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    Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5-15-12

    Good Morning from Occupy Boston!

    Attention Digest Fans! The amount of time it takes to put the Digest together is too much for one person to keep doing it 7 days a week. So, starting May 16, the Daily Digest will be published on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If you are requesting that an event be listed in the Daily Digest, please give 2-3 days advance notice, or realize that your item may not be appearing until 2-3 days after you send it to me. Thank you.

    Stories of the Day: University of California police arrested nine people Monday morning in a raid designed to end the occupation of the Gill Tract (Occupy the Farm) and allow the university to begin research preparations this week, officials said. One young man, who appears to be in his late teens or early 20s, remained on the property as of 9:44 a.m. about 15 feet up in a tree, said University of California spokesman Dan Mogulof. Authorities were in communication with him, and he didn’t appear to have any gear or supplies. Urban farming activists took over the university-owned field three weeks ago to plant crops and advocate for a publicly-accessible community farm on the land. The Gill Tract has historically been used for scientific research, but has long been eyed by urban farming advocates as a prime location for a community farm. For the story, see Nine Arrested After Early-Morning Raid. And Indonesia became the first country to suspend imports of U.S. beef following the discovery of an American dairy cow infected with mad cow disease. ”We will lift the ban as soon as the U.S. can assure us its dairy cows are free of mad cow disease,” said Indonesia’s Vice Agriculture Minister Rusman Heriawan. For more, see Indonesia Halts U.S. Beef Imports Over Mad Cow Concern. And Several Minnesota moms who facilitate access to local farm food are planning to act despite the risk of criminal charges laid out in warnings from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA). The MDA has threatened several of them, and has already conducted investigations against them. The letters warn that if they continue helping provide fresh food to their friends and neighbors, the MDA will press criminal charges and prosecute. The MDA holds that the mothers are violating food-handling regulations. Here, Melinda Olsen discusses the ordeal in detail – she only helps the farmer for free by storing goods in her garage for others. No commerce. Yet, she is ominously threatened by MDA for food crimes. For more, see Fresh Food Moms Threatened with Criminal Charges Scheduled to Disobey. And genetic engineering is a threat to food security, especially in a changing climate. The introduction of genetically manipulated organisms by choice or by accident grossly undermines sustainable agriculture and in so doing, severely limits the choice of food we can eat. Once GE/GMO plants are released into the environment, they are out of control. If anything goes wrong – they are impossible to recall. GE contamination threatens biodiversity respected as the global heritage of humankind, and one of our world’s fundamental keys to survival. For a short informative video from Greenpeace on the risks of GE/GMO foods, click here. In other news, the FBI is quietly pushing its plan to force surveillance backdoors on social networks, VoIP, and Web e-mail providers, and that the bureau is asking Internet companies not to oppose a law making those backdoors mandatory. For more, see Backdoors for Government Surveillance. And here’s an ugly story: Gun range targets meant to resemble dead Florida teen Trayvon Martin are offensive enough. But what’s more disturbing is that the Florida entrepreneur’s distributor reportedly sold out his entire stock in two days. The seller says he ‘wanted to make money’ off of Martin’s controversial shooting by George Zimmerman. For more, see Man Sells Out of Trayvon Martin Targets. After that, here’s a bit of inspiration: my friend Venus Cumara performing her  powerful poem Occupy Your Heart, Reclaim Love for Occupy London. For the video, click here.

    Other Occupies/Protests: From Occupy Wall Street: Anti ACTA, SOPA, PIPA, CCI, CISPA, MPAA, RIAA, MPA, ARAA, internet ID, censorship protest June 9, 2012. Occupy Wall Street, Liberty Plaza, New York, NY 10006. NATIONWIDE, CALLING ALL OCCUPIERS!!!! Knowledge should be free. This is a serious threat to education of people lower on the caste system. It will damage opportunity for all greatly. It also promotes monopoly and greed within governance as well as control of the people. This protest is to take place on the same date as a similar protest taking place in Paris France. MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD. SUPPORT FAIR USE AND EDUCATION! Facebook event page:  http://www.facebook.com/events/287232521354857.

    Compassion leads to courage. ” Lao Tzu

    Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5-14-12

    Good Morning from Occupy Boston!

    Stories of the Day: Protesters in Moscow have adopted new tactics, “dilemma protests” and flash mobs, to avoid the mass arrests. In a primer on nonviolent protest, “Sharp’s Dictionary of Power and Struggle,” Gene Sharp, an American intellectual, described a “dilemma protest” as a performance of an action so inchoate and unorthodox that police are trapped. If they let it happen, they are encouraging it, but if they arrest people they risk looking either silly or arbitrary and unjust, which is the point. The tactic has found wide appeal in Belarus, where activists gather to clap, eat ice cream cones, set their cellphone alarms to ring in chorus or simply stand silently. For more, see Protesters in Moscow Alter Approach to Avoid Arrests. And  more than 200,000 long-term jobless Americans will lose their unemployment checks this week, when eight states roll off the federal extended benefits program. ”The hundreds of thousands of long-term unemployed who are being abruptly pushed off the extended benefits program are just the latest wave of jobless workers forced to survive without basic financial protections,” said George Wentworth, senior staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group. For the story, see Jobless Americans to Lose Unemployment Benefits. And when people talk about “austerity,” they only ever talk about the pain the general population should voluntarily accept, in the form of reduced services and curtailed “stimulus.” No one ever says the financial services sector should have to cut back on its access to easy money, and there hasn’t been much in the way of serious plans to restore some sanity and prudence to the lending and investing business. Read more: Austerity Can’t Be Just for Regular People. And cruelty comes in many forms, whether it’s exacted at the hand of a high school bully or in a nation’s capitol. This weekend, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is still on defense over the cruelty he exhibited as a student. Social Darwinism is executed on the back of severe austerity measures like those seen across Europe and those sought by Romney and his party. It is the ultimate bullying tactic. It is using the brute strength of elected power (usually paid for by wealthy campaign contributors) to grab weakened middle class and impoverished families by the shoulders and slam them against the wall just to see what change might shake out of their pockets. For more, see Austerity, Bullies, and Broken Spirits. And on a lighter note: the Class War comes to Sesame Street: The Muppets have been accused by Fox News of being communists, to which they responded at a press conference. Now, watch as they sing N.W.A.’s classic, “F- tha Police.” For the video, see Muppets with Attitude.

    Other Occupies/Protests: From Occupy Wall Street: September 17, 2012, The People’s Picket on Wall Street, 7am-10am. We will form a massive moving picket line on our one-year anniversary, and continue the conversation we started One year prior with boots on the ground. People from all over the world get ready to shut it down. And: masses of chanting “indignant” activists poured into the streets across Spain on Saturday in a vast show of strength one year on from igniting a global protest against economic injustice. Tens of thousands packed Madrid’s central Puerta del Sol square, the emblematic birthplace of their popular movement against inequality, sky-high unemployment and spending cuts that shook the political establishment. Many had marched to the square for hours in separate columns of protesters from all directions and defied an official warning that they must disperse after 10pm. For more, see One Year On, Spain’s “Indignants” Take to the Streets. And the Guardian UK published this “GlobalMay Manifesto of the Occupy Movement,” (although they didn’t mention if it was endorsed by any Occupy), saying “the global Occupy movement wants a better world. Such a world is possible, and here’s how … ”

    “Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.” Ellen Goodman

    Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5-13-12

    Good Morning from Occupy Boston!

    Stories of the Day: Two Fullerton, Calif., police officers will be tried in the death of a mentally ill homeless man, who had not even broken any laws, and whose apparent beating by six police officers was captured on a security camera video, a judge ruled May 9. The victim suffered from schizophrenia and was not fluent in English. The apparent beating lasted nine minutes and 40 seconds and ended with Thomas’ limp body in handcuffs. The officers had responded to the Fullerton Transportation Center after receiving a call that a homeless man was seen looking into car windows and pulling on door handles. For more, see Cops to Be Tried in Alleged Fatal Beating of Homeless Man Caught on Video. And thanks to police officer Enoch Clark, Beaumont, California resident Monique Hernandez will never see her ten-year-old daughter again. On February 21, Clark conducted a traffic stop involving Hernandez, who was suspected of drunk driving. When Clark attempted to handcuff her, Hernandez resisted. The officer responded by using a JPX device at point-blank range — a weapon that uses a gunpowder charge to fire a stream of pepper spray at roughly 400 miles an hour. The payload of weaponized OC spray is propelled over the prescribed distance at less than three one-hundredths of a second, making it “too fast to avoid…. The effect is immediate; there is no chance to resist.” For the story, see Beaumont, California Woman Blinded for “Contempt of Cop.” And if you’re going to the NATO protests, please be careful. Police in Chicago have spent $1 million on riot-control equipment in the last few months ahead of next month’s Nato summit, which is expected to attract thousands of anti-war protesters.  Officers are also preparing to use the controversial long-range acoustic device, or LRAD, a sonic weapon which can cause permanent hearing loss, during the operation. For more, see Chicago police bulk up with $1m in riot gear for peaceful NATO summit protests. Let’s take a look at some of the new weapons of the police state: The American military have presented the world with a new weapon, informally named the heat ray or microwave cannon. The “Active Denial System” is a non-lethal weapon primarily designed for crowd control. The Active Denial System (ADS) beams a high-frequency, man-sized electromagnetic wave 1,000 meters. ADS fires a high-powered beam of high-frequency millimeter waves at 95 GHz (a wavelength of 3.2 mm). Similar to the same way that a microwave oven heats food at 2.45GHz, the millimeter waves excite the water and fat molecules in the body, instantly heating them via dielectric heating and causing intense pain. While microwaves will penetrate into human tissue about 17mm (0.67″), the millimeter waves used in ADS only penetrate the top layers of skin, with most of the energy being absorbed within 0.4 mm (1/64″). For more, see Microwave Goodbye Weapon: Heat-Ray Crowd Dispersal Cannon Unveiled. And according to British paper The Telegraph, police are currently testing a shoulder-mounted laser cannon that can project a virtual wall of blinding light from nearly 500 meters away.  Originally developed to help cargo ships repel pirate attacks, the device temporarily blinds incoming attackers with a band of light that’s 10 meters wide. While the United Nations has banned laser weapons that cause permanent blindness, lasers that only cause temporary vision impairment, or blindness by accident, are still acceptable. Police would not be deploying the weapon on the British public unless it could be confirmed that it does not cause permanent blindness, the paper said. Police were also testing a long-range electronic device, similar to a Taser, that can incapacitate targets from a distance. Another less-lethal weapon category, “long-range chemical irritant projectiles,” was also being examined, The Telegraph noted. For more, see Shoulder-Mounted Lasers, Long-Range Tasers Among New U.K. Riot Gear. And here’s a weapon that can literally silence protesters: a silence gun.  A strange and unsettling new gun being developed by Japanese researchers shoots sound waves in an effort to disrupt and silence anyone who dares speak out of turn. The gun operates based on the concept of delayed auditory feedback. An attached microphone picks up the sound being made by the target and plays it back 0.2 seconds later. The effect is incredibly confusing to the human brain, making it all but impossible to talk or hold a conversation. The device doesn’t cause the person it’s being used on any physical harm — it simply messes with their head. For more, see Silence Gun: Strange Weapon of the Future Immediately Quiets You, Whether You Like it or Not. And for some dark comedy: you may have heard people in Occupy Boston singing “I Really Like the Cops.” This song was written by the activist Brad Will, who was killed by police in Mexico during a protest. Click here for a video of him singing the song.

    Other Occupies/Protests: Information on Occupy the G8 May 18-19: October2011/OccupyWashingtonDC.org has organized an Occupy G8 People’s Summit that will examine how to build a sustainable, democratized economy from the bottom up; the impact of the wealth divide on people’s well-being and on policy creation; and alternative economic structures that create a more democratic, sustainable economy. The event, which will be held in the Frederick Public Library from 10 to 2 on Friday, May 18th will feature the voices of the 99% along with experts on the Robin Hood Tax, food, water and energy issues, trade agreements, the wealth divide and a democratized economy. You can see the full schedule and details on the website of our partner organization, Its Our Economy. Occupy Frederick is organizing events in Frederick, Maryland, fifteen minutes from Camp David. After the Summit people will march through downtown Frederick and will hold a “Counter-G8 Community Bloc Party” on Saturday, May 19th from 11 AM to 9 PM in Baker Park (band shell side) near 2nd and N. Bentz. The event is inclusive of all ages for radicals and residents alike and will include live music, workshops, speakers, face painting and a truly free market. You can see the details hereOccupy Baltimore is organizing legal, non-violent protests on the public sidewalks in Thurmont, MD, on Friday and Saturday (May 18th and 19th) from 8 AM until sundown on both days. People are urged to bring signs, banners, folding chairs, food and drink. Overnight camping is available nearby. Thurmont is located just a few minutes from Camp David off of Route 15. You can get details here. For more information, see Occupy the G8.
    “A society whose citizens refuse to see and investigate the facts, who refuse to believe that their government and their media will routinely lie to them and fabricate a reality contrary to verifiable facts, is a society that chooses and deserves the Police State dictatorship it’s going to get.” Ian Williams Goddard

    Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5-12-12

    Good Morning from Occupy Boston!

    Stories of the Day: The NYPD is sexually assaulting peaceful protesters. OWS protester Cecily McMillan was not only groped but suffered a broken rib and seizures during her arrest on March 17, and held incommunicado, denied constant requests to see her lawyer, for over 24 hours thereafter. Shortly after release from the hospital she appeared on Democracy Now! and showed part of a handprint, replete with scratch-marks, that police had left directly over her right breast. (She is currently pursuing civil charges against the police department). For more, see New Police Strategy in New York: Sexual Assault Against Peaceful Protesters. And this May Day brought the explosive global resurgence of Occupy, one of the most significant social movement in decades. In New York City, the heart of global capitalism and center of the movement, the New York Civil Liberties Union estimated that 30,000 demonstrators took part in a massive rally and march down Broadway, led by a score of city taxicabs. As has become alarmingly common for a country that constantly proclaims its zealous devotion to democracy, the day ended with brutal police violence and arrests. … The powerful rejuvenation of the Occupy movement, however, was used by the US media – owned by the very same interests that Occupy directly threatens - as an opportunity to [try to] kill the Occupy movement and marginalize the voices of its participants. For more, see The Corporate Media’s Attempt to Kill the Occupy Movement. In other news, the House on Thursday passed its plan to spare the military’s growing budget from mandatory cuts, instead slashing Medicaid, benefits for federal workers and programs to help feed hungry Americans. ”How do we reconcile more money for bombs while cutting money for bread?” asked Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). “The real deficit that we are dealing with here is a moral deficit, and it’s time that we face the truth.” For more, see Paul Ryan Budget: House Passes Bill to Spare Defense, Cut Food Aid. And: If the world’s largest surveillance agency has a working relationship with the world’s largest Internet firm, that’s no one’s business but theirs, according to an appeals court in the DC Circuit. In the ruling issued Friday, (PDF here ) the court decided that the National Security Agency doesn’t need to either confirm or deny its relationship with Google in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, ruling that a FOIA exemption covers any documents whose exposure might hinder the NSA’s national security mission. For more, see Court Rules NSA Doesn’t Have to Reveal its Semi-Secret Relationship with Google. In other privacy news, Twitter has filed a motion in state court in New York seeking to quash a court order requiring it to turn over information about one of its users and his communications on Twitter. This particular case involves a Twitter user, Malcolm Harris, who is being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan for disorderly conduct in connection with the Occupy Wall Street protest that occurred on the Brooklyn Bridge last year. For more, see Twitter Stands Up For One of its Users. And ever wonder what it’s like to have FBI agents knock on your door? Or to have them walk into your business unannounced and walk away with your computer?  Jamie McClelland and Alfredo Lopez can tell you. McClelland and Lopez run a progressive Internet organization called MayFirst/PeopleLink, which helps democracy-seeking groups around the world use the Web to organize. Together with sister organization RiseUp, MayFirst/PeopleLink offers email services, mailing list support and other Web tools. But their services make a promise that’s critical to people fighting oppressive regimes: All data is encrypted, guaranteeing total anonymity to those who need it. For the story, and a news report, see The FBI Took – And Mysteriously Returned – Their Server.

    Other Occupies/Protests: As many as 200,000 angry public sector workers staged a day of protest on Thursday, taking to the streets of London to voice their disgust at proposed government cuts. Among the demonstrators were civil servants, lecturers, health workers, Ministry of Defence staff, and immigration officers – fueled by ministers’ vows to press ahead with the controversial reforms, made clear in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech. About 20,000 off-duty police officers from all 43 forces across England and Wales also took to the capital for the first police march there in more than four years. The officers, banned from striking under law, were protesting against 20 percent cuts to the national police budget and proposals for the most wide-ranging reform of pay and conditions seen in more than 30 years. 16,000 officers wore black caps to represent expected job losses over the next four years. For coverage including a video, see British public sector rises up as 200,000 strike against cuts and reforms. And from Occupy London: on May 12, the Occupy, indignados and take the squares movements all over the world have called for a global day of action. Saturday will start with a teach-out at St. Paul’s at 1pm, organised by the Tent City University, the educational arm of Occupy London. It is aiming at promoting informed political action and exploring viable economic alternatives before we pay a visit to the City institutions that caused and continue to profit by the crisis. The day will see citizens using peaceful, creative ways to deliver their own messages to the financial and corporate elite of the City. We will continue to exercise our right to peacefully assemble in public spaces and develop the democratic processes to address the problems we face. For more, see Occupy London Strikes Back.

    “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw

    Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5-11-12

    Good Morning from Occupy Boston!

    Stories of the Day: Activists from Occupy Wall Street, the environmental movement and labor unions, along with victims of home foreclosures, had massive demonstrations at Bank of America’s shareholder meeting in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday morning. Occupiers have characterized the event as a test run for activism ahead of September’s Democratic National Convention … For those gathered, Bank of America has become the quintessential culprit for the Great Recession — a bailed-out bank with a bad record on foreclosures and the environment. For more, see Bank of America Protests and Thousands Turn Out to Protest Bank of America Shareholders’ Meeting. In more bank news: Retired Citigroup CEO Sanford Weill will receive an honorary doctorate, as will his wife, Joan, from Sonoma State University in Northern California, on May 12. Since the university made the announcement, students, faculty and staff have voiced outrage, describing the degree as a “dishonor” to their graduating class and a shame on the school’s ethics and reputation. They even set up a website, www.shameonssu.org to register the flood of complaints that poured in. And here’s why. After retiring as the CEO of Citigroup, the largest “too-big-to-fail” bank that got bailed out by taxpayers several years back, Weill gave $12 million for SSU’s new Green Music Center. How Weill made his money, and what strings were attached to his donation to SSU, are questions many feel still need answering – if the answers aren’t clear enough already. For more, see Amid Outcry, a Mega-Banker Gets His Degree. And did you know that banks gamble on hunger? Speculating on food prices causes spikes in the cost of staple foods, meaning poor people around the world go hungry and poverty worsens. For an infographic, see How Banks Cause Hunger. And Frankfurt’s Municipal Department for Public Order has announced a ban on all actions planned by the Blockupy Frankfurt alliance for the European Days of Action scheduled for May 16 to 19 in Germany’s financial capital. According to the Blockupy Frankfurt website, the ban is an attempt to curb any form of protest against European Union financial and political leaders whose decisions have cut deeply into the lives of millions of Europeans. For the Days of Action, more than a dozen members of the alliance have been preparing protests against the austerity policies forwarded by European governments and the Troika, composed of the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Union and the IMF. Blockupy Frankfurt had filed various requests for its protests, in the forms of demonstrations, rallies, vigils and meetings (asambleas). On the coalition’s website, Blockupiers wrote, “This ban is a scandalous incident quite unique in the history of the Federal Republic and an open insult on the right to demonstrate guaranteed by the constitution.” For more, see Blockupy Frankfurt Banned. In more news from Germany, check out this cool protest called “Wall Street to Your Street”: On May 10, 25 life-size figures appeared in front of a Deutsche Bank branch in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz.  The cut-out figures were, in fact, cardboard “clones” of Occupy activists from around the world.  In October 2011 two designers from Berlin visited Occupy Wall Street, Occupy DC and Occupy London to meet Occupiers and take their photos. “The protests of the Occupy movement address global issues,” said Paul. “We wanted to give protesters the opportunity to make their voice heard in other countries.” For the story and a brief video, see Deutsche Bank Protest in Berlin.

    Other Occupies/Protests: MassUniting upcoming protest at State Street Bank: Tax Dodging. Prison Profiteering. Misleading Investors. Defrauding Pensions. Job Killing. For years, State Street Bank has managed to avoid accountability for their crimes against the 99% — but you can be a witness at their “trial”. Help us bring State Street to justice May 16, as their executives gather to preside over the company’s annual shareholder meeting. WHEN: Wednesday, May 16 @ 9:30 AM, WHERE:  Meet at Dewey Square (across from South Station).

    “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Upcoming Events:
    • Occupy New England – M12 Day of Action and Regional Gathering. 9am-5:30pm, May 12: Come join Occupy groups from all around New England as we converge in Worcester for a day of action and networking! The day will have four core key components to it: getting as many Occupy groups and participants in one centralized location at the same time for a day of networking and planning, direct actions and public visibility, continued actions against corporations backing ALEC, and finally the flared up “War on Women” – discussion on women’s issues (rights, health care, etc…) Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/330778876980716/

      This is a non-violent protest, but just be aware the Worcester PD has a reputation of conducting political related intimidation tactics and may be tempted to arrest people as a result the second they perceive people step out of line. Occupy New England has answered the call of the global day of action by various groups in Spain, the anniversary of last year’s 15M protests in that country.  More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011%E2%80%932012_Spanish_protests or http://www.may12.net

      Preliminary timeline of events: (Please note times/actions are subject to change.)

      9 am: Begin gathering at Worcester Common

      10 am: Second New England Solidarity March.  We will take to the streets (or sidewalks, since we don’t have permits) and join our comrades around the world in protest against corrupt government, corrupt banks, austerity measures, and other related issues of the Indignants.  March will include protests outside various bank branches (notably Sovereign/Santander and Bank of America) with corrupt and greed driven leadership.  Any CD will be considered autonomous actions, or the result of Worcester PD intimidation and hostilities.

      Midday: Occupy New England gathering.  Come meet your fellow Occupiers from around the region, plan out regional strategies, discuss what your local Occupy group has done and has planned coming up.  Some food will be provided for lunch, it is also encouraged those who can please assist Worcester Food Not Bombs with the lunch efforts.

      1 pm: Occupy Worcester’s Women and Queer Caucus presents: Women’s Health Matters!  Held at the YWCA of Central Mass. (a block from the Common down Franklin St.), Workshops include:  Men as Allies, Supported Pregnancy and Empowered Birth, Healthy Families, Slut Shaming, Women over 50, and Lies and Truths about Abortion.  Bring your knitting supplies and come learn about the Snatchel Project.

      Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/333705343363009/

      The regional gathering and the Women’s Health Matters events will likely run concurrently, at least for parts of the early afternoon.

      Late afternoon: Neighborhood cleanup around the Common and Downtown Worcester (if enough interest).

      If anyone is interested in providing musical entertainment for the march and other parts of the day, please reply to Occupy New England or Occupy Worcester on Facebook.   Continue reading “Occupy Boston Daily Digest for 5-11-12” »

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