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September 2011, Week 4

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Mon, 26 Sep 2011 21:55:41 -0400
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Two articles: 
Despite NYPD Efforts, Wall Street Stays Occupied
Thousands Cheer Bernie Sanders' Appeal to Obama

===
1.Despite NYPD Efforts, Wall Street Stays Occupied
 
"Some reporters come to Liberty Plaza looking
for Adbusters staff, or US Day of Rage members,
or conspiratorial Obama supporters, or hackers from
Anonymous. They're briefly disappointed to find none of
the above. Instead, it's a bunch of people - from
round-the-clock revolutionaries, to curious tourists,
to retirees, to zealous students - spending most of
their time in long meetings about supplying food,
conducting marches, dividing up the plaza's limited
space and what exactly they're there to do and why. And
that's the point. More than demanding any particular
policy proposal, the occupation is reminding Wall
Street what real democracy looks like: a discussion
among people, not a contest of money."

By Joe Macaré In These Times: September 25, 2011

http://www.inthesetimes.com/ittlist/entry/12004/despite_nypd_efforts_wall_street_stays_occupied/

The occupation of Zuccotti Park (a.k.a. Liberty Plaza
Park) in Lower Manhattan, New York City, continues
today, after a Saturday marked by a crackdown from the
New York Police Department.

It is estimated that around 80 people were arrested
during a breakaway protest march, and after handing out
an "eviction notice" the NYPD surrounded the park that
has been used as a campground and staging area.

The "Occupy Wall Street" protest began on Saturday,
September 17, and was originally prompted by a call
from Adbusters, as described by Patrick Glennon here,
for people to "flood into lower Manhattan, set up
tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall
Street for a few months."

The nature of yesterday's police action has led to
widespread condemnation of alleged police brutality,
and it's hard not to remove the word "allleged" upon
viewing the photos and video footage that has emerged -
which has been enough to make the not-always-political
Gawker take note and use the headline "Cops Tackle,
Mace Wall St. Protesters for No Obvious Reason."

James Fallows at The Atlantic has posted the slowed
down and annotated version of one particularly
disturbing video. His description is chilling:

He walks up; unprovoked he shoots Mace or pepper spray
straight into the eyes of women held inside a police
enclosure; he turns and walks away quickly (as they
scream, wail, and fall to the ground clawing at their
eyes) in a way familiar from hitmen in crime movies;
and he discreetly reholsters his spray can.

Those who attend protests that challenge corporate
power and unrestrained capitalism in the U.S. and
Europe may have become used by now to a police response
that is both excessive and untargeted, whether one is
an active participant, an observer or merely a
passerby. (I myself was among those coralled by the
Metropolitan Police in London's Oxford Circus on May
Day 2001, and can attest first-hand to the fact that
the 3,000 people kept there without access to food,
water or toilets for seven hours included at least one
pair of bemused and terrified tourists from continental
Europe who had a plane to catch and who begged in vain
to be let past the line of riot police shields.)

But from all accounts so far, it appears that yesterday
the NYPD, presumably under the edict of Commissioner
Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg, took the policing of
such protests to new and violent levels.

At Waging Nonviolence, Nathan Schneider points out that
the media coverage of the police's actions focuses on a
sensationalistic treatment of violence rather than what
the protests are about:

In an article that recounts as many gory details as
will fit, the Daily News devotes only two short
paragraphs to what the protest is actually about and
what protesters have been doing all this time:
attempting to draw attention to what they believe is a
dysfunctional economic system that unfairly benefits
corporations and the mega-rich. True, but too little.
The real story for the Daily News, it seems, is not
this unusual kind of protest, or the political
situation which it opposes, but the chance to have the
word busted on the cover next to the cleavage of a
woman crying out in pain.

Schneider's piece is well-worth reading in full, as is
his piece at Truthout from Friday, in which he provides
a critique of media coverage and sets the record
straight about what how Occupy Wall Street evolved.

Some reporters come to Liberty Plaza looking for
Adbusters staff, or US Day of Rage members, or
conspiratorial Obama supporters, or hackers from
Anonymous. They're briefly disappointed to find none of
the above. Instead, it's a bunch of people - from
round-the-clock revolutionaries, to curious tourists,
to retirees, to zealous students - spending most of
their time in long meetings about supplying food,
conducting marches, dividing up the plaza's limited
space and what exactly they're there to do and why. And
that's the point. More than demanding any particular
policy proposal, the occupation is reminding Wall
Street what real democracy looks like: a discussion
among people, not a contest of money.

However, despite Schneider's critcisim of the
internet's role in spreading misinformation, it remains
the case that, as with past protest actions and just
about any activity of real significance that the
mainstream media ignores or distorts, some of the best
ways to keep up to date on Occupy Wall Street are the
#occupywallstreet and #occupywallst Twitter hashtags,
and livestreaming video. See also Kevin Gosztola who
has been live-blogging for FireDogLake from the
protests, and the "official" Occupy Wall Street
website.

==
2.
Thousands Cheer Bernie Sanders' Appeal to Obama, Super
Committee: Make the Rich Pay for Deficits 

by John Nichols

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/09/18-4

Published on Sunday, September 18, 2011 by The Nation

Declaring that "Social Security is the most successful
government program in our nation's history," and
decrying threats to Medicare and Medicaid that would
punish Americans who did not cause the current economic
crisis,  Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders brought
thousands of progressives from across the Midwest to
the feet Saturday, as they cheered his message to
President Obama and the congressional "Super
Committee":"We can deal with deficit reduction in a way
that is fair and responsible."

"Instead of balancing the budget on the backs of
working families, the elderly, the children, the sick
and the most vulnerable," Sanders said, "it is time to
ask the wealthiest people and most profitable
corporations in this country to pay their fair share."

In several speeches to crowds numbers in the thousands
who gathered for Fighting BobFest events in Madison,
Wisconsin, Sanders continues to spell out the
progressive economic agenda that argues against cuts in
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to balance
budgets and address deficits and for tax policies that
end special breaks for the wealthy and multinational
corporations that offshore jobs from the United States.

President Obama is expected to deliver a major speech
Monday on deficit reduction and the White House has
indicated that the president's plan will not include
"changes to Social Security." Sanders is glad of that:
I am delighted that the White House has decided not to
cut benefits under the program that has kept millions
of retirees out of poverty, the senators said in
Madison. Social Security has $2.5 trillion surplus,
can pay out every benefit for the next 27 years and has
not contributed one nickel to the deficit. Social
Security should be strengthened, not cut.

That does not mean the House-Senate "Super Committee"
on deficit reduction -- which is ramping up its work as
members of Congress return to Washington -- will do so,
however. Nor does it mean that related and equally
vital programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, are off
the chopping block.

"Rumors persist that President Obama may embrace the
idea of raising the age of Medicare eligibility, an
idea he put on the table in his negotiations with
Republicans during the debt ceiling debacle." notes the
Campaign for America's Future, which has been closely
monitoring threats to Social Security, Medicare and
Medicaid.

"The report that Social Security is not going to be on
the chopping block is welcome news  especially since
Social Security contributes nothing to America's
deficits," says CAF director Roger Hickey. "However, if
the President again proposes raising the age of
Medicare eligibility on Monday, he would be making a
huge mistake, and such a policy would harm Americas
most vulnerable citizens. Medicare is a target for
deficit cutters because many of them never liked the
program; however they claim they want to change the
eligibility age because health care costs are
skyrocketing. The solution is instituting policies that
control overall health costs: hit the pharmaceutical
companies and insurance companies, not low income and
sick Americans. We can't afford to let profiteers from
the pharmaceutical and insurance industries make
millions off of taxpayers any longer. The President
should propose letting Medicare use its buying power to
negotiate discount prices with the drug companies."

Sanders has taken the lead in the fight against
balancing budgets on the backs of working Americans,

He's pushing a number of plans designed to strengthen
the safety net, while demanding that the richest
Americans -- who have enjoyed massive increases in
their income and wealth in recent years -- begin to pay
their fair share.

Some of the loudest applause for Sanders -- when he
joined Dr. Cornel West, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin,
radio host Thom Hartmann and others in addressing an
arena filled with labor, farm and community activists
for Saturday's main BobFest gathering -- came when he
spelled out a plan to assure the long-term stability of
Social Security.

Arguing that the most effective way to strengthen
Social Security for the next 75 years is to eliminate
the cap on the payroll tax on income above $250,000,
Sanders declared: "Lift the cap and cause the
wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share."

Thousands of activists whose level of commitment will
decide the fate of Democratic contenders in 2012 leapt
to their feet and cheered.

If President Obama and other Democrats in Washington
want to know how to leap the enthusiasm gap that will
be needed to win battleground states such as Wisconsin,
Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania next year, Bernie Sanders
has provided the answer.

Asked at a packed Friday night gathering in Madison to
explain how Obama and the Democrats can win next year,
the senator answered: "Clearly, you are not going to
win over the American people unless you are prepared to
stand and fight."

Again, the applause was thunderous.

Let's just hope it was loud enough to be heard in
Washington by the president and by the Democrats who
have been assigned to the "Super Committee."

 Copyright ¬©
2011 The Nation

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