Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Oakland — A group of Oakland residents filed a petition Monday declaring its intent to recall Mayor Jean Quan, saying she has failed to provide strong leadership for the city, particularly on crime and unemployment.
The notice, filed with the city clerk’s office, was signed by 71 residents who say they intend to circulate a recall petition against Quan for “willfully ignoring the city’s most pressing issue: public safety.”
It goes on to say that Quan has offered “no rational solution to mitigate the chaos,” that she ignored Oakland residents’ demand for more police officers and has proposed an $11 million parcel tax on top of an existing $200 million parcel tax.
The petition also criticizes Quan for her stands on development issues, saying she is “squandering an opportunity to shape the largest development project in Oakland’s history – the Oakland army base.”
Carla Marinucci,Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Political Writers
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO –
In a powerful display of profound disappointment with President Obama, some of the Democratic Party’s biggest donors gathered Tuesday – not inside his tony San Francisco fundraiser at the W Hotel, but outside on the sidewalks carrying signs in protest of his policies.
“I don’t even know what he stands for,” said Susie Tompkins Buell, a co-founder of the Esprit clothing company and one of the most generous Democratic Party donors in the nation – instrumental in backing such powerhouse progressive organizations as the Democracy Alliance and Media Matters.
Tompkins Buell, who is a longtime friend of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and was among her biggest donors in the 2008 presidential race, has long played a starring role in San Francisco as a hostess for presidents, top legislators and world leaders at fundraisers for progressive campaign causes.
But on Tuesday, instead of dining with the elite crowd of about 200 who paid at least $5,000 a head – and up to $7,500 for a photo with the president – at the two-hour luncheon, the Democratic activist, who could easily afford the fundraiser, said it was more important to stand outside with an estimated 1,000 demonstrators.
Her goal: to urge Obama to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed 1,700-mile underground conduit linking the tar-sand fields in Alberta, Canada, to Texas refineries. Environmentalists say the pipeline would result in untold environmental damage. “I think this is a huge issue about our future, about the planet, not just America,” she said. “And he needs to be a leader … to have the awareness of it. To fight for it.”
From The Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/ct-perspec-1026-katz-20111026,0,5400347.story
By Marilyn Katz
October 26, 2011
I’ve been to Occupy Chicago, brushed up against Occupy Boston, and daily peruse emails, news reports and blogs from New York, Barcelona and Rome. I’ve read missives from the left and right that complain that the occupiers are “inchoate,” unfocused, lacking in direction and leadership.
I’m fortunate to have a unique vantage point from which to consider the mobilization against Wall Street. My trip to Greece this summer during the height of the economic demonstrations there; reading newly published books by my peers who, like me, became involved in and transformed by the events of the 1960s; and my own introspection in preparation for a talk I recently gave on this period provide a perch from which to assess Occupy Wall Street.
And while I’ve read comparisons of the occupiers to the tea partiers, I am reminded of the movements of the early 1960s, when a generation began to wake up and act.
In hindsight, it’s easy for historians and observers (and even those who were there) to say that those times were different — that what moved us was the civil rights movement or the war in Vietnam. But I have long thought that something deeper and more profound was at play.
We were a post-war generation brought up with the belief that America was the beacon of democracy for the world, protecting freedom abroad and embodying it at home. The news of the day — from Rosa Park’s brave refusal to give up her bus seat and young activists sitting in at lunch counters to the self-immolation of Buddhist priests in far-away Vietnam — shook that view to the core.
Many of us began to experience a cognitive dissonance as we looked around and saw a society segregated by color. That cognitive dissonance was exacerbated as we learned that the U.S. was sending young people to prop up a puppet regime left behind in Indochina by the French. And for many of us, there was a growing discomfort with a society focused on what seemed to be little else but mindless acquisition.
By ERIK ECKHOLM
Published: October 25, 2011
A constitutional amendment facing voters in Mississippi on Nov. 8, and similar initiatives brewing in half a dozen other states including Florida and Ohio, would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control as murder.
With this far-reaching anti-abortion strategy, the proponents of what they call personhood amendments hope to reshape the national debate.
“I view it as transformative,” said Brad Prewitt, a lawyer and executive director of the Yes on 26 campaign, which is named for the Mississippi proposition. “Personhood is bigger than just shutting abortion clinics; it’s an opportunity for people to say that we’re made in the image of God.”
Many doctors and women’s health advocates say the proposals would cause a dangerous intrusion of criminal law into medical care, jeopardizing women’s rights and even their lives.
The amendment in Mississippi would ban virtually all abortions, including those resulting from rape or incest. It would bar some birth control methods, including IUDs and “morning-after pills” that prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. It would also outlaw the destruction of embryos created in laboratories.
The amendment has been endorsed by candidates for governor from both major parties, and it appears likely to pass, said W. Martin Wiseman, director of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University. Legal challenges would surely follow, but even if the amendment is ultimately declared unconstitutional, it could disrupt vital care, critics say, and force years of costly court battles.
The Republicans just can’t stop themselves from acting like un-American Nazi bigots.
By Carlos Santoscoy
Published: October 25, 2011
A bill that would repeal New Hampshire’s gay marriage law cleared a House committee on Tuesday.
The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill with an 11 to 6 vote.
If approved, the bill, introduced by Rep. David Bates, a Republican from Windham, would repeal the state’s gay marriage law. Gay couples already married would remain so, but going forward the bill would establish civil unions for any two adults competent to enter into a contract – including relatives.
“The Bates proposal is bad for freedom and bad for families,” said Craig Stowell, Republican co-chair of Standing Up for New Hampshire Families, a group opposed to repeal of the marriage law. “We did not send lawmakers to Concord to revisit the marriage law. But a fringe group of lawmakers are squarely focused on taking away freedom and liberty from their constituents and fellow Granite Staters.”
From The Cleavland Leader: http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/17709
By Eugene McCormick.
Published on 10/26/2011
Occupy Cleveland has won the right to hold their protests 24 hours on Public Square. The group posted this message to their Facebook page an hour ago:
Occupy Cleveland has won our federal lawusit against the city of Cleveland! There is now an injunction against enforcing the 10pm curfew!
24/7 occupation of the Tom Johnson quarter of public square begins right now! Victory rally begins right now!
Continue reading at: http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/17709
In just one month, the protesters have shifted the national dialogue from a relentless focus on the deficit to a discussion of the real issues facing Main Street.
By Joshua Holland
October 26, 2011
Occupy Wall Street has already achieved a stunning victory – a victory that is easy to overlook, but impossible to overstate. In just one month, the protesters have shifted the national dialogue from a relentless focus on the deficit to a discussion of the real issues facing Main Street: the lack of jobs — and especially jobs with decent benefits — spiraling inequality, cash-strapped American families’ debt-loads, and the pernicious influence of money in politics that led us to this point.
To borrow the loosely defined terms that define the Occupy movement, these ordinary citizens have shifted the conversation away from what the “1 percent” — the corporate right and its dedicated media, network of think-tanks and PR shops — want to talk about and, notably, paid good money to get us to talk about.
Peter G. Peterson, a Wall Street mogul and Nixon administration cabinet member, has reportedly dedicated a billion dollars of his fortune to the effort since the 1980s. How successful have he and his fellow travelers been? In 2009, the Washington Post came under fire for running an article – in its news section, not its opinion pages – written by Peterson’s Fiscal Times, which the watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting described as “a propaganda outlet … [formed] to promote cuts in Social Security and other entitlement programs.” (It was Peterson Foundation employees, among those from other outside groups, who staffed Obama’s “bipartisan deficit commission.”)
As I noted back in May, a study done by the National Journal that month quantified what the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent, described as a “deficit feedback loop,” in which “the relentless bipartisan focus on the deficit convinces voters to be worried about it, which in turn leads lawmakers to spend still more time talking about it and less time talking about the economy.”
The population of Earth has doubled since Paul Ehrlich first warned the world that there were too many humans. Three and a half billion people later, he is more pessimistic than ever, estimating there is only a 10% chance of avoiding a collapse of global civilisation.
“Among the knowledgeable people there is no more conversation about whether the danger is real,” Ehrlich told the Guardian. “Civilisations have collapsed before: the question is whether we can avoid the first time [an] entire global civilisation has given us the opportunity of having the whole mess collapse.”
The idea sounds melodramatic, but Ehrlich insists his vision only builds on famine, drought, poverty and conflict, which are already prevalent around the world, and would unfold over the “next few decades”.
“What it would look like is getting to the situation where more and more people are living in uncertainty about their future, subject to all kinds of disease,” he said. “The really big discontinuity you can’t predict is even a small nuclear war between [say] India and Pakistan.
“Of course a new emerging disease or toxic problem could alone [also] trigger a collapse. My pessimism is deeply tied to the human failure to do anything about these problems, or even recognise or talk about them.”
Ehrlich has become the modern day equivalent of Malthus, the 18th-century English clergyman who popularised the idea that the number of people would eventually outstrip food production.
WFT? Have the Cardinals smoked some weed and channeled a flashback to the days of liberation theology and hippie Jesus?
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/24/vatican-calls-crackdown-financial-market
If Vatican cardinals have yet to join the Occupy Wall Street protesters, a document released by the Holy See calling for a “world authority” to crack down on capitalism suggests some are considering it. Written by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and released on Monday, Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority, suggests a beefed-up United Nations could police the financial markets and inject a dose of ethics to replace rampant profiteering and reduce inequality.
The pamphlet claims that in combination with a “central world bank”, such an authority would help restore “the primacy of the spiritual and of ethics”, as well as “the primacy of politics – which is responsible for the common good – over the economy and finance”. Financial transactions would be taxed to promote global development and sustainability, while “virtuous” banks helping out the “real economy” would qualify for state subsidy should they need it.
The council’s secretary, Bishop Mario Toso, said the 1944 Bretton Woods accord had failed, while the G20 was unable to rein in markets.
The document also says the International Monetary Fund is no longer up to the job of stabilising the global financial system.
Toso admitted that these ideas appeared to sympathise with those of “los indignados“, the Spanish protest over mass youth unemployment, but stressed that the document was built on existing Vatican teaching, notably Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 encyclical, titled Charity in Truth, which criticised free market fundamentalism.According to the pamphlet, the Pope had singled out the moral, economic and financial roots of the crisis. “To function correctly the economy needs ethics, and not just of any kind but one that is people-centred.”The pope, it adds, “himself expressed the need to create a world political authority”. The document also picks up on the pope’s denunciation of a new “technocracy”, and raises concerns over automated trading. “Seventy per cent of financial transactions are today performed in milliseconds by algorithms,” said Leonardo Becchetti, an Italian professor of economics, who helped draft the document.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/24/vatican-calls-crackdown-financial-market
From Campaign For America’s Future: http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2011104324/revised-bank-fraud-settlement-its-still-fire-sale-arsonists
By Richard (RJ) Eskow
October 24, 2011
Imagine that a group of arsonists was terrorizing your town. First they’d buy insurance on a stranger’s home, then they’d show up with a blowtorch and a tanker truck filled with gasoline and burn the place down. Imagine that they’ve burned down a thousand homes this way, ruining the lives of the homeowners – and everyone else’s, too, as real estate values plunged and the local economy collapsed.
Now let’s imagine that the Mayor, the DA, and the Chief of Police said they’ve come up with a great “settlement”: The arsonists will pay a small fine, and they’ll never be prosecuted for arson. Plus, if they’re asked very nicely, they’ll also agree to provide a little help to 27 out of the 1,000 families they made homeless – although they’d control the ‘help’ process and the town might wind up footing the bill anyway.
And one more thing: They get to keep the gasoline truck and the blowtorch.
Substitute “country” for “town” and “banker” for “arsonist,” and that pretty much sums up the mortgage fraud settlement that the Administration and some Attorneys General keep trying to impose on the nation. It’s a sweetheart arrangement that asks for pennies on the dollar, would only help a tiny fraction of those harmed, and would allow the wrongdoers to keep the tools of their criminal trade – making future crimes all but irresistible to the feloniously inclined.
Here are four reasons why California Attorney General Kamala Harris and her colleagues must reject this proposal:
1. Crime must be punished
The bankers’ crimes during the mortgage crisis have included perjury, forgery, and investor fraud. These aren’t the baseless accusations of some wild-eyed radicals. They’re well-documented in the “consent orders” that the banks signed with the Treasury Department, most of which resemble the one executed with JPMorgan Chase. It’s the kind of deal that’s all too common these days: The bank “neither confirms nor denies” it did anything wrong.
By Matt Taibbi
October 25, 2011
I was at an event on the Upper East Side last Friday night when I got to talking with a salesman in the media business. The subject turned to Zucotti Park and Occupy Wall Street, and he was chuckling about something he’d heard on the news.
“Okay, I’ll bite,” I said. “Why is that funny?”
“Well, I heard they’re trying to decide what bank to put their money in,” he said, munching on hors d’oeuvres. “It’s just kind of ironic.”
Oh, Christ, I thought. He’s saying the protesters are hypocrites because they’re using banks. I sighed.
“Listen,” I said, “where else are you going to put three hundred thousand dollars? A shopping bag?”
“Well,” he said, “it’s just, they’re protests are all about… You know…”
“Dude,” I said. “These people aren’t protesting money. They’re not protesting banking. They’re protesting corruption on Wall Street.”
“Whatever,” he said, shrugging.
From The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/spain-indignados-protests_b_1029640.html
Saying I’ve just returned from a country in which I witnessed huge protests calling for economic justice doesn’t tell you much about where I was — it only narrows it to about 15 or 20 countries. In fact, I was in Spain during the loosely coordinated worldwide demonstration that took place on October 15th. The date was chosen because it was the five-month anniversary of the Spanish protests, which began in the middle of May. Many of the Occupy Wall Street protesters have said that the Spanish protests served as one of their inspirations, and many of the Spanish protesters I spoke to said they had been re-energized by OWS. (What’s the Spanish word for “synergy?”)
There were protests in over 80 countries on the 15th, with half a million taking to the streets in Madrid to voice their frustration with a political system that has failed the people of Spain — in the same way our own “Los Indignados” (Spanish for “The Outraged”) are voicing their anger and frustration at a system that has failed the “99 percent” here in America.
The Spanish protests have become the granddaddy of the protest movements sweeping most Western democracies, and might just offer a look at the future of what’s to come on this side of the Atlantic. There are three things in particular that strike me as I look back on my week in Spain and try to apply it to the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon unfolding here.
The first is the political paradox inherent in the European protests. In Spain, the dissatisfaction is widely expected to lead to an overwhelming victory for the conservative candidate for prime minister, Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party, over Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba of the Socialist Party, in elections to be held on November 20th. (The current prime minister, Socialist José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, announced in April that he wouldn’t be running for a third term.) By some estimates, the Popular Party may win over 190 of the 350 seats in the Spanish Parliament, while the Socialists might drop below 120.