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The OccupyUSA Blog for Wednesday (April 18), With Frequent Updates | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

The OccupyUSA Blog for Wednesday (April 18), With Frequent Updates

Live-blogging OWS daily since October 1.  Email: epic1934@aol.com. All times ET.   See my e-book on Occupy "40 Days That Shook the World."   My other books, including new ones on Bradley Manning and Beethoven, here....

8:15 UC-Davis police chief quits in wake of critical report on "pepper spray" incident.  No word on fate on John Pike.

6:05 More on the upcoming "Occupy this Album" with, count 'em, 99 tracks and big release party (as we unveiled yesterday) in three weeks. 

5:05  Reuters with new piece on activists' new shareholder meeting focus.  "A group called 99% Power -- a reference to those not among the top 1 percent of earners -- says it plans actions at 36 shareholder meetings, with the first big push coming at Tuesday's Wells Fargo & Co gathering in San Francisco."

2:45 John Cassidy of The New Yorker touts new "Occupy Handbook" --and Occupy--on the way to D.C. to speak on panel about it.  And see Michael Lewis contribution discussed below.

12:50  WSJ: Fake Bank of America press release, campaign and web site launched.  The site is still up but now bears a "phishing" warnng.  "The website features several pages that carry on the typical arguments against BofA, and while there doesn’t appear to be anyone taking credit yet, it bears all the hallmarks of the recent Occupy protests against the bank. The site appears to take issue with BofA for 'funding coal' and for not paying taxes in 2010, a year it lost money. There are also several snide remarks about mortgages."

12:30  OWS targets Frieze Art Show in NYC.   "Occupy Museums is targeting Frieze for what it sees as the 'financialization' of the art world. The call to protest comes on the heels of news of a labor dispute between Frieze and a New York carpenters union, which claims the art fair doesn't meet labor standards."

10:50  Student activism as 'the tip of the spear.'...  Tom Friedman turns to comedy today, begging Mike Bloomberg to run for president this year as 3rd party candidate as the supreme act of "philanthropy." Classic!  And in six months the conditions in this country will turn around.

10:40   Charles Pierce on the Citi pay revolt and more.   Altho he adds: "It is once again that time on the blog where I point out what a shame it was that the Occupy movement didn't have a 'coherent set of principles' so that it might have a lasting effect on the way business is done in this country, in and out of politics."... And: Pierce on Levon Helm, as cancer just about claims him.

10:15 OccupyRiverdale! Yes, OWS has invaded hometown of Archie--of Archie & Jughead fame. Slate covers it live. "The comic kicks off when Archie wanders past an “Occupy Riverdale” protest on his way to school and must decide which side to take. There’s no better symbol of the 1 percent than rich girl Veronica and her tycoon father, and an early look at the cover shows the Lodges and Reggie in opposition to do-gooder Betty and a mob of racially diverse protesters."

10:10  Allison Kilkenny's report on Tax Day protests in NYC, although headline in some ways is discouraging, with only "hundreds" protesting shameful tax inequalities on the big day. 

9:15  Just now: about a dozen arrested in New Haven as promised dismantling of long-running camp begins.  See photo of one getting carried out by cops. "After they carted away the last of the passive resisters, police also arrested Josh Heltke, one of the original Occupy organizers. He didn’t participate in the civil disobedience; rather he taunted police through a bullhorn, comparing them to Nazis, as they carried people away."

9:10 Latest probe on "Is Occupy Being Hijacked," includes Nathan Schneider who writes for The Nation...Call goes out for Guitar Army or GuitarMy of 1000 to march in NYC on May 1.   The Thousand Strummers March?

9:00 In the hell hole and money pit of Afghanistan:  U.S. soldier leaks to LA  TImes 18 photos of soldiers posing with body parts of enemy in 2010, offiicial probe launched.  Military asked paper not to publish, they went ahead.

8:15 Michael Lewis, author of "Moneyball," "Liar's Poker" and longtime expert on The Street, weighs in on OWS at Daily Beast, saying he felt "glee and relief" when movement emerged.  "Glee because, by both temperament and occupation, I have a rooting interest in socially disruptive behavior. Relief because I had begun to think such protests might never happen. Given the provocation—intense and effective political pressure from Wall Street to codify two sets of economic rules, one for people who work at giant Wall Street firms, the other for people who don’t—I was surprised it has taken as long as it has for people to hit the streets."

His proposal?  "I would probably reorganize the movement around a single, achievable goal: a financial boycott of the six 'too big to fail ' Wall Street firms: Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo. We would encourage people who had deposits in these firms to withdraw them, and put them in smaller, not “too big to fail” banks. We would stigmatize anyone who invested, in any way, in any of these banks. I’d try to organize college students to protest on campuses. Their first goal would be to force the university endowments to divest themselves of shares in these banks."  Could this work?  "Yes. I think we could create a run on a bank."

From late Tuesday

Ryan Devereaux on today's Tax Day protests in NY.  Update: a couple of dozen protesters now "penned" by park police on steps of federal building near Wall St. Plenty going on in LA and elsewhere.....Protester in now-infamous photo (getting choked by cop last weekend) now considering legal action.  But that's only part of it:  "According to Weiskel, the officer approached him and 'took two swipes at my camera, knocking it out of my hands'.”

Today's laff:  Breitbart's Big Hollywood attends a Van Jones inspired training session and thinks it finds true horror.   Imagine!  Criticizing George Zimmerman! But his biggest shock:  No one is defecating on anything.....Cool Pittsburgh tax day street protest--"dodgeball," as big companies avoid taxes and look for loopholes... actions today in L.A....

Politico interviews actress, and Occupy backer, Olivia Wilde. “I think that there’s also a really tricky thing in this conversation where people say if you’re a well off individual, as I am because of my work, you are part of the 1 percent and therefore part of the problem and therefore you can’t speak on this issue. I think that’s totally ludicrous. I think that’s like telling white people that they can’t talk about racism just because they’re white.”

Interesting NYT piece: "Young People Tire of Old Economic Models," good read.  "It’s great to see new paradigm slowly making its way into the mainstream.  I think this is demonstrated quite well by the comments made by professors Sachs and Stiglitz, neither of whom, even four years ago, I would have expected to reference the Easterlin Happiness Paradox or the Planetary Boundaries Framework."

 Cool party/concert and CD release party for Occupy album planned for City Winery in New York for May 8, very limited seating, large lineup of performers plus Michael Moore and others--see write-up on Jackson Browne site.  He is not listed among performers but this tells me he is among special guests.  Tickets $99.  Part of that and album profits go to OWS. 

The Day the Occupy Camp died, and Buddy Holly weeps:  Cops finally shut down OccupyLubbock.   So it's Lubbock or Leave It.... Review of my new book (with Kevin Gosztola) on U.S. vs Bradley Manning.

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