Friday, September 30, 2011

Protests cause "profound wake-up call" for Bolivia

Bolivia highway protests spread, paralysing La Paz

Bolivia highway protests spread, paralysing La Paz

Tens of thousands of demonstrators in Bolivia have brought traffic to a standstill in central La Paz.

They were protesting against the construction of a highway which would pass through a nature reserve in the Amazon.

The Bolivian government says the road is essential for development and would encourage trade by linking remote communities to market towns.

But indigenous communities fear it could encourage illegal settlements.

Bolivia's largest labour union had called for a day of protest on Wednesday.

Public anger

Thousands blocked the streets of central La Paz, carrying banners opposing the road and criticising President Evo Morales.

One of the demonstrators told the Associated Press news agency that Evo Morales' government was "the worst and it should go because it attacked human beings, the indigenous compatriots who had given it their support, and now it's turned its back on them".

Many of the protesters called into question President Morales' commitment to indigenous rights and the protection of "Mother Earth", which he advocated during his election campaign.

President Morales has suspended work on the road until a referendum is held, but the furore over the construction and the government's handling of the protests has not abated.

Indigenous groups opposed to the road said on Wednesday they would resume their 500km (310-mile) march to La Paz.

Their trek was broken up by police firing tear gas on Sunday and protesters complained that "extreme violence" had been used.

Defence Minister Cecilia Chacon resigned in protest at the police action.

Interior Minster Sacha Llorenti and his deputy Marcos Farfan stepped down on Tuesday.

They had defended the break-up of the march, but denied ordering the use of force.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Troy Davis Lives Forever

Rebel Diaz Arts Collective:Reflections on #OccupyWallStreet

Rebel Diaz Arts Collective:Reflections on #OccupyWallStreet
If yall havent noticed, theres an interesting situation going on in New York City's financial sector. Since September 17th, a group of folks has been camped out in Zuccoti Park a couple of blocks away from Wall St, protesting everything from corporate greed, foreclosed homes and the bailout. Organized via social media and the internet, #OccupyWallStreet has caught the attention of the world. The world is watching mainly because last Thursday, about 100 folks were arrested and many more brutalized. Numerous videos of NYPD's brutality have gone viral, especially one of peaceful female protestors being maced by a ranking NYPD official. Thursdays protests happened after a Troy Davis memorial march met up with Wall Street Occupiers who had marched and met up in solidarity. The result was the NYPD once again brutalizing peaceful people with batons, mace, and unnecessary violence. Since then, the movement has picked up strength and received mainstream media coverage, along with visits from celebrities like Cornel West, Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon. Out of curiosity we visited with the RDACBX team after a meeting and the result wasnt the greatest. Besides being stared at and looked at as if we were invading their space, the predominantly young, white and liberal Occupiers sent over one of the few African American men over to talk to us. When we asked them why they didnt approach us themselves and build with us, they replied that "they thought we would get mad because they were white." The situation was pretty bizarre as a woman started ranting incoherently about Nazi symbols being seen over the skies of California, and another man from the Media Team repeatedly offering us the chance to perform if we spoke to the Arts and Culture team. He didnt seem to get that we werent there to perform, rather we were there just to build. After being mean mugged for taking a free slice of Pizza, we decided it was time to leave the hippie fest.
Our intention is not to dismiss it as just this, but the gut feeling was that there is a serious disconnect down there. We left with mad questions! Where was the hood? Where was the poorest congressional district in the USA, from The South Bronx at? Like we say in Hip Hop, where Brooklyn at? Could it be that perhaps the working class couldnt afford to just leave work and the responsibility of bills and family survival to camp out in a city park? Did folks from our communities not know about this? If people of color were occupying Wall St would we have lasted this long? All in all the questions remain, yet with time and reflection , we refuse to just dismiss it. Its a historic time in the world in which general assemblies are starting to happen all over, as cities across the US are also now having "occupations".
Our analysis on whats going in Wall Street is that its very similar to the Syntagma Square uprisings in Greece, and other city squares like the ones in Madrid. In these movements, there is no central leadership, its about something, but then again not really, because the demands arent clear. What is clear is the identification of the common enemy : the greedy banks. The Occupiers are organized thru new means of communication; the internet, social media like Facebook,Twitter and U Stream. We can now see the occupation live 24 hrs a day, folks are tuning in directly from all over the world. There is an obvious access to some privilege as the MacBook Pros and coffee seem to be part of the growing everyday scenery. The revolution attempt here has made sure to hash tag itself just as #Jan25th did in Egypt. #OccupyWallStreet seems to be a new phenomenon in that we are witnessing a first generation in which massive numbers of young white people are no longer experiencing the economic benefits of the capitalist system. Their working class parents have had their homes foreclosed, their school loans cant be paid because they too now are unemployed or underpaid in the shrinking job market. Their reality has gotten closer to what black and brown folks have lived for many many years. There is a blatant economic inequality in this country and it is a result of corporate Wall St greed. The middle class is almost extinct as most people nowadays are working merely to survive and pay bills. We encourage folks to support the occupations and see them for themselves. Perhaps the topless nude activists, or the drum circle may not be for you, but the idea of having a national dialogue sparked about these greedy bankers and their abuse of the people is important and needed. We plan on going back with more people!!
All Power to the People!!

RodStarz of Rebel Diaz

Video:Better This World

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

Video:If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

Black Flags and Windmills Trailer (Full Res)

Save the Gudiel Home

Los Angeles and Inglewood DUI Checkpoint -Tonight 9/29/11 and Tomorrow 9/30/11

California DUI Checkpoint Locations

September 29th - 8pm-2am – Vermont Ave. between 4th St

Inglewood DUI Checkpoint: September 30th - 7pm-3am – Manchester Blvd. at Kareem

Cornel West on Occupy Wall Street: It’s the Makings of a U.S. Autumn Responding to the Arab Spring

Cornel West on Occupy Wall Street: It’s the Makings of a U.S. Autumn Responding to the Arab Spring

Article:Occupy Wall Street Protesters Settle In, Despite Weather And Police Clashes

NEW YORK -- The members of Occupy Wall Street are not allowed to use megaphones, so they've adopted a low-tech workaround.

At their twice-daily general meetings in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan's financial district, whoever has an announcement to make speaks slowly and clearly, with a pause every few seconds, so that everyone within earshot of the speaker can repeat back what he or she just said -- amplifying it for the crowd of hundreds to hear.

That crowd, which in some ways resembles an indie-rock concert audience -- mostly young people, with a smattering of Baby Boomers, and a higher than average quotient of hair dye -- has been gathered here, steps from Wall Street, since September 17. They've been addressing a mishmash of concerns and causes -- from war to income inequality to corporate influence in politics -- that has left many onlookers bewildered.

The occupiers' speak-and-repeat technique is time-consuming, but their willingness to use it suggests a group not easily discouraged. Many of the protesters have been camped in this park for what is now nearly two weeks, sleeping on foam pads, cardboard boxes, and a ragtag collection of mattresses and furniture.

Despite lousy weather, media skepticism and clashes with the police -- including an ugly incident this past Saturday in which an officer pepper-sprayed several young women during a march -- the faithful seem to be in it for the long haul.

"Indefinitely," said Shon Botado, one of the protesters staffing the first aid station, a couple of tables spilling over with donated cold medicine, vitamins, tampons and other paraphernalia, when asked how long he was planning to be there. "Until change is made to the financial structure."

What that change might look like, no one can say for sure.

Whatever one might say about Occupy Wall Street, it's hard to accuse it of being a single-issue movement. The crowds of people in and around Zuccotti Park have as many different reasons for being there as you can name.

Some said they have come to register their dismay over the environment. Some are there to protest military occupations in other countries. At least a few were moved to attend after the September 21 execution of Troy Davis.

But economic concerns seem paramount for many. Several hand-lettered placards express outrage that banks and bankers weren't punished more severely in the wake of the financial crisis. And the protesters speak often of the national wealth gap -- the vast differences in income that separate the richest 1 percent of Americans from everybody else.

But the group is also devoting considerable energy simply to keeping itself going.

There are about 200 people sleeping in this one-block park every night, eating donated food and running into nearby restaurants to use the bathroom. An internal structure has emerged, one that seems to be getting more sophisticated every day.

At a megaphone-free meeting Wednesday afternoon, delegates from various committees stood and offered updates, assessments, encouragement and advice.

The Comfort committee, which handles bedding and clothing, needed donations. A woman from the Food committee said that her group was just fine on donations, but asked if anyone was willing to make their kitchen available.

"We have a lot of food that could be cooked and brought back here," she said. It was not an outlandish request: A number of New Yorkers have opened their apartments to the protesters, letting them shower and charge their electronics indoors.

Someone from Community Relations reported that local Financial District residents had voted down a resolution against the protesters at a community board meeting -- a welcome signal of support. But, the speaker added, some locals were still concerned about noise at night, so members of Occupy Wall Street were going to sit down and meet with them.

One young woman weighed in with a grim weather report: The forecast called for rain, followed by plummeting temperatures on Friday. "We are going to have to pick some useful strategies to deal with this weather that we know is coming," she said.

Someone stood up to announce a group meditation session happening later that afternoon. Someone tried to lead the group in a song, which was tabled for after the meeting. Someone else declared that his ukulele had gone missing.

It wasn't exactly a Parliamentary session -- and with everything first being said, then repeated en masse, it took twice as long as it otherwise might have -- but most of those present seemed committed to the process.

With the group's priorities so diverse, it's unclear how long the Occupy Wall Street movement will actually stick around. The group has yet to formalize a list of demands or conditions under which it might disperse.

Yet the protesters seem to be thinking in terms of months, not days. Botado, who has been in Zuccotti Park since the movement launched on September 17, said that the group is open to the idea of spending the winter there.

And while the protesters' run-ins with law enforcement seem like they might deter curious outsiders -- in addition to the pepper-spraying incident, at least 80 members of Occupy Wall Street have been arrested in the past two weeks, and several people have been injured by police batons -- many of the people present on Wednesday said they didn't get involved until after these confrontations.

While this is going on, the cause is gaining momentum outside New York. Similar protests have been held or are being planned in dozens of other cities.

The lack of clear direction may eventually prove a stumbling block to the occupiers, but the mood in lower Manhattan this week was one of cheerful energy. A sign -- one of perhaps 100 strewn about the square, or being waved to and fro by demonstrators -- read, "DEMOCRACY MAY BE HARD BUT AT LEAST WE ARE DOING IT."

"What's change?" said Rob, a protester who said he has worked in minimum wage jobs all his life, and asked not to be identified by his full name. "What isn't change? We're here. That's change."

NYC Transit Union Joins Occupy Wall Street

New York City labor unions are preparing to back the unwieldy grassroots band occupying a park in Lower Manhattan, in a move that could mark a significant shift in the tenor of the anti-corporate Occupy Wall Street protests and send thousands more people into the streets.

The Transit Workers Union Local 100's executive committee, which oversees the organization of subway and bus workers, voted unanimously Wednesday night to support the protesters. A union-backed organizing coalition, which orchestrated a large May 12 march on Wall Street before the protests, is planning a rally on Oct. 5 in explicit support. And SEIU 32BJ, which represents doormen, security guards and maintenance workers, is using its Oct. 12 rally to express solidarity with the Zuccotti Park protesters.

"The call went out over a month ago, before actually the occupancy of Wall Street took place," said 32BJ spokesman Kwame Patterson. Now, he added, "we're all coming under one cause, even though we have our different initiatives."

The protests found their genesis not in any of the established New York social action groups but with a call put out by a Canadian magazine. While other major unions beyond the TWU have yet to officially endorse Occupy Wall Street, more backing could come as early as this week. Both the New York Metro Area Postal Union and SEIU 1199 are considering such moves.

Jackie DiSalvo, an Occupy Wall Street organizer, says a series of public actions aimed at expressing support for labor -- from disrupting a Sotheby's auction on Sept. 22 to attending a postal workers' rally on Tuesday -- have convinced unions that the two groups' struggles are one.

"Labor is up against the wall and they're begging us to help them," said DiSalvo, a retired professor at Baruch College in her late 60s who has emerged as a driving force in the effort to link up labor and the protests. DiSalvo is herself a member of the Professional Staff Congress, which represents teachers at the City University of New York.

Recent anti-labor actions like Scott Walker's in Wisconsin "really shocked the unions and moved them into militant action," DiSalvo said, and the inflammatory video of a NYPD deputy inspector pepper-spraying several protesters on Saturday also generated union sympathy.

"There's a lot of good feeling. They've made a lot of friends," said Chuck Zlatkin of the postal union.

When a band of about 100 protesters showed up at a postal workers' rally featuring Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday, complete with purple hair and big drums, "they went a long way towards touching people and making connections," Zlatkin observed.

If unions move to support the protests in a major way, that could mean thousands more people marching in Lower Manhattan. Thus far the protesters have not managed to come near the 10,000 or so who attended the unrelated May 12 march on Wall Street. The Strong Economy for All Coalition, which receives support from the United Federation of Teachers, the Working Families Party, plus SEIU 32BJ and 1199, previously helped put together that demonstration. Now they will be rallying for the grassroots group.

"Their fight is our fight," director Michael Kink said. "They've chosen the right targets. We also want to see a society where folks other than the top 1 percent have a chance to say how things go."

Asked if the union support could dilute the message of the Occupy Wall Street protesters -- which has itself been dismissed as incoherent -- organizer DiSalvo said the rag tag group's stance would remain unchanged.

"Occupy Wall Street will not negotiate watering down its own message," she said, union support or not.
Next blurb from the LA Times .

Anti-corruption activists plan on 'occupying' Los Angeles
September 28, 2011 | 3:42 pm

A group of anti-corruption activists say they will be "occupying" Los Angeles on Saturday.

The planned encampment, to be set up at L.A. City Hall, will protest the corruption of an economic and political system that has allowed a small fraction of Americans to grow rich "while the rest of us have gotten poorer," the group Occupy Los Angeles said in a statement to the media Wednesday.

A few dozen protesters have been camping at a park near Wall Street since Sept. 17 and staging occasional marches.

The group said it is not aligned with any political party or candidate.

Trader on the BBC says Eurozone Market will crash

Article:Prosecutions demanded in deadly Long Beach police shootings

Prosecutions demanded in deadly Long Beach police shootings
Supporters of two men fatally shot by Long Beach police demanded Wednesday that Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley prosecute the officers.

The demands in support of Douglas Zerby and Ismael Lopez were made during a news conference outside the criminal courts building in downtown Los Angeles. The two men were slain in separate incidents in December 2010 and August.

The supporters, who included family members and activists, urged Cooley to follow the example of Orange County prosecutors who recently charged two Fullerton police officers in the fatal beating of Kelly Thomas.

"Cooley must step forward and take responsibility in bringing about justice," said Long Beach activist Doug Kauffman.

A spokeswoman for Cooley, Sandi Gibbons, said the district attorney's office has conducted an initial probe of the shootings but that prosecutors are waiting for police to complete their investigations.

"We will very carefully review that," she said of the police investigations, and make a determination on how to proceed. "This is a process that is not done overnight."

Zerby, 35, was in a seated position on Dec. 12, 2010, when he extended his arms while holding a gun-like object and pointed it at an officer, police said. He was shot in the torso with a shotgun and handgun and died at the scene.

Investigators later determined that Zerby was actually holding a black pistol-grip water nozzle with a metal tip.

Lopez, 29, was shot Aug. 26 after police were dispatched to an "unknown trouble" call.

During a chase, "the actions of one of the suspects caused one of the pursuing officers to fear for his safety and/or the safety of the other officers and an officer-involved shooting occurred," police said in a statement. Lopez was pronounced dead at the scene.


Accused flasher wanted child virgin to marry, police say

Four-year-old survives fall from Santa Ana apartment window

Michael Jackson: Doctor wanted payment even if tour was canceled

-- Robert J. Lopez

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chile students stage mass protest for education

Chile students stage mass protest for education

Organisers said 180,000 people joined the march
Continue reading the main story
Related Stories

Chile student protests point to deep discontent
Clashes as Chile students protest
Arrests at Chilean student rally
Tens of thousands of students and teachers have marched in the Chilean capital, Santiago, in the latest mass protest to demand educational reform.

The march was largely peaceful, but ended with clashes between riot police and masked youths throwing stones.

The protest movement - now in its fourth month - is the biggest in Chile since the return to democracy in 1990.

The government has promised some reforms, but the students say they do not go far enough.

Protest organisers said around 180,000 people took part in Thursday's march, making it the biggest in several weeks.

Some wore fancy dress or played musical instruments as they marched through Santiago.

As the march drew to a close, small groups wearing hoods threw stones at riot police, who responded with tear gas and water canon.

Student leaders are demanding wholesale reform Chile's education system, which they say is deeply unequal and desperately underfunded.

The march ended in violent clashes between protesters and the police
The system is sharply divided between private and public schools, an approach critics have labelled as "educational apartheid".

The protesters want the central government to take full control of education and increase spending on public schools.

They also want increased funding for universities, including scholarships rather than loans for poorer students, and an end to profit in education.

President Sebastian Pinera has responded by promising limited reforms and around $4 billion (£2.6 billion) in extra funding.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

The crisis in education is in fact a crisis in the model installed under the dictatorship”

Camila Vallejo
Student leader
But he has categorically rejected calls for full state control and free education.

Mr Pinera addressed the issue again on Thursday in a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York.

His reforms promised "quality education for everyone, and free education for those who require it, so as to achieve the dream that no child be left out of higher education because of a lack of resources," he said.

But student leaders - many of them left-wing - say his proposed reforms do not address the fundamental problems of a system set up during the 1973-1990 military rule of Gen Augusto Pinochet.

"The people understand that the crisis in education is in fact a crisis of the model installed under the dictatorship. The protest is not against today's government, but against the neo-liberal model," student leader Camila Vallejo told the French news agency.

MSNBC on NYPD Police Brutality during Occupy Wall Street Lawrence O'donnell with "The Last Word"

MSNBC on NYPD Police Brutality during Occupy Wall Street Lawrence O'donnell with "The Last

LA Times Article:Jail volunteers accuse deputies of abusing L.A. County prisoners Three volunteers at Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles...

By Robert Faturechi, Los Angeles Times
September 28, 2011
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies brutalized inmates on multiple occasions and their supervisors failed to take complaints of the abuse seriously, according to sworn declarations from two chaplains and a Hollywood producer who volunteered in the jails.

Two of the volunteers said they heard deputies yell "stop fighting" as deputies pummeled inmates who appeared to be doing nothing to fight back.

The allegations come on the heels of Los Angeles Times stories detailing FBI probes into deputy misconduct in the jails. The declarations are expected to be filed in court Wednesday as part of a report compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is a court-appointed monitor of jailhouse conditions.

It's not uncommon for inmates to make allegations of abuse, but these sworn statements are noteworthy because all three are from independent civilians in the jails who say they came forward because they were troubled by what they saw. Two have included their names. The third, a chaplain whose identity was learned by The Times, opted to have his declaration filed anonymously at the last minute for fear of reprisal.

Sheriff Lee Baca did not return calls seeking comment.

In one declaration, Chaplain Paulino Juarez said he was ministering to an inmate at a cell inside Men's Central Jail on Feb. 11, 2009, when he heard thumps and gasps. He went toward the sounds and saw three deputies pounding an inmate pressed against the wall. Juarez said he believed the inmate was handcuffed because he never raised his hands to protect his face from the deputies' fists, instead shouting: "I am doing nothing wrong; please stop."

The inmate, Juarez said, collapsed face first. His "body lay limp and merely absorbed their blows." The deputies continued kicking for a minute, the chaplain said.

One deputy eventually turned and saw Juarez. "When we made eye contact, the deputy … had a nervous and surprised look on his face. Then he began making signs to the others with his hands, motioning them to stop the beating," according to the declaration.

Later, the chaplain noticed a pool of blood, 2 feet around. He recalled one sheriff's official yelling: "Check if he has HIV."

The chaplain filed a report at the time — reviewed this week by The Times — and was interviewed by Sheriff's Department investigators. In the weeks after he filed his complaint, he said passing deputies would call him "rat" and other insults. After hearing nothing for two years, Juarez reached out to the department and was granted a meeting with Baca.

The sheriff, Juarez recalled, said he had never heard about the incident.

"This happened two years ago and I'm only finding out about it now?" Baca asked his executive staff, according to the chaplain. Baca looked over the file, about 10 pages, and told the chaplain his investigators had determined the inmate was schizophrenic. Juarez said Baca told him that deputies had to punch the inmate a couple of times to get him into the cell. "Punches are allowed, but kicks are not allowed in my department," Baca said, according to Juarez.

According to the chaplain, Baca said his investigators determined the bruises were the result of being run over by a car before the inmate was incarcerated, not from a beating.

Michael Gennaco, who heads the Office of Independent Review, said in an interview with The Times on Tuesday that the investigation file was inconsistent with the chaplain's account. The inmate's medical records showed he had only a cut on his forehead, burning in his eyes and redness to his left elbow — injuries that don't match up with an extended beating.

Gennaco also said that the inmate told investigators that he was resisting and that he deserved the amount of force deputies used.

"Some of the allegations just simply don't match up with the other evidence," Gennaco said. "We've got to rely on evidence rather than mere allegations."

Scott Budnick, a producer for "The Hangover" movies and a former writing tutor at Men's Central Jail, also gave a sworn declaration about abuse he witnessed.

In 2009, he said he opened the door to the jailhouse chow hall, empty but for three deputies kicking and punching an inmate who fell to the floor. The deputies, he said, repeatedly yelled "stop resisting" even though the inmate wasn't.

On another occasion, in 2008, he said he was standing outside his class, when he saw a deputy stop an inmate for a strip search.

"I then saw the … deputy grab the inmate's head and smash his head into the wall, hard. It was so hard that I could hear an audible crack," Budnick stated.

The chaplain who opted to be anonymous described an incident on Feb. 9. He said he was on the third floor of Men's Central Jail filling his cart with Bibles and Christian literature when he heard deputies running and keys jangling. He then saw a group of deputies kicking an inmate face down on the ground with his hands behind his back. One deputy, the chaplain said, held the inmate's feet and legs, another had a knee on the inmate's neck, while the other deputies kicked his torso, the chaplain alleged.

"Chaplain, go inside!" he said one deputy yelled.

"I didn't go inside because I had heard too many inmates tell me about beatings that the deputies had inflicted on them and I wanted to observe what was happening with my own eyes," the chaplain said.

The allegations come as new details emerge about a flurry of federal scrutiny into the jails. The FBI has confirmed that it is looking into at least two inmate allegations of abuse. The bureau is also investigating a January incident in which an ACLU monitor said she witnessed two deputies beat an unconscious inmate for two minutes. According to sources, federal agents recently paid off a deputy in an undercover sting to smuggle a cellphone to an inmate who was secretly serving as an FBI informant.

Along with the jails, the feds are investigating a sheriff's captain suspected of being overheard on a wiretap of an alleged Compton drug ring. The U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights division also recently announced a wide-scale "pattern and practice" investigation into allegations that deputies in the Antelope Valley discriminated against minority residents who receive government housing assistance.
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times