City of Sacramento criminalizes peaceful Occupy protest

From World Socialist Web Site:

By Kevin Kearney
12 November 2011

Sacramento—the state capital of California and the home of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown—has spearheaded efforts to criminalize the Occupy protests over the last month.

Just days after 700 anti-Wall Street protesters were trapped on the Brooklyn Bridge by the New York Police Department and arrested, officials in Sacramento, California quickly followed suit, initiating the first arrests of Occupy protesters on the West Coast.

On October 6, 20 occupy protesters—ranging in age from 19 to 70 years old—were arrested in the city’s Cesar Chavez Park. Protesters peacefully congregated in the park, holding signs, making public speeches, chanting and distributing political leaflets.

As early as 11:30 p.m., police sought to silence the protest by ordering everyone to leave the park. By midnight, a large contingent of armed officers led by a SWAT team carried out an operation which many of them referred to as “the game plan,” consisting of a number of intimidating verbal orders to end the protest and leave the area immediately.

When protesters lingered or deliberately asserted their right to gather and speak about political issues in public, they were quickly rounded up by four arrest teams. Offering no physical resistance, the protesters were hauled to jail for processing. Although police could have merely issued a citation or “booked and released” the protesters because they had been arrested without a warrant, most were forced to spend an entire night in jail.

Those arrested on October 6 were the first Occupy protesters to be prosecuted in California. They were all initially charged with the violation of California Penal Code section 409: refusal to disperse from a riot, rout or unlawful assembly. The charge is considered a misdemeanor in California, but it carries a substantial punishment. If convicted, an Occupy protester can receive a punishment of up to 6 months in the county jail, thousands of dollars in fines and fees, and/or a grant of three years probation.

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The Story of Broke (2011)

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Dominique Strauss-Kahn linked to French prostitution scandal

I believe the women who accuse these pricks.

From The Guardian UK:

Former IMF chief implicated in investigation into alleged pimping at luxury hotels in northern France

in Paris, Friday 11 November 2011

He is keeping a low profile in Paris, has grown a white beard, and polls show he is the least popular politician in France.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, forced to quit as head of the IMF and shelve aspirations to become the next French president, had hoped to find solace in France after criminal charges were dropped against him in New York over the alleged attempted rape of a hotel cleaner. But he is dominating the front pages again after his name was linked to a high-profile investigation into an alleged prostitution ring at a luxury hotel in Lille.

The Hotel Carlton affair centres on allegations of pimping at top hotels in the northern French city, where women from France and massage parlours in Belgium were allegedly supplied for hotel customers and local officials. Eight people are under formal investigation, including a senior police officer, a local barrister and businessmen. Five have been imprisoned as the inquiry continues.

The investigation raises questions about the links between police and business figures and the underworld of sex work in France and Belgium. Prostitution involving people over the age of 18 is not illegal in France but pimping and living off the benefits of it is.

The affair took a new turn after Strauss-Kahn’s name came up in statements made to investigators, according to a series of leaked

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Legends of the Fail

From The New York Times:

Published: November 10, 2011

This is the way the euro ends — not with a bang but with bunga bunga. Not long ago, European leaders were insisting that Greece could and should stay on the euro while paying its debts in full. Now, with Italy falling off a cliff, it’s hard to see how the euro can survive at all.

But what’s the meaning of the eurodebacle? As always happens when disaster strikes, there’s a rush by ideologues to claim that the disaster vindicates their views. So it’s time to start debunking.

First things first: The attempt to create a common European currency was one of those ideas that cut across the usual ideological lines. It was cheered on by American right-wingers, who saw it as the next best thing to a revived gold standard, and by Britain’s left, which saw it as a big step toward a social-democratic Europe. But it was opposed by British conservatives, who also saw it as a step toward a social-democratic Europe. And it was questioned by American liberals, who worried — rightly, I’d say (but then I would, wouldn’t I?) — about what would happen if countries couldn’t use monetary and fiscal policy to fight recessions.

So now that the euro project is on the rocks, what lessons should we draw?

I’ve been hearing two claims, both false: that Europe’s woes reflect the failure of welfare states in general, and that Europe’s crisis makes the case for immediate fiscal austerity in the United States.

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Who’s Behind the Mayhem at the Occupy Oakland Protests?

From Alternet:

Oakland officials are gearing up for another crackdown on the Occupy Oakland camp, justified in part by recent acts of vandalism by people who may not even be part of the movement.

By Joshua Holland
November 11, 2011

During an Occupy Oakland camp meeting on November 3 – the morning after a boisterous but peaceful day of protests in Oakland devolved into a barrage of teargas and “less lethal” bullets after nightfall — about a dozen “occupiers” expressed their frustration with the vandalism that had marred the evening; acts of mayhem committed by a small number of people among the thousands who took part in the protests.

“Who are these people?” asked one protester who would only identify himself as Dave. “They’re not staying here with us, they’re not participating in the GAs [general assemblies] and as far as I’m concerned, they’re not a part of this movement.”

Another protester spoke of how the broken windows and spray-painted graffitti had overshadowed the “beautiful thing” they’d accomplished during the day. “We shut down the fucking Port of Oakland,” she said, “and all the news is talking about today is this bullshit that went down last night.”

Another activist spoke of the sense of vulnerability she felt, as police have come to rely on a handy group of “black bloc anarchists” to justify their violent responses.

Indeed, on November 10, I spoke with an Oakland police officer about the department’s crowd control strategy that night. “My feeling is that if you want to protest or whatever, that’s fine by me. But when things get out of control, then public safety has to step in.” He said the police had learned that “things were getting ugly” that night, with “this small group of troublemakers breaking windows and spray-painting buildings.”

I asked him to clarify at what point the decision had been made to intervene with a large number of riot police, and he responded, “I can’t tell you all the details.”

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Anonymous : Truth About Cannabis

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Penn State and Berkeley: A Tale of Two Protests

From The Nation:

Dave Zirin
November 10, 2011

On Wednesday night, two proud universities saw student demonstrations that spiraled into violence. On the campus of Penn State University in State College Pennsylvania, several hundred students rioted in anger after the firing of legendary 84-year-old head football coach Joe Paterno. At the University of California at Berkeley, 1,000 students, part of the Occupy USA movement, attempted to maintain their protest encampment in the face of police orders to clear them out.

At Penn State, students overturned a media truck, hit an ESPN reporter in the head with a rock and made every effort at arson, attempting to set aflame the very heart of their campus. They raised their fists in defense of a man fired for allegedly covering up the actions of a revered assistant who doubled as a serial child rapist. The almost entirely male student mob was given the space by police to seethe and destroy without restraint.

At Berkeley, the police had a much different response. Defenseless students were struck repeatedly with batons, as efforts were made to disperse their occupation by Sproul Hall, the site of the famed Mario Savio–led free speech battles of the 1960s.

Two coasts and two riots: a frat riot and a cop riot. Each riot, an indelible mark of shame on their respective institutions.

The difference is that at Berkeley, the Occupiers—a diverse assemblage of students, linking arms—pushed back and displayed true courage in the face of state violence. They would not be moved. These students are a credit to their school and represent the absolute best of a young generation who are refusing to accept the world as it is.

At Penn State, we saw the worst of this generation: the flotsam and the fools; the dregs and the Droogs; young men of entitlement who rage for the machine.

No matter how many police officers raised their sticks, the students of Berkeley stood their ground, empowered by a deeper set of commitments to economic and social justice.

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