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Vets for Peace Statement on Oakland Assaults

Official VFP Statement Regarding Police Assaults in Oakland

Veteran For Peace member, Scott Olsen, a Marine Corps veteran twice deployed to Iraq, is in hospital now in stable but serious condition with a fractured skull, struck by a police projectile fired into a crowd in downtown Oakland, California in the early morning hours of today.  Other people were injured in the assault and many were arrested after Oakland police in riot gear were ordered to evict people encamped in the ongoing "Occupy Oakland" movement.  Olsen is also a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

VFP members are involved with dozens of these local "occupy movement" encampments and we support them fully.  In Boston, for example, our members, wearing VFP shirts and carrying VFP flags, stood between a line of police and the encampment, urging police to "join the 99%" and not evict the protesters.  In that case, several of our members were banged and bruised when the police decided instead to carry out their eviction orders.

In Oakland, last night, a similar thing happened, according to VFP Chapter 69 member and Navy veteran, Joshua Sheperd, who said he went to downtown Oakland "to see if, as a VFP member, I could help still the anger...to be between the police and the protesters...it seemed unconscionable to me that the police use the cover of darkness like that to do what they were doing."  Fortunately, he was not injured in the police assault that left Olsen with a fractured skull.

Leah Bolger Is My Hero

Take Action at RootsAction!

Leah Bolger of Oregon is the Vice President of Veterans for Peace, is occupying Freedom Plaza, and risked jail on Wednesday, with another case pending against her, to speak up in the Super Congress (Deficit Committee) hearing, in which she was arrested.  She has been released.

Bolger comments: "I had to speak up.  The witness, Douglas Elmendorf, was hiding the fact that military spending has increased dramatically in real terms and as a percentage of discretionary spending.  He was focused on percentage of GDP, as if war spending should increase whenever it can, not whenever it has to.  The simple deficit solution of taxing the rich and curtailing the militarism is favored by the majority of the public.  The 99% had no other voice in that room to compete with those of the corporate lobbyists."

Take Action at RootsAction!

DOZENS ARRESTED AT 28th PRECINCT IN HARLEM TO STOP “STOP & FRISK”

Cornel West, Professor, Author, Public Intellectual
Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist Party
Rev. Stephen Phelps, Interim Senior Minister of Riverside Church
Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, Rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
Debra Sweet, Director of World Can’t Wait
Rev. Omar Wilks, Unison Pentecostal Church
Prof. Jim Vrettos, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Elaine Brower, Military Mom and World Can’t Wait

According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, 33 were arrested, including Occupy Wall Street protesters

Bring In The Drones: Provocateurs and Moral Protest

 

By John Grant

 

As far as anyone knew I was part of this cause -- a cause that I had infiltrated the day before in order to mock and undermine in the pages of The American Spectator -- and I wasn’t giving up before I had my story.

Patrick Howley

Editorial Assistant, The American Spectator

 

 

Here’s a story from the annals of fools posing as journalists.

POLICE BACK OFF FROM GRANDMOTHERS AS THE GRANNY PEACE BRIGADE OCCUPIES LINCOLN CENTER


Culture seekers streaming through Lincoln Center Tuesday evening, Oct. 18, were undoubtedly surprised to see a tableau not usually seen at the arts complex.  Approximately 60 members of the Granny Peace Brigade and their followers formed a semi-circle around the fountain located in the midst of the plaza surrounded by the Koch Theatre (home of the New York City Ballet); the Metropolitan Opera House, and Avery Fisher Hall.

 

Occupying America: Sowing the Seeds of a Second American Revolution

By Lori Spencer



"There are combustibles in every state which a spark might set fire to." 

          -- George Washington's letter to General Henry Knox concerning the

                  Shay's Rebellion, 1786


One month ago, a group of some 1000 demonstrators gathered in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park to protest the pillaging of the nation's economy by powerful corporations and international houses of high finance. While these young activists were entirely peaceful, they also made it clear that this would be no hippie-dippy flower-twirling love-in, sit-in, teach-in, or even a camp-in; this was an occupation. The demonstrators announced that they intended to Occupy Wall Street 24/7, stayinguntil hell freezes over if need be.

 

The New York City police welcomed them warmly with pepper spray and more than a few violent smack-downs, even going so far as to arrest some 700 protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge who werelured into a position where they could be charged with blocking traffic.

 

How We Got Arrested in the Senate Finance Committee

I've been arrested before and always paid a fine right away, perhaps because I was part of a larger group.  This time they're threatening us with fines and jail, which I certainly did not expect. Watch:

 

 

 

 

Freedom Plaza Today

http://october2011.org

October 18, 2011

At 10 a.m. today US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will testify at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in the Dirkson Senate Office Building, and may be greeted appropriately by representatives of the 99%.

At 4 p.m. activism workshops are planned in Freedom Plaza.

At 6:30 p.m. there's an Iranian dinner, dancing, and teach-in in Freedom Plaza, thanks to Andy and Marjan Shallal of Busboys and Poets.

News on Iran: http://dontattackiran.org

All Hail the Unknown Organizer!

 

By Charles M. Young

 

Liberated Autonomous Manhattan -- In a century, community organizers will still be debating what to call Zuccotti Park/Liberty Plaza/Liberty Square. The surrounding skyscrapers will be covered with luxuriant tomato vines hanging from rooftop organic gardens. Electricity will be generated by solar panels and fermenting compost. Inside, the skyscrapers will be humming with intense conversation at the Occupy Education Graduate School of Revolutionary Studies, open to anyone willing to teach everyone wanting to learn.

Visitors to the park will meander through meticulously maintained sidewalks that wind in fractals through authentic tarps and wet sleeping bags from the early 21st century. Scent generators will alternately waft herbal cigarettes, sandalwood incense and mildew into the breeze.

Arrests Around the World

Let's add this one to the large number of arrests being reported in NY and around the world.

"Tonight, Progressive Caucus Chair Karen Bernal, activist Cindy Sheehan and at least one dozen other peaceful protestors were arrested at Occupy Sacramento.  I counted about 35 police vehicles and dozens of officers in riot gear as the peaceful demonstrators occupied Cesar Chavez Park after a day when hundreds of protestors marched to the CA State Capitol.  I'm sending this from my phone, but will have more details, photos and video in the morning." --Bill Lackemacher

Thugs on the Job: The NYPD, Protecting and Serving...Wall Street

 

By John Grant

 

At the end of this chaotic YouTube video, made at the end of a huge victory by the activists occupying Wall Street, and their thousands of supporters, one of many outraged demonstrators is heard hollering: "He ran over his fuckin' leg!"

Well, I've looked at the video three times and that seems a pretty accurate description of what this cop did.

At first, the scooter's front wheel seems to be in front of the young man's leg. The guy, by the way, is a clearly legal observer wearing an official National Lawyers Guild yellow observer hat. He seems to be in serious agony at this point. So it seems likely he has already been run over once.

Urgent Call to Action: Go to Zuccotti Park Now!!!

 

Urgent Call to Action: 

Go to Zuccotti Park Now!!!

 

By Charles M. Young

 

 

Mayor Bloomberg has announced that Occupy Wall Street must leave Zuccotti Park/Liberty Plaza from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, October 14, allegedly so the city can clean it.

Almost verbatim notices have been served on other occupations around the United States and the world. Invariably, they have turned out to be a ploy to clear the space and not let demonstrators back in. Mayor Bloomberg has a long history of lying and police state tactics of crowd control.

Happy Birthday, John!

Occupy Wall Street over John Lennon's Power to the People

Drones Have Their Own Congressional Caucus, Do You?

Drones have a congressional caucus now.

Here it is.

Here are its bipartisan (yay!) members.

Here are some constituencies that do not have their own congressional caucuses:

Homo Sapiens
The Homeless
The Foreclosed
The Ill
The Unclothed
The Hungry
The Traumatized
The Wounded
The Widowed
The Violently Occupied
The Unemployed
The Oceans
The Forests
The Atmosphere
Future Generations
Children
The Elderly

Here's what you can do about it.

A Comment on Occupy Wall Street's First Statement

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

While this statement by Occupy Wall Street is a powerful list of grievances against capitalism, it fails to even once mention the word "war." This is a significant failing, and cannot have been an oversight. The activists in Liberty Park and in cities across the country, if they want to make this a mass movement to confront the corporate domination of American politics and society, must be willing to confront head on the reality that the corporate elite have made the U.S. into the world's greatest war-monger. It is not just "colonialism," an outmoded term, that is the problem. It is a vast web of imperialism, imposed by a war machine that is bigger and costlier than all the rest of the world's armies combined, and it is the single biggest reason that this country is descending into a state of social and economic decay and decline.

DRONE PROTEST LEADS TO ARREST AT TUCSON'S RAYTHEON MISSILE SYSTEMS

A dozen activists gathered outside of Raytheon Missile Systems in
Tucson, Arizona at 7 a.m. Monday morning, October 3 to protest drone
warfare and war profiteering.  The group held signs reading "No to War
Profiteering", "We Have Guided Missiles and Misguided Men - MLK", and
"Drone Attacks Inspire Hatred of the U.S.",  as employees drove into
the factory.


Tucson Quaker and Catholic Worker John Heid holding a sign that said "Make Us Instruments of Peace", walked toward
the Raytheon gatehouse to communicate with workers about weapons
produced there (including Standard Missiles, Star Wars "kill
vehicles", Mavericks, AMRAAMs, microwave crowd control beams,
pilotless drones, cluster bombs and cruise missiles) and particularly
about his concerns regarding drone warfare.


Heid was stopped while nearing the gatehouse, arrested and taken to jail.


Earlier he stated, "Today, October 3rd, sandwiched between Gandhi¹s

Non-Electoral Politics

Lately, the phrase "public servants" has struck me as ironic, not because government officials fail to serve the public, but because much of the public serves them.  The public is the servants.  Activist groups and individuals devote themselves to bettering the fortunes of political parties or politicians, at the expense of pressuring government officials to represent public demands.

Nobody favors eliminating elections, and nobody favors eliminating activism.  But there are those who cannot see how prioritizing money-marinated, gerrymandered, cable-news-controlled, unverifiable elections will reverse the train wreck in progress.  And there are those who cannot see what it would mean to engage in activism that wasn't aimed at promoting electoral victories.

Rebuild the Dream in the Streets

Remarks at Take Back the Dream conference, October 3, 2011.

Back around May or June a bunch of us announced plans for this coming Thursday, October 6th, to occupy Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., not for a march or a rally, and not for a day or a weekend, but to create a central space for an ongoing occupation from which we would engage in nonviolent resistance.

We were inspired by the Arab Spring and Wisconsin and working for a U.S. Autumn.  Now of course we are also inspired by the Occupation of Wall Street.  It's been wonderful to see more and more people and organizations compelled to join in that action, and to see militarism and plutocracy opposed together by a movement that refuses to be dumbed down into a sound bite.

Over 150 organizations are part of the planning for Freedom Plaza at October2011.org and all are encouraged to join.  Wall Street's servants on K Street, in the Pentagon, and in our government may be feeling comfortably distant from Wall Street right about now.  But I don't see any reason to support protests of the wealth that corrupts our government and not protests of the government corrupted by that wealth.  Choosing to be corrupted is an active choice.  Corruption is not something imposed on helpless victims.

We chose October 6th because the Afghanistan War was due to begin its second decade.  Over 4,000 people have taken this pledge:

"I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine to demand that our resources are invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning ."

I hope you'll go and pledge the same at October2011.org

It has been three years now since a Russian ambassador to Afghanistan said the United States had repeated all of the Soviet Union's mistakes in Afghanistan and had moved on to new ones.  Mistakes is a common euphemism for crimes and other words that we would be applying were ours the country violently occupied, were ours the bulk of the deaths and misery, were our doors being kicked in and our loved ones disappeared, were the missiles hitting our homes.

Every year, of course, as British Member of Parliament Rory Stewart recently pointed out, top western officials have claimed that whatever year it was would be the decisive one.  And each year it has not been.  This past week, the United Nations reported an increase in violence in Afghanistan of about 40 percent over last year.  NATO deemed that story inappropriate and announced its own findings the very next day.  It turns out that, if you believe violence isn't violence when it's committed by the United States and allies, then you can look at certain types of violence initiated purely by Afghans and identify a dramatic decrease of . . . wait for it . . . 2 percent.

But don't book that Afghan vacation just yet.  

Migratory birds have been avoiding Afghanistan for some years now. Afghans with higher educations have been leaving for decades.  War profiteers, and occupation profiteers, and so-called reconstruction profiteers seem to know their way out.  But imperial rulers, whether British or Soviet or U.S., Nobel Peace Prize winners or otherwise, seem utterly incapable of withdrawing other people's kids from Afghan wars until no other option remains.  

And why this inability to leave?  Why stay?  It's not to track down Osama bin Laden on the off chance he wasn't really given that proper Muslim sea burial.  It's not to find the number 8 regional leader in al Qaeda, and certainly not to oppose the Taliban which feeds off the occupation.  It may be for politics, but U.S. opinion polls could hardly scream "Get out!" more clearly. It is almost certainly for profits and pipelines and permanent bases.  A U.S. executive, er excuse me "job creator," told NPR this summer that if the occupation of Afghanistan were scaled back he really hoped there could be a big occupation of Libya.

But there's apparently another reason why armed U.S. citizens and their foreign workers are still in Afghanistan, and it's not to keep us safe.  The 2006 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, among other studies, made clear that these wars make us less safe, not more.  Almost four years ago, at a conference in Washington, D.C., on al Qaeda, former State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Daniel Benjamin listed ways to reduce the threat of terrorism.  Afterwards, journalist Gareth Porter asked him whether ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should have been on his list.
“You’re right,” he answered.  And then he added, “But we can’t do that.”
“Why not,” Porter asked.
“Because,” he said, “we would have to tell the families of the soldiers who have died in those wars that their loved ones died in vain.”

Since then, of course, a lot more people have died in vain.

This is what it comes to, and why nonviolent occupations of our own back in Der "Homeland" are required.  Our government has gone insane.  It is killing people purely because it has already killed people.  

War was banned by the nations of the world in 1928 and an 85-1 vote in the U.S. Senate in 1929 following a decade of work by a peace movement that refused to give up.  And now we accept war as the air we breathe.  In 2008 we may not have voted in "four more years," but we did get four more wars: Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, added to Iraq and Afghanistan, with routine murders of particular human beings and those standing too close to them now openly inclusive of U.S. citizens.  

To a growing extent, we see through this just as we see through austerity, environmental destruction, corporate welfare, and political corruption.  But merely waiting for another money-soaked, gerrymandered, cable-tv-controlled election on unverifiable voting machines is not going to be sufficient.  We're not against elections.  This is not either-or.  We're not against elections: we're demanding reforms that would allow us to have meaningful elections.  But redirecting OccupyWallStreet energy into elections, as was done to Wisconsin, would be an act of betrayal.

Super Congress Member John Kerry's home state is fifth in the nation in military spending, employing lots of registered voters building machines of death for Raytheon, the former head of which company was brought in by the Obama administration as Deputy Secretary of Defense and who told the Washington Times in June, "The wars of the future will be longer, deadlier and waged against a more diverse variety of enemies than ever before."

Super Congress Co-Chair Patty Murray, Democrat from Boeing, since 2007 has taken $276,000 from war industries, Max Baucus $139,000, Dave Camp $130,000, John Kerry $73,000, and so on.  The President who must sign or veto whatever comes out of the Super Congress and the Less Than Super Congress took over $1 million from war industries just in the 2008 election, not to mention $39 million from finance, insurance, and real estate.  Targeting our social safety net is a goal that Wall Street and the military industrial complex have shared for many years.  And of course the general corporate exploitation of foreign resources and workers depends on the threat of military force.  Military spending has increased at the President's request each year since 2008 as well as since 2001.

Thanks to Occupy Wall Street, a conversation has been launched about the damage the wealthiest one percent is doing to the rest of us.  California just pulled out of a mortgage fraud settlement deal that is expected to let the crooks off easy.  Who's to say Occupy Wall Street didn't influence that decision.  

The Super Congressional crusade to slash spending can only be carried through without causing massive misery and death in one of two ways, neither of which the U.S. Congress or President wants to touch, but both of which are central demands of the Occupation movement.  The first is to significantly raise taxes on the super wealthy.  The second is to significantly cut spending on the military.  A progressive demand right now is not "Jobs Not Cuts" but "Jobs Not Wars."

Seventy members of Congress have pointed out that ending the two biggest current wars in fiscal year 2012 would save $1.8 trillion over the following decade, above planned savings from promised reductions in troops.  But war spending is pocket change in comparison with the overall military and security budget.  Economists have studied the impact on job creation of various types of government spending.  It turns out that we could have full employment in the United States purely by redirecting a fraction of the Pentagon's budget.  We could create 29 million jobs above and beyond reemployment for workers displaced in a conversion, just by moving funds from the Pentagon into education, healthcare, clean energy, and tax cuts.  This calculation, if not my ideal plan, would leave military spending in several departments including Homeland Security untouched and leave the Department of So Called Defense more money than it had 10 years ago.

Leon Panetta, who holds the position that we used to more usefully call "Secretary of War," considers $350 billion over 10 years, or $35 billion per year, to be serious cuts to the national security budget.  But he's discussing cuts to dreamed of future budgets.  The current budget would still increase under those so-called cuts.  But imagine really taking $35 billion from a budget of well over a trillion.  (According to Chris Hellman of National Priorities Project, the security budget is $1.2 trillion, including the spy agencies and various other departments.)  That would be a cut of less than 3.5 percent.  

China spends about $114 billion per year on its military.  Let's generously assume there are enough hidden costs in China's budget to double it to $228 billion.  And let's assume that we must spend twice as much as they do, because . . . well, just because.  Now we're at $456 billion.  How do we get from there to Panetta describing a U.S. security budget of $965 billion as the lowest we can safely go, and a budget of $950 billion as "doomsday"?  Is the danger here to us or to the profits of the weapons makers who are also demanding that any cuts made be made to troops' benefits rather than to weaponry?

“Every gun that's made," said Dwight David Eisenhower, "every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed."  It also signifies death and injury to those on the receiving end, almost all of whom are non-Americans.  But we cannot have a movement in this country demanding funding for anything decent or humane without having a movement to restrain the machine that is sucking down over 63 percent of discretionary spending (including care of veterans but not including Homeland Security or interest payments on war debt), serving as our biggest polluter of the natural environment, and providing the leading justification for eroding our civil liberties.

These are the demands we will bring to Freedom Plaza beginning Thursday:
•    Tax the rich and corporations
•    End the wars, bring the troops home, cut military spending
•    Protect the social safety net, strengthen Social Security and improved Medicare for all
•    End corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests
•    Transition to a clean energy economy, reverse environmental degradation
•    Protect worker rights including collective bargaining, create jobs and raise wages
•    Get money out of politics

There's a widespread belief that such a list of demands must be reduced to one bumper sticker.  But is what I just read really too many words for people who pass 10,000-word laws meant to govern us?  There are 100s of  times as many words as in this list of demands in the instruction booklet for a blueray player, something your average American seems able to handle.  Nobody insisted that Thomas Jefferson reduce the Declaration of Independence to an eight-second sound bite.  We aren't going to win this by getting pithier, and let me let you in on a little secret: Corporate television doesn't dislike resistance to corporate power because its advocates are unskilled at framing and messaging.  We aren't going to win this by kicking ourselves.  We aren't going to win this by dividing ourselves: we need to be willing to stand in uncomfortably large coalitions, side by side with people who like different parties or candidates or who hold what we think are bizarre views of the world.  In Freedom Plaza there will be no promotion of any party or any candidate.  We will be speaking as we the people to them our government.

And we will have a lot more fun than can be had sitting home and griping or even engaging in all variety of other useful activities, from phone calling to emailing to tweeting to sitting in conferences listening to me.  I mean way more fun, the kind of fun in solidarity with others that medical science says is good for our health, the kind of fun that can take young people buried in student debt and joblessness away from enormous signing bonuses offered by the war machine.  Young people will be reached in Freedom Plaza through seminars, libraries, outdoor films, and the experience of democratic decision making and risk taking.  And the price is right.  Compared with $259 per night here in the Hilton, the accommodations in Freedom Plaza will be priceless.

"Power concedes nothing without a demand," said Frederick Douglass.  "It never did and it never will."

 

Videos by Lionel Heredia freedommediafilm at gmail dot com

The Sluts Shall Lead Us: Before, During and After the Deluge on the Brooklyn Bridge

 

By Charles M. Young

 

I took the subway down to Zuccotti Park on Saturday morning to go on the Slut Walk. Since it was on the official schedule of Occupy Wall Street, and since I had heard it promoted by various members of the Ad Hoc Caucus of Non-Male Identified Individuals, I figured that the Slut Walk was an official Occupy Wall Street event. I envisioned a few dozen Non-Male Identified Individuals raising a ruckus and making a spectacle and wreaking havoc in and around Zuccotti Park.

Instead I found the park to be stuffed with an unusually large proportion of Male Bodied Individuals of unknown identification who were preoccupied with revolutionary pursuits other than the Slut Walk, which was nowhere in evidence. I asked several Male Bodied Individuals where I might find the Slut Walk, and none of them knew.

Hagar the Horrible's Troops Get It Right

Hagar the Horrible Cartoon for Oct/02/2011

Copyright 2011 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. World rights reserved.

We Know

They disappeared

caskets of dead

soldiers coming home;

cameras out of

view.

We knew.

They did not count

all they killed;

they did not count

at all.

We knew.

They said the

mission was accomplished.

They said the

mission was through.

Missions made of only lies.

We knew.

Murder and maim,

democracy’s name.

Murder and maim

and use our name.

Death for sale by enterprise.

Devil’s bargains stealing souls.

We know. We know. We know.

CODE ORANGE: Amendments missing!

Description: 1,4,5,8,13               

If you see them,

Call.

Their mother is worried.

Reward for their safe return.

We know.

Supreme Court fire sale:

Half off for

Politicians while they last.

We know.

Dead

Afghan children.

Dead Iraqi

Gandhi’s Lesson for Today

By Kathy Kelly

   In a soon-to-be published book entitled Gandhi and the Unspeakable: His Final Experiments with Truth, Jim Douglass contrasts the deadly machinations of Gandhi's probable killers with Gandhi’s own incredible bravery and that of his followers, whose mantra during campaigns for independence expressed their absolute commitment to resist injustice openly, lovingly and fearlessly: with their whole lives. Their mantra was “Do or die.” 

Wall Street Buys Protection from the NYPD

 

By Dave LIndorff

 

It's no accident that the New York Police have been so assiduous in their protection of the big banking establishments that are housed on Wall Street and environs.

 

The banks don't like paying taxes, but they know how to buy the protection they need, as <a href="http://www.jpmorganchase.com/corporate/Home/article/ny-13.htm?TB_iframe=true&height=580&width=850">this page from JPMorgan Chase's website</a> makes clear.

 

It boasts that the company has bought the police a bunch of toys for their squad cars, and that is has financed spying software (they call it "security monitoring software") for the NYPD's main data center. 

 

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