Stories to Watch: 10/16/11
Pancake brinner tonight. Life is good. Now here’s the news…
99-percenters go global.
Be prepare for a political shitstorm of biblical proportions; a far-left wing activist obtains emails from the Tea Party, then shares them with the FBI so the government can keep tabs on the movement. Oh wait, I read that wrong — a far-right wing activist got leaked documents about Occupy Wall Street to the feds. Well, then that’s just fine. Move along. Nothing to see here.
Police arrest protesters in an NYC Citibank for “trespassing.” Protesters say they were trying to close their accounts and were arrested for it. Citibank says “Only one person asked to close an account and was accommodated.” Neither the trespassing charge nor Citibank’s statement account for video of a bank customer being arrested outside Citibank — apparently her crime was in talking to protesters holding cameras.
Herman Cain, Koch addict.
Unsurprisingly, Mittens “Pink Slip" Romney is Wall Street’s candidate of choice — which explains why Obama’s targeting Romney as a Wall Street shill.
Things do not look good on the climate front.
Fox & Friends continues to be the most ridiculous, brainless morning news circus out there.
Finally, mass arrests in Occupy Chicago protests.
News Roundup for 10/7/11
-Headline of the Day-
"Michael Bloomberg tells Occupy Wall Street protesters to lay off banks."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has just about had it up to here with these darned protesters on Wall Street. Mike wonders why they gotta pick on the banks, instead of protesting the government — like decent ‘baggers do. Unfortunately, his reasoning is just one big ol’ sack-o-stupid.
"Everyone’s got a thing they want to protest, some of which is not realistic," Bloomberg said during his weekly radio show Let’s Rap With Da Mair. “And if you focus for example on driving the banks out of New York City, you know those are our jobs… You can’t have it both ways: If you want jobs you have to assist companies and give them confidence to go and hire people.”
Because that’s what the protesters want, don’t let the total lack of any “BANKS GET THE HELL OUT OF NYC!” signs or anyone saying anything like that fool you. The whole thing is about driving those danged banks to New Jersey.
Mike also had some words for labor unions that have thrown their support behind the protests, telling them “their salaries come from — are paid by — some of the people they’re trying to vilify.” He’d have a point, except labor unions pretty much exist to hold employers accountable. Try using that argument on a picket line sometime Mayor, then enjoy all the open-mouthed “WTF, are you stupid?” stares you get.
"We’re just supposed to sit there and be silent while people get hurt?" asks Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. "Is that what the mayor’s rationale is?"
Apparently so. Now go home, put on a three-cornered hat and pantaloons, and protest Obama — like a normal person.
Did I mention that Micheal Bloomberg is a gazillion-dollar Wall Street type? I probably should have. (Politico)
-I think you’ve run out-
The Republican Party is taking the news that Chris Christie and Sarah Palin won’t run pretty hard.
Click for full comic
I think you guys are stuck with the nuts you’ve already got. (Go Comics)
"Nearly Half of Americans Cannot Name A Single GOP Presidential Candidate."
Kind of explains the previous item, doesn’t it? (Wonkette)
Police Violence at Occupy Wall Street Protest was the Result of Police Incompetence
We’re going to start right off with the ugly, just to get it out of the way. This was the scene last night in New York City, as the Occupy Wall Street protest once again turned into a police near-riot.
Fox 5, New York:
While covering the Occupy Wall Street protests on Wednesday night, Fox 5 photographer Roy Isen was hit in the eyes by pepper spray from a police officer and Fox 5 reporter Dick Brennan was hit by an officer’s baton.
The protests on Wall Street continued to grow all day. The rallies and their participants are showing no signs of slowing down.
In the evening, crowds surged past barriers and NYPD officers moved in to contain the protesters. By many accounts, mayhem broke out.
Officers, many wearing white shirts indicating supervisor rank, swatted protesters with batons and sprayed them with mace, video from the scene showed.
"[Fox 5 photographer Roy] Isen and [reporter Dick] Brennan were there and witnessed the chaos," the report tells us. "At one point, Brennan was hit in the abdomen by a police baton and Isen got irritant in his eyes. Both journalists were all right and continued to cover the protests and arrests."
I went with the Fox 5 report, because it demonstrates the indiscriminate nature of the police’s actions. It’s hard to believe that a local news crew was trying to pick a fight with the cops. Crowd control efforts shouldn’t have collateral damage. It’s not difficult to piece together what happened last night; police screwed up crowd control, then panicked and completely overreacted when confronted with the consequences.
New York Observer has a first-hand account of the lead-up to the violence.
Around 9 p.m., a cohort of marchers were cordoned off by police officers on Wall Street. It looked as though there would be mass arrests. The police ended up shuttling the protesters down Williams Street and directing them back toward the park. The strategy by the NYPD seemed to be erecting more barriers to limit where the protesters could march. The Broad St. J train was inaccessible, blockaded by the NYPD and metal fences on Exchange Place, Broad Street and Wall Street. A group of Wisconsin tourists who had a reservation at Bobby Van’s steakhouse were forced to turn back to Times Square.
More barriers, more people hemmed in, more pressure — like pinching down a hose. NYO again:
Who coordinated the barricade?
“Chiefs,” one blue-shirt outside the Broad Street Starbucks said. “Lots of chiefs.”
“Too many chiefs in the kitchen?” one of the techies asked. The police officer affirmed.
At this point issues of lawlessness or obedience are out the window. What we’re talking about is pure physics. You can only squeeze a crowd in so far before they won’t squeeze any more. And the crowd is big, by most accounts numbering thousands, so the people in the back can’t see what’s happening in the front. You can’t stop a crowd on a dime, which is what the cops seem to have tried to do.
And then the dam burst.
It all started really peacefully, the march was fine and respectful. Once everyone got here, we tried to go down Broadway to march on Wall Street. There were literally thousands of people pressing up against the cops, who were blocking the entrance via Broadway. That’s when two protesters who broke the police line at Wall Street got pepper sprayed. I heard a rumor, but I didn’t see it, that an officer pulled out his Taser.
The two pepper sprayings were about 30 min apart, and in between those, a white shirt took out his baton and just started swinging everywhere. So then we went down on Reade street to find an alternate route onto Wall street, and all of a sudden there were dozens of cops of scooters. I turned to talk to a friend, then turned back, and two scooters were on the ground.
Three officers were on top of a 100 lb woman violently beating her. I mean they were really going at it, really hurting her. Two white shirts and one blue shirt. So we’re all yelling “stop!” and eventually they get off. She looked awful. I talked to someone at Legal Aid and they sent a medic down to the 1st precinct to check up on her because, as they told me, they were afraid she’d “come out worse than she came in.”
All of this could’ve been easily avoided. Protesters wanted to march down the street, so just let them do it. They’re all peaceful enough, so what’s the harm? It’s a traffic annoyance, sure. But it’s New York City — the whole damned place is a traffic annoyance anyway. By trying to contain them too much, police broke their own barricades, just like over-inflating a balloon. Their actions after that are inexcusable and unforgivable.
At this point, indications are that the crowds will grow bigger, not smaller. According to Fox 5, “What was once a protest of powerful Wall Street financial firms and banks is growing into a larger movement about the working class, employment, poverty, education, and more.”
As the crowds grow, incidents like last night’s violence could become worse and much more consequential. New York City police would be wise to remember what the crowd chanted at them yesterday: “Cops are the 99%.”
Failing that, they should realize that when law enforcement and the laws of physics bump heads, law enforcement will fail every time.
Stories to Watch: 10/3/11
Polling shows that most people expect Barack Obama to lose reelection. I look at the GOP field and I’m a lot less convinced. Still, polling influences polling, so don’t write it off.
How to talk to news media — in particular, Fox News. If you’re planning to ever protest anything, watch this and see how it’s done.
The Transportation Workers Union in NYC will go to court “in hopes of blocking New York City from forcing bus drivers to transport any Occupy Wall Street protesters after the New York police department commandeered at least three buses to take many of the 700 protesters off the Brooklyn Bridge this weekend.” The report says this will happen today, but no update and it’s getting late.
Bob Inglis argues at Bloomberg that dealing with global warming is the conservative thing to do. It’s a pretty solid argument, but I had a lot of trouble getting past this first paragraph: “Normally, the country can count on conservatives to deal in facts. We base policies on science, not sentiment, we insist on people being accountable for their actions, and we maintain that markets, not mandates, are the path to prosperity.” Don’t worry, you’ll stop laughing eventually.
Evidence that straw polls don’t mean shit; after Herman Cain wins a straw poll in Florida, an actual poll shows Mittens Romney has him by four points in the state. Bonus fun; Gingrich beats out Perry.
"Class warfare" ain’t what it used to be. The gazillionaires complaining about this can officially be called “whiners.”
Finally, Sarah Palin is nobody.
"My name is Kelly Schomburg. I was protesting at the Occupy Wall Street march yesterday.."
My name is Kelly Schomburg, I’m the girl with the red hair in these pictures. I was protesting at the Occupy Wall Street march yesterday when I and several other women were sprayed with mace and subsequently arrested. Many have already seen the video, which has been spreading like wildfire over twitter, Facebook, tumblr, and other video feeds, along with hundreds of other photos and videos. This is my recount of what happened.
Handy tip: pepper spray is oil-based, so water helps, but not a lot.
If you’re going to get into a big civil disobedience action, take a bottle of water and a little Johnson’s ‘No More Tears’ Baby Shampoo mixed. It’ll cut the oil a lot better.
You know what? Based on how you eat pizza, Donald, I wanna see your long-form birth certificate. I don’t think you were really born in New York.
JON STEWART, on Donald Trump’s incorrect New York City pizza-eating style, on The Daily Show (via inothernews)