Village Voice

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…

Mitt Romney, American Parasite

This is an interesting read.  It exposes the real Mitt Romney during his Bain Capital years.

The Village Voice

His years at Bain represent everything you hate about capitalism

It was the early 1990s, and the 750 men and women at Georgetown Steel were pumping out wire rods at peak performance. They had an abiding trust in management’s ability to run a smart company. That allegiance was rewarded with fat profit-sharing checks. In the basement-wage economy of Georgetown, South Carolina, Sanderson and his co-workers were blue-collar aristocracy.

“We were doing very good,” says Sanderson, president of Steelworkers Local 7898. “The plant was making money, and we had good profit-sharing checks, and everything was going well.”

What he didn’t know was that it was about to end. Hundreds of miles to the north, in Boston, a future presidential candidate was sizing up Georgetown’s books.

At the time, Mitt Romney had been runningBain Capital since 1984, minting a reputation as a prince of private investment. A future prospectus by Deutsche Bank would reveal that by the time he left in 1999, Bain had averaged a shimmering 88 percent annual return on investment. Romney would use that success to launch his political career.

His specialty was flipping companies—or what he often calls “creative destruction.” It’s the age-old theory that the new must constantly attack the old to bring efficiency to the economy, even if some companies are destroyed along the way. In other words, people like Romney are the wolves, culling the herd of the weak and infirm.

His formula was simple: Bain would purchase a firm with little money down, then begin extracting huge management fees and paying Romney and his investors enormous dividends.

The result was that previously profitable companies were now burdened with debt. But much like the Enron boys, Romney’s battery of MBAs fancied themselves the smartest guys in the room. It didn’t matter if a company manufactured bicycles or contact lenses; they were certain they could run it better than anyone else.

Bain would slash costs, jettison workers, reposition product lines, and merge its new companies with other firms. With luck, they’d be able to dump the firm in a few years for millions more than they’d paid for it.

But the beauty of Romney’s thesis was that it really didn’t matter if the company succeeded. Because he was yanking out cash early and often, he would profit even if his targets collapsed.

Which was precisely the fate awaiting Georgetown Steel.

H/t: Dennis

Continue reading here…

NYC Students Stage Walkouts in Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street

This is what I call a “movement”…

The Village Voice

​Inspired by Occupy Wall Street, students from around New York will walk out of their classes and march down to City Hall this afternoon. Once at City Hall, the students will join the larger Community/Labor March to Wall Street, which already has almost 3,000 people attending on Facebook.

A few months ago, New York Students Rising, a “statewide network of students and campus-organizations dedicated to defending public higher education and empowering students in New York State,” according to its website, started organizing around budget cuts in the CUNY and SUNY systems and began to plan for a fall protest. Now, thanks to a chance scheduling overlap with Occupy Wall Street, it has morphed into a solidarity march, and other universities are joining in as well.

Students from ColumbiaThe New School, and NYU have been organizing for the walkouts, scheduled at 3:30 p.m. (for Columbia) and 4 p.m. (for NYU and the New School), in time to get to the 4:30 march. In addition, students and teachers at CUNY and SUNY schools will be holding teach-ins prior to walking out.

According to Joshua Frens-String, a Ph.D student in the history department at NYU and one of the organizers of NYU’s student walkout, there are two main reasons why students feel so strongly about Occupy Wall Street: inequalities that directly affect them and a feeling that they lack real political representation.

Staging a walkout will have a “strong symbolic effect,” according to Frens-String, but he says the idea came from purely practical considerations: The labor march begins at 4:30 and many people are still in school and at work at that time. Still, the act will not be completely devoid of meaning. “We’re inspired by people giving up entire days occupying. The least we can do is give up a few hours,” he explained.

Who knows if the walkouts will get any results, but they show that OWS is gaining support from more than just zombies.

Related articles

New York City Police Use 150-Year-Old Law Against Wearing Masks To Arrest Wall Street Demonstrators

Where are the mainstream media reports on the Wall Street demonstrations?

Think Progress

As ThinkProgress previously reported, hundreds of demonstrators have encamped themselves in the financial district in New York City, hoping to call attention to Wall Street’s misdeeds.

Yesterday, seven protesters were arrested by the New York Police Department, despite being peaceful and not noticeably disrupting the normal activities of the city. The Wall Street Journal notes that the charges being brought against these demonstrators include “loitering and wearing [a] mask.” The Village Voice points out that the anti-mask law being used against demonstrators dates back to 1845, when farmers wore masks to conduct attacks against the police. The law was updated in 1965 to “prevent masked gathering of two or more people,” unless they are throwing masquerade parties:

The anti-mask law goes back to 1845, when tenant farmers used disguises (dressing up like Indians) to attack law enforcement officials, apparently. In 1965 the law was updated to prevent masked gatherings of two or more people, except in the case of masquerade parties. Whew.

Demonstrators took video of the arrests of some of the protesters. One of the protesters is simply wearing a plastic mask on the back of her head:

The occupation and protests on Wall Street are now entering their fifth day. Protesters are requesting on their website that people donate money for food for the demonstrators, and note that more than $9,000 has been donated so far.

The occupation and protests on Wall Street are now entering their fifth day. Protesters are requesting on their website that people donate money for food for the demonstrators, and note that more than $9,000 has been donated so far.

Related articles

Should Jon Kyl get to erase his ‘Planned Parenthood lies’?

Unfortunately, members of Congress and the Senate are allowed to correct anything sumbitted for the Congressional Record.

The Week

The Arizona Republican wildly exaggerated the family planning group’s abortion record. Now he’s striking his statement from the congressional record.

Best Opinion:  Village Voice, TIME, Examiner.com

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) faced anger and ridicule after claiming earlier this month that abortions account for 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s business — the actual figure is 3 percent. First, his office tried to calm the furor by saying that Kyl’s assertion, made on the Senate floor during debate over the group’s federal funding, was “not intended to be a factual statement.” Now Kyl has stricken what some called his “Planned Parenthood lies” from the congressional record. Is that fair?

Kyl should not get to cover up his lie:
The Senate’s No. 2 Republican wants his “egregiously, ludicrously wrong not-intended-to-be-a-factual-statement” to magically disappear, says Rosie Gray at The Village Voice. But you can’t erase one lie by telling another. Kyl made up a statistic to get publicity for his attack on Planned Parenthood, but he’ll get more publicity — of the bad variety — for trying to whitewash what he said.
“It’s as if Jon Kyl never even opened his mouth”

He’s merely setting the record straight: Kyl misspoke, and he’s embarrassed, Nick Carbone says at TIME. His critics might not like it, but the Library of Congress gives all senators the right to edit their remarks before they are printed in the permanent record. Now the record will reflect that Planned Parenthood does indeed perform abortions, but without any quantitative exaggeration. “Thank you for the factual statement, Sen. Kyl.”
“From not factual to non-existent: Jon Kyl’s remark stricken from Congressional Record”

The damage is already done: It’s easy to understand why Kyl would want his wildly inaccurate statement to go away, says Ryan Witt at Examiner.com, but simply expunging it won’t achieve that. Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert has ridiculed Kyl mercilessly over this — and no matter how the official congressional record reads, Kyl’s “original non-factual statement will likely forever remain part of congressional lore.”
“Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) tries to erase ‘not intended to be a factual statement'”