Monday, April 30, 2012

5 Ways To Occupy The May Day General Strike (Even If You Have To Work)


What Occupy Wall Street is advocating instead is a day in which members of the 99% take whatever actions they can to withdraw from participation in the normal workings of the economic system. Here are 5 easy ways that everyone can participate in tomorrow’s historical action, regardless of employment status.

1. Don’t Shop: The middle-class consumer creates the incentive to conceive, manufacture, and sell what our economy produces. That demand drives business opportunities and spurs investment. If the 99% stops spending its giving its hard-earned money to global corporations, crooked CEOs won’t be able to afford yet another lobbyist to help bend the laws to their own advantage. By not shopping, you will hit corporations where it really counts, the wallet.

2. Don’t Bank: Big banks are some of the worst criminals in the United States. Their fraudulent lending practices are what crashed the economy, and their complete disregard for the welfare of their customers has led to millions of foreclosures, many unnecessary, over the past few years. May 1st is a great day to move your money out of a corporate bank, and into a community controlled credit union.

3. Don’t Go To School: American student debt just pass the $1 trillion mark. The quality of education in the United States is falling further behind other countries every day, yet it costs more to go to school here than almost anywhere else in the world. The government, private lenders, and for-profit colleges tell students that getting an education is a good reason to go into mountains of debt, even as they push to increase student loan interest rates. For one day, refuse to participate in this racket. Gather your fellow classmates and take to the streets to educate each other about what’s really happening to students in America.

4. Don’t Drive: In 2011, oil companies raked in $261,000 in profit per minute, while middle class families struggled to put food on the table. Despite this obscene profit, most oil companies paid zero dollars in federal taxes, and some even got a refund. Why? Because they enjoy millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies for polluting our planet and exploiting the last bit of its natural resources. Ditch your car, and ride a bike or walk instead. Refuse to be a part of the problem, even just for a day.

5. Don’t Work: Times are hard, and not everyone can simply walk out of work without facing serious financial repercussions. Still, consider taking a personal day to join demonstrations, marches, disruptions, occupations, and other mass actions. You can take your lunch hour to write personal letters to your state and local representatives, asking them to take action on an issue that’s close to your heart. Or simply take five minutes during your day to talk to a fellow member of the 99% about why you support the Occupy movement, and why they should get involved.

Occupy May Day protests could block roads, shut down ferry service

Although many commuters could be inconvenienced it must be done. Unless we speak up and out the ruling class will continue ignore the will of the people. Revolutionary justice always requires sacrifice. If you late for work don't curse Occupy. Curse those that rule America without our consent:

 May Day protests may disrupt the morning commute in major U.S. cities Tuesday as labor, immigration and Occupy activists rally support on the international workers' holiday.

Demonstrations, strikes and acts of civil disobedience are being planned around the country, including the most visible organizing effort by anti-Wall Street groups since Occupy encampments came down in the fall.

While protesters are backing away from a call to block San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, bridge district ferry workers said they'll strike Tuesday morning to shut down ferry service, which brings commuters from Marin County to the city. Ferry workers have been in contract negotiations for a year and have been working without a contract since July 2011 in a dispute over health care coverage, the Inlandboatmen's Union said.

[...]In New York City, where the first Occupy camp was set up and where large protests brought some of the earliest attention — and mass arrests — to the movement, leaders plan a variety of events, including picketing, a march through Manhattan and other "creative disruptions against the corporations who rule our city."

Organizers have called for protesters to block one or more bridges or tunnels connecting Manhattan, the city's economic engine, to New Jersey and other parts of the city.
 Full article

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Obama Fails to Stem Middle-Class Slide He Blamed on Bush

Sadly there are still millions of Americans who still believe in the fraud who is Barack Obama. He lied to us. We should not be surprised. Democrats and Republicans have been lying to us for decades. So why should he be any different:

Barack Obama campaigned four years ago assailing President George W. Bush for wage losses suffered by the middle class. More than three years into Obama’s own presidency, those declines have only deepened.

The rebound from the worst recession since the 1930s has generated relatively few of the moderately skilled jobs that once supported the middle class, tightening the financial squeeze on many Americans, even those who are employed.

“It started long before Obama, but he hasn’t done anything,” said John Forsyth, 58, a railroad-car inspector and political independent from Lebanon, Ohio. “He kept pushing this change, change, change, and he hasn’t done anything.”

Underlying the erosion of the middle class, defined by some economists as the middle 60 percent of income earners, are trends that stretch back decades, including competition from lower-wage workers overseas and technological advances that allow factories and offices to produce more with less labor.

As a candidate in 2008, Obama blamed the reversals largely on the policies of Bush and other Republicans. He cited census figures showing that median income for working-age households -- those headed by someone younger than 65 -- had dropped more than $2,000 after inflation during the first seven years of Bush’s time in office.

Yet real median household income in March was down $4,300 since Obama took office in January 2009 and down $2,900 since the June 2009 start of the economic recovery, according to an analysis of census data by Sentier Research, an economic- consulting firm in Annapolis, Maryland.
Full article

Press Release: Demonstrators Request Injunction Restricting NYPD’s Use of Metal Barricades

I am proud to be a part of this lawsuit. We are sending a message: the government cannot be allowed to get away with violating Constitutional rights. Hopefully others will be encouraged by this case to speak out against the continued move towards less freedom in America:

Today, Occupy-affiliated demonstrators who were illegally held for two hours against their will on November 30, 2011 inside a pen built of interlocking metal barricades filed a civil rights action in federal court. The group is represented by the law firms of Rankin & Taylor and Beldock Levine & Hoffman. In addition to damages, the group seeks an injunction on behalf of all demonstrators in New York City that would prohibit similar Police tactics.

“We came to express our views at a place where the President might see us, and were detained for hours as if we had committed a crime,” said John Rivera, one of the class action plaintiffs, who was a member of the Civil Service Employees Association, a prominent New York Union, for 20 years and is a Bushwick, Brooklyn resident. Mr. Rivera has been demonstrating in New York City since the 1980s. His first political action was protesting the Soviet Embassy after the shooting of an American soldier in Germany. He says he has never experienced a detention like this one.

“What happened to me, and my fellow protesters, was an eye opener. We were corralled like farm animals.” Mr. Rivera had been spending time in Liberty Park since September 19, 2011.

Though the New York Civil Liberties Union was successful in getting the NYPD to agree to restrictions on the use of barricades in 2008, the current suit alleges that the police department has violated those guidelines as well as the US Constitution.

“Under Commissioner Kelly the NYPD has considered itself above any restrictions when it comes to political protests, even restrictions it agrees to in front of a federal judge. We will look for judicial oversight of these tactics in order to defend New Yorker’s rights,” said attorney Mark Taylor.

“We were demonstrating peacefully and then with no warning we were detained for hours,” describes Jonathan Jetter, another of the plaintiffs, who is a professor at the State University of New York at Purchase and the owner of a midtown Manhattan-based music business. “We were denied access to legal representation and the press. I’ve taken part in many protests and this was the most chilling police response I’ve yet encountered,” he continued. Mr. Jetter lives in Queens.

“This felt like an attempt to scare us from participating in future protests,” explained Phoebe Berg of Brooklyn, another class representative. “I hate the fact that I can’t help but take into account the real possibility of being detained again, not allowed access to a water/food or a restroom for possibly hours, during the May Day General Strike and other future actions.”

Occupy Wall Street Plans Global Disruption of Status Quo May 1

I'll be there:

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, whose anti-greed message spread worldwide during an eight-week encampment in Lower Manhattan last year, plan marches across the globe tomorrow calling attention to what they say are abuses of power and wealth.

Organizers say they hope the coordinated events will mark a spring resurgence of the movement after a quiet winter. Calls for a general strike with no work, no school, no banking and no shopping have sprung up on websites in Toronto, Barcelona, London, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, among hundreds of cities in North America, Europe and Asia.

In New York, Occupy Wall Street will join scores of labor organizations observing May 1, traditionally recognized as International Workers’ Day. They plan marches from Union Square to Lower Manhattan and a “pop-up occupation” of Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue, across the street from Bank of America’s Corp.’s 55-story tower.

“We call upon people to refrain from shopping, walk out of class, take the day off of work and other creative forms of resistance disrupting the status quo,” organizers said in an April 26 e-mail.

City Sued Over Police Response to Occupy Protests

I'm involved in a lawsuit as well (more on that in the future):

Four lawmakers are suing the city over its treatment of the Occupy Wall Street protests.     

The civil rights suit was filed Monday in a Manhattan federal court. It says police conduct is so problematic that the force needs an outside monitor.     

The city Law Department had no immediate comment Monday. Mayor  Bloomberg has defended police handling of the protests.   

Occupy demonstrators have gone to court before over particular episodes. The new lawsuit is a compendium of complaints.     

It says the city and police violated demonstrators' free speech and other rights, used excessive force and interfered with journalists' and council members' efforts to observe.     

City Council members Letitia James, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Ydanis Rodriguez and Jumaane Williams are among the plaintiffs.

Bowles: 'We Face The Most Predictable Economic Crisis In History'

The warnings keep coming but the political/media establishment ignores it. Meanwhile we're just talking about a meaningless election in where there is really no mention of what needs to be done to rescue the current economy:

 Erskine Bowles, a true Southern gentleman and co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s erstwhile budget-deficit commission, came to New York City from his home in North Carolina the other night to talk sense about the nation’s perilous fiscal condition.

“I think today we face the most predictable economic crisis in history,” he told an audience on April 24 at the Council on Foreign Relations -- an audience that might actually be able to help do something about the problem. “Fortunately, I think it’s also the most avoidable. I think it’s clear, if you do simple arithmetic, that the fiscal path that the nation is on is simply not sustainable.”

Bowles, a Democrat, then laid on the crowd some pretty simple, but devastating, arithmetic. He explained that 100 percent of the tax revenue that entered the Treasury in 2011 went out the door to pay for mandatory spending -- such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- and to pay the interest on our staggering $15.6 trillion national debt.

That means that every single dollar we spent on everything else, including two wars, national defense, homeland security, education, infrastructure, high-value-added research and the like, was borrowed. “And,” he warned, “half of it was borrowed from foreign countries. And that is a formula for failure in anybody’s book.”
Full article

'Slaughtered for their ivory': Up to 35,000 elephants slain in one year, charity says


Up to 35,000 elephants were killed last year for their tusks, the head of a charity told NBC News.

Charlie Mayhew, the chief executive of Tusk Trust, said: "What we have witnessed over the last 18 months or two years has been a significant escalation in the poaching of both rhino for rhino horn and elephant for ivory, fueled by sort of a dramatic increase in demand from consumers in the Far East.

"Last year we believe that as many as 35,000 elephants may have been slaughtered for their ivory," he added. "South Africa lost 434 rhino last year. This year we know that they've lost more than 170 rhino. That's more than an average of one every 15 hours and that is just South Africa alone."

A rhino horn is worth as much as $40,000 on the black market.