Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bloomberg Calls NYPD "My Own Army"

All part of a speech designed to give people the impression he could and should be president:

In a speech at MIT last night to discuss the packed sweepstakes to build a tech campus in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg said he prefers City Hall to the White House. Almost immediately after Mayor Bloomberg dampened recent speculation he’s eyeing a White House bid, he added fuel to the fire by explaining why a mayor would be the best person for the job.

Mayor Bloomberg’s recent criticism of President Obama for allowing the debt reduction Supercommittee to fail led many political tea leaf watchers to believe he’s eyeing a potential White House bid. To the dismay of those who hope he’ll mount presidential campaign, Mayor Bloomberg began his speech last night by discussing why City Hall is just fine by him.

“I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world. I have my own State Department, much to Foggy Bottom’s annoyance. We have the United Nations in New York, and so we have an entree into the diplomatic world that Washington does not have,” Mayor Bloomberg said.

At first, Mayor Bloomberg sounded he was outlining why three terms as mayor was enough experience in public office for him, but he quickly switched gears and began characterizing City Hall as the perfect preparation for the White House because it allowed him to buck the Beltway establishment get real on-the-ground knowledge.

“I don’t listen to Washington very much, which is something they’re not thrillled about,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “We have every kind of people from every part of the world and every kind of problem.”

Mayor Bloomberg explained that, unlike Washington politicians, mayors are people of action.

“The difference between my level of government and other levels of government is that action takes place at the city level,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “The cities and mayors are where you deal with crime, you deal with real immigration problems, you deal with health problems, you deal with picking up the garbage.”

That Bloomberg still thinks he can run for president after the Bloomberg Blizzard Disaster of 2010, after CityTime and all the other outside consultant scandals that add up to over $1 billion in wasted or stolen taxpayer money, after he declared Zuccotti Park a no-fly zone and sent in his NYPD goons to beat Occupy Wall Street protesters and move them out of the park, after he overhauled the NYC public school system, closed hundreds of schools, threw the entire system into chaos and still couldn't raise test scores or close the achievement gap - well, that takes a lot of chutzpah.

But calling the NYPD "my own army" after all the acts of police brutality over the past few months, well, that really does give some insight into the Little Dictator's mind.

He thinks he's Napoleon and the country's his for the taking.

It's oligarchs like this that the Occupy movement has come to wash away.

Let's get the firehose going.

A Culture of Illegality At Murdoch's Papers

Some amazing revelations in the Murdoch hacking scandal yesterday:

Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson have been branded "the scum of journalism" in a series of allegations from a former News of the World deputy features editor at the UK inquiry into press standards.

Paul McMullan accused Coulson of introducing "wholesale" phone hacking when he appointed editor of the News of the World in 2003, and described Brooks as "the criminal-in-chief".

In a dramatic two-hour testimony before the Leveson inquiry in London on Tuesday, McMullan made allegations about a "culture of illegality" that stretched from "the little men, the reporters" to senior police officers and politicians.

Lord Justice Leveson at times had to interject to warn McMullan that he risked incriminating himself while he was rattling off claims about alleged criminal wrongdoing during his time at News International's Sunday tabloid, which was closed at the height of the public outcry over phone hacking in July.

Asked whether his NoW editors knews that voicemail messages were being intercepted, McMullan said: "Yes ... I could go a bit further than that. We did all these things for our editors, for Rebekah Brooks and for Andy Coulson. You only have to read Coulson's column in Bizarre ... it was blatant and obvious. I don't think anyone realised that anyone was committing a crime at the start."

He added: "Andy Coulson brought that practice [phone hacking] wholesale with him when he was made deputy editor. They should have had the strength of conviction to say, 'Yes, sometimes you have to stray into black or grey illegal areas' ... instead they said we didn't know they were doing it. They should have been the heroes of journalism ... They're the scum of journalism for trying to drop me and my colleagues in it."

He later said: "For 21 years you have a culture of illegality of phone hacking and fiddling your expenses and so on. What you have is a future prime minister cosying up and being moulded by the arch-criminal, Rebekah Brooks, the criminal-in-chief."

The Guardian reports this morning that a seventeenth person has been arrested in connection with the hacking scandal and that one of Tony Blair's former aides is saying that he has been threatened by News International executives for publicly supporting the hacking inquiry.

The Telegraph reports the person arrested was another former Rupert Murdoch employee:

Former News of the World journalist Bethany Usher has been arrested on suspicion of phone hacking.

Miss Usher, a former reporter at the newspaper, was arrested in the north east at 6.35am this morning and is currently at a police station in Northumbria.

She worked for the News of the World from 2006 to 2007 and currently lectures in journalism at Teesside University.

In 2006 she was arrested while at the News of the World after applying for a job in the royal household.

At the time the News of the World confirmed that Miss Usher was one of its reporters and said that she was "engaged in the legitimate journalistic exercise" of investigating security at the palace.

Usher showed her true colors in the hacking matter yesterday when she tweeted to another former Murdoch employee, testifying about the crimes at the Murdoch-owned News of the World, to shut up about them:

Yesterday the 31-year-old Tweeted throughout the testimony of Paul MCMullan, a former reporter at the News of the World who claimed hacking was commonplace.

On her account she wrote: "For god sake Paul McMullen, shut your sickening trap."

Yes, why tell the lurid tales of how the Murdoch Empire operates?

Be like the Murdoch-owned newspapers and TV stations here and just ignore the whole damn thing.

What hacking?

What bribery?

What blackmail?

What extortion?

What espionage?

What conspiracy to cover up a crime?

We dunno what you're talking about.

And hey, look over there - OWS protesters are dirty and need a bath!

These people at the Murdoch papers and stations truly are "the scum of journalism."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Ten years today.

Rupert Murdoch's Hacking Scandal Widens To Classified Government Material - NY Post Remains Silent On Its Own Company's Scandal

From the NY Times:

LONDON — Britain’s hacking scandal was reported on Tuesday to have broadened significantly into areas of national security with police investigating whether private detectives working for the Murdoch media empire hacked into the computer of a government minister responsible for Northern Ireland.


The report said police had warned Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland secretary from 2005 to 2007, that his computer and those of senior civil servants and intelligence agents responsible for the British province may have been hacked by private detectives working for News International.

News International — whose chairman is James Murdoch, the 38-year-old son of the octogenarian mogul Rupert Murdoch — is a British subsidiary of News Corp., the Murdoch-owned global media empire.

The British outpost has been at the center of a controversy convulsing public life here over the use of private detectives to hack into the voice mail of celebrities and less well-known people thrust into the spotlight of the news by personal tragedy.

But the latest reports suggest that the scandal may be widening if it is established that classified material was also hacked from computers. British news reports on Tuesday said Mr. Hain’s computer may have contained information about informers within Northern Ireland’s factions.


The hacking scandal has spurred the government of Prime Minister David Cameron to set up a full-blown inquiry into the practices and ethics of the British and its relationship with the police and politicians.

In recent days, the inquiry has heard testimony from a procession of celebrities ranging from the actor Hugh Grant to J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, chronicling episodes of intrusion into their private lives by reporters. While the scandal revolved initially around phone hacking, it has since broadened into the realm of interference with computers by people using so-called Trojan Horse viruses for remote access to their target’s computers.

What is the Rupert Murdoch-owned NY Post covering these days as the criminal activity of its parent company, News Corporation, becomes more and more evident over in Britain?

Why how Comptroller John Liu, mired in a campaign fund-raising scandal, is a criminal who isn't fit for office.

Never mind that at least 16 News Corp. employees have been arrested in the phone hacking scandal, the criminal activity that News Corp. employees have been alleged to have engaged in ranges from phone and computer hacking to bribing the police to blackmailing lawyers with damaging (and false) material in the newspapers to conspiracy to cover up crimes and now government espionage.

The details of some of this are really sordid.

The Guardian is reporting
that Charlotte Church was threatened by News Corp. employees to sing at Rupert Murdoch's wedding to Wendi Deng in 1999, waive the 100,000 pound fee News Corp. was offering for the event, and receive "favourable" press from the Murdoch papers.

If she refused to sing or refused to waive the fee, the Murdoch papers would print unfavorable stories about her.

Church was 13 at the time of the blackmailing.

Church acquiesced, but in the end, News Corp. reneged on the deal anyway and ran damaging material on her, including one story entitled

"Church's three in a bed cocaine shock". The report said: "Superstar Charlotte Church's mum tried to kill herself because her husband is a love rat hooked on cocaine and three in a bed orgies."

Now as bad as the Charlotte Church and other celebrity hacking/extortion/blackmail allegations are, the espionage allegation against the Murdoch papers is really beyond the pale.

If it is found the be true, Rupert Murdoch needs to be forcefully extracted from his News Corp. empire.

And yet, there is nary a word from the NY Post about any of this.

Or any word.

Just editorials about the evils of John Liu and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Never mind that so much of the evil in this world actually exists inside Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation empire.

Much of it seems to reside right in the center of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers.

And the locus seems to be right in the heart of the Murdoch family.

Bloomberg Administration Told To Release Cathie Black Emails

The Bloomberg administration was ordered to release emails between Cathie Black and members of Mayor Bloomberg's office before she was appointed NYC schools chancellor by State Supreme Court Justice Alice Schlesinger.

A journalist working for the Village Voice asked for the emails under the Freedom of Information Act in 2010 but was denied by Bloomberg's office.

According to Reuters, the Bloomberg administration claimed the emails should not be released because they
"would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy."

They also claimed an inter-agency and intra-agency exemption as another reason to withhold the emails.

The journalist, Sergio Hernandez, filed a civil petition to get the emails and Justice Schlesinger found in his favor:

"The conclusory, blanket denials do not satisfy the standard set by the law," she wrote. "What is more, a review of the two claimed exemptions reveals that neither one applies."

The privacy exception, she ruled, was intended to protect "information of a genuinely private nature only" and had to be balanced with the public interest in disclosure. In the case of Black, who was previously the president of Hearst magazines, Schlesinger noted that her background was of particular value to the public, since she required a waiver from the state education department due to her lack of relevant experience.

"As Ms. Black did not meet the credentialing requirements for the all-important position of School Chancellor, the public has the right to know what information about her employment history and qualifications was disclosed in the e-mails," the judge wrote. "Any information of an intensely personal nature could easily be redacted, with the balance of the information disclosed."

Schlesinger also said that the "inter-agency" rule did not apply, as Black was still a private citizen at the time and did not yet work for the city.

The Bloomberg administration says it may appeal the decision and will withhold the emails until they decide what options they will pursue in the matter.

The hypocrisy in this stonewalling of the Black emails is quite stark.

Bloomberg and the NYCDOE can't wait to release the teacher data reports of fourth through eighth grade English and math teachers even though the reports are rife with errors.

They claim releasing the TDR's does not constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy because teachers are public employees so the public has a right to any and all information and evaluations related to them in a work capacity.

But somehow the emails Between Cathie Black and the mayor's staff the public does not have a right to see because the release would
"constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy."

Just one more example of two sets of rules in Bloomberg's New York - one for the working schlubs and another for Bloomberg and his corporate cronies.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Merryl Tisch: The Public Hates Teachers, But The New Teacher Evaluation System Will Change That

Michael Winerip wrote a piece in the Times today about the principal's revolt against the new teacher evaluation system that requires districts to base 20%-40% of the evaluation system on student test scores.

The criticism of the evaluation system from the principals hits on three key points;

1. The evaluation system has been put together in a slapdash fashion, with no pilot program
2. Only fourth through eighth grade English and math teachers teach subjects that are tested every year - in order to use test scores for all teachers, they're going to have to add new state and district tests in every other subject in every grade
3. The NY State tests were so unreliable in the past that they had to be recalibrated last year - proficiency rates in English and math dropped 25% overnight

One principal described a video the consultants conducting the new evaluation training have shown principals and administrators that has a crew building a plane in mid-air and having an absolute ball doing it, even though the passengers all look frightened to death and are at risk of injury.

Here is that video:

It is clear, even from the video, that the new evaluation system has been put together in a slapdash fashion and that many, many fine educators are going to have their careers and reputations ruined because the NYSED and the Regents have decided to roll out a new system that hasn't been "tested" anywhere yet but seems to have margins of error larger than Michael Bloomberg's ego.

So how does Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch respond in the article to all of this criticism about the new system?

She blames teachers, of course:

Merryl H. Tisch, chancellor of the Board of Regents, said that because of the new “scientific, objective” evaluation system, the public would see that teachers were being held to a rigorous standard and would not dislike them so much. “I’m seeing a much more positive focus about teaching, and I like that,” she said.

Because of the new teacher evaluation system, the public would see that teachers were being held to a more rigorous standard and would not dislike them so much?

Dislike who?


The public doesn't dislike teachers.

In the last Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll on public education, 71% of respondents said they had trust and confidence in the people teaching their children.

And this is after a concerted effort by the hedge fund managers and corporate shills who have been promoting an education reform movement that blasts teachers (and teachers unions) as the biggest problem in education today.

This is after Oprah did a couple of shows hammering "bad teachers."

This is after Waiting for Superman got promoted on NBC and other networks over and over again (even though judging by box office numbers, nobody actually went to see it.)

This is after Bill Gates declared teachers "Public Enemy #1" in every interview he gives on education.

This is after editorial writers like the ones at the Daily News slam teachers day after day after day.

71% of the public still trust teachers.

But in Merryl Tisch's world, the teachers ARE the problem, the public hates them, but the new evaluation system (you know, the one they're building in mid-air) will fix all of that, presumably by getting rid of "bad teachers" and bringing in wonderful new ones.

So what if the evaluation system uses a value-added measurement that has a 12%-35% margin of error (even using three years of test scores gives you a 25% MOE)?

So what if this system hasn't been tested yet?


And that's what matters.

Here is Tisch's contact info. Let her know what you think:

Photo of Board of Regents Vice Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch
Merryl H. Tisch, Chancellor Members at Large
At Large

Regents Office
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, N.Y. 12234 Phone: (518) 474-5889
Contact Board Secretary

NY Post Only Likes Bloomberg Some Of The Time

It's interesting how the NY Post folks get all upset when Bloomberg The Fascist is pulling his autocratic shit on things they support - like free cheese at Sardi's and the Algonquin lobby cat.

But when it's Bloomberg enforcing a no-fly zone over Zuccotti Park and keeping media two blocks from the site while his NYPD goons crack heads, hell, that they're for.

Apparently for the Post, the bigger crime is chaining the Algonquin kitty to the lobby desk.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Baruch Shuts Down Access To CUNY Board Of Trustees Meeting

So much for democracy or public accountability:

Baruch College is postponing a number of afternoon classes tomorrow, ahead of a meeting of the City University of New York's board of trustees.

School officials say all classes in the Newman Vertical Campus that begin after 3:00 p.m. are being rescheduled to Friday.

Friday's classes will be rescheduled to a later date.

School officials say the move is being made to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff, days after a protest over proposed tuition hikes during a prior board of trustees meeting led to more than a dozen arrests.

Student access will be limited to those completing a class already in progress, and people with an urgent need to be in the building.

In a statement, the school's president says Baruch is determined to avoid any repetition of last week's events.

How dare CUNY students protest the oligarchical order, tuition increases, aid decreases and overall income inequality that is exacerbated by some of the very people at the CUNY Board of Trustees meeting.

You'll take your austerity measures AND LIKE IT, BITCHES!


Disaster Economics

Austerity for the masses, free money for the banksters, or we're all dooooommmmmmmeeeeedddddd!!!!!

So says The Economist.

Frankly the doomed part might be right if the Euro Zone goes under.

Or even if it just hits a deep recession and tilts the rest of the world into the abyss with it.

But it's these same arrogant assholes who are clamoring for bankster bailouts or we're going to see Lehman 2.0 x 2 who caused all this shit in the first place.

How come the austerity comes for the masses, but the banksters and hedge fund criminals who caused all of this stuff get to ride off on huge waves of free, newly minted cash?

I'm not an economist, I'm not a political scientist, I'm just an English teacher with a skeptical nature, but my sense is that these people have no idea what the fuck they're doing, are making things worse rather than better with all these imposed austerity measures, and when the Lehman 2.0 x 2 crash comes, the disorder and chaos that is set to be unleashed is going to make the Great Depression look like the Eisenhower Fifties.

No wonder they're clamping down so hard and heavy on the Occupy encampments and such.

And no wonder they're unleashing all that Homeland Security technology on the Occupy people.

They know, man.

They know.

And they're scared.

Imagine what happens if we get Lehman 2.0 x 2?

People are pissed and living in fear already.

And some are finally waking up to not only how dire the circumstances are, but just who it was who caused this mess in the first place.

People aren't going to put up with this bailout for the banksters/austerity for the masses shit a second time.

And they're going to come looking for the arrogant assholes who caused the disaster.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Work, Shop, Obey

Just follow the rules and conventions of our shallow, empty, consumerist society and everything will be all right.

But if you step outside the lines, WE WILL PEPPER SPRAY YOUR ASS.

And that's the best you can hope for.

We might bring some freedom to you, just like we brought freedom to these Afghan children.

Or these Pakistani soldiers.

Or maybe we'll just stick you in a cell next to Bradley Manning where Obama the Nobel Peace Prize Winner will order you to be tortured.

The point is, you had better follow the fucking rules if you don't want trouble.

Have you got that now?

Especially you lousy dirty OWS hippies in LA and Philadelphia.

You got 'til Cyber Monday before we come for your hippie asses.

Bloomberg, Kelly, and the Vaunted New York City Crime Stat Miracle

Dear Leader Bloomberg and his police commissioner Raymond Kelly like to point to statistics showing New York is the safest it's been decades.

Violent crime, they say, is especially down.

And yet, we have stories like this one from this morning's Daily News:

Criminals feasted on violence over Thanksgiving.

In a 24-hour span there were eight shootings, five stabbings and at least four slashings — with two of those incidents becoming homicides.

Among the dead was Eric Norman, 18, who was found with a gunshot to the head in the driveway of a home on Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway about 10 p.m. on Thursday.

Police said there were seven other shootings across the city between 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and 6 a.m. on Black Friday.

Eleven people were hit with bullets altogether, but Norman, who has prior collars for drug offenses, was the only fatality. Police did not reveal a motive in his killing, and an arrest had not been made as of Friday night.

The five stabbing incidents left six people with knife wounds, one of whom died of the injuries, police said.

The dead man, a 26-year-old whom police did not identify, was killed in the second installment of violence between groups in Jamaica, Queens, shortly before midnight Friday.

The unidentified man was walking with a pal near 143rd St. and 90th Ave. when they were confronted by three men, police sources said. An argument led to a fight, but it was broken up when a good Samaritan came out of his home.

The three attackers left, but returned a short time later to settle the score. The 26-year-old man was stabbed several times in the torso; he died at Jamaica Hospital. His friend was knifed once in the torso and was in stable condition at the same hospital, police said.

The attackers also got even with the good Samaritan, clubbing him with a baseball bat, one of the sources said. No arrests were made.

In Staten Island, two men and a woman were wounded when a gunman opened fire outside the Da’ Game night club on Van Duzer St. in Stapleton about 2 a.m. Friday.

Six people were bloodied in the four slashings, including two women and a man who were attacked as a nut went wild near Club La Vie in the East Village about 4 a.m. Friday.

A 27-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman had left the club and were standing down the block, on the corner of First St. and First Ave., when a man slashed her face and her companion’s face and chest, a police source said.

A 23-year-old woman who was walking on the street was also slashed in an arm. All survived.

Police said it’s not clear what prompted the vicious assaults, but that a suspect was being questioned last night.

Last April, New York State released a report showing how the city's crime rate ranked in the overall state:

Crime in New York State is on the decline, but embedded in the overall narrative is a shift in the regions where it is taking place.

Specifically, crime within New York City accounted for 63 percent of all the crime within the state in 1990, with the remainder occurring everywhere else in the state outside the boundaries of New York’s five boroughs.

But those numbers are now reversed.

In 2010, reports of crime in the counties outside New York City accounted for 58 percent of all the state’s crime — in the seven major categories of crime, known as index crimes. And the rest of it, or 42 percent, took place within New York City.

That was one takeaway fact from a report issued this week by the State Division of Criminal Justice Services’ office of research and performance.

“That’s a trend that has been going for a while, but it is certainly noted here,” said John M. Caher, a spokesman for the agency. “Much of the decrease in crime has been driven by New York City.”


To Paul J. Browne, the New York Police Department’s chief spokesman, it is noteworthy that “the flip” in the city’s proportion of statewide crime occurred at a time when the city’s population was increasing.

The state agency’s report is chock full of other facts.

In another New York City-centric offering, it said that while violent crime in the city fell by nearly 30 percent since 2001, “the non-New York City counties reported a decrease of almost 9 percent.”

Each category of violent crime has declined in the city and in the rest of the state since 2001, except for murders, which rose slightly outside the city.

Now I have noted before on this blog how some people in the criminal justice field think the Bloomberg/Kelly crime stats are jive.

In fact, back in 2010, two criminologists published a study showing how the city's crime statistics are just that:

Days after a Brooklyn cop and a Queens politician accused the police of cooking its crime statistics, a survey of more than one hundred retired NYPD higher-ups showed that cops—who are under constant pressure to produce happy-looking stats—have routinely fabricated or manipulated their data, since the crime analysis system was put into place in 1995. And the statistics they produce are the very same that Bloomberg quotes when he says the city is safe, and getting safer every year. “Those people in the CompStat era felt enormous pressure to downgrade index crime, which determines the crime rate, and at the same time they felt less pressure to maintain the integrity of the crime statistics,” said John A. Eterno, one of the researchers and a former NYPD captain.

“As one person said, the system provides an incentive for pushing the envelope,” another researcher, Eli B. Silverman told the NY Times. Together with Eterno he's writing a book tentatively titled “Unveiling Compstat: The Naked Truth.” Researchers think that for one, there was a periodic practice, of underreporting the value of goods stolen, so that there would be fewer grand larcenies (thefts of over $1000) on the record. Other times, they believe that precinct commanders and aides went to crime scenes to convince victims not to file complaints, or to encourage them to file less serious complaints.

Paul J. Browne, the chief police spokesman, said the study was flawed because of its anonymity, and because multiple respondents could be remembering the same incidents. He added that there have been two other, better studies analyzing crime stats. One, administered by NYU concluded that, “the city and department officials, and the public can be reasonably assured that the N.Y.P.D. data are accurate, complete and reliable.”

Still, those surveyed were frank in their criticism of the system. “CompStat was a good idea in theory,” wrote one respondent. “However the process rules managerial decisions. We do not manage to serve people but to lower crime statistics any way we can because your career depends on it.”

Now I'm not a cop and don't claim to be one. I'm not a criminologist and don't claim to be one of those either.

But as a teacher, I have seen the system that Bloomberg and his chancellor Joel Klein out into place that rewarded schools that manipulated crime stats, graduation rates, test scores etc. and punished schools that didn't.

You don't have to be a genius to make the leap from "manipulated education stats" to "manipulated crime stats" when cops are claiming they work under the same kind of system that rewards those who "lower crime statistics any way we can" rather than, you know, actually lowering crime.

Two anecdotal stories to add to this.

My wife had her wallet stolen a year back in Herald Square. It was quite clear it was stolen there. When we walked into a crowd outside Victoria's Secret on 34th and 6th Avenue, she had it on her. When we walked out of that crowd and attempted to use the PATH train on 32nd and 6th, it was gone. The police refused to declare this incident a crime, insisting that she didn't know whether it was stolen or lost. It wasn't until somebody used her credit card later to buy a Happy Meal at a McDonald's in Washington Heights that the cops were forced to declare the incident a crime (unlawful use of a credit card is a felony.)

A co-worker of mine told me a story that happened to his friend in Midtown. He was in a deli when he saw two guys in the store begin to beat up somebody else in the store. Not knowing what was happening, he began yelling "Hey, what are you doing?" when somebody cold-cocked him from the side and knocked him out. When he awoke, he found himself laying in the street, face bruised and bloodied. He attempted to get the police to investigate, but first one precinct told him he was in the wrong jurisdiction, then when he finally got to the right precinct, the police refused to make a report. One cop said that it looked more like a lover's spat than a crime and he ought to take it easy when arguing with his boyfriend. My co-worker said that his friend said he left the precinct in disgust, unable to file a report, frustrated by the red tape that sent him to two different precincts, and angered over the treatment he got from the police.

Now again, these stories are anecdotal and the NYPD claims the 2010 report is flawed and Bloomberg points to all the tourists that feel safe enough to come to the city every year as proof positive that New York City is safe and crime is down.

But every time I see a story like the one from the Daily News about the violence that took place in the city over a 24 hour period, violence that even the NYPD could not mischaracterize or refuse to file reports on, I really do wonder just how phony the Bloomberg/Kelly crime miracle is.

Is it as phony as the Bloomberg/Klein education miracle?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Shoppers Use NYPD Pepper Spray Tactics

This is one way you can try and make sure you get the Black Friday doorbusters:

Black Friday took an ugly turn at a Los Angeles Wal-Mart when a female shopper -desperate to get her hands on discounted electronics-pepper sprayed a crowd to keep them away from the merchandise she wanted.

At least 20 shoppers suffered minor injuries and police are still looking for the woman.

The melee began shortly after 10:20 p.m. Thursday as shoppers prowling for Black Friday deals were let inside the store.

The suspect began shooting the pepper spray when the coverings of items she wanted were removed, according to police.

"Somehow she was trying to use [the pepper spray] to gain an upper hand," police Lt. Abel Parga said.

Witnesses described the frenzied scene to the Los Angeles Times, detailing how shoppers-gone-wild tore down video game displays, trampled merchandise and shoved each other for the deeply-discounted goods.

"People started screaming, pulling and pushing each other, and then the whole area filled up with pepper spray," Alejandra Seminario, 24, told the newspaper.

After the competitive shopper unleashed the chemicals, Seminario said she began to cough and her face began to itch.

"I guess what triggered it was people started pulling the plastic off the pallets and then shoving and bombarding the display of games. It started with people pushing and screaming because they were getting shoved onto the boxes," she added.

Chaos also erupted at a Fayetteville, N.C. mall after gunfire erupted. Police are looking for two suspects. Luckily no one was injured.

Wal-Mart came under the microscope on Black Friday in 2008, when a store employee died after a mob of frenzied shoppers smashed through a Long Island store front and trampled the worker to death.

Despite the mahem in Los Angeles, the store remained opened and those not affected by the pepper spray continued to hunt for bargains.

"I don't care," Nakeasha Contreras, a 20 year old who arrived after the incident, told the Times. "I'm still getting my TV."

It's interesting that the NY Post and other corporate media outlets have described the Occupy Wall Street protesters as "animals" and the tents that housed a library, a medical center and a media center at Zuccotti Park as a "zoo," but somehow don't blink when the greed and bleed that is "Black Friday" sets off these kinds of incidents.

If anything can be described as a "zoo," it's the malls and shopping areas of America on this most evil of days - Black Shop Til You Drop Friday.

And if anybody can be described as animals, it's these people who use pepper spray, gunfire and violence to get the Doorbuster Barbie doll or whatever other piece of consumer crap they're lusting after.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cathie Black Shows Up At Zuccotti Park

Hard to know if she showed up to support Occupy Wall Street or if she was just on the way back from a Hamptons cocktail party and couldn't quite make it all the way home.

But in any case, it's nice to see the woman who gave tips to the 1% on how to lay members of the 99% off doing what she does best.

And doesn't she look just fabulous in her stylish boots and dress - even the NY Post thinks so!

One thing, though - I thought the cops weren't letting anybody at Zuccotti lay down on the benches?

Shouldn't they be putting orange netting around her or something?

Nobel Peace-Prize Winning Obama Continues To Have Innocents Slaughtered

While Obama enjoys his mac&cheese, ham, turkey, and seven kinds of desserts at his Thanksgiving dinner at the White House, here is what he is ordering the U.S. military to do:

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Six children were among seven civilians killed in a NATO airstrike in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Thursday.

The deaths occurred on Wednesday in Zhare District of Kandahar Province, an area described by coalition forces as largely pacified in recent months, and two insurgents were also killed, the Afghan officials said.

A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, Master Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, said the authorities were aware of the episode and had sent a team to the district to investigate. He said ISAF had not previously issued a news release on the deaths.

Zalmai Ayoubi, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar, said that a NATO reconnaissance aircraft spotted five militants planting mines in the village of Siacha, in Zhare District on Wednesday. The plane targeted the insurgents, killing two and wounding a third, and then pursued the other two suspects as they carried their injured comrade away.

“The plane chased them, the insurgents entered a street where children were playing and as a result of its shooting, seven people have been killed, including six children, and two girls also have been injured,” Mr. Ayoubi said. The victims were members of two families.

Abdul Samad, an uncle of four of the children who were killed, disputed the government’s version of the attack. He said his relatives were working in fields near their village when they were attacked without warning by an aircraft.

His brother-in-law, Mohammad Rahim, 50, had his two sons and three daughters with him. They were between 4 and 12 years old and all were killed, except an 8-year-old daughter, who was badly wounded, Mr. Samad said.

“There were no Taliban in the field, this is a baseless allegation that the Taliban were planting mines,” Mr. Samad said. “I have been to the scene and haven’t found a single bit of evidence of bombs or any other weapons. The Americans did a serious crime against innocent children, they will never ever be forgiven.”

This guy won a Nobel Peace Prize?

What a joke.

Obama ought to be in a jail cell for war criminals, right next to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz and the rest.

You can imagine the names people would call any terrorist who was responsible for the killing of innocent American children.

But what do they call Obama, a man who is responsible for just that, sans the "American" part?

Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Occupy Thanksgiving

Occupy Wall Street protesters plan to celebrate Thanksgiving in Zuccotti Park today:

Occupy Wall Street protesters plan on marking Thanksgiving with a feast in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan on Thursday.

A volunteer with the demonstrators' public relations group says they will have meals and music for 3,000 people.

The food is being donated by restaurants and individual supporters.

They also say they will be abiding by state Health Department code by wrapping all the plates of food individually.

The music will be acoustic, because protesters do not have a permit for loudspeakers.

There will also be a canned food drive, with donations going to local food banks and pantries.

NY 1 also reports that NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly is warning cops to leave journalists alone during anti-OWS actions, citing the police crackdown 0f journalists (including the arrest of five of them) during last week's Zuccotti Park raid as a problem:

Police officers are being ordered to back off the media after several journalists were arrested at Zuccotti Park.

In a letter to station houses, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says officers should not unreasonably interfere with media access during the Occupy Wall Street protests.

He says those who do not follow the rule will face disciplinary action.

The police department came under fire for arresting several journalists and blocking others from gaining access to the park when it was being cleaned out.

This is a joke on the face it.

Kelly led the police action during the raid - you can be sure that HE WANTED the media shut out, shut down, kept away and otherwise unable to witness for themselves or take video and photos of the brutality the police planned to engage in to move protesters out of the park.

Kelly (and his boss, the mayor) are trying to shift blame from themselves to cops in the ranks or mid-level brass for the media crackdown.

But cops in the ranks and mid-level brass didn't order a total shutdown of the subways, a no-fly zone over Zuccotti Park (which kept helicopters from both the CBS and the NBC affiliates from flying over the park and taking pictures from above), and a two block barricade away from the park that kept journalists out of sight of the raid.

Kelly ordered these things, or his boss, the mayor, did.

Either way, the point is the same - Ray Kelly is full of shit on the media crackdown stuff.

His boss, the mayor, a media mogul who owns a major business TV and radio network as well as a major business magazine, understands that they don't want to antagonize the media people too much on this OWS stuff.

After all, the corporate media has so far most dutifully reported the OWS protests using the frame the establishment wants - they're no-good, down and dirty unemployed hippie scum who need to take baths and get jobs and stop making the city spend so much money on overtime and pepper spray.

Just witness how the coverage of the Day of Action last Thursday went.

But the mayor knows that in order to keep the media people on his (and thus, the establishments' side), they have to at least pay lip service to respecting journalists and the job they are supposed to do.

That's all this Kelly declaration is - jive ass bullshit meant to fool people into thinking these fascists won't engage in another media blackout when the chips are down and their cracking heads in.

But you can be sure they won't think twice of repeating any of what they did back at the Zuccotti raid.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hackers Target Cop Who Pepper-Sprayed Protesters

I bet Lt. Pike didn't envision this when he calmly and methodically pepper-sprayed a bunch of peaceful protesters sitting on the ground last Friday:

The UC Davis police officer filmed casually pepper-spraying passive student protesters is the latest target of the computer hacking collective Anonymous.

A new 10-minute video attributed to the shadowy "hacktivist" group threatens the officer directly and makes public his personal contact information - including his cell phone number and an alleged home address.

The voicemail on the working cell number for Lt. John Pike was full Tuesday.

"Dear Officer John Pike, we are Anonymous. Your information is now public domain," a computer-generated voice narrating the Anonymous video states.

"Expect our full wrath," the voice continues as viral video of the Friday incident plays in the background. "Anonymous seeks to avenge all protesters…We are going to make you squeal like a pig."

The ominous message, which ends with a photo of Pike and the sounds of shrieking pigs, makes no excuse for exposing Pike to potential reprisals.

"We have no problem targeting police and releasing their information even if it puts them at risk because we want them to experience just a taste of the brutality and misery they serve us on an everyday basis," it says.

The message I would send to Lt. Pike is this:

Lt. Pike, your methodical, cold-blooded pepper spraying of peaceful, non-violent protesters seated on the ground who posed no threat to you or your colleagues clearly shows that you are a sociopath who is unfit for police duty.

You need to be stripped of your badge and your gun immediately and fired from your job.

You should be arrested for your violent behavior.

In addition, the protesters you harmed should sue you personally in order to hold you accountable for your actions.

You need to defend yourself in court before a judge and jury.

It is only by holding violent cops who engage in acts of brutality accountable for their crimes that we will stop additional acts of police brutality from occurring.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

OWS Protesters Heckle Obama

Now THIS is change I can believe in:

Hecklers occupied some of President Obama's time Tuesday during a speech about the state of the economy.

As the President began his remarks in front a crowd packed into a Manchester, N.H., high school gym, Occupy Wall Streeters could be heard chanting, "Over 4,000 peaceful protesters have been arrested while 'banksters' continue to destroy the American economy."

Obama's water carriers in the crowd quickly chanted louder than the OWS protesters, but even Obama had to acknowledge the OWS message:

"Listen, I'm going to be talking about a whole range of things today," he said. "I appreciate you guys making your point. Let me go ahead and make mine, all right?"

As the 2012 campaign goes on, it is vital that Obama be made to face his failures and sellouts on jobs, the economy, the bank bailouts, the trade agreements and the rest that has helped make income inequality the worst it's been since right before the Great Depression.

I would love to see OWS people show up at both Obama and Romney events and disrupt the proceedings, but I think it is particularly important that Obama not get to play populist or progressive this time around.

He is a corporatist president who has run a corporatist administration.

Make him defend that.

Protests Come To CUNY

It's good to see students at CUNY beginning to rise up against their corporate overlords:

A daylong rally by City University of New York students against a planned tuition increase turned turbulent Monday evening when marchers ignored police requests to clear the lobby of a building where the university’s trustees were meeting and 15 people were arrested.

The students were pushed to the ground and taken away in handcuffs from the lobby of Baruch College, in Manhattan, while protesting a planned tuition increase for the 2012-13 academic year, on which the trustees are to vote next Monday.

Carlos Pazmino, 21, a City College student who helped organize the protest, said that after students began opening lobby doors to the building where the CUNY trustees were holding a public hearing on the 14th floor, CUNY public safety officers surrounded the entrances and pushed back, using their batons. He said that when students formed a line to push past, the officers began hitting the students with the batons.

“I saw two people knocked down by cops,” Mr. Pazmino said. “They were arrested, and one guy’s head was bleeding.”

During the fighting, students on higher floors dropped books down on the police, and captured the scuffle on video. A crowd of 200 to 300 protesters outside beat on the lobby’s windows, also shouting, “Shame.”


The protest began with a handful of organizers who marched through the cafeteria at City College at lunchtime. The group is demanding the repeal of the tuition increase approved in the summer by the city and the state: $300 a year for five years.

Later in the afternoon, the protest moved to Madison Square Park, where CUNY students from other colleges had agreed to meet. The growing crowd then marched on to Baruch College, at Lexington Avenue and 24th Street.

At Baruch, the campus police restricted access to the hearing to those who had registered, and set up barricades around the building, the William and Anita Newman Vertical Campus Conference Center, in whose lobby the confrontation occurred. At one point, the police told those who had pushed into the lobby, and refused to leave, that they would be arrested for trespassing. The students then sat down, and were pushed to a wall by the campus police.

“We have made it clear to the university that violent response to students who are protesting nonviolently is not acceptable,” said Barbara Bowen, the president of the faculty union, the CUNY Professional Staff Congress, who was in the meeting while the students were being arrested.

At the afternoon protest at Madison Square Park, protesters chanted, “Banks got bailed out, students got sold out.”

A small group of New York University and New School students joined the rally to support CUNY students, apparently part of an unrelated campaign by Occupy Wall Street organizers called Occupy Student Debt. Andrew Ross, an N.Y.U. professor affiliated with that group, said it was aiming to get one million students to pledge that they would not pay back their loans.

But Denise Romero, 19, a junior at Baruch and one of the organizers of Monday’s protest, insisted that the CUNY protest was independent of Occupy Wall Street. “We support them and they support us, but we are not affiliated,” she said.

She added that CUNY students were protesting not only tuition increases but also the university’s push for a public-private partnership. CUNY received $1.4 billion in private philanthropy this year, according to a university spokesman.

“We want more student representation,” said Ms. Romero, who had registered to speak at the hearing Monday.

Cuomo and Bloomberg think they can push sharp increases in fees and tuition and sharp decreases in financial aid onto SUNY and CUNY students and they will meekly take it.

So far, students and their families mostly have.

But we're starting to see some action on that front and occupying every one of these meetings where the political shills do their dirty work for their corporate masters is an important first step.

Publicly connecting Cuomo and Bloomberg to these tuition and fee increases and aid decreases is the next one.

Tax cuts for millionaire's, tuition increases for everybody else...

POSTSCRIPT: A group calling itself SAVE OUR SUNY was joined by members of Occupy Albany to protest budget cuts and tuition hikes at SUNY up in Albany.

It's good to see the ball rolling on this.

Bloomberg Plans To Run For God Next

Newsweek says Bloomberg has big plans for the future:

Former Mike Bloomberg aide Kevin Sheekey hints to Newsweek that big things are planned for the New York mayor once he leaves office.

Said Sheekey: "City Hall holds him back. He stands to become something much larger after he leaves office. Mike Bloomberg has the ability to be the best parts of Bill Clinton, Rupert Murdoch, and Bill Gates all rolled up into one."

Sheekey, of course, was behind the effort to quietly explore a Bloomberg independent bid for president in 2008.

You can bet he'll throw millions into education reform efforts, lobbying for changes to LIFO, teacher bashing and union-busting.

And he'll have plenty, given how much money his company is making.

Even after he's dead, he plans to continue this work through his charitable foundations.

So nothing can stop Bloomberg from getting his way on so many of the things he wants - not his leaving office in 2014, not his failure to win the presidency in 2008 or 2012, not even death.

What Moneybags wants, Moneybags gets.

As for the "Mike Bloomberg has the ability to be the best parts of Bill Clinton, Rupert Murdoch, and Bill Gates all rolled up into one" statement, geez, was that meant to be ironic?

I mean, seriously - the best of Clinton, Murdoch and Gates rolled into one?

I guess that Sheekey means Bloomberg's going to be an arrogant, egocentric, predatory, monopolistic, ruthless, criminal asshole who takes whatever he wants no matter the social harm it causes.

In other words, he's going to be the same Bloomberg we got for 12 years as mayor.

As Mark Twain once said about somebody nowhere near as noxious as Bloomberg, he ought to spend eternity in John Bunyan's version of hell.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Police Defend Use Of Pepper Spray Against UC Davis Protesters

The Associated Press finds a retired policeman from Baltimore who wrote the city's book on use of force who defends the use of pepper spray on seated, passive protesters at UC Davis as Standard Operation Police Procedure:

SAN FRANCISCO — As video spread of an officer in riot gear blasting pepper spray into the faces of seated protesters at a northern California university, outrage came quickly — followed almost as quickly by defense from police and calls for the chancellor’s resignation.

University of California Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi said in a statement Saturday she was forming a task force to investigate the police action and the video images she said were “chilling.”

However, a law enforcement official who watched the clip called the use of force “fairly standard police procedure.”

In the video, an officer dispassionately pepper-sprays a line of several sitting protesters who flinch and cover their faces but remain passive with their arms interlocked as onlookers shriek and scream out for the officer to stop.


The protest was held in support of the overall Occupy Wall Street movement and in solidarity with protesters at the University of California, Berkeley who were jabbed by police with batons on Nov. 9.

Charles J. Kelly, a former Baltimore Police Department lieutenant who wrote the department’s use of force guidelines, said pepper spray is a “compliance tool” that can be used on subjects who do not resist, and is preferable to simply lifting protesters.

“When you start picking up human bodies, you risk hurting them,” Kelly said. “Bodies don’t have handles on them.”

After reviewing the video, Kelly said he observed at least two cases of “active resistance” from protesters. In one instance, a woman pulls her arm back from an officer. In the second instance, a protester curls into a ball. Each of those actions could have warranted more force, including baton strikes and pressure-point techniques.

“What I’m looking at is fairly standard police procedure,” Kelly said.

Lt. Kelly is absolutely correct - this is standard police procedure.

And that is the problem.

How anybody could say that a person pulling their arm away from a policeman or covering their face from pepper spray is engaged in an "active resistance" is beyond me.

But Lt. Kelly does.

And you can bet a lot of other officers in both blue and white shirts think the exact same thing all across this country.

These guys have seen the enemy and it is every American who does not meekly comply with the orders of the establishment - WORK, SHOP, OBEY.

As I wrote earlier, it is only a matter of time before they start shooting real bullets.

And they'll defend that too.

Ducking police bullets while peacefully rallying against Wall Street is, after all, an "act of resistance."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shame At UC Davis

That's UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi doing the walk of shame past UC Davis students after hiding in her office for three hours after giving a press conference at which she defended her use of armed police to disperse Occupy UC Davis protesters from a tent city they had set up next to an academic building to protest tuition hikes and police brutality at UC Berkeley.

Police, dressed in stormtrooper gear straight out of Star Wars and brandishing machine guns like U.S. soldiers in Baghdad, first destroyed the tent city students had erected, then ordered students to leave the area or face arrest.

Students calmly sat on the ground, arms linked, heads bowed, in civil disobedience of the police order.

Here is what happened next:

The police atrocities did not end there, as Assistant Professor of English Nathan Brown described in his letter to the chancellor calling for her to resign:

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

Katehi defended her use of armed police on the campus at a press conference held in an administrative building on the UC Davis campus. Students were not allowed to attend this press conference and gathered outside the building to protest. The Davis Enterprise picks up the story:

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi remained inside Surge II for nearly three hours Saturday after hundreds of protesters surrounded the building, interrupting her news conference about the pepper-spraying of protesters by campus police the day before.

Protesters showed up minutes after the 4 p.m. conference began. Their voices could be heard within the building.

Many of those who had gathered outside said they believed Katehi did not give the UCD community sufficient notice and that the choice of venue was unfair because it did not permit the general public inside.

“After what happened yesterday, everyone is really, really angry,” said Steve Cox, a UCD graduate student. “It’s kind of unfair for her to hold a press conference in a really small venue with very short notice to try to exclude the student body. We have just as much of a right to be there as anybody and she needs to answer to us.”

The press conference was cut short as a result of the student protest outside, but Katehi refused to leave the building, trying to make it look like students were holding her hostage even though they had cleared a path for her to leave:

The protesters formed lines leading away from the building, leaving a pathway to permit the chancellor’s exit, but the chancellor did not leave immediately following the conference.

“It didn’t seem like we would be allowed to leave,” said Mitchell Benson, assistant vice chancellor for university communications. “There was quite a loud, and I would hazard to say, hostile crowd outside both of the doors of the building and it didn’t seem that she would be able to get out in a safe manner, so she stood put for a couple of hours.”

While protesters chanted outside for, among other things, her resignation, Katehi stayed inside.

“I didn’t have a sense that it was an appropriate atmosphere or an appropriate environment to walk out of the building at that time,” Mitchel continued. “There was no rush to leave.”

Here is a photo of students clearing a path for Katehi and other administrators to leave:

Doesn't look like Katehi is being held hostage by students.

Rather, it looks like she feared to face them on her way out.

And no wonder - when she not only ordered armed police to disperse protesters but even defended their use of force against students in order to keep the campus safe before video surfaced showing very clearly that the students were not aggressive in any way and force didn't need to be used, well, why would she want to walk by them?

She has to know, despite her public refusal to step down or acknowledge that she did anything wrong, that her days are numbered at UC Davis and she has now become one of the faces of brutal repression in modern America.

This atrocity at UC Davis will go down in American history as one of the more egregious examples of Police State Clampdown.

The bravery of the students who endured the pepper-spraying, the restraint the rest of the students showed in the face of this brutal act, indeed, the restraint the students showed outside Katehi's press conference and the breath-taking video of Katehi doing the SILENT WALK OF SHAME by them, it really puts the official state response to the OWS protests into stark contrast with the "official story" that the corporate media has been telling about them.

These are not violent, aggressive criminals that police can only corral by using extreme force.

These are seated students engaged in passive civil disobedience, the kind that Gandhi and Martin Luther King engaged in.

It is very difficult if not impossible for ANYBODY to defend this brutal act or the lack of accountability that Katehi is showing by not immediately resigning in disgrace.

This woman should not only lose her job at UC Davis, she should never be allowed to work in any position connected to young people, or even adults, ever again.

Clearly she has neither the ethics nor the judgment to be in any position of authority.

As for the police, one of the officers who sprayed students has been identified as Lt. John Pike.

There is another officer doing some spraying here, although I have yet to see this one identified.

Others are reported to have held students down while officers pepper sprayed their mouths.

In a day and age when teachers are subject to having their names and teacher data reports published in the newspapers as a way to hold them accountable for performance, I cannot see how the police officers who engage in these brutally repressive acts can remain nameless and faceless behind their THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK helmets and pepper spray fire extinguishers.

And yet, other than the this instance with Lt. Pike and a few other instances, so far they have.

Even in cases where they have been identified, as in the case of Tony Bolonga in NYC, there has been little to no punishment of the police brutality.

Bologna, for instance, lost 10 vacation days and was transferred from Manhattan to Staten Island, where he lives.

Gee, how awful - now he has a shorter commute to work.

But these acts of police violence and state oppression are really adding up, as Garance Franke-Ruta details here in The Atlantic.

The pepper spraying of four women already corralled in orange netting on Broadway, the kettling of hundreds of protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge, the shooting of an Iraq war veteran in Oakland with rubber bullets that put him into a coma, the pepper spraying of an 84 year old woman, the pepper spraying of a pregnant woman, the brutal beatings administered at Zuccotti and the Wall Street area, the police brutality at UC Berkeley and now the atrocity at UC Davis.

This is the official response to the OWS protests.

It won't be long now before there is a Kent State-like atrocity wherein some sadistic police goon opens fire on protesters.

That is unfortunate, but you can see that it is coming.

The police brutality is getting worse with each of these incidents, not better.

They are not being held accountable AT ALL for any of this.

And as Glenn Greenwald has pointed out more than once, they are outfitted with paramilitary equipment, ostensibly to fight terrorism, that they're now itching to use against OWS protesters.

So it goes.

The shame of UC Davis.

The shame of a nation.

Welcome to 2011 America.

Beware the pepper spray, police batons, tear gas and orange netting.

Somebody From The City Smashed OWS Laptops With Bats

This is what some of the laptops the NYPD confiscated from OWS protesters last Tuesday look like.

The mayor says OWS protesters can pick their stuff up at a Sanitation Department facility on West 57th Street up until Tuesday.

Gothamist reports what one protester who went to pick up some computer equipment found:

A reporter followed Isaac Wilder, a member of OWS' Signal Corps, which was charged with providing Wi-Fi in Zuccotti, as he entered the Sanitation building to collect his property taken in the raid: a backpack, a nine-foot tall tower containing wireless routers, and $5,000 in cash. No press are allowed in the building, and Wilder describes the mound of personal affects as "a large heap of damp, mangled, cat-piss smelling stuff." He finds all the broken computers, laid out in a row.

A Sanitation rep tells Motherboard that he's "not surprised" that the laptops are damaged, and neither are we considering that witnesses to the raid described the "crunching" sound of the contents of Zuccotti Park being dumped into truck beds. Wilder didn't end up finding any of his property; it appears to be lost along with the items from the library, medical tent, and other portions of the park that accrued two months worth of resources.

Such a nice respectful nighttime raid by the NYPD goons.

And thanks, Mr. Mayor, for saving their stuff.

See you in court, asshole.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

This Is What Fascism Looks Like

Some Words Of Wisdom From Big Bird

The oligarchs declared victory against Occupy Wall Street this week.

With OWS raided out of their home at Zuccotti Park and with the corporate news media having turned Thursday's "Day of Action" into a "OWS Attacks the 99% and Keeps Them From Getting To Work", they think they've got this protest thing wrapped up solid.

The key is always to get the 99% back to fighting each rather than fighting the oligarchs.

And they're very busy doing that right now.

In some cases, they've been quite successful.

At least if you read the tabloids and watch the corporate news media.

But Juan Gonzalez has some words of wisdom on the movement:

They aren’t going anywhere.

During a long and turbulent day of street protests, the ragtag rebels of Occupy Wall Street served notice that their two-month-old movement against the nation’s big banks and corporations is now stronger than ever.

Sure, Mayor Bloomberg and the police arrested hundreds of them this week and evicted their tents and sleeping bags, their computers and their books, from Zuccotti Park.

But no one can stifle the burning belief among so many of these young people that America has lost its way — or that it is up to them to change things.

Critics who label them slovenly misfits, troublemakers and drug addicts, have not bothered to take the time to engage them.

Nor do those critics understand that social movements are never neat and tidy or easy to decipher — not at the beginning.

Even in the midst of an unprecedented police presence in lower Manhattan, with dozens of checkpoints set up and cops demanding IDs for anyone getting near the Financial District, new supporters of the protest kept finding their way to Zuccotti.

With more austerity measures to come, with the sovereign debt/banking crisis continuing to sweep through Europe and threatening to bring about real collapse of the financial system just four years after the last near collapse, with more layoffs looming and Social Security and Medicare cuts counted on as the solution to the country's economic problems, you can bet more people will find their way down to Zuccotti.

The NY Times reports today that one out of every three people are living below the poverty line or just barely above it.

That's 100 million people.

After a lost decade of flat wages and the worst downturn since the Great Depression, the findings can be thought of as putting numbers to the bleak national mood — quantifying the expressions of unease erupting in protests and political swings. They convey levels of economic stress sharply felt but until now hard to measure.

The Census Bureau, which published the poverty data two weeks ago, produced the analysis of those with somewhat higher income at the request of The New York Times. The size of the near-poor population took even the bureau’s number crunchers by surprise.

“These numbers are higher than we anticipated,” said Trudi J. Renwick, the bureau’s chief poverty statistician. “There are more people struggling than the official numbers show.”

Bloomberg and Murdoch and Zuckerman and and the rest of the oligarchs want you to go back to meekly obeying your corporate masters, running the machines and the offices more productively for less pay, taking on debts you'll never pay off to educate yourself, and buying, buying, buying the newest latest must have gadget and consumer trend with money you don't have so you can distract yourself from just how badly you're getting fucked by a system that threw you overboard thirty fucking years ago.

They think they can put the lid back on the unrest with force and lies and deception and distraction.

But these numbers don't lie and the despair in the country is real and that cannot be erased with lies and deception and distraction.

Even Big Bird knows where the problem lies.

Friday, November 18, 2011

FOX NEWS Lies About Subway Shutdowns

All day yesterday, students asked me if the OWS protesters were planning on shutting down subways.

No, I said to them, all that is happening is protesters are going to stand at some subway stops and tell their stories.

I kept checking the Internet to see what was going on as the day progressed and I kept seeing the same thing - no subway shutdowns, just mic checks and the like.

But the fear the kids had about not getting home grew all day.

Then an announcement was made that the DOE was saying protesters were trying to shut down the subways and there might be substantial delays getting home.

Again, I checked the Times and NY1 - no alerts about that.

In fact, at 3:42 PM, the Times City Blog reported that there were no subway shutdowns.

Yet by that time, the damage had been done - 1 million school kids and their parents had been told by the DOE and Chancellor Walcott that the dirty fucking hippies were trying to shut down the subways and wreck the evenings of millions of NYer's just trying to get home.

And whither did this misinformation come from about the OWS protesters trying to shut down the subways?

Why, FOX NEWS, of course.

And who dispersed that information late in the day even though they knew there were no news reports about subway shutdowns and even the NYPD was saying everything was fine?

Why, Mayor Bloomberg's Department of Education, of course.

I went down to my local C/E stop to find half a dozen protesters on one side of the street, about 10 on the other. All were holding OWS signs, none were actively bothering people trying to get on the subway.

I asked a cop at the station if there were any delays on the trains.

He laughed and said, "No - it's very quiet down there right now. Not like downtown at all."

I headed down to Chambers Street and asked another officer if there were any slowdowns on the subways. He, too, shook his head and said no.

It took me 12 minutes to get from my stop to Chambers Street - a few minutes quicker than usual.

So much for the substantial subway delays.

But all those kids in the New York City schools and their parents know is, the chancellor said the dirty fucking hippies were trying to shut down the subway and keep them from getting home.

Despite the reality that OWS was not trying to do this, I wonder how many of those people have now turned against the movement?

One thing I don't wonder - if that was the intent of either the NYCDOE or FOX NEWS.

The answer to that is, of course it was.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Foley Square: Occupied

Bloomberg - The Face of Corporate Villainy

The villain Occupy Wall Street has been waiting for - Michael Bloomberg.

Many of us in public education have long known the evil that this man does, all in the name of "market efficiency" and corporate greed - from closing hundreds of public schools and reopening them as privatized charter schools to demonizing teachers to turning education into nothing more than one big test prep factory to slashing classroom budgets to the bone while paying corporate consultants hundreds of thousands of dollars each to overcharge the city for computer projects or commit out and out fraud.

It is good, however, that Bloomberg has shown his true colors to the rest of the world and has now become the face of the opposition to Occupy Wall Street - the villain this movement needs.

I can't think of a better villain to crystallize all that is wrong with modern America - the hypocrite Bloomberg who allowed crooks to steal $600 million in the City Time Project, $43 million in the Judith Hederman/FTA scandal at the NYCDOE, another $3.6 million to Willard Lanham in another DOE scandal, and wasted $363 million on the NYCAPS project, another $15.3 million on the Sanitation and FDNY GPS boondoggle, another $36 million on the NYCHA computer system nightmare, is spending $550 million on additional outside computer consulting contracts at the NYCDOE without any oversight, yet claimed he needed to lay off school aides making $10 an hour for fiscal prudence.

Nothing like handing out $180,000 a year to a crooked computer consultant while laying off a school aide making $10 an hour, is there?

Bloomberg is an evil, evil man with a greedy heart, a boundless ego and an empty soul.

Even the "philanthropy" this man engages in always comes with strings attached and the name/logo BLOOMBERG emblazoned on every charity dollar.

You can bet he wouldn't give a dime to anybody without that logo, BLOOMBERG, emblazoned across the check (and the contract) or without the strings attached.

And let us not forget how he used all the past philanthropy to call in the chips when he needed to overturn term limits.

We are the "little people" to him and he doesn't give a shit about us.

He is without shame, without a clue.

All he wants is power, all he wants is attention.

Well, he's getting attention now.

He is now the official face of modern corporate villainy in America for all of history.

Hey, Mike, you got your legacy.

Want To Get Governor Cuomo's Ear?

Hire a fucking lobbyist.

Otherwise he doesn't want to know from you.

Time to Occupy.

Occupy Wall Street Day of Action

"Day Of Action" Schedule

"Shut Down Wall Street" — 7:00 a.m.
Protesters will gather at Liberty Square to "confront Wall Street."

"Occupy The Subways" — 3:00 p.m.
Protesters will gather at subway stations across the five boroughs and rally on trains.

- Fordham Rd
- 3rd Ave, 138th Street
- 163rd and Southern Blvd
- 161st and River - Yankee Stadium

- Broadway Junction
- Borough Hall
- 301 Grove Street
- St Jose Patron Church,185 Suydam St, Bushwick

- Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Ave.
- Jamaica Center/Parsons/Archer
- 92-10 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights

- 125th St. A,B,C,D
- Union Sq. ("Mass student strike")
- 23rd St and 8th Ave

Staten Island
- St. George, Staten Island Ferry Terminal
- 479 Port Richmond Avenue, Port Richmond

"Take the Square" — 5:00 p.m.
"Tens of thousands" of protesters will gather at Foley Square.

Wasted Away In Cuomoville...

...Looking for my lost millionaire's tax...

Some people claim, government workers are to blamed...

But I know it's all the 1%'s fault...

And Cuomo's doing their work for them.

Nice to see the Occupy Albany pointing this out.

Time to Occupy Albany.

Time to Occupy the Capitol.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Police Take Care Of 84 Year Old OWS Protester And Other Enemies Of The State

Police in Seattle pepper-sprayed an 84 year old woman in the face at an Occupy Wall Street protest.

Because she was obviously a danger to the police and a menace to the public.

Gotta bash these fucking commie pinko grannies before they help the terrorists win or crash the economy or give the bomb to the Chinese.

Even worse, this old lady used to be a teacher, so you know she's really, really bad.

Probably even belonged to a union or something.

Luckily those brave heroes in blue took care of her.

So let this be a warning to you dirty fucking Occupy hippies.

If the cops pepper sprayed an 84 year old lady and a pregnant woman, just think about what they're going to do to your sorry commie pinko hippie ass.

Governor 1% Cuomo Offered State Aid For OWS Raid

This shouldn't come as much of a surprise to those who've been watching him closely, but Andrew "Governor 1%" Cuomo says he absolutely supported Mayor Bloomberg's orders to destroy the Occupy Wall Street camp at Zucotti Park and was happy it happened.

The Daily News also reports that Cuomo even offered state assistance for the crack down.

What, the NYPD didn't have enough pepper spray, batons, fire hoses, orange netting and hostility of their own to disperse the couple of hundred protestors sleeping Monday night in the park that Cuomo felt he had to pony up state aid, money and resources?

Ironic that Cuomo was happy to open up the state wallet to help Bloomberg raid Zucotti but refuses to give the aid the city deserves for public education or senior citizen health care.

Or given that Cuomo is OWNED by the 1% and in place to do their bidding, perhaps not so ironic.

The Oligarchs Clamp Down

Unless you were sleeping under a rock yesterday, you know that Mayor Bloomberg ordered his NYPD jackboots to clear Occupy Wall Street protestors from Zucotti Park.

The raid happened under the cover of darkness. Police enforced a media blackout, allowing neither journalists nor legal observers to see their dirty work. Batons, pepper spray, fists and boots were used to rouse protestors from their slumber and throw them out of the park. Subways were shut down, the Manhattan-bound side of the Brooklyn was closed, a city councilman who ran to Zucotti to support the protestors was beaten by police and arrested.

Six journalists were also arrested.

The New York raid came in the same week that Occupy camps in Portland and Oakland were raided by police.

Oakland mayor Jean Quan said city mayors and police departments were coordinating the raids together over conference calls.

Make no mistake - the clampdown is here.

The 1% know that something is happening here and they have to put a stop to it soon.

Tomorrow there is a major demonstration planned downtown.

The mayor likes to claim that the Occupy Wall Street protests are costing New York City jobs.

He claims this even as he plans thousands of layoffs this fiscal year.

He claims this even as he forces austerity down the throats of the 99% with budget cuts to education, health care, senior care, libraries.

He claims this even as both Democrats and Republicans in Washington get ready to slash Social Security, Medicare, and other programs that help middle and working class Americans.

He claims this even as the NY Times reports middle class neighborhoods have shrunk over the last forty years as Americans drop down the economic ladder into poverty.

It is time to Occupy this country.

It is time to Occupy this city.

It is time to Occupy Tweed Courthouse.

Time to Occupy One Police Plaza.

Time to Occupy City Hall.

Time to Occupy the White House, the Congress, the Senate.

Time to Occupy Wall Street.

The fascists are fighting back with what they have - police, military, guns, batons, pepper spray, rubber bullets, orange netting, media blackouts, and brutality.

But they ARE on the other side of history.

Remember Egypt, remember Tunisia.

Spring is Coming.