Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011-12-31 "Another Pelican Bay Prison SHU man dead after strip celled, blasted with 'ice cold air' in retaliation for peaceful hunger strike" by Deborah Dupre
Another Pelican Bay Prison Hunger Striker has died this week according to an source Saturday evening. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has yet to announce the death, name or cause. State-sponsored torture continues throughout California's solitary confinement units prompting another prison to announce a mass hunger strike this weekend [].
This death "makes it three now here, all strikers and its sad," inmates at Pelican Bay Prison Segregated Housing Unit (SHU) solitary confinement said on Dec. 30, their message emailed to this reporter by a source late Saturday evening.
Prisoners in Pelican Bay Prison's SHU decided early this summer to protest tortuous conditions in isolation using the only peaceful means available to them, a hunger strike, quickly spreading to over a third of California's 33 prisons, 16 prisons where up to 12,000 prisoners refused food [].
After the prisoners officially ended the strike, it resumed but ended again in October, Since then, at least three of the strikers "committed suicide," two in Pelican Bay State Prison’s SHU and another at Calipatria State Prison’s Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU).

Retaliation on hunger strikers continues -
"There have been reports of hunger striker leaders at Pelican Bay State Prison facing disciplinary action for their participation in the strikes," reported Sal Rodriguez for Solitary Watch [].
One of the hunger strike leaders recently reported, "On November 30th, myself and several other men here (whom CDCR has labeled as 'leaders' of the peaceful-protests) received serious rule violations, charging us with 'causing a riot/mass disturbance' and they referred it for felony – prosecution, to the local D.A’s office.
"The Ad-Seg/ ASU units are bad news. I was never housed in them until being put in the one here on Sept. 29th. This was CDCR’s retaliatory action against (15) of us here.
"We were all isolated on a tier, in strip cells with nothing but a set of clothes and fish kit (spoon, cup, bar of soap, etc…), with ice cold air blasting outta the vents!"
Confinement in those ASU conditions reportedly lasted until October 13th, end of the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike.
By mid-October, prisoners had begun reporting “grave medical issues.”
A relative of a striker at Calipatria State Prison said, “Men are collapsing in their cells because they haven’t eaten in two weeks.  I have been told that guards refuse to respond when called. This is clearly a medical emergency.”

Hunger strike resumes at Concoran State Prison, despite brutal retaliation -
Rodriguez states, "Since this time, there has been difficulty maintaining the momentum sparked by the first hunger strike, which notably led in a historic California Assembly hearing on the matter with promises of future Public Safety Committee inquiries into the system of solitary confinement.
With little progress by the slow-moving CDCR, ASU inmates at Corcoran State Prison were to resume or launch another hunger strike on December 28th.
A letter declaring the purpose of the strike with a list of demands, similar to the previous hunger strike Five Core Demands, has been published on December 30th.
Pelican Bay Short Corridor inmates wrote the letter below, dated December 22nd.
Pelican Bay Short Corridor inmates are considered leaders of the previous hunger strikes.
Their letter (below) reflects growing frustration and determination for their torturous situation.
The inmates are urging individuals to keep pressure on CDCR and the California government to fully address the human rights violations including torture by people at all levels of the California prison-industrial-complex.

Pelican Bay Short Corridor Update
(December 2011)
A Shout-out of respect and solidarity – from the Pelican Bay Short Corridor – Collective – to all similarly situated prisoners subject to the continuing torturous conditions of confinement in these barbaric SHU & Ad/Seg units across this country and around the world.
This is our update of where things currently stand and where we’re going with this struggle – for an end to draconian policies and practices – summarized in our “Formal Complaint” (and many related documents published and posted online, since early 2011)
As many of you know… beginning in early (2010), the PBSP – SHU Short Corridor Collective initiated action to educate people and bring wide spread exposure to – the (25+) years of ongoing – progressive human rights violations going unchecked here in the California Department of Corruption – via dissemination of our “Formal Complaint” to 100’s of people, organizations, lawmakers, Secretary Cate, etc… wherein, we also sought support and meaningful change.
The response by CDCR – Secretary Cate was “file an inmate appeal” (collectively, we’d filed thousands); therefore, after much reconsideration and dialogue, the collective decided to take the fight to the next level via peaceful protest action – in the form of hunger strike.
With the above in mind – beginning in early (2011)… we again sought to educate people about the ongoing torture prevalent in these prison systems – solitary confinement units; and pointing out our position that – the administrative grievance process is a sham, and the court system’s turned a blind eye to such blatantly illegal practices – Leaving us with no other meaningful avenue for obtaining relief, other than to put our lives on the line and thereby draw the line and force changes, via collective peaceful protest hunger strike action.
We believed this was the only – fully advantageous – way for us to expose such outrageous abuse of state power, to the world and gain the outside support needed to help force real change.
We requested support in the form of – asking people to write letters to those in power… we received more support than we ever expected – in the form of letters, rallies, and hunger strike “participants” – more than (18,000) similarly situated prisoners and some people on the outside!
All united in solidarity, with a collective awareness – that the draconian torture practices described in our “Formal Complaint” are prevalent across the land; and that – united in peaceful action, we have the power to force changes.
The hunger strike actions of (2011) achieved some success, in the form of – mainstream world wide exposure – solid, continuing outside support – some small improvements to SHU/Ad-Seg unit conditions … and assurances of more meaningful – substantive changes to the overall policies and practices re: basis for placement and amount of time spent, in such units – a substantive review of all prisoners files, per new criteria – and more change to the actual conditions in such units.
However, this fight is far from over! Notably, the second hunger strike action was suspended in mid-October … in response to top CDCR administrator’s presentation that the substantive changes be finalized… would be provided to “the stakeholders” (this includes our attorneys), within 60 days for comment. To date, CDCR hasn’t produced anything re: SHU/Ad-Seg policy changes; and PBSP’s Warden has not even replied to the (2) memo’s we’ve sent him concerning – additional program – privilege issues, per core demand #5 (see footnote #1 below)
Naturally, many people are not happy about CDCR’s failure to abide by their word – again – and they are asking… “what’s the next move in this struggle?”
Based on our collective discussions, our response is … people need to remain focused, and continue to apply pressure on CDCR, via letters, emails, fax, etc… summarizing the continuing core demands – immediately! There’s real power in numbers!! (see addresses to contact below, at footnote #2)
It’s important for everyone to stay objective and on the same page – remember… united we win, divided we lose. And, if we don’t see real substantive changes within the next 6 months… we’ll have to re-evaluate our position.
Additionally, now is a good time for people to start a dialogue about changing the climate on these level IV mainlines… As it stands now, these lines are warehouses, with all the money meant for programs – rehabilitation, going into guard pockets.
It’s in all of our best interests to change this in a big way, and thereby force CDCR to open these lines up and provide all of us with the programs and rehabilitative services that we all should have coming to us!!
Respect and Solidarity,
T. Ashker, A. Castellanos, Sitawa (s/n Dewberry), A. Guillen
-Dec. 2011-

Footnote#1: To date, we’ve received zero improvements re: core demand #5 … while Corcoran and Tehachapi have gained on canteen and dip-pull up bars – which, is all good. This is an example of what we pointed out in our “Formal Complaint” re: disparate treatment at PBSP-SHU compared to other SHU’s.
This is also a typical CDCR attempt to create discord and disruption to our unified struggle…we’re certain this feeble move will fail because all of us understand what our main objective is – an end to long term torture in these isolation units! It is our fundamental right to be treated humanely… we can no longer accept state sanctioned torture – of our selves! (and, our loved ones!) and we remain unified in our resistance!!

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) [] is now one of the leading groups dedicated to ending torture in U.S. prisons. It's specific focus is on the widespread use and abuse of solitary confinement according to James Ridgeway and Jean Casella of Solitary Watch [].
At the core of NRCAT’s work is it’s “Statement of Conscience,” titled “Torture is a Moral Issue,” Torture violates the basic dignity of the human person that all religions, in their highest ideals, hold dear. It degrades everyone involved — policy-makers, perpetrators and victims. It contradicts our nation’s most cherished ideals. Any policies that permit torture and inhumane treatment are shocking and morally intolerable.
"Nothing less is at stake in the torture abuse crisis than the soul of our nation. What does it signify if torture is condemned in word but allowed in deed?
"Let America abolish torture now — without exceptions."
 America's widespread torture of 100,000 people in solitary confinement [] across the nation's prison-industrial-complex is one of the most pressing and ignored domestic human rights issues [].
2011-12-31 "Truck of two visiting Navy personnel is shot at in Vallejo" from "Vallejo Times-Herald"
A group of men shot at the truck of two Navy personnel from Washington state early Friday, Vallejo police said.
At about 1:25 a.m., the two men, who are active duty military personnel, were walking out of the Coconut Grove, 905 Lincoln Road East, to their truck. Across the street, a group of men started verbally challenging them, police said.
One of the men from the group produced a handgun and threatened them further. The Washington men got into their truck and drove away, but police said they heard gunfire, and realized that the truck had been shot.
The back window was shattered, and a bullet hit one of the head rests, nearly missing one of the men. They were uninjured, and police found shell casings at the scene.
The reason for why the two were shot at was unclear.
Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at (800) 488-9383 or leave an anonymous message on the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (707) 644-STOP (7867).
2011-12-31 "Wee Pals" comic-strip by Morrie Turner

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011-12-30 "Judge upholds proposed Napa land use regulations" from "Vallejo Times-Herald"
NAPA -- A Napa Superior Court judge handed a Latino agency a defeat this week with a proposed ruling that Napa County's land use regulations do not violate state and federal fair housing and land use laws.
The court also ruled the county's "Density Bonus Ordinance" is valid, denying charges filed by Latinos Unidos del Valle de Napa y Solano (LUNA). The organization filed suit against the county in November 2009, alleging that county rules prevent construction of new affordable housing and have resulted in the loss of existing affordable housing.
In his decision, Judge Raymond Guadagni ruled the county's land use policies and practices do not discriminate against any group of people, including the disabled, farmworkers, families with children, female-headed households and Latinos. Further, he upheld the Density Bonus Ordinance, which allows the county to grant incentives or concessions to builders who agree to develop affordable housing beyond the minimums required by the zoning code.
This ruling was Guadagni's second and third in the LUNA lawsuit. The first, which challenged the sufficiency of the county's 2009 Housing Element to its General Plan, was denied in June.
The parties have 15 days to object to the proposed decision, after which the court is expected to make its final ruling.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011-12-29 "Occupy Oakland camp re-emerges, is quickly removed" by Demian Bulwa from "San Francsico Chronicle"
A fenced-off triangle of land that became the new Occupy Oakland encampment was being dismantled by police Wednesday night after the property owner urged authorities to remove the squatters.
The 15 tents, makeshift kitchen and a bathroom on the city's industrial west side got the same treatment as other recent encampments - it was taken down almost as soon as it went up.
Since police dismantled Occupy Oakland's original tent city outside City Hall on Nov. 14, protesters fed up with economic inequality and corporate greed have sought to set up a new base for the cause and a new encampment for homeless people who gravitated to the movement.
Late last month, protesters tore down a fence around a vacant lot in the Uptown neighborhood before being ordered to leave. A few days later, a lot in West Oakland was occupied, then cleared out after the owner objected.
The new encampment, behind a chain-link fence topped by barbed wire, was first occupied last Thursday and named "Zion Cypress Triangle," according to Occupy protesters.
The site, bounded by Peralta Street, Mandela Parkway and 20th Street, was going to be a drug- and alcohol-free "winter camp" and "safe haven" for homeless people and activists, according to a camp organizer who identified himself as Christopher M.
It didn't work out that way.
Oakland police moved in shortly after 5 p.m. and began clearing out the campers and dismantling the tents and other facilities. Three protesters left voluntarily, 14 others were cited for trespassing and one demonstrator was arrested after failing to produce valid identification, police said.
"The property owner requested that Oakland police go in and remove the protesters from the property," Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said. "That's what we are doing."
Brian Collins, one of the partners who bought the property in 2006, said he learned of the encampment Wednesday and took "the appropriate steps to ask them to leave peacefully."
"Typically, we would ask them to leave first," Watson said. "In the past, they have left without any incidents."
The sweep means another move for Alex Thompson, 28. The homeless woman said she had moved from one Occupy camp to another since October, when she and her mother were evicted from an Oakland residential motel after a dispute with the owner.
Thompson said she had no income of any kind, or even identification, and did not want to seek help at a homeless shelter. She said she was happy to be the "camp dog-sitter."
"I'm not ready to go indoors," she said. "If I get tied to one place for too long, I don't do anything. At least out here I'm doing something."

A protester marks Occupy Oakland's new camp just hours before police moved in and dismantled it. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle

Alex Thompson entertains Yoda, a fellow camper's dog, at the new Occupy Oakland encampment at 20th Street and Mandela Parkway in Oakland, Calif. on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011. About 16 tents have been pitched in the previously vacant lot but that number is expected to grow in the coming days. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle

 Alex Thompson, a homeless woman who has lived at several Occupy camps, was among those evicted from the latest site. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle

Campers prepare a lunch in the kitchen at a new Occupy Oakland encampment at 20th Street and Mandela Parkway in Oakland, Calif. on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011. About 16 tents have been pitched in the previously vacant lot but that number is expected to grow in the coming days. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle

More than a dozen tents have been pitched at the new Occupy Oakland encampment at 20th Street and Mandela Parkway in Oakland, Calif. on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle

Campers Julion Lewis-Tatman (left) and Ben carry a trash bag of debris collected from the new Occupy Oakland encampment at 20th Street and Mandela Parkway in Oakland, Calif. on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011. About 16 tents have been pitched in the previously vacant lot but that number is expected to grow in the coming days. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle

More than a dozen tents have been pitched at the new Occupy Oakland encampment at 20th Street and Mandela Parkway in Oakland, Calif. on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011-12-28 Occupy Vacaville's christmas cookies of fascism

2011-12-28 "Mother with no prior offenses sentenced to TWELVE YEARS in prison for $31 marijuana offense; Mom of 4 reflects on first year in prison for $31 pot sale" by Fiona

Patricia Spottedcrow has served one year of her prison sentence. Listen to Spottedcrow talk about her life, while her family talks about life without her.
 Wearing prison-issue yellow clothes, Patricia Spottedcrow reflects on her first year in prison through the lens of tears and determination.
  One year ago, on the week of Christmas, the first-time offender was checked into the Eddie Warrior women's prison - the first holiday away from her four young children.
  "I cried and cried just thinking of my kids opening presents on Christmas and I wasn't there," she said. "This year, it's going to be any other day. I try not to keep up with days in here."
  At her mother's home in Kingfisher, there is a somber tone among her children - ages 2, 4, 5 and 10.
 "We're crying here too," said her mother, Delita Starr. "We'll try to make sure there is money in her account for a phone call. What else can we do?"
  Spottedcrow, 26, was arrested and charged for selling $31 in marijuana to a police informant in December 2009 and January 2010. Starr, 51, was also charged.
  Because children were in the home, a charge of possession of a dangerous substance in the presence of a minor was added.
  In blind pleas before a judge, Spottedcrow received a 12-year sentence and her mother received a 30-year suspended sentence. Neither had prior criminal convictions.
  The judge sentencing the two said she allowed Starr to avoid prison so she could care for Spottedcrow's children.
 When Spottedcrow was booked, after her sentence was handed down, marijuana was found in the jacket she was wearing. She pleaded guilty to that additional charge and was sentenced to two years running concurrent with the previous sentence.
 Supporters expressed concern with possible racial bias, unequal punishment among crimes, women in prison, effects on children of incarcerated parents and extreme sentences for drug offenses.
  Oklahoma City attorney Josh Welch has been donating his services to fight what he calls an inequitable punishment.
  In October, a Kingfisher County judge took four years off her sentence. The judge issued an order rather than allow her an appearance in court. Her attorney and supporters believe it was to avoid the crowd expected to be at the courthouse that day.
  Welch said he plans to file for post-conviction relief, alleging the original attorney was ineffective and had a conflict in representing Spottedcrow and her mother. He plans to make the filing in early January and submit an early parole packet at the same time.
  "We are grateful to get four years taken off her sentence but still believe the sentence is unjust and excessive," Welch said.

 Days blur in prison -
  "The first eight months were a blur," Spottedcrow said. "I just cried a lot. It's like I woke up a couple of months ago."
  Her daily schedule starts with breakfast at 5:30 a.m., followed by her job in the laundry. At 4:30 p.m., she is released and goes to the gym, followed by dinner and then church at 7 p.m.
  "You have to try and keep your mind busy," she said. "It's easy to get sad, depressed and stuck in your own head in here."
  Prison is no picnic, even at a minimum-security campus like Eddie Warrior, she said.
  "I took for granted using the bathroom by myself, what clothes you can wear and being able to pick up and go to the store when you want," Spottedcrow said. "I hate not being able to use your own shampoo and you are limited to spending $10 a month (in the commissary)."
  But it's her kids taking up most of her thoughts.
  "I was there every day taking of care of them before this," she said. "I did everything from going to football games and PTA."
  While in prison, Spottedcrow has taken parenting classes, finished her GED and participates in a grief/loss recovery program, a behavior course, Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous and a faith-based program. She is on a waiting list to begin higher education and Career Tech classes.
  "The life I was living before, that's over," Spottedcrow said. "I'm not playing with my life anymore. I would never chance this again for my children."
  Spottedcrow never denied she smoked pot but said she was never a drug dealer or ever used or sold marijuana in front of her children.
  "I got myself in this situation, and I'm not saying I shouldn't be punished," she said. "But I think this is a little excessive, especially looking at other cases from my county. And I'm sleeping next to people who have killed people, and they have less time than me. There are days I really can't believe I'm in prison."
  In prison, she has had three misconducts: one for bartering when she gave an inmate cigarettes, one for having contraband when cookies were found in her locker without a receipt and another for aiding and abetting when she did not tell authorities a woman put bleach in the laundry area.
  "I have a big heart," she said. "When I see someone in need, like for food, I want to help if I can. But you can get a misconduct in here for the littlest things."

 'We struggle every day' -
  In her classes, she has reflected on her life and changes that need to be made, including in her love life.
  When she entered prison, she was still in a relationship with her common-law husband, who is the father of three of her children. Now, that relationship is essentially over, and he has not been supporting or caring for the children either, she said.
  "The reality is - out of sight, out of mind," she said. "We were kids having kids. I'm taking it day by day right now. But when I get out of here, I'm only worrying about me and my kids. They are my first concern."
  And there may be some concerns to work through with her children.
  At the Kingfisher home, it's been a tough existence and one that is relying on the generosity and help of others.
  Spottedcrow's oldest child has been acting out since her incarceration.
  "He's in trouble for stealing, and his mouth is real swift and sharp," Starr said. "He blames me a lot for what happened to his mother. The girls want to cry a lot. They don't like to listen to me, saying, 'You're not my mother.' We struggle every day."
  Financially, the situation has been devastating at times.
  Starr earns $8 an hour at a truck stop and doesn't have a driver's license because of a conviction. Spottedcrow's oldest child pitches in with a few dollars from odd jobs he does at their church.
  Starr's utility and food costs have shot up since she took in the four children, and she owes $8,000 in court fines. As part of her sentence, she must take two drug tests a year, costing $150 each.
  "But there are other little things, like I couldn't buy their school pictures this year," Starr said. "At school, kids can buy popcorn for $1 on Fridays, and sometimes mine are the only ones not getting popcorn."
  But there are helping hands.
  When her washing machine broke down, the school principal's church purchased a new machine. She has a son and daughter who come over to help. People have been generous in sending needed clothes and donating food.
  Starr's health, however, has been in decline, with high blood pressure and a gall bladder surgery she has been putting off.
  "We go to church every week and pray," Starr said. "I wouldn't have made it this far without the Lord."
  The oldest child is seeing a counselor, but the other three are not.
  Starr admits she used to "party," which included smoking marijuana. But she has been sober since becoming a full-time caregiver for her grandchildren.
  "All that partying came to a halt," she said. "I look at my grandkids every day and know marijuana is what took away their mother. I don't want no more of that."

 Ready for a reunion -
  At Eddie Warrior, Spottedcrow spends a lot of time writing letters to her family and thinking about reuniting with them. She makes sure to send money she's earned from the laundry job to her children on their birthdays.
  "There are women in here who don't know where their kids are," she said. "I don't have to worry about that. I wouldn't trust my kids with anyone else but my mother. There are days in here I really miss my kids, but I can't say I worry about my kids."
  Her son has visited three times; the girls have been once. Because of the separation anxiety after the visit, no more visits are planned. Also, it takes about four hours to get to the prison, and the family has no car.
  "I talk to my baby and mom every day, sometimes two or three times just to get through the day," Spottedcrow said.
  "Prison changes you - it has to. It has definitely opened my eyes to things I was doing wrong. You see everything differently. You have a lot of time to think. You see and think about the negative stuff you were doing and the negative people around you and the stupid things you were doing."
  Spottedcrow would like to start her own business and is preparing for the difficulty in finding a job as a felon.
  First, she enjoys thinking of her release.
  "I'm ready for it, and I won't look back," she said. "When I get to my kids, we're going to be closed up in the house together for a while. I have a lot of making up to do."

 Patricia Spottedcrow poses on her bunk in a dorm at Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft, Oklahoma.Spottedcrow is one year into her 12 year prison sentence for selling a small amount of marijuana to a police informant with her children present in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.

 Jayanna Rex, age 5, talks with her mother, Patricia Spottedcrow, on the phone at her grandmother's home in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.Patricia Spottedcrow, who has been in prison for a year, says that she tries to call her mother and the kids everyday.

 Patricia Spottedcrow waits in the lunch line at Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft, Oklahoma.Spottedcrow is one year into her 12 year prison sentence for selling a small amount of marijuana to a police informant with her children present in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.

 Patricia Spottedcrow's oldest child, Koby Leblanc prays with his grandmother Delita Starr (right) and his sisters before a meal at the family's home in Kingfisher Oklahoma.Patricia Spottedcrow has been in prison for a year.

Patricia Spottedcrow gets a hug from an inmate who is being released from Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft, Oklahoma. Spottedcrow has been in prison for a year.

 Patricia Spottedcrow looks out of a window inside her dorm at Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft, Oklahoma.Spottedcrow is one year into her 12 year prison sentence for selling a small amount of marijuana to a police informant with her children present in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.

 Delita Starr holds hands with her granddaughters Jayanna Rex (left) and Ja'zalynn Rex as she picks Ja'zelynn up from daycare in Kingfisher Oklahoma.The girls' mother, Patricia Spottedcrow, has been in prison for a year.

 Patricia Spottedcrow lies on her bunk during an inmate count at Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft, Oklahoma.Spottedcrow is one year into her 12 year prison sentence for selling a small amount of marijuana to a police informant with her children present in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.

 Delita Starr hugs Jayanna Rex, age 5, (left) and Ja'laizah Rex, age 4, at their home in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.Starr's daughter, Patricia Spottedcrow, has been in prison for a year.

 Patricia Spottedcrow talks with other inmates at Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft, Oklahoma.Spottedcrow is one year into her 12 year prison sentence for selling a small amount of marijuana to a police informant with her children present in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.

 Patricia Spottedcrow lies on her bunk during an inmate count at Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft, Oklahoma.Spottedcrow is one year into her 12 year prison sentence for selling a small amount of marijuana to a police informant with her children present in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.

 Patricia Spottedcrow works in the laundry room at Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft, Oklahoma.Spottedcrow is one year into her 12 year prison sentence for selling a small amount of marijuana to a police informant with her children present in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.

 Patricia Spottedcrow listens to the radio on her bunk during an inmate count at Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft, Oklahoma.Spottedcrow is one year into her 12 year prison sentence for selling a small amount of marijuana to a police informant with her children present in Kingfisher, Oklahoma.

 Patricia Spottedcrow talks with other inmates as she waits in line for lunch at Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft, Oklahoma.Spottedcrow has been in prison for a year.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011-12-27 "Occupy and the hostile media: The mainstream press is always on the wrong side of history" by Boots Riley from "San Francisco Bay Guardian"
OPINION Every progressive movement in U.S. history was portrayed negatively by mainstream media at the time it was happening. It's no surprise that the media portray the Occupy Wall Street movement in the same light.
During the Montgomery bus boycott, mainstream media outlets interviewed black folks who were against it and talked about how the boycott was misguided and hurt the local economy. The day after the boycott started, the Montgomery Advertiser ran a story featuring the manager of the bus lines saying that bus drivers were being shot at and rocks were being thrown at them.
During the rest of the civil rights movement, protesters who were fire-hosed and otherwise brutalized were called "violent protesters" in the mainstream media, which again featured interviews with people saying that the protests were wrongheaded.
During the Anti-Vietnam War movement, the mainstream media portrayed protesters as out of touch, violent, and dirty. There was a picture in the San Francisco Chronicle of a guy who was throwing back a tear gas canister that had been shot at the peaceful crowd. This was shown as proof of protesters being wild, out of touch, and violent. The Black Panther Party had free breakfast programs and was beloved worldwide — but every mainstream media outlet that covered it, covered it negatively.
There has never been any strike, work stoppage, or union action that was supported by the mainstream media at the time that it was happening.
The mainstream press didn't support the Anti-Apartheid movement and doesn't support the boycott, disinvestment and sanctions movement for Palestine.
The mainstream press is always on the wrong side of history because it's always on the side of the status quo, which is capitalist exploitation and oppression.
Here's an example: Every article about the port shutdown featured a trucker speaking against the shutdown. However, the Occupy movement received and circulated a letter from an organization representing hundreds of port truckers which thanked us all for this action in support of their struggle. None of those folks were interviewed by media.
Another example: In any movement we will make in the U.S. that is multi-racial, there will be real problems to fix around race. These are good problems, because they come from the fact that a lot of different groups of people who normally wouldn't work together are doing so now.
But the article in the Chronicle that supposedly showed that Occupy Oakland doesn't connect with black folks was poor and unethical journalism. The paper quoted only two black folks; one said the answer is to tell other Black folks to "Stop The Violence." Okay. But the Chron didn't interview any of the folks in the neighborhood around Gayla Newsome who was put back into her foreclosed home. They didn't interview anyone from the neighborhood around 10th and Mandela, where the Tactical Action Committee has made a foreclosed Fannie Mae home into a community center with workshops for the community. They didn't interview anyone involved with Occupy Oakland's November 19th march, which was 2,000 strong and focused on school closures. They didn't interview any of the many black union members who have worked with us. They didn't interview anyone in the People Of Color Caucus, or anyone else who is black and works with Occupy Oakland.
Don't be surprised at the media's negative portrayal of our movement. It's happening because we are growing, we are effective, and we are right.

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011-12-26 "Port of Oakland looks to prevent another shutdown" by Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross from "San Francisco Chronicle"
There's a big reason why the Port of Oakland is worried about the potential business losses from another Occupied shutdown - they're on the hook for $1.2 billion.
That's how much the port spent on all of those new big white cranes and other improvements that were part of an ambitious Vision 2000 program instituted by the port a few years back.
Next year, annual payments on the loan will be at $115 million.
And that's one of the reasons port First Vice President Gilda Gonzales tells us they plan to have "very frank and clear" discussions with Mayor Jean Quan about what "federal, state and local" options are available to keep the port's gates open.
 "Businesses are not happy about what has happened," Gonzales said. "They are asking what is our plan? And I think that is a legitimate question."
Gonzales' comments came on the heels of Quan telling Chronicle editors that the city could not guarantee keeping the port open.
 Gonzales said she had spoken to the mayor about the comment and that Quan said she had been misquoted.
 FYI, Quan's comments were taped.
Whole Foods is just another anti-labor business for the upper-class!
Their management terminated the employment of a loyal worker who was only asking for her human-rights to be recognized. Fascism is the political philosophy where human-rights are secondary to business-rights.
Is this still the "Land of the Free"? 

 Natalia Fon
Victim of localized fascism

 2011-12-26 "Picket against Whole Foods victimisations"
 Today saw the London Solidarity Federation [] hold a picket in support of a victimised Whole Foods worker. The action was held in conjunction with protests in Boston, New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Reno and San Francisco.
 The demonstration had been called in defense of Natalia, a San Francisco Whole Foods worker who was sacked for speaking up in support of herself and her workmates and took place outside the Soho branch of Whole Foods in London.
 The picket was a resounding success. Solidarity Federation members turned up from both the North and South London locals (including a visitor from Hull Solidarity Federation) and were supported by Anarchist Federation members and trade unionists. Public reaction was overwhelmingly positive, with numerous customers not only vocalising support, but refusing to go into the shop. Some of the most vociferous supporters even went into the store to speak to management about the abuses taking place in San Francisco. This activity was bolstered even further as SolFedders entered the store to speak to and flier customers directly.
 Our message to Whole Foods is simple: International solidarity will continue until Natalia is reinstated with back pay.
 Facebook: []
 The flier we handed out is attached: []

2011-12-22 "The Bay Area is organizing hella solidarity actions across the country and demanding Justice for Natalia at Whole Foods! Reinstatement now!"
The Bay Area is organizing hella solidarity actions across the country and demanding Justice for Natalia at Whole Foods! Reinstatement now!
[Photograph caption] Natalia's store in San Francisco's South of Market (SOMA) district. Bay Area activists and working class organizers came out in full force to protest Natalia's unfair firing and demand her reinstatement. Many customers were turned away after hearing Natalia's story and learning about Whole Food's terrible treatment of good workers.

2011-12-22 "Seattle Solidarity Network demands Justice for Natalia at Whole Foods!!"

2011-12-22 "Workers in St. Paul, Minnesota demand Justice for Natalia at Whole Foods!!"

2011-12-22 "Workers in Portland, OR joined the Justice for Natalia movement by picketing at Whole Foods!!"

2011-12-15 "Justice for Natalia at Whole Foods: Reinstatement Now!"
Why This Is Important -
Natalia, a former worker at corporate grocery giant Whole Foods who had
reached the $19-per-hour salary cap for her position, was fired after 13 years of working for the company, without having received any warnings or write-ups.
Any employee, especially one who has been dedicated for 13-years, deserves to be able to defend themselves against unfounded accusations that greatly damage their livelihood. Contrary to Whole Food’s progressive rhetoric Natalia was denied the opportunity for due process prior to her termination, despite overwhelming support from her co-workers, customers, and the community. Unfortunately, democracy is not a core value at Whole Foods.
Natalia is demanding her job back at her previous wage with full back pay.
Please voice your demand for Natalia's reinstatement at Whole Foods by signing this petition and contacting Whole Foods Regional President David Lannon by emailing or calling 510-428-7400.

Justice for Natalia at Whole Foods -
Facebook: []
You Tube: []

Sample letter -
Support Natalia at Whole Foods.
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Justice for Natalia at Whole Foods.
Support Natalia at Whole Foods.
Natalia, a former worker at corporate grocery giant Whole Foods who had
reached the $19-per-hour salary cap for her position, was fired after 13 years of working for the company, without having received any warnings or write-ups.
Any employee, especially one who has been dedicated for 13-years, deserves to be able to defend themselves against unfounded accusations that greatly damage their livelihood. Contrary to Whole Food’s progressive rhetoric, Natalia was denied the opportunity for due process prior to her termination, despite overwhelming support from her co-workers, customers, and the community. Unfortunately, democracy is not a core value at Whole Foods.
Natalia is demanding her job back at her previous wage with full back pay.
Please voice your demand for Natalia's reinstatement at Whole Foods by signing this petition and contacting Whole Foods Regional President David Lannon by emailing or calling 510-428-7400.
[Your name]

2011-11-25 "Justice For Natalia At SF Whole Foods SOMA" by "Laborvideo"
Production Of Labor Video Project [] []
A solidarity picket was held on 11/23/11 to demand the rehiring of Natalia Fon and 13 year employee of San Francisco Whole Foods SOMA store. Call management at 415-618-0066 to rehire Natalia. To find out more information about this case and others go to EastBay Sol at 510-629-6561

Sunday, December 25, 2011

2011-12-25 "Wee Pals" comic-strip by Morrie Turner

2011-12-25 "Bunk X-Mas Arrest at Occupy Eureka"
Anne Rian, a stalwart Occupier, was arrested this morning at Occupy Eureka, supposedly for a warrant. Missing a court date would be the only reason for a warrant.  However, the District Attorney's office, on December 19th, told us that Annie did not have court until January 5th. 
Eureka Police Officer Cress, who has stolen many of our signs in the past and used to show up daily at the Occupy, made the arrest today, December 25th.
The jail told Anne that she is going to be in solitary, even though solitary or "maximum" is supposed to be for people who have problems with other people in the jail- it is not for people to be put in simply because they were arrested during political activity.  The jail guards (Sheriff's Dept) have told her that she will be in there for up to five days (lies, intimidation) and has told her several different charges/reasons she was arrested on a warrant- so that is not clear.
Annie has not failed to appear for court on the date she promised to appear.  If she did miss a court date, it would be because she was not given any notice by the District Attorney's office of that date.  The DA's office has an illegal practice of putting out warrants on people, clearly failing to abide by laws of due process and failing to tell the person of  a newly filed charge or newly set court date.
Because Anne has never failed to appear for court, there was no reason to arrest her ON X-MAS and hold her in jail!  If there is a date that she was not told about, the cops should have been directed to cite and release on the spot. 
Violations of due process and political targeting are UNACCEPTABLE!
Redwood Curtain CopWatch sent an email to Gallegos' office (District Attorney) a few days ago regarding the DA office's failure to notice people of court dates and its recent practice of telling us conflicting information every time we ask about court dates. I will send you a copy of the letter if you request it in an email to
Please call the jail and the DA on this X-Mas day.  Express your outrage at this unfair and illegal arrest, and demand Anne Rian's immediate release!
The jail number is 707.441.5159
Paul Gallegos' cell number is 707.268.2571
You don't have to leave your name or number, just tell them the message.
Come down to the Occupy Eureka site!
Our jail support number is 707.668.0122, if you want to check in.

2011-12-26 "Another Bunk Occupy arrest, 4:15am Dec 26th"
This morning, the Eureka cops came and took another Occupier away.  Sgt. Guy (the cop who falsely arrested me for filming and incessantly lied in my trial) arrested Martin Katz for a warrant.  But here's the thing (similar to Anne):  He had gone in on his own days ago when he was showed up for court and was not on calendar.  He had the piece of paper this morning when he was arrested that showed that he had made a date for December 28th.   This "warrant" crap is simply another illegal and deliberate move by Gallegos (and the cops he tries so hard to please) to pick people off from Occupy Eureka.
Humboldt County DA Paul Gallegos' cell number is 707.268.2571
If you can't get him or leave a voice message, leave a TEXT!
 Jail (run by Humboldt Co. Sheriff's Dept):  707.441.5159
You could also email the Sheriff, Mike Downey;  i think:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011-12-24 "Monty" comic-strip by Jim Meddick

2011-12-24 "Progressive Community and Homeless Sing Holiday Songs" by Mike Rhodes from "fresno Alliance" newspaper
[] []
On Friday, December 23 several dozen homeless people and their supporters from Fresno’s progressive community came together for songs, hot chocolate and friendship.
The singing of holiday songs and sharing of food took place at Santa Clara and F street in downtown Fresno. Channel 21did a live broadcast of the singing at 6 p.m. Friday night. After the songs some food and drinks were shared.
All photographs by Mike Rhodes 
Santa Clara and F street

Hot Chocolate

Santa Clara and F street
2011-12-24 video by Mike Rhodes [1:12 minute]

Your browser is not able to display this multimedia content.

2011-12-24 "Torture, pain and suffering is the plight of my son" by Ms. Otis Stillwell
My son, Damon Johnson, is an inmate in the California Department of Corrections at Salinas Valley State Prison. Damon was convicted of a crime 26 years ago. He was caught up in someone else’s crime. Although innocent, he was convicted and sentenced to 28 years.
During his incarceration he has suffered because of medical neglect. Three years ago he had to have his cervical spine completely reconstructed. He suffered a fractured vertebra accidentally. It was several years before CDC examined his neck even though he constantly complained, only to be told he was trying to get drugs.
His cervical spine was reconstructed with several rods and screws. Prior to this he had two bouts with thyroid cancer and a crippling spinal disease that caused fusing. By the time of the surgery, he could not raise his head off of his chest.
He nearly died twice because of a lack of post-operative medical attention. When the thyroid cancer was first discovered, it was the size of a pea. CDC doctors allowed it to grow to the size of a hot dog before it was removed. They denied him radiation treatments after surgery and a second surgery had to be performed. He was returned to CMF without receiving post-operative care; he nearly died. Fellow inmates insisted that the guards take him to sick bay and saved his life.
He now sits in a wheelchair because of the medical neglect. He needs at least two or three more back surgeries. We have been asking to have him moved close to UCSF. It has taken many letters and calls, including speaking to Warden Hedgepeth at SVSP and other departments in CDC Health Services. The surgeon at UCSF, Dr. Birch, and Damon’s doctor at SVSP have advised that he be placed at Vacaville, all to no avail because of a five-year-old false claim of a threat of harm, which was never verified nor was there any witness. Just a rumor.
Today Damon is in limbo. He can’t chance getting the surgeries and be sent back to SVSP or some distant place like High Desert Prison near the Nevada state line, which was considered by SVSP. We fought that decision and stopped it the evening before they would have shipped him out the next day.
SVSP is a very hostile and dangerous prison; there are riots there and serious injuries weekly. This no place for a crippled person to rehabilitate. It took two years to get him back to the surgeon at UCSF. We are standing on faith, reaching out for help.
If you can help, contact Ms. Stillwell at Enjoy her son’s cartoon strip below. And send him some love and light: Damon (Ali B.) Shuja Johnson, E-20385, SVSP B5-122, P.O. Box 1050, Soledad CA 93960.

Ms. Stillwell writes: “The day they cheered: The officer that day would not allow any visitors to take picture with their loved ones without a problem. You could not stand or be next to each other unless your hands and arms were visible. He even refused to allow a young couple holding hands, standing 12 inches apart, to take their picture home. He kept it. Everyone was pretty fed up with him and so when Damon suggested we raise our hands, everyone just burst into laughter. SVSP is a tough place, impossible! In the photo, from left, are Damon’s daughter, Zakiya, holding the baby, her son Zahir, 7, Damon sitting in the center and myself, Ms. Otis Stillwell.”

2011-12-24 "Occupy the Airwaves: an interview wit’ the rap group Rebel Diaz" by Minister of Information JR
The People’s Minister of Information JR is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe,” both available, along with many more interviews, at He also hosts two weekly shows on KPFA 94.1 FM and The Morning Mix every Wednesday, 8-9 a.m., and The Block Report every Friday night-Saturday morning, midnight-2 a.m. He can be reached at
Since the initiation of Occupy Wall Street in New York, there have been a lot of different well needed conversations coming to pass on buses and planes, in restaurants, barbershops and hair salons, and at work centered around race, class, white supremacy, capitalism and imperialism.
The automatic reflex of many in the mainstream media is to insulate and protect their corporate bosses from all grievances, complaints and critiques. On the other side of the game, you have “Occupiers” whose self-righteous stance makes them believe they can lead people without having to answer to the community critiques on how they’re running their “ship.”
Mental growth is occurring when there many questions in people’s minds, dying to be answered. The England-born, Chicago-bred, Bronx-based rap group known as Rebel Diaz is one of mediators of this conversation through their music. Where political differences break people apart, music brings them together, and that is why the music of groups like dead prez, the Coup and Rebel Diaz are essential to this discussion.
Check out Rebel Diaz, as they speak in their own words about the Occupy Movement.
Dj Illinoiz, G1, Rodstarz and Minister of Information JR were in North Oakland on 55th and Market right under the stoplight that the Panthers put in the Black community in the ‘60s. Rebel Diaz was in Oakland on their #OccupytheAirwaves Tour.

M.O.I. JR: Can you tell me about your new mixtape and why you chose to call it that?
G1: We chose to call our new mixtape “#OccupyTheAirwaves” because we feel it’s important to support the current global movements, and as Hip Hop artists, our context is culture and music.
The hood has beeeeen in a recession! So we know and understand this energy of rebellion and feel our views are not being played on the radio, so we felt it was important to #OccupyTheAirwaves. The corporations that run the rap music industry are also the 1 percent. If you haven’t noticed, they impose values on our community of consumerism, capitalism, misogyny, individualism and violence – all values which in nature are forms of social control.

M.O.I. JR: What are your thoughts on the different Occupy movements that y’all have been a part of?
Rodstarz: Well, we are currently doing our last shows on this tour. We were able to visit and show solidarity with Occupies all over the West Coast and Midwest. In Seattle, we built with Hip Hop Occupies with MC Julie C. In San Diego we linked with Dj Kuttin Kandi, who has formed the All Peoples Revolutionary Front, which is a nationwide group of people of color who are pushing the idea of “rise and decolonize.”
There’s a strong sentiment across the country that the Occupy movements aren’t addressing the needs of the most marginalized communities. The term “Occupy” itself comes from a perspective of power. The hood is already occupied by police departments, gentrification etc. Palestine and Puerto Rico are occupied.
There’s a strong sentiment across the country that the Occupy movements aren’t addressing the needs of the most marginalized communities.
That is why we see Occupy the Hood and these other groups popping up. However, we feel it’s important to be a part of this conversation. If there’s a national and international conversation going on against capitalism and imperialism, we need to be a part of that. But folks also gotta undersand that racism needs to be talked about and that white privilege still exists.

M.O.I. JR: Now that the encampments have been shut down all over the country, what do you want to happen next?
G1: While the encampments have been shut down, we feel they will come back stronger. My gut feeling from being around these encampments is that people aren’t going anywhere. They are in it for the long haul. Communities have been formed at the encampments. Folks lived there for two months in some places. In New York City, they are well funded, so they seem to be ready to stick it out through the winter.
Rodstarz: Personally, I think if folks want to talk about Occupy, we need to start occupying condominiums and buildings in the hood. There’s problems with housing; there’s no community centers for and by the people. Well, then take a building , occupy it, put 200 folks outside to defend it and get to work.
There’s problems with housing; there’s no community centers for and by the people. Well, then take a building , occupy it, put 200 folks outside to defend it and get to work.
Also, what are the demands? In Chile, where we are from, hundreds of thousands of youth are demanding free education. Not education reform – free education. High school students have occupied their schools for months at a time. Now that’s gangsta right there.
We need demands and clarity. A good friend of mine brought up a great question: Are you really against slavery or just mad you aren’t the one holding the whip?
We need demands and clarity. A good friend of mine brought up a great question: Are you really against slavery or just mad you aren’t the one holding the whip?

M.O.I. JR: How does political music in general and your music specifically play a part in socio-political and economic movements?
Dj Illanoiz: Historically, movements have always had culture and music as a strong component. That’s why corporations are quick to want to co-op culture. The Nueva Cancion movement in Latin America was very important in social movements, with artists like Mercedes Sosa, Victor Jara and Silvio Rodriguezo. To us, our Nueva Cancion is Hip Hop. We have been told that our music inspires folks to organize and resist. We also hope that folks learn through it.

M.O.I. JR: Can you tell the people a little bit about the work that you do with youth out in the Bronx?
Rodstarz: Well, three years ago we occupied an abandoned candy factory and turned it into an autonomous Hip Hop community center – for the hood and by the hood. With 20 of our friends and crew from Hunts Point, the poorest neighborhood in the Bronx, we built a music studio, performance stage area, with walls full of graffiti – the main piece was actually done by Oakland-based artist Desi from WOME crew.
Three years ago we occupied an abandoned candy factory and turned it into an autonomous Hip Hop community center – for the hood and by the hood – with 20 of our friends and crew from Hunts Point, the poorest neighborhood in the Bronx.
Basically, it was a community effort. The idea is that we don’t need folks to come and empower us. We found out we already had power. Everybody in our community has value. We learned that.
Folks volunteered with skills we didn’t know they had: unemployed electricians, carpenters etc. Now we have summer and winter programming. We teach Hip Hop classes, music production. We are teaching youth to do their own media – high school kids learning to use Final Cut, Pro Tools etc.
We got some super dope MCs also coming out of the camp. It’s fresh ‘cause there’s a lot of young leaders in the crew. So here we are on the road for like three weeks and the classes are still going. The youth are teaching the youth.

M.O.I. JR: How do people keep up with you online?
Rodstarz: – that’s our website. Folks also can follow us on Twitter @rebeldiaz @illanoiz or become a fan on Facebook. For info on the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective, you can check out

2011-12-24 "Stop The Lies! CNA Sutter Alta Bates Striking Nurses Fight For Justice, Health And Safety"
Four thousand nurses from the  Sutter Health System went on strike on December 22, 2011 to defend their conditions and benefits as well as protecting staffing to protect the patients.
Sutter Health also put out full newspaper ads saying that nurses were retiringwith $84,000 a year. Alta Bates CNA nurses including a bargaining committee member discuss the issues that they face in fighting the corporate management of Sutter. The strike and rally took place  in front of the Berkeley campus hospital
Production Of Labor Video Project  [] []

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011-12-23 "Occupy Berkeley camp cleared by police" by Carolyn Jones from "San Francisco Chronicle"
The last of the Bay Area's major Occupy camps ended with a whimper Thursday afternoon when Berkeley police cleared about 20 tents from Civic Center Park as a smattering of protesters looked on quietly.
Police and public works crews picked up tents, sleeping bags, banners and other trappings of the once-booming Occupy movement, which until a few weeks ago was attracting crowds in cities throughout the Bay Area to protest economic injustice.
Berkeley's Occupy camp, which started in early October, at one point had at least 107 tents and 150 or so protesters.
The resigned mood at Civic Center Park was a far cry from the maelstrom of tear gas, vandalism and mass arrests that marked the end of Occupy camps in Oakland and San Francisco a few weeks ago.
Most of the 150 or so protesters at Civic Center Park left voluntarily Wednesday when city officials warned that police would start enforcing the no-camping law in public parks within 24 hours. By the time police arrived at the park Thursday around 1:30 p.m., only 20 or so tents remained.
"We're tired - a lot of us have been up all night," said Larry Silver, 58, who had camped at the park since it sprouted in early October. "But the Occupy movement will keep happening no matter how often they try to suppress it."
Berkeley's decision to clear the camp was due to an uptick in violent crime at the park after an influx of demonstrators from the defunct Oakland and San Francisco protests. In recent weeks, the camp had seen two sexual assaults and more than 50 citations for drugs, weapons, fights and alcohol-related incidents, Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said.
The first sexual assault occurred Nov. 26 when a man armed with a dagger entered a woman's tent, masturbated and prevented her from leaving, Kusmiss said. The second was an attempted rape in a tent Tuesday night, she said. Suspects in both incidents were arrested.
The end of Occupy Berkeley was not entirely without conflict. Around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, two men were arrested for public drunkenness and resisting arrest when they approached the nearby police station with gas masks, a crowbar and canisters, Kusmiss said.
Two hours later, police used batons on protesters who had surrounded public works crews attempting to clear the park, Kusmiss said. No one was arrested or seriously injured.
A half-dozen tents remained in the park Thursday afternoon because their owners were present when police swept through. But police are likely to remove those tents when the park closes at 10 p.m., officials said.
"The park is next to a high school, City Hall - this is a place people visit. It's our responsibility to keep it safe," Kusmiss said.
The few remaining protesters vowed to keep the Occupy movement alive.
"I'll be back here every f- day. This is my life," said Eric Westcott, 27, who'd been camping at Occupy Berkeley for two months. "This is a fight against the capitalist system. It's a con game. We are not going away."

Cincinnati (left) and Raven Lighthall take belongings from a campsite as crews remove refuse.
Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle
2011-12-23 "Solano nurses strike over contract talks" by Sarah Rohrs from "Vallejo Times-Herald"
Dozens of Sutter Solano Medical Center nurses in Vallejo walked off the job Thursday to protest contract negotiations, though a hospital official said the strike did not impact medical operations.
The small but noisy crowd of nurses and their supporters gathered outside the Sutter Solano entrance on Tuolumne Street to decry what they say are unreasonable management demands.
Some nurses carried signs reading "Sutter is the Grinch" and "All I want for Christmas is a Decent Contract."
"I'm out here to support my nurses and to protest the takeaways we're facing. They will impact patient safety and not allow nurses to stay home and heal" when they get sick, said Janet Braillard, a 24-year Sutter nurse.
The one-day strike did not impact Vallejo hospital operations, Sutter Solano spokesman Sy Neilson said. Contract nurses would remain on the job today with regular nurses coming back to work Saturday.
Neilson added that union members are making false claims about what is on the bargaining table and the nature of the proposals. He said Sutter Solano nurses are well compensated, and earn good health benefits and pensions.
Sutter Solano nurses have been without a contract since July, union leaders said. Nurses particularly object to Sutter's contract proposals which, they said, would erode their health insurance and sick leave, forcing them to work while they are ill.
A noon rally drew a crowd of about 100 people, including Assemblyman Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa, a registered nurse and former union leader.
Allen told nurses they have strong community support and they should keep fighting. He added the Sutter corporation is "immensely profitable" and shouldn't skimp on health care.
Union leaders say management is taking a "hard line" stand and demanding nearly 150 concessions which could erode patient care and nursing standards at a time Sutter is recording high profits and salaries among its top executives.
Sutter's Neilson sees it differently. He said that under current proposals, nurses have the option of choosing a 100 percent employer-paid health plan. Another option would provide more extensive coverage but would require that nurses share in costs, he said.
In terms of sick leave, Neilson said nurses would have varying numbers of days they could take off with pay depending on how long they were on the job.
"To be honest, I don't see the takeaway," Neilson said. "We really hope that after the strike they will continue to negotiate with us."
California Nurses Association Director of Communications Charles Idelson said Sutter's paid advertisements and public statements in reaction to the strike are an attempt to detract from the real issues.
Sutter's points about nursing pay and pension are irrelevant and false, Idelson added.
"People who run these corporations are part of the 1 percent," referring to the now-common slogan used in recent Occupy protests over concentration of wealth in a small portion of the population.
"They run hospitals like they run Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers and they are trampling communities they pretend to serve," Idelson said. "That's the heart of this strike."
However, Neilson said the union itself had proposed new and costly demands, free retiree health care for life and doubling of pension credits.
In addition, Neilson said any profits Sutter makes are reinvested back into the organization, resulting in new programs, services and facilities.
Top executive pay is based on surveys of pay levels from similar organizations, Neilson said.
The one-day walkout affected Alta Bates Summit Medical Center facilities in Berkeley and Oakland, Mills-Peninsula Health Services hospitals in Burlingame and San Mateo, Eden Medical Center hospitals in Castro Valley and San Leandro, and Sutter Delta in Antioch.
2011-12-23 "Malik Rhasaan: Expanding occupation to the hood" by Amity Paye
Growing up in South Jamaica, Queens, Malik Rhasaan, 39, became aware of the problems that his community faced early on in his life. For a long time, he lent his support to local organizations but found that he always had his own ideas about what these community organizations should do.
About two months ago, when Malik Rhasaan first visited the Occupy Wall Street park at Liberty Square, he realized that – as usual – he had his own ideas about the movement. Rhasaan immediately noticed that there was a lack of people of color in the movement and decided to do something about it.
“Something needed to be done and I started the hash tag #occupythehood [on Twitter] and from there it kind of swelled,” said Rhasaan. “In the beginning I thought it would be a Twitter thing – and then it just grew.”
Once people in New York began to show interest in Occupy the Hood, Rhasaan began to reach out to community organizers that he knew could benefit from and help with his new project. Then the calls started streaming in. Rhasaan got one call at 2 a. m. from a woman wanting to start an Occupy the Hood in her city; friends in Boston and family in Atlanta began asking how to start their own strong Occupy the Hood campaigns.
Occupy the Hood in New York has seen support from everyone from “professors down to cats who just got out of prison,” says Rhasaan. Paradise Gray, aka the Father of Hip Hop, George Martinez and many others have also pledged support, and Occupy the Hood continues its relationship with the Occupy Wall Street movement through cross participation with the People of Color Working Group.
“Most of the people who picked [Occupy the Hood] up were people who were already doing things in their communities that weren’t getting attention, and now they have the backing that they need to get work done.”
Less than two months later, Occupy the Hood is a national community organizing movement that includes locations in 21 cities across the nation. The various groups come together for national organizing calls to plan events and have many projects coming up for the holiday season.
The biggest of these is the “Feed the Hood” project that started in Atlanta, where 500 homeless people received food last week. That project is slated to hit New York and other Occupy the Hood cities in the next few weeks.
“The feed the hood thing is something we’re doing all together. If you’re able to feed people and break bread with people, they’re more likely to listen to you, and we have a lot to say,” said Rhasaan, also encouraging people to get involved. “If you’re feeding one person a day that doesn’t have food, you’re part of the movement,” he said.
One of the topics Occupy the Hood it trying to spread awareness about is foreclosures, which Rhasaan knows all too well from living in his Jamaica, Queens, neighborhood, the part of New York with the city’s highest foreclosure rate. And Rhasaan doesn’t see the work ending there.
“I’m a member of the community; I’ve seen what it’s like, so it’s a no-brainer to me. Why wouldn’t you be involved? This is the community I live in, that I’ve raised my children in,” said Rhasaan. “Occupy Wall Street might not change the world, but it can change the conversation and Occupy the Hood is moving that conversation forward in the communities.”

Occupy the Hood founder Malik Rhasaan, left, United States Marine Corps. Sgt. Shamar Thomas and Preach are pictured after a meeting with public housing residents to discuss coordinating actions against police brutality. Shamar is the sergeant who’s shown in a video seen by 3 million people showing him hollering at 30 NYPD officers from among protesters on the sidewalk, “There’s no honor in hurting unarmed civilians.”

2011-12-23 "Berkeley PD threatens to shoot videographer" by bob plain
Occupy Berkeley, the last Occupy encampment in the Bay Area and one of the last on the West Coast, was raided by local police last night and early this morning after the city informed activists that camping would no longer be tolerated in the downtown park.
 “We had no intention of doing what people are calling a raid,” said Sgt. Mary Kusmiss, the Berkeley Police Department’s public information officer. “A group of officers and public works employees went to take away some abandoned tents and the truck they were using was surrounded by a very entrenched group. The truck was completely surrounded. Force was used in response to that.”
In this graphic Youtube clip (courtesy of OccupyNewsandMedia), one officer threatens to shoot an activist for not backing up in a timely fashion and another officer can be seen hitting an activist in the face with a baton. []
[caption accompanying the video]
Berkeley Police pointing weapons and pushing Berkeley citizens violently 1:10 a..m, 12/22/11 This video should play for 3:19 min. and have no intention of deleting it. If this video or channel has been deleted and or is having glitches you might think....

High definition video of eviction []

 Kusmiss said police and protesters engaged one another twice during the night. Once prior to midnight and again at about 2 am. She said police and city personnel were trying to clear the park of abandoned tents and other camping gear.
 “When Occupiers saw that public works crews were trying to take the tents they tried to free them,” she said. “There was a little back and forth there.”
 An activist who identified himself as “True” described the evening’s confrontation as a “battle.” He said they were able to get some of their gear back from the officers and city workers.
 “We massed on them,” he said. “We grabbed all the gear we could and ran the fuck off.”
 Two arrests were made. One for resisting arrest during the second interaction. That man sustained injuries during his arrest and was treated by the Berkeley Fire Department. Kusmiss did not know the extent of his injuries, but an activist who identified himself only as Mike said he had several “lacerations” on his face.
The other arrest occurred, according to Kusmiss, when three people showed up at the Berkeley Police Station, which is across the street from the Occupy Berkeley encampment. A man wearing a mask and wielding a crowbar was charged with being drunk and police later found him to be in possession of amphetamines.
 Occupy activists said police and public works employees drove vehicles onto the park lawn and over tents. Kusmiss said she could neither confirm or deny this allegation. Activists said the police had no way of knowing if the tents were occupied or not.
 Kusmiss said the Occupy Berkeley encampment had changed since the camps in San Francisco and Oakland were broken up, including a spike in offenses as well as violent crimes. A man was charged last week with attempted rape on a female camper, she said.  Some activists confirmed that the encampment had devolved in recent weeks.
 “The problems all start and end with alcohol,” said Neal Balber, who is camping at the park. “Alcohol is the whole problem with the camp.”
 He said there has been a recent rash of what he called “domestic problems” and said there was one man in camp who has “a history of bothering women.”
 Kusmiss would not comment on why last night was chosen to cite activists for being in the park after 10 pm. A city ordinance mandates the park be closed from 10 pm to 7 am and to date the city had not been enforcing the rule.
 A recent tent count by the city indicated there were 107 tents in the downtown park. As of this morning, there were still at least 20 tents in the park, as well as a lot of camping gear strewn throughout the park.
 Kusmiss would also not comment on whether or not police would return to the camp to clear out the rest of the encampment but said they would be keeping tabs on it.

 This is the scene at the Occupy Berkeley encampment this morning -

This is the Berkeley Police Officer who wants to break the bones any political advocate who speaks up:

Ustream witness -
It was “obstruction” not “resisting arrest” and it was given to him after he went to the station to request aid for his face that was hit with a baton for filming. His camera and recordings were confiscated and the best evidence he had to contest the charges will no doubt be deleted. December 22, 2011

Hanspy -
Why are those cops always so aggressive? Are they scared for something from those unarmed peaceful protesters? Dont they realize that when they realy harm or kill somebody they are far outnumberd and than they can be harmed to? They loose all goodwil, if they have some left. When those cops where in Holland they didnt have the guts to behave that way. We are not that sweet as you may think. I have walked in many protests and have had some fights with cops. They always lose at the end. They may win a battle but in the end they lose the war. And than they may face the public again. December 22, 2011

invictus99 -
The thing that drives me insane about the police is that they act like the rest of their jurisdiction never has any crime. They speak like ONLY the Occupy camps have crimes committed in them when really it is simply a spotlight on bigger problems within a city. The sexual assault rate in our country is deplorable. You could pull up the crime data from any college campus and I guarantee you that it would be comparable to any Occupy camp and yet police don’t seem to have even a shred as much concern for the crimes committed on college campuses as they do in the camps. It’s a BS piece of PR bullshit to make the cops look like some chivalrous knights. Fuck that. December 24, 2011