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The OccupyUSA Blog for Thursday (Oct. 20), With Frequent Updates | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

The OccupyUSA Blog for Thursday (Oct. 20), With Frequent Updates

I’ve been live-blogging OWS since October 1. For yesterday’s blog, click on my name at top. All times ET. E-mail: epic1934@aol.com. My new books vs. the death penalty and on Atomic Cover-up.

PLEASE GO TO THE FRIDAY EDITION OF THIS BLOG HERE

9:50 Our pal Carne Ross, known for his work with the UN and ambassadors, tweets: “The Occupy Wall St group on alternative banking that I’m part of includes bankers, finance professrs & quant traders - movement xtraordinary.”

9:40 I’m told that OccupyWriters.com not only has made well-known authors signed on, it is overwhelmed by free submissions of writings and poetry.

9:20 Right-wingers and other critics have claimed food at Zuccotti is high-priced and “gourmet.“ Here was selection tonight from @NewYorkist: ”homemade mac & cheese, rice+beans, spicy noodles, pb&j, chicken soup, bread pudding, rice pudding.”

9:00 Love this tweet re: police action in Australia: “Construction in have busted through police cordon around . Wharfies on the way!”

7:25 Good guy @JoshHarkinson reports that 200 parents to sleep over at Zuccotti tonite—with their kids, as planned. No police action tonight, I would wager. ALSO, follow him now for blow-by-blow of big neighborhood meeting near Zuccotti as people vent views about disruption, noise (the drumming, of course), barricades, cops and more. One man points out that he lives 100 yards from where so many died on 9/11 and now this… Some express support but even they hate the drumming (it’s the new vuvuzela). Others now say that this meeting itself has been “occupied” and not fair. Josh points out that things move along a lot faster here than at General Assemblies, in any case. And did I mention the drumming? Oh, maybe you couldn’t hear me.

7:20 Photo from OWS “flash mob” action in Union Station in DC vs. Walmart (I think I have that right).

7:15 Big police action pending in @OccupyMelbourne.

7:10 Funniest TV of year might be if the Parks & Rec crew tonight had to deal with OccupyPawnee. Ron Swanson, as a Ron Paul supporter, might not show much sympathy, but loves camping out.

6:20 Fun photo with sign of the times: “I hate Drum Circles but I hate Corporate Greed more.” (h/t Jon Wiener)

5:50 Video of Occupy K St. shooting down a Citibank in DC.

5:45 David Carr of NYT, shortly after arrival, tweets: “Just got a close up look at . has global legs.”

4:45 In a case we’ve been following all day, involving NPR host in spotlight and possibly losing jobs due to political ties, may be resolved, as she gets to keep at least one post. James Fallows: “According to this update just now, the classical music public radio station WDAV, in North Carolina, will not dismiss Lisa Simeone from her role as a freelance (ie, non-employee) host of an opera (i.e., non-political) program carried by NPR, just because she has also been a spokesperson for the Occupy DC movement. The reports to the contrary over the past twenty-four hours boded ill for all involved, starting with NPR—though, who knows, their sizzle might increase the audience for the next few installments of World of Opera. NPR also disputes that it inspired the loss of her job at another outlet.

4:25 Okay, young ’uns, here’s a free, hour-long BBC special on the Poet of Occupy, the Saint of Zuccotti, Mr. Woody Guthrie.

3:55 A “Rocky” day for the GOP leader on Friday? Rep. Eric Cantor to get “occupied” tomorrow when he gives a speech on—dig this—income inequality, at the prestigious Wharton School. Occupy Philly will be protesting. “Already, 241 people have RSVPd on OccupyPhilly’s Facebook page. This could be a big one: marching from City Hall at 3 p.m.”

3:35 Holy Protest, Batman! Reports today that the next Batman sequel may use #OWS in NY as backdrop. “Whispers from the Dark Knight Rises set suggest that Christopher Nolan may shoot part of his third Batman film against the backdrop of the Occupy Wall Street protests. The production will rumble into New York on the 29th of October, bringing the caped crusader face to face with the thousands in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park now in their second month of protest against the capitalist system. You know—the one that gets movies like The Dark Knight Rises made.

“Some would fear a clash of ideals. Nolan apparently sees an opportunity, with the Times suggesting that the demonstrations could be used as a setting for scenes from the film. Whether the arrival of the shoot will add another item to the protestors’ list of grievances is unclear (this is, after all, a $250 million production featuring a character who’s a billionaire businessman).”

3:30 Arrests just occured @OccupyMN, some in paddy wagons, livestream here.

3:25 The famous “Yes Men” school OWS in NYC, with aid of humor.

3:15 Slate covers the big AdBusters plan for Oct. 29 marches for 1% “Robin Hood” tax—lot of Comments respond.

2:00 Tom Morello, who has played at two or more Occupy sites and invited Occupyers to his show in Vancouver last night, tweets: “Epic nite at Vogue Theater in Vancouver last nite. World Wide Rebels showed up IN FORCE & rocked the joint insanely.” Earlier he had spoken at OccupyVancouver, video below. In which he invited people to come to the show for free. Also, he did one of my alltime faves, Bruce’s “Ghost of Tom Joad.”

1:55 Infamous “pepper-spray cop” Tony Bologna says he is “tortured” by aftermath.

1:50 Video: Jon Stewart and Al Sharpton hit OWS “theatrics.” Wow, pots calling kettle… Big police action in Minnesota underway. Follow @OccupyMN.

1:40 Allison Kilkenny asks, Will police ever (really) support the Occupyers… SF police chief agrees to some concessions under pressure there. Nurses allowed first aid tents. Bathrooms?… Gotta love Occupy Buffalo, up near my hometown.

12:25 Marriage proposal at Occupy site, with use of human mic. “Will you occupy my life?” Let’s hope that question doesn’t turn into a bad Barry Manilow ballad.

12:15 pm Collection of notes sent to Occupyers with care packages, collected at a Tumblr site.

11:55 Alec Baldwin tweets: “What the US needs is govt w/ balls. Regulatory balls. Capitalism is not the problem. We just need referees who will actually throw the flag.” He also apologized to England for saying, at Zoccotti the other night, that it had “gone down the tubes.” He meant Greece.

11:30 New column from Henry Rollins on Occupy: “Words cannot express how much I am enjoying witnessing the real fear that is coming from zero-traction hacks like P.J. O’Rourke.” He goes on, burying Fox News and other rightwingers, then gets to this: “Who should be losing the most sleep over all this? Not Wall Street and not the ultrarich. No. It should be the president. He dropped the ball. It’s cool. The people picked it up. Sir, with all due respect, you’d better recognize.”

And: “As things get worse, the movement will grow stronger. The Tea Party faded quickly because it was weakened by artificial ingredients, and is now all but over with. Occupy Wall Street is 100 percent analog and will thrive without corporate life support. This is only the start. You don’t have to like it. This is going on with or without you. Thomas Jefferson has momentarily stopped spinning in his grave.”

11:25 OccupyLA may move from City Hall camp as criticism grows about “destruction of lawn” there. Looking at other sites. “Protesters said they would happily care for the City Hall lawn themselves. Brito suggested planting native landscaping, rather than grass. Another suggested growing vegetables. Mukri said his department was open to discussing ways to reduce the city’s costs connected to the protest.”

11:20 Jamie Kilstein at Funny or Die goes “undercover” to expose OWS. Searching for weed, bombs, Al Qaeda, homosexuals.

11:10 Today’s song for Occupyers and their fans everywhere, one of my favorite Clash tunes. “Clampdown.” What are we gonna do now?

11:05 Cenk “Young Turk” Uygur launches his WolfPac, which asks citizens to occupy their local state houses to force the states to call for a Constitutional convention to pass an amendment that bans corporations from buying politicians.” Also at www.Wolf-PAC.com.

10:45 Update from The Atlantic on firing of Lisa Simeone at NPR due to her work with Occupy-related group, as we reported this morning in a few items below.

10:40 Stephen Colbert tweets: “The Real World is looking to cast Occupy Wall Street protesters. That’s one way to clear out Zuccotti Park.” In a more serious vein, from Russell Simmons: “The Daily News calling the protesters anti-capitalist in a headline is criminal. They are just anti capitalist control of our government!!!”

10:25 Ace blogger Digby looks at those Tea Party /Occupy comparisons and disputes “populist” linkage. Just one point:

One would think that the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street could at least find common ground in their mutual indictment of the political process, however differently they see the cause. But so far, the Tea Party groups are having none of it. The cultural trip wires that have animated rightwing cultural resentment for at least the past 40 years are still powerful motivators—after all, the Rick Santelli rant was based upon resentment of “losers” who needed help with their mortgages.

10:10 Will we ever get an OccupyWH? Wash Post with piece on Obama “flush” with Wall St. donations.

9:35 An intriguing demographic survey by academic on Occupyers.

9:25 Valuable piece here on tips for how to blog or live-blog important events, featuring… yours truly.

9:10 Calvin and Hobbes on Occupy?… Meanwhile, in the great anti-pipeline movement, Bill McKibben calls for encircling White House on Nov. 6… If you missed yesterday: right-wing blogger thinks Occupy’s hashtag looks too much like a… swastika.

9:00 @RebMoti tweets on the NPR uproar below: “I always knew ‘World of Opera’ has a liberal bias. They’re always too sympathetic to “La Boheme”

8:30 As we reported below, NPR host Lisa Simeone has allegedly lost her post due to taking part in OccupyDC activities. See links below but she has now fired back with key point: “This sudden concern with my political activities is also surprising in light of the fact that Mara Liaason reports on politics for NPR yet appears as a commentator on FoxTV, Scott Simon hosts an NPR news show yet writes political op-eds for national newspapers, Cokie Roberts reports on politics for NPR yet accepts large speaking fees from businesses. Does NPR also send out ‘Communications Alerts’ about their activities?”

8:25 Russell Simmons tweets: “We need a coalition of the (1%) who are personally successful but r fighting to give opportunity to others”… New grand total from @OccupyArrests: 1896.

7:50 Poynter picks up on and adds to my report (see below) on an NPR host allegedly getting axed after she took part in Occupy DC. “I find it puzzling that NPR objects to my exercising my rights as an American citizen—the right to free speech, the right to peaceable assembly—on my own time in my own life,” Simeone wrote in an e-mail response to questions from the Baltimore Sun Wednesday night. Her bio at NPR. On losing job.

7:40 Cool photos of Russell Brand during visit to Zuccotti Park last night — in heavy rain, so note slicker. And wife Katy Perry tweets: “This is happening.… I know my hubby rustyrockets is there now…still…reppin [representing] us both! Tell him to call his wife if you see him!”

7:35 Alternet: Which banks are the very worst for America?… Greg Sargent with data: Blue-collar Americans DO support OWS… Big Wired piece on growth of OWS in past month… OccupyLA trying to get space at famous Farmer’s Market, blocked so far.

7:30 The Economist complaiins that Occupy London’s aims are “too muddy.”

7:05 If this report is correct, a woman who hosts an NPR program called World of Opera has lost her freelance position after it emerged that she had been taking part in Occupy activities in DC. An NPR blog confirms that they were discussing the matter with the local station in North Carolina that produces the program, and the woman says she lost her gig.

6:55 Great new piece by Josh Harkinson on What the NYPD really thinks of Occupy. “The New York City Police Department has dealt with a heavy dose of criticism for the way that it has handled the Occupy Wall Street protests, with an unprovoked pepper spraying, questionably legal arrests, and a dressing down by a US Marine at Times Square all caught on videotape. But in the interactions with police that I have witnessed and the conversations I’ve had with officers, a more nuanced picture has emerged: one of overworked rank-and-file cops torn between following orders and sympathizing with the movement and its goals.”

12:05 am Interesting NYT op-ed on Zuccotti pushing much-needed new discussion of “privately owned public spaces.”

From late Wednesday

11:40 As promised, arrests in New Hampshire. @SabzBrach: “9 issued court summons. 4 others refusing to leave currently being .”

11:30 Cool photo from NYC: Occupiers huddled in the rain under tarps. Let’s hope Russell Brand isn’t under one of them with somebody.

11:00A new chant should react to GOP debate last night: “This is what dumbocracy looks like!”

10:40 New Nick Kristof column tonight. It backs OWS again and is titled Occupy the Classroom. “Most of the proposed remedies involve changes in taxes and regulations, and they would help. But the single step that would do the most to reduce inequality has nothing to do with finance at all. It’s an expansion of early childhood education.”

10:30 OccupyNewHampshire faces eviction in half an hour.

9:40 There was a rumor that the latest brand name to visit OWS is… Russell… Turns out to be true. See pic. Also pic at left. He did back Occupy awhile back. Get him to the Geeks!

9:20 Fun from : “Prediction: There will be a really bad T.V. show inspired by the hipster cop”… Report: Denver cops turned sprinklers on to bother Occupyers this morning… at 2 am. Or maybe that’s just the regular watering time.

7:40 The NYT has posted its weekly David Brooks/Gail Collins friendly debate, this time: on whether Occupy is “overhyped”: To paraphrase… David: My research (I visited a couple sites at ebb tide) proves no one cares. Gail: Yet most popular story and search term here in past month. David: Polls show people don’t want redistribution of wealth. Gail: Huh? Polls show vast majority back hiking taxes on top people. After more Brooks baloney, Gail provides a smackdown ending.

7:25 @NaomiRWolf thinks she’s found “smoking gun” in search for permit re last night’s arrest.

7:20 Our old pal and Tech President chief Micah Sifry with new piece and recommends three recent ones: “OWS, the Other 98%,” “US Uncut” & “Rebuild the Dream: A Look at the Shoes That Didn’t Drop.”

7:05 OWS as NY’s hottest new tourist attraction… Weather in Northeast putting maximum stress on encampments.

7:00 At The Atlantic: Eight well-meaning Ideas OWS should reject… McClatchy’s Douglas debunks the Tea Party / OWS similarities… Occupy New Hampshire says it faces police eviction tonight.

6:55 The great Jim Hightower: Wall Street is Dazed and Confused, and not in a Led Zep way.

5:30 @OccupyArrests continues to follow, report, tally all arrests a few times a day. Current total: 1,830.

5:00 Fast-growing Occupywriters group posts two new poems by Alice Walker, on Cornel West’s arrest and the awakening of young people in the 99 percent.

Greg Mitchell’s new e-book vs. the death penalty is Dead Reckoning: Executions in America (and just $2.99). His other current book: Atomic Cover-Up, on the censorship of film footage from Hiroshima and Nagasaki for decades.

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