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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You Want a Job, Right?

From Ted Rall:

By Ted Rall
November 10th, 2011

Herman Cain and the Criminalization of Poverty

Pizza baron Herman Cain leads in the polls. Yet nobody believes he can win the Republican nomination. The fact that the #1 candidate doesn’t stand a chance is an improbable truism emblematic of our broken-down political system.

Partly it’s that he’s black. Republicans are racists.

Partly it’s that the nomination was promised to Mitt Romney. He’s been waiting. It’s Willard’s turn.

It’s not the accusations of sexual harassment. Republicans are sexists. For the GOP touching the hired help (or wannabe hired help) is the droit du CEO.

The reason Cain isn’t allowed to be president is money. Romney is spectacularly wealthy. Cain is merely rich. As of October Romney had used his white-male Wall Street connections to raise $14 million. Cain had a paltry $700,000.

After reports surfaced that Cain had groped Susan Bialek, a woman who asked him for help landing a job, Cain received $250,000 in contributions in a single day. Attempted rape—she says he tried to force her head into his special place—pays.

Unsurprisingly, the Cain campaign went to work smearing the credibility of his accusers. One of his proxies, right-wing radio talker Rush Limbaugh, took to pronouncing Bialek’s surname “buy-a-lick.”

Cain’s main attack, however, is focusing on the women’s finances. “Who Is Sharon Bialek?” asked a Cain campaign email to reporters.

It was a perfect illustration of what’s wrong with the media.

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Police arrest EDL members to ‘avert planned attack’ in London

From The Guardian UK:

Three bailed and 176 released without charge after reports of threats to attack Occupy protesters outside St Paul’s

, crime correspondent, Friday 11 November 2011

Police arrested 179 members of the English Defence League after reports of repeated threats to attack Occupy protesters camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral on Armistice Day.

Scotland Yard said they believed a breach of the peace was about to take place after they got intelligence that the EDL were planning the Armistice Day attack. The law states officers can arrest if they believe the breach of the peace to be “imminent.”

A member of the tented community outside the cathedral expressed gratitude to the police for preventing any violence.

“It is fantastic if they are using their resources to try and stop people getting on to this site,” said Bryn Phillips, a member of the Occupy LSX community. “If this has prevented violence then I am pleased.”

The English Defence League had issued statements and made threats on Facebook to burn down protesters tents if they were still outside St Paul’s on Remembrance Sunday, according to Phillips.

Some members of the EDL had also attempted to enter the encampment, most recently on Thursday night.

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Hartmann: There are no Free Market Fairies…

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Occupy St. Louis protesters vow to stay through the night

From St Louis Today:

Posted: Saturday, November 12, 2011

Updated at 12:30 a.m. Saturday: Police moved in about 12:15 a.m. Saturday and warned protesters who stayed at Kiener Plaza that they would be arrested.

The crowd of Occupy St. Louis protesters had shrunk to about 100. Of them, about 25 indicated they were willing to be taken into custody.

“None of us are choosing to be arrested,” said Brian Staack, one of the protesters preparing to be arrested. “We are choosing to maintain our occupation and our right to peaceably assemble.”


ST. LOUIS • A swelling crowd of Occupy St. Louis protesters in Kiener Plaza late Friday prepared for a forced removal by police, the expected culmination of city officials’ vow to enforce the park’s overnight curfew.

As a handful of protesters girded for a confrontation, others lined the perimeter of the downtown plaza, chanting, singing and strumming guitars as several St. Louis police bicycle officers watched.

At about midnight, the protesters were told that a federal judge had turned down a bid for a restraining order to let them stay at the plaza.

After the 10 p.m. city parks curfew had passed, police warned demonstrators that they might not be given any advance warning when officers closed in, and as many as 30 protesters prepared to be arrested. Others packed up tents.

“We are occupying a public space!” many in the crowd of about 200 protesters chanted. “Hell no, we won’t go!”

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Mario Savio on the operation of the machine

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Anonymous Message to the Police

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Students at London demonstration speak

From World Socialist Web Site:

”Our future shouldn’t be determined by a few rich people”

By our reporters
11 November 2011

A reporting team from the World Socialist Web Site spoke to some of those participating in Wednesday’s student protest in London.

Morgana attended with her friend Lianne. Both are second year students at the University of the Arts. “We have come here because we have both got siblings and family who work in the public sector and we care,” Morgana said. “‘Unfair’ doesn’t describe how seriously the cuts are going to affect everyone. I was reading in the paper this morning about a couple driven to suicide because their benefits were cut so drastically. He was a war veteran and it’s just horrific this could happen.

“For us personally we don’t have to pay these new fees, but we both have younger siblings. We are standing right outside RADA [the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art] and my sister is a really great actress. The fact that she might be denied an opportunity to grow and contribute is what we are most angry about.”

Asked about the police presence on the march, she said, “It’s bullying. They don’t want this. They don’t want us to voice our opinion because there are so many people here. Last autumn a ridiculous number of people showed up and they were ignored and they are not going away. They would love to brush us under the carpet but that is not going to happen.

Helen, who lives in London, said, “I’ve just graduated so I’m feeling it quite keenly. I am also here just for solidarity. I know it’s also broader than just being against student fees, as there are also the austerity cuts.”

Helen said she had followed the news during the week about the Metropolitan Police’s extraordinary plans to crack down on the protest. She said, “I think it has added to the culture of fear. I think it could be a deterrent for others. Kettling is always a deterrent and I don’t want to get kettled. I have also heard these are not just containment strategies, but are also strategies to incite violent action during kettling so as to give the police a reason to shut it down. That is incredibly manipulative. They are very deliberate strategies that are being used, moving to criminalise young people and particularly protesters.”

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Child Rape Cover-Up at Penn State Marks “Greatest Fall From Grace in History of U.S. Sports”

From Democracy Now:

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Protesters Win Pipeline Delay

From Yes Magazine:

How thousands of determined protesters dragged a little-known pipeline into the national spotlight—and convinced the Obama administration to delay its approval.
posted Nov 10, 2011

The Keystone XL pipeline started out as a fairly obscure infrastructure project that most observers expected to win quick and easy approval.

But through months of determined protest, opponents of the pipeline (which would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands to refineries in the Gulf Coast) stirred up a national debate about the wisdom of building it. And today, they’re celebrating a victory: The State Department (which must approve the pipeline since it crosses an international border) announced that it will delay approval of the project by at least a year until it can study alternative routes.

The pipeline isn’t dead, but the delay is very bad news for the developer, TransCanada—whose CEO was quoted warning that any delays might kill the project—and very good news for the thousands who have worked to keep the project from being rubber-stamped.

To get the issue on the public’s radar, more than 1,200 people volunteered to be arrested  outside the White House in August; just last week, thousands of protesters encircled the building completely. Opponents also sent some 300,000 comments to the State Department and filled public hearings for months.

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