Occupy movement plans spring offensive as momentum stalls

From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/11/occupy-movement-winter-what-next

After eight weeks of dramatic growth, organisers consider how to sustain the protest movement through winter

in New York
guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 November 2011

Anyone who has walked through Zuccotti Park in recent days will be left in little doubt about the intention of Occupy Wall Street protesters to push on through the winter. Huge military-style canvas tents designed to withstand plunging temperatures have sprung up among dozens of smaller, two and three-person pods. One, marked with a red cross, offers flu shots, while another offers a safe space for women.

But as the diehards in New York and other encampments across the US prepare to dig in, organisers are facing their next big challenge: what next?

In a tacit admission that the protests will be difficult to sustain over the winter, organisers are now focusing their efforts on planning a “spring offensive” with fresh targets, they told the Guardian in a series of interviews this week.

Details of the campaign will be unveiled later this month, according to the activists who say they will spend the winter consolidating their position, broadening their support base and refining communication between Occupy grounds nationwide, using online tools being developed by their IT team.

Keeping the protests alive at all through the cold months is becoming a challenge for a movement flushed with the dramatic success of its first eight weeks.

The Guardian has learned that Adbusters, the Canadian activist group which helped spark the movement, is even considering calling on occupiers to declare “victory” for phase one and go home for the winter – clear recognition that numbers are likely to dwindle anyway and make it increasingly difficult for the protests to maintain momentum and generate headlines.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/11/occupy-movement-winter-what-next

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Why Michelle Bachmann is a Total F**king Evil Idiot #7337

Bachmann: We Should Be Less Socialist… Like China

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Protesters arrested as police clear Occupy encampments

From CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/13/us/occupy-movement/

By Ashley Hayes, CNN
updated 4:57 PM EST, Sun November 13, 2011

(CNN) — Numerous arrests took place in several Western cities as police moved in to clear Occupy encampments over the weekend, authorities said.

In Portland, Oregon, unrest continued into Sunday morning as protesters defied a midnight Saturday deadline for the Occupy encampments to close.

Tensions abated later Sunday as police attempted to peacefully close city parks, but flared at one park when protesters refused to leave. Police said on Twitter those refusing to leave Chapman Square were being arrested.

Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson estimated Sunday afternoon that more than a dozen people were arrested. Chapman Square was the last city park where protesters were gathered, as the others had been vacated as of Sunday afternoon, he said.

Video posted on the website of CNN affiliate KGW showed officers in riot gear holding batons facing off with protesters. Simpson said the officers were in the gear as a precaution, and were joined by other assisting agencies. “We needed the manpower because we used up a lot of resources yesterday (Saturday),” he said.

The operation was “pretty methodical,” although a few demonstrators had scuffled with officers, he said.

Video showed authorities dismantling tents at the camp.

Once the parks are cleared, temporary fencing will be erected so repairs can be made, Simpson said. The parks are “pretty beat up,” he added.

Continue reading at:  http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/13/us/occupy-movement/

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The New Progressive Movement

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/opinion/sunday/the-new-progressive-movement.html?_r=1

By JEFFREY D. SACHS
Published: November 12, 2011

OCCUPY WALL STREET and its allied movements around the country are more than a walk in the park. They are most likely the start of a new era in America. Historians have noted that American politics moves in long swings. We are at the end of the 30-year Reagan era, a period that has culminated in soaring income for the top 1 percent and crushing unemployment or income stagnation for much of the rest. The overarching challenge of the coming years is to restore prosperity and power for the 99 percent.

Thirty years ago, a newly elected Ronald Reagan made a fateful judgment: “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” Taxes for the rich were slashed, as were outlays on public services and investments as a share of national income. Only the military and a few big transfer programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ benefits were exempted from the squeeze.

Reagan’s was a fateful misdiagnosis. He completely overlooked the real issue — the rise of global competition in the information age — and fought a bogeyman, the government. Decades on, America pays the price of that misdiagnosis, with a nation singularly unprepared to face the global economic, energy and environmental challenges of our time.

Washington still channels Reaganomics. The federal budget for nonsecurity discretionary outlays — categories like highways and rail, education, job training, research and development, the judiciary, NASA, environmental protection, energy, the I.R.S. and more — was cut from more than 5 percent of gross domestic product at the end of the 1970s to around half of that today. With the budget caps enacted in the August agreement, domestic discretionary spending would decline to less than 2 percent of G.D.P. by the end of the decade, according to the White House. Government would die by fiscal asphyxiation.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/opinion/sunday/the-new-progressive-movement.html?_r=1

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Unemployment Not Just a Problem for Returning Veterans

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/13-1

by Paul F. deLespinasse
Published on Sunday, November 13, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

It is hard to disagree with President Obama when he tells us it is wrong for returning veterans to be unable to find work. Even Senate Republicans went along with his proposal to give tax credits to companies that hire unemployed veterans.

Still, this kind of rhetoric and legislation should make us all very uneasy. Although it sounds good in Veteran’s Day oratory, it smacks too much of telling us that the wrong people are unemployed.

Government should not be in the business of deciding who should be employed and who should not be employed. Nor should anybody else be in that business. In a full-employment economy, veterans, like everyone else, would be able to find jobs.

We often hear laments that older people, young people, and members of racial minorities suffer from higher unemployment than do middle-aged non-minority people, which again takes the existence of unemployment as a given and suggests it should be distributed more equitably.

There is nothing in the structure of the physical or social universes that requires the existence of unemployment. During World War II the United States not only had no unemployment but it actually had a labor shortage. And the amazing results? Women (“Rosie the riveter”) and black people suddenly found themselves hired to do work that had previously been denied them. (The shortage of workers, aggravated because employers were not allowed to raise wages to attracted needed labor, led employers to offer fringe benefits like medical insurance, which the government did not count as wage increases.)

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/13-1

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If We Don’t Solve the Jobs Crisis We May End Up With Our Streets in Flames and Society Dysfunctional

From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/economy/153000/if_we_don%27t_solve_the_jobs_crisis_we_may_end_up_with_our_streets_in_flames_and_society_dysfunctional/

Unless our policy makers can make job creation the top priority, the mass riots and burning streets of Europe may be coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

By Marshall Auerback
November 10, 2011

Employers added fewer jobs than was forecast in October, which has lots of folks scratching their heads over what to do about it.

In response to the latest unemployment figures, our nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, has again begun talking about additional stimulus measures, such as the purchases of mortgage backed securities (MBS) or a bond-buying program known as “QE3”. But neither of these measures worked before, so why should we expect more success this time?

The Fed’s policies are akin to putting a Band-Aid on a massive bleeding wound. Right now, the US economy is crushed by massive private indebtedness and sluggish job growth. What we really need are policies designed to promote job growth, so that people can service their debts and become open to spending again. Admittedly, the Fed isn’t the only problem. Our whole constellation of policy makers – the Fed, Congress, the Treasury and the White House – keep obsessing about the faux “costs” of the growing budget deficit, rather than the real costs of long term unemployment. And if they don’t give up this flawed economic thinking, then the burning streets and mass riots happening in Europe may soon be coming to a neighborhood near you.

The Fed’s Misguided Focus

Let’s start with the Fed. Ben Bernanke is a noted Great Depression scholar who ought to know a thing or two about unemployment crises. But when he looks at Japan’s long-term unemployment problem, for example, he unfortunately learns the wrong lessons. In 1999, Bernanke dubbed Japan’s struggling economy “a case of self-induced paralysis” that could only be solved through cutting government spending and deficit reduction. In reality, too much government spending hasn’t been Japan’s problem, but rather stop-start spending that seesawed the economy between hopeful improvement and harmful austerity measures that took money out of the hands of consumers. The great mistake in Japan has been the failure to jump-start its weak economy by putting people back to work.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/153000/if_we_don%27t_solve_the_jobs_crisis_we_may_end_up_with_our_streets_in_flames_and_society_dysfunctional/

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Women bloggers call for a stop to ‘hateful’ trolling by misogynist men

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/05/women-bloggers-hateful-trolling

Anonymous trolls regularly threaten female writers with rape

and The Observer, Saturday 5 November 2011

Crude insults, aggressive threats and unstinting ridicule: it’s business as usual in the world of website news commentary – at least for the women who regularly contribute to the national debate.

The frequency of the violent online invective – or “trolling” – levelled at female commentators and columnists is now causing some of the best known names in journalism to hesitate before publishing their opinions. As a result, women writers across the political spectrum are joining to call for a stop to the largely anonymous name-calling.

The columnist Laurie Penny, who writes for the Guardian, New Statesman and Independent, has decided to reveal the amount of abuse she receives in an effort to persuade online discussion forums to police threatening comments more effectively.

“I believe the time for silence is over,” Penny wrote on Friday, detailing a series of anonymous attacks on her appearance, her past and her family. The writer sees this new epidemic of misogynist abuse as tapping an old vein in British public life. Irrelevant personal attacks on women writers and thinkers go back at least to the late 18th century, she says. “The implication that a woman must be sexually appealing to be taken seriously as a thinker did not start with the internet: it’s a charge that has been used to shame and dismiss women’s ideas since long before Mary Wollstonecraft was called “a hyena in petticoats”. The net, however, makes it easier for boys in lonely bedrooms to become bullies.”

The cause has been taken up by New Statesman writer Helen Lewis-Hasteley, who invited other women to share their experience. “I wanted to have several writers addressing the issue at the same time because these threats are frightening but they are also embarrassing,” she told the Observer. “I know many people will say that every commentator on the internet gets abuse, but what really came through to me when I was looking at this was the modus operandi of the attackers, which was to use the rape threat.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/05/women-bloggers-hateful-trolling

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