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Memo to American Bankers Association from lobbyists spells out $850,000 anti-OWS plan

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MSNBC's "Up with Chris Hayes" broke the story today of a memo by Washington D.C. lobbyists to the American Bankers Association on how to go about discrediting the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is evidently perceived as a powerful threat to the interests of the financial industry.

The proposal was written on the letterhead of the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford and addressed to one of CLGC’s clients, the American Bankers Association. CLGC’s memo proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and allied politicians. The memo also asserts that Democratic victories in 2012 would be detrimental for Wall Street and targets specific races in which it says Wall Street would benefit by electing Republicans instead.

According to the memo, if Democrats embrace OWS, “This would mean more than just short-term political discomfort for Wall Street. … It has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye.”

The memo also suggests that Democratic victories in 2012 should not be the ABA’s biggest concern. “… (T)he bigger concern,” the memo says, “should be that Republicans will no longer defend Wall Street companies.”

Here's more, and here is the PDF of the actual memo.

Wanted: your books in Brooklyn, today, to rebuild a new "People's Library"

Image: Cory Doctorow. The OWS library on Nov. 14, one day before NYPD destroyed it.

Brooklynites, do you have books to contribute to a new "People's Library"? Maria Popova [you should follow her on Twitter] writes,

Hey Xeni, thanks to your BoingBoing piece on the #OWS library, my friend Liz Danzico (@bobulate) and I are doing an impromptu #OWS Bookmobile tour to help rebuild the library. We're starting with our own book from our piles of press copies and making several stops across Brooklyn starting at 1pm today to pick up other donations, then dropping all the books off at the #OWS library.

Here's more from Maria, and here is the map, with pickup times, today.

Take a stand against bibliocide, Brooklyn!

Iraq war veteran Kayvan Sabehgi beaten by police at Occupy Oakland, left with lacerated spleen

Video from The Guardian: "Protester and three-tour American veteran Kayvan Sabehgi was beaten by Oakland police during the Occupy protest's general strike on 2 November. Sabehgi, who was 'completely peaceful', according to witnesses, was left with a lacerated spleen."

Photos from the Occupy Wall Street National Day of Action

© C.S. Muncy/csmuncyphotography.com

At the Village Voice, photographer C.S. Muncy has a slideshow of images from the Occupy Wall Street: National Day of Action - New York.

Related: Muncy's eyewitness account of the pre-dawn police raid earlier this week.

© C.S. Muncy/csmuncyphotography.com

Interview with creator of Occupy Wall Street "bat-signal" projections during Brooklyn Bridge #N17 march

REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

Earlier this evening, tens of thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters marched throughout New York City, many making their way on to the Brooklyn Bridge, carrying LED candles and chanting.

Read the rest

Occupy Cal: School-wide student strike at UC Berkeley

Turnstyle News photog Denise Tejada has a set of photos from today's mass protest at UC Berkeley, in California's Bay Area. At the time of this blog post, the crowd gathered is somewhere north of 1,500 people. (thanks, Alejandro de la Cruz)

The Grass Is Closed: an Occupy Cal protester, on police and power

Snip from a terrific long-read by Aaron Bady, aka zunguzungu, on his experience at the OWS-inspired "Occupy Cal" protests at UC Berkeley, after campus police violently attacked peaceful fellow student demonstrators (see video above).

At about 11:30 a.m. yesterday, a police officer told me and about eight other students that, and I quote, “the grass is closed.” We were going to sit under a tree and discuss things, and two police officers were watching us vigilantly to make sure we didn’t suddenly do something violent like try to put up tents. As we moved towards the tree, the first police officer stepped up and informed us that we could not walk from the broad concrete steps of Sproul Hall, where about a hundred people were sitting and talking, and sit on the grassy area just to the north of it. “The grass is closed,” she said.

If you meditate on these words until they become a mantra, you will learn some profound things about how police authority works. What could it possibly mean to declare that “the grass is closed”? Who could have the authority to say so? I had always considered that stretch of grass to be public; I’ve often been among the hundreds of students who eat their lunch there, every day, and 11:30 a.m. is a time of day when it is common to eat lunch. I have had conversations with other students sitting on that very grass, many times. Why was it that I could not do so now? Why had this stretch of grass suddenly become un-public and closed off? No signs said so, and no police tape marked it off. At the far end of that grassy area, in fact, several people were actually sitting on the grass. But those people were sitting there eating lunch. Because we were part of the group which was sitting on the steps of Sproul Hall, clearly, the grass had been declared off limits to us.

To make things more interesting, it immediately transpired that the other police officer had, in fact, already given them permission to sit on the grass. And in an instant, the arbitrariness of the rule was made evident and undeniable.

Read the rest: “The Grass Is Closed”: What I Have Learned About Power from the Police, Chancellor Birgeneau, and Occupy Cal (zunguzungu).

Police choke non-violent protester at Occupy San Diego (video)

[Video Link]

From the description for this video by photographer and military veteran Adam Plantz:

Bob O'Grady being arrested in the San Diego Civic Center Plaza for laying inside of his sleeping bag to stay warm while a group of non-violent occupiers from San Diego, Los Angeles, Irvine, Encinitas, and other transplants from various locations across the US pow-wow under an erected U.S. flag in the heart of the plaza; in celebration of Veteran's Day. SDPD uses excessive force to apprehend Bob, a SDPD officer uses a choking technique I never knew was legal in the continuum of force ladder. That must come after using a closed fist to assault the suspect in the face.

The San Diego Reader reports that O'Grady is 28 years old, and that he was choked and arrested at around 2:35 AM Saturday morning in San Diego's Civic Center Plaza after police ordered him to "exit his sleeping bag and sit up." The video above shows that he appeared to pose no threat to the armed officers surrounding him. Read eyewitness reports here.

Mexico's "War on Drugs" leads to catastrophic rise of murder, torture, "disappearance"

Human Rights Watch reports that instead of reducing violence, the ‘war on drugs’ in Mexico has resulted in a dramatic increase in killings, torture, and "disapparances." Read the report. [Video Link]

Why is Portland Police Dept. posting mugshots of Occupy Portland arrestees to Facebook?

UPDATE: I spoke with a sergeant from the Portland Police department today. I will post a longer update on the story soon, with notes from our conversation. The short version: yes, they do have a long history of posting mugshots in cases of high public and media interest, online. They're not only doing this with Occupy arrests. And Occupy arrests are of high media and public interest. The PD's news releases (some of which are lists of arrests, with photos) are all auto-posted to Twitter and Facebook now and not just to the PD's website. Apart from that, I do think it's fair to say that the prevailing character of their response to the local Occupy has been respectful and mellow compared to other cities (Oakland, yes, I'm looking at you). I told the sergeant that some BB readers had written in from Portland to say they are proud of the lack of tear gas or rubber bullets. "So are we," he replied.
—XJ


As inadvisable police tactics around Occupy Wall Street go, this feels like it's right up there with tear gassing people in wheelchairs: The Portland, Oregon police department is posting mugshots to Facebook of people arrested at Occupy Portland.

@newyorkist has been dogging them about it on Twitter, and the Portland Police replied publicly via Twitter and Facebook that they do this with any "arrests in cases of a significant public or media interest," as part of the department's "efforts to be continually transparent."

Is that a violation of the arrestees' civil rights? Some of the demonstrators arrested were minors (and I am not sure if their photos were among the ones published). How does the fact that they are not adults change this story? Remember, these people aren't convicted pedophiles, they're just participants in a peaceful protest who were arrested, and haven't yet seen their day in court.

There is some precedent to police departments posting mugshots on a police department website, but the fact that it's Facebook just feels weird. As BB reader Bryan Coffelt tweeted, "I feel like the next step would be for the PDX PD to start 'poking' the arrestees or inviting them to play FarmVille."

Below, a response to the practice by Joey B'Shalom of Portland, identified as a US Air Force veteran "Airman of the Year" whose son Benji and daughter Hannah were arrested there.

Read the rest

Occupy Oakland: photos before and after violent police raid

About the photos above and below, Mike Godwin says,

The "Before" photo, with Occupy Oakland tents in place, was taken October 21. Photographer Donna Enright, an Oakland resident, says she took the photo because she heard from her employer that Occupy Oakland had been served with a notice that the demonstrators were to be evicted.

"I thought this was the last chance I might have to take a picture of [the tents], she says.

The "After" photo was taken later in the day after the pre-sunrise October 25 police intervention at Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Photographs reproduced by BoingBoing with permission. Copyright 2011, Donna Enright. All rights reserved.

Occupy Oakland protesters claim presence of police infiltrators and provocateurs

Video Link: "Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs."

Occupy the Nor-easter: NYC OWS protesters braved a snowstorm this weekend

Boing Boing reader Peter Brauer says,

I went down to OWS to see how folks were fairing during the nor-easter. The weather was bleak, but spirits were high. I don't think these folks are going any where any time soon. Support your local #occupation this winter.

via Video Link: YouTube.

Occupy Liberty (new Lalo Alcaraz Occupy Wall Street poster)

Lalo Alcaraz, the artist and Uppity Mexican-American commentator who created the totally dope new "Occupy"/"Anonymous" poster above, is at laloalcaraz.com and pocho.com. I asked Lalo for info on how those interested can obtain prints, and he tells Boing Boing:

They should check in at laloalcaraz.com to see which signed prints are currently available, and especially should look for my 2012 Lalo Alcaraz Cartoon Calendar coming very soon (after all the Muerto Madness) and follow my silly ass at @laloalcaraz.

Scott Olsen, Iraq veteran injured in police raid of Occupy Oakland: how you can help

Update, Oct. 27, 5pm Pacific: Olsen will undergo brain surgery "within the next one or two days."


In the photo above, Veterans For Peace member Scott Olsen, who is identified as a former U.S. Marine and Iraq war veteran, lies on the street after being struck in the head by a police projectile in Oakland, California, during eviction of the Occupy Oakland encampment.

The police attack occurred Tuesday night, and was captured in video blogged in previous Boing Boing posts.

How to help: Iraq Veterans Against The War has a link here and Veterans for Peace has a link here where you can donate to help cover Olsen's medical expenses.

At the time of this blog post, Olsen remains in a hospital in Oakland, CA, in "fair" condition, upgraded from "critical." He received skull fractures. Yesterday he was in a medically-induced coma, and he has undergone surgery. His roommate Keith Shannon reported to Current TV's Keith Olbermann today that Olsen can now breathe on his own, but will likely need more surgery.

UPDATE: The Guardian reports:

Scott Olsen requires surgery to relive the pressure on his brain, according to his roommate Keith Shannon. "Neurosurgeons have decided he needs surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain and it will happen in a day or two," Shannon said. He added that Olsen's parents should be arriving at the hospital to be with their son shortly.

Read the rest

Police raid on Occupy Oakland: the morning after

Photo: Oakland North. Navy veteran Joshua Sheperd holding Veterans for Peace flag, Occupy Oakland, Tue. night.

Last night, hundreds of police in riot gear from divisions throughout Northern California descended on the Occupy Oakland encampment, armed with tear gas, an LRAD sonic weapon (the "sound cannon"), and various projectiles -- by some sources, rubber bullets and bean bags.

According to various reports, more than a hundred arrests were made. Two police officers were injured, and an untold number of protesters.

My post from last night is here, with links to video.

And as I noted last night, President Obama's recent remarks on a series of demonstrations elsewhere may prove instructive.

Oakland North was one of a number of small, independent publications on the scene last night live-tweeting photos and a blow-by-blow of the crackdown. One of their photos is above.

One YouTube video is here, capturing the moment when the police launched the first round of multiple rounds of tear-gas "bombs." From photos tweeted last night, and this Reuters photo from last night (by photographer Stephen Lam), this appears to be one of the brands of CS gas used on the protesters.

Photo: Reuters.

Our own Dean Putney took the train over from San Francisco a little later on in the wee hours. He has posted photos here, mostly after things had quieted down somewhat. One of those is below.

Photo: Dean Putney.

This video shows "Veterans for Peace member Scott Olsen wounded by a less-lethal round fired by either San Francisco Sheriffs deputies or Palo Alto Police on October 25, 2011 at 14th Street and Broadway in Downtown Oakland." He appears to have been shot in the face.

Read the rest

Scored: pulse-pounding/thought-provoking YA novel about surveillance

Scored is Lauren McLaughlin's latest YA science fiction novel, a remarkable book about surveillance, class, and culture. It's McLaughlin's third novel, and her best so far (though the previous two were very good).

In Scored, the American middle class is no more, wiped out by economic catastrophe. Social entrepreneurs bent on restoring class mobility have established "scoring," filling whole towns with spy-eyes that watch kids' every move, publicly assigning aggregate scores to their behavior according to secret, self-modifying algorithms. The top-scoring kids get full ride scholarships to top universities, and are on their way to social mobility. Bottom scorers are frozen out entirely, while those a little farther up are able to find work in the military.

Imani LeMonde is a high-school kid in small-town New England, a poor kid whose parents scrape by with a tiny, marginal marina that serves the ultra-rich who holiday there. When the story opens, Imani is a "90," scored in the highest band of children, and on her way to a better life. But Imani refuses to cut off ties with her childhood best friend, a girl who has taken up romantically with an "unscored" -- someone whose parents have not opted for the surveillance system -- and her association with an anti-social element causes her score to plummet.

From here, McLaughlin launches into a tale that is simultaneously adventurous and thought-provoking. McLaughlin's characters -- a tenured refusenik social studies teacher, a crusading lawyer, a driven principal, and a collection of kids from across the score-tribes and outside the scoring system -- all serve to illuminate the pros and cons of surveillance and "meritocracy." McLaughlin is nuanced and delicate in her touch, and manages to weave in questions about caste, class, race and fairness as she explores her subject. She does great justice to both sides of the debate, painting an all-too-plausible scenario for the remaking of society around an idea of "transparency" that is optional in name only, as anyone who opts out is instantly suspect.

Most of all, McLaughlin captures the way that being watched and judged changes our behavior for better and worse -- driving us to do our best while draining our lives of experimentation and authenticity.

Scored is a book that will spark dozens of conversations -- conversations we desperately need to be having. This book is the antidote to the pointless hand-wringing about Facebook, reality TV, and the PATRIOT Act, a chance to get out of the trite cul-de-sac where these conversations always end up, and to move into green pastures.

Scored