Occupy Wall Street activists have good reason to be pissed off at Michael Pollok, the New York attorney trying to organize a national Occupy convention in Philadelphia this coming July 4th against the wishes of Occupy Philly and Occupy Wall Street. A quick look into Michael Pollok’s past, combined with his divisive push for a convention that most in the movement think is a disastrous idea, all point to yet another cynical political opportunist glomming onto the Occupy movement. Even worse, it looks like Pollok’s plan is to replicate the GOP’s Tea Party strategy: That is, to use public support for OWS in order to get a bunch of “independent” candidates elected into Congress. Pollok himself tried unsuccessfully running for Congress not long ago. (more…)
Last week, several news organizations carried a story about an alleged Occupy PAC that, if true, would have driven another stake of political cynicism in the heart of the fractured movement, built on idealism and opposition to the corruption of American politics.
Yesterday, our old friends the Koch brothers were back in the news. The DeSmog Blog exposed how some of the most rancid trolls in the world of climate change-denialism are on the payroll of the Heartland Institute, one of the Koch Cartel’s early propaganda mills set up during the Reagan Era. (more…)
In the spirit of the Millennial vs. Boomer debate raging in the comment section of Connor Kilpatrick’s great piece, “Thirty More Years of Hell,” I’d like to republish my account of an anti-healthcare town hall meeting I attended way back in 2009 in the subprime Southern California suburb of Victorville, in which I attempted to capture the fear and horror I felt watching old white boomer hicks froth at the mouth and tremble with rage at the slightest hint of extending to their kids and grandkids the same sort of government-run healthcare “entitlements” that they’ve been sucking on all their lives. (more…)
The Oakland Police Department went on another massive tear this weekend. On Saturday, they used rubber bullets, pepper flash-bang grenades, tear gas and batons to violently crush an attempt by Occupy activists to take over a vacant convention center in downtown Oakland and turn it into a community center/local Occupy HQ. Scores of people were injured, including a 19-year-old woman rushed to the hospital and treated for internal bleeding after a cop thrashed her kidneys with his truncheon. Yesterday, I got second-hand info that a man was shot in the face with a rubber bullet, and had his tooth/teeth knocked out. Using the same sort of kettling techniques extensively employed by the NYPD to trap and net protesters like fish, the OPD arrested over 400 people.
The sheer number of arrests, the brutal overreaction, only shows just how paranoid the 1%ers are getting. The Occupy protesters must be something right if they’re provoking such a heavy-handed disproportionate response merely for hanging out. Someone should remind them that the 1st Amendment explicitly guarantees “the right of the people peaceably to assemble“… (more…)
So it’s back to the depressing topic of Atlantic Monthly blogger and paid PR flak for defense contractors, Joshua Foust–something I’d rather avoid, but the scumbags won’t let me. Foust and his minions have managed the impossible–they’ve outdone themselves in vileness; who imagined such a feat was possible? Ever since I exposed Foust as a massacre-denier defending the interests of Kazakhstan’s dictator for life, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and covering for Chevron, the biggest US oil company doing business in Kazakhstan, Foust’s personal web site, Registan.net, has waged a rank smear campaign against an heroic Russian journalist, Elena Kostyuchenko. (more…)
Last Thursday I got up at 7:00 a.m. and drove NASCAR-style to make it in time to my arraignment hearing at the Central Arraignment Court in sunny downtown Los Angeles 8:30 a.m.–only to find out that I’d wasted my time.
After waiting around for twenty minutes outside a courtroom with a bunch of other people arrested during the November 30 LAPD raid on Occupy LA, including Family Guy writer Patrick Meighan and a few other guys I spent two nights in jail with, I learned that the City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich, had decided to postpone arraignment for most of us. We weren’t given a new date, just a cryptic message stamped on our bail/release slips: NO CHARGES FILED / WILL NOTIFY BY MAIL. (more…)
I’m not going make you wade through three paragraphs of stuff to find out who won this year’s Urban Shield: it was the Israeli team. Oakland Police Department took second place, while San Francisco Police Department tied with FBI for third.
A video recorded by OccupyNewsandMedia during last week’s early-morning raid on Occupy Berkeley shows a burly Berkeley cop strutting around with a repeat-fire tear gas grenade launcher, menacingly pointing it at protesters without provocation. At one point the bloodlusting cop threatens to shoot pointblank the guy with the camera, telling him “You back up…you may not understand it til’ I use this, but you better back up”– before charging the videographer with his grenade launcher pointed right at the camera guy’s face. (more…)
Last Saturday I was at home in Venice, California, glued to the screen watching a live Ustream feed from Manhattan, where a few thousand protesters gathered to celebrate the three-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street and to march on Times Square. (more…)
Late last week, as I was reading a story by the Family Guy writer who had been brutally arrested and mistreated at the Occupy LA crackdown, I suddenly realized, “Holy shit, I remember that guy!”
I didn’t catch his name at the time (it’s Patrick Meighan), but I distinctly recall sitting next to a tall blond guy with a bruised forehead that was caked with blood, listening to him talk about his arrest to a couple of protesters and describe how a cop in riot gear kneed him in the back, threw him to the ground, and bulldozed the pavement with his forehead before zip-tying and frogmarching him out of Solidarity Square for processing—all that despite his full cooperation during his arrest. (more…)
From Detention Camp guard to neocon troll, you’ve come a long way, baby!
(Updated below) Last Friday, The eXiled published Max Blumenthal’s devastating exposé (cross-posted from Al-Akhbar) on the intimate ties between the Israeli occupation security forces, the Bahraini monarchy’s democracy-crushing goons, and police forces across the USA responsible for brutally suppressing the Occupy protests over the past several weeks. As one might expect, the trolls are already out for blood. The Atlantic Monthly‘s former Israeli Detention Camp guard, Cpl. Jeffrey Goldberg, today posted a sleaze-hit on Blumenthal’s article. Since there are no facts in the story that can be called into question, the way they’re going after Blumenthal is by getting one of the sources to deny her quotes (or sort of deny, it’s hard to even tell now) which she had given to Blumenthal in an on the record interview. This would not be the first time a highly damaging and contentious bit of reporting, which contained no factual errors, was attacked this way: Ron Suskind, for example, suffered similar attacks in which quoted sources denied their quotes, in a campaign designed to undermine the damaging impact of his book Confidence Men.(more…)
When I worked in Russia, there were two sets of laws–one for Kremlin favorites and oligarchs, who never worried about paying for their crimes; and laws for everyone else, who paid no matter what. Here, it’s starting to get even worse than in Russia: Not only has there not been a single banker arrested since they destroyed the entire economy and looted trillions (while at the same time a mother who fudges her address to get her child in a better school district gets jail time), but even worse than that, judges think it’s more important to punish peaceful protesters with obscene bail demands than to isolate a serial child-rapist, who was let out without having to post a single penny.
Last week, as I reported, the LAPD arrested and detained nearly 300 peaceful protesters during the paramilitary eviction raid on Occupy LA. Charged with minor, non-violent misdemeanor offenses (“failing to disperse”), the majority of those arrested were nonetheless forced to spend three full nights in jail. The reason they spent so much time (I was there for two nights) behind bars? They could not afford the bizarrely punitive $5,000 to $10,000 bail set by the City of Los Angeles, which had jacked up the bail amount in order to punish and keep Occupy LA protesters in jail–a potentially illegal practice, according to the National Lawyers Guild. (more…)
Listen to eXiled editors Yasha Levine and Mark Ames on KPFK Radio’s “Beneath the Surface” with Suzi Weissman, as they discuss Yasha Levine’s arrest at the LAPD raid on Occupy LA and the appalling treatment of peaceful protesters he witnessed during his two-day stint in jail.
On Friday, December 2, the Los Angeles Police Department finally decided to release most of 200+ Occupy LA protesters who had been held in detention for more than 48 hours. Many of them were expected to show up at the General Assembly scheduled for 7:30 p.m on the south steps of City Hall. So I cruised down to see what I could find out…
Yasha Levine was forced to surrender his freedom, as well as his shoe laces…for his own protection
I finally got home Thursday afternoon after spending two nights in jail, and have had a hard time getting my bearings. On top of severe dehydration and sleep deprivation, I’ve got one hell of pounding migraine. So I’ll have to keep this brief for now. But I wanted to write down a few things that I witnessed and heard while locked up by LA’s finest… (more…)
Update: Yasha Levine was released from prison on bail, and is heading back to his apartment. The experience was worse than he’d expected, but he’ll explain more on that as soon as he’s back and able to focus. Looks like we’ll need to hit readers up for some bail money, but the good news is that he was able to negotiate the bail price down, sort of poverty-discount.
UPDATE: Yasha was finally freed on bail just a few minutes ago, after two nights in jail, He just told me he’s exhausted and yet still quite shocked by how harshly the protesters were treated after the embedded reporters were out of the scene. Yasha will write up more as soon as he’s back home and able to focus again.
Exiled editor Yasha Levine was arrested late last night during the savage and unconstitutional police crackdown on Occupy LA. We call on the police and authorities to release Yasha, and release all protesters and media illegally arrested at the Occupy LA encampment and illegally imprisoned merely for exercising constitutionally-guaranteed rights. (Update: Latest word is that Yasha is going to have to spend another night in the Los Angeles County jail, and will be brought before a judge tomorrow and hopefully released, as bail is currently set at an incredible $5,000. The National Lawyer’s Guild is calling this illegal and a violation of state law. Updates below.)
The irony of the LAPD arresting Yasha Levine–a political refugee from Soviet totalitarianism– for the crime of reporting on a demonstration against oligarchy power, a demonstration protected by the Constitution, reveals again just how depraved and corrupted America has become. (more…)
I spent this past Sunday night reporting from Occupy LA, along with at least 2,000 others who came in solidarity to help the camp stand up to a threatened LAPD raid. The defense of the camp, or the battle to defend it, started just after midnight and lasted until about 6 AM, when the cops finally succeeded in pushing people off of the street and back onto the sidewalk–just in time for morning traffic. That was the extent of the LAPD raid. In all, there were only four arrests and no baton beat-downs, pepper spray attacks, tear gas or rubber bullets. Most important of all, the cops never set foot inside the camp.
Poor Rick Perry: At last week’s Republican debate, he unveiled yet another “enemy” that a President Perry would destroy for America–but no one paid attention. Gov. Perry’s newest monster he’s vowed to slay is the TSA union, targeted for the same destruction by Perry as Social Security, climate change science, Iran, and three other federal agencies TBA later.
A friend of mine sent me this link claiming that UC Davis chancellor “Chemical” Linda Katehi, whose crackdown on peaceful university students shocked America, played a role in allowing Greece security forces to raid university campuses for the first time since the junta was overthrown in 1974. (H/T: Crooked Timber) I’ve checked this out with our friend in Athens, reporter Kostas Kallergis (who runs the local blog “When The Crisis Hits The Fan”), and he confirmed it–Linda Katehi really is the worst of all possible chancellors imaginable, the worst for us, and the worst for her native Greece.
Another Monday, another “deficit crisis” panic. If you haven’t got the feeling yet that you’re being played like a sucker over this alleged “deficit crisis,” then let me help you cross that cognitive bridge to dissonance. It comes in the figure of the recently-deceased William Niskanen, the embodiment of how Reaganomics and the Koch brothers’ libertarian movement were joined at the hip. Niskanen was an advisor to Ronald Reagan throughout the 1970s; a board director for the Koch-founded Reason Foundation; a member and chairman of Reagan’s Council on Economic Advisers from 1981-85; and he moved directly from Reagan’s side back to the Koch brothers’ side, as chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute from 1985 until 2008. This is a brief story about how the 1% transformed this country into a failing oligarchy, and their useful tools, starting with A-list libertarian economist William Niskanen, Chicago School disciple of Milton Friedman, advocate of the rancid “public choice theory.” (more…)
According to the press release, BofA’s Bankapalooza rolled through Los Angeles, Dallas and D.C., and was held for the benefit of America’s small business owners, giving them an opportunity to have a bit of fun while learning about the important role that massively centralized financial institutions play in helping small businesses succeed. And central to that effort was Malcolm Gladwell himself: (more…)
CHARLES AND DAVID KOCH are the most powerful right-wing billionaires of our time. They have spent hundreds of millions bankrolling a broad attack against Social Security, organized labor, financial regulations, environmental protection and public education. The brothers plan to funnel at least $200 million to elect right-wing, anti-government Republicans in 2012, according to Politico. They seem hell-bent on dragging America back to the dark days of unregulated capitalism. The history of their grandfather in Texas may help explain why. Because, apparently, it runs in the family.
Last Sunday I was grumbling about how there are so many great books about war and not that many great war movies. That got a lot of readers lobbing in their suggestions for good war movies. One reminded me that…
Today’s Civil War Caturday (by the way, that’s pronounced “Kivil War Katurday”), right in the middle of Easter. Got me thinking about my religion, if I have one now, and I realized I do, kind of: The Monitor and the…
Seems like I ought to do something religious today, so I picked a battle from the the ultimate military expression of religious devotion: The Thirty Years War (1618-1648), Europe’s way of debating the Catholic vs. Protestant thing by counting corpses.
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