Friday, March 27, 2015

OWS: Mourning in Wisconsin, July 4 gathering, entrapment etc

Occupy Wall Street is planning a gathering in Philadelphia for the July 4 week; which will presumably be followed by more protests at the convention later in the summer and they have been putting up with some of the same propaganda manipulation and attempts to smear the movement by the establishment without addressing important issues; but first I have a few comments about the Wisconsin recall election which turned out to be a disaster.

(This was originally posted on Open Salon June, 6, 2011)

This is part of a semi-regular update of some of the latest stories from the Occupy Wall Street web page for additional details see previous post’s introduction to series. 

Scott Walker has officially won the recall election, but not fairly. This election was carried out without allowing the majority of the public to have access to the information they need to make decisions; instead the information that they based their decisions on was controlled by the political establishment and an enormous amount of it was blatant propaganda that was purchased by super-PACS.

Any rational person that has paid any attention to the issues might be wondering how these voters can be so stupid; the more likely explanation is that it is based mainly on complacency and ignorance.
The truth of the matter is that this election was lost in the preparation and the ballot would have been flawed even if Tom Barrett had won. He probably never should have been nominated in 2010 let alone re-nominated for the recall in 2012!

It is hard to understand why they would gather up so much opposition to Scott Walker and then just re-nominate the same establishment candidate that probably didn’t even represent the majority of the public at all; this is presumably because this recall election was based largely on an enormous amount of hype cheering and demagoguery. I don’t live in that state so I don’t have first hand knowledge of how things were handled but I did see the coverage largely on Ed Shultz and other TV shows. The coverage in the media included a lot of cheering crowds and from the start the potential candidates to oppose Scott Walker were making appeals to emotion without what I would consider adequate discussion on the issues.

Ed Shultz the great savior of the working man, according to MSNBC, is nothing but another demagogue yelling and screaming without taking time to review the issues adequately! Other establishment talking heads are little or no better. Clearly what is needed is much more rational discussion on many different issues and the nominating process clearly needs to be controlled by people who are sincere and take the time to sort through the issues. If we rely heavily on leaders those leaders should rely much more on education of the public and passing simple legislation that people understand and support, instead of appeals to emotion that lead people to vote without understanding what they’re voting for.

The public seems to have allowed the establishment to control the way this election was held from the beginning; when there was a major problem with Scott Walker they seem to have jumped on the establishment bad wagon to over throw him without actually addressing the issues properly. They don’t seem to have made an effort to allow alternative parties to compete. Dr. Hari Trivedi did manage to get on the ballot but he wasn’t allowed to participate in the debate and the discussion that was presented to the vast majority of the public was controlled by the same establishment which clearly isn’t even trying to educate the public. Furthermore even if Dr. Hari Trivedi or any other candidate had a much better position under this system the current media would portray them as “fringe” due to the fact that they don’t support the agenda of the corporations.

Until the public is better educated and they can handle their own elections and decide who can run for themselves there is good reason for Mourning in Wisconsin, and many other places where democracy is under an all out assault from those that want to control the press and the entire political system if they can get away with it.
This may not be for long!

Fortunately there is an enormous effort being made to change this situation but it is still being carried out by a small percentage of the public and with the overwhelming opposition from the corporate media which has turned into a propaganda machine they clearly have their work cut out for them. The Occupy Wall Street is part of that movement and they have been doing a lot to help educate the public on many of the most important subjects; but they’re not the only ones doing this. Most of the other organization that are trying to educate the public are also relatively small and they’re not getting any help from the corporate media either but one individual has received much more support at the grass roots level than many others; this is Jill Stein. She is one of many candidates listed at Project Vote Smart in the run for the presidency. Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama refused to fill out the questionnaire that Project Vote Smart offers which would help voters to have a much better idea where they stand on many issues so they could make their decisions based on the issues.

If they were applying for a regular job and they refused to fill out the job application they wouldn’t even be given any further consideration at all; yet the corporate propaganda machine has attempted to present them as the only viable candidates. As I indicates when I took a closer look at Jill Stein she clearly has much more support than many people realize; and she is taking positions that are for the benefit of the majority of the public unlike Mitt Romney and Barack Obama who have both taken an enormous amount of money from the corporations and clearly indicated that they will get their moneys worth at the expense of the majority of the public.

Update: The following has just come out of the Jill Stein campaign as I was publishing this post:

Wisconsin betrayed by silencing of democracy movement, says Stein 
Dr. Jill Stein, the victor in the Green Party presidential primaries, this morning issued the following statement about yesterday's recall elections in Wisconsin:

"For over a year now, the working people of Wisconsin have been under siege by the fossil fuel, mining, and toxic chemical corporations. Yesterday's recall election was deeply flawed. Thousands of qualified voters were turned away from their polling places. Thousands more were told not to vote, or that election day was yet to come. The corporate media declared the election results while voters still stood in line to vote, and at a time when only the most conservative ward results were reported. Many votes were cast on electronic voting machines that are easy to manipulate because they lack a paper trail. And nearly all of the money spent in the election came from out-of-state big corporate interests. If an election like that is free and fair, then I have a nuke plant in Vermont to sell you." ...... Full Story

We need more people that are not dumb enough to fall for it anymore; then the corporations can’t dictate policy without doing more than give the rest of us lip service!

June 30 - July 4: Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia 
The Occupy National Gathering is a nationally coordinated event which will take place from June 30th to July 4th in Philadelphia. The Occupy movement will convene the Occupy National Gathering in the vicinity of Philadelphia’s Independence Mall for a week of direct actions, movement building and the creation of a vision for a democratic future. The National Gathering will kick off with a massive march with Healthcare-Now! and will conclude on July 5th when attendees will join the Guitarmy for a 99 mile march from Philadelphia to Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.
Perhaps the highlight of the gathering will be the crafting of a Vision of a Democratic Future. On July 4th the National Gathering (#natgat) will facilitate a visioning process designed to allow all voices to be heard while allowing repeat visions to organically rise to the top. Together, by all those who choose to participate, a Vision of a Democratic Future will be conceived. Learn more about this and more here.

Want to get involved? Read the Full Story

There is a lot more anyone can do at the local level if you can’t make it to many of the larger protest and this could include some things that the larger protest are less capable of doing. That may include reading up on important issues and helping to educate people at the local level or other activities that OWS or another grass roots organization can help with.

Inside the FBI Entrapment Strategy
Over the past month, the FBI has initiated a spate of entrapment operations designed to frame anarchists as “terrorists.” Significantly, they have not targeted longtime organizers, but rather people who are relatively peripheral to anarchist communities.
In response, we’ve prepared a pamphlet suitable for a wide readership explaining how this entrapment strategy works, and an analysis exploring why the FBI has adopted it. Please circulate these widely..... Full Story

A reasonable amount of skepticism is understandable and even expected to stories like these; I know that I started out skeptical the first time I heard one of them and I remain skeptical when I suspect someone may be going too far or has a motive to distort things. However after reading about a few of these stories that have been thoroughly investigated throughout history and found to be at least partially true I wouldn’t be too quick to rule things out. Furthermore I wonder what the proper behavior of the establishment would be if these protesters were just criminals. Wouldn’t they be doing a much better job when it comes to handling many of the issues that the protesters are bringing up? I have no doubt that they would; hence my conclusion that even if a small number of these arrests are legitimate and there are more that probably aren’t related to the movement at all the protesters deserve much more attention and an opportunity to get their point across not more distractions.

White House & Dems Back Banks over Protests: Newly Discovered Homeland Security Files Show Feds Central to Occupy Crackdown 
A new trove of heavily redacted documents provided by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild makes it increasingly evident that there was and is a nationally coordinated campaign to disrupt and crush the Occupy Movement.

The new documents, which PCJF National Director Mara Verheyden-Hilliard insists “are likely only a subset of responsive materials,” in the possession of federal law enforcement agencies, only “scratch the surface of a mass intelligence network including Fusion Centers, saturated with 'anti-terrorism' funding, that mobilizes thousands of local and federal officers and agents to investigate and monitor the social justice movement.”

Nonetheless, blacked-out and limited though they are, she says they offer clues to the extent of the government’s concern about and focus on the wave of occupations that spread across the country beginning with last September’s Occupy Wall Street action in New York City…. Full Story

This should be little or no surprise to well informed people. Barack Obama has been following the usual pattern of presidents once they gained office; he has quickly forgotten his promises including the one to put on a “pair of comfortable shoes” and walk the picket line himself nor has he done much if anything to stand up to Scott Walker including campaigning for his opponent. Instead he has begun collecting record breaking amounts of contributions from the same corporations that he pretends to stand up to including Bain Capital. A close look at his record clearly indicates that despite some of his rhetoric he intends to give the contributors their moneys worth.

We have more stories for you but first a message from our sponsor who is more than ninety days past due on their payments on ads; however we have decided to provide this ad for free on the condition that they put the money they collect to that cause they pretend to be representing, which is helping animals instead of profiting from it or buying air time on TV that provides funds for the propaganda machine.

Please donate everything you have to the Humane Society of the United States you’ll receive an official HSUS windbreaker jacket and tote bag to show that you bought an official HSUS windbreaker jacket and tote bag while pretending to help animals. Plus, we’ll send you updates and action alerts so you can fall for many of the other scams we have in store for you. We would be happy to pretend that somewhere animals are actually being helped by your donation.

Please don’t worry about how we paid for the expensive ads on TV that increase profits for the corporate propaganda machine; after all the traditional mass Media is quite credible and you should trust them completely and believe everything they tell you especially if it contradicts other things they tell you. Don’t even think about whether or not the manufacturers of the official HSUS windbreaker jacket and tote bag are making enormous profits off of the money we pay them instead of helping the animals as we promised. After all they’re just making these products out of the goodness of their heart.

Please disregard and other psycho talkers that disagree with us and attempt to steer you donations to organization that might actually help animals. Also don’t read “Shell Game Continues” blogs or anything else from people that attempt to expose our scams er I mean make it seem like we’re running a scam!

I’m even beginning to have doubts about a crazy blogger that has offered us free advertising.
I’m not sure I know where that last part came from or that I agree with it but I’ll let it go.

Posing a Direct Threat to the 1964 Civil Rights Act: The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act

On May 6, 2012, the U.S. Senate through “Unanimous Consent” approved S. 743 or the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA.) While this legislation provides millions of federal workers with important safety protections, it strips other legal protections particularly for Title 7 complainants, such as African-Americans, women, people of color and economically disadvantaged people, of hard won rights through the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB.)
As proposed in S.743, MSPB Administrative Judges will have the right to grant summary judgment (thus denying due process and jury trials) for victims of civil rights abuse in the federal government.

The right to a jury trial was an important achievement earned through the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The bill now proceeds to the House as HR 3289. The No FEAR Institute, Net-We and the National Whistleblower Center have vowed to fight this betrayal of the goals of the civil rights movement through public education. These civil rights and whistleblower groups are demanding that President Obama veto the bill if the anti-civil rights provisions that would empower the MSPB to deny jury trials to victims of civil rights abuse reach his desk. The MSPB does not have an effective record of providing justice for victims of discrimination and whistleblowers, with only two percent of all victims prevailing before the Board. In other words, the government wins at the MSPB 98% of the time, granting the MSPB the title of kangaroo court by its critics…. Full Story at the Black Agenda Report

This is just one example of many of what they routinely try to do when they think the public isn’t paying attention.

Obama’s War: Criminalize the Left

The Obama administration is methodically erecting the legal structures of a police state. The president late last year smoothed the way for bipartisan passage through Congress of a preventive detention bill that is so vaguely worded, a federal judge in New York last week ruled that it is likely to be successfully challenged on Constitutional grounds. And in Richmond, Virginia, a three-judge appeals court heard Justice Department lawyers argue that reporters can be compelled to reveal the identities of whistleblowers in so-called national security cases.

The government is prosecuting a former CIA officer, Jeffrey Sterling, for allegedly leaking secret documents to New York Times investigative reporter James Risen. The ex-spy is accused of showing the reporter documents on the agency’s campaign of sabotage against Iran’s nuclear research program, information the reporter later used to write a book.

In both cases, the Obama legal team has been single-minded in its determination to make political dissent a crime. The judge in the preventive detention proceeding repeatedly asked the government to explain, specifically, how or if the seven plaintiffs might be detained under the wording of the National Defense Authorization Act, which makes it a crime to provide “substantial support” to groups “associated” with Al Qaida. The plaintiffs, including former New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges, academic activist Noam Chomsky, and Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, wanted to know exactly what the terms “substantial support” and “associated groups” meant, and if their actions as journalists, authors, activists and just plain citizens made them vulnerable to detention without trial. Obama’s lawyers refused to explain, as if the vague and highly interpretable language spoke for itself. What they were trying to create is a legal trap so vague and amorphous that it can ensnare almost anyone opposed to Washington’s foreign policies. The New York federal judge refused to accommodate the government’s lawyers, and allowed the plaintiffs legal standing to sue. …. Full Story at the Black Agenda Report

It is hard to believe this is happening in the USA; but clearly for one reason or another, these types of things are happening on regular basis. When they openly and routinely admit that they have a drone program to conduct assassinations without trial we should stop thinking of our government as the defenders of our rights. When the corporate media reports this without much if any scrutiny or outrage that isn’t designed to advance someone’s agenda skepticism of the government is warranted.

Also the fact that a significant African American news outlet is seeing through Obama’s agenda indicates the possibility that independents may have much more support than many people realize. This is just one of many small organizations that recognize these scams and aren’t believing them any more.

To close is a relatively lighter article about how News outlets are trying to use intellectual property laws to control the way they’re portrayed by critics even when it is clear they don’t have a case. This effort didn’t work but the fact that they keep trying things like this is intended to intimidate many other people.

The Chicago Tribune Tries to Take Our Website 
Our tip-off came, poetically enough, from some unsolicited email marketing:

Dear Occupied Chicago Tribune:

Our records indicate that a UDRP (Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy) proceeding was filed against you for the domain

It was a message from a New York legal firm, offering us a defense against an unnamed complainant who had filed to seize our domain name. But before even checking the record, we knew who was doing the complaining. It wasn’t the Sun-Times.

On May 24, the Tribune Company filed a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) proceeding against the Occupied Chicago Tribune via the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), presumably alleging trademark infringement. We presume this, as to date, almost a week later, we have yet to receive any formal notification that the complaint has been filed, nor a description of the Tribune Company’s claims. …. Full Story at The Occupied Chicago Tribune

If it’s helpful to anyone I have been compiling a long list of alternative media outlets which is also including other lists from other people so there is a much more diverse source of news. If anyone has any sources they would like to add that I missed feel free to do so; it’s stored on a Wiki.

(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

OK Zachery I’m going to tell you a little secret. Because they are career criminals and have no idea how to make a living any other way they will just keep taking Joe the Plumbers money until one day Joe can’t afford a whole side of beef to barbecue in his backyard on Sunday. Nor will Joe be able to scrape together enough for the next case of Highlife. Joe will finally become angry. He will pick up one of those 400 million inconvenient truths ( there are 400 million guns in America) floating around America and it will be on. Cowardly generals in the pentagon will rush to join Joe and it won’t be long till you are watching televised hangings of the old regime and their collaborators. Forget about educating Joe, Zachery, He has a reading comprehension level of less than 20%. Just take away his imbecile amenities, which is inevitable due to the avarice of Joes masters, and Joe will suddenly figure everything out without being educated to the issues. The issues will only confuse Joe.

Jack Heart June 06, 2012 03:14 PM

Zachd, apologies for missing you so much! you so rock! the best perspective I get besides from stellar bloggers here like you are from dissident voice, wsws, jill stein, greenwald, black agenda report, information clearing house, world can't wait and a few others I am blanking on at the moment and will come back to haunt me. Thanks for more additions to my list. Correntewire and sacramento for democracy are innovative and courageous and have done right by me by posting me when I left firedoglake and Jane Hamsher's limited moral imagination after the public option bullying against us single payer folk there. I recommend those two websites highly, too.

YES YES YES ... we need to encourage the citizenry to stop lazily pitting one team's emotionally-frothed up "truthiness" against another team's emotionally frothed-up "truthiness" (that brilliant Colbert coinage!). MSNBC makes me enraged. "Let us cherry pick what you will do and think about the world and the next election. Here are you blinders. Don't forget to Heil Obama!" Journalism? No. They admit it is politics NOT news. I try to watch but I know the seduction is strong the way things are presented and more importantly what is being omitted!!!! And they get compelling and charming spokespeople like Maddow, et al., and they do great on some stories but are puppet strung to the corporations giving them their paychecks! Jill Stein attention would be a career deal breaker I am thinking.

Jill Stein. I have been visiting her site hoping for an update. Glad one is there. I think there is a juicy video out there in cyberworld I will try to insert at open salon of her.

Thanks for this rich update, once again! I have to backtrack to your last one, too. best, libby

libbyliberalnyc June 06, 2012 05:40 PM


Kathy Knechtges June 06, 2012 09:14 PM

What I find most revealing about the whole Wisconsin debacle was Obama's refusal to campaign for Barrett. It appears his defeat was a foregone conclusions, making Obama reluctant to link his name with his.

I think Wisconsin is going to be a preview of November. The chances of Obama pulling this one out look increasingly slim. The good thing about having a Republican in the White House is the tepid Democrats who were afraid of offending Obama will join us in the streets again.

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall June 07, 2012 01:58 AM

Jack, presumably you’re not talking about Joe the Plumber who is running for office in Ohio and spouting propaganda for the corporations pretending to be representing the working many; presumably your talking about another Joe. However even though your probably right about this Joe there are many others that can be educated and those are the ones that should be focused on at least to some degree so that we can have some sincere people to run the new system when it is in place.

Libby, thanks for the suggestions on media outlets; I’ll be adding them to my list although it is already too long for me to keep track of them all myself; it’s good to have plenty to jump from and check out over time. I spotted you on Correntwire a while ago but still haven’t had time to look too closely at the others there, and your material is of course also posted here.

You’re right that we need to encourage citizens to wake up; ironically by going to extremes the corporations providing plenty of incentive; not that this is a worthy way of accomplishing the goal. Jill is much more popular than the media lets on and it’s all grass roots which means it is mostly informed support.

Dr Bramhal, this is perplexing, but Obama could have made the difference and gained credit for getting Walker out; instead he’ll get the blame as he should from many people although I wouldn’t have trusted his endorsement anyway. Romney is so clownish I just don’t see how he could win and am hoping for a surprise upset from Jill Stein; but it will have to be accompanied by participation that prevents them from thinking they can get away with steeling the election.

Kathy etal, thanks for responding.

zacherydtaylor June 07, 2012 09:49 AM

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