Archive for the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Category

The Death of Occupy Nashville?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

111129-nashville-occupy-howell.photoblog600During my recent visit to Nashville, I was extremely saddened to notice the absence of Occupy Nashville from War Memorial Plaza. As one of the longest-lived branches of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Occupy Nashville was finally forced to vacate their occupation after nearly 160 days of sustained protest against the stacked deck against the 99% of Americans by corporate America and their Republican minions.

Three months ago, Occupy Nashville’s encampment at War Memorial Plaza swelled. Dozens of tents and a growing energy surged the political uprising: The movement drew attention to the influence of corporate cash on politicians and gross income inequality that has skyrocketed in America. Occupy Nashville even outlasted the movement’s mother camp — New York City’s Zuccotti Park — by three months. The movement established an elaborate process of communications — from security and logistics to first aid and food procurement.

Now the occupation is over, gone are the 60 tents which were erected at the camp’s apex. Rumors of sporadic incidences spread but as I strolled across the quiet plaza grounds, it was sad to see the inspired movement gone. The Republican Legislature had done a good for the 1% by trampling on Occupy Nashville and the constitutional right to free speech.

The camp’s food service station, media tent and library are gone. So are the young inspired protesters who joined the camp following two nights of highly publicized violent arrests ordered by Gov. Bill Haslam. The arrests of 50 people brought national shame to Tennessee because of Haslam’s heavy handed response to the movement.

Since those arrests, Occupy Nashville has expanded operations. But the movement now faces an uncertain future and hostile political climate in the Capitol which is filled with minions of the 1%, the Republican lead Tennessee Legislation.

The movement withstood bouts of cold, wet weather during the fall and winter, but supporters say that the state legislation — which effectively made it a crime to camp on public-owned property — dealt the movement the fatal blow.

For weeks, the Tennessee General Assembly debated legislation that effectively evicted Occupy Nashville from the plaza, citing a familiar chorus of complaints centered on lies and false accusations. The bill; HB 2638 sailed through the House, 70-26. The bill levies a jail sentence of one year and a $2,500 fine against anyone caught with “bedding for the purpose of sleeping … including tents, portable toilets, sleeping bags, tarps, propane heaters, cooking equipment and generators.” This law applies to the approximately 6,000 homeless in Nashville.

The thing that will fuel this movement is when the Occupy Movement becomes political; if that happens, the Teabagger movement will pale in comparison. In the meantime, the Tennessee GOP minions of the 1% will be rewarded when their election warchest are filled with corporate donations. The GOP selling out of Tennessee continues.

Occupy Nashville Continues Occupation of State Capital

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Nashville, Tenn. – Week after week its endured and the Occupy Nashville movement continues to move forward. Nashville protesters have avoided the raids and shutdowns experienced by other Occupy movements in other US cities.

Occupy Nashville just hosted a state wide assembly of other Occupy movements. Occupiers from Johnson City, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis visited Nashville to learn a variety of tactics like getting supply lines going.

Occupy movements are using Twitter and other online tools to communicate and send out calls for supplies and other needs. The occupy movement is beginning to communicate and exchange information.

They also appear to be preparing for the long haul. They are looking forward to welcoming the Legislation back to Legislative Plaza in January.

Recently, the Nashville movement has welcomed the homeless creating a tent city on the grounds of the State Capital. 60 tents make up the current tent city. All must follow strict rules to help protect the Occupy movement.

While occupiers in other cities have been evicted, Nashville’s – a core group of 90 and a looser support network of hundreds of part-time occupiers make up the Nashville movement. They have survived two attempted evictions on Oct. 28-29. Fifty-five people were arrested but charges were eventually dropped.

A preliminary injunction has allowed the camp to remain for now, but a status conference will be held with a federal judge on Feb. 3. Protesters say that problems still exist with city inspectors warning of food preparation safety standards. The state was caught, in emails, attempting to block the occupier’s efforts to secure port-a-potties. The emails were obtained under Tennessee’s open records law.

Despite the range of political beliefs represented in the camp – and Nashville’s reputation as a liberal city in the state — the protesters have narrowed their “goals” down to three. They are: ending corporate personhood, getting money out of politics and supporting Occupy Wall Street.

The False Prophets of the GOP

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Tonight was the eleventh GOP debate. The following are the GOP presidential candidates most discussed and mainly discussed because of the total ignorance they portray when they debate or speak. For comedy – they are manna from heaven with gaffe after gaffe, candidate mishap after candidate mishap. With this bunch, ignorance is bliss and abundant.

The GOP base moves from candidate to candidate to find the prophet that can beat Romney. But as soon as they anoint a new prophet, he/she speaks an outrageous gaffe and/or some seedy truth is unveiled and the false prophet is exposed. Questions remain! Will the Baptist bow to Mitt Romney? Of course they will. Will conservatives vote for a republican liberal? Of course they will. Will the tea party support Romney? Of course they will. The Baptist, conservatives and Tea baggers will do the bidding of the corporations; they will do whatever the rich tells them to do.

1. Newt Gingrich – Gingrich is best known for obstructionist tactics in 1995 that lead to a government shutdown. He is also the leaker among the GOP field. Sadly, he is seen by conservatives as moral(less) in a new poll. He is also known for his hypocrisy. He pounded President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinski in a sex scandal while he himself was having an affair with a woman, while his wife was dying of cancer. His most recent act of hypocrisy was when he said Barney Franks and Dodd should go to prison over accepting several hundred thousands of dollars from Freddie Mac while he received 1.6 million. He says it was payment for being a historical advisor. Gingrich’s is one of the most political animals of D.C. which seems to be at odds with republican extremist anti-government views.

Newt recently said Occupy protesters should get a job after they take a bath. He also said he would fire all janitors in schools and hire 13 and 14 yo child labor to clean the schools.

2. Mitt Romney – The “unwanted” front runner for the GOP in non conservative circles. He is a staunch supporter of corporate America and the 1%. He most recently claimed corporations are people with the same rights as people. Sadly he doesn’t feel the 99% or Occupy Wall Street protesters deserve any rights.

He is most known for his flip-flops in an effort to sway tea party support but his flip-flop history dates back to the last Presidential campaign. He is pro health care reform and anti health care reform. He is pro women’s right to choose and anti women’s rights to choose. He supported the oppressive bill in Mississippi that outlawed all contraception until it was defeated in a landslide. He is a financial fundraising powerhouse. Romney’s flip-flop lying ways are becoming his trade mark and his signature mark for lack of character.

3. Herman Cain – Cain is an ultra conservative and tea party favorite. He was the latest leading flavor of the month in the GOP field until he experienced a series of gaffs. First he said the Taliban ran Libya than he went blank when asked if he agreed with Obama’s Libya’s policy. His ignorance of foreign policy has proven fatal to his campaign lead. It was also recently discovered that all his “loved” sound bites are actually stolen video game lingo. His gaffes have become such a problem; the press has been pressuring him for explanations. Cain has just requested and received secret service protection which means – no more press questions.

4. Rick Perry – The great GOP hope has turned out to be anything but. Perry was a hopeful contender of “the anybody but Romney” GOP base but fell from grace when his ignorance was exposed during a debate when he could not remember one of three key government departments he would gut. He does not believe in science, hell, he does not believe in anything logical or of intelligence. He is proud to be the Governor of the state that executes the most people. He said Social Security was a Ponzi scheme. He wants to recall health care reform and let the insurance companies ration health care to whom they choose and deny care to whom they choose. He also said, “the housing market should collapse”, folks should loose everything they have and “let the market work it out”. {Does he mean the same market that created the mess that collapsed our economy?} Perry served as Al Gore for President as his Texas campaign coordinator.

5. Ron Paul – “The intellectual grandfather” of the tea party. In his third run for the White House, Paul has called for harsh cuts, elimination of social security and Medicare, which he believes is unconstitutional. He is the extreme libertarian. Paul has extremely loyal followers, much like a cult and he raises tremendous amounts of money.

6. Rick Santorum – Extremely right-wing social conservative. He is battling Bachmann and Perry for the “wing-nut” tea party votes. He favors tax breaks for the rich, doesn’t believe in a woman’s right to choose or the rights of gays to serve in the military or breath.

7. Michele Bachmann – Founder of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus. Besides her numerous and patently false statements, she supports the end of Medicare and Social Security. She wants to repeal health care reform and deny women the right to choose. She is the number 1 wing-nut in America.

8. Jon Huntsman – Left his position with Obama to run as an unwanted candidate of the GOP. Although he warns his party to not move too much to the right, he is very right-wing, a supporter of the tea party, and wants to end Medicare as we know it.

Many important questions remain. Who will raise and not fall from grace with the Republican base? Which candidate can withstand the test of ignorance that seems to be a requirement of conservative voters? Will a Liberal Northern Republican be the GOP candidate? Will the Southern Baptist bow to Romney?

More Violence Against Occupy Movement

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

University of California, Davis – On Friday, a group of UC, Davis students, part of the Occupy Wall Street movement on campus, became the latest victims of police brutality to be captured by camera and on video. The students are show peacefully seated on the ground as a UC Davis police officer brandishes a red canister of pepper spray, showing it off for the crowd before dousing the seated students in a heavy, thick mist. Eleven students received medical treatment while two students were hospitalized, one woman was treated for chemical burns.

“Over four hundred UC Davis students were peacefully protesting rising tuition costs. The student occupation was less than twenty-fours before the police brutality began. The main objective for the police was removing the tents. … The students did have a right to be on campus, they were assembling peacefully and the campus was open at the time.” The cops were dressed in full riot gear while the students sat, silent, arms embraced.

The film footage clearly shows the students were peaceful and the police had no reason to resort to a violent response.

As the officer began spraying the group of students, onlookers screamed, “Don’t do it! Don’t you do it!” Two officers have been suspended as anger spreads over the incident.

After the pepper spraying, the crowd of students began marching down the quad. The UC Davis cops? They’re pushed back down the walkway and finally leave.

Today, over four thousand students protested on the campus of UC Davis. The shocking violence has the attention of the American people. More importantly, Americans ask why is it necessary to use such extreme violence against peaceful Occupy Movement protesters? The extremists’ right-wing and Republicans continue to bash the Occupy protesters while protecting their rich friends-the targets of the Occupy Movement.

Occupy Movement Becomes Mobile and Bloody

Friday, November 18th, 2011

New York– Today a large crowd of Occupy protesters hit the streets in New York City. Across the nation, this scene was repeated, as Occupy protests swell as protesters carry out a “Call to Action” to disrupt Wall Street, other financial activities and traffic. Sadly these acts of free speech were met with police violence as thousands were arrested nationally. In New York, the violence peeked as protesters and journalists were beaten and arrested.

Pictures of a bloody 20 yo portrayed today’s violence. The police said the bloodied young man identified himself as Brandon Watts, 20, and has been arrested at least four times since the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations began. The police said Mr. Watts fell and hit his head.

Mr. Watt’s prior arrests at Occupy Wall Street, the police said, involved resisting arrest on Sept. 24, loitering in disguise on Sept. 28, escaping from a prisoner van on Oct. 14 and having stolen orange mesh fencing on Oct. 28.

Fox news, the mouth piece of the 1% calls the middle class struggle – communism, socialism and anarchy. When you see the right attack in unison, nerves are being struck and the 99% are striking nerves. They proclaim the Occupy movement dead today but news reports appear to show a different picture.

Occupy Bill Haslam

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Wade Munday is a writer in Nashville. When Bill Haslam was elected the 52nd Governor of Tennessee, he was chided quite often for running a vacuous campaign. It can be argued he is either a prop of the Republican political machine in the state or he is bland. Television ads are designed to say as little as possible in 30 seconds or less, but Haslam’s ads weren’t as educational as a pillow fight with Kim Kardashian. One ad showed the former Macy’s executive talking about bringing down healthcare costs-something he failed to do during his first legislative session and something he has no answer for. In his ubiquitous gray suit and black backdrop, the Governor looks downright affable even if he doesn’t seem to have much substance. He’s a nice guy one assumes. A very wealthy, nice guy.

But now amidst the Occupy Nashville protests/ encampments/ Southern Festival of Books patrons, Bill Haslam has verified that no matter how friendly he is he is not that smart. Sending 75 State Troopers to arrest a handful of tame protesters takes Zach Wamp’s statement, “I’ll meet President Obama at the border,” to an entirely different level. If this weren’t a group of “ordinary-looking” Tennesseans but let’s say a group of Muslims protesting the state’s overzealous approach in attempting to impinge upon their inherent rights as citizens, what would Haslam do? I would like to think state-funded evangelists would be deployed to save souls, but in reality I think he’d send in the National Guard. He’d do that because he doesn’t know what else to do.

In his first term in office he was manhandled by the National Rifle Association and others. He might be Governor of Tennessee, but he has no more authority than Kim Kardashian armed with a pillow. (She’s really taking a beating in this post.) By presiding over a nationally-mocked Legislative session with bills such as “Guns in Bars,” he’s proven that he can be little more than a puppet. By cowering in front of 54 protesters and ordering their arrest, he’s shown a lack of understanding of basic human rights and freedoms of speech. In this episode where he threatens and arrests protesters in a public space, the means defile the end. He ignited a fire under the rumps of Tennesseans concerned with their right to protest, and he lost this first political battle among citizens, not legislators, of Tennessee. Not a smart move for someone called Governor.

National Crackdown on Occupy Protesters

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

During the early morning hours, across the nation, in New York, Portland, St. Louis, Denver, and other cities, a police state was imposed on occupy protesters. Police employed force to beat and arrest protesters in a guise to clean the parks. As soon as protesters were arrested, the police dismantled the occupy camps across the nation.

New York – Emergency-service trucks rumbled up Broadway to positions on two sides of Zuccotti Park. Powerful lights blinked on, illuminating about 220 protesters in tents and sleeping bags. The one-square-block plaza was as bright as day. But it was only 1 a.m.

The voices of the police echoed from loudspeakers throughout the financial district. Officers swept through the park, rolling over tents and sleeping bags. All across America, The predawn operation in New York was repeated by mayors across the country.

But the message was clear: Occupy Wall Street’s two-month encampment was coming to a sudden and violent end. In New York, a full scale media blackout was attempted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg but failed as the event was covered by video that streamed across the internet.

On Tuesday evening, after a judge agreed that officials could ban tents and tarps, hundreds of protesters without sleeping gear returned to the park, began to meet and prepared for the next phase of the battle. One protester said, “This will be a catalyst. This reminds everyone who was occupying exactly why they were occupying” according to the AP.

Mr. Bloomberg’s order to clear out the encampment prompted criticism and praise. Some business owners seemed pleased, while various liberal groups, labor leaders, politicians, and civil libertarians denounced the move as an unjustified infringement on free speech.

The protesters were threatening to disrupt the stock exchange and city subways on Thursday with demonstrations marking their two months’ occupation of Zuccotti Park. This seemed to be the main reason for the eviction notice by the mayor.

NASHVILLE – Two days ago Occupy Nashville protesters won again. Occupy Nashville is delighted that charges were dropped this morning against our members who were illegally arrested last month. In a post on their web page, “We would like to thank our attorneys for their hard work and dedication. We would like to thank our occupiers, supporters.”

A flood of support for Wall Street protesters poured in after Gov. Bill Haslam imposed a curfew that led to the arrests of 55 people in Nashville, according to public records obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Of nearly 400 emails sent to the Republican governor’s office, only 11 supported his actions.

Oakland – A day after the Occupy Oakland camp was cleared out by the police, protesters there on Tuesday planned to march to join Occupy Cal demonstrators at the University of California at Berkeley. Protesters have said that they intend to repitch their tents on campus after an attempt to do so last week was thwarted by the police. Oakland protesters have seen the most violent oppression with one Iraq veteran receiving head injuries due to police actions.

Denver – On Tuesday in Denver, cold weather has affected the turnout. There were only about a dozen people at a park across from the state capitol building, down substantially from the past six weeks, during which the police made approximately 84 arrests of people who had established an encampment there.

Boston – Demonstrators at Occupy Boston, one of the larger encampments in the country, with about 140 tents on Tuesday, said they had been warily watching the raids elsewhere. On Tuesday, the National Lawyers Guild, the American Civil Liberties Union and lawyers representing the Occupy Boston movement asked a Superior Court judge for an injunction barring the City of Boston and the police from removing protestors from the encampment.

Los Angeles – While the numbers of protesters around the country have fallen due to cold temperatures, they grow larger in Los Angeles, where people are camped on the lawn of City Hall. Some have built plywood structures decorated with anti-Federal Reserve murals.

One thing remains certain, across the nation, every time the occupy protesters are evicted, they come back and the numbers grow larger. It seems unwise to crack down on the Occupy movement just two days before their movement’s anniversary.

Occupy Nashville Gains Global Attention

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Nashville-A federal judge has ruled that the Occupy Nashville movement protesting at Legislative Plaza can continue for now. The federal judge said regulations created last week in response to the protest were “not legally” implemented by Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration. On two occassions the Gov. attempted to remove the protestors under an imposed curfew, on two occassions Judge Nelson threw out the charges.

The governor and state backed down in the face of a federal lawsuit filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee on behalf of Occupy Nashville. The lawsuit charges that the recent arrests and the new regulations are violations of the protesters’ First Amendment rights. The ACLU requested a temporary restraining order. State attorneys did not object at a hearing Monday afternoon, and U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger granted the request.

It is amazing that Gov. Bill Haslam appeared to not have a clue of the negative media attention that his order to arrest protesters would receive. He should have realized that sending in seventy-five (75) Tennessee State Troopers to arrest fifty-four (54) protesters would come accross as heavy handed, as it was. It appears that the national stage is not the only place Republicans struggle with the Occupy Wall Street movement as the movement sweeps across the nation. The story about the Occupy Nashville protest has gone global. The story about the temporary injunction was the lead story this morning on CNN.

The AP and other reports of the Occupy Nashville arrests, including the arrest of a Nashville Scene reporter, are showing up worldwide in the New York Times, UK Daily Mail, Reuters, Denver Post, LA Times, UK Guardian, Philadelphia Inquirer, Seattle Times, Washington Post, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, San Francisco Chronicle, Sky News Australia, Daily Beast, Paris Post-Intelligencer, Detroit Free Press, etc.

Occupy Wall Street Protests Wall Street’s “hog troughts of greed”

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street protest that started in New York three weeks ago is now spreading across the country; people are standing up and saying enough is enough. It’s time for banks to be a safe place for our money, not another place to get mugged.

The people who gave us the financial crisis continue their lust for greed and disregard of the plight of most struggling working middle class families. Their greed and irresponsibility demolished our economy leaving us to bail them out—and how do they thank us? They’re going right back to business as usual, getting rich off the working middle class and spending millions lobbying Republicans against new rules proposed by Democrats to prevent a future crisis.

New York– The message of the Occupy Wall street protest is clear: the demonstrators are seeking accountability from Wall Street and corporate America for the financial crisis and the growing economic inequality gap. This message is a warning shot in regards about the kind of civil unrest that may emerge – if the economy continues to struggle.

It was over a week, after the protest started, before public radio even mentioned it, so it is a testament to the passion of the protestors involved that not only does the protests continues to grow but the movement is now becoming too big to ignore. When it appeared apparent that the police were prepared to tighten down on the protesters, unions stepped in and protected the protesters. Now a growing number of Democrats are expressing support for the protesters,

Occupy Wall Street is beginning to look like an event that may become a turning point with growing disparity between the top 1% and the remaining 99%. The protestors’ indictment of Wall Street is correct; greed has become a destructive force, both politically and economically. There is a growing concern on Main Street that justice will never be served to those responsible for our current economic woes.

The bankers took advantage of Republican deregulation and ran wild, they over paid themselves and inflated huge bubbles through reckless spending. But, the bankers got bailed out by taxpayers with little of no accountability attached, while the working middle class and poor begin to suffer loss of jobs and loss of homes as consequences of the banker’s “greed” sins. Then bankers turned on the middle class who bailed them out and threw their support and financial backing behind Republicans who promised to lower taxes for bankers and the wealthy while dismantling the mild regulations created by Democrats to address the financial crisis.

It is time that protesters and Americans denounce the unfettered greed that is laying our nation to waste. Ultimately this movement is about unchecked power and greed that threatens the working middle class and increasing the ranks of the poor.

There will be real political opportunities from these protests but not for the Republicans who have stuffed their pockets full of banker’s blood money made off the backs of the working middle class while condemning the protests as “class warfare.”

Democrats and President Obama will be wise to give the protesters the serious attention they deserve. While protesters generally don’t talk much about politics, most appear to lean left and most have issue with the actions of those associated with the right, who created the dire financial situations that threatens the working middle class.

Many feel that “Like the Tea Party was about reinvigorating the right; Occupy Wall Street will reinvigorate the left.” It appears these growing protests could be the start of a populist movement on the left that pales in comparison the Tea Party on the right. Unlike the Tea Party movement, Occupy Wall Street protests appears to be such an event where the anger is correctly directed at the right people (those greedy folks on the right who destroyed the economy).

Today, plutocrats, Wall Street and business lobbyists and Republican hacks flood the talk shows and continue to call the protesters anarchists, while praising the Tea Party movement (sponsored by the mega wealthy Koch brothers) as the real grass roots movement. Only time will expose whom drinks from “hog troughs of greed” and whom stands with the remaining 99%. .

Greed: We wonder why they protest?

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Why are people protesting Wall Street? Corporate greed. The Institute for Policy Studies published a damning report chronicling the extent of greed. It noted: • Twenty-five major U.S. corporations paid their CEOs more than they paid the federal government in taxes. As the divide grows between the haves and the have nots… the American people are sick of greed and the damage it has reaped on the nation.

Protests that started on Wall Street three weeks ago has spread to dozens of cities across the country, as protesters rally against corporate greed, tax breaks for the top 1%, unemployment and the role of financial institutions in the current economic crisis.

The Republicans whine “class warfare” as they wage warfare on the working middle class. They have shown us their extreme agenda and their intent to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Organized Labor, Voting Rights, Injury Compensation, Unemployment Compensation, Public Education, School Lunches and all social programs designed to strengthen the working middle class while they fight to continue tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and corporate welfare.

It is interesting that Republicans say we can’t afford Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Compensation, Food Stamps, School Lunches and Public Education but we can afford corporate welfare and tax breaks for the top 1%. The Republicans are correct; there is class warfare, and they are waging it against the middle class.