The OB Media Rundown for 5/23/12

Police violence in Chicago: Boston Occupier gets 10 stitches from police baton

Wood says that he remembers pulling at least two young women out of the scrum before winding up about three bodies behind the escalating conflict. Even back there he wasn’t safe though; within seconds – at around 5:15pm – a close-by cop indiscriminately swung his baton into the crowd, cracking Wood directly above the left side of his temple. Bloody and shaken, he says everything went blurry.

When ‘black bloc’ and the police are the same thing

As in so many similar situations in so many other countries in the past, the goal of this combination of violent acts and lying media propaganda is to invalidate any legitimate citizen protest of the many immoral acts being wreaked upon the peoples of the world by our governments. The techniques of imperial control which have been used so successfully overseas are now being fully deployed against the people at home. Deployed against us. As far as our war-addicted governments are concerned, we are all insurgents now.

Chicago’s fishy NATO arrests

While the facts surrounding the five arrestees remain murky, the furor surrounding the raids, arrests and charges in the past week are enough to illustrate the immediate impact of alleging terrorist threats during mass activist mobilizations. Twitter was abuzz with unsubstantiated, nervous rumors about pending police raids and lurking, unmarked vans. And once again, the terms “anarchist” and “Occupy” have been linked to terrorism in the media and public consciousness. Even if, as the NLG argues, the charges are “fabricated,” the suggestion of terrorism stokes fear and upholds the good protester/bad protester narrative that has long haunted Occupy groups nationwide.

So while the Tribune may be right, that the NATO summit and surrounding protests did not leave a “black eye” on the city, even the worst bruises heal fast. Something more damaging may, however, remain: the ongoing persecution of anarchists and activists with entrapment, intimidation and trumped-up charges.

Youth joblessness near crisis peak

Youth joblessness is almost back at its peak following the outbreak of the global economic crisis and is unlikely to ease until at least 2016, the International Labour Organization warned Tuesday.

The ILO said nearly 75 million youths or 12.7 percent of people aged 15 to 24 will be out of work this year, up from 12.6 percent in 2011.

The jobless total is creeping towards the 75.4 million unemployed in 2009 when the financial crisis caused the number to soar.

‘Members of the class of 2012 … You’re f*cked’ – former secretary of labor

Members of the Class of 2012,
As a former secretary of labor and current professor, I feel I owe it to you to tell you the truth about the pieces of parchment you’re picking up today.

You’re f*cked.

Well, not exactly. But you won’t have it easy.

First, you’re going to have a hell of a hard time finding a job. The job market you’re heading into is still bad. Fewer than half of the graduates from last year’s class have as yet found full-time jobs. Most are still looking.

That’s been the pattern over the last three graduating classes: It’s been taking them more than a year to land the first job. And those who still haven’t found a job will be competing with you, making your job search even harder.

For workers over 55, long-term unemployment has doubled since 2007

The number of long-term unemployed workers aged 55 and older has more than doubled since the recession began in late 2007. Getting back to work is increasingly difficult, according to a government report being released on Tuesday.

For unemployed seniors, the chances of reentering the workforce are grim. Experts worry that unemployed seniors face a long-term threat as the impact of lost wages compounds.

In what should be their prime earning years, these older workers rely on savings, miss out on potential wages and prematurely tap into Social Security – all at a time when Americans live longer and health care and other living costs are rising.

Romney’s Economic Plan Would Throw 13 Million People Off Of Food Stamps

According to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Romney’s economic plan would throw 13 million people off of food stamps entirely or force him to cut benefits by nearly $2,000 per family per year:

Cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program) would throw 13 million low-income people off the benefit rolls, cut benefits deeply – by over $1,800 a year for a family of four – or some combination of the two. These cuts would primarily affect poor families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities.

What happened to the Occupy movement? Although media coverage has dwindled, Occupy cells are alive and well all over the United States – and beyond

Keeping a space continually, and using democratic forms of self-governance recreates the commons, which has been colonised over decades by full-spectrum consumption – shopping, eating, drinking, entertainment and paid spectacle. Occupy Wall Street attracted throngs of journalists and the curious because it was a completely different spectacle. It was a miniature society that rejected the private, individualism and capitalism. The scene of hundreds of people exchanging food, art, music, knowledge, politics, healthcare, shelter, anger, ideas, skills and love was unlike anything else in our consumer societies – because not one exchange was lubricated by money (of course the goods were paid for at some point). Within the occupation, thousands shared the experience of having a direct democratic stake in a society they were helping to build from scratch.

These democratic societies, more than 300 of which popped up around the United States by October 2011, propelled Occupy by enticing a huge number of political neophytes to join an organic movement. The real power of a social movement, from the 1960s to the Tea Party, is not to recombine existing activists in a new formation but to bring in the previously non-political. At occupations, experienced organisers marvelled at the ability to have meaningful conversations with people of radically different backgrounds and politics. Having visited nearly 40 occupations across the US, I encountered many self-identified conservatives and Republicans and even a few Tea Party members who said they were part of the 99 per cent.

Policies at Religiously Affiliated Hospitals Create Conflicts for Ob-Gyns, Study Finds

Thirty-seven percent of ob-gyns at religiously affiliated hospitals have faced a conflict with their employer about religiously based policies on patient care, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reuters reports. At Catholic hospitals, 52% of ob-gyns have experienced such conflicts, the study found.

California Man Commits Suicide Before Foreclosure

“The engine is smoking like a chimney,” Norman Rousseau told his wife after working on an RV that was expected to be home for the couple after they were evicted from their house in Newbury Park, Calif.

Those would be the last words Oriane Rousseau heard from her husband, who shot himself May 15, days before the couple were scheduled to be evicted after a long battle over their mortgage held by Wells Fargo.

“I lost my husband and it hurts me like hell,” Oriane Rousseau, the wife of Norman, told CBS’s Los Angeles affiliate. “I don’t want this to happen to anybody. This is horrible. I lost my husband. I lose my pets, I lose my house, I lose my furniture, everything…for nothing.”

Neo-liberalism’s long losing streak

Incumbents are being ditched unceremoniously across the globe as people show their anger at austerity, privatisation and the rest of the neo-liberal agenda. We have the demise of the governments of Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Slovakia and Italy over the past two years. The administrations of the Netherlands and the Czech Republic look very shaky and France now has a new “socialist” president.

We’ve seen it happen in Australia with the comprehensive drubbing of the NSW and Queensland Labor governments and, with a massive turnaround of political fortunes looking unlikely, it will happen at the federal level, as well.

The problems driving voters to judge so harshly are the same here as with the headline-grabbing elections in France, Greece and elsewhere. People are sick of privatisation, the erosion of services and the rapid rise in their cost to households. They’re tired of the lack of action to secure local jobs (especially manufacturing jobs); the unwillingness to extract decent rates of tax from transnational corporations and big business’ thinly disguised control of the political process. They’ve had enough of war, corruption and the bosses’ mantra that “the community is living beyond its means”.

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