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Chilling video: Police get aggressive with veterans at Occupy Boston

I’m not anti-cop and I never have been, but there’s quite something disturbing about what happens in this video.

Via Joan Walsh at Salon, who calls this the “worst” moment of Occupy Wall Street so far:

On Monday night, Boston police broke up the Occupy Boston protest, and in the process, they tore down an American flag and knocked down at least one American military veteran.

A group of Veterans for Peace stood in a line in front of the Occupy Boston protesters, and after the police warned the entire group to disperse, a line of cops marched out of the darkness and seemed to move on the veterans first.

John Nilles, a 74-year-old Vietnam veteran, told the Boston Globe he was knocked down during the arrests. “I have absolutely no use for police anymore,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” You can hear protesters on the video screaming over and over, “We are veterans of the United States of America.” It’s chilling.

The video is dark, so it’s hard to see exactly what’s happening, but when the American flag starts to totter, it’s like the Iwo Jima moment in reverse.

What compelling reason was there for this eviction to occur in the first place? These folks weren’t hurting anyone, they were just being good citizens. They’re standing up for themselves.

This is an extraordinary time in American history. The police officers who were involved with this action need to ponder which side they’re on.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Glenn Beck warns of the coming of the ‘violent left’

At the ultra-conservative Values Voter Summit over the weekend, Glenn Beck, eager to demonstrate his old skool soothsayer prowess, claims he foretold of the “violent left” coming two years ago, but only succeeds in looking like a man on the wrong side of history…

UPDATE: Here’s Beck from his show today saying that the Occupy Wall Street protesters will “kill everybody”!

Via Right Wing Watch

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Slavoj Žižek speaks to Occupy Wall Street

Portrait of Slavoj Žižek by Luca Del Baldo (his other work is amazing, too)

Look what you’re missing if you’re not at Occupy Wall Street! This occurred on Sunday.

I’m going to NYC in a little over a week and I cannot wait to see what’s going on in Zuccotti Park with my own eyes. How awesome would it be to see Slavoj Žižek just show up and speak?

Via AlterNet:

The latest in a long parade of intellectuals, celebrities, pop stars and all types of creative people to visit the occupation down at Liberty Plaza was Slovenian philosopher and public intellectual Slavoj Zizek. 

Zizek addressed the crowd through the “People’s Mic,” standing above the crowd and limiting his words to short phrases that were easily repeated by the crowd. “The problem is the system,” he told the protesters.

“Carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day after, when we will have to return to normal life. Will there be any changes then? I don’t want you to remember these days you know, like ‘oh, we were young, it was beautiful.’ Remember that our basic message is ‘We are allowed to think about alternatives.’”

It’s a holiday today, right? If you live in the NY metro area (or you’re near the train lines in NJ or CT), today is probably a great day to go and show your support.

Can you imagine being a Berliner who stayed home when the wall fell? Don’t be a lazy idiot, this is fucking history in the making. Go support Occupy Wall Street today!

And if you are not convinced, then READ THIS and I’ll bet at least a few of you who were on the fence will go after that…

Part II is after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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99%: A soldier takes the fight to Bank Of America at Occupy Austin

Here’s a video I shot yesterday at Occupy Austin. It’s one of the rare moments in which something real broke through the empty rhetoric and hippie dippy slacker vibe that has dominated Austin’s shamefully disorganized and ineffective attempt at solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

I asked my friend and New York activist Marty Weinstein to write a piece to accompany the video. He has a keen sense of what went wrong with America’s deranged banking system and brings some passion and fire to the mix which provides counterbalance to my feelings of dismay with the way things are going in Austin. But I’m not going to allow my frustration to stand in the way of my own personal revolution. Today, my mission is to get Andrea and Arianna’s story out there - one of millions from the 99%. I may be disillusioned on a local level,but I am solidly behind OWS and will continue to do what I can to keep the fight alive in the Capitol of Texas.

If the video you see here doesn’t get you off of your couch and into the street to join the Occupy Wall Street movement, I have doubts about your humanity.

Andrea, Arianna and her sister are just 3 voices of the millions in the 99% of this country who have fallen victim to the bottomless pit of greed in our banking system. This system has bought the government, its regulators, and the mortgage rating services so they could enrich themselves off the backs of the working middle class. As of right now, 30% of the homes in America are either in foreclosure or have lost so much of their original value that their worth is far below the price of the mortgage. This destruction of the housing market is the core of what is driving the nation’s economy back into a recession.

Andrea served in the military, and when her service was done only wanted to start a life with her young daughters. She was fortunate to be assisted by Habitat For Humanity, and she spent her own sweat equity just to afford a decent place to live. She has lived in that house for 15 years. Unfortunately the rigged system that allows mortgages to be re-sold put her in debt to Bank of America, one of the 6 largest financial institutions in the country, with assets totaling $1.4 trillion.

When the banking crisis hit in 2008, Bank of America received $20 billion in bailout money from U.S. taxpayers, and an additional $118 billion in guarantees against bad mortgage loans. Instead of approaching their customers with their despicable tail between their legs, they chose to punish their debtors with increased charges, and in Andrea’s case raised her affordable mortgage payments by a whopping 95%. Andrea would have done better dealing with the Mafia.

This is a story of someone who served her country and is now having her entire family’s life be destroyed by that country. They are the 99%. So are you. - M. Weinstein

Update: Here’s an article about Andrea Simpson-Jones from a 1995 issue of a University of Texas newsletter. The article, “Building The American Dream,” communicates Andrea’s profound hope for a better future at a time when things did start looking up for her. It is a tragedy that 16 years later her dreams may be crushed by a system that no longer encourages dreams but is in the business of manufacturing nightmares.

My interview with Andrea and Arianna begins at the 4:46 point in the video. In the short time that I spent with them, I came to admire them deeply. This is the fuel that keeps my motor running.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Rep. Eric Cantor:  Craven toady of the rich; man on the wrong side of history

Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor puked up the following ruling class talking points about Occupy Wall Street onstage at the 2011 Voter Values Summit in Washington, DC, this morning:

“If you read the newspapers today, I for one am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and the other cities across the country.”

“Believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans.”

He really ought to be concerned, if you ask me…

Some see the 99%, while others see only “mobs.”

It’s almost funny. Almost.

The clip isn’t online anywhere, yet, but even hearing his voice saying this shit in my mind as I read it is painful enough. I’m not sure I want to actually hear it. As TPM points out:

Seeding concern about the relatively undefined protest movement spreading across the county is a growing movement among the right. Tea Party types are turning the past criticisms of their movement on Occupy Wall Street. Meanwhile Republican presidential candidates are casting it as some kind of revolt by the poor.

For their part, Democrats are not sure what to do.

Republicans seem to have found their footing on Occupy Wall Street however, and Cantor exemplified it well today.

The “Clue Train” could smack these guys in a head-on collision and they wouldn’t feel a thing, would they?

Update: Here’s the video, it’s special:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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‘Occupy Austin’ day one: 2000 gather at peaceful protest
09:03 pm

Class War

Occupy Austin

Day one of Occupy Austin has been orderly, enthusiastic, and free of any confrontations with police. An estimated 2000 people were massed in front of City Hall when I left the scene earlier this evening. It was a diverse gathering, ranging from young granola heads to gray-haired retirees, the unemployed, students, cowboys, members of the military and office-workers. The crowd was predominately white and anglo, but the number of Hispanic activists was encouraging. In Texas there can be no political uprising without the support of the Mexican-American community. Fortunately, Austin has one of the most vital, proud and potentially powerful Hispanic populations of any state in the Southwest and I think they’re going to become increasingly engaged in the OWS movement.

Overall, the atmosphere was festive, with pockets of people engaged in political discourse and speculation as to how long the occupation will last and in what form it will manifest.

It is against Austin city ordinances for the protesters to pitch tents or sleep overnight in the area around City Hall, so the occupation is quite limited in contrast to what has been taking place at Zuccotti Park in New York City. Many of the protesters say they may disregard the law and attempt to pitch tents or lay down bedding around City Hall. That would be the first test to see how much Austin authorities and the chief of police are willing to bend. So far the cops seem to be enjoying hanging out with the crowd and soaking in the sun. Hopefully they’ll continue to serve their roles as peace keepers.

I expect the crowds to grow over the weekend and I’ll be there to add my voice to the mix and film the action.

Here’s a short hi-def video I shot of today’s protest. The photos are by Mirgun Akyavas. Watch it full screen.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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‘Drive their stock price to zero’: Max Keiser’s advice to the Occupy Wall Street movement

Iconoclastic financial commentator Max Keiser with a (very) good suggestion for a longer term strategy. This needs to get passed around.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Operation Invade Wall Street: ‘Anonymous’ is that really you?

Apparently, Anonymous have released a video promising they’ll “erase” the New York Stock Exchange from the Internet next week at 3:30 p.m. on October 10th. The proposed mass DDOS attack refers to itself as being part of a “new civil rights movement”:

Citizens of the World,

We are Anonymous.
For too long, the crimes of Wall Street bankers, CEOs, and a corrupt political system have created economic injustices that has gone unchallenged. A new civil rights movement has begun.
Today, the brave citizens of New York are standing up to these atrocities, a voice of reason in an ever-failing society. Over the past few days, thousands of people have chosen to take a stand against these injustices. The 1% has abused the freedom they have been given. We are taking to the streets to show the wealthy elite that we, the 99%, are no longer going to grease the gears of this abhorrent system.

The lifeblood of the country is the working class, without it our people and our economy will crumble. Those who sustain present-day colonialism are the enablers of modern-day fascism. Our government has granted hefty tax exemptions to the rich at the cost of our social services. We as taxpayers have served as the multi-billion dollar credit line to the companies and banks that continue to systematically abuse us.

We are here to say that we do matter. We will not be manipulated, threatened, or toyed with by the wealthy. No longer can you acquire profit and political power to our detriment.
These few people are running the world, and they are running it into the ground.
Political power cannot be traded or bought; it must be earned and agreed upon by the governed. This is our chance to show them that the people will not allow this to continue.

We are forced out of our homes. We are denied medical care. We suffer from poverty and pollution. We work long hours just to stay afloat, while the 1% reap benefits we can only imagine. Our sworn enemy is the corrupted corporation. –We are the 99%.

You have complained that something needs to be done. You now have an opportunity to make a difference.
Join the protests. Organize your own. Watch online. Be a part of the movement.

This is our movement. This is your moment.
Together, make history.

Vox Populi, Vox Anon.
The Voice of The People is the Voice of Anonymous.
The voice of the weak that are unable to speak. The voice of those strong who are enslaved.
We are your voice. We are the 99%.
We do not forgive corruption. We do not forget mistreatment.
Wall Street, Expect us.

The video contains instructions of how to join in on the mass DDOS attack on the NYSE website and URLs where certain software required to participate can be obtained

I think this sounds cool and all, but all things in cyberspace being equal, and with Anonymous being, um, anonymous, how would or could the public ever know that this is really a message from Anonymous. Right? Right (That’s sort of the point, I suppose).

This message was posted on Pastebin soon after the tape was released and went viral:

Citizens of the world

We are Anonymous! Recently something very disturbing has come to our attention. You must take all notices and information claiming to be ‘Anonymous’ with a grain of salt. Consider EVERYTHING.

Operation Invade Wall Street is bullshit! It is a fake planted operation by law enforcement and cyber crime agencies in order to get you to undermine the Occupy Wall Street movement. It proposes you use depreciated tools that have known flaws such as LOIC.

Anonymous would never tell you to use LOIC - Not after the arrests and failures of Operation Payback.

Anonymous wouldn’t attack NYSE on a HOLIDAY - It is debatable if Anonymous would ever even attack NYSE.

Be wary friends!

Keep your wits about you. If you’re a computer whiz, don’t let your “revolutionary” enthusiasm or a hot head get you into deep trouble. Make sure you know WHAT you are doing and WHO you are doing it WITH. As we saw with last week’s “Radiohead are coming!” rumor, there’s going to be quite a bit of disinformation being spread by both sides and for various reasons. The idea that this could be a law enforcement scheme to snare “anti-social” hackers should give pause to anyone considering taking part. To be clear, I’m not saying that I have any inside information, because I don’t. Certainly not trying to be a party pooper, either. However, I do feel that something rings true in the supposed Anonymous disavowal.

But what do I know?

Via BetaBeat

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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They are the 99%, or at least they used to be

You won’t know whether you want to cry or to break some heads…

Via Redditor timothyjwood. The image is his, too

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Will Occupy Wall Street reach the tipping point with union support?

The Occupy Wall Street protests seem set to get much bigger in the coming days. Yesterday, 1199SEIU, the health-care workers’ union with over 200,000 members in New York/Long Island, volunteered to help feed the protesters in Zuccotti Park and to send nurses for first aid needs. The Transport Workers Union Local 100, representing the 38,000 MTA workers have also pledged their support, including marching with the protesters on Wednesday.

With union support comes $$$, some ancillary organizational structure the leaderless movement may come to really need, and perhaps most importantly, more bodies.

My sense of it is that the movement is now past the tipping point and will rapidly start to gain critical mass. One of the main reasons, as we all know, that the mainstream media was so slow to cover the OWS protests is because it was “just a bunch of hippies.” There could have been half a million of them and it would have merited the same response: dismissal. With the union support, the nascent movement is starting to look much more ready for prime time, as the Wall Street Journal reports:

“The premise of the protest, we’re in complete agreement with,” said TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen. “It’s about fair share and it’s about the claim that everybody needs to share a bit of the burden of this terrible economy.”

The transport workers, 1199 and other labor groups plan to join the protesters for a Wednesday march from City Hall to Zuccotti Park, where the protesters have camped since Sept. 17.

Also Monday, lawyers for TWU Local 100 sought a temporary restraining order in federal court to prevent the police from commandeering buses operated by its members to ferry protesters who had been arrested.

Police took over at least three buses Saturday to transport some of the 700 people who were arrested after a march veered onto the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge, according to the union and the MTA.

“Our bus operators are working-class people who are raising children in New York City and by and large they support the protest,” said Mr. Samuelsen, the TWU president. “They’re not going to press our members into service and thrust them onto the wrong side of this protest without a fight from our union.”

Read that last paragraph again and ponder the implications.

The genius of this particular movement, I think, more than any other element was the “we’re not leaving, come and join us if you feel the same way we do” factor. Had the Occupy Wall Street protests been set for a single day and if attendance was underwhelming, that would have been that. When the union members begin to noticeably show up, the composition of the movement is going to change, and the media coverage will inevitably change also, sending a primarily visual message that will show more people of color, the participation of Americans who are past the age of 30, and more sorts of “regular” people in the images they transmit. When the pilots union members showed up in their uniforms, that was such a powerful message I thought. (I mean no disrespect for “hippies” btw. The young people in Zuccotti Park are heroes to me).

From that same article from the Wall Street Journal, we’re introduced to Tom Dematteis, a 39-year-old Watertown, CT-based pizzeria owner, a Navy veteran and a single father of three children, who visited the protest on Monday morning.

“America has been silenced for too long,” he said. “This is becoming a melting pot for all issues. I don’t protest very often, this is big enough.”

Joining Mr. Dematteis on Monday was a Connecticut teacher named Jim who said he wouldn’t give his last name because he was skipping work to be there. He, too, didn’t plan to camp out because he had to be back at school on Tuesday.

But he said he has watched several family members lose their homes to foreclosure and felt a need to show up in person after following the protest movement in the media.

“These are real-life things that happen to people I know,” he said. “We have to do something. I think the whole country is feeling helpless right now. You don’t have to necessarily stay in the park to show your solidarity.”

Now, that’s true, but if you CAN show up, you should show up. If a single dad with three kids and a business to run can drive a couple of hours to be there, if you work in Manhattan, at the very least go to Zucotti Park to eat your lunch! And maybe take some food for the troops if you can afford to.

And to all of the assholes on Facebook whining about how the streets in lower Manhattan are all clogged up with “hippies,”—go fuck yourselves. That is some of the lamest nonsense I’ve ever heard and yes I am talking to YOU, Mr. and Mrs. Old Skool Punk Rockers turned griping, bitter Tribeca loft-dwelling jerk-offs…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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