Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Occupy Wall Street Experience at Times Square


With the continuation of the two longest and unnecessary wars in our nation's history, our jobs being shipped overseas, the so called Democratic Party becoming the Republican Light Party, the obvious evidence that the banks and Wall Street own our government and with the corporate media refusing to either do it's job or in some cases even understand what it's job is, I was angry and frustrated because the people seemed powerless or unwilling to rise up like we saw in the Arab Spring. But then came "Occupy Wall Street."

I felt so inspired by their guts and determination that last Saturday I went down to lend my voice and support. I didn't see nor was I offered any of the free sex and drugs that Fox News had reported was available, nor did I find any of the anti-semites Rush Limbaugh had said organized the whole thing. What I did find were groups with different agendas ranging from Bronx doctors who wanted health care for all, to Filipinos demanding an end to US imperialism in their country. However, the great majority were there protesting the corporate strangle hold Wall Street and the banks have on our government and the awful consequences being felt by families across the country.

Zucotti Park was filled with people of all ages and backgrounds. Most of the organizers are college age twenty somethings. I was impressed with how organized the park was - a cleaning crew section, a first aid station, a food section and a large blackboard detailing what the schedule was for the week.

We were to march to Washington Square Park and then uptown to Times Square. We were told that this was a non violent protest and that we were to obey the police orders at all times who for the most part were courteous. As we marched up Broadway we chanted different slogans over and over:







A lot of people on the streets along with tourists from double decker buses gave us a thumbs up as we chanted "JOIN US! JOIN US!" while others looked confused, wondering what all the fuss was about as the police escorted us along the entire route.

When we got to the park we gathered near the fountain and were told that 23 of had just gotten arrested at a Citicorp Bank on LaGuardia Place for allegedly occupying the bank. Some of us went there chanting "LET THEM GO!" of course to no avail. Before we continued on to Times Square we were given the phone number to the National Lawyers Guild in case we were arrested.

As we continued on to Times Square I felt as empowered as I was in the late 60s when I marched against the Vietnam War. I could overhear conversations of strangers from different parts of the country talking about the mess our country is in and the overwhelming consensus that Eric Cantor is the biggest asshole in Congress. I then received a text from Broadway Carl knowing I was attending the event, who told me to be careful because he had just seen a video* of a white shirted NYPD supervisor punching a woman in the face, knocking her to the ground! I didn't see the incident and the media didn't report it the next day. You would think a video of a police supervisor punching out a woman would be a front page photo and or story, but I digress.

There was no further incident until we got to West 46th Street and Broadway, which is where we were supposed to enter. I was about 200 feet from Broadway when there was a confrontation with police. I later learned that the police had positioned the barricades so that only a trickle of us could get in which produced a bottle neck. Human nature took over so some us pushed the barricade back so we could enter which of course gave the police the provocation they wanted and created, resulting in 45 of us getting arrested and the police picking up the metal barricades and using it to push us back.

Now they had cut off access to Broadway. Then, about 200 cops came up behind us and told us to get off the street for no apparent reason since the street had already been closed to traffic. They told us to get on the sidewalk which we did. They then told us not to block the pedestrians which was a joke since WE WERE THE PEDESTRIANS! Finally they told us to clear the sidewalk so pedstrians could get by which we did by moving to one side of the sidewalk. But that wasn't good enough so they ordered us back to 6th Avenue when all they had to do was just give us access to Broadway which they had deliberately closed off to try create the confrontation they wanted.

So we made our way back to 6th Avenue hoping to get to Broadway via 42nd Street since they had closed access to West 43rd, 44th and 45th. By the time I got there the crowd had dwindled probably recognizing the police were trying to start trouble. Adding to the frustration was the fact that the organizers were not allowed to have loudspeakers or microphones of any kind making it difficult to make speeches or to communicate with one another.

I started for home thinking what jerks the NYPD is failing to realize we were marching for them as well. Maybe they will figure it all out when NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg starts laying them off as well.

*Editor's Note: It seems the initial report of a woman being punched by a Police Supervisor was actually the story of Felix Rivera-Pitre. The NYPD is defending the action by accusing Rivera-Pitre of attempting to elbow Deputy Inspector Johnny Cardona in the face, but multiple angles of the incident reveal no such attempt.

More Photos of the day's events from Nowhere Man (clicking on any photo in this post will give you access to original size):

And of course, after the 46th Street confrontation, there was this:

President Obama's Weekly Address - October 22, 2011

Bringing Home Our Troops

Friday, October 21, 2011

Another Dictator/Terrorist Down, Another GOP Excuse to Avoid Crediting Obama

So... because of the US involvement in NATO actions in Libya, providing intelligence and air support in the Libya mission, another dictator is now dead. And at the beginning of our country's involvement, we heard much grumbling from the right and the left, of President Obama's decision to involve us in "yet another war." But now that rebels have overtaken Libya and finally have rid themselves of their dictator, everyone seems to think it's a good thing, but refuse to admit that the President was right or at least give him credit, save for a begrudging few.

"Well first of all, today's not a day to be pointing fingers. I'm glad it's all working out. Ultimately it's about the freedom and liberty of the Libyan people. But let's give credit where credit's due, it's the French and the British that led on this fight and probably even led on the strike that led to [Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gaddhafi's] capture or to his death," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) said Thursday on Fox News.
Rubio said President Obama "did the right thing" by bringing the U.S. into the multinational intervention effort in Libya but "he just took too long to do it."
Perhaps Rubio should worry about lying that his Cuban parents were exiles when they actually left the island of Cuba three years before Fidel Castor came to power. Sometimes you just have to admit when you've been bested. When you don't it just looks foolish and petty.

Now, let's remember that the general conclusion when it comes to the parties is that Democrats are weak on defense and Republicans are the tough guys with a kick ass foreign policy. But as a friend relayed to me yesterday, under our current Democratic president, Osama Bin Laden was killed, Gaddhafi is now dead, we have a free trade pact with Latin America, terrorist leaders are being taken out by drones with no American casualties... so conservatives, tell me what's wrong with Obama's foreign policy?

ADDING... Watch for the growing list of anti-Obama factions getting the vapors over President Obama's statement today that we are finally exiting Iraq. Even though it was also a "decision point" made by George Bush.

Picture of the Day

Sunday, October 16, 2011

No Longer a Joking Matter

Via Bob Cesca: “I do believe that we are now in uncharted waters when it comes to the dysfunction in our political system — and it is no longer a joking matter,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told an audience two weeks ago at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where he received the Liberty Medal for national service. “It appears that as a result of several long-building, polarizing trends in American politics and culture, we have lost the ability to execute even the basic functions of government much less solve the most difficult and divisive problems facing the country. Thus, I am more concerned than I have ever been about the state of American governance.”
And I'll add that I don't ever think it was joking matter to begin with. In eras gone by, an entire political party's desire to defeat an opposition incumbent president at the possible risk of the country's financial ruin would be considered treasonous. Now it's thought of and reported as just another goddamn game.

And before you say that both sides are the same, I'll stop the bullshit right now. All the proof you need is the rejection by the GOP of bills or policy positions espoused by the current administration that used to be Republican positions. Now that the main strategy of the Republicans is to defeat President Obama at all costs, they will say no to everything suggested by the White House even if it's something with which they philosophically agree. They're willing to burn the village in order to save it. Actually, they're willing to burn the village in order to control it. You won't find that kind of political sabotage on the Democratic side because "country first" actually means something to them.