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Law Enforcement as Political Suppression

by Grace Kelly on September 18, 2013 · 0 comments

The untold story of law enforcement is its use for political suppression. The Occupy movement was especially targeted by law enforcement suppression. I covered the Occupy movement here showing how arrests or detentions were NOT related to unlawful activity. People lawfully crossing the street legally were arrested. New York Police, as in all in bad practices, leads in political suppression. Here is a great film documenting how the police arrest for the anarchist look, hoodies and bandannas.

 

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Occupy Homes announced a rally at the Cruz home, 4044 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis. Mayor Rybak says the city is not in the foreclosure business. That doesn’t keep the police from massing a force in behalf of the foreclosing bank on Friday June1, 2012. About 20 cops were waiting behind yellow crime scene tape, squad cars blocked the alleys, a surveillance camera was installed at 41st and Cedar, and a paddy wagon was reported circling the area. At the same time Minneapolis Police were deployed as part of President Obama’s security. One observer noted, “This would be a good time to rob a bank.”

The Occupy Homes crew assembled in the church parking lot across the street. Instead of taunting the police, they clapped in appreciation.

One way to deal with overwhelming force is non-violence. As the cops braced for the activists running across the street, instead of taunts, the group silently circled the crime scene tape, held hands, said a few words to each other and began singing.


This conflict began with the bank, PNC, Pittsburgh, PA, made a mistake and did not credit two automatic payments. In the aftermath the Cruz family faced fees they could not pay. They have been negotiating with the bank and were given assurances that a solution could be reached. Meanwhile. Freddie Mac, the mortgage insurer ordered foreclosure and a sheriff’s sale. Occupy Homes moved into the house to protect it.

There have been many protest events and many arrests. Occupy twice repelled a sheriff’s attempt to take the property. That was followed by a 4:00 AM raid with battering rams and jackhammers that cleared the home and doled out arrests.

The homeowners believed Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak announcement meant the city would leave them alone. The Occupy people took over the property on May 29, pushing aside Freddie Macs unarmed security guards. This was followed by another police raid and more arrests.

Occupy was successful in getting U. S. Bank to redo Monique White’s loan.  John Vinge, a Vietnam Vet, and Occupy Home faced down U.S bank on a foreclosure and reportedly had a settlement.
The Cruz case has received national attention and on Monday, June 4, Occupy DC is holding a rally in support in front of the Fredie Mac HQ in Washington, DC.

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Taxes and wages and Republicans, oh my!

by Joe Bodell on April 18, 2012 · 0 comments

There was a bit of a freakout today at the state Capitol when the GOP, in the words of House DFLer John Lesch, “failed to hamstring enforcement of prevailing wage laws.” The GOP is currently trying to change the formula that dictates how to define the “prevailing wage” on state contracts in a way that would lower workers’ pay.

All in the name of conformance with other states and other nonsense.

In Washington, the Senate GOP has filibustered the Buffet Rule, which would ensure that millionaires like Mitt Romney, who make obscene amounts of money without shedding an ounce of sweat or effort of any kind, pay at least the same effective tax rate as their administrative assistants do.

Clarification: The Republican Party does not want millionaires like their Presidential nominee to pay the same tax rate as the rest of us working shmoes, and they’re willing to bend over backward, even against their own BS commitment to “balanced budgets”, to keep it from happening.

Good on President Obama, his campaign apparatus, and good Senators like our own Al Franken for pushing the issue. Here’s to hoping we can finally lay down the hammer and make it happen, even if it does double as a neat piece of election-year political bludgeoning. It won’t close the entire budget deficit, but fair is fair, and it’s a great first step toward a more ideal situation in which the super-rich actually pay a higher tax rate than the poor and working class — after all, if you pay $4,000,000 in taxes on effective income of $10,000,000, you still have $6,000,000 to spend on Ferraris and private jets, and that should be plenty.

And if the super-rich have a problem paying that much in taxes, fine! Invest your profits in companies and actually do that whole job-creator thing the GOP keeps claiming, against all evidence to the contrary, that they do.

Maybe the GOP and its slavering attack dogs call this class warfare. I call it everyone paying their fair share.

As for the wage change thing going on in St. Paul, if the Minnesota GOP thinks they’re going to break through their atrocious party finances and win another wave election by destroying the wages of working-class Minnesotans…best of luck to them. They’ll need it.

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“We have more cops than bad people”

by Grace Kelly on April 14, 2012 · 1 comment

On Saturday during a protest in Minneapolis,  a police officer is caught on the official police video shoving a KSTP cameraman’s camera off his shoulder and then proceeding to attack another camera man. The official video shows the Minneapolis police first taking out a National Lawyer’s Guild observer and then arresting the whole group of Occupy protesters trying to cross the street for “blocking” the street. On the official video, it shows one-tent-carrying group as moving on to the street, while the others stayed on the sidewalk as instructed. Even by the toughest interpretation, only that one tent carrying group should have been arrested. But truly, does innocence matter? It is clear from the official video, that they planned arrest and that they were only looking for an excuse.

The supposed crime is Minnesota statue 609.74 PUBLIC NUISANCE. This is a return of using the public nuisance law to stop free speech. In 1925, Minnesota used the public nuisance law to shut down a newspaper.

Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697 (1931), was a United States Supreme Court decision that recognized the freedom of the press by roundly rejecting prior restraints on publication, a principle that was applied to free speech generally in subsequent jurisprudence…

“Olson filed a complaint against Near and Guilford under the Public Nuisance Law of 1925.[3] Also known as the “Minnesota Gag Law”, it provided permanent injunctions against those who created a “public nuisance,” by publishing, selling, or distributing a “malicious, scandalous and defamatory newspaper.”… a scandalous publication “annoys, injures and endangers the comfort and repose of a considerable number of persons,” and so constituted a nuisance just as surely as “places where intoxicating liquor is illegally sold,” “houses of prostitution,” “dogs,” “malicious fences” “itinerant carnivals,” “lotteries,” and “noxious weeds.”

(Wiki)

The Occupy protestors were complying with what had been worked out before with the police. The understanding was that tents with nothing in them were legal.

So here are the important questions, “Why are the police doing this?” and “Who made the decision to make a change?” The city council had supported the Occupy Movement through a resolution. It had to be the Mayor who changed policy. After the arrest, the Occupy group went to city hall. Eventually, on Tuesday at 1 PM, they were granted a meeting with the Chief of Police Rick Nolan and Mayor RT Rybak. The videos do not show any satisfactory resolution. The real question is why would the mayor make a decision against his own interests. The Occupy movement has supported the policies of taxing the rich, a major tenet of the DFL platform. The Occupy movement has been key in improving support for Obama and the Buffett rule. The mayor could have negotiated to have the plaza kept cleaner and neater. Instead he went with the stealth police attack that is sure to infuriate all peace and civil rights activists. Instead of talking about Democratic issues targeting Republcians, now everyone is talking about targeting a Democratic mayor about civil rights. So is why is RT Rybak doing this?

Details below the fold.
Warning, I am using the police video here but I do not consider it a neutral point of view. Police make plans. This view of police is entirely under the control of the police and could be entirely scripted. This is NOT an independent video person capturing the events of the day. Furthermore, the footage is broken in a few places in way that might indicate editing.

There are reports that the police first took out the legal observers, then the mainstream press cameras, and then the independent cameras which to me shows deliberate intent to hide what was really going on.

On this official video, you can see where the police took out the legal observer (27:22). A video posted later in the article shows the take out of the KSTP video.

There is an accusation of the streets being blocked by Chief Nolan which you can see in the video is just people occasionally walking in the street with a tent to avoid an obstacle. More importantly this walking in the street in Minneapolis is commonly accepted behavior. Why isn’t everyone who does it being arrested, hmmmm? One rumor was about blocking an ambulance, which was an encounter quickly cleared that happened an hour before the arrest, according to participants.

From the Minneapolis police video, it is clear that the tents and protesters would move whenever they were requested to move. The police notification was done via a bullhorn that could not be heard above the crowd noise or via a car speaker where the person in front of the car turned and said “what.”

The great thing about the Minneapolis police provided video is that you can hear the radio, with the clear plans to arrest before cause.

4:27 Strike team moved to 12th and Nicollet

20:19 actually I think we are going to pinch them here

26:50 “Go ahead,  those people who moved back onto the street. let’s take them OK we are on the wrong side of them, do you want to arrest them or not? we have more cops than bad people…  

27:19 all strike teams come  in on this, were going to take these people into custody

And yes the police really do say

We have more cops than bad people

Which demonstrates the incredible bias of police. For simply protesting, these were bad people. Note that the police wanted to have overwhelming numbers to overcome peaceful protestors.

Let’s pretend that police were actually arresting for cause. According to the police video, it was this group of people who should be arrested if you think that moving on to the street is an event worthy of arrest. It is common accepted practice in Minneapolis. On the video, the radio calls in all strike forces WITHOUT SPECIFYING WHO TO ARREST.

When the police respond, they also arrest two totally innocent groups who are just trying to cross the street. This is the classic mass arrest including many innocent people.

Also notice that police video is turned away from the action during very critical moments.

The stories from the perspective of Occupy participants:

A closer look at the police taking out the KSTP camera:

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Last October, nine members of the Minneapolis city council supported the right to peacefully protest in a resolution, “Peaceable Calls for Reforms to the Income Tax, Financial, and Electoral Systems.” Today, City Council President Barb Johnson, from the Lowry Park area ward, proposed a resolution that basically would shut down public plazas between midnight and 6AM. It also was going to make heavy use of trespass to ban people. Since this seems more like an ordinance change rather than a resolution, Council Person Schiff made a motion to refer the resolution to the public safety and civil rights committee, which easily passed. A few council people wanted to just vote it down directly and mentioned that their vote to “refer to committee” should not in any way be perceived as support.

It looked like the resolution was basically only the intent of the City Council President Barb Johnson. So I put in a call request to Barb Johnson.

City Council President Barb Johnson graciously gave me a call back. Johnson said her basic intent was “to make sure that the plaza can be used by everyone.” She is opposed to people sleeping in public places. She wants the plaza available to the public, not just a specific group. She does not want to provide public bathrooms. She does not want to provide police protection to people sleeping in public places.

Then I questioned her more closely. The enforcement mechanism of this “resolution” was trespass. Trespass is banishment from public property BEFORE any possibility of a hearing. A person can be totally legal and within their rights, yet be perpetually banished through the use of trespass.  When I asked about the trespass effect of immediately excluding people without a hearing, Johnson said she didn’t know about trespass. She didn’t know, even though she is proposing the use of trespass in her resolution and as a city council person, she makes ordinances (the city law) that control trespass.  A quick call to the Minneapolis First Precinct police confirms that effects of trespass happen immediately before a hearing. The use of trespass has already been used to banish people from public spaces without even a hearing.

Then I asked about where are homeless supposed to be, if no one can sleep in public places. Johnson said the homeless can sleep in shelters, but had no answer about what to do when shelters are full. Basically, I had a strong “we/them” feeling about the conversation, particularly when Johnson would say “not dominated by a particular group”. I had the feeling that Johnson’s view, that when the public had rights, that word “public” did not include the homeless or Occupy. Apparently, in Johnson’s perspective, public spaces are only for the privileged public.

There were only 18 hours of notice on this resolution, so there was a huge call out this morning to alert people. Clerks at city hall said that there was uncertainty about the process even among city council members. Given the previous resolution of city council support, I don’t think this resolution represented anything more that the views of a small minority, possibly just one person.  

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The People’s Network OWS

by mspray on December 20, 2011 · 0 comments

   Turn off the TV. There is much more going on in cyberspace these days. Just trying to capsulize it, is next to impossible at times. I went to an occupympls GA meeting Saturday. I wish I could attend more often. The tone shifted and the noise level is decreasing. People are calming down and listening. There was the unique feeling of belonging in the air. I am never one to be in a god-complex mode, but that was how I interpreted it. No major decisions were made. There was a move to reorganize with the addition of a Spokes Council. Read more here NYCga;  http://www.nycga.net/spokes-council/

  I see it as buffer between the noise and the points. Wait, could that be the injection of structure? I believe it is. I tend to pay more attention to the mood of the meeting rather than the minutes. Something has shifted and it felt like a positive direction. Instead of running off in fury, the attitude was to work through it. Maybe we are realizing how important this could really be. Remember the first step is to admit that we have a problem, on a global level this time around.

  Sunday the action was best observed at home. OccupySaintPaul has launched their own stream for their GA here; http://www.livestream.com/occu…
This is going to take a faster computer for sure. Launch OccupyMinneapolis here;  http://www.livestream.com/occu…  in a new window. You could also pop out individual chats if you have something to say. Ultimately, the end result would be a “picture-in picture” experience. Of course staggered schedules would be nice as well. Google Chrome has an extension where you can save all your live stream channels called LiveTV here; chrome://settings/extensionSettings# One other link to mention would be here; http://occupystream.com/ . That last one has multiple channels built in to the interface. There are several ways to achieve this viewing experience and I will see if anyone else would like to contribute on this forum. I would recommend a  duo-core computer at least. Broadband Internet is obviously required. I am actually considering my own livestream channel for live teach-ins.

  The point is that there is a new network I would call “the peoples network” of information out there. We just need to adapt to get as far away from the jargon of Main Stream Media as we can. The competition is getting fierce already and offers are already flying around. We are not interested. Imagine all the money that goes into commercial production against grassroots open forum. I personally prefer the latter. This is why rejecting SOPA is imperative.

  On a completely different topic, North Korea mourns Kim Jong Il; son is ‘successor’! Wow a full nuclear power is now in the hands of a twenty-seven year old. My, those kids are causing trouble, perhaps it is time to listen. I wonder if he plays video games? I would bet that he is exposed to more American influence then we think. Do you feel a shift yet? I do, and I am 45. I don’t know about you guys, but I am going to go watch some streams. Because I just saw one go live. peace

@mpsray1 on Twitter. On Livestream as well but you might have to scratch your head to find that one, or maybe not. No offers……. Peace… this is for the people. Give to your local occupy.

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OSP GA3

Sun, December 18, 2pm – 4pm
Where
Rondo Public Library
map
Calendar
google@occupysaintpaul.org
Description
Agenda planning and Set-up 1:05 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

General Assembly 2:00 p.m. – 4:00p.m.

Free parking (underground, heated, part of the library building) available off of University.

The GA is held in the community room.

courtesy of occupysaintpaul.org

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Forthcoming OccupyMN events

by mspray on December 17, 2011 · 0 comments

Statement from Occupy Saint Paul;

Stand Up Against Attacks on Our Civil Liberties
December 15th, 2011 · Ella · Announcements 10 comments
The LA General Assembly became an early voice in the Occupy Movement against the indefinite military detention provisions in the The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA). They passed and released a public statement against the NDAA and held actions in opposition of the provisions in the following days.

Civil rights groups, counterterrorism experts and former military leaders have expressed serious concerns with sections of the NDAA which would effectively allow for the indefinite military detention of United States citizens and lawful immigrants in America (see 1031 & 1032 of  HR 1540). A group of Lawmakers submitted a letter to House and Senate leaders stating their concerns of the possibility of these provisions undermining the rights of US citizens.

While adjustments have been made in backdoor meetings after President Obama’s threat of veto, none of these primary concerns were directly addressed. The NDAA in its present form could still allow for an indefinite military detention of a US citizen on American soil without trial. Despite these egregious attacks on our civil liberties, the NDAA will likely be passed in the Senate and signed into law today.

Coincidentally, today also marks Bill of Rights Day.

So thousands are refusing to idly stand by and will take to the streets to defend the Bill of Rights for all of us. Occupy Wall Street is joining several national coalitions to voice opposition of the NDAA and other recent attacks on our civil liberties. Boston will march against indefinite detention and Bill of Rights Day Rallies Against the NDAA are planned in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Houston, Ithaca, Flagstaff, York and Hartford in addition to more actions around the country.

If this is something you feel strongly about, do something in your community to raise awareness. Explain why this is something that concerns you. Discuss this with your friends, your family and your neighbors. Express your concerns to those who are supposed to represent you.

Together, we will be heard.

For more information on national actions, go to: bordc.org

Statement from OccupyMpls below the fold:

OccuPresents – Toy donations needed!

Flyers for the OccuPresents campain. Please print and disperse, as the presents are going to homeless children.

All donations can be accepted at The Nicollet, on the corner of Nicollet and Franklin, in Minneapolis.

Artwork by Dezi.

And let’s not forget tomorrow’s event;

Occupy Minneapolis Reconstitution Summit
When: Where:  
Saturday, December 17, 2011 7:00 PM
Minnehaha Free Space (MARS)
3458 Minnehaha Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55406

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Occupy Minneapolis Reconstitution Summit

by mspray on December 15, 2011 · 0 comments

It seems we have an opportunity to find a little structure;

Here’s a chance to truly start from scratch and evaluate and improve how we do and decide things. Voting included. Structure included. The entire assembly process included. Nothing is safe, except us. We have a safe location, live video, and Web conference call participation for those unable to make the trip.

Location is about a mile and a half south of the American Indian Center, 3 miles from the People’s Plaza. It’s 3 blocks East off the light-rail, toward where all the warehouses and silos are.
http://minnehahafreespace.org/…

Saturday 10am – 6pm (lunch volunteers bringing vegetarian lasagna)
Sunday 10am – 6pm

Please share with current and former occupiers. This is truly meant to include everybody, people occupying the Plaza, homes, St. Paul, at home, and those who had left because of the previous organizational structures and processes. -MOVEON HENRY

  Have we decided that division is not the road to success? While the East and West coast occupy factions are gaining popularity and momentum, the mid-west may be re-evaluating their strategy. I just finished reading an article about Occupy Duluth losing a Union ally herein. Then I went on to read about internal disagreements about scheduling and/or the necessity of this Minneapolis Reconstitution Summit. There are many indicators alluding to the need for more momentum via allegiance with other groups.
  I always hear that the movement refuses to co-opt with anyone, but what about lateral allies working for a better collective goal? Can we sit here and watch The Republicans and Democrats disagree on everything, while we believe that either of them will drop everything and jump on the Occupy bandwagon? Sometimes I fear there may not be enough time to rise up with an entirely new system while we see fundamental human rights get whittled away in the current system. What exactly will be left to save? I agree that the totally independent stance is noble, but is it really productive? I see the coastal occupy elements gaining incredible inertia with the help of labor unions. Do we not remember that many a unions actually adopt one or the other political parties?
  The total OWS movement has a great amount of global attention right now even in some main stream media outlets. Unfortunately as a nation, we have grown accustom to short attention spans. Just look at the Republican debates, here today and gone tomorrow. When will the candidates start putting corporate bumper stickers on the back of their thousand dollar sport jackets? It is reality tv at it’s sponsored finest thanks to the Citizen’ United vs. The Federal Election Commission. decision. In this world of two moving targets trying to find each-other, the window of opportunity may slip right by without notice.
  In the Civil Rights Movement there was a strong sense on belonging, not shunning away. Laugh all you want but there is something to be said about peace, love, and soul. The energy I feel in some of the demonstrations I have attended, is priceless. I think many people would love to see that kind of energy start to actually change things. In the next phase of the movement I would like to see some original mud-slinging from the public instead of the stale “what is the message?” antics.
   Democracy may have it’s flaws, but it is all we have at the moment and it is not going anywhere too soon. I, for one am proud to march along side these folks chanting “this is what Democracy looks like”, because I actually practice it. The time may have come to either s&^t or get off the pot!
   

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Nomination for Best Holiday Video

by Grace Kelly on December 13, 2011 · 0 comments

This season I truly feel like the only ones who get to celebrate are the richest corporations. And then I found this stunning video of “HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS.” One conservative classmate told me that what most bugged him about us (progressives) is how we could make such great fun at his (conservative) expense. So money is not enough for the conservative richest of the rich, they want respect and adoration too. And we peasants (the 99%) just poke fun, even through our suffering. Poor rich people, begging for a crumb of respect. They should trying do without,  just to see what that really feels like.  


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