach Drouin and others in the so-called open carry movement, which promotes the ability to openly carry guns.
Tim Doney, Medford's deputy police chief, said department officials have emphasized to officers that not everyone openly carrying a weapon will be as benign as Drouin.
"We go out on every one of these calls," Doney said. "And who knows? The next one may be the one that is an active shooter."
You can listen to some of the 911 calls from terrified citizens who weren't aware they were being educated at this link.
"I am a full flesh libertarian and a gun right extremest. We the people should control our government and bring us back to when we had and own our Life, Liberty, and Property. I hate socialist, dictators, and corrupt Government. We are losing are rights every day while not knowing it and then it become to late."
In the Youtube video below, listen to the runaround the armed men give the local police when they simply ask to see their gun permits (You need a concealed carry permit to carry a loaded weapon in public) and identification:
The 10 hours and 35 minutes of video footage shot by the NYPD during the raid of Zuccotti Park that was released by Anonymous on Monday gives a more expansive view of what happened on the morning of November 15, 2011, albeit in a more sanitized form. Much of the footage, which also includes clips from the Duarte Square action and the re-opening of the park the following evening, is heavily edited, especially scenes that include arrests. Still, some of it is informative and contradicts the statements or positions made by city officials defending the raid, most notably, that Occupy's Library was dismantled and destroyed by Brookfield employees, and that reports of press harassment and arrests were part of a "myth."
The first four minutes of this footage shows protester Ted Hall giving a monologue as police in riot gear watch, but the remaining time shows police notifying Occupy's medical tent that they must leave. An officer tells the doctor on duty that he must leave, but that EMS will take care of his patients. The doctor declines, and refuses to leave his two patients. A long standoff ensues, as several officers believe that one of the protesters stole a scalpel. A nurse ensures them that they haven't. That nurse, "Nurse Jane," wrote about the experience here. She describes the medical tent as "the most amazing clinic I've ever worked in!"
Eventually, the tent is ripped by police knives, and everyone is forced out. Nurse Jane is seen speaking with another officer, explaining to him her concerns (11:40 mark), and notes that it doesn't help that there is a man filming her. "That would be me," the TARU officer from behind the camera replies.
The Gothamist has downloaded the footage into seven videos (including the one above) and breaks down each into note worthy events, you can view them all here.
Non-violent students at UC Davis protesting tuition hikes in November 2011 were sprayed with pepper-spray by campus police.
More videos surfaced online on Sunday of the LAPD violence at Thursday’s Downtown LA Art Walk.
Many helicopters hover above the streets. Full riot gear was worn by some officers during the ordeal. Rubber bullets and other projectiles were in use. The police were very aggressive. All this over chalk painting on the sidewalk?
In the video above at 4:49, you can see a man in a white t-shirt shot at very close range with a projectile weapon. He falls to the ground and is clearly incapacitated. After the man stumbles to the ground, two Occupiers come to his aid but police move in, chase the occupiers off, 14 officers surround the man, while one officers kicks the man in the face, then other officers smash his face into the pavement, and violently arrested him.
This next video shows the incident from ground level:
The Guardian: Occupy Wall Street: the story behind seven months of protest:
In September last year, anti-corporate activists descended on a small park in lower Manhattan and Occupy Wall Street was born. As protesters ready for a spring resurgence, film-maker Kat Keene Hogue looks back at more than six months of Occupy, a movement that spread from Zuccotti Park to over 100 cities around the world
Statistics are the smoke and fog in the war on women. Sunday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner struck out against Mitt Romney’s repeated claims that women made up more than 92 percent of jobs lost under President Obama’s watch. “It’s just a political moment,” Geithner said on CBS News’ Face the Nation, arguing that there was more job loss among men at the beginning of the recession and that Obama inherited economic decline that began under the previous White House. Romney’s campaign isn’t budging, though. “The President should stop making excuses for his failures,” spokesperson Andrea Saul said in an email to reporters. “He is entitled to his own spin but not his own facts.” Too bad Geithner didn't have any facts to back up his idiotic running off at the mouth.
Via Think Progress: Bank of America Forecloses On Homeowner With Disabled Daughter After Offering Her A Modification:
Rodriguez took out a loan to retrofit her house for her special-needs daughter. After she fell behind on her payments, the Bank of America lowered her monthly obligation, but then sold the house at a foreclosure auction last September. The new owner, a house flipper from El Segundo called West Ridge Rentals, moved to evict the family. [...]
Yet still nearly 7,000 Occupy Wall Street protesters have been arrested to day. Bankers arrested? Zero.
There were only around 40 protesters last night who chose to unfurl their sleeping bags and ground pads on the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street in "sleepful protest" last night. But unlike the vibrant, if somewhat insulated atmosphere of Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street's newest encampment is positioned at the nexus of a neighborhood, and residents and passersby seemed eager to engage the demonstrators on the well-lit corner a few yards away from the New York Stock Exchange.
An impeccably dressed, if somewhat intoxicated man began speaking with protesters and eventually sat down, legs crossed, deep in dialogue. His expensive watch peeked out of the cuff of his starched shirt as he made motions with his hands. His wife had left him and he stressed that he had problems, too.
Another man wearing a blue Oxford and carrying his dinner—a frozen chicken dish from Duane Reade—began speaking to a group after he asked one protester, "Tell me again why you're here?" What followed was a conversation that lasted over an hour, ranging from cutting the cost of higher education ("We gotta stop subsidizing four-year colleges,") to the tax rate on capital gains, to solutions to house the homeless.
Also from Think Progress, if Mitt Romney could relate at all to the general population, wouldn't he support paid sick days for workers?
Forty percent of private sector workers and 80 percent of low-wage workers do not have a single, paid sick day to recover from a short-term illness or to provide care for their loved ones. This leads to impossible choices for moms in the sandwich generation who are often working while serving as the main caregiver for an aging parent or school-age children. Missing just three days of work to care for a kid with chicken pox would mean losing the entire month’s healthcare budget for the average two worker, two child family without access to paid sick days.
Paid sick days legislation would enable workers to accrue paid sick leave and provide for provisions to help employers manage. It also makes economic sense as it costs businesses more in lost worker productivity to have sick employees come in, than it would cost to offer paid time off in the first place.
President Obama has come out in favor of such legislation. Mitt Romney, who claims to understand the plight of working people, has been silent.
See how much more effective actual facts are, Mr. Geithner?
Occupy Ninjas, coming to a bank near you soon.
Occupy Detroit is celebrating their 6 month anniversary all weekend:
A general assembly will be held at noon at Eastern Market. The group also will hold an open house from 4-10 p.m. Saturday at its new home at 5900 Michigan Ave. Events will include an ox roast and musical jam session around a bonfire.
HERE’S a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.
As TeacherKen notes, there is so much more work that needs to be done before military suicide can be effectively prevented.
Buffet Rule Vote on Monday
On Monday, April 16, the U.S. Senate will debate and vote on the "Buffett Rule," which guarantees that millionaires will no longer pay a lower share of taxes than working people.
Join SEIU and Daily Kos by sending an email (super easy, just click the link) to your senators, telling them to vote in favor of the Buffett Rule. No matter whether your senators are Democrats or Republicans, they all need to know there is big support for making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.
This just in: A newly uploaded video from Occupy Minneapolis last night. This one shows Minneapolis police police attacking journalists and flipping a commercial news videographer and his camera at about 1:22 and another independent journalist arrested:
And then this video shows that videographer being actually flipped over by a police officer in slow motion:
Occupy Salt Lake activists who maintained a round-the-clock presence in Salt Lake City’s Gallivan Center this past winter on Friday packed up their tents and moved a few blocks south to Library Square, a grass-and-gravel area east of the Salt Lake City Library at 210 E. 400 South.
Since Oct. 6, the Salt Lake contingency has stood in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, a grass-roots movement decrying corporate greed and its influence on society and the political process.
Afghan youth in U.S. protest war: Some 150 people from Fremont and Occupy Oakland demonstrated outside a U.S. military recruiting center in Fremont on March 30 at a protest organized by Afghan youth. They were also joined by a number of San Francisco Bay Area Iraq Veterans Against the War activists. Fremont has the highest concentration of Afghans in the U.S.
The coal lobby thinks “reality” is a world dependent on their dangerous product. Coal-fired power plants kill at least 13,000 people a year by spewing over 386,000 tons of pollutants, including mercury, into the air. Coal is also the most significant driver of carbon emissions, making the industry responsible for global warming that will cause more extreme weather, droughts, famine, crop failures, mass extinction of various species, as well as flooding. Coal is hardly even a source of middle class jobs given efforts by major coal companies to bust their respective unions.
Last but not least, from Open Secrets: Let there be no doubt where Wall Street's political loyalties lie: Of all the money the securities and investment industry has poured into the 2012 presidential contest so far -- to the candidates and the super PACs behind them -- an unambiguous 92 percent has gone to the GOP, according to a new Center for Responsive Politics analysis.
The April issue of Harper’s Magazine includes “The Warrior Class,” (paywall) a feature article by Charles Glass on the rise of private-security contractors since 9/11. The conclusion of the article describes a series of videos that were shown to Mr. Glass by a source who had worked for the private-security company Blackwater (now Academi, and also formerly Xe Services) in Iraq. Clips from the videos follow below, prefaced by Glass’s own descriptions:
The first [video], identified as “Baghdad, Iraq, May–September 2005,” showed Blackwater convoys racing through town. Suddenly, the door of a Blackwater SUV opened and a rifle fired at passing traffic. “They opened the door,” my companion said. “You should never break the seal.”
The next tape had been taken by a camera in the turret of an armored vehicle. An [M4A1] fired from the turret at cars that had stopped to let the convoy pass. Whoever was firing the [gun] did so enthusiastically and often, sending rounds into parked cars and an overhead bridge. Another sequence showed a contractor vehicle rear-ending a car, shattering its back windshield.
But what about the tape dated April 1, 2006, which was shot from the front seat of the fourth car in an armored convoy? Driving along a wide boulevard in Baghdad, the lead vehicle swerved close to the curb of a traffic island. A woman in a black full-length burka began to cross the street. The vehicle struck the woman and knocked her unconscious body into the gutter. The cars slowed for a moment, but did not stop, nor did they even determine whether the victim was dead or alive. A voice in the car taking the video said, “Oh, my God!” Yet no one was heard on the radio requesting help for her. Most sickeningly, the sequence had been set to an AC/DC song, whose pounding, metallic chorus declared: “You’ve been… thunderstruck!”