Occupy Wall Street

Homeless Couple Gets A Home On Christmas Eve, Thanks To Innovative ‘Occupy’ Group

Tiny house – CREDIT: NBC 15 WMTV

For one homeless couple the Occupy Madison (Wisconsin) group performed a small but awesome miracle…

Think Progress

For many couples, the thought of living together in a 96-square-foot house sounds awful. But for Chris Derrick and Betty Ybarra, it’s a Christmas miracle.

That’s because Derrick and Ybarra  have spent the better part of a year braving Madison, Wisconsin’s often-harsh climate without a roof over their head.

They’ll spend this Christmas in their own home, thanks to more than 50 volunteers with Occupy Madison, a local Wisconsin version of the original Occupy Wall Street group in New York. The group, including Derrick and Ybarra, spent the past year on an innovative and audacious plan to fight inequality in the state’s capital: build tiny homes for the homeless.

In a city where an average home for sale costs nearly $300,000, many low-income individuals simply can’t afford somewhere to live.

Indeed, in January of this year, a citywide count found 831 homeless people living in Madison, a 47 percent increase in the past 3 years. And it’s not just adults; 110 families with children were identified as well.

The “Tiny House Project” began the same month. The plan was for volunteers to build micro-homes that still include living necessities like a bed, insulation, and a toilet. The homes are heated via propane and include a pole-mounted solar panel to power the house’s light. The total cost: $3,000, paid for by private donations.

Rather than building the homes on a particular lot of land — and thus adding another expense — the houses are mounted on trailers which can be legally parked on the street, as long as they’re moved every 48 hours. Parking on the street may not even be necessary after Occupy organizers successfully convinced the Madison Common Council recently to change the city’s zoning laws so the homes could be parked on private property with permission.

As Occupy Madison continues to build more tiny houses, it hopes to eventually buy a plot of land and create a tiny village with as many as 30 homes.

“It’s not just a shelter, it’s a commitment to a lifestyle,” Brenda Konkel, who heads a tenants’ rights non-profit in Madison, said during the zoning meeting, according to The Capital Times. “It’s a co-op mixed with Habitat for Humanity mixed with eco-village as the long-term goal.”

On Tuesday, Christmas Eve, Ybarra and Derrick moved into their new home. Ybarra said the moment was “exciting,” telling NBC 15 that she’d never owned her own home before, much less one she helped build. Occupy Madison posted this video to mark the occasion.

Though a common critique of the Occupy movement was that its goals were nebulous and unspecific, it has effected a significant amount of change on a local level. This includes savingmany people’s homes from foreclosure and buying up (and then forgiving) $15 million of consumer debt for pennies on the dollar.

 

Texas Lawmaker Calls Wendy Davis A Terrorist For Blocking Anti-Abortion Bill

Since when is democracy and rule of law is terrorism?

Think Progress

Late last night, a Republican lawmaker compared Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) and the crowd of her supporters to terrorists. Davis gained national attention and admirers overnight for launching an epic 13-hour filibuster that successfully blocked a restrictive abortion bill from becoming law. Once Republicans failed to pass SB 5, an omnibus bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks and shut down most of the state’s abortion clinics, Rep. Bill Zedler (R) tweeted:

In addition to voting for the 20 week abortion ban in the Texas House, Zedler’s record includes requiring women to undergo an ultrasound and report their education history before being able to have an abortion.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov David Dewhurst described the crowd that cheered Davis on as “an unruly mob, using Occupy Wall Street tactics” that “disrupted the Senate from protecting unborn babies.” For the record, this is what the protests in the capitol building looked like:

 

Why Are Homeowners Being Jailed for Demanding Wall Street Prosecutions?

That’s an excellent question…

Rolling Stone Magazine

Bankers go free while cops tase peaceful protesters and the Department of Justice targets journalists

A two-day long housing protest outside the Department of Justice this week has resulted in nearly 30 arrests and several instances of law enforcement unnecessarily using tasers on activists, according to eye-witnesses. The action – which was organized by a coalition of housing advocacy groups, including the Home Defenders League and Occupy Our Homes – called for Attorney General Eric Holder to begin prosecutions against the bankers who created the foreclosure crisis.

“Everyone here is fed up with Holder acknowledging big banks did really bad stuff but [saying] they’re too big to jail,” says Greg Basta, deputy director of New York Communities for Change, who helped organize the event. Holder has previously suggested that prosecuting large banks would be difficult because it could destabilize the economy. The attorney general recently tried to walk those comments back – but the conspicuous lack of criminal prosecutions of bankers tells another story, one thatRolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi has written about extensively.

Gangster Bankers: Too Big To Jail

Alexis Goldstein, a former Wall Street employee and current Occupy Wall Street activist who was also at the event on Monday, agrees. “I want Eric Holder to uphold the rule of law, regardless of how much power the criminal has,” says Goldstein. She says the lack of criminal prosecutions has created a “culture of immunity” that only gets further entrenched by the small settlements that banks now consider a cost of doing business. “There’s no risk,” she says, adding that the DOJ is effectively “incentivizing breaking the law.”

Around 400 homeowners and 100 supporters took part in Monday’s actions outside the DOJ, according to Basta. One of them was Vera Johnson, of Seattle. “I’ve been dealing with foreclosure issues for three years,” says Johnson, just minutes after being released from the jail where she was held for over 24 hours for participating in this peaceful protest. Bank of America recently granted Johnson a loan modification after the media picked up on a Change.org petition that she started to save her home; this reprieve turned out to be a time bomb, as her rates were set to return to their original levels after four years. It’s an all too common story, and Johnson went to Washington, D.C. to “join in solidarity” with others in similar situations.

Many of this week’s protesters have been black and Latino homeowners, who were hit particularly hard by the foreclosure crisis. Mildred Garrison-Obi – a black woman from Stone Mountain, Georgia – was evicted from her home in 2012, though with the help of Occupy Our Homes she was able to return to it after four months of facing homelessness. “It was devastating,” says Garrison-Obi, who was arrested today in a related action held outside of a law firm where Holder was once a partner. “But I’m not alone.”

Activists note with dismay that the government has been significantly harder on people who stage nonviolent demonstrations against Wall Street than it has on the crooked bankers responsible for the housing crisis. Goldstein and Basta both say they witnessed law enforcement using tasers on multiple protesters this week. Johnson says that several hours before her arrest, as she and others sat on planter boxes outside the DOJ, a Department of Homeland Security officer asked, “Do you want to get arrested?” and then, “Do you want to get tased?” Later, when she refused to unlock her arms with another protester after three warnings – hardly a violent act or a threat to public safety – she says she was tased from behind on her left arm. She turned around to see the same officer, who she recalls telling her, “That’s what you get.”

Carmen Pittman, an activist with Occupy Our Homes in Atlanta, suffered similar treatment at this week’s protests. In video footage of her arrest, Pittman appears to have her arms interlocked with another protester.

Continue reading here…

Jury Finds Occupy Wall Street Protester Innocent After Video Contradicts Police Testimony [Updated: VIDEO]

Police were kettling protesters on 29th Street using orange nets when they arrested Michael Premo.

I found this interesting and decided to share…

The Village Voice

In the first jury trial stemming from an Occupy Wall Street protest, Michael Premo was found innocent of all charges yesterday after his lawyers presented video evidence directly contradicting the version of events offered by police and prosecutors.

Premo, an activist and community organizer who has in recent months been a central figure in the efforts of Occupy Sandy, was one of many hundred people who took part in a demonstration in Lower Manhattan on December 17 of 2011, when some protesters broke into a vacant lot in Duarte Square in an attempt to start a new occupation.

After police broke up the action in Duarte Square, hundreds of protesters marched north,
playing a game of cat and mouse with police on foot and on scooters, who tried to slow and divide the column of marchers. At 29th Street near Seventh Avenue, police finally managed to trap a large number of marchers, kettling them from both sides of the block with bright orange plastic netting. After holding the crowd in the nets for some time, a few people managed to escape, and police rushed in to the crowd with their hands up. In the commotion, Premo fell to the ground and attempted to crawl out of the scrum. (Covering the march, I was also kettled on this block for a time, though I only witnessed Premo’s arrest from a distance.)

In the police version of events, Premo charged the police like a linebacker, taking out a lieutenant and resisting arrest so forcefully that he fractured an officer’s bone. That’s the story prosecutors told in Premo’s trial, and it’s the general story his arresting officer testified to under oath as well.

But Premo, facing felony charges of assaulting an officer, maintained his innocence. His lawyers, Meghan Maurus and Rebecca Heinegg, set out to find video evidence to contradict it. Prosecutors told them that police TARU units, who filmed virtually every moment of Occupy street protests, didn’t have any footage of the entire incident. But Maurus knew from video evidence she had received while representing another defendant arrested that day that there was at least one TARU officer with relevant footage. Reviewing video shot by a citizen-journalist livestreamer during Premo’s arrest, she learned that a Democracy Now cameraman was right in the middle of the fray, and when she tracked him down, he showed her a video that so perfectly suited her needs it brought a tear to her eye.

Continued here…

Sunday Morning Blog Round Up

Feds Defund Texas Women’s Health Program

Video: Bin Laden aimed to assassinate Obama, Gen. Petraeus

Santorum: If I Win Illinois, I’ll Win The Nomination

Soldier accused of killing Afghan civilians returned US

Chemical in fertilizer linked to higher cancer rates

Video: Self-imposed recall tips WI senate balance

New York Gets The Mississippi Treatment

Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity, Vol. X

Occupy 6-Month Anniversary Protest Ends With Zuccotti Park Arrests

Two Men Thrown Out of Santorum Rally for Kissing

Afghan rampage suspect Robert Bales was a soldier strained by deployments

Limbaugh’s Misogynistic Attack On Georgetown Law Student Continues With Increased Vitriol

Keith slams Breitbart and anti-Occupy ‘propagandists’ for ‘exploiting rape victims’

If one takes the time to observe Andrew Breitbart, one might find that inside that angry facade is a very mean person who hates liberals with a  passion.   So much so in fact, that he might at times, manipulate videos to his own advantage or outright lie about the people that he hates,  just to make them look like the “slime” he perceives them to be.

Keith Olbermann gives a stunning example of this…

The Raw Story

Keith Olbermann on Wednesday night blasted conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart for claiming that the “Occupy Wall Street” movement condoned rape.

“The subject of rape itself is no laughing matter,” he said. “The allegation that a political or cultural group condones or encourages rape and sexual assault, against anyone, is virtually as serious a charge as can be leveled. Yet nearly just as bad, is to fabricate, twist, and alter facts, to make it seem like such a charge against such a group has credence.”

Breitbart recently shouted that members of the 99 Percent movement should “stop raping people,” a reference to reports of crime and sexual assaults at some “Occupy” camps.

The various demonstrations across the country took place in public parks and most of them offered free food and shelter. This attracted a number of people who were not strictly a part of the movement, including criminals and other troublemakers.

After DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas appeared on Olbermann’s show on Tuesday and accused Breitbart of “mak[ing] stuff up,” Lee Stranahan of Big Journalism demanded an on-air retraction and apology. He cited a list of 17 news stories of rape and other sexual crimes at “Occupy” protests.

But Olbermann said that list include some stories twice and could not be attributed to the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. In four of the stories, he noted, neither the victim nor the assailant were even associated with the protest. In seven other stories, the protesters were the victims, not the assailants.

“That is the evidence that Andrew Breitbart has submitted to rationalize his irrational attempt to smear the Occupy movement and Occupy members, as rapists, and to brand anybody who points out his dishonesty, his twisting of the facts, and who bothers to actually read the stories that disprove his own contention, as a rape denier or rape apologist,” Olbermann said.

“What Mr. Breitbart and his fellow propagandists have done, in fact, is to take at least eight women, eight members of Occupy, who were raped or otherwise assaulted, and blamed them.”

Watch video, courtesy of Current TV, at link here

Related articles

Occupy’s message to President Obama

Obama Tells Occupiers: ‘You’re The Reason I Ran For Office’

The Rachel Maddow Show

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent out a fundraising pitch today that casts Republicans as opposing Democrats and Occupy Wall Street, Greg Sargent reports . The former speaker draws a memo obtained by Chris Hayes  that shows Republican strategists offering their help in taking down the movement.

Also today, a group of Occupiers mic checked a speech by President Obama  in New Hampshire. They didn’t get all the way through their message, so they gave written copies of it to the press outside. The White House pool report sends this over:

“Mr. President,

Over 4000 peaceful protesters have been arrested. While bankers continue to destroy the American economy (here is where the crowd shouted them down) You must stop the assault on our 1st amendment rights.  Your silence sends a message that police brutality is acceptable. Banks got bailed out. We got sold out.”

After the crackdown on Occupy Wall Street last week, the White House said  it hoped that local municipalities would balance freedom of speech with concerns about public safety. The month before, one survey  of Occupy Wall Street found that three in four Occupiers disapprove of President Obama’s performance.

(Video by way of Think Progress .)

Right-wing press demands liberal media repeat “Occupy shooter” smear

Right -Wing Media is a wholly owned subsidiary of wackos and nuts…

Salon

How a disturbed would-be presidential assassin became another bizarre conservative meme

Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez tried to kill President Barack Obama, by firing a gun at the White House, and one would think that that combination of “hating Obama” and “using a gun” would make using him to smear liberals a bit of a stretch, even for Fox and the rest of the right-wing press. You’d think that they’d shy away from even mentioning the guy, as they generally do in prominent cases of decidedly right-wing politically motivated violence. You’d be wrong, though, because they’ve all decided that Ortega-Hernandez is the Occupy Wall Street shooter.

Ortega-Hernandez will soon be a minor historical footnote, like the guy who tried to crash a plane into Nixon’s White House, Squeaky Fromme and Sara Jane Moore, the weird guy who may have been a part of a secret plot to kill or scare Jimmy Carter, John Hinkley, the guy who tried to crash an airplane into Bill Clinton’s White House, the guy who fired bullets at Bill Clinton’s White House and the guy who fired bullets at George W. Bush’s White House. What did all of these people have in common? Their motives were … slightly difficult for rational people to comprehend. They tended to be paranoid and disturbed and their stated reasons for wishing the president dead were usually fairly incoherent.

Continue Reading

Rep. Joe Walsh: Veterans at ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests are anti-American

The Raw Story

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) on Saturday blasted the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and suggested it was a ploy to help re-elect Barack Obama in 2012.

“I generally think this whole Occupy Wall Street stuff is a well orchestrated, well-funded far left effort to disrupt the American people and rile up Obama’s left base,” he said at a town hall meeting in Gurnee. “I think these are generally spoiled, pampered, unfocused, clueless young people and a smattering of other people who don’t understand this country and are advocating anti-American solutions.”

“They don’t at all represent America and I think that the president and the White House and the Democrats kind of want to encourage it and now they’re scared because these folks are doing some pretty ugly things and now our Democratic politicians are conflicted,” he continued. “But its an anti-American, well funded left wing effort that may disrupt a lot of things next year, but they are clueless when it comes to what this country is all about and the rest of the country ought to educate them.”

Walsh, a tea party favorite in Congress, added that even veterans at “Occupy Wall Street” protests around the country were anti-American because they advocated “socialist solutions.”

When questioned about what the protest was actually about, Walsh said it was based on a 14-point manifesto.

He appeared to be making reference to aproposed list of demands posted on the forum of the “Occupy Wall Street” website. Some people have reported that the demands represented the protesters views, but the only document to have been officially endorsed by the group is the “Declaration of the Occupation.”

Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below:

VIDEO: Clowns Arrested at Occupy Wall Street

Yes Lab

A small group of Occupy Wall Street activists engaged in a near-successful corrida against the Wall Street Bull.

The incident began when two clowns, Hannah Morgan and Louis Jargow, scaled the steel barricades protecting the landmark. The clowns began spanking and climbing the beast, traditional ways of coaxing a bull into anger in preparation for a Castilian corrida, or bullfight.

Within seconds, police officers grabbed both clowns by their colorful shirts and wrestled one of them (Jargow) to the ground. The other (Morgan) continued to play the harmonica until an officer removed it from her mouth.

With the officers thus occupied, a matador in full traje de luces leapt onto the hood of the patrol vehicle parked in front of the bull and boldly presented his blood-red cape to the beast.

“I wondered whether I, neophyte matador, could bring down this behemoth, world-famous for charging towards profit while trampling underfoot the average worker,” said the OWS activist/torero whose first fight this was. “Come what may, I knew I must try.”

Police officers took no notice of the matador, occupied as they were with the clowns.

“This bull has ruined millions of lives!” wailed clown Jargow as he lay on the ground face-down. “Yet he and his accomplices have been rewarded with billions of our tax dollars—and we, here to put a stop to it all, are thrown to the ground. ¡Un escándalo!”

Both clowns were charged with disorderly conduct and released an hour later; they returned to Zuccotti Park to great fanfare. The Wall Street bull continues to rage.