Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2012-01-31 "Occupy Oakland in urgent need of bail funds" posted by "Denver ABC"
Police Chief Howard Jordan has been quoted in AP saying there were almost 400 people arrested yesterday. There are many people who were arrested that need urgent medical attention, people who have been injured by the police or do not have their medication with them that they need to treat prior conditions. We need the money to bail these people out!
Many people who have medical needs were unable to prevent themselves from being arrested, or to retrieve their medication, because the police did not give a dispersal order– they just kettled. We are still gathering names.
Our bail funds have been dwindling significantly as a result of the police backlash against occupy oakland in the last month, if you are able, PLEASE donate – 10, 50, 100, whatever you can!

Support the Occupy Oakland Bail Fund
Please support Occupy Oakland activists by donating some money to our Bail Fund. Funds are managed by the Occupy Oakland Anti-Repression Committee.
 For more info see: [http://occupyoakland.org/generalassembly/committees/antirepression-committee/]
 Or email us: [antirepression@occupyoakland.org]

2012-01-31 "Occupy Oakland inmates at Santa Rita attacked- developing story" by Yael Chanoff from "San Francisco Bay Guardian" newspaper
In the aftermath of the mass arrests of Occupy Oakland protesters-- and whoever else happend to be on the wrong street at the wrong time-- on Jan. 28 in Oakland [http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2012/01/30/inside-occupy-oakland-protest], there have been loads of reports and rumors about brutality inflicted on those arrested. Most of those arrested were held in Santa Rita jail.

My observations:
I spent 20 hours in jail, and I saw some cruel treatment. I saw people suffering after being denied medication. I saw people with allergies to the food that was provided refused any substitute and unable to eat, sometimes for more than 24 hours. I saw people crammed into holding cells meant for groups a third their size, so that some people had to remain standing, sometimes for more than 24 hours. As many arrestees were wearing clothing coated in tear gas and pepper spray, those chemicals continued to waft through cells and affect all present.

I have reports directly from sources of arrested occupiers being beat up in jail with police batons. At least 20 people were ziptied, meaning their hands were cuffed behind their backs-- and more often than not, if they happen to be cuffed too tightly and their hands go numb and even blue, police won't loosen them-- for more than eight hours. I know that some people who were denied access to a restroom ended up sitting in their own vomit and urine for at least four hours in some cases.

Another report from Joshua Clover, a professor of English at UC Davis, who was released Monday night, :
"I was held for 53 hours for a misdemeanor charge which every single person here, and there, knows will never be brought, and indeed which will be met with a class action suit for wrongful arrest that the city of Oakland will be compelled to settle. I have a perforated peptic ulcer. Early on in the stay I requested non—prescription care — liquid antacid, which the jail keeps on hand — when I began to have an ulcer attack, which is to say, when I began to bleed internally. I was not given such care until an attorney was able to intervene by phone many hours later. I received one capful, which was mildly effective for about three hours. Further requests were ignored. As many will know, a bleeding ulcer attack is both painful and potentially fatal"

When I questioned Alameda County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Sergeant JD Nelson about this, he responded that "[Clover] was obviously seen by a medical person, and they said that was enough medicine."
But accoridng to Clover, via an email, "The one time that I received medication, a deputy came to the cell door accompanied by someone who may have been a nurse, holding a capful of antacid. I asked for more but was not given it." And was Clover seen by a medical professional to determine the correct amount of medication? He says, "Definitely not."
Also according to Clover, "Food was often not provided for periods of up to 14 hours. For a long period I shared a cell with 27 other people; it was about ten by ten feet. For a period I was in a cell labeled 'Maximum Occupancy: Two.' There were ten of us, three very sick. We stood. One of the people slumped over on the toilet, that being the alternative to standing."

"Three people I know were denied medication for HIV infections while being held for multiple days, which is a life-threatening choice made by the county"
"two women were denied anti-depressants that they had with them when they went to jail"

According to an anonymous source, "My 12x12 cell had 28 people. There was a toilet, a concrete bench, and enough hard floor space for three or four of us to sleep at a time. A girl in the cell across from ours told the guards she needed Lexapro or she would go into withdrawl. They ignored the request. One of my cellmates was HIV-positive. When I last saw him at 2 a.m. on Monday morning he had not yet been given his medications. As I exited the jail I saw a woman who had just been released lying on the floor. She was having a seizure and being tended to by a couple of firemen."

From Alyssa Eisenberg, who has multiple sclerosis:
"I take my medication at least twice a day...without it, the pain is, everything kind of goes numb and tightens up. Somtimes I can't even see without it. When  had to sign the booking form about noon i couldn't even see it, my vision was so blurry...I was told they don't give meds to people that are going to be cited and released, only to people that are going to stay and get charged."

Unconfirmed reports [http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/31/1060354/-Breaking:-Oakland-Arrestees-Tortured]:
[begin excerpt]
Daily Kos quotes an anonymous source who reports that "prisoners from the Oakland Commune were being denied medications (some had seizures) while the guards said they didnt care if they died. Some people were brutally beaten. The put tear gas in the vents of my cell twice."
According to Occupy Oakland media spokesperson Omar Yassin, a report that someone was tear gassed in the jail's hallway is likely credible.
[end excerpt]
Then there's the peolpe who were injured during the protests Jan. 28. Also according to Yassin:
[begin excerpt]
At least a dozen people had welts on their faces or bodies from being beaten by clubs or shot with rubber bullets. One woman was shot in both arms with rubber bullet; one man was shot in the face with rubber bullets while holding a video camera to document the events. Several protesters were shoved to the ground and received wounds on their faces while being arrested. Police raised their rubber-bullet rifles to the faces of protesters throughout the day, threatening attacks-- a rubber bullet to the face can cause brain damage and blindness.
[end excerpt]
A spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff's Department refused to comment, although she did say that they've "been bombarded with calls about this all day." Shocker.

According to Alameda County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Sergeant JD Nelson, no complaints of mistreatment at Santa Rita have been filed.
Nelson said that peanut butter was made avaliable to vegans those allergic to meat, in direct contrast to what I witnessed in jail.
In response to reports that some detainees were held on buses in the Santa Rita parking lot for up to eight hours, during which time they were refused bathroom access and in some cases made to sit in their own urine and vomit, Nelson said that "Generally when they come to the jail the buses are unloaded fairly quickly. Obviously some people are going to go first, some last."
He told me that detainees were denied medication because "We do we allow them to take their medication in jail. People will try to smuggle stuff in."
When asked about reported beating in jail, Nelson replied, "I haven't gotten any reports of any skirmishes between officers and those arrested. We would report it if  there was any use of force,"
According to Nelson, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office has video footage of all of the areas in the jail where arrestees were held, and, unless there was a lawsuit preventing its release, he would make the footage available to me soon. For now he said, "I don't even know if they've been developed." (Is this 1984? Not in the Orwellian sense. In the technology sense.)
More on this soon. Send me information that you have, yael@sfbg.com

The "San Francisco Chronicle" has an article about abuse of those arrested, but it's short, and buried deep inside their print edition.
2012-02-02 "Occupy alleges abuses in jails, airs complaints, vows to keep up pressure" by Justin Berton from "San Francisco Chronicle"
Protesters arrested during an Occupy Oakland rally Saturday said they were abused by police, subjected to illegal mass arrests and suffered a litany of human rights violations while held at two county jails - which only strengthened their commitment.
Organizers held a news conference outside Oakland City Hall on Wednesday to denounce police and restate their goal to move into a vacant building. Members called for another demonstration Saturday night, the latest in what Occupy activists have dubbed "F- the police" rallies, as well as a march to a courthouse Monday.
"Even the people who suffered the most traumatizing experiences are back out here," said Caitlin Manning, an Occupy Oakland member. "Santa Rita (county jail) spawns rebels. People who go through that don't come out broken; they come out strengthened."
Earlier Wednesday, Police Chief Howard Jordan said he had assigned a team of investigators to look into Occupy protesters' allegations of police abuse.
"We take allegations of abuse seriously," he said. "Obviously, this is a very volatile situation that needs to be addressed immediately. We are not shying away from these allegations."
On Saturday night, hours after police turned back Occupy activists seeking to take over the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, hundreds of protesters were arrested outside the YMCA on Broadway. Police said the protesters had ignored dispersal orders, but Occupy activists said they never heard any such order.
Noah Zimmerman, 31, an information-technology consultant from Richmond, said he would have left the area had police given him the chance. Instead, he was arrested and spent 24 hours in jail.
"I did not hear an order to disperse because there was no order to disperse," Zimmerman said. "I had no intention of going to jail."
On Sunday, Jordan said his officers had made the dispersal orders and "rightfully conducted the arrests."
Once detained, protesters said they had waited in plastic handcuffs for hours before deputies processed them into two county jails.
Sgt. J.D. Nelson, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, said that with more than 350 bookings, it was the busiest day in nearly 30 years. He said he was unaware of any complaints filed against the jails.
Nelson said officials had planned to send most of those arrested to Glenn Dyer Detention Facility in downtown Oakland, but protesters gathered outside the building and forced drivers to divert buses carrying 250 people to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
"Their own actions caused their own slowdown," Nelson said.

Occupy! and negative stereotyping by monopolized media

For 2 days, the "San Francisco Chronicle" engaged in a negative stereotype of "Occupy" coverage. This is the newspaper for an older and wealthier segment of the Bay Area peoples, and "perception management" is easier to do with an audience who are not likely to be exposed to the real eye-witness reports about police brutality and actual views of the participants.
The Chronicle's 2012-01-31 edition contained half-a-dozen articles, opinion pieces and letters to the editors (continuing into the next day) all vilifying specifically the "Occupy Oakland" action of 2012-01-28. The coverage ignores the murderous threats of the police against protesters, and sidesteps the issues which "Occupy Oakland" advocates for, and ALL protesters (many of whom are pretty upstanding people in the community) are depicted as the same, negative, stereo-type of the hyper-violent black-clad Anarchists.

2012-01-31 "Jean Quan plans to call national Occupy leaders" by Carolyn Jones, Demian Bulwa, Henry K. Lee from "San Francisco Chronicle"
Faced with ever-increasing violence between police and Occupy protesters, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is seeking help from a new source: Occupy Wall Street.
Quan plans to ask leaders of the national Occupy movement to convince their Oakland cohorts to shun violence during their protests over economic inequality, officials said Monday.
"This splinter group inside Occupy Oakland - the ones who advocate violence - are not in sync with the rest of the movement," said Sue Piper, Quan's spokeswoman. "People who have been involved with the national movement - and a lot of people who live in Oakland - are really fed up with this splinter group. This is not what Occupy is supposed to be about."
City officials estimated that about 400 people were arrested Saturday night after protesters' attempt to take over the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center near Lake Merritt. Three police officers and several protesters were injured in a melee that stretched across downtown.

No formal leadership -
Quan was enmeshed in last-minute budget wranglings Monday as the City Council prepares to slice $28 million from its budget at a meeting tonight. She plans to contact national Occupy leaders after a budget passes, Piper said.
She might have a tough time reaching anyone, though. Occupy Wall Street, like all Occupy offshoots, has no formal leadership and little connection with other Occupy groups. Calls and e-mails from The Chronicle to activists within Occupy Wall Street were not returned Monday.
City leaders are looking at other ways to tamp down Occupy protests, the next of which is scheduled for Monday. Quan said she wants to serve more protesters with stay-away orders, preventing them from being within 100 yards of City Hall and Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Criminal court judges have already ordered at least three Occupy Oakland protesters to stay 100 yards away from City Hall.
Lawyers for some of those protesters said the practice of issuing stay-away orders, which began earlier this month, was unfair and unconstitutional, because it kept the protesters from taking part in Occupy Oakland, which is centered outside City Hall, and prevents them from participating in City Council meetings that affect them.
Some city officials think stay-away orders and entreaties to national Occupy leaders don't go far enough. Police should arrest people for blocking roadways, minor vandalism and other infractions that so far police have mostly avoided, said City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente.
"These people are here to provoke and destroy and cause chaos. We have tolerated it for far too long," he said. "We need to use whatever lawful tools that are available to us to stop this."
Most of the arrests have been for remaining at the scene of a riot, burglary, assault and battery of an officer.
Among the most violent incidents that occurred Saturday night was in front of the YMCA at 23rd Street and Broadway. Police corralled protesters in front of the building and several dozen protesters stormed into the Y, apparently to escape from the police, city officials and protesters said.

'Using Y as a human shield' -
Protesters damaged a door and a few fixtures, and frightened those inside the gym working out, said Robert Wilkins, president of the YMCA of the East Bay.
"It was like they were using the Y as a human shield," he said. "The damage appears pretty minimal, but I'll be mad if I have to send one less kid to camp over this."
Omar Yassin, an activist with Occupy Oakland, said the escalating violence is in response to what he called police brutality and inertia at City Hall. For example, the Kaiser Center has sat vacant for several years while the city has made deep cuts in social services.
"Nothing gets done on the city or federal level unless it enriches the 1 percent," he said. "Everything we do in Oakland has a connection to these larger issues."

2012-01-31 "Violence opens a rift in Occupy; Oakland protesters at odds over confrontational tactics" from "San Francisco Chronicle"
 For many Occupy activists outside Oakland and San Francisco, the violent clashes with police and destruction that attended protests in those cities over the past two weeks not only went against the Occupy message - they've started to undercut its essence.
Even within the cities, there is a deepening split between those who accept violence as a tactic and those who oppose it.
The conflict is turning into a wrestling match for the soul of the Occupy movement in the Bay Area. And it's become so pronounced that many who started out calling themselves Occupiers now refer to themselves as "99 percenters" instead.
"When I started to see what was happening Saturday, my heart just broke," Michele Horaney of Alameda, a member of the 99 Percent Solution activist group in the East Bay, said of the Occupy Oakland protest that devolved into an hours-long street battle with police. "There is so much good to be gotten, earned and kept from really solid, sincere efforts to make things change for the better.
"But now," Horaney said, "we've got this group that pretty much just wants to destroy things and make trouble."

Not their fault -
For others, though, it's not a matter of protesters committing violence. Any destruction is in reaction to police repression of their efforts to seek economic equality, they say - and if violence happens, it's not really the protesters' fault.
"In any struggle for social justice, the people have been told to shut up and sit down," said Cat Brooks, an active Oakland Occupier. "I believe in a diversity of tactics. If you are fully aware of the risks, then you have to do what you have to do.
"I'm not condoning violence, and I'm not condemning it," she said. "I'm just saying that 99 percent of the time when violence happens, it's police who start it. And you have to do what you have to do."

Occupy roots -
Occupy began last fall on Wall Street as a crusade against economic inequity, shrinkage of the middle class and what its backers perceived as corporate greed. As tent cities sprouted throughout the country, the leaderless movement gathered adherents from many stripes of protest, and today one of the more vigorous contingents advocates taking over empty buildings and resisting police.
This is particularly true in Oakland, where protesters protecting themselves with shields tried to take over the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center on Saturday. The confrontation turned into another melee with police firing tear gas, protesters flinging objects and people getting hurt on both sides. Activists eventually broke into City Hall, burned a U.S. flag and trashed parts of the building.
The week before, on Jan. 20, Occupiers broke into the abandoned Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco after a peaceful day of marches in the Financial District, and were ejected after they threw bricks and other items at police.
Occupy San Francisco's General Assembly has voted to oppose violence as a tactic, but in Oakland - where there have been weekly "F- the police" marches - such proposals have fallen short of the consensus vote needed to pass. At protests in both cities, those who commit vandalism and throw rocks and other objects at officers are often opposed by other protesters who try to calm them down.

Other goals -
Outside the two cities, there is little such debate among the 30-plus Occupy organizations from Santa Cruz to Concord and up to Santa Rosa.
There, the tactics have generally settled into marches and rallies to drive home a few central themes that include banking reform, making the rich and corporations pay more taxes and granting foreclosure relief.
Ellis Goldberg, a marketer who has staged Occupy-inspired rallies against banks in Dublin and San Ramon, has become so frustrated he now calls himself a "99 percenter" instead of an Occupier.
"We had 50 people in front of banks in San Ramon two weeks ago, and we have been telling people for months about $156 billion bonuses Wall Street executives got last year on the backs of the rest of us, but do we get press?" Goldberg said. "No. Instead, we turn on our TV and there are pictures of people breaking into City Hall.
"What we are protesting about has been totally obliterated by what is coming out of the television set," he said. "It's not just burning the American flag that is terrible - it's terrible that it's all getting totally off message. Trashing buildings and fighting with police is not what 99 percent of what the 99 percenters are about."

Oakland debate -
At Frank Ogawa Plaza on Sunday evening, members discussed the impact of the repeated clashes with police and considered the movement's future.
Barucha Peller, one of Occupy Oakland's key organizers, said the group was the victim of police brutality and had no intention of reaching an accommodation with law enforcement, ever.
"I think it's impossible," she said. "If someone shot you in the head, beat you and your family, would you negotiate with that person? That's terrorism."
Standing nearby, Mike Rufo, 50, disagreed. "It'd be reconciliation," he told Peller.
Rufo, an energy-efficiency consultant who has helped organize the delivery of portable toilets to the plaza, said the cycle of conflict had not resulted in progress for either side.
"If you're not willing to sit down and try and work through it, I don't see where we can go," he said.
Off message
Rufo said the Occupy Oakland movement, which he has supported since October, had strayed from its core principles - fighting economic inequality - and was distracted by continual run-ins with police. He hoped the group would shift course and authorize members to meet with city representatives.
"Beating up on each other with the city of Oakland, I don't see where that's going," Rufo said. "They don't have deep pockets either."
 Brooks said the goal is more complex than that.
"It helps those who oppose us to portray this movement as a bunch of violent, crazy people, and that's just not the truth," she said. "Occupy didn't invent what's happening now - this has always happened in social justice movements. What we really need to do now is engage more of the masses."

A masked protester joins the march through downtown Oakland before the demonstration turned violent Saturday.
Photo: Michael Macor / SFC

2012-01-31 "Occupy Oakland's assaults endanger public safety" by Chip Johnson from "San Francisco Chronicle"
When Occupy Oakland speakers exhorted a crowd of more than 1,000 protesters last weekend to embrace hatred and engage in class warfare - essentially promoting violence on the streets of Oakland - they took their call to action a step too far.
Oakland demonstrations aren't really at all about Occupy, a legitimate movement over wealth disparity that got its start in New York. Here, it's about anarchy. It's always been about anarchy.
I believe some protesters have an ax to grind, a score to settle with the Oakland Police Department that may have its roots in the Oscar Grant protests of 2009 and 2010, when rioters looted stores and damaged buildings after peaceful demonstrations sparked by the fatal shooting of a passenger by a BART police officer at an train stop in Oakland. Many demonstrators insistently refer to the plaza outside Oakland City Hall as "Oscar Grant Plaza."
"This was a crowd that started out with the intention of provoking and attacking police," Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana said after Saturday's violent clashes between Occupiers and police sparked by Occupy's attempted takeover of the long-shuttered Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center. "In e-mails sent to the mayor's office and on Web postings this was their goal. If this is going to continue, we need to explore all options."
Options include asking Gov. Jerry Brown for help from the National Guard if Occupiers make good on their threats to shut down the Oakland International Airport.
Privately, city officials must be praying for this to happen because it would prompt swift intervention from federal authorities and considerably raise the stakes for fair-weather protesters.
Occupy Oakland's continued assaults on public properties create a safety hazard for all Oakland residents, not just the lemmings who follow the so-called leaderless movement leaders like blind mice. Someone is calling the shots, choosing tactics and targets. The group brought an 8-foot metal shield with eight handles for a showdown with police Saturday. It's glaring evidence of both planning and intent.
And what did they accomplish?
They vandalized the center of government and commerce and stormed buildings, including the downtown YMCA. Just so you know, that's the fitness center for the 99 percent. Club One is the other way.
Since Occupy demonstrations began in October, some protesters have vowed to bring Oakland to its knees. They believe the cash-strapped city cannot continue to pay police overtime and costs related to mutual aid requests.
It's true, covering weekly protests is stretching the city's law enforcement resources so thin it cannot provide police coverage for other parts of the city. On Saturday night, there were no police patrols on the streets of East Oakland, said a police officer guarding City Hall.
Not far from City Hall, a homeless man walking along Broadway said he was confused by the protesters' actions. "Man, they're laying all over the street. What's wrong with those people?"
If the city's leadership has any common sense, gumption or genuine concern for the residents who rely on them to maintain civility, it's time to put an end to protests that turn violent.
After what happened last weekend, there is no one who can say with a straight face that the actions of Occupy protesters are being carried out with the goal of helping the 99 percent.

2012-01-31 "Teen charged as adult in slayings" by Henry K. Lee from "San Francisco Chronicle"A15-year-old boy accused of strangling his foster parents in Oakland and stuffing their bodies into a car will be prosecuted as an adult, authorities said Monday.
 Moses Kamin is to be arraigned today in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, pending the formal filing of charges by prosecutors in the deaths of Robert Kamin, 55, and Susan Poff, 50.
 The boy could face two counts of murder and a special circumstance alleging he committed multiple murders. He could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
 Police were called to the family’s home on Athol Avenue near Lake Merritt on Friday by a co-worker who was concerned when Robert Kamin, a clinical psychologist, did not show up for work at the San Francisco County Jail.
 Officers found the couple’s bodies hidden in the back of their car parked outside their home. The car was charred, as if someone tried to set it on fire, police said.
 The couple had been having arguments with their son, some of them having to do with him spending too much time in the former Occupy Oakland encampment, co-workers said.

2012-01-31 "Let Oakland protesters occupy a county jail cell" by Debra J. Saunders from the "San Francisco Chronicle"
Occupy Oakland is aptly named. When forces occupy a city, they know that occupied turf is not their home. They can maraud, loot, vandalize, abuse the locals, and then leave. They can treat other people's property as their own.
The occupiers don't have to clean up after themselves. They don't have to worry about paying for the workers who clean up after them, either.
Occupiers don't have to exert self-control. They can freely act upon their rage, while defenders of occupied territory must concentrate on protecting what others want to harm.
Occupiers do not have to fear that they will be punished for the damage they have inflicted on the city of Oakland. About the worst that most occupiers might fear is that, if they break the law, they will be arrested, held and released. Most won't even have to make bail.
Occupy Oakland protesters broke into City Hall on Saturday, sprayed graffiti, toppled a historic model of City Hall and children's artwork, stole and then burned an American flag, sprayed graffiti and otherwise trashed the people's building. Police arrested about 400 people. Mayor Jean Quan likened the activists' behavior to "a tantrum," as she complained Occupy activists have been treating the city "like a playground."
Except that children treat their playgrounds better. And children don't organize their tantrums.
But the playground analogy works when you look at what Occupy posts on the Internet: "The march and the pigs played a game of cat and rat, we, the rats with our tiny sharp teeth bared, they, the dumb slow cats with their fancy technology and weaponry."
Oakland cannot afford to police and clean up after Occupy activists. City Hall already has had eliminate jobs to shave $28 million from a $388 million budget. Quan estimates that, since tents first went up in Frank Ogawa Plaza in October, the Occupy tab has exceeded $5 million.
It defies all logic that activists, who see themselves as champions of fairness and advocates for the poor, have chosen to become a fiscal drain on the financially strapped city.
Clearly the protesters didn't choose Oakland because it is a financial hub, or because its downtown is rich and powerful. They chose Oakland because Oakland doesn't fight back.
Quan finally ordered police to remove the illegal Occupy encampment in Frank Ogawa Plaza last fall. When a protester ended up in the hospital, Quan took so much heat that she invited the tents back.
Later, she changed her mind again. Since then, when protesters intermittently get out of control, the police arrest them for remaining at the scene of a riot or wearing a mask to avoid identification - and sometimes, rarely, for battery or assault. Then what? We don't know.
When I called Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley's office to find out how many Occupy Oakland arrestees had been prosecuted, a spokeswoman told me the D.A. did not keep track of Occupy cases as a group.
Throwing objects at cops, occupying city space, blocking people on their way to work or vandalizing city property - these might as well be minor crimes in the Bay Area.
I know from covering protests gone bad in San Francisco that police frequently complain that prosecutors do not take arrested activists to court. Prosecutors complain that police fail to supply them with the evidence they need to win a conviction.
Occupy Oakland has been choking City Hall and draining its coffers for months. Are there any consequences? It seems, pun intended, there is no there there.

2012-01-31 Letters to the editor of the "San Francisco Chronicle"  [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/30/EDUK1N0EPT.DTL]
A fine message -
John Dillon, San Bruno
I wish to hail the Occupy Oakland movement for striking a blow against the capitalist running dogs by trashing Oakland City Hall ("Police, occupiers clash - 100 held," Jan. 29).
 If tearing up a children's art exhibit doesn't send the strongest possible message that Occupy supports and will fight for the rights of the 99 percent, I don't know what action would.
 I raise my clenched fist, the one not holding a cocktail in support.

A terrible example -
Fred Strauss, Oakland
Mayor Jean Quan acts and speaks as if these Occupy Oakland participants are terrorists.
 There is something wrong in our country. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Everyone, except the very rich, is waiting for someone to make some appropriate changes to American life.
 We need regulation of corporations; we need to stop treating corporations as if they are human.
 This society, which denigrates teachers, has no interest in educating the poor, has no interest in providing opportunity to those at the bottom, goes to any means to protect large corporations and has no sympathy for those who cannot find a job.
 How can you tolerate spending millions and millions to enable police brutality as you take away millions and millions from Oakland schools? The Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, owned by the city of Oakland, has been empty for years. What is so terrible about the disenfranchised of Oakland wanting to put their energy into constructive projects?
 What a terrible example to our young people. If you can't agree with them, beat them, put them in jail. No wonder Oakland's young people are so violent. You do not have to look far to see how our leaders handle difficult situations.

What is accomplished? -
Katherine Moore, Oakland
I am sick that the Occupy Oaklanders broke the building model in City Hall Saturday night.
 It was a neat thing and probably old. What does destroying a piece of art accomplish?

Rhetoric of hate -
Cyndi Spindell Berck, Berkeley
I was astounded at the quote from a retired professor speaking at an Occupy Oakland rally and urging passionate, organized hatred for the rich.
 Hatred leads to violence. At whom should this hatred be aimed: at anyone earning more than the person doing the hating? Should a minimum-wage worker hate the professor because of her higher lifetime earnings? Are the 99 percent supposed to hate Bill Gates, George Soros and Warren Buffett, who have used their billions to work for a better world?
 Substitute whites, blacks, Jews or Muslims for rich, and see how it sounds. This is appalling rhetoric from someone who is supposed to be an educator. What a nice job of giving material to conservatives who have been accusing liberals of class warfare and the bitter politics of envy.

The flag and freedom -
Dan Gracia Sr., Daly City
How dare you burn our flag! I could not believe the photo on the front page on Sunday (Jan. 29).
 The little respect I had for some of the Occupy Oakland protesters just went out the door. Who do these people think they are to show this much disrespect to the flag that gave them the freedom to carry on their protest? We see photos like this from other countries, countries that are jealous of our freedom and the way we live. These protesters that are shown setting fire to our flag are a total disgrace to America.
 My thought is that if they feel this way, they should leave this country and never return to have the freedom we have here in America.
 God bless America.

A woman pleads with protesters not to burn flag in at Oakland City Hall.
Photo: Beck Diefenbach / Associated Press

2012-02-01 Letters to the editor of the "San Francisco Chronicle"
It's up to Oaklanders to end this -
Daniel Auker, Oakland
Occupy Oakland has jumped the shark. Any remaining community support and goodwill evaporated when the "protesters" stormed City Hall, busted up the place and burned the American flag on the steps ("Police, Occupiers clash - 100 held," Jan. 29).
 The problem with a leaderless movement is that it is impossible to control and can easily be hijacked. Clearly, the original coalition of disaffected ordinary citizens has given way to an unruly mob of professional rabble-rousers and thrill seekers.
This is not peaceful protest. This is not civil disobedience. It's time to stop associating what is going on in our city with the Occupy movement and acknowledge it for what it is - anarchy. The violent, property-smashing vandals roaming our streets do not represent the 99 percent, and they most certainly do not have the best interests of the citizens of Oakland in mind.
It's time to end this. The cops and the city can't do it alone - police actions fan the flames. Two things need to happen to stop the chaos:
-- It's up to us - the residents of this city - to make it clear that we will no longer tolerate this behavior.
-- The hard-core troublemakers hide in crowds. Responsible activists must dissociate themselves and refuse to join further protests under the Occupy Oakland banner.

Wall Street's best friends -
James Holmes, Larkspur
The protesters who tore up Oakland last weekend in the name of Occupy Wall Street are actually Wall Street's best friends because they enable the financial elite to portray all who legitimately oppose them as scary anarchists and vandals instead of ordinary Americans cheated out of the American dream.

How to cool it off -
James Sayre, Oakland
The ongoing standoff between Occupy protesters and the Oakland government and police can be cooled off.
 Apparently, there are hundreds of homeless people living in Oakland; apparently, there are hundreds of empty buildings in Oakland. The city government should find a couple of buildings and open them to Occupy movement - one to be used as a home for the homeless, outfitted with beds, showers and a kitchen, and the other as a social and educational site for the Occupy movement.
 The city should allow Occupy volunteers to use their skills and enthusiasm to create a better Oakland. This would defuse much of the anger and outrage in the local Occupy movement.

Next time, try democracy -
Bruce Folck, Oakland
The Tea Party saw a political situation with which they disagreed, banded together and effected political change at all levels of government, without violence or vandalism. The Occupy Oakland movement sees a political situation with which they disagree, and ...?!
Is OO admitting that the Tea Partiers are smarter, more organized, more determined and more dedicated to peaceful process than are they? If the Tea Partiers can effect social and political change, why not Occupy? If you don't like the status quo, put your own candidates up for election. Put members on the City Council and into the state Senate. If you have to resort to violence and the destruction of public property to get your way, you will quickly lose popular support, and your goals are doomed.
There are many ways to effect change - why not try the democratic method?

Stand against Monsanto

2012-01-31 "Vallejo City Council to revive debate on public safety panel" by Jessica A. York and Irma Widjojo from "Vallejo Times-Herald"
A controversial proposal to seek resident input on city public safety services will receive a second pass at tonight's Vallejo City Council meeting.
A proposed citizens' advisory panel, unveiled in December by Councilwomen Stephanie Gomes and Marti Brown, initially received such a highly emotional response that city leaders backed off on it until tonight.
The latest version recommends formation of an ad-hoc group, in which each council member names one resident member. The panel would be required to hold public meetings and provide a final report by Oct. 1, before dissolving.
The group would be tasked with researching:
* A permanent citizens police review board;
* Efficient police and fire department operations of other cities, and;
* Public safety employee salary and benefit trends.
If created, the group would report to a council Public Safety Committee, made up of Mayor Osby Davis and Gomes. City management said the panel would not weigh in on pending public safety contract negotiations.
The council also will be asked to define the purpose and responsibilities of the committee. Staff recommends the two review potential cost savings, revenue and technology enhancement opportunities and provide oversight of ongoing improvement efforts.
In December, the idea of creating a citizens police oversight board was condemned as "insensitive" by past and present city police and fire employees and their supporters. They noted that the proposal was made less than a month after Vallejo police Officer Jim Capoot was shot and killed on Nov. 17.
Others at the time, however, applauded the proposed panel, saying the city needs a public watchdog group at this time of city financial difficulties.
Approval of the citizen panel would lead to applications being made available Thursday at the Vallejo City Hall City Clerk's Office. They would be due by Feb. 20, with appointments made on Feb. 28. Applicants would need prior experience in finance, budgeting, human relations and/or public safety.

In other agenda items, the council will consider:
* Authorizing the city manager to execute a $180,000 agreement with Industrial Employer and Distributors Association through June 30, 2015 for upcoming labor contract negotiations.
* Rejecting all bids for the Vallejo Ferry Maintenance Facility, and authorizing the public works director to re-advertise when appropriate.
* Authorizing two police clerk positions.
* Scheduling a special council study session on Feb. 21, on the use of "participatory budgeting," to seek public input on uses for the recently approved sales tax increase revenues.

If You Go -
What: Vallejo City Council meeting
When: Tonight at 7
Where: Vallejo City Council Chamber, 555 Santa Clara St.
At issue: Ad-hoc Citizens Public Safety Advisory Committee, management of Blue Rock Springs golf course, emergency preparedness.
Corruption in the Community government, otherwise labeled as "local fascism", takes on many forms. The result is the same. The community is sold-out to the non-locals in exchange for a few promises to the community about jobs which are low paying & has no labor rights, and a little bit of tax revenue (with most of it going out-of-state to the company's head office).
The communities of the San Pablo Bay have suffered alot of unethical corruption behaviors, mainly from local politicians associated with the Republican Party. For some strange reason, the behavior of the local Republican Party shows a belief that is against community enrichment, but supports nearly unlimited toxic pollution for everybody. Strange, they are literally anti-life, no?
The following is an article from Texas which provides a brief example of what Community Corruption looks like.

2011-12-14 "Ainbinder’s Crews Continue to Skirt Rules and Regulations"
Ainbinder’s crews continue to skirt rules and regulations. Tearing up one side of a residential street and leaving a 4′ wide lane for residents to navigate – a lane width so small that first responder vehicles could not access residences in an emergency. Parking and abandoning construction vehicles in the 4′ wide lane and blocking all residential access. Breaking water lines and cutting off water to residents for days. No flaggers, no temporary “no parking” signage and NO PERMITS. That’s right, folks, NO PERMITS! City’s response? They used their “discretion” and made an unsupported, unjustified decision not to fine Ainbinder’s construction crews, which directly contradicts the city’s ordinance for no permits. Additionally, after being notified of the missing permits the city failed to identify basic violations, such as no “no-parking” signs and no flaggers.
Looks like monitoring, documenting and reporting Yale St. bridge AND construction company abuses is once again the public’s job. IF THE CITY WON’T issue legally appropriate fines for improper practices, perhaps they should hand that responsibility over to the public as well.

Monday, January 30, 2012

2012-01-30 "UC Berkeley students cling to mystical murals" by Nanette Asimov from "San Francisco Chronicle"
A magical charm protects a small area of the UC Berkeley campus, it is said.
If that idea sounds incongruous with academia in general, then it's especially jarring to imagine that the supernatural safeguard envelops undergraduates studying unit vectors, metrology, emission mapping and other such grounded pursuits in Stephens Hall, headquarters for a diverse group of science geeks.
Yet that power is about to be tested.
The students face possible eviction from historic Stephens Hall as others eye their desirable location on the second floor of the 89-year-old Gothic-style building.
A similar threat came and went in 2008, after which artist Leonard Crow Dog Jr., son of the chief of the Lakota Sicangu Indians of South Dakota, painted the first of nine bold murals in the warren of hallways and rooms that form the students' study space.
"All my artwork is spiritual and is a protector for the rooms," Crow Dog said of the paintings that transform bland white walls into worlds of lightning, flames and feathers, stags, wolves and eagles, planets, comets - even a double helix.
" 'Thunderbird' was my first mural," the artist said of the purple, blue and yellow depiction of an ancient Lakota story about a boy who, aiming high like the students, wins a chance to fly. "I put my prayers on it, and it kept everything safe for a while."
With each new painting, Crow Dog, a fifth-generation medicine man, lit South Dakota sage or sweetgrass and waved the smoke onto the mural in blessing, imbuing each with protective power, he said.
But what's to protect?

A special place -
Those who flock to Stephens Hall at all hours are a rare group: They are more than 80 black, brown, white female, poor or first-generation college students majoring in math, science or engineering. At Stephens they find mentoring, tutoring, professional workshops and networking opportunities through a program called New Experiences for Research & Diversity in Science. That's right: NERDS.
"It's a place to figure out what we want to do with our lives," said Noel Pacheco, a chemical engineering student who sat on a red sofa beneath an eagle with lightning flashing from its eyes.
"Say we did terrible on a midterm," explained his friend Meghan Chandarana, who studies mechanical engineering. "You can come in here and talk to someone who has gone through the same thing. You can de-stress."
Students say some of the murals' magic lies in their power to calm frayed nerves and help them feel less alone.
"They make this feel like a community space," Pacheco said. "I'm not sure if they have a mystical effect, but they make us feel at home and comforted."

An inspiration -
That's exactly the idea. "I put tranquil, powerful murals in every room. We're trying to de-zombify these students," said Crow Dog, 30, whose wife, Victoria Crow Dog, a Yaki Indian, was in NERDS. The software support engineer graduated from Cal in 2007.
Even professors relish the environment. "When I walk in and look at the murals, I feel inspired and closer to the students," said Alice Agogino, a mechanical engineer who brings students to the Pinoleville Pomo Nation near Ukiah to build sustainable homes.
She also teaches ethics and said the murals can inspire students to use science to do good in the world.
"I don't see any bombs in those murals," Agogino observed.
In 2008, the Townsend Center for the Humanities came sniffing around the rooms occupied by NERDS and its companion Professional Development Program for math, science and engineering students, which has been at Stephens Hall since the 1970s.
The Townsend people backed off. But the scare led NERDS to employ stronger protection. Supporters ponied up for the murals, which Crow Dog says are now worth $40,000 to $50,000. Where appropriate, he painted in the words "NERDS" and "Professional Development Program" for added aegis against outside claims.

New institute on campus -
Though the engineering students can't use their usual methods of tensile or compression testing to measure the strength of the murals' power, it's about to be tested anyway.
A new Institute for Integrative Social Sciences is seeking a home on campus, and NERDS' rooms look mighty appealing. They sit on a quadrangle across from three social science strongholds: the Townsend Center, the Institute for International Studies and the Institute for Governmental Studies.
No decisions have been made, Carla Hesse, social sciences dean, said. But having all sites on one quadrangle is of interest for a new Humanities-Social Sciences Research Complex.
"The murals would be fully respected in any of these plans," Hesse said.
But NERDS students don't want to move. They have told Hesse and Gibor Basri, vice chancellor for equity and inclusion, that Stephens is perfect because it lies along the well-worn path between their math and science classes.
They fear losing students if the headquarters is moved away to, say, blocky Barrows Hall, as has been suggested. Unlike Stephens, Barrows, at the edge of campus, is also closed at night to keep the homeless from wandering in, they said.

A moving dilemma -
Ultimately, the murals themselves may be in need of preternatural protection because the administrators suggested to the students that they be moved.
"I don't see how you can move murals," Chandarana said. "They're on the wall."
Pacheco said, "Even if we were able to move them, I don't think the Native American community would be too pleased."
"I know," Chandarana said. "You can't just re-bless something."

Artist Leonard Crow Dog Jr. painted nine murals on the walls of UC Berkeley's Stephens Hall.
Photo: Lance Iversen / The Chronicle

Meghan Chandarana and Noel Pacheco of the the engineering club known as NERDS stands in front of one of Leonard Crow Dog's murals at Stephens Hall at University of California in Berkeley.
Photo: Lacy Atkins / The Chronicle

A student walks past a mural on a wall used by UC Berkeley's New Experiences for Research & Diversity, or NERDS.
Photo: Lacy Atkins / The Chronicle

2012-01-30 "Occupy, Oakland blame each other for violence" by Demian Bulwa, Justin Berton from "San Francisco Chronicle"
Oakland officials and Occupy protesters confronted the fallout from their increasingly toxic conflict on Sunday, a day after the tensions reignited in chaotic, often violent demonstrations that resulted in at least 400 arrests. Once again, each side blamed the other for sparking the violence.
City officials took stock of the damage from Saturday's clashes, which included injuries to three police officers and several protesters, as well as vandalism inside City Hall.
There, dozens of protesters had broken in with a crowbar, grabbed an American flag, and ignited it on the front steps.
"It's like a tantrum," Mayor Jean Quan said while showing the damage inside the building, which included a broken model of City Hall she estimated to be 100 years old. "They're treating us like a playground."
Quan said Occupy Oakland had "refused to be nonviolent" and, as a result, was "turning off the rest of the movement." She said police would step up efforts to obtain restraining orders against some protesters to keep them from approaching City Hall.
Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan, at an afternoon news conference, said 14 outside police agencies had provided mutual aid to Oakland. He did not know the exact number of people arrested.
Outside City Hall on Sunday, some activists who had gathered in Frank Ogawa Plaza condemned the officers who responded aggressively Saturday to stop Occupy Oakland from seizing the vacant Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center and turning it into a headquarters for the movement.
They accused officers of using batons, beanbag bullets and tear gas without justification.
"Whatever qualms people have with Occupy Oakland, it's the police who have committed the most egregious violence," said Scott Johnson, a 34-year-old Oakland resident. "They instigated the violence by not allowing us to take over an unused building."

Future action -
Later Sunday, at a "general assembly" in Ogawa Plaza, a few hundred people discussed a variety of proposals for future action, including a call for a general strike on May 1.
But the disorganized nature of Saturday's demonstration, and the hours-long street skirmishes that were broadcast on television and the Internet, left some protesters with mixed feelings.
Some said the building takeover was poorly planned and that they did not condone the actions of those who vandalized City Hall or threw rocks and other objects at police.
"Today we need to clean up again," said Rachel Dorney, 23, who said she was pushed to the ground by a police officer during the rally. "I know that people are pissed at the cops and that's how they act out, but it just hurts Oakland."
Others said the movement in Oakland has strayed too far from the core message of economic justice.
Officer Johnna Watson, a police spokeswoman, said the officer who suffered the most serious injuries was struck in the face by a bicycle, suffering a cut. A second officer was cut on the hand, she said, and a third had a bruise.
She said some of the arrested protesters were released after being processed through County Jail, while others - including those suspected of felony assault - would be held until they post bail.
Jordan said at least three journalists were temporarily detained Saturday, including Gavin Aronsen, an editorial fellow at Mother Jones, who was taken to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin before being released.
Watson displayed items she said were recovered from protesters, including knives, mace, scissors and a tear gas canister, as well as a large shield that protesters had used while clashing with police.
The shield was 7 feet wide and 4 feet tall, with corrugated metal siding over a wood frame. Seven metal handles were bolted to the frame, and the words "Commune move in" were painted in red and black.

'New territory' -
"They're well-built, they're maneuverable and they're effective," Watson said of the shields. "We have to change our police strategies. This is new territory for law enforcement."
Watson said her department needs its officers to return to their regular duties. Oakland has had five homicides since Friday night.
The police focus on Occupy activists was a cause of concern for Isaac Kaly, who said his Oakland church, Kingdom Life International Ministries, had been broken into late Saturday or early Sunday by burglars. Kaly, an assistant pastor, said church officials called police at 9:45 a.m. Sunday but were told that officers were too busy to respond.
"They said they would come out (Monday) to take a report," Kaly said. "Everybody deserves service. That's why we pay the police."
Saturday's demonstration, which brought more than 1,000 people downtown, began on a festive note. After a brief noon rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza, Occupy supporters, accompanied by a small marching band, filled the street with banners.
Jordan said he did not consider the rally to be peaceful, however, because of marchers' plan to seize a building and because some of the protesters slashed tires as they walked.

Secret destination -
Most marchers had no idea where they were going, because organizers kept secret the building they hoped to seize. Tensions rose as marchers arrived at the long-shuttered convention center just south of Lake Merritt and began tearing down fences.
Police ordered marchers to disperse after someone in the crowd threw what appeared to be a smoke bomb at the officers. The protesters refused, touching off the first of several confrontations.
Police pushed the crowd back down 12th Street toward downtown, and eventually the demonstrators ended up where they had begun - back at Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Their numbers smaller than before, the marchers set out from the plaza a second time after dark, heading north. Again it was unclear where the group was headed.
At one point, around 6:30 p.m., police cornered marchers near the YMCA at 24th Street and Broadway, and some of the protesters burst into the building, surprising people working out in the gym.
Nineteen people were arrested earlier in the day. Jordan said 44 people were arrested inside the YMCA, with scores more taken into custody outside.
Police said the mass arrests were necessary because protesters failed to obey orders to disperse. But some protesters said the arrests were made unlawfully, before they had a chance to follow police orders, and suggested that they might take legal action against the city.

A pedestrian passes protesters' graffiti in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012, following an Occupy Oakland demonstration Saturday. After a confrontation with police, protesters gained entrance to City Hall where they burned an American flag, broke glass and toppled a model of City Hall.
Photo: Noah Berger / AP

Mayor Jean Quan looks over a scale model of City Hall damaged by protesters Saturday night. It is believed the model was constructed in 1906. Oakland, Calif. Mayor Jean Quan led a tour of the damage done inside Oakland City Hall Sunday January 29, 2012 by occupy protesters Saturday night.
Photo: Brant Ward / The Chronicle

Movies On the Bigscreen

February at MOBS! Superargo, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Foxconn, Media That Matters!
Hi there!  Below is our schedule for February!  Also, don't forget that this Thur, Feb 2, Access Sacramento and The Crocker are teaming up for an encore presentation of the 2011 A Place Called Sacramento short film festival (all films made by local filmmakers and incorporate Sacramento into them).  More info on that is here http://www.crockerartmuseum.org/programs-events/today-at-the-crocker/event/1336-film-frame-

 And here's our Feb schedule!
 Hope to see you there!

 Sunday, February 5
 Admission: $5.00
 Movies on a Big Screen at The Guild
 2828 35th St, Sacramento, CA
 Mr. Lobo's Super Bowl Pick:  Superargo (1968)
 Against the Super Bowl -- Superargo?  Sure, why not!  See, we forgot the Super Bowl was on this night until kind of the last minute, and it's a historically very slow night at MOBS.  Being too lazy to figure out what to show instead of what was originally planned (which we've had to move to a month some time in the future), we just called up Mr. Lobo, the host of the nationally syndicated show Cinema Insomnia, and asked him what we should run.  And he said Superargo.  It was just that simple.  Keep in mind, we don't think Mr. Lobo will actually be at the screening  (although we never know who might pop by MOBS), but yeah - we just let someone else "program" this night - and it was all completely spur of the moment!
 Who's Superargo (not to be confused with the similarly-named Argoman)?  Well, Superargo is a wrestler turned secret agent/superhero whose powers include levitation, super strength, telekinesis, and super-coagulating blood!  He also has the power to drive a sports car while wearing red tights and a black facemask without being laughed at by bystanders!  Yes folks, it's THAT exciting...  To make it even more thrilling (if your heart can stand it), Superargo's up against a madman who's turning the world's best and fastest athletes into shuffling, staggering, slow-moving robots!   Just imagine the action that will ensue when Superargo is facing enemies that he could simply amble away from!  Oh yes.
 Note: quality of this is pretty sketchy, but if quality is your primary concern, you probably shouldn't come to this anyway... However, if you've got no use for over-blown sporting events that basically bring our nation to a standstill for an afternoon/evening, come have some fun with this notoriously bad Euro flick!

 Sunday, February 12
 Admission: $5.00
 Movies on a Big Screen at The Guild
 2828 35th St, Sacramento, CA
 The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)
 Right around Valentine's Day, we like to show some kind of movie that might make your date a little uncomfortable with your idea of romance, so this year, we'll be showing this silent classic!  If you remove all of the violence, murder, mayhem and obsession, this IS a romantic movie.  But there is the aforementioned violence, murder, mayhem and obsession...
 In this film, Quasimodo, the deaf and half-blind hunchbacked bell-ringer of the Notre Dame Cathedral, is convinced by his keeper, Johan, to kidnap Esmeralda, the adopted daughter of the king of the underworld beggars.  Captain Phoebus rescues Esmeralda, and Johan abandons Quasimodo, who is publicly lashed.  Esmeralda takes pity on Quasimodo and attempts to comfort him.  Later, Phoebus is stabbed by Johan, who also frames Esmeralda for the assault.  She is sentenced to death, but is rescued from the gallows by Quasimodo, who takes her to the Cathedral where she is given sanctuary.  The underworld attacks the cathedral to remove Esmeralda, but Quasimodo routs the attack with rocks and molten lead.   The film concludes with a wonderfully bleak shot, which won't be spoiled here in case anyone doesn't already know it.
 The film launched Chaney as a worldwide superstar and is noted for the amazing makeup effects used by Chaney.  For "Hunchback," he wore  a 70 pound hump and designed a torturous leather harness which forced his body into the hunched position he maintains throughout the film.   This was also one of Forrest J. Ackerman's favorite films!  So bring a date, or just bring yourself and see this classic in a theater!  Due to the length of the film, this will be starting VERY close to 7:30 PM.

 Sunday, February 19
 Admission: $5.00
 Movies on a Big Screen at The Guild
 2828 35th St, Sacramento, CA
 Dreamwork China: The Workers of Foxconn
 The Chinese short documentary film, "Deconstructing Foxconn" which features an interview with an employee who attempted suicide at Foxconn, will be shown prior to the feature documentary.
 You may be familiar with Foxconn and its factories in China.  They manufacture products for Apple, HP, Nintendo, Sony, Motorola, Dell, Nokia, Amazon (Kindle), Toshiba and many, many others.  In fact, if you own any kind of electronic equipment, there's undoubtedly at least some small component or chip which was manufactured at Foxconn. We at MOBS tried to build a PC that was entirely "Foxconn-free" and found it impossible to do.
 Foxconn has had a number of fatal and near-fatal accidents related to unsafe working conditions.  Employees reportedly work excessively long hours, stand until their legs swell "until they can hardly walk" according to the NY Times, and live in extremely confined dorms. They're also known for having a number of employees who have committed suicide - to the point where Foxconn has installed nets at many of its factories.  In January of this year, 150 employees at the Wuhan factory went to the roof and threatened mass suicide.
 "Dreamwork China" was shot in Shenzhen, China, site of a massive Foxconn plant. It features interviews with employees of Foxconn in which the young workers talk about themselves, describing their lives, their hopes, their struggles for rights, and most of all, the dreams of a new generation in "the world's factory."

 Sunday, February 26
 Admission: $5.00
 Movies on a Big Screen at The Guild
 2828 35th St, Sacramento, CA
 2011-2012 Media That Matters Short Film Festival
 Ever since the first year of MOBS, we've shown this annual festival of socially conscious short films, and so once again, we're bringing the all-new 2011-2012 edition of the Media That Matters Short Film Festival to Sacramento! The fest is compiled by Arts Engine in New York, which incidentally been incredibly supportive of MOBS - see the Arts Engine quote on our website.
 The shorts are all made by student and independent filmmakers, and subjects covered in this year's fest include: the continuing effects of the United States' use of Agent Orange in Vietnam; challenges facing LGBT youth in Chicago; living with Asperger's Syndrome; a portrait of Sikh-American activist Sonny Singh as he organizes New York City Sikh youth to combat harassment in their schools; seasonal hunger in coffee growing communities; and much, much more.
2012-01-30 "Police arrest two Occupy Tampa protesters they say confronted officers"
TAMPA — Two Occupy Tampa protesters were arrested Sunday night and accused of trying to fend off police efforts to keep a rally away from busy traffic, authorities said.
Tampa police said they got calls about 8:40 p.m. saying that about 50 protesters were blocking the intersection of Kennedy Boulevard and Dale Mabry Highway. The callers said they were concerned the protesters might be struck by traffic. Officers arrived and said most of the protesters left.
But one, Marisol Marouani of Tampa, refused orders to get out of traffic and was arrested after a brief struggle, police said.
Another, Seth Collins of Tampa, approached an officer with clenched fists, police said.
Marouani faces charges of obstructing a sidewalk and resisting arrest without violence. Collins faces a charge of battery on a law enforcement officer.
Police said the two told them the protest was in response to the crackdown on the Occupy Oakland movement in California, where protesters vandalized a historic city hall and police arrested more than 400 people.

Thrill House Records

2012-02 Events list
So as you guys may know, we have our  "Winter Formal" show coming up in two weeks or so. And this email is a call for help.  Between now and the 11th we have a whole grungy basement to decorate among other things.  We would also like (if anyone is interested) to paint some pictures on a few of our walls.  Preferably starting with the bathroom cause that graffiti is the worst.  Ha.  So if you have some free time in the next two weeks, and want to decorate, paint or drink beer while watching other people do work, please get in touch. 
Also as we mentioned before, for the Formal, no one is going to be allowed into the show in "everyday" cloths.  Anyone not dressed up will have to pick a wardrobe from what we have provided.  What this means is, we need your ugly cloths!  If you have any weird and ugly cloths you could donate ahead of time for the formal, we'd be stoked.  Now is the time to clean out your closet!
And thirdly, we are looking for pictures from past shows.  If you have any real pictures or internet pictures on flicker or something.  Please let us know. 
So yeah, please respond if you have time or extra cloths! Or pictures.
Here again is the info for the show....

Saturday Feb 11th 7pm
@ Thrillhouse Records
-Toys That Kill (San Pedro)
-Robocop 3 (probably last show ever)
 -Jus Folks
-Floormats (Replacements cover band)
-W.C. Von Der Berc Gothic Cabaret
+ surprises and dance party
free and all ages but bring some money for our the Pedro kids!
And Dressing up is mandatory!!!!!!!!!

And lastly, on the weekend of the Winter Formal, we are having a 3-part "Punk Movie Night".  Friday Feb 10th, Saturday Feb 11th and Sunday Feb 12th will be showing triple features of classic-weird punk movies.  All these movie nights are free and will include raffles.

Friday Feb 10th 7:30
-Raymond Pettibon's "Sir Drone"
-The Taqwacores
-Tjenare Kungen

Saturday Feb 11th 3pm
-La Brune Et Moi
-Madame Wang's
-Out of the Blue

Sunday Feb 12th 7pm
 -Down & Out Dolls
-El Calentito
-(and a Japanese movie I can't translate the name...will get that info soon)

Yikes, thats a lot.  See you there!!!

Northbay Uprising: Use what you got!

The poor and under-class people of the Northbay suffer from a lack of quality of life because of the "unlimited war / unlimited defense" waged by the Federal Government under the dictates of our corporatist (fascist) overlords...

2012-01 "Exposing the True Costs of War to Yolo County" chart from "Veterans For Peace"  [www.veteransforpeace.org], using information from "National Priorities Project: Bringing the Federal Budget Home" [www.nationalpriorities.org]

 It is long past time to end the wars, cut the defense budget, and rebuild America!
Taxpayers in Yolo County will pay $303.58 Million for Department of Defense spending in 2012.
 For the same amount of money, the following could be provided:
 • 36,366 - Scholarships for University Students for One Year, OR
 • 54,733 - Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550, OR
 • 32,026 - Military Veterans Receiving VA Medical Care for One Year, OR
 • 204,973 - Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year, OR
 • 3,856 - Elementary School Teachers for One Year, OR
 • 3,477 - Firefighters for One Year, OR
 • 34,582 - Head Start Slots for Children for One Year, OR
 • 205,355 - Households with Renewable Electricity - Solar Photovoltaic for One Year, OR
 • 431,246 - Households with Renewable Electricity-Wind Power for One Year, OR
 • 104,820 - People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year, OR
 • 3,144 - Police or Sheriff's Patrol Officers for One Year...

Chart from "PSLweb.org":

Federal Budget 101
In Fiscal Year 2012, the federal government will spend over $3.7 trillion. That's a lot of money.
How much do you know about the federal budget?
If your answer is "not much," you're not alone. In fact, very few people have an in-depth knowledge about the federal budget process or its impact on their daily lives.
"Federal Budget 101" is designed to give you a guided tour of the budget. We outline how the federal government raises revenues and spends money, how the President and Congress enact the budget, and how much money goes into the many different federal programs.

2012-01 "People's Guide to the Federal Budget"
[ ... ]
Where the Money Goes – Spending -
The federal budget can basically be divided into two types of spending according to how Congress allocates the money: discretionary and mandatory. A third, much smaller part is interest on the national debt. Within mandatory and discretionary spending, there are a number of subcategories.

Discretionary spending refers to the portion of the budget which goes through the appropriations process each year. In other words, Congress directly sets the level of spending on programs which are discretionary. Congress can choose to increase or decrease spending on any of those programs in a given year.
The discretionary budget is about one-third of total federal spending. The chart below indicates how the Administration proposed dividing up discretionary spending in FY2012 as part of its annual budget request.


March 1st: Stand up for your Educational Rights!

Letter to Parents of College Students
 Posted on January 24, 2012
 The following is an explanatory, one-page outreach letter to parents of College students that can be revised and adapted to meet local circumstances.

 College Protests ~ A Letter to Parents
 As you know, students, faculty, staff, parents, and community supporters are protesting at colleges and universities across the state. We want to explain why.
 Our protests were triggered by the huge cuts in higher-education budgets and the enormous tuition increases that are occurring year after year. The politicians blame it on economic crisis, but that’s not true. For years, in good times and bad, officials have chosen to cut state support for universities and colleges while slashing taxes for the 1% and increasing funding for prisons.
 Fifty years ago, California citizens demanded affordable and accessible college education for the children. In 1960, Sacramento enacted a promise to Californians called the “Master Plan for Education.” It required that all students be able to attend a UC, CSU, or Community College tuition free. For two generations that promise was kept, but then in 2000 the politicians decided that cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy — the 1% — was more important to their political careers than honoring their promise to our kids. As a result, between 2000 and 2011 tuition at UC has tripled from $4,000 to $13,000, with corresponding increases at the CSUs and Community Colleges.
 For many students and their families, especially those hard hit by layoffs and foreclosures, the dream of a college education has been priced out of reach. And for Latinos, Blacks, and others who have historically faced discrimination, the hope of higher education is being denied as economic barriers are re-segregating opportunity in California.
 So many courses have been cut that last academic year total enrollment in public colleges declined by 165,000 students. And those who do manage to get into a school are discovering that required classes are no longer available so they have to attend an extra year to graduate (and pay yet more tuition). Meanwhile, class sizes are increasing, which means less individual attention, less chance to ask questions, and less contact with the remaining professors.
 Another fundamental issue that has nothing to do with taxes and budget cuts is how education funds are spent and how those decisions are made. For example, at the same meetings where they jack up tuition and cut staff, the UC Regents grant hefty pay raises to executives and senior bureaucrats. Apparently $500,000 a year isn’t enough, so the wages of janitors have to be cut and librarians laid off so that the top brass are not inconvenienced. And why are there so many bureaucrats? Fifteen years ago UC professors outnumbered senior managers by two and a half to one, but today there are actually more high-paid administrators than professors. And the situation is no different at the CSUs and Community Colleges.
 The real issue is political policy, not lack of resources. The real issue is that politicians and school administrations have abandoned the principle of tuition-free, publicly-funded higher education for all. They are steadily moving our system of public colleges away from education-for-all towards the model of expensive private schools — with high costs and tightly restricted admissions. The word for this is “privatization.” It is a word that means converting public colleges to the model of private universities. It is a word that means higher education will soon be only for the affluent.
 We are writing you this letter to ask you to stand up for our children, and the public education that they must have to survive and thrive in the 21st Century. It’s time for parents and tax-payers to demand that free public education be restored and expanded for all. It’s time for parents to become involved.
 Now is the time to take a stand.

Join us for the March 1-8, 2012, National Days of Action for Education:
 Occupy Education California (www.occupyeducationca.org)
 Occupy Education National (www.occupyed.org)

 WOODLAND – Occupy Woodland and Occupy Woodland College – with a little help from Occupy Sacramento - will target the infamous war profiteer Halliburton Monday as part of a "Books Not Bombs" rally and protest.
 Occupiers will gather about 11:30 a.m. MONDAY at Woodland Community College (2300 E. Gibson, Woodland, CA). A march to Halliburton's nearby offices begins about 12:30 – 1 p.m.
 "Our concern is the huge Cost of war vs. Cost of Education. We're challenging the US budget that spends 57 percent on military and only 4 percent on education," said Steven Payan of Occupy Woodland.

Next up for Occupy Woodland... on 2012-01-31:

The Northbay Uprising radio show has interviewed many folks connected to the Occupy movements in the Bay Area, played their music, and been on the streets with them.
One observation we have made: The Occupy Movement has a high percentage of Black folks in leadership, and of people of color in general participating in the actions.
However, for some strange reason, the "conservative" media keeps saying the entire Occupy movement is racist:

2012-01-30 "Racist Occupy Wall Street: Movement ‘Clearly’ Has Race Problems, Says Occupy Newark Leader" by  Lee Stranahan
People inside the Occupy movement — including one of the leaders of the Occupy Newark encampment — claim that Occupy Wall Street is racist against people of color. These new accusations of racism are based on people’s personal experiences with the increasingly secretive and “fascist” Occupy Wall Street leadership and the actions of OWS participants.
Imagine the amount of press the following story would get if it occurred at a Tea Party event; “If you ever want to see the biggest bunch of a**holes in the world, it’s Occupy Wall Street,” an unidentified man told me. We were in the atrium of 60 Wall Street, a location that Occupy Wall Street uses for meetings especially on evenings such as this past Friday when the weather outside was rainy and cold. The gentleman speaking to me was clearly upset, in his late 30s, neatly dressed and black. He eyed the tables of white Occupiers chowing down nearby. “I brought plates,” he said. “I brought plates free for everyone to eat on and what do they do? They asked me if I’d washed my hands. That’s how they treat us here.”
This man’s complaints about his own personal experience of antiblack racism at Occupy Wall Street were echoed by every black person I spoke to this past week in New York. Some people did not want to go on record, possibly fearing reprisals from people at Occupy Wall Street, but others freely admitted in video interviews that BigGovernment.com and Breitbart.TV will be releasing this week that they think the Occupy Wall Street movement is “clearly” and “absolutely” racist against people of color based on their own personal experience.
Significantly, these complaints of racism are coming not from outside critics but from supporters and members of the Occupy movement. As this interview clip with Occupy Newark leader Eric Richardson shows, he’s an advocate for the supposed ideals of the Occupy movement but says he’s experienced racism from both the leadership and the rank-and-file members of the Occupy movement.
This personal experience of racism at Occupy Wall Street provides a sharp contrast  with the Tea Party movement that has been accused of racism — and specifically antiblack racism — constantly over the past several years. I recently did an appearance on the David Webb show on Sirius XM satellite radio and I asked Webb point blank if he’d experienced any racism personally in the Tea Party. His answer was an immediate unhesitating “no”. Webb said the racism he’s experienced due to his association with the Tea Party has consisted being called “Uncle Tom” and worse by liberals.
Later this week, we’ll be airing more clips on racism at Occupy Wall Street and also discussing exactly why this racism is occurring.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Community disagreement about Occupy Oakland

The Black folks of Oakland support Occupy Oakland, at least those agreed to use the scope of powerful media attention to speak their minds. And these same folks swayed the opinions of the academic activists who are predominantly of the "White" Community into organizing into a Community/Labor/Student Alliance...
2012-01-19 "Occupy Oakland's North Oakland Neighborhood Committee" message from "Phat Beets Produce" [www.phatbeetsproduce.org]:
...connecting small farmers to urban communities [http://youtu.be/oYHGJZtMVgg].
For those interested in organizing in North Oakland as it pertains to the Occupy Wall St Movement...
The North Oakland Neighborhood Committee Branch of Occupy Oakland is now meeting every Saturday (except Jan 28th) at the North Oakland Farmers' Market from 1-3pm. 
They are working to build up momentum for large neighborhood assembly to organize around housing, food, community health and more as it pertains locally to the broader Occupy Wall St Movement. 
Please email northoaklandassembly@gmail.com or hit up northoaklandassembly.org to get on the email list.
[signed]  max cadji, "...if you leave the crumbs alone and we organize, then we can take the whole loaf" - Kwame Ture aka Stokely Carmichael
Who: North Oakland Neighborhood Committee Branch if Occupy Oakland
What: Weekly meeting
When: Every Saturday at the -except Jan 28th
Where:North Oakland Farmers' Market (5715 Market St)
Why: To build momentum towards a neighborhood assembly that connects local issues to the larger Occupy Oakland and Occupy Wall St movement
Contact:northoaklandassembly@gmail.com or hit up northoaklandassembly.org

Yet, by January, the Black Community in Oakland shared this common belief that the police were draining the Oakland City resources... and that it is the protesters faults, and never the snitches or police agents doing the vast majority of the destruction, an example for this found in the message from "Brotha" Chaz Walker, a positive hip-hop artist and advocate for Communitarianism in Oak-Town.

2012-01-29 "Thought Leaders, End Occupy Oakland" message from Chaz Walker [brothachaz@gmail.com]:
Occupy Oakland Is Pimping Us and Lying To The Public.
YEA I SAID IT. [http://store.brothachazwalker.com/urban-anger-management-training.html]
Most of the protesters do not live in Oakland.  I am saddened that the Occupy movement has chosen to terrorize Oakland California. I am all for freedom, most of the songs I write are about freedom. However, the occupiers are draining our resources. $ that could be used for youth services and programs for the elderly is being spent on police services and cleaning up after our city has been trashed.
 The occupy movement has lost its way or it is just flat-out telling lies about being against the 1%. What they are doing is not helping the poor or the disenfranchised in Oakland.  Oakland is a working class city. In 2010 the median income for a household in the city was $48,596. Occupy Danville, CA. The median income for a household in that city was $129,515 in 2010. Or occupy Sausalito, CA. The estimated median household income in 2009: $109,019 (it was $87,469 in 2000). 
Occupiers occupy your own damn back yard. Use all your city's money to pay the police you say you hate. If you hate them so much stop creating situations that result in the police officers getting thousands of dollars in overtime pay.  Blind leading the blind.
Oaklanders, Please stop supporting the destruction of our city.  The money Oakland has wasted on police services and cleaning crews could have saved jobs, provided meals and shelter for the poor as well fund services to keep young people off the streets.  Does anyone really think that Occupy Oakland is about Oakland or what is best for Oaklanders? 
If you want to help Oakland, mentor young people, hire someone who lives in the our town,  support you neighborhood crime prevention council.  You can support the PTA at your child' school, donate to a food bank or help the homeless.  All off these things actually help local people. Occupy Oakland is a social engineering experiement gone bad. You can quote me on that. 
Brotha Chaz
2012-01-29 "With work to be done, I'll stay on the council" by Stephanie Gomes, Vallejo City Councilwoman
Published by "Vallejo Times Herald"

Over the past few months, I've thought a lot about running for Solano County Supervisor. I'm honored that Supervisor Kondylis had faith in me and asked me to consider running for her seat.
However, my decision isn't just about my skills or qualifications, or even my personal desires for my career. In the end, the choice was about re-writing a story, and about my sense of responsibility.
In the dark of the night when sleep can be so elusive when faced with important decisions, I asked myself what was best for Vallejo. As a senior member of the Vallejo City Council, with six years of intense learning and experience, would my leaving the council before my term is up hurt the forward momentum we as a community have so painstakingly made?
We are on the brink of a hard-earned recovery, we have a council that is working well together, and we have a strong new city manager coming on board soon -- there is a bright light at the end of what has been a long and difficult tunnel. But our recovery is sill tenuous and will require experienced leadership and guidance. I worked too hard to help get us to this point to leave right before we turn that corner. Our story is still unfinished, and I want to stay and help finish re-writing it.
And during those sleepless nights, I also felt a nagging sense of guilt about leaving my term early. Two years ago, I asked the voters of Vallejo to re-elect me. I made a commitment, promised to work hard and focus on addressing Vallejo's serious challenges. The voters put their faith and trust in me for a second time -- even in the middle of bankruptcy turmoil -- and I want to respect that trust and honor my commitment by completing my full term.
So once I made my decision not to run, this all became very clear. It was the right choice. In my heart, I want to stay and keep working. I didn't run for public office to start a new career, I ran because I believe in citizen representation and I thought I could help our city. And the best place for the city and me right now is right where I am.
201-201-29 "Why a public safety committee makes sense" by Marti Brown of the Vallejo City Council
Published by "Vallejo Times Herald"

On the day of Officer Capoot's memorial service, local public safety jurisdictions covered the streets so that Vallejo police officers could attend the service. Essentially, they ran the city's police department for a day.
I was stunned to learn that these participating jurisdictions determined that the city needed approximately 18 police officers on duty per shift in order to cover the work load. That's three times more officers than ordinarily work an average day shift. I was reminded once again that our highly skilled and experienced police officers and firefighters are in the trenches every day performing triage with few resources. They provide a tremendous service to our community under extreme duress and very demanding circumstances. I'm grateful for their service and can only imagine the daily challenges that they face.
Given these conditions and the city's lack of funding to hire more officers and firefighters, what can we do as a community to improve the city's most obvious and immediate crisis -- public safety? We can ask members of the public to volunteer and assist in researching and evaluating innovative tools, more efficiencies and effective means to ensure the city's public safety employees are protected on the streets and the citizens of Vallejo receive the high quality public safety they deserve. We can accomplish these objectives by establishing a public safety committee or commission. And on Dec. 13 of last year, Councilmember Gomes and I proposed just that.
The goal of this citizen committee is to openly and transparently examine all aspects of public safety -- including but not limited to researching, assessing and potentially instituting best practices in public safety with very limited funds and personnel (e.g., the Task Force on Prostitution); evaluating opportunities for interagency collaboration and sharing services across jurisdictions; revisiting current and future trends in public employee salaries and benefits; and considering the need for community participation in setting public safety policies, practices and standards.
While some of these issues are being investigated internally, it is important to discuss, vet and analyze these matters in a public forum and through an iterative process so that our entire community will know and understand what we can and cannot afford with our finances, staffing levels and other resources. I would like to hire more police officers and firefighters. But we just don't have the funds to pay for it. Researching and evaluating how to improve the city's public safety with its limited financial capacity both for the short and long term is our best immediate strategy. And a Public Safety Committee will help achieve these objectives.
Contrary to the heated public discussion this past month, it is standard practice for policy makers to establish a public safety advisory board or commission that makes policy recommendations to city councils on a variety of public safety matters. In fact, the cities of West Hollywood, Cupertino, Calabasas, Malibu, Dessert Hot Springs and Solana Beach -- to name a few -- have established Public Safety Commissions. This proposal is consistent with other cities and their efforts to provide high quality public safety to their citizens.
More than one recent Times-Herald letter to the Times-Herald implied that its city staff who should evaluate and recommend public policy. The source of policy recommendations are frequently championed by a variety of sponsors including city staff, the public, nonprofit organizations, other public agencies AND elected officials. After all, council members are policy makers. So, it would stand to reason that they would also initiate new policy and not just react to any and all agenda items that come across the dais.
While on the surface it may seem as though there is no attempt being made to increase revenue, city staff has been working very hard to improve our economic development efforts. Several letter writers to the Times-Herald have mentioned the fact that we do not have a Walmart and/or Trader Joe's. Walmart stopped pursuing its Vallejo location due to the economy. And Trader Joe's has been approached multiple times by city staff and elected officials but they are not interested in locating in Vallejo at this time. There are only two staff in the city's Economic Development Department and almost no money to implement standard business attraction and retention strategies. In the meantime, city staff and the council are doing everything they can to increase revenue and attract new businesses while retaining existing ones.
Like many of you, I'm frustrated and want to figure out how we can do more with less. And I want to do it openly and transparently. The proposed Public Safety Committee is a much needed first step in that direction by dealing with our public safety challenges head on and seeking innovative solutions that we CAN afford.